Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Some Online Dating Advice From a Marketing Strategist

Here's some online dating advice, admittedly biased, after many months of 'analysis' -- use a site (or three) that features multiple shots and a self-written profile and keep in mind some basic insights:

  1. Look-Delete -- In a normal day, you pass 1,000 people in the street, in coffee shops, at work, etc. with whom you might make eye contact or simply notice their face/figure.  Out of all those people, a few might flirt with you, or simply experience a momentary ‘eyebrow raise’ due to a gut-reaction      interest in you.  You don’t respond to all of those ‘flirts’, you can’t or you’d never get anything done!  Online dating is the same, with thousands of people flirting, sometimes out of nothing more      than playing the numbers game.  You don’t have to be polite and respond any more than you do with the guy on the bus.  If you don’t like the way they look, move on and save your precious time.
  2. “Let’s Take This Offline” --  Hang on, we haven’t even exchanged names and you want to move to direct email, texting or phoning?  They might just be dyslexic, or hate writing, or very chatty, but if you are interested in someone who can hold a conversation, it doesn’t bode well if they can’t exchange a few witty, flirty or at least 'casually comfortable' notes first.  Many of the girls who do this are most interested in what you can do for them…  I have to believe it's the same with many guys.  (Alternatively, the people who DON'T want to meet for coffee after a few emails might just be lonely -- you might be pen-pals for weeks, also not a good sign!)
  3. No Photo?  Ciao, Bella! -- If they have no photo up (for a dozen ‘seemingly plausible’ reasons…) move on.  There is no good reason on the planet that someone who is single and looking for a partner would not have a photo up.  (“I’m a professional and don’t want my colleagues knowing I’m using this service…”  BS!  Any decent colleagues would applaud and support your efforts to find a mate any way you can.)
  4. “I’m Attractive…” – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  If they have a photo posted, why are they telling you they think they are attractive?  That’s not self-confidence, it’s an indication of insecurity and it's really just a pretty silly thing to feel the need to say as a photo says a thousand words...  
  5. Insist on a ‘Coffee Date’ First – Seriously.  Don’t get all caught up in anyone with high expectations before you meet face to face.  “Chemistry Happens!” (Or doesn’t!)  You might be hot for them from the moment you see them, but they just aren’t that into you, or vice-versa.  Nothing’s more painful than going through a 2-3 hours long 'official first date' with someone you knew you’d never be ‘into’ from the first second.  Before the coffee date, TELL THEM you have very low expectations and that you just want to talk for a maximum of 20 minutes or so, that maybe you’ll both identify some other single friend they’d be a good fit with, even if it isn’t each other.  Stay open and let it flow.  Many times you won’t really meet the ‘real’ them until a second or third date, just as you might not be interested in a person you meet at work until after you get to know them.  First dates are nerve-wracking, cut him/her some slack.  One thing is certain, after a coffee date, a second date is much more relaxed and fun!
  6. Cinderella and Prince Charming were Make Believe! -- “Love at first sight” exists!   It’s based on extremely shallow factors, pheromones and sexual attraction -- and 99.5% of the time leads to short-term fun between the sheets and very troubled, short relationships. Desperately wanting the Disney-fed fantasy to come true doesn’t make it real.  This is not cynicism, it’s based on decades relationships research studies.  Look for chemistry, by all means, but then look a lot deeper.  North Americans would see a lot less divorce if they placed less emphasis on animal 'instinct' to base the beginning of their long-term relationship on and took the time to get to know prospective mates at a deeper level.  (For more on this phenomenon, take a look at my post about how eHarmony is the worst at taking advantage of it and thus delivering little by clicking here.)
  7. Multiple RECENT Full Body Shots – Insist upon it.  If this individual is not self-confident and honest enough to show you the size of their booty as it looks TODAY before seeing them in the flesh, don’t go there as they’ve very likely got a lot of other issues.  The same rule applies triple for a single headshot – if there’s only ONE picture of themselves that they like enough to be willing to share, it more than likely doesn’t reflect the way they really look.  CAN'T EMPHASIS THIS ENOUGH -- life is short, coffee dates take up time to set up, corresponding takes time and effort.  Ladies, resist your ego's desire to post 10-15 year old photos.  Be honest because your charm/personality is NOT going to get him to overlook the extra 10 pounds you are carrying or the changes time has made to your face since those old photos were taken.  He's going to see you as you are right now when you meet in person, so you might as well present yourself honestly.
  8. Looking for Brain Power? --  How well they write generally reveals how smart they are, or at least is a pretty good indication.  If they've only written a single line...
  9. Location:  NYC – If you’re located in another city, why are you contacting me?  Think about it.  Outside of it being a little flattering that they find you SO attractive they’d contact you from a distance, how bad are they at dating that they have to hit on people long-distance versus in their home town?  YOU might be hoping for a romantic, all-expense-paid weekend away, but it will come with expectations.  This kind of hook-up is not just dangerous, it’s just not smart.  Keep your contacts within a reasonable commute (and make pretty sure you and your friends can find them again afterwards if he takes you for a long walk in the woods!).
  10. Scanned Photos – Digital cameras have been around for 10 years and cost $20 these days.  If all they have posted is shots that have that grainy, off-colour scanned look, they are cherry-picking flattering photos from a decade ago that don’t reflect what they look like now.  Same for shots with Halloween masks, pics taken in fitness centers where you can’t see their face, etc., AND with those 'beauty shots' -- I've got nothing against having yourself photographed by a pro, but I'm going to date you in the real world and I'd like to see what you look like with your hair down in a bunch of recent candid shots, too.
  11. Must be Able to Stay Awake Past 11 pm! – Or many variations on “You better not be like the last guy/gal I dated!”  Hello?  There are thousands of potential mates out there and you’re petty enough to be worrying about one specific failing the last person had?  Sounds like this individual is going to be HIGH maintenance, problematic and likely pretty 'simplistic'.
  12. Cropped at the Shoulder? – If their only photo, or all of them, are cropped off at their shoulders, they’re hiding their body shape.  Why, when there are lots of people out there, guys and girls, who have no problem with full-figured partners?  Be proud of yourself and be honest.  There’s no frustration worse than meeting face to face only to find out he/she used a photo of their roommate.
  13. SexyLoveLady(Man)438 – If there’s no photo (or one that looks ‘borrowed’) and they have a name like this one, or their location is TinyTown, Alberta, this is actually a guy in Ghana or Nigeria trying to scam you into supporting his 'orphanage charity’ project.  Report them immediately, block them and move on.  Don't let curiousity get the better of your gut instinct.
Liked this?  Maybe you'll enjoy my take on eHarmony, the biggest scam in the online dating business!  Click here: "Why Do All the Couples in eHarmony Ads Look Like Brothers and Sisters?"

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