I can’t help but compare online dating to job searching. The parallels are unavoidable and the longer you are out there searching the less personal it becomes. Just as you start to forget the companies and positions you apply for, you forget who you swipe right on, who’s profile you like, or who you start a conversation with even. When you tell your friends about the potential finds, they start asking “which one is this again?”. And you start coming up with identifiers rather than using real names. For a potential job you might say “the large company” or the “place with the good benefits” and for a potential date you would say “Army guy” or “Bartender guy”. It all becomes impersonal. You start to get strategic with things like making your profile more marketable, coming up with clever opener to get noticed before the other matches, and creating your own rules to weed out the bad from the good. Here are a few things I have learned.
- You need to have more than one picture – Unless it is a really good looking guy, I am not liking or swiping right on one picture. It could easily be the best picture you have ever taken and in the right lighting, at the right angle, you could look much different than you actually do. This will get you nowhere after the first initial meeting.
- Write something in your profile – Again, unless you are just that attractive, I am not liking a profile that you took literally no time to create. I now am already assuming that you are either dull and have nothing to say, or you’re just that lazy. Plus, if I am on the fence on whether I like you or not, a funny or sweet comment makes all the difference.
- It totally matters who our common connections are – Some apps like Bumble and Tinder will display the Facebook friends you have in common with someone. I usually use this to my advantage to gauge what kind of person he might be. I will totally judge you on who you are associated with (I realize I am also associated with that person but it still matters).
- Cheesy openers only get a sarcastic response and nothing more – If a guy starts with something out of the ordinary or says something like “what do i gotta do to get on your drunk dial list?” (that one’s real) then I will likely respond for entertainment value but it won’t go beyond that. A simple, “hi how was your weekend?” seems like it would be lame but it actually is the best approach. Then it is up to me to mention something about the weekend that is a conversation starter and we can go from there. Simple and genuine. (but if you start by complementing my eyes that usually works too).
- Keep it light – If you are single in your 30’s there is a higher chance that you have some baggage in your life – an ex-spouse, a long-term relationship gone bad. The sooner you talk about it to a new prospect the more obvious it is that you’re not over it. Don’t mention it.
- Meet within two weeks or call it quits – When you are talking to multiple people online it can become a chore to keep up with all of the conversations on a daily basis. You have to keep track of what you talked about with one that you haven’t with another. I am a busy person as it is, and have no desire to keep up the small talk charade for very long. So we either meet in person and see if we hit it off, or we part ways and I don’t have to waste any more time.
There are so many dating apps, so many options, and so many ways to present yourself. Going in with a little strategy will soften the noise.