Fed up with picking the wrong dates? Amy Webb analyzed popular daters' profiles to work out how best to find love online.
Why data is the secret to successful dating
What are you looking for? ...It's best to develop a strategy for online dating
My worst dating experience began promisingly. I'd met a guy online – he was interesting and good-looking, and we had great conversations. When he asked me out, it was a no-brainer, and when we met, he actually looked better than he did in his profile photos. He was smart, funny and had a great job. Midway through our date, his phone started buzzing. It was his wife. Supposedly they'd separated very recently, but he was still living in their house and she very much thought their relationship was intact.
No doubt you have a terrible dating story (or many stories) of your own. Even after that terrible date, my friends and family told me I was being too picky, and that unless I relaxed my standards, I'd never get married. Ultimately, I decided that was ridiculous. If I was looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with, why wouldn't I be as choosy as possible?
1. Make sure your dating bio does you justice
It can feel unnatural to analyze yourself and dissect your personality into bullet points for your online dating profile. Many of us cringe at the thought of having to define our likes, dislikes, and hobbies on paper, but the more information you give about yourself, the clearer a picture you paint for a potential match who comes across your profile. A vague or half-finished profile – left that way out of shyness – can be misconstrued as suspicious. If you’re unsure what to say about yourself, there’s no shame in asking a friend or family member to help you write it.
2. That goes for your profile photos, too
It might sound obvious, but try to pick photos for your profile that are clear, honest and show you in your best light. That blurry photo with the really bright flash? One of you on holiday in sunglasses? Or your all-time favorite photo that was taken a good 10 years ago? Nope nope nope. If you don’t have a decent bank of recent-ish photos, it might be worth investing in a shoot with a professional like Saskia Nelson, who specializes in dating photos.
3. Stay safe online
Every now and then, a horror story emerges about online dating. These range from people not looking like their profile pictures, to people turning out to be downright dangerous. It’s important you choose somewhere public for your first date, and as an extra precaution, make sure you let a friend or family member know you’re going on the date, and that you’ll contact them in however long if all goes well. As a general rule, avoid people who instantly suggest you come over to their place, or who seem overly pushy to meet you before chatting first.
4. Don’t call, text, tweet or generally contact them too much
You’ve met someone you like. Hurrah! You’re probably thinking about them intermittently throughout the day and it’s natural to want to let them know what you’re up to. It’s important to remember that it’s early days, though, and even if they’ve given you all the right signals so far, receiving a picture of the quinoa salad you made for lunch, or several missed calls when you only spoke the night before, might be enough to give them cold feet. Think of communication as balancing a set of scales: add only as much to your side as they do to theirs.
5. Leave Facebook stalking out of it
I’m sure many of us can admit to knowing what someone does for a living, where they went on their last five holidays and the names of every member of their family including their dog before we’ve even met them. Not because they’ve told us in a message, but because we’ve found their relatively open Facebook profile and had a good look before the date. But imagine the embarrassment if you let a nugget of information slip from all your hard detective work on the first date? How can you justify knowing about that stag do in Berlin that they haven’t told you about? Honestly, for your own self-respect, avoid digging through their Facebook page.
6. Meet somewhere you feel comfortable
If your ideal first date is getting to know one another in a snug, independent coffee shop, but they suggest taking you to your first heavy metal gig, it’s worth trying to find a halfway ground. If you feel comfortable in your surroundings on a date, you’ll give off a more relaxed impression and be able to enjoy yourself.
7. Avoid mentioning the ex
Whether they broke your heart, spent your money, or the amalgamation of all their annoying little habits eventually drove you to drive a metaphorical knife through their heart and call it quits, your new date doesn’t need to know. Yes, it’s natural to be curious about who he or she was dating before you, but these conversations will happen organically in their own time. In short, try to avoid the ex chat when you’re on your first date.
8. Offer to pay
Whether you’re male or female, you’re an independent adult living in the 21st century. Regardless of whether you end up paying, it’s polite for both parties to offer to buy a round of drinks or split the overall bill.
9. Remember: you can afford to be selective
Please don’t think you have to go on a date with the first person who asks you out, just because you’ve been single for a while. By that same logic, you should also never feel pressured into going home with someone after a date, or meeting up with them again unless you’re sure you really want to. Roughly seven million UK residents are currently using dating sites, not to mention all the eligible singles dating offline. There’s really no need for anyone to settle for the first offer. Take your time to find the right partner for you.
10. Don’t lose yourself
Try not to make the new person you’re dating the center of your world. We all have that friend who used to be so much fun, and who listened to all our problems, then suddenly started dating someone new and vanished into their world. Don’t be that person. Equally, don’t quit your hobbies for your new date. Keep knitting that jumper for your mum, keep growing that herb garden. Remember that having hobbies and interests is attractive to the person you’re dating. Your love of pottery or passion for long cycling ventures might be part of what sparked their interest in you in the first place.
Rice Purity Test quiz contains 100 questions and gets solved by making a Yes or No in front of the question, which is related to your life. The question designed related to intimate experience and related to alcohol, drugs, and many other notorious activities.
Enjoy the experience of online dating
This one might sound obvious, but if you’re not enjoying the dating process for whatever reason, it’s not worth pursuing. Dating expert Jean Smith points out that many people get nowhere with online dating because they’re not in the right frame of mind for it. “Sort yourself out first, then look for a partner,” advises Smith.
“Then you’ll find someone who’s going to be a good match for you.”