If you’re single and you’re open to the idea of meeting someone new, chances are that you’ve tried online dating. When I became single 3 years ago (yikes!) I really wanted to date men. I’d been a serial monogamist for 11.5 years and all of my relationships evolved from friendships. I was curious about the chase and the evolution of cyber dating and I didn’t waste a whole lot of time getting stuck in. After a few weeks I was feeling pretty disillusioned, online dating is not what I expected. Imagine the creepiest online forum imaginable and multiply it by ‘sex offender’ and divide by ‘mentally unstable’ and you come close to some of the worst messages you’ll read day-to-day.
Most of us modern-day folk can handle the weirdos but the sad thing is, not many of us can handle just how awkward online dating really is. Getting your profile right, constructing good messages and generally knowing how to socially interact online are all part of the course but they’re skills rarely demonstrated in apps like POF or OKCupid. In this blog I’m focusing on how you create a good online profile and how to send messages on online dating apps, regardless of the platform you use.
The Online Dating Commandments
1. Thou Shalt Not Have a Shitty Attitude
Relationships and dating can be messy business but you should be mindful that your less favourable experiences don’t taint your view of the world. If any of the following types of statements appear in your profile, you should remove them:- Most men / women are…
– I’ve been messed around before and…
– If you’re the type of woman / man that…
– I’m just looking for someone honest
Negative statements like these give off a bad vibe. It makes it look like you’re still dealing with the issues from your last relationship. You should keep your profile and messages positive. If you’re still dealing with issues from your last relationship it may be a good idea to delay dating. Bringing old issues into new situations can complicate what might otherwise be a good thing.
2. Thou Shalt Not Upload Sexually Provocative Pictures / Messages (unless it’s a hook-up site)
If you’re single and looking for a fling, there’s no shame in that. There are plenty of sites geared around hook-up culture and I’d recommend checking them out if that’s your thing. Most people who use online dating sites are looking for something more meaningful and they won’t appreciate your half-naked body shots or porn star posing.
If you’re not sure what’s appropriate for the site you’re on, take some time browsing profiles before you create your own.If you’re one of those people looking for something meaningful online, take this into consideration when choosing your online photos. You want to show off who you are and why you’re such a catch, the flirty stuff should come later.
If you’re looking for a hook-up, consider if the site is appropriate and only message people who indicate on their profiles that they’re looking for the same. You should restrain yourself from sending sexual messages to people as an initial intro. I’m amazed anyone has success with that, regardless of how attractive you think you are.
3. Thou Shalt Not Upload Dishonest Photos
We all have insecurities about how we look but we need to let them go when it comes to online dating. Be proud of who you are and how you look. The aim is to meet someone who wants you for you, so drop the filters and use photos that show off photos where you look your happiest. This isn’t a beauty contest, it’s an attempt at meeting someone who might turn out to be the love of your life.
The extreme side of this is catfishing, something you might have heard about as a result of the TV documentary and resulting TV show. A catfish is someone who invents a person to roleplay as, with the intent of securing some kind of virtual relationships. Celebrities do appear on online dating sites but it’s rare that they’ll use any kind of press shot on their profile. If you suspect someone is a catfish, try Google Reverse Image Search using their profile photos to see if the info tallies up. 9/10 times it doesn’t, I’m afraid.
4. Thou Shalt Not Be Dishonest in General
Telling porkies on your online dating profile might be tempting but it isn’t worth it in the long run. Embellished and dishonest profiles/messages will come undone with relatively little effort and being labelled as a liar isn’t likely to win you any affection.
5. Thou Shalt Not Send Messages That Just Say ‘Hey’
If you make the move and send the first message, you need to actually write a message. Just sending ‘Hey’ can make you look pretty conceited, giving off the message that you feel your profile and photos speak for themselves. On the flip side, it can make you seem socially inarticulate which isn’t the strongest attractive trait you could advertise.
6. Thou Shalt Not Objectify the People You Message
It can be tempting when you think someone’s profile pictures are hot, but don’t objectify the people you message. Telling someone they’re sexy, stunning, beautiful etc isn’t actually a good way to earn their interest. Aimless flattery can make the recipient feel that you may only be interested in their looks, and dating is much more 3D than what someone thinks of your appearance.
It’s OK to flatter someone if it feels right but choose your timing carefully. Get to know someone as a person before you start throwing around appearance-related superlatives. You should definitely avoid sending messages like the one to the left, no one has time for that kind of juvenile shit from someone, especially if they’re older than 15.
7. Thou Shalt Not Talk Non-Stop About Yourself
No one likes a narcissist so think about the content of your messages carefully before you hit send. If the whole message is about you and your world, you’re not having a conversation – you’re talking about yourself. Conversations require a two-way exchange of views, ideas, facts and opinions, so make sure you’re asking more questions as well as responding to them.
8. Thou Shalt Not Be A Cunt
It would be impossible to tell you every way that you can be a cunt to someone online but there are a few no-nos that seem to be especially popular:- Trolling people with nasty messages – This happens a lot online, don’t give it the time of day.
– Challenging someone over their interests – “I bet I could kick your ass at…”, “Football is so much better than rugby”.
– Putting down other people – this ties into Thou Shalt Not Have a Shitty Attitude.
– Extreme sexual objectification – “I’d smash your back doors in”.If your loving mother would kick your ass for the things you say online, reform your ways
9. Thou Shalt Not Obsess Over Someone Who Does Not Reply (or be rude when someone doesn’t)
There are a lot of people in the online dating world and that means inboxes can fill up pretty fast, especially if someone is new to an app or site. If someone doesn’t reply then accept that and move on. Replying to an online dating inbox can genuinely take hours, especially if you’re talking to people you may go onto date.Keep track of who you message. You should only be approaching a couple of people at a time to keep things manageable. If they don’t reply after a week, blocking the profile will keep your pool of potential dates fresh. If you think you’re likely to message the same person again, then keep all of your messages unique. No one likes to see the same cut-and-paste history when you email them, it’s pretty much sealing your fate.
10.Thou Shalt Not Make Yourself Out to Be an Utter Twat
This one really comes down to how you’re advertising yourself. If your profile makes you look like an utter twat, you’re not likely to have much success.
It’s a good idea to ask a friend of the gender you’re attracted to to review your profile. Having someone who knows review how you’re portraying yourself can be a really helpful way to put the right messages across. There are many ways to make yourself out to be a twat, including but not limited to:
– You’re hammered in every photo or worse, actually taking drugs in some of your photos. Why would you advertise that?
– Your profile is barely filled out – How serious can you be? What are you hiding?
– You appear elitist in the things you say – No munters / Only date people with good jobs etc. It looks narcissistic which isn’t attractive.
– You write in text speak – If you can’t put in the effort to write a few full sentences, how lazy are you?
– The phrase ‘ask’ appears as a response to any question but care – Also appears narcissistic
It’s not easy to succeed at online dating. Even though 1/5 relationships now start online in the UK, only a proportion of those start on online dating sites and apps. You can expect to be in it for the long game, adapting your use of sites and perfecting the art of wooing someone to meet in person. It’s worth sticking with and there are definitely some cool people out there worth meeting. Just make sure you pay attention to the messages you’re giving out to the world and be sure of what you’re actually looking for before you dive in. Love might be only a few messages away. ❤
– Hella Rude