I’m sure many of you have read the latest study about online dating.
I’m frequently asked to write people’s online dating profiles for them. I always tell them that I won’t do that. Not because I can’t or don’t want to but because I truly believe that what someone says in that About Me space has little to nothing to do why someone does or not respond to them. Here’s my personal opinion: you could write out the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner in that space, and as long as you’ve got a few really good photos, you’re set. The text in the body of the profile means very little. At least to the most men. Women, on the other hand, need to have a bit more control over the process. They want to be sure the date will be worth their time. Oddly enough, the man could show all the signs of being a self-important poser and she’ll still go out with him as long as she thinks he’s attractive. Even more so if she thinks she’s out of his league. So much for rules.
Men? They just want to know the woman won’t be a pain in the ass. But even if she does seem high maintenance or a little wacky, if she’s attractive, he’ll meet her. Especially if one who like sot bat out of his league.
One of the weaknesses of online dating is an over reliance on “profiles,” the researchers say. Although most dating websites feature photos and detailed, searchable profiles covering everything from personality traits to likes and dislikes, this information isn’t necessarily useful in identifying a partner, Finkel and his coauthors write.
That’s partly because daters don’t always know what they want in a mate — even though they generally think they do. Studies suggest that people often lack insight into what attracts them to others (and why), and therefore the characteristics they seek out in an online profile may be very different from those that will create a connection in person, the review notes.
I tend to think we place little emphasis on the profile text. If we find someone attractive, we will meet them, so long as their ad doesn’t contain any major red flags. Both men and women will meet someone “out of curiosity.” As long as you don’t sound like a loon and use proper grammar and don’t set off any red alerts, you’re fine. But those red alerts are common, and we usually don’t even know that they are there. For example, I met with a woman who said she kept meeting men who never offered to pay the bill for their dates. When I looked at her profile, she made it a point to state that she was financially secure and independent and owned her own apartment. Her intention was to convey that she wasn’t looking for a man to support her. Unfortunately, what many men inferred was that she didn’t need nor want a man to pay her way. These are the type of things we say that end up attracting the wrong people and turning the right ones away.
The most common complaint I hear in my profile review sessions is that people send out a ton of emails and get few responses. I can say, across the board, that EVERY client I’ve had has this issue. And these are attractive people with solid profiles and photos. Like the article says, online dating creates a “shopping mentality.”
The shopping mindset may be efficient online, but when carried into face-to-face interactions it can make daters overly critical and discourage “fluid, spontaneous interaction” in what is already a charged and potentially awkward situation, Reis and his coauthors write.
Ever heard the saying “The only way to win is not to play?” Apply that to online dating. Don’t get caught up in how many people respond. Don’t comb through profiles looking for someone that presents themselves, on paper, as ideal. Don’t engage in the days long exchanges. Don’t take it personally when someone flakes. That’s the part of online dating that is “a game.” Understand, going in, that you’re going to face a ton of rejection. That is the only way to survive and thrive in that medium.
Your dating profile has little to do with why you don’t have a relationship. It possibly could be why you don’t have as many dates as you would like. But it’s not the cause for the fact that nothing seems to flourish or last. That has to do with your social and dating/relationship skills. Don’t buy in to this idea that the problem is your profile. It’s not. Nor is online dating to blame because you keep meeting “dinner whores” or “players” or “weirdos.” I can assure you that the signs were there, right in their profile. You just ignored them.
Dating success hinges on being able to read certain signals and cues. Getting a bunch of dates is not “dating success” unless that is your goal. If your goal is to have a relationship – casual or otherwise – then you need to become as socially adept as possible. Don’t kid yourself or be bamboozled in to believing that somebody can write your profile and emails for you and everything will improve. That’s a lie. If anything, that very thing is going to make your dating life harder, not easier. Know why? Because that would be like a parent doing their child’s homework for them. The kid might get an A, but they won’t retain or learn anything that they can apply or implement in future similar situations. Being able to effectively communicate is a cornerstone to having a healthy relationship, be that a casual one or a committed/long term one. Someone needs to not only be able to identify their needs and limitations, but also communicate them in a way that is productive. That requires hands on experience. This sort of thing is a learning process. You don’t just have an epiphany one day. You acquire these skills by trial and error. Those are the lessons that stay with you. Those are the ones that propel you forward.
The profile is merely the lowest hurdle. The bigger ones involve your communication skills, your social aptitude, your attitude and your ability to pick up on signals. Succeeding in those areas requires experience.
You can be told what to do and how to do it and what to say. You could even say all the right things and look the part. But if you don’t understand the fundamental reasons why certain things happen or understand and accept appropriate courses of action, then you’re going to struggle.
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