How To Succeed In Online Dating Without Really Trying

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.

From the article

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.


One on One Dating Profile Review


$23 – 30 minutes – Saturdays 4:30-5:00PM – 5:15PM-5:45PM – 6:00PM-6:30PM


$40 – 45-60 minutes – Tuesdays & Thursdays – 6pm-7pm & 7:15pm-8:15pm


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
, , , , , , , , , , ,

34 Responses to “How To Succeed In Online Dating Without Really Trying”

  1. L Says:

    Good article. One thing I disagree with. Women are just as superficial and visual as men are. They also place little or no emphasis on the profile, and every emphasis on the pics.

    • Crotch Rocket Says:

      Science says you’re wrong: knowing other things about a man (eg. income) affects a woman’s opinion of how visually attractive she finds him. The same does not hold for men.

      • mattyballs Says:

        Experience says science is wrong. I made a fake profile that used an extremely ripped young shirtless man and no words at all. my messages looked like they’d been written by drunk mongoloids. every single woman i messaged replied within minutes, every day I had at least five new messages from women I hadn’t messaged before, and 22 women sent meet requests. All inside of two weeks. Know any other male who’s had that kind of success on line?

        • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

          Kind of hard to take any kind of anecdotal “evidence” seriously when it’s provided by someone named “mattyballs.” Next time try George. or Stu.

  2. DrivingMeNutes Says:

    I really could not agree more with this post. The lack of realistic self-awareness and inability to read social cues is the reason people struggle. I don’t think its about people not knowing what they want, though, as the referenced study suggests. People know what they want, they just have trouble articulating it or know how to go about achieving it.

    As for superficiality, women are equally superficial as men. But, women are definitely not as “looks” focused. Why? Because, unlike men, women are generally not in the first instance looking for sexual gratification. Thus, they are more forgiving of physical flaws but less forgiving of other superficial characteristics like wealth and social status. My sense is that women who want a “hot” guy want him because they think he will give her social status among her peers- and not because she’s so sexually attracted. Kind of like hanging a nice painting on your wall. That is not how men (or at least this man) look at women.

    • DC Phil Says:

      I disagree, somewhat. Some people are clear about what they want and how to go about getting it. Some can do neither. Some have a relatively clear indication of what they want, but might believe that they have to settle for something less than that based on circumstances, whether real or imagined. For example, living in East Bumfuck, where the dating pool is very small, vs. DC or NYC. So, that person either gives up and refuses to play, settles for what’s there, or makes an effort to get what they want.

      I knew a 45 yr old woman early last year who lived in Vegas and made a trip at least once a month out of the area to hook up with men she wanted to hook up with, whom she met online and with whom she had at least one or two phone conversations. As she said, as there were no suitable men in Vegas and she couldn’t compete with the younger bombshells there, she went where the men were. She was motivated enough and looking only for something casual.

      Also, as for men, women, and looks, many men also look at women to be additions to their social status. Just look at trophy wives. For younger guys, if the guy is dating a hot older women, he could be envy of his buddies. On the flip side, a young girl dating a late 30-something or early 40-something guy can be the envy of her friends. Younger women are more herd-oriented than older women and rely much more on the opinions of their friends. Of course, older women do this, too, but less often.

      • dimplz Says:

        “On the flip side, a young girl dating a late 30-something or early 40-something guy can be the envy of her friends.”
        If she is the envy of her friends, it’s because the older guy will foot the bill every time. It’s certainly not because they find them hot or appealing. A 40 year old man cannot keep up with most 20 year olds. I don’t care how “young” you feel. You’re not young, you’re the old dude at the club, and you will be a father figure at best and tossed to the side once she comes into her own. I’m not interested in the outliers, because there are always some, but a 20 year old with a man much older is in desperate need of a (sugar) daddy

        • DC Phil Says:

          Very true. And the guy would be like an accessory to her.

          “It’s certainly not because they find them hot or appealing.”

          And you can speak for every woman, correct?

