Dealbreakers: How To Choose Some (And Stick to Them)

If sharing a laptop in the park is incredibly important to you, be sure to stick to your guns.

If sharing a laptop in the park is incredibly important to you, be sure to stick to your guns.

When you’re navigating the waters of online dating, you encounter a wide variety of people. Some, of course, are fake people (bots), but you can probably spot those. They’re the ones that keep flirting with you in chat even when you reply with things like, “Seriously, if you’re not a bot, say ‘no bot’ right now, dammit.” But many of the people you meet online are real, genuinely interested, and full of their own quirks, personality traits and habits.

Not all of these quirks and habits will suit you, of course. Some things will just not be compatible with your own life or personality, no matter how cute the other person is or how well they spell. For many people, smoking is a major dealbreaker; for others, things like religion, children or political opinions can ice the interest. So how can you figure out what YOUR dealbreakers are?

Start by looking at your own interests. Are you heavily religious? Do you really, really care about politics? Do you want kids someday? Are you a drinker, a smoker, a recreational drug user, etc, and either way, do you have strong feelings about these things? Think about the many beliefs and interests that are truly important to you, and then think about how you’d feel if you spent time with someone who was diametrically opposite to those things. Does it feel like it would be a punch in the gut to spend time with someone who says they’ll vote for Trump? Does the thought of kissing a smoker turn your stomach? These are visceral reactions that you can’t ignore. Trust your instincts on things like this, BEFORE you have someone standing in front of you to test your resolve. And figure out which are more important than others.

Second, don’t apologize for your dealbreakers. You are entitled to your own desires in a relationship, and that’s nothing to be sorry about. Some people might get annoyed with you, even hostile, if they find out that something about them just doesn’t jive with you. But that’s nobody’s fault. Different people don’t always mesh, and there is no reason you should have to feel obligated to change yourself, alter your beliefs or suck up an uncomfortable situation just so the other person can feel better. Be true to yourself and honest with others. That doesn’t mean you can’t be flexible on a myriad of other things — after all, compromise is vital in a good relationship — but when it comes to true dealbreakers, compromise is usually not a good idea.

Last, be patient. In the hunt for a perfect mate, it’s easy to make excuses, rush through the process and overlook red flags in order to be in a relationship. But dealbreakers almost always come back on you. For example, if you’re a guy who doesn’t want kids, and you start seeing a woman who does, don’t think that you’ll be able to “bring her around.” She probably thinks the same about you, and in the end, if you’re both solid in your desires for/against children, you’ll both be in for a world of heartache. No matter how pretty she is, how much you fit together in other ways, how great her laugh is…. in the end, a dealbreaker is just too big to skip over. There are many, many other potential dates out there, some of whom WILL fit the bill for you, so take your time and don’t rush it.

Five Tips for Approaching (and Conquering) Online Dating

Know what you're looking for even before you start.

Know what you’re looking for even before you start.

We’ve given tons of tips in our blog about how to be a successful online dater. We help you take a good profile pic; we point out what NOT to do on a first date. We even suggested some niche dating sites for people with specific interests. But in a general sense, just how can you turn online dating into a successful endeavor? Amy Webb did a month-long experiment to analyze successful dating profiles, and she shared her results with the world (and now, we’ll share a few of those with you).

  1. Know what you want before you start (make a list and everything). It’s hard to find the perfect mate if you don’t even know what you’re looking for in the first place. If you want someone who has kids, have some idea how many kids and how old/far apart they are. After all, there’s a big difference between someone who has one ten-year-old kid and someone else who has five kids ranging from 6 to 16! Write down what really matters to you, what you seek in a partner, and what your dealbreakers are. Be honest with yourself; there’s no reason to settle here.
  2. Figure out the sites you like best, and join more than one. For the most success, belong to at least a few sites. Keep in mind that paid sites like Match.com tend to be successful for long-term relationships (they tout their high marriage rate in their commercials), while free sites like Tinder are more hookup-friendly. Watch your budget, though; paid sites can nickel and dime you for all the features they offer, so do your homework and figure out what you really need each site to provide for you.
  3. Keep it short, and don’t be funny. Don’t use your profile as a place to ramble on about yourself. Stay short and to the point, and don’t try to be funny. Webb suggests that humor doesn’t translate well to text, especially dating profile text, and sarcasm often falls flat. Instead, be earnest about who you are.
  4. Don’t fixate too narrowly on your own interests. Say there’s a TV show you love. I mean, you LOVE it. If you spend too much space in your profile talking about that show, you could turn off potential matches who might not appreciate your show the way you do. Instead, mention a few of your interests, maybe keep it more general (“I really enjoy sci fi TV” instead of “I’m completely in love with Star Trek, especially Commander Data”) so you can create a potential “in” for those who might be attracted.
  5. Keep your language positive and upbeat. Webb found that profiles that use words like “fun” and “happy” got more love, so don’t use your profile as a place to dump all your issues, your pet peeves or your hangups. Stay as positive as possible, smile in your profile pics, and try to describe things that genuinely excite you. What would your ideal day look like? Let some of that joy show!

