No, but really — how does a person have have better sex or a better relationship? The Fresh Toast has enlisted Rachel Krantz, a sex writer and proud canna-enthusiast, to help readers out with some answers as its sex columnist. No question is off limits, and all questions will remain anonymous. Please send your sex and relationship inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now, onto this week’s topic: simple tips for online dating.
Q: Hi. I’m a guy who got out of a long relationship a few months ago. I’m ready to get back out there, and I signed up for OkCupid, but I feel like I’m not having the best luck. Do you have any tips for online dating successfully?
A: As it turns out, I met my partner on OKCupid. I’m a big fan of the site’s algorithm for finding matches — and I continue to use it, since we have a non-monogamous relationship and have kept up profiles for dating outside the relationship. Whatever you’re looking for, I think that certain tips for online dating could prove useful no matter what. Here are mine.
Solicit Feedback From Your Most Honest Friend
Especially if you like women and are a man, I’d suggest that friend be your sister or other best female buddy who won’t mince words. Have her look over your pictures and what you’ve written, and ask what she’d change, or what doesn’t read as authentic. Tell her to be as honest as possible, and change anything you think is legit (though don’t let her convince you to do anything that feels inauthentic, either).
Answer Questions Authentically, Not Aspiration-ally
I think this is the only way to make OKCupid’s algorithm work for you — but it is also true for other sites with personality questions. You have to answer at least 100 questions as honestly as possible, based on how you actually feel and how you know you are — not the way you think others would want you to be, or you wish you were. Otherwise, the algorithm won’t work. On OKCupid, it’s also important to select “very important” to your preferred partner responses more often than you might think. If you say their answer is “irrelevant” or “only a little important” for each question in an effort to be accommodating, the algorithm won’t work as well. The more questions you can answer, the more accurate your matches will be.
If You’re Using An App That Pulls From Facebook, Be Sure Your Profile Is Up-To-Date
Lots of apps like Tinder and Bumble pull from your Facebook to match you with people. They also note what pages you’ve liked and use that information to match you, so make sure any likes and groups on your Facebook are up-to-date. You’ll also want to be careful to consider whether you want your place of employment to be featured on the app, since that’s also pulled from your Facebook.
Don’t Use The Words “Baby,” “Sweetie,” Or Otherwise Be Lazy
I can’t tell you how many times guys open by calling me their “baby,” “sweetie,” “honey,” or otherwise opening with an empty physical compliment. You need to personalize each message based on actual ideas in the other person’s profile — the time you put in will mean a lot, especially to women, who are often overwhelmed by messages. Be confident, concise, polite, and always ask a question that could lead to further conversation. Make any compliment implicit.
For example, when my partner messaged me the first time, he said (among other things), “I’m curious about the sound of this unselfconscious laughter,” something I’d noted “I was good at” on my profile. The compliment, that he’d love to hear me laugh, was subtle and effective, and communicated he’d read my profile in full.
Don’t Try To Rush Into A First Date
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Exchange messages for a while. Wait till you get their number and text before asking them out. Suggest talking on the phone to see if there’s chemistry, even. Either way, the less you rush things, the more interested the other person will likely be. Keep the interest and effort going, but avoid seeming desperate or like all your eggs are in one basket. If the other person isn’t reciprocating with questions or enthusiastic responses, they might not be interested, and your time is better spent elsewhere.
Think Of Dating Like You’re Being Recruited
I find it’s best to think of online dating like being recruited for a job — you’re not desperate for hire, but if you’re interested, you want to represent yourself well, be considerate, and ask plenty of questions to sense whether this would be a good next move for you. Thinking of a first date in this light — rather than as if you’re unemployed and desperate for work — will set you up for the most success in the longterm. Everyone wants to feel like they’re getting a good deal, but no one wants to deal with someone who’s arrogant, either. Sexiness lies in being confident in what you have to offer, demonstrating it, listening, and demonstrating deliberate, earned interest.
Best of luck to you, and remember: as much as it might feel otherwise sometimes, a message reply doesn’t determine your self-worth. Only you can do that.