This is a repost of a post I posted on the ChristianMingle.com message board. I received mostly positive responses, although a few people found it truly offensive (which is beyond me). What are your thoughts? Obviously, some of these things apply exclusively to Christian Mingle, but most of them apply to the whole realm of Internet dating.
What are your thoughts and experiences in this area? Even if you’ve never dated online, what pros and cons do you see to this advice? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Gleaning advice from both experience, observation, and other commentaries to dating online. I have compiled this advice. The long and the short… Fill out your profile, please!
Most of this info can apply to both genders. Some may be pointed towards women simply because those are the only profiles I’m looking at.
Three words isn’t even the beginning of getting to know you. Neither is a couple of sentences. I know you could write a novel and still not scratch the surface. But a paragraph or two of honest information that shows your individuality really helps make you stand out of the crowd. In a dating site with thousands upon thousands of people, you want to stand out.
After reading, please feel free to comment or add your own!
Tips for Putting Your Best Foot Forward
“I’m shy until I get to know you.”
This doesn’t tell much about you. Believe it or not, this describes the majority of the world’s population. It’s not bad information, but it doesn’t make you stand out. Try not to open or end with this, but if you feel it’s important don’t exclude it.
“I think you’ll find out more just messaging me.”
This is a great tool to use if you’re getting writer’s block. Just make sure this isn’t all your profile offers. They need to have something to help strike up a conversation (especially if they are shy). If you don’t give them something to work with they might be intimidated. You’re not going to turn someone away with more information. But no information? Most will ignore and move on to the next profile. If you make them interested in you they will definitely ask more!
Quirkiness & Creativity = Good
A typical subscriber will go through hundreds of profiles. When many profiles are a couple sentences long with generic information, anyone who steps outside of the box (or shows personality) is certainly a beautiful sight for sore eyes. Show them what makes you different from the next person. Being you is a beautiful thing.
Picture With Another Guy (or Gal)
Regardless of who it is, having your main profile picture including a person of the opposite gender is a huge turn-off. Even if it’s really your brother, friend, cousin, uncle, dog (okay, nevermind, dogs are cute…and not people…well at least not most of them). The person reading your profile doesn’t know.Make sure you’re not sending confusing signals.
It’s not that we don’t like your friends/family, it’s that it’s our first impression. You don’t want to leave them feeling like they are competing with someone else—even if they aren’t.
P.S. Try to exclude other people from your primary photo in-general. It’s really confusing when left to play “Where’s Waldo.” Do a search for free cropping or use Google+ Images which comes with free editing online.
Do No Harm
Becareful of using pictures that have you holding a gun (or any weapon) menacingly (i.e., pointed at the camera like you’re shooting your potential suitors). From many comments, and even personal experience, seeing a woman with a gun is attractive. However, context is everything. Make sure your picture is saying “I’m attractive and powerful” and not “You’re going to die on our first date.”
A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Words (Multiplied)
Have more than one picture. It’s valuable information. Believe it or not, pictures are not just tools for the shallow. Research has shown that just by a picture we can accurately glean details about a person—even their religious beliefs.A variety of photos allows us to get a sense of who you are. Provide at least a few pictures of yourself with different themes; Dressy, working, casual, etc.
Tell Me More
Fill out your essays and make sure you think about your responses. Think about how your profile may come across from the opposite sex. Also, take advantage of the He Said / She Said forum. It’s a great place to ask for advice from your target audience. They can help you pinpoint areas that need work or are just right.
Again, remember that more information is often better than less.
Standards, Not Demands
It’s good to have standards. In fact, it’s a must. But don’t make a huge list of strict demands. Ask yourself if those things you’re asking for in another person are relevant, realistic, and reasonable.
It helps to imagine someone of the opposite sex having the same list. Would you be attracted to them or turned away? The answer could be either way. I like seeing a woman who knows what she believes and what relationships are about, but some laundry lists just make me feel like they are looking for the perfect purse to match their outfit.
Try to make sure you’re not holding the actions of past relationships against future suitors. They aren’t your ex.
Don’t Be Too Eager
It’s great to show excitement and enthusiasm, but make sure you’re not coming across as desperate or creepy. Being forward can be good, but in every society there are expected behaviors in certain social interactions. Doing unexpected behavior can be good, but being too out there can hurt. Jumping straight to “Marry me.” or “I want to have your babies.” (Yes, I’ve gotten that in a first contact before *shivers*) is skipping a few steps… Did I mention a few steps?
It is perfectly acceptable to take the first step! Take the initiative and introduce yourself. Regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman, it’s no secret why we’re all here. If you see someone you like say, “Hi.” Tell them about yourself. Just don’t start asking about what wedding cake they’d like.
Be Polite, Reply
Often times people assume no reply is better than hurting someone’s feelings with a “No.” However, even though “I’m sorry. I don’t think we’re a good match.” may sting a little, most people will respect your honesty and thoughtfulness—even if it takes some licking of wounds to realize it.
It is especially frustrating on a site like this where you can see if your message has been read.
“The king is pleased with words from righteous lips; he loves those who speak honestly.” – Proverbs 16:13 (NLT)
Negativity Is Not Good
Including the line “I don’t have much faith in this online dating…” in your profile is a turn-off. Some might ignore it, but many won’t. There are many decent people online. It’s just a matter of finding them. We’re all giving this an honest shot. Do it or don’t. But don’t tell suitors from the start you’re negative about the process, and ultimately, negative about them. Remember, you’re one of them.
Good Guys Need Not Apply
“Where have all the good guys gone?” is a line that relays the same information as above. Many good, Christian guys will see this as a negative attitude towards men and be less likely to initiate contact. Be positive and give them a chance. There are plenty of good guys out there, just make sure you truly want to find them.
Some Final Thoughts
In response to some comments to the original version of this post, I’d like to strongly stress these aren’t rules. This is advice. You can take it or leave it. Most of this is common sense.
The idea behind most of these is to help others put their best foot forward. The reality is that most people have very poor communication skills. This isn’t their fault, and it has very little to do with intelligence.It’s just that most people haven’t had much formal training in communication. As a result we may not understand how other people interpret what may sound perfect in our head, but in reality be confusing or negative.
My hope is that you’ll read these thoughts and think about your communication. I’d like to challenge you to evaluate your profile. See if it’s really telling others who you are, what your values are, and what you’re looking for out of this experience. If it stands the test, great. If it needs work, start looking for advice.
Most people here are real people, just like you. Always ask yourself… would you do or say these things when meeting someone in person? If the answer is “Yes.” then you’re on track.