Introducing yourself online is a must if you want to meet someone. Whether you make first contact or the person does, if you’re interested, you’ll need to speak up through your keyboard. According to an online study performed by a leading dating site, the way you introduce yourself can literally make or break future contact. There are certain unofficial rules you should always follow during an introduction that will help your success in moving to the next level:
- Giving out Compliments on Looks: Ironically, giving compliments is not the best way to start out an online introduction. Of course most people enjoy compliments, but when used as a way to introduce yourself, it comes across to several people as a cheesy pickup line. Stay away from over-flattering words in particular, such as “beautiful.” “hot,” or “sexy.” If you feel you just must give out a physical compliment, stick with words such as “pretty” or “nice.”
- Grammar: Net lingo and acronyms seem to be the norm online these days, but awful grammar is a turnoff for most people. Not only does improper grammar make you seem uneducated in some people’s eyes, but it can also come across as laziness and immaturity. On the other hand, you don’t need to make your introduction into an English essay. Shortening words such as “don’t” or “you’re” actually shows that you know grammar, but doesn’t make your introduction too formal or stiff. In other words, practice the rules of good grammar but keep your introduction casual.
- Try Something Unique: Most potential dates read introductions with the same boring message each time. If you want to pique someone’s interest, you’ll need to be a bit creative when introducing yourself. The word “hello” is used more often than any other word in introductions, with the word “hi” coming in close 2nd. Try introducing yourself in a unique way that differentiates you from the rest.
- Interests: Another common introduction mistake is people being too general about their interests. You may love to play video games, but what games do you love? Instead of saying you love video, mention the exact games you enjoy playing. Perhaps you enjoy watching movies? Most people enjoy watching movies, but not everyone enjoys the same genre. Be specific. Talk about your favorite genre, and include a few of your favorite movies. This rule applies to any of your hobbies. You can also use this as a way to get the other person talking. For example, if you notice the other person likes rock music, ask about favorite bands or songs.
One of the biggest obstacles when it comes to online dating is not knowing if the other person is being fully honest. Although the best dating sites have an extensive profile creators filled with questions and answers, some people still insist on fibbing to make themselves seem more attractive. Not all dating site users do this, but, there seems to be a trend with certain subjects across the dating board:
- Photos: Not too many people put their worst photos online, especially on an online dating site. This is certainly not surprising. However, be aware that there are those people out there that will go to great lengths to photoshop, crop, and edit their photos in order to look more attractive. For example, a bald man may only post pics that have him wearing a cap, a chubby lady may only post a face shot photo, and people with acne scars may use photoshop tools to conceal their blemishes. A good rule of thumb is to look at the worst picture someone has on their dating profile, and bring down your standards a few notches. This will give you a more idealistic view of the person you’re talking with. In some instances, potential dates will be more attractive in person. Yet, since so many people are in the habit of making their photos seem more attractive online, it’s best to not get your hopes up too much until you’ve seen them in person.
- Weight: If you are out of shape and trying to get a date, chances are that your weight isn’t the first thing you want to share. However, almost all dating sites require its members to share their body type, whether it be curvy, athletic, chubby, or skinny. The bad news is that most people do lie about their weight. The good news however, is that this lie is one of the easiest to detect. If a woman claims she has an athletic body, yet only posts pics of her face, then there is a good chance she is hiding something. If a man claims to be muscular, but only posts pics of himself in baggy clothes in a bar, then chances are he’s not hitting the gym.
- Age: Men and women alike are prone to lie about their age, usually by a few years, but some people have been known to shave off ten years. Typically, men will lie in order to catch younger dates, and women will lie in order to appear more youthful and innocent. The problem with lying about your age is that unless you look dramatically younger than you really are, your fib will be exposed rather quickly. Additionally, if things get serious, the issue of age is bound to come up sooner or later, whether through a surprise party thrown by friends or taking a peek at a driver’s license. Always keep in mind that the age range of potential dates may be off by a few years.
- Career/Income: It’s not a secret that successful people seem more attractive. Even if they are not successful, lots of people want to appear successful online, and will lie about their income and careers. For example, a receptionist at a law firm may claim he is a top attorney. He may even claim he is on his way to become an attorney, yet in truth, he’s not even in school. A lady who works part time at a convenience store may say she’s the manager of an upscale retail store. The list goes on and varies greatly. Of course, not all people lie, and you could very well be talking to a brain surgeon on your favorite dating site, but keep in mind that there are those out there that see no problems with adding a few fake additional digits to their income.
