Five Signs You May Need a Break from Online Dating

Online dating is a great way to meet new people and potentially find love, but it can be exhausting. Some former online daters even told us it feels like a part-time job: you sift through the various profiles out there, look for things that appeal to you, try to contact the possible dates, physically GO on dates, and then hope that things progress from there. It takes time, effort and energy. And over time, it can wear you out.

While you might not want to lose precious time in your search for a mate, there might come a time when you should take a break from the exertions of online dating. You don’t want to get completely burned out; that will skew your judgment and make finding a truly good match even harder for you. So how can you tell when you’ve reached your threshold and need to step back? Dr Greg Kushnick wrote an article for Huffington Post that outlined some of the key signs to watch for. They include:

  1. You check your dating apps almost constantly. This is an obsession that shows you’ve gotten far too attached to the process. If you can’t go an hour between glances at the screen, it’s break time.
  2. Little letdowns cause major upset for you. A small dealbreaker, rejection or other hiccup in your dating process shouldn’t feel like the world is ending. If you’re tempted to cry into a pillow because the person you messaged turned out to be a smoker, you need to step back.
  3. You only go on first dates, never second ones. Something is clearly not quite right if none of your meetups continue for more than one evening. Maybe your perspective is off; maybe a temporary break in dating will help you clean your slate a bit and start fresh.
  4. You complain about online dating like you’re a victim of something horrible, but you keep on doing it. If you bitch about the process, whine about how no one is suitable, or badmouth the experiences you’ve had, you come across as bitter, and that vitriol festers in you. If you complain, take some time away from what you’re complaining about.
  5. You’re depressed or anxious, and getting more so. If you are already prone to depression or struggle with issues like depression and anxiety, online dating won’t fix anything. In fact, it could be making you worse. If you have depression, you should be spending your main efforts on helping yourself get better. That way, you’re more likely to be in the right mindset to find a healthy match, and you won’t be expecting anyone to come along and make everything magically better (because that simply doesn’t happen).

Smile, Frown or Flirt: The Three Profile Pic Expressions Examined

Most people will say it’s always better to smile in a photo. You look friendly, happy, welcoming, etc. when you smile. But is that truly the case for an online dating profile photo? What sort of facial expression works in dating profiles to catch the eye of potential matches?

An OKCupid blog post set out to examine dating profile facial expressions in detail. The author found some interesting results just by poring over the vast collection of photos on the site. Women smile in 56% of their photos, while men smile in just 37% of theirs. Meanwhile, men make a “flirty face” just 2% of the time, while women make it about 9% of the time. So that’s how the actual pics shake out; now what actually WORKS?

Flirting with the camera gets girls the most messages.

Flirting with the camera gets girls the most messages.

By and large, the flirty face gets a woman the most messages from prospective dates, but there’s a caveat: She must be flirting AT the camera, not away from it. Women who make the flirty face but don’t make eye contact with the camera get much worse results. It makes sense when you think about it. Men like to be flirted with, but they don’t like to think you’re flirting at someone off to their side. So ladies, send the bedroom eyes at the camera lens, and you’re most likely to get a response.

For the men, the pics that got them the most messages were non-smiling, and also, strangely, non-eye-contact. A man staring off to the side, stone-faced, is more successful than it seems like he should be. The author theorizes that it makes the man look more mysterious, and therefore, more interesting. And once again, if a man makes a flirty face, he needs to do it AT the camera, not off to the side of it.

But most men don’t do the flirty face at all.

 

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!

20 Things You Should Never, Ever Say on a First Date

And now for some slightly lighter fare.

For most people, the do’s and don’ts of first date conversation can vary quite a bit. Some people say never to talk about politics or religion, while others insist that those topics are vital in getting to know if someone is a good match. Talking about exes is generally a no-no, while discussing music is usually safe. Some things, however, fall firmly in the do-not-say category. In the spirit of humor (and just a touch of uncomfortable realism), here’s a list of twenty of those particular no-go comments that should get you kicked to the curb in no time flat:

  • Do you have a photo of your mom? I want to see whether you’re going to age well.
  • What are your feelings on roleplaying as badgers?
  • Mind if I take a quick blood sample?
  • I think Hitler was somewhat misunderstood.
  • You can’t be a REAL gamer unless you play [insert obscure game here].
  • I’m a better driver when I’m drinking.
  • What does your hair smell like?
  • This tie is made of real baby seal pelt!
  • I’m not a crazy cat person. It takes at least 10 cats for that, and I only have 8.
  • I’m pretty sure the moon landing was a hoax.
  • Come on, don’t you read the science? Vaccines cause autism!
  • Want to hear about my kidney stone experience?
  • If climate change were real, it would never be snowing out.
  • You should meet my parents! And look, they’re right over at that table!
  • Well, I’m currently married, but it’s just a green card marriage so it doesn’t count.
  • Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?
  • You sure you want to order that? It has a lot of calories, and you probably don’t need them…
  • I like that shirt on you! It’s a lot better than the one you wore last night when you were sleeping.
  • Sorry to rush you, but I have another date after this one.
  • I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, egg-free and sugar-free. Also I’m allergic to water, but I take a pill for that.

“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.