As a dating and relationship coach that has helped hundreds of clients to date via the internet for over 8 years now, I have seen the same mistakes over and over. Some of them seem so obvious; however, they continue to persist. Here are my top tips for dating online and the mistakes to avoid.
1. Posting an unflattering or different picture of the person you are today.
I have reviewed hundreds of profiles and the one thing that I notice that the picture is not a true or best representation of my client. In most cases I request that the client get a new photo, preferably by a professional photographer.
Your picture is a make or break it feature on your profile and is what people look at after they see something you write that attracts them to your profile. Or for many, it is the first thing they look at and do not go further, if the picture is not attracting to them. If they like what they see, then they will read on and take the time to respond to you. If they do not like the photograph, they will leave your profile and go onto the next.
Also, if you have a picture where you look different or your photo looks much younger than you do today, then you need to update your photo. You don’t want there to be any surprises except maybe you look the same or better in person!
2. Not being upfront out the “real you” and what you truly want out of life.
Many of us are afraid to put out who we truly are and what we want out of life for fear that we won’t be accepted. Not being upfront about who you are and what you want is one of the big dating mistakes. People looking at your profile cannot make an accurate assessment of you and if you are a good fit for them.
Being wishy washy only confuses people. If you can’t stand the outdoors then don’t put that you like walks in nature. Also, by not sharing that you are a single parent, separated or even moving out of the area in 3 months does not let people choose you based upon all the relevant facts. So it’s best to be who you truly are and let those who are attracted to what you have to offer.
Also, I see many of my clients be vague about what they are looking for in a relationship (ie., marriage and a family) for fear of scaring away potential suitors. I tell my clients to put it out there into the cyber universe in plain English “I am looking to meet someone who is looking for marriage and having a family”. In other words, all others need not apply!
Conversely, if you are not looking for a committed relationship you need to put that out there so they don’t lead others on and find similarly minded people. So its better to day, “I am newly out of a divorce and want to meet new people for dating and a possible relationship.”
In my dating questionnaire, what comes up time and time again is that people want others to be upfront and honest. Let people see the real you and you will be surprised by the positive responses.
3. Writing in a demanding tone and/or in a negative way
When I edit my client’s profile, many do express who they are and are upfront- almost to a fault! However, they are not writing in a way that is putting their best foot forward. They say they are looking for someone who “must do this” or gives negative information about themselves.
In the end, I recommend to my clients to either take out that point about themselves or soften the way they tell what they prefer or change it to more positive language. You do not need to air your dirty laundry – there will be a time to share that if you start dating a person. However, it could be a deal beaker you may want to add that negative tidbit about yourself. That way you are weeding out people who would have a problem with that trait about you.
For instance, if you are not the neatest person and find it is okay to have a little clutter here and there- then, you may write- “I am a creative person and don’t mind a little clutter here and there. So if being very tidy is important- I am not the gal for you! “ Remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it! Also, have your written words be positive and always show your best side first.
4. Limiting your distance and other limiting factors
Another area I see needs attention is the distance selected on how far you would go to date someone. If your true love lived 2 hours away or was a plane ride away, would you make the effort?
I understand that most people feel it is better to have someone close by for dating. I have seen many successful long distance relationships. Perhaps you are not able to move due to your job, your family obligations or other factors. Of course this needs to be expressed in your profile upfront. Sometimes the person you have met is open to moving.
Many times my client and I devise a plan where you first put your search criteria for people who live within a 25 mile radius. Then, in a month’s time (or two) if you haven’t met anyone you are crazy about, then you may widen your search to a 50 or 100 mile radius.
Remember you don’t want to miss out on the right person just because of the distance- especially if you do have the flexibility and can date someone in a different city.
5. Not spending enough time consistently on internet dating
As in any endeavor in life, to achieve successful results it takes focus and determination. This is as true for online dating as it is for losing weight, starting a new workout routine, learning a new language or a new work skill.
To be sporadic about your efforts with internet dating won’t benefit you. You need a plan that works for you. This plan should include time to research new potential candidates, following up on email requests and then setting time aside to actually meet that person face to face for a date!
I had a client who was on a paid dating site and got such an overwhelming response, that she froze and did nothing! All that initial effort was for naught. Mr. wonderful could have been one of those guys. Such a lost opportunity!
Then there are some people who sign up for the free weekend and never really invest in the process that the internet dating requires. Instead of just putting your toe in the water, you need to jump in whole heartedly and enjoy the waves! Spend the time to reap the whole benefit of the experience. Eventually you will see some rewards for your efforts- as have many of my clients.
There you have it! I have given you some of the top internet dating mistakes I see people make time and time again. I do have a list of several more internet dating mistakes that I provide my clients. Good luck with making internet dating a positive experience.
Coach Amy Schoen is a certified professional life coach and national dating and relationship expert helping marriage minded individuals to find and connect with their true romantic partner for a committed relationship. Discover her Motivated to Marry® strategies in her free e-course “7 Steps to Finding Your True Love Partner” at http://www.motivatedtomarry.com.