Online Dating Profile Photos – Three Easy Ways to Get Noticed

We’ve talked before about things you should NOT do in/with your dating profile photo, but there are positive things you can do with your photo that will help you get the right kind of notice. Dating profile photos are basically the first impression you give to someone, after all, so how you come across matters a great deal. The folks at eHarmony crunched some numbers and came up with some patterns for what profile photos work and why, so here are a few tips based on their findings that just might give you a hand in catching someone’s eye.

  1. Post several photos to your dating profile. The first and best piece of advice is generally to have more than one photo on your profile. The eHarmony numbers say go even higher: those with 4 or more pics on their profile got the most communication. When you think about it, it makes sense: you can showcase yourself in a variety of ways, from a variety of angles and in various lights, and paint a complete picture of who you are.
  2. Putyour best (left) face forward. Studies have shown that, when people are presented two photos that are similar but show different sides of a person’s face, the photos that show the left side of the face are called more pleasing to look at. As it turns out, the left side of our face shows more emotion. You don’t have to go completely in profile, though; find a photo that shows your face turned just slightly, with the left side showing more than the right. Don’t have a good pic of yourself showing your left side? Take a good right-sided pic and flip it in a photo editing program.
  3. Go for 3×4 landscape pics or portrait-style pics, all at a medium distance.
    Medium distance shows more of who you are.

    Medium distance shows more of who you are.

    Again, this makes sense when you think about it. A medium distance (say, showing you from the waist up) displays your face well but also shows more of you than just your face, giving the potential date a chance to see more of your body type (because like it or not, that matters, and too many people have horror stories about meeting up with someone who didn’t match their self-reported body type). Make sure you shot is focused and well-lit, and don’t crop other people out of pics that you’re in. It just looks bad to do that.

To Shave or Not To Shave: Do Women Prefer Beards?

Is this attractive?

Is this attractive?

In recent years, facial hair has surged back into style. And we’re not just talking about standard beards and mustaches. A wide variety of lengths and designs are popping up on faces nationwide. From the close-trimmed “I haven’t shaved in a few days” scruffy look to the longer, more hipster, “I wear a beanie with my horn rims every day” look, beards are back like never before. But do they actually make men more attractive to women?

According to some sources, the jury is still out. Many women claim to see beards as manly and sexy, while others claim they look messy, lazy or otherwise unpleasant. A lot depends on the shape of the face wearing the beard, of course, and in most cases, it comes down to each individual beard evaluated by each individual woman. That said, however, studies have begun to give some parameters to the best of beards and their appeal to ladies.

CBS News reported on a study in 2014 that explains some beard science.

“When shown men’s faces, men and women study participants consistently rated the faces with beards or stubble as more attractive than clean-shaven faces,” the article notes. “But beards were most alluring when facial hair was rare, whereas clean-shaven faces gained in popularity when hairy faces were the norm.”

So beards and stubble are good, as long as not EVERY face is beards and stubble. This, the article suggests, could be why beards go in and out of style as time progresses. We go through beard eras, then clean-shaven eras, and each time the cycle repeats when the style is new or rare again. Facial hair, the scientists said, is most attractive when it’s the exception to popular style, not the rule.

Should you grow (or keep) a beard for your online dating profile pics? Right now, beards are very much in fashion, so you may actually stand out more by NOT having one. But in the end, you should opt for a look that best suits your bone structure and your style. Ask your friends and family for their honest opinion. Try a few looks and see what looks best on you. Be yourself, above all else, and that confidence will help you in the long run.