          • dimplz Says:

            I said most. I’m not 20-something, but I remember what I was going after in my 20s, and it wasn’t an older man. I used to dance AWAY from them when they tried to dance with me in the club, I used to ignore their catcalls on the street, and I would ignore their messages on online dating sites.

            Things like this don’t change. Tale as old as time and all. Youth is appealing. You seem to have a problem with the fact that 20-something women might not find you attractive, but it IS a fact. Just like it’s a fact that women in their 40s are not so appealing. But, keep telling yourself lies. It’s only hurting you when you assume that a writer is too busy with her deadlines to date. She’s only too busy with her deadlines to date YOU.

            • dimplz Says:

              Just one more thing: just because the 20-somethings don’t want you anymore, it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. You should embrace your age and who you are. Why the hell would you want to be 20 again, let alone date someone that age? They are operating on another level most of the time. The post about Twitter and that drama is something people in their 20s deal with daily. They want to check each other’s text messages and bring up WWIII because they said something on Facebook and, “Oh, it’s on now because they de-friended me.” I’m very happy to be 38 and free of such trivial drama.

              • DC Phil Says:

                1. Apparently, I hit a nerve. Good, it’s what makes for good debate. :)

                2. For the record, I have two 28 yr olds in rotation, and a couple more that are interested in me for second and third dates. I had a 25 yr old chasing me in Romania last year. So, does this fall within the 20-something category of which you speak? If so, these examples belie your claim/statement.

                3. You’re correct. The early 20-somethings are at a different time in their lives and have a different set of priorities (just like I did). If you check one of my other postings, I never said that I was interested in a LTR with an early 20-something. That’s what older women are for. I’m seeing a 40 yr old right now that has enough vim and vigor to keep me satisfied, and she isn’t constantly glued to her smartphone checking Twitter and Facebook updates. I wouldn’t trade maturity for youth any day — but there are women out there who have both and these are the ones that I’m after. I once dated an Armenian girl several years ago who was 24 at the time. I was late 20s. IMO, she blew her American sisters out of the water with a limpit mind and a depth charge.

                4. What, praytell, were you going after in your 20s? Just curious.

                • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

                  No, we’re not having a debate about this. It’s off topic. Look around. Nobody else is jumping in. Dead topic. Please move it along.

        • D Says:

          There’s a world of difference between a 20 year old woman and a 28 year old woman. “Twenties” is not meaningful in this context.

          • DC Phil Says:

            Very true. So, it guess one should classify 27-28 as being part of the 30s. Definitely a sea change takes place around 26 or so.

      • Loveliee Says:

        As an early twenty something year old, I can honestly say that dating a 30-40 something year old man does NOT make you the envy of your friends. It may work that way for men, but it does not work the same way with women, so you can delete that thought right about… Now.

        • DC Phil Says:

          And you’re every early 20-something woman, correct?

          • Loveliee Says:

            Yes, I’m the 23 year old girl who had a 39 year old boyfriend. And just like the comment below, they ask you what you see in him etc. Lets talk about how my mom flipped shit and my friends thought I was nuts. I’m not ashamed of anything at all, but don’t think that it makes anyone envy you. It doesn’t.

            • DC Phil Says:

              Obviously, lots of shaming going on.

              But, I’m curious . . .how was the guy himself? Absent the shaming, would you have continued with him?

              • Loveliee Says:

                Trust me.. I’m not ashamed. He’s a police officer, and that’s what makes it hard. I’m probably going to get a lot of disapproval on here for this, but I didn’t care what people thought about us.. If I did, we wouldn’t still be seeing each other after 2 years, now would we? I’m not saying it’s some god awful thing for people to have an age gap. I’m just trying to let you know that no one is envious of the girl who’s with a much older man. If you think I’m getting some kind of social approval for it, guess again. Its quite the opposite, but its ok. Look, I could go on and on about this, but it’s kind of not related to the post.

        • Howard Says:

          I am always amused how older women beat up on older guys for dating women more than 10 years their junior. Somehow guys don’t seem to match this with blogging condemnation of cougars. The attack on cougars seems to come from other women. I think women should not worry about cougars because it actually helps their chances with the available pool of guys in their age appropriate dating range. But misguided envy, and the chance to appear above the competition, can be very potent.

          The beating up on guys dating much younger women is just venting really, because that is never going to change, irregardless of what any woman says. And the reason for that is because there are more than sufficient younger women looking to entertain that option. I always tell this story.

          “A woman walks into a room and looks for the man that already has the most female attention. A man walks into the same room and looks for the best woman with which he has a reasonable chance. And in many cases, the lowest hanging fruit works just fine, especially if he had a few drinks”

          So availability is really important to men! I suppose a history lesson on humans explains this. Trying to go with unavailable women, marginally available women, or a woman men were fighting over, got a man killed in our ancestors’ time. It however made sense for women to go with the man who was the best protector and provider.

          • DC Phil Says:

            Sour grapes, most likely.

            However, to be fair, “age appropriate” can be a bit constricting — and liberating. That is, if one’s experience with, say, early 20-somethings is largely negative, then it’s probably not a good idea to focus too much on that age group. Either you can forget it completely or be more selective and use it as just another group from which to draw, provided that you’re clear about what you want from that age group. Ditto for 30s and ditto for 40s.

            After dating quite a lot, I’ve found that my “sweet spot” is the 27-35 range. Late 20-somethings mesh more with my personality and outlook on life, while the 30-somethings are just that x 2. Of course, there are those 20-somethings who are more mature than the 30-somethings, and the 30-somethings who look better than the 20-somethings — not to mention having more time and disposable income to date.

        • SB Says:

          She’s right. I did that for a bit (actually liked the guy, then discovered his age, decided to overlook it). You are quite the opposite of the “envy”, more like the outcast for it. They ask you what you see in him, what is wrong with you that you are dating an older man, etc.
          No. One. Envies you. They wait for you to get out of that phase, even try to set you up with more age-appropriate, good looking guys.

          • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

            The idea that men are all high fiving a guy for dating a girl in her early twenties is a myth. I’ve done profile reviews for guys 24-26, and when I asked them about their desired age range, they refused to go lower than 22. They said dating a woman 20/21 was “too much of a hassle.”

            Guys absolutely judge other men negatively for dating a woman that young. It’s not a coup. They might envy the guy for being able to have sex with a girl that young, but they totally question the guy’s judgment for actually dating someone that young. Even if the guy is only in his late twenties.

            • Joey Giraud Says:

              Moxie, you can’t tease the truth from what people say. Everyone lies about sex.

              If I were 20 something and an older woman asked me about sex, no way would I be truly honest with her. Come on.

      • Crotch Rocket Says:

        “many men also look at women to be additions to their social status. Just look at trophy wives.” I couldn’t care less about the social status from having a trophy wife; what I’m interested in is having a young hottie to screw. If I were to consider the social implications, the negatives of being seen as having a trophy wife would probably outweigh the positives.

  3. DC Phil Says:

    I know of this guy and his research. He’s approaching this from the perspective of a behavioral scientist, backed up with research.

    In his one paper, he talks about how people are looking for more “experiential” things when it comes to dating. I translated this to mean that online dating fails to deliver what it probably set out to do: viz., to bring people closer together in order to facilitate some spark. Instead, it created an atmosphere where it’s easy to lie and bend the truth, and to react to superficialities.

    Indeed, in the days before the Net, people went on blind dates, parties, mixers, etc. and were able to get a sense of the other person on a gut level — maybe even putting looks and other things into proper perspective because there was something about the other person that just made you click with them. Then, we went out on a few dates, then . . . maybe good, maybe bad.

    Online dating, on the other hand, is a marketplace. And, like with shopping on Amazon, you’re trying to get the best deal based on superficial readings. Short attention spans, and all that. Yet, for those of us that don’t have the time to go out to bars, parties, mixers, etc., online dating is better than nothing.

    • Joey Giraud Says:

      The “marketplace” metaphor is worn. How about “online dating is like a surplus store?”

      Time consuming, tiring, lots of broken junk, but you just might find a bargain in good condition.

  4. joe-f Says:

    “There’s probably never going to be a substitute for getting two minutes from another person across a cup of coffee.” Online dating sucks. I advise everyone who is not finding success to take a break and try some other ways of meeting people. A profile won’t represent you because we have a overly-positive view of ourselves, upload our best pictures and write what we think we want instead of what really would work for us. At the end, we get fatigue looking at the profiles. Meanwhile, the online companies, in their search for profits, will ask employees to click on old profiles so they seem like legitimate matches.

    Instead, take the time you spend carefully crafting your profile and spend it going outside and say hello to someone interesting in a bookstore, coffee shop, restaurant, park just not out on the street. If that many men are looking for women and vice versa, wouldn’t you eventually meet someone. Besides you get instant feedback instead of wondering why that perfect girl for you didn’t respond to your witty message.

  5. Mark Says:

    Read the article and made note of the authors opinions.

    While it might be interesting to see the actual study, I would venture to guess that there isn’t anything particularly earth shattering about the findings.

    I would also be inclined to think that the shopping mindset mentioned is along the lines of the old 20/80 rule of thumb. Except that given the catalog style presentation, it is merely amplified. That is to say a few profiles (men & women) will receive a large degree of attention and interest while others much less so. This goes hand in hand with what Moxie mentioned about the picture vs written portion.

    Moreover, it really doesn’t address the followup of initial meeting or subsequent dates. IE the perception of the viewer drawn in the profile vs. the actual person in a live setting.

    You might also say that you have a pretty good idea if this would be a decent venue to pursue and good use of your time and energy. Otherwise, your efforts may be best focused elsewhere.

    • DC Phil Says:

      Many seem to forget (including me, when I was getting into online dating in earnest) that the purpose of a dating profile is very similar to a resume. As a resume is to get you an interview, where you hopefully shine, the profile is to get you to that first date — or at least a phone call, if that’s your thing, to see if the other person is worth your time.

      Before I took it down late last year, I made my OKC profile deliberately ambiguous save for the basics like age, height, eye color, etc. Instead of blathering on about my interests, I leavened it with humor and funny answers to the profile sections. My goal was to remove, as much as possible, any items that would disqualify me upon a first viewing. Yeah, some women, assuredly, didn’t like my sense of humor, but c’est la vie. They already disqualified themselves when they did that. Not worth my time.

      Mind you, it didn’t get me messages out of the blue, but I think it went a long way in at least opening up the woman to whom I sent a message that maybe I had something that was out of the ordinary with the guys who are online.

  6. Crotch Rocket Says:

    “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.” By men’s standards, pretty much all woman are crazy. When I meet the rare woman who isn’t, my brain starts thinking she’s really a guy. So, it’s really a matter of degree. The better looking (and better in bed) a woman is, the more craziness we’re willing to tolerate. OTOH, if she stops looking so good or stops being interested in sex, the scales tip and she’ll find herself dumped–and not understand because she’s just as crazy as she’s always been yet now he “suddenly” has a problem with it.

    “EVERY client I’ve had has [low response rates].” Well, isn’t that natural? If they had high response rates, they wouldn’t be coming to you because they don’t (think they) have any problems to solve.

    “that would be like a parent doing their child’s homework for them. The kid might get an A,” Well, the kid might get an A on the homework, but they’re going to fail the test, so what good is that? Likewise, improving a profile might get someone more dates, but only improving themselves is going to make their dates more successful–and nobody else can do that for them.

  7. happy girl Says:

    I used to date a much younger guy. We got on really well, he was quite mature. Ok everyone interfered said it would never last, i knew him for five years :-)) but i listened to other people too much and eventualy we finished. Don’t listen to people, it can work whatever the age gap.

© 2013-2018 And That's Why You're Single All Rights Reserved