I recently (as in, this past weekend) ventured back into the world of online dating. Please don’t ask me why, because there isn’t any one reason, much less a logical one. (I hang my head in INTJ shame.) In browsing different dudes’ profiles, I’ve noticed quite a few trends that range from the terrifying to the mildly annoying. Surely I’m not the first person on the Internet to point these out and offer some suggestions, but I can’t resist.
A Lady’s Online Dating Tips — For Men!
1. Resist the urge to say, “I never know what to write here,” or “I don’t like talking about myself” on your profile. So many guys have variations of this that it’s an instant snoozefest. Here’s the thing: that’s what the profile is FOR. Start with a few traits or desires that you consider important for a dating partner to know about, share a brief but amusing anecdote, or mention an unusual hobby or skill—without getting too personal right away. For example, it’s perfectly fine to admit you are shy, but to go on at length about crippling social anxiety is a bit much.
2. Don’t waste time talking about how nice/chivalrous/gentlemanly you are. This area is “show, don’t tell.” It should be obvious by the way you communicate and the way you behave, and not because we took your word for it based on your screenname (I’m looking at you, nicechivalrousguy4u). Basic human decency should go without saying—and if you don’t have it, we’ll figure it out pretty quickly.
3. Don’t talk about “those other guys” you claim not to be like. This makes you sound defensive right out of the gate. You shouldn’t have to put others down to try to make yourself look good. Ignore those other guys.
4. Too much self-deprecation is just as off-putting as too much arrogance. Having a sense of humor about yourself and a little humility is totally attractive, but too much makes you look, well, pathetic, self-pitying, and like you have nothing to offer. Talk up your good points! Focus on something you’re proud of! Post a picture of yourself with that delicious cake you baked. Go ahead, strike a pose with the classic car you just restored. If you have a disability or other limitation, mention how you work around it. At the same time, don’t be an arrogant jerk who acts like he’s too good for a dating site. (You’re on there for a reason, right?)
5. YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANYTHING. You are not entitled to a date, or to sex, or even to a reply to your message, whether it’s your first or fiftieth. No woman is obligated to find you attractive or interesting, or to explain why she is or is not interested. If a woman isn’t interested in you, then respect her choices, and make like Elsa and let it go. Keep looking for someone who is interested.
6. If you must ask why she’s not interested, be ready to hear the truth. Some people won’t give you the whole truth, wanting to be nice, but some other women ::cough:: will give you both barrels if you do ask. If this happens, don’t get defensive–just move on to someone else. One guy asked me why I wasn’t interested, so I told him that his shirtless selfies were a turn-off, that I wasn’t interested in someone who already had a kid, and that his terrible grammar was another turn-off. He responded with a huffy, even-more-typo-filled message about how educated he was, and also mentioned a tragic backstory that I could only assume was an attempt to manipulate my emotions. Nice try.
7. PROOFREAD! Proofread, proofread, proofread!!! This goes for both your profile and your messages! Use spell check, read your writing out loud, hire an editor, ask a trusted friend to check it, use whatever you need to find typos. Don’t use text-speak, don’t use poor grammar, don’t use “lol” or emojis or hashtags. We’re not looking for a chapter worthy of Charles Dickens here, just complete sentences! If good spelling and grammar doesn’t come easily to you, put in the effort to make it look like it does. Leaving a bunch of typos, your/you’re confusion, and sentence fragments makes you look lazy and careless, and I can promise you that no woman wants a man with either of those qualities.
8. Use a different message for each woman. Don’t send out a ton of copy/pasted messages. It’s lazy and it’s more obvious than you think.
9. Write a message that’s more than “how r u?” or a one-word greeting. Take the time to read her profile. Ask about what she’s doing in her photo, or the people she’s with. Comment on an interest you both have in common. Ask about her job. Ask for clarification about a preference she indicated on her profile. Make an effort at starting a real conversation that shows you did read her profile.
10. Don’t just comment on her looks. A woman doesn’t want to spend time filling in a profile and considering how she is portraying her personality only to have a guy open with “wow you are pretty.” If there’s nothing on her profile that interests you except her looks, move along. If you do find something interesting, then please refer to #9.
And if you cannot manage all of the above, then just straight-up shoot for the impossible…
11. Be Tom Hiddleston.
Of course, the problem with a post like this is that the guys most in need of it are the ones least likely to heed such advice, much less seek it out. Still, I live in hope. (Especially for #11…sigh.)