Are you hoping that your online dating adventure will "net" you a Keeper? You're not just fooling around "“ you are really looking to find and attract and enter into a relationship with one special person? Excellent. Here's your short, punchy guide for how to set yourself up for success.
1. Tell the truth.
Let no fib or untruth sneak onto your profile page. Have a trusted friend review what you've written and invite that person to help you embellish, slash and reword what you're choosing to share about yourself.
You simply MUST have current, clear, high quality photos on your profile. A sharp, smiling face shot and the ESSENTIAL full body shot "“ THIS YEAR's version of you. Skip the shirtless selfie in the bathroom mirror, lose the shot with 6 other bridesmaids, ditch that sunglasses and cap shot. Toss the photo with your ex blurred out. Seriously, folks"¦ if you want to have second dates, you'll want to have as few surprises as possible on the first date. Next time you spend any quality time in the mirror to look nice for an event "“ take THAT opportunity to have a friend shoot a bunch of photos, to capture a great one for your profile.
3. Spin Positively.
Let nothing negative fly off your fingertips. Frame everything you say in a positive light. Rather than saying "No couch potatoes" "¦ say that you're a good fit for someone who enjoys regular workouts and a healthy diet.
4. Look For What's Right.
It's OK to have a long wish list. But the key is to get VERY clear with yourself about what really matters most. Whittle your oh-so-long list of Ideal Mate Qualifiers down to Your Top Five. These are the qualities, characteristics and attributes that you would be unhappy without. You'd rather be alone for the rest of your life than choose a partner who wasn't made up of these five elements. Hint: Height and hair don't usually make it to the top five"¦ When reading profiles (Yes, dismiss fewer based solely on the photos) look for your Top Five Critical Criteria. Resist the temptation to veto someone for not having item number 7 or 17 on your list. THIS will change everything for you. I promise.
5. Say Yes.
When in doubt, when a candidate is knocking on your door, if this person appears to have your coveted Top Five Critical Criteria, practice saying Yes. Remember "“ the way you've been doing dating hasn't yet delivered the intended result. Right? The nature of blind spots is that we simply can't see our own. The great likelihood is that you've been dismissing, vetoing, and discarding plenty of potential candidates for what really are silly and superficial reasons. The ones that jump out at you as being the most delicious and desirable "“ well, guess what? EVERYONE notices that one, and so that "IT person" gets lots of attention. The best catch in the room is usually NOT the best looking, the tallest, the most charming or the wealthiest. Trust me on this. Look for the gems hidden just below the surface. Look just a little bit deeper than you have been. You don't want to be overlooked for a minor flaw, or for not being the brightest star in the sky, do you? So don't make that mistake when you're trolling online profiles.
6. Have the courage to be vulnerable.
Yes, it takes guts to put yourself at risk, to reach out, to say Yes, to call or to answer when the phone rings for you. How to bust through that fear is to focus on bringing a smile to this person's face. It's just an email. It's just a text message. It's just one date. Do dating one moment at a time, and if your intention is simply to contribute to this person, to brighten this person's day and to lift spirits with each communication and each encounter, you simply can't fail. In other words, make dating less about you and more about contributing to these other souls along your journey, one touch at a time.
7. Be Present.
Give the person in front of you (on your iPhone or in person) the gift of your presence. Resist the temptation to compare this person to a former love or to the fictitious ideal mate that you have lodged in your mind. Give this person the benefit of a fresh, open-minded perspective. Just as you want to be considered. Do unto others"¦. When asked about anything sensitive regarding your past, share a positive 30-second response. Don't go down dark tunnels, and if your date is falling into that trap, rescue the conversation by offering a positive spin and bring the focus back to the present.
8. Have the courage to initiate.
If the right ones aren't knocking on your door, see what happens when you reach out. Save your Favorites and send one thoughtful, concise, playful email every day.
9. Be Smart. Catch the creeps.
There are predators out there. Count on it. Keep private your last name, residential and work addresses. And use an email address that doesn't reveal your last name. Be smart. Take your time before inviting someone into your home. Keep your pants on "“ hold off on sex until you are both ready to focus exclusively on each other and until you know that you share the same purpose for dating.
10. Practice Kindness.
Express appreciation. Say Thank You. Be kind to each other. Be honest with each other. When it's not a fit, wish each other well and burn no bridges. As a wise grandmother once said, "Always be nice. And don't turn down a date with anyone "“ you never know who his friends might be"¦"