As a therapist and officiant I meet a lot of couples, and the most common question I ask is: “How did you two meet?” From my sample of couples, about half meet online and the other half meet through friends. Thus, if you want to find someone to date, these are the two areas on which you should be focusing. As far as friends, you should let your existing friends know you’re looking in order for them to keep their eyes open for you. This also means that you’d benefit from making new friends in order to increase your circle of possibilities. You could essentially argue the best way to find