Even after you’ve scoured the best dating sites, spent endless time weeding through the potential princes and the frogs, spent even more time chatting with potential dates and narrowing it down to that one seemingly perfect date, sometimes it still just doesn’t work out. What if you went on a date with the man you’ve chosen, only to be ignore and never called back? Sometimes, there is more there than meets the eye. Before you start blaming yourself and thinking of things you could have done differently, consider the possible scenarios that could have prevented your date from calling you back:
- He is Busy: As much as you may want your guy to call you back after what you considered a wonderful time together, it could be that he is just too busy at the moment to call you back. His work, friends, or other distractions could be preventing him from giving you a call back. Give it time before you throw in the towel.
- He Moves Slow: Many guys choose to take things slowly, even in the fast-paced dating world. Your guy could be very much into you, but just needs the extra time to process his feelings and what’s going on. Make sure to give him ample time before you decide he just doesn’t like you. If he does like you, he will eventually call you. Keep in mind, however, that you shouldn’t wait around forever. If a month has passed, there is nothing wrong with moving on and finding other potential dates.
- He is Playing Hard to Get: Unfortunately, men and women alike are given the ill advice of playing hard to get as a means to seem more desirable. However, this sort of game only works sometimes at best. Most of the time it leaves the other person wondering what went wrong. If your guy is playing the hard to get game, he may be purposely ignoring you just to pique your interest. The only way to truly find out is when he calls you back. If he acts cool and aloof, yet seems interested when he calls back, there is a good chance he has just been playing games with you.
- Bad News or an Accident: Last minute work plans, illness, a death in the family, and other bad news can happen to anyone at anytime. Your date is no exception. He may not have called you back yet because he has been dealing with a demanding boss who sent him on a work trip, or perhaps his sister was in a car accident. The good news is, once his unexpected events have been taken care of, he will call you back if he is interested.
- He Doesn’t Like You: Finally, there is a chance that your guy just isn’t into you. As much as we hate to think that, there is the possibility that he didn’t see the date in the same way as you did. He may have thought you were more of a friend than a potential partner, or maybe he just simply wasn’t attracted to you in person. Typically, many men would rather ignore you instead of you that he just isn’t into you. Unfortunately, the only way to really know is to call him and ask him yourself. Yet, if you feel uncomfortable doing this, then you should just move on and find a more suitable guy that’s going to call you back and enjoy what you have to offer.
Most people are always advised to steer clear of certain topics on a first date, such as ex-relationships or politics. However, at the same time, you’ll need to keep the conversation going with interesting ideas and questions. A bored date could potentially result in a last date, so make sure you’re prepared with easy yet intriguing conversation topics that will keep the monologue flowing smoothly:
- Work: Work is a great way to get to know a person and to show that you’re interested. Along with asking what your date does, make sure to ask if he or she is happy in the current role and where they see themselves in a few years. Additionally, finding out more about work habits and ethics is a great way to find out if this person is worth seeing again. Just be sure not to ask about income or anything too personal.
- Hypothetical Questions: “What if” questions help to keep the flow of the conversation moving without any awkward silences. Make sure your hypothetical questions are easy yet interesting questions, and have fun with each question by answering each one yourself. For example, ask light-hearted questions such as, “What if you had a trillion dollars right now?” Avoid over-the-top questions or hypotheticals that are too difficult to answer, such as death or illness.
- How you Met: Bringing up how you met is always an excellent icebreaker. If you met your date on a dating site, perhaps talk about your experiences. If you think your date is going to be successful, mention how the site is considered one of the best dating sites and that it seems to be working for you so far. Make sure to smile directly at your date when saying this. This will let your date know that you’re interested in a subtle way and provide an opening for a response.
- Favorite Things: This is usually a given, but asking what someone’s favorite book, color, movie, or band is, is a great way to get a conversation rolling. It also gives you a chance to see how much you have in common. You may have already known that you like the same music as your date, but perhaps you two were at the same concert many years ago. You may know your date’s favorite actor already, but this can lead to a potential date to see a new release.
- Future Goals: Aside from work, your date may have a book project in the works, or maybe he or she wants to visit Italy one day. Conversing about goals and dreams is not only a wonderful ice-breaker, but it gives your date a chance to talk about things that are important and positive.
According to the market research firm, IBISworld, at least 20 million people are utilizing online dating services. Many of these individuals have went on to have successful casual dates and even marriage offers, but several others have ran into people that were already married, lied about their appearance, or worse, lied about their entire background. It’s imperative to practice safety precautions when it comes to dating, whether online or off, but in the virtual world, added precautions will help decipher a frog from a prince.
- Don’t rush to give out your information. In fact, it’s a wise idea to use an anonymous email when meeting potential dates. There are several free email programs, such as Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and Hotmail, which will allow you to create an account specifically for potential dates. Never use your full name or give out any specific details regarding your location until you’ve had a chance to get comfortable with your suitor.
- Consider having your first date at a public place, such as a restaurant, sidewalk cafe, or a movie theater. Never agree to meet a potential date partner alone anywhere that’s too secluded or private, such as his home or yours. Public locations not only have the benefit of being fun places for a first meeting, but also offer the added safety of having a convenient way to leave a situation that’s not going as well as expected.