Online Dating and Color: How Hues Affect Your Chances

We’ve talked a lot in the past about how to construct a good online dating profile: what sort of photo to use, what headlines and taglines will get you positive feedback, etc. But online dating goes a lot deeper than the surface. Much like real-world interactions, there’s a psychological element to what we see in an online profile, as well as how we react to it. Much of it is subconscious, but fortunately, there are people who study this sort of thing.

Photo by Hadret

Photo by Hadret

The University of Rochester in New York did some research on color in online dating profiles and found that, when men see a woman wearing red in her profile photo, they are more likely to find her attractive, ask her out and even spend more money on her. A similar study out of France showed that, when researchers digitally changed the color of women’s shirts in profile pics, the photos with red shirts resulted in the most messages sent to the women.

That makes some sense; red is a color associated with love, lust, passion, and other relationship-themed concepts.

What about other colors? James Houran, PhD, a writer for Online Dating Magazine, suggests that blue is actually the best color for a dating profile, as it conveys peace and tranquility, as well as loyalty. We would add that blue is one of those colors that is almost universally flattering (especially turquoise shades, which go well with every skin and hair combination), so it would have a positive impact on most photos. Houran suggests green as a second choice (it’s easy on the eye and conveys a message of nature, fitness, health and wealth) and red as a third.

What color should you probably avoid? That’s simple: yellow. Yellow is not flattering on most people and it’s tough for the eye to perceive comfortably. If a color could be loud, yellow would do it. It can suggest sunshine, carefree fun and other positives, but in the end, it’s probably better to choose another color for your online dating profile outfit.

Keep in mind that the MOST important thing for your online dating profile photo is that you feel comfortable in it. Wear something you like, in a color you like. When people feel positive and confident in what they’re wearing, it shows, regardless of what the color actually is!

“I’ve never tried this, so here goes…” – 6 Dating Profile Cliches and What They Really Mean

If you’ve read more than one dating profile in your life, you know they can be riddled with the same phrases, platitudes and cliches. Over time, they might even begin to run together, to the point where you don’t even see them anymore. This isn’t helpful for making a profile “pop” to the reader, but as it turns out, there’s an actual message behind most of the cliches you see on dating sites. This article from BBC News explores what lies beneath the phrases that you probably ignore. Perhaps next time you read a profile, you’ll be surprised at what you actually learn.

1. “I’m new to this, so here goes…” This phrase may seem innocent at first, but it’s actually illustrating how uncomfortable the writer is with the online dating process. The writer may even think there’s a stigma to using an online dating site, so by saying “I’m new,” he or she is distancing themselves from what they think is a bad thing. They may not actually be new to this, but they are probably not psyched about it.

"I enjoy sunshine, long walks on the beach, and washing my hair in the nearest creek."

“I enjoy sunshine, long walks on the beach, and washing my hair in the nearest creek.”

2. “Seeking my partner in crime.” Despite a somewhat dark phrasing, this is a lighthearted comment. This person is trying to come across as fun to be around, interesting and not at all needy.

3. “My friends say I’m…” If you see this phrase followed by a list of adjectives, it could suggest that the writer is insecure or doesn’t think that highly of himself or herself. Why would it matter what friends say, especially when you won’t actually know if these “friends” are correct until you know the person yourself? Also, lists of adjectives are pretty weak; instead of saying “my friends say I’m funny,” just write something you’d think is funny. It’s way more effective.

4. “Don’t contact me if you can’t tell the difference between ‘your’ and ‘you’re.'” Yes, grammar is important to some people. But damn, this comes off as obnoxious. First, dating profiles aren’t a place to throw a fit about a nitpicky thing that bugs you. And second, while the writer may think he or she is weeding out the uneducated masses with a grammar quiz, they may have forgotten that anyone with an education higher than middle school has the potential to know the difference between “your” and “you’re.” Knowing how to use those words properly isn’t necessarily a sign of higher education. Rather, it’s a sign that the person paid attention in 7th grade English.

5. “I’m easygoing.” There’s not a lot of deeper meaning behind this, but it’s so useless as a phrase that you can pretty much ignore it when you see it. Think about it: Does anyone really think of themselves as uptight, annoying or high-strung? Probably not. Even high-maintenance people think they’re low-maintenance.

6. “I have a great, successful life, but I just need someone to share it.” Experts suggest that this person isn’t really trying to brag; rather, they’re trying to make it clear that they’re not needy or lonely. They want to explain that they don’t have any major failings as a human being just because they’re using an online dating site. Deep down, they may be one of those people that still stigmatizes online dating and isn’t completely comfortable.