Source: Pixabay, Public Domain
“Attractive, professional SWF seeks similar SWM.”
That sort of dating pitch squanders online dating’s biggest advantage: rigorous screening to find the best few matches from among millions. The game is not “S/he-with the most responses wins.” It’s “S/he who meets the right love wins.”
Winning that game requires disclosing four things:
- Your distinguishing strengths: that is, your strengths that distinguish your profile from among the zillions of others and that your special someone would need to appreciate. For example, if you’re unusually intellectual or athletic, and you’d want your partner to value that in you, tell ‘em. Or maybe it’s that you really are unusually likable by most people or are good at life’s practicalities. Tell ’em.
- The weaknesses that your special someone would have to accept about you: For example, if you like to work long hours or, at the other extreme, want someone who’ll support you, it’s wise to say so. Yes, you’ll screen out masses of the wrong people, but you’ll screen-in a few well-suited ones.
- Your ideal partner’s distinguishing strengths that you really want in your partner: Perhaps it’s someone who craves open communication about feelings, or conversely, someone who requires a minimum of “processing.” Maybe it’s someone with a high (or low?) sex drive.
- Your ideal partner’s distinguishing weaknesses that you can accept: Everyone has weaknesses. The trick is to identify those you can comfortably accept. Perhaps it’s a neat-freak or, conversely, someone who’s “casual” about appearances. Or maybe it’s someone with an illness or a person who doesn’t care much about being close with family.
Visual species and sexual beings that we are, your photos matter, perhaps too much. Post three varied, honest pictures of yourself. I recommend:
- A head-and-shoulders shot wearing what you’d ideally wear to work or to a casual restaurant
- A full-body shot doing your favorite recreation. Perhaps you’re wearing full camping gear, bicycling togs, or what you’d wear while watching TV or going to the mall
- A full-body shot of you wearing something that makes you feel sexy. But unless you’re looking for a sex-only relationship, be subtle rather than overt. For example, a man might wear a form-revealing shirt, but with one button open rather than two. A woman might wear a form-revealing outfit, but show no more than a hint of cleavage.
You don’t need a professional photographer. In fact, I suggest you don’t use one and not mainly because of the cost, but because it’s harder to look natural in front of a stranger than in front of a good friend. And pros can make the photo look too professional: photoshopped or with one of those telltale photographer’s backdrops.
With today’s phones, a friend can take a perfectly good pic of you. Just be sure you’re well lighted, and there are no shadows. It’s usually easiest to find such lighting in the late afternoon, whether outdoors or inside with window shades open.
Be ruthless; there are plenty of fish in the sea. If the person doesn’t respond with 24 or 48 hours max, it’s a sign they’ll be insufficiently responsive or interested in you. Out. If the person’s first communication is quite sexual, out—unless that’s all you’re looking for. If the email is too brief and generic, out. If rationally and emotionally, the email, profile, and pic intrigue, respond by pointing out a commonality with the person and asking a question, perhaps about their work, family, or avocation. If the response to that continues to intrigue you, if s/he hasn’t initiated that classic coffee or walking date, it may be time for you to do so.
The first meeting
Sometimes, it’s just a chemistry thing—Instantly, you can or can’t picture yourself with that person. Photos, even if recent and in-focus, may not reveal that je ne sais quoi.
But often, you need to give it at least 15 minutes, perhaps more: Does the person share about him/herself and ask sufficiently about you? Does s/he listen well? Seem kind? The right balance of upbeat and serious? Patient but not a slug? Generous—Does s/he offer to pay at least half? But do trust your intuition after that first small chunk of time. As they say in prepping students for the SAT, your first guess is usually right.
P.S. Which dating sites? I’d start with match.com because it has 40 million members and has been continually upgrading its matching paradigm based on its 25 years and millions of users. Plus, it’s highly rated on most review sites. For example, match.com is datingadvice.com’s top-rated dating site: 4.9 out of 5.0
Sure, not everyone is fully candid on dating sites, but done right, being able to screen from among millions of prospects dwarfs other ways of meeting your right love. May you find your needle in said haystack.
I read this aloud on YouTube.