4 tips for successful online dating

by Erin J. Shea

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Putting up pictures that represent what you look like means you don’t have to worry later

1. The Profile
The key to successful dating online is a well-written user profile. A profile is the unique, customizable area on an online dating site that contains biographical information about yourself, as well as photographs and details about what you’re looking for in a potential mate. “A lot of people get really intimidated by the profile process,” says Whitney Casey, relationship insider for Match.com. “But when you think about it, when you go out, you get only one chance to make a great first impression. With a profile, you get as many as you want.” Casey suggests new users break down their profile in to four parts—the picture, the headline, the username and the paragraph. Gather a group of friends to help you out, and go step-by-step. “Your friends are going to keep you honest,” she says. “Plus, they’ll make sure you use the best picture of yourself.”

2. The Picture

Stay recent and real, Casey says. All pictures should be taken within the last six months and feature a head shot, as well as a full body shot. “Putting up pictures that represent what you look like means you don’t have to worry later, if he or she doesn’t call you to go out again, that it’s because of how you look,” Allison says. “Be honest about who you are.”

Avoid pictures of yourself with either too many props or too many other people. “Find a happy medium between being Action Jackson and Mr. or Miss Poser,” Casey says. “Your main picture should be just you, and not you wearing sunglasses or you holding your dog. Use those photos for the supplemental pictures.”

Update photos as much as possible. Casey suggests including photos from recent vacations as well as those that feature you taking part in a hobby you enjoy. “They make good conversation starters,” she says.

Don’t include too many pictures of you with other people.”There are so many guys online who will include pictures of themselves with other women,” Allison says. “You don’t know who those women are, and it sends the wrong impression.”

3. Get in It to Win It

Dr. Gian Gonzaga, a senior research scientist with eHarmony, says a key component to online dating is patience. “Imagine you’re walking into a bar with 100 people in it. Services like eHarmony show you 10 people who you could go out with,” he says. “But that doesn’t mean they’re perfect, just that they share important characteristics that are the basis for a good relationship. People spend years searching for a relationship. You can’t give up because you go on a couple of dates that don’t work out.” Casey agrees. “People put a lot of pressure on themselves when they date online, especially if people have exchanged a few great e-mails. Practice makes perfect. You have practice at dating.” In fact, both experts say that one of the hidden benefits of dating online is that it allows people to critically examine what they want out of life, not just out of a potential mate, in a way they hadn’t done before. “It’s supposed to be fun,” Gonzaga says. “We love to hear the stories about people who end up married, but the life experience you gain, and knowing that people are going out and enjoying their lives, that makes us happy too.”
4. Happily Ever After

In June 2007, Allison set a reminder for herself on her computer to cancel her online dating membership at eHarmony. The demands of her job had taken a bite out of her social schedule, and she hadn’t found anyone promising in months. The money, she said, was going to waste. “And then I got busy at work, ignored the reminder and forgot until I saw the deduction in my checking account,” Allison said. “I was so mad at myself because I got tired of spending the money.” The very next day, she received this e-mail: “We’d like to introduce you to Jeff from Chicago.” Nine months later, Jeff from Chicago asked Allison to marry him. In May 2009, they were married. Casey says stories like Allison’s aren’t uncommon, but people should simply look at online dating as a means to an end. “You have to take every opportunity available to you,” she says. “It doesn’t mean you can’t still meet people in real life; it just means you’re enhancing your options.”

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Read this article in Oprah

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija

One comment

  1. I stopped using okc a few weeks ago after one too many awkward dates lol. My coworker showed me cliqie.com and I’m a big fan of that over the others in terms of actually meeting people vs. just entertainment. It has a different approach that feels less sketchy cause you and your friends essentially act as “wingmen”. I like that it helps you find things to do too. Skout’s okay too, but still has it’s fair share of creepers

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