Join me for a new series on my blog entitled "Dear Date..."
where I share my insights and anecdotes into the exciting and often frustrating world of dating.
You've done it, I know you have, you've signed-up for a free trial or a free weekend or a free test drive on one of the many dating websites out there.
You and me both!
I've tried just about all of them off and on, good or bad and here are a few pointers from what I have learned for both men and women.
DO: Post more than one, but at least one, decent, clear photo of yourself.
Don't: Post zero photos, or post photos with only sunglasses on, or photos where you are too far away to see clearly, or photos in front of your bathroom mirror (guys - with or without a shirt on!), or post photos with a really messy apartment visible behind you.
When looking through the multitude of profiles on any dating site, we, the lookers, are quickly making snap judgments about you from your photo.
Sorry, but it's true.
If you do not have a photo, we don't even bother clicking to read more.
If you have any crazy photos (no shirt, too far away, you on the hood of your fancy car, etc), we will either stop reading or only read to see what kind of kook you are.
If you have only one photo, we may read on, but we'd like to see more of you.
We'd like to see what you like to do - hiking, biking, sailing, at a ball game, anything, really.
If your photos include messy rooms behind you...that does not bode well for our opinion of you.
If your photos include poorly cut out former partners or faces blacked out...please don't post those!
Choose another one, or have a friend take at least one good photo of yourself.
Photos with pets are okay. One or two dogs, means you can handle responsibility and are probably somewhat active. Photos with more than one cat....we quickly read your profile to find out if you still live in your parent's basement.
Photos with children are okay, however, don't make it your very first photo or we may not click on your profile if we are not looking for someone with kids. Even if they are your nieces or nephews, place them further along in your photo set...yes, they make you look like you get along with kids and we like that!!
Basically, yes, you need a good photo showing your face, preferably smiling and not scaring us.
DO: Fill out the site questionnaire as much as you can.
Don't: Leave the info boxes empty, or fill them out with one-liners, or write so much that we'd have nothing to discuss with you until date 17.
Most online dating websites allow you to "Sign-up for FREE!" - meaning they want you to fill out all your info then pay to actually get anywhere with contacting anyone.
The long or short questionnaires they have you fill out are quite important and the second part of what your future online match-up will be looking at (after your photos).
Important: Fill out all the basics - age, height, occupation etc.
But even more importantly - don't forget to spend a few minutes to fill out the longer info boxes with more than just one or two words or lines.
If it asks more about you and what you are looking for...be honest and state whether you are really looking to date someone at the moment, or if you are just seeing what this online date phenomenon is all about.
Also make sure to give us enough of a 'profile' of you so that we know what kind of person you are.
Do you go to church regularly? Is that important to you? Or are you a party-person? Are you shy? Do you like to talk a lot? Is your family important to you?All of these types of questions can help us know what we are getting into and what we can expect before we meet you in person.