You’ve undoubtedly seen the advertisements for various online dating sights. Match, eHarmony, and Farmers Only are but a few that come to mind. And then there’s the swipe left or right sights like Tinder and Bumble.
There are more than 1,500 dating and hookup websites. The larger sights like Match will boast that 30% of relationships start on line today. After digging deeper into that number, only about 12% to 15% of marriages actually start on line.
Online dating sights are simply a tool to help introduce you to people that you wouldn’t normally meet in your day-to-day life.
Online dating sucks!
I’ve said it. You’ve more than likely said it. Why? The answer varies from person to person. Some of the more common reasons are outdated pictures, lying about age, hair, height, scammers, not to mention the time it takes to scroll through hundreds of profiles.
You’ve undoubtedly heard many horror stories from friends, maybe even family, and even the local Kansas City media. Recently there was a story of a woman that was scammed out of over $3,000,000 to buy into a gold mine.
A couple of years ago I did a TV interview for a local story about a woman that had met a man online. She met in person and within the first few days of meeting him, brought him home to meet her children, one of which was a teenage daughter.
To make a long story short, within 30 days she had a restraining order against him because he turned out to be a stalker and a pedophile.
I’m not telling you this to scare you away from online dating. I’m sharing this to make you aware that there is evil out there and with some very simple observations and precautions most of these situations could have been avoided.
Scammers are slick, but there are a number of characteristics that should throw up all kinds of red flags! They’ll say all the right things to draw you in by playing on your emotions and loneliness.
One scenario is that they are working offshore, typically on an oil rig. They’re having problems with their credit cards, debit cards, or checking account. They need money to get to the bank to straighten out their accounts.
Another scenario is that they are missionaries and don’t have regular access to phone service and can’t talk often. They need money or computer equipment to “do the Lord’s work.”
If the situation feels to good to be true, it more than likely is a scam. If someone starts asking you for money, it’s probably a scam. This is the time to walk away and report it to the site you’re on.
Is there an upside?
The up side is that this is a great way to meet people that you wouldn’t normally come in contact with. It is simply a tool to help you connect with people you may have things in common with.
Profiles can be very enticing and make you think you’ve found the perfect mate…and maybe you have. It takes time to find out for sure.
Odds are you’re going to go on a lot of first dates or as I call them, “one-and-done.” This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The more you date the better you get at it. Each date gives you the opportunity to learn more about what you want in a relationship as well as what you don’t want.
Create a better profile.
Make your profile more effective. The first thing anyone sees is your picture. Look at your pictures objectively as if you were seeing you for the first time. What do you see? Can you see your eyes? Do your photos provide a snapshot of who you are?
Make sure your profile pic is a head shot. Your face is what everyone is looking to see first. No sunglasses or hats that cover up your eyes or face. Pics like these may give a glimpse of your personality and can be used, just not as your primary profile pic.
No group photos for your profile pic. No one knows who you are and you’re making it too hard to figure it out. No excessive use of travel pics. This is something you can write about in your profile and share when you start talking to a potential mate.
Make sure you have a full body shot. You may object to this one but, you’re going to be seen sometime by someone; might as well be open and honest. It also helps if you have some pics showing you doing the activities you enjoy such as dancing, tennis, bicycling, or any other hobby you enjoy.
Consider having your profile pics done by a professional photographer. They’re great at capturing the real you.
Finally, for safety reasons, don’t use pictures from social media on your online profile. It’s quite simple to do a Google photo search and find out who you are. Be smart. Stay safe.
It’s all about you!
When you create your profile, make sure you introduce yourself. This is the hardest part for most people because almost no one likes writing about themselves. Your first paragraph or two should be used to describe who you are and the things you like to do.
The second part can be about what you want or what you are looking for in a relationship.
If you doubt me, look at profiles online. Which ones do you like best? Which ones turn you off? Use this as a guide for creating or rewriting your online profile.
Use common sense when you sign up on an online dating sight. If you’re unsure about your judgement, ask a friend or friends to review profiles with you.
Don’t subject yourself to online dating burnout. Limit your time viewing profiles and reading email to 30 to 60 minutes a day. More than that and you run the risk of becoming overwhelmed, frustrated, and may just give up.
You get what you pay for. Free sights are free for a reason. They generally have very low-quality membership.
If you make a connection with someone, be up front with them and tell them you plan to do a background check and would expect them to do the same for you. This one statement will chase a lot of would-be predators and scammers away.
Recognize online dating for what it is. It’s a tool! It’s a way of meeting people you wouldn’t otherwise run into. It’s not for everyone but can be very helpful if used wisely.
I’ll be back with more tips, wisdom, and insights next week. Until then, have a great and blessed day.