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How to Identify Your Online Dating Mistakes

Wondering why online dating sites never seem to lead to offline dates? Here's what you might be doing wrong.


  • Step 1: Don't use the wrong picture Take a look at your profile picture. If you're a woman and you don't look a little flirtatious, you're limiting the guys who'll want to contact you. If you're a guy and you're all dressed up, you'll get fewer responses than a man in more casual attire. Also evaluate your photos' boring factor -- intriguing pictures get a lot of hits, even if the person's face is obscured. And whatever you do, don't use a picture taken with a flash; it adds 7 years to your looks!
  • TIP: The "MySpace angle" shot -- looking coy as you snap a picture of yourself from above -- is the most effective type of photo a woman can post, according to research.
  • Step 2: Don't be too truthful Check whether your profile is too truthful.
    If you're a man under 6 feet tall and you're not exaggerating your height by 2 inches, you're putting yourself at a disadvantage, because the majority of male online daters pump up their stature. They're also inflating their salary by 20 percent. As for women, you'd do well to shave an inch or two off your height if you're over 5 feet 4 inches -- average-height and shorter women get more responses than tall ones
  • TIP: A 5-foot 4-inch woman gets 60 more online dating messages per year than a 6-foot tall woman.
  • Step 3: Be positive Give your profile the negativity test. Are you listing more traits you're not looking for than ones you like? Too many deal-breakers makes you seem judgmental, narrow-minded, and bitter. Instead, strike an upbeat tone and focus on what you do like -- in life and in a potential mate.
  • Step 4: Don't send a one-size-fits-all message Review the messages you've sent. If you're dashing off the same generic introduction to everyone who catches your eye, you're much less likely to get a response than if you tailor your note to each person you want to date. Also, long-winded messages tend to get fewer responses than brief ones.
  • TIP: Increase your chances of hearing back from someone by referencing a hobby or interest that they talked about in their profile.
  • Step 5: Don't use text speak Consider the way you write your messages. People who use a lot of text message shortcuts get fewer responses than online daters who use normal spelling. Exceptions to this rule are "haha" and "lol" which potential dates do like, possibly because they suggest a sense of humor.
  • Step 6: Don't try too hard Have a trusted friend read both your profile and some of the messages you've sent that garnered no replies; a close pal will tell you if you're coming off as desperate or weird. Now get back online and knock 'em dead!
  • FACT: Married couples that met online dated for about 18 months -- couples that met offline had a courtship of over 3 years before tying the knot.

You Will Need

  • Critical eye
  • Honest friend

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