- Don’t have unrealistically high expectations. Sure, it is nice to think that Mr. Wonderful is waiting at the other end of the chat screen, but most first dates aren’t successful. Many potential dates turn out to be less-than-desirable for various reasons, so it will take several attempts before you find someone worth dating.
- Above all, use your common sense and look for red flags. For example, be wary of anyone that asks you too many personal details about your life right away. Although it may be innocent, it’s uncomfortable to get too close too soon, and it usually means trouble. In addition, look closely at how your date talks to and about others. Some dates may make small talk by gossiping, but if it’s in excess, this could be a sign that you are with Mr. Negative. Finally, pay attention to inconsistencies. For example, if someone says he has a few dogs, then later says he has none, this should be a warning sign that he is less than truthful.
Over the past decade, the traditional ways of dating have changed dramatically. With the emergence of online dating sites, people who’ve otherwise been limited to casual meetings, blind dates, or meeting potential dates by accident in a local setting now have the ability to browse through literally thousands of singles on the best dating sites on the Internet. Although there is always a slight risk involved in meeting complete strangers via the web, with the proper precaution, online dating can be rewarding and can offer a variety of benefits that you can’t find through traditional dating:
- Online dating offers you the option of looking at several potential dates at the same time. Unlike traditional dating, you don’t have to go on different dates or talk to different people one at a time. By simply browsing through online dating profiles, you can find several potential dates at the same time, and eliminate the ones you are not interested in.
- Instead of taking an entire to figure out if you have something in common with your date, online dating sites allows you to search for others that have your same interests. For example, if you are into horseback riding and the outdoors, you have the ability to narrow down potential dates who are into the same things as you, and eliminate those who’d rather stay indoors.
- Online dating allows you to be yourself without having to worry about how your outfit looks or if your hair is in place. This will give you time to “chat” and get to know each other on a more personal level before meeting without having to worry about appearance jitters that typically comes from an in-person date. Although nothing compares to face to face meeting, the ability to relax and get to know someone without worrying about appearances during the initial phase can help you better prepare for your first face-to-face date.
- When utilizing an online dating service, you have the ability to find others that are looking for the same thing out of a relationship that you are. Instead of wasting your time on a date with someone who happens to be looking for different things than you are, you can simply filter those people out. For example, if you are looking for a long-term relationship, you have the ability to seek out others who are looking for the same, filtering out those who are only dating casually or looking for a weekend movie partner.
When it comes to online dating, the first initial attraction is typically by the photos that you present of yourself. The photo you choose as your profile picture can literally be the deciding factor as to whether potential dates will choose to learn more about you. In many instances, people may even move on to your personality questions and information if they are turned off by your photo. While it’s impossible to attract every single person that comes across your dating profile, there are proven ways that will get you noticed on the best dating sites and recognized more quickly as long you have the correct profile photo.
Tip #1- Old Photos
This tip is for both girls and guys. Future dating partners want to know what you look like today, not what you looked like at your high school prom or your summer vacation 10 years ago. Chances are that most people have changed quite a bit from the older pics. Even if you think you look the same, the retro hairstyle and clothes is usually a dead giveaway that you aren’t using an up-to-date picture.It’s best to use photos of yourself that were taken within the last three months so that there are no surprises when meeting.
Tip #3- Don’t Use Professional Photos or Glamour Shots
This applies more to the ladies, but men have been know from time to time to use this method as well. Do not use your glamour shot photos or any professional headshots as your dating profile picture. Even though these pictures may be the best ones you’ve ever taken, it’s usually a quick way to run potential dates off. Some people may consider professional pictures as fakes, while others just don’t care to see photoshopped and glamorized images. Settle for a more natural picture of yourself, smiling and candid.
Tip #4- Mirror Pics
A popular trend lately is for people to use their phones to snap self-portraits while standing in front of a bathroom or bedroom mirror. Unfortunately, this trend of photo taking not only creates blurry pics in many instances, but it’s also seen as childish and immature. Take the time out to have a friend or family member snap a picture of you that doesn’t entail you holding a phone by your face and smiling at a mirror.
Tip #5 – Smile; Look at the Camera
The best photo you can create for a online dating profile is one that’s natural, candid, and shows your features up close. Don’t hide your eyes behind sunglasses. Don’t surround yourself with several other people. Don’t stand on a mountain and present yourself as the “dot” that climbed up to the top. Instead, have an up-close face shot that accentuates your eyes, hair, and smile. A body shot will suffice as long as your face is clear and easy to make out, and you are centered within the picture. Although you may not like the mole on your cheek or the chip in your tooth, hiding your features will only prolong your future dates from seeing the real you. So smile a big smile, be yourself, and keep in mind that those that are attracted to the real you will let you know.