Q: Should I use my Linkedin headshot or other professional headshot photo for my online dating profile?
A: Typically headshots are overly photoshopped, are stiff and do not offer any insight into who you are or what you are about. Unless your headshot accurately depicts how you look, is natural and refreshing, don't use it. If your headshot does not look like your other photos, it will raise some concern and likely lead to people swiping left on you.
Q: Are my photos with sunglasses on ok to use for my profile?
A: No, but if if you limit such photos to 1 only, ensure they are location appropriate i.e. beach, hiking trail etc., AND you have at least 3-4 other non-sunglass photos then you can let that slide.
Q: Are group photos ok to use? Should I use cropped photos?
A: Yes, but again only if you limit these types of photos and you label who you are (no one likes guessing). Make sure others in the photos do not make you look short (especially for men) or make you look less attractive (men and women). Crop excess space and people or at least label who you are in the caption area.
Q: What are the absolute worst types of photos to use in an online dating profile?
A: Photos with people who could be mistaken as an ex, selfies unless in an epic situation i.e. celebrity or travels (not your gym, car nor bathroom), dark photos, small photos, blurry photos, photos more than 3-5 years old, photos where you have changed your appearance (weight, hair color or length, facial hair, tattoos etc.), Snapchat filtered photos etc.
Q: What is the optimal number of photos I should use in my online dating profile?
A: Definitely at least 3-4 photos but no more than 6. Typically, the more photos you post the more harshly you will be judged i.e. you are only as good looking as your worst photo.
Q: Should I look away and not smile in my photos like those articles say to do?
A: No, most of those stats reference Tinder data (younger, more immature users). While those photos might solicit likes, they don't necessarily result in quality dates. Be yourself, be candid. Smile naturally, don't force it. Look at the camera, look interested. Looking away in your photos will give off the impression you might be self-absorbed or are trying to hide something. Read this article for additional insight.
Q: Should I use photos of me with my kids? Should I use photos of me with my dog or pet?
A: No, kids are an inseparable part of your life but there is a time and place for that. Your profile should focus on you but you should at least mention them in the bio/questions. For pets, limit to one photo and make sure it looks natural and not forced nor staged.
BIO / ABOUT ME SECTION
Q: Should I use a ghostwriter to write my bio and send messages to matches for me?
A: No, absolutely not. I provide clients guidelines on what to focus on and what to elaborate on in their bios but I do not write bios myself. Character and personality will be lost in translation if you hire someone to do this. Secondly, you deprive yourself of the chance to experience the exploration of getting to know someone through those messages.Read this articleon what to expect from such a service.
Q: I feel and look younger than my age - is it ok to shave off a few years from my actual age?
A: Absolutely not. Being truthful is important in online dating. If you lie about age right off the bat, what else might you be lying about?
Q: What words and phrases should never be used in online dating profiles?
A: Drama-free, no drama, no players, or list of adjectives to describe yourself i.e. I am sexy, fit, smart, funny, outgoing etc. Instead of listing deal-breakers, focus on things that you are attracted to, inspire you, make you curious, make you hungry etc. Guilty pleasures, random quirks and self-deprecating humor works well.
Q: What are the demographics for each online dating site and app?
A: There is no definitive answer on this but a couple surveys are about right highlighting age and gender splits: SurveyMonkey Intelligence 2016 and Bustle study 2016.
MATCHING & MESSAGING ETIQUETTE
Q: When is the best time to go online? How often should I be swiping?
A: Typically around 8pm and 11pm during the week (Monday-Thursday). Although addictive, you should limit logging on to about 2-3 times a week. Avoid logging on between Friday evenings and Sunday afternoons - take some time off to enjoy your weekend.
Q: Is there such a thing as being overly eager and aggressive when it comes to messaging and swiping?
A: Yes, absolutely. You should express excitement but avoid appearing overly eager. Be direct, be timely and be transparent. Do not reply to the first message in a string immediately every time the other person initiates contact but also do not purposely make the person wait. Respond 24-48 hours within matching and reply back same day or within 24 hours for subsequent messages. Additionally it is bad etiquette to swipe right on someone you are not interested in.
Q: How long does it take to get matches, receive messages and ask a person out after matching?
A: It can take weeks, months to find quality matches through dating apps. Be sure you are using the most appropriate ones based on your demographics. As for messaging, it can take 1-3 days for most people to respond to messages. People should not be glued to apps daily (take breaks, especially on weekends and during the workday). If someone does not respond to your message, move on to the next person. A date should be requested within 3-5 days after initial pairing.
OTHER RESOURCES / TERMINOLOGY
Q: What are some podcasts, books and other resources I should check out?
A: Read Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari; Maureen O'Connor (New York Magazine's Sex Lives Podcast); and read my tips on my Medium page and Good Men Project author page. Also do check out PhotoFeeler (a free crowd-sourced photo review platform with some solid advice on online profiles).
Q: How can I tell if a user is a scammer or if a profile is fake?
A: There is no certain way to tell but Bumble is the best app for verifying users. There are several ways to investigate a profile/account which I reveal to clients directly as to not alert creepy and skeevy guy.
Q: What is hatfishing?
A: It is when a guy purposely wears hats in his online dating photos and/or dates to conceal baldness. Guys should embrace their new look because 1) women do not want to play a guessing game (too many other men out there to swipe right on; 2) could be a sign for lack of confidence; 3) could be hiding other things in his life. Other terms to know and be slightly disgusted by.
Q: What is good first date etiquette to know about?
A: Arrive early or at least arrive before her. If running late, give a heads up and an ETA. Do not check your phone during the date. Ask questions, be interested. Do not apply excessive cologne (1-2 sprays max if any). Trim nose hairs. Brush your teeth. Always have a backup plan or two in case plan A goes awry. Make eye contact. Ensure the noise levels are ok and there are no private events that day.
Lastly, online dating apps are meant to introduce people, you don't date online. Exchange a few messages and then take things offline. Dating apps and websites are not a platform where you share every detail of your life nor should should you pin all your hopes on one person after matching. That is too much pressure to put on one person.
Also, check out the Singles In America annual survey by Match.com's Chief Scientific Officer. Read this article about Tinder Tips on Man Peller by Slutever's Karley Sciortino
Contact me with how I can help you with your online dating profile.