News flash to some of you — I have been dabbling a bit in the “online dating world”. My short lived, but definitely interesting experience has given me much to contemplate. I am confident I could probably write a book on the topic. I promise to elaborate better one day when I have the drive to write something more eloquent.

The top 10 online dating no-nos — in no particular order because they are all bad:

1. Posting the wrong pictures. This includes pictures of places and things with you nowhere to be seen and pictures of you and all sorts of people, especially the one with you and some girl in a cutesy pose –  I want to know what you look like, not what other women in your life look like and not what your group of buds look like 20 feet away in a group shot during your Vegas trip. Obviously the odd picture of you and your mom, sister, etc. or you and your best bud are okay but I’d say it is best to generally stick to pictures of you and only you. I don’t know about other people but I personally see photos as the easiest way to make a yes or no decision to pursue someone. I don’t even say that because of the need for some kind of instant sexual  attraction, I say it because if you are doing something stupid in your picture, you seem to have endless women in your photos or I can’t really tell who you are in the collection of snapshots you posted I’m probably going to lose interest quickly. Furthermore, I especially find it difficult to understand why some people think posting pictures of their cars, scenery and other random things that don’t even include them in the photo is necessary. Yeah, okay, you have a picture of you all masked up getting some air on your snowboard and I couldn’t tell what you looked like if I wanted to but at least it captures something about you and a bit of your character. Just because you drive a truck with some crazy flame decal on the side, despite the fact that it tells me something about you (you have tacky tastes), doesn’t mean it is crucial in helping me build up an idea of who you are.

2. Not posting a picture at all – Online dating lacks many elements of the conventional dating world. There is a large gap in the physical component of dating when you are stuck behind a screen reading text so why make it worse by not even including a picture? I am pretty sure I don’t need to elaborate on this point much more as it seems quite straight forward to me if you were online dating you would have a photo and expect the other person to have one too. It’s not like we are back in 1999 where digital cameras were few and far between, quite sure there has got to be one digital image of you somewhere on the world wide web.

3. Not including captions with your photos – Captions are not exactly a necessity for me but they can really help. If you have any of those faux pas pictures mentioned in faux pas 1 including a caption may help your cause a little. Explaining that the baby in your arms is not your child but rather a nephew you are rather fond of could make the world of difference. I don’t want to date someone with children and if I see you holding a child in your picture I am automatically assuming it is yours unless you tell me otherwise. If you tell me the baby in your photograph is your beloved nephew and you love kids that takes on a whole new appeal.

4. Writing nothing in the boxes you are suppose to use for elaboration – After reading profile after profile they start the sound the same. Do you know how many profiles I have read in the last week that all include How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, camping, hockey and travel as interests? When it comes down to it — I am glad you love those shows, I like them too. I am glad you you like travel but elaborate and tell me what type of travel and where — maybe you like all inclusive beach vacations and never want to venture out of the Caribbean or your resort which tells me we have completely different travel interests despite the fact that we like travel. Additionally, leaving most categories and boxes empty also tells potential matches that you don’t actually take your dating experience seriously enough to put in the effort.

5. Not being a paid subscriber and relying on women who have paid to message you so you can communicate with them for free – Relating to the previous point, this just plain shows  you aren’t taking the experience seriously. If you sign  up for the site and don’t want to fork over the same fees everyone else is why should I take the time to send you a message? If you were attracted to me or something in my profile enough to want to learn more you couldn’t because you don’t want to pay for the service, seems lazy and cheap. No thanks.

6. Not sending messages but “winks”, “pokes” or “nudges” instead – If you nudged me in real life and didn’t follow up with anything to say I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t get you very far. Same thing goes for online, if you like what you see then say so.

7. Sending the first message and only saying “Hi, what’s up?” –  This isn’t exactly a great opener. You’ve just read my entire profile, peeped my photos and felt the urge to contact me so tell me why, ask me something about what you read or share a fun fact, anything. In real life starting with a simpler opener may work easier than it would online especially because you have all the time in the world to think about what you want to say and edit it over and over if you so choose to giving you pretty good odds at saying something to intrigue me enough to send a reply.

8. Using poor grammar – Without face to face contact or means of orally communicating you have nothing aside from your written word to rely on. If you don’t know that a sentence starts with a capital, that commas are necessary at times or that “what” is a 4 letter word I am going to begin to doubt our chances of surviving past the first date. Obviously you don’t need a perfectly scripted and grammatically sound profile but (back to the effort thing) putting in some effort to sound polished and half educated would be nice. I have an education that I am proud of and, although I don’t require my potential significant other to have an ivy league education or even a degree, I do need someone who can keep up with me and is well versed in something.

9. Immediately asking for a phone number or Facebook friendship – If you are genuinely interested in me and getting to know me you wouldn’t mind taking some time to send a few emails to do so. What difference does a phone number make at this point? Why do you need to see my Facebook, you’ve already seen my dating profile! My Facebook is almost more personal to me than my phone number because it is very personal, there are all sorts of intimate details available by looking at someone’s Facebook (family, workplace, close friends and sometimes even home address). Yeah Facebook helps you get a better idea of how your date may look and help confirm or nullify details they have already shared with you but if you are that concerned maybe you should think twice about the date.

10. Telling me distance isn’t a problem when you don’t live anywhere near me – Yeah I understand the logic that some people argue in regards to distance not being an issue if it’s “meant to be” but we are e-dating here not fighting to preserve a relationship with your college sweetheart who moved away for 2 years to do their masters. People generally start online dating because they can’t seem to meet the right people the places they are going. To me online dating is a tool to open your options to show you those people you’ve been missing in the hustle and bustle of things. Long distance dating is the last thing I would want to find as an e-dater, unless I was interested in having a purely virtual relationship. I am bound to the rules of propinquity; I like having the person I am dating to be relatively close and convenient to me because I like to spend time with my significant other. Forgive me if I don’t want to spend 4 hours in the car driving to get to you or have to settle of seeing you only on weekends because you live so far.

What they said.

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