Online Dating 2.01

This is my first “scheduled” blog entry since launching this website.  I’m a bit late and am hoping you’ll cut me some slack because I’m new to this blogging business.  Moving forward, blog entries will be posted on the 14th of each month, by 11:59 p.m. EST.  You’re not gonna ask me why I picked that date, are you?  Really?  :-)

I spent all day trying to decide what to blog about.   My current dating adventures?  I’d love to.  I’ve got a few scenarios in play that could certainly make for some entertaining reading and controversial discussion but I don’t want to incriminate anyone or show a lack of respect for people’s privacy.  (No, I’m not having an affair with a married man…not knowingly.  I will likely blog about that one day though…the disturbing number of married men posing as being single on online dating sites.  If you’re married and on the prowl, check out www.ashleymadison.com.  I will eventually blog about them too.  I think my view on their business might surprise you.  In any case, I like to think of myself as a home maker, not a home wrecker).  What about the photo shoot I had last week?  That was a very cool experience.  Too bad I’m not able to discuss it…for now.  I thought about blogging about some of the interesting people I’ve met since launching this business.  Then I wondered if that might send some of the more reticent daters further into their shells.  I definitely don’t want that.  So, I settled on a popular and perhaps overdone topic…online dating.  I could write a novel about online dating.  For now, however, I’ll stick to my Top Five Tips (I could probably do a Top 25 List, so we’ll start with five and see what the response is like).

Online dating sites are rampant, with a new one surfacing almost daily – or that’s how it seems to those of us active in the community.   For example, on Plenty Of Fish (a.k.a. PoF), if you accidentally (or optimistically) click on the really good looking, too-good-to-be-true people’s pictures at the top of the page you are automatically redirected to any number of other dating or matchmaking sites.  That’s what I find amusing…dating sites advertising on other dating sites.  I “get” the Marketing play…go where you know your target audience is…but it’s so blatant.  Anyway…there are just so many sites out there, it can be overwhelming.  Some online dating sites appeal to the masses, some are targeting a specific group of individuals.  Some are offered as a free service, some require you to pay a membership or subscription fee.  Regardless of which site you use, you are asked to create a profile. This profile is your online dating marketing tool and you are the brand being marketed. 

OK…so I consider myself an expert in online dating profiles.  As both a consumer and a manufacturer.   My opinions, perspective and advice come from years of online dating (to be clear and to avoid unnecessary pity, these “years” have not been consecutive in nature and have been punctuated by many wonderful experiences.  The ones that were less-than-wonderful were typically entertaining and will be blogged about at a future date).  HC, if you really want me to…I can write about how you gave me a boost…and then I’ll tell the story about our first (and only?) date.   Anyway, I have seen thousands of profiles.  Mostly men’s profiles but I’ve seen my share of women’s profiles too (don’t ask). 

It never ceases to amaze me how rare it is to find a profile where an investment of time, effort and thought is evident.  I understand that “selling” or promoting yourself via little boxes in online profiles is awkward and challenging, at best…but so is writing a great résumé.  I would bet that at least 75% of online daters spend a minimum of five times as long on their résumés (when they are in job search mode) as they do on their online dating profiles.  What I don’t understand is why this would be the case.  Isn’t who you attract for the purposes of forming a long-term, committed relationship just as important – if not more so – than whom you work for?

Stacie’s Tip # 1:  Spelling and grammar DO count

Consider typing your online profile in Microsoft Word or another word processing application where Spell Check is an option.   Whether you can actually spell or formulate a sentence is irrelevant.  Your written word (in addition to your pictures) is your only opportunity to make a good first impression.

Stacie’s Tip # 2:  Post a picture from the current year and make sure it looks like you 

If you are hoping that your online dating efforts result in a long-term relationship, or even a second date, it’s important to put your most authentic foot forward.  Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  Posting the pictures that you think will get you the most “hits” is not always the best strategy.  Especially if those pictures are of you in a bikini in 1989 (sweetheart) or before you acquired your beer gut (mister).  Post the pictures that look the most like you do, on a “regular” day.  Somebody will appreciate you for you.  Nobody will appreciate you for your Photoshop skills.  Consider this:  some people even post their “worst” pictures.  It’s an interesting approach, and not a bad idea.

Stacie’s Tip # 3:  Do not lie.  Just don’t.  Period.  

I wish this was simply a matter of stating the obvious and moving on, with a short note:  ”Nuff Said”.  Sadly, it’s not.  Online daters are lying to each other every day and, from what I hear, women are guiltier of this than men.  Bottom line goes something like this…he/she WILL find out.  If you say you’re 36 and you’re 50, they’ll find out when they meet you, undress you, or card you.  It’s inevitable.  If you say your body type is “a few extra pounds” and you’re overweight…he/she WILL find out.  At exactly the same moment as when they first lay eyes on you.  For future reference…a few = three.  Maximum.  If you are looking for a healthy and lasting relationship I don’t think you need me to tell you that it must be based on trust.  (If you did need me to tell you that and are learning this for the first time, please call me…ASAP.)  That foundation of trust begins to be laid the moment you make contact.  Lying does not build trust, ever.  So just don’t do it.  If you think there is a circumstance under which lying in your profile is acceptable I would love to hear it and have the opportunity to challenge it.

Stacie’s Tip # 4:  Stop admiring yourself in the mirror and start writing! 

OK, so you were once a supermodel.  We get it.  Your pictures are beautiful.  And so is your BMW.  And your house.  And your villa in the south of France.  And your extensive wardrobe.  And your boat.  And I love that you have a plane.  Those boxes there though…the ones that are blank…with the questions on top of them…they’re supposed to be filled out…with your original thoughts…your answers…your preferences.  It’s called “getting to know you”.  Sarcasm aside…no matter how physically attractive you are, or think you are, it’s important to share some information in your profile so that inquiring minds do not incorrectly assume that all you have going for you are your looks and your car.  Unless that’s what you want them to think…and then that, of course, is a different blog entry altogether.

Stacie’s Tip # 5:  Stay away from lists

Many well-intentioned online daters describe their ideal partners and themselves by listing off the qualities they value – i.e. fit, attractive, down-to-earth, easy-going, sensual, ambitious, intelligent, fun, active, secure, exciting, smart, amazing, sexy, girl-next-door, adventurous, spiritual, playful, sophisticated, well-travelled, worldly, etc.  You get the idea.  What they are doing, unknowingly, is writing a very ordinary, average and unoriginal profile.  No matter how much thought they are putting into each of those adjectives, they are choosing a format used by the majority of online daters.

Profiles should be as unique as the person writing them.  What makes YOU special should be evident to others after reading your profile but, unfortunately, that is so rarely the case.  Instead, most profiles get overlooked due to a lack of originality, or because of an air of familiarity. 

Just as I have helped hundreds of job seekers, employees and colleagues write and rework their professional résumés, I am helping online daters, every day, in rethinking who they are, who they are trying to attract, what type of relationship they are seeking, and how to adjust their marketing approach appropriately.

Feel free to send me your online profile (stacie@sittinginatree.com) and let’s see how I might be able to help you get the results you’re seeking.

Stacie
Inspiring a Love Movement …