If you’ve had a series of confusing (or even disturbing) online dates, then you probably overlooked some key clues in your companion’s profile. Take a look at this list and see if any of these red flags ring a bell.
*They only have one photo on their profile
What it says: Since most people can manage to scrape together at least 3 acceptable photos of themselves, just having one immediately sets off a red flag. Either the subject isn’t terribly trusting or invested in the process or could only manage to find one old-ish photo where they look attractive. If the person were subjectively good looking, they’d be able to find at least a couple pics that showcase their various angles.
*They only have photos of themselves taken by a phone or laptop
What it says: Most folks have an array of pictures taken from social events and gatherings. If someone doesn’t have even one of those on their profile, it’s probably because they lead a fairly insulated life with limited socialization.
*They post multiple attractive photos, but barely fill out their profile
What that says: They think the rules don’t apply to them. Online dating has a standard list of unspoken guidelines by which most people abide. People who think they can get away with skipping the basics strictly because they’re objectively attractive display an alarming sense of entitlement.
*They have multiple photos, but none with a clear shot of their face.
What it says: These people expect you to be so intrigued that you’ll feel compelled to respond. That indicates a sense of entitlement. That will only lead to further issues down the road. Or they’re hiding from someone.
*They verbalize deal-breakers
What it says: It’s perfectly acceptable to have preferences. Everybody does. Selecting “non-smoker” as a smoking preference is enough to tell me that you prefer not to date a smoker. Overtly stating that non-smokers/right wingers/blondes/Christians need not apply makes you sound intolerant. If you’re intolerant about one thing, you’re probably intolerant about others. Being opinionated if fine. Being intolerant suggests a rigidity and intensity that might be too much to handle.
*They reveal that they’re just out of a relationship
What it says: Someone who alerts you to the fact that they’re just out of a relationship is typically just looking for a quick hook up or trying to get back on the dating horse. Unless you want to be someone’s “get over the hump” hump, avoid them. “Just out of a relationship” is usually code for “Just looking for casual sex.” These people will expect you to be inordinately forgiving and understanding of their plight.
*The reveal sensitive details about their past
What it says: Sharing with the internet that your father abandoned you or that you were once tortured by an in home burglary sends the message that you carry heavy baggage and emotional scars. Most people know that that is a turn off. That’s why someone who would share such intimate information either lacks self-awareness or consistently seeks attention/praise/sympathy. Unless you have a thing for high maintenance mates, avoid.
*Their profile is excessively verbose
What it says: This person possesses a dazzling level of self-absorption if they expect people to muddle through their personal manifesto. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that more words means more emotional depth. The only thing they’re invested in is themselves.
*They take longer than a few hours to reply to an email
What it says: Unless they are trapped in a Panic Room without a signal, there is no excuse for taking longer than a few hours to reply to a message. People are attached to their smartphones, tablets, iPads and laptops. A long lapse in communication – without offering any explanation – conveys a low level of interest or schedule so filled (possibly by a mate) that they don’t have time to properly get to know someone.
*They’re vague about their availability
What it says: The whole point of dating online is to get offline. If someone drags their feet about setting up an initial meeting, there’s a reason and it’s rarely a good one. Cut your losses pronto or risk being strung along with innocuous texts every couple of days.
*They inform readers that they don’t typically initiate contact or check their inbox regularly
What it says: They’re risk averse. They expect you to make the first move so that they don’t have to chance being rejected. Try to imagine dating someone who needs you to continuously prove yourself. Exhausting, yes?
While many of these seem elementary, understanding why people do these things will help you avoid the bad daters online and off.
Here’s one final bit of advice. When you come across something in a profile or in offline interaction that feels off to you, stop and ask yourself ONE question:
Why would someone do that?
If you can’t come up with a reasonable explanation that doesn’t involve rationalizing, then that means you should probably move on. We’ve discussed critical thinking quite a bit here. Critical thinking is where you challenge commonly believed assumptions. Deductive reasoning takes that a step further. It involves cultivating enough knowledge, understanding and experience about your environment/subject to be able effectively analyze a given situation. The longer you do online dating and the more experience you gather, the quicker you will be able to spot red flags or potential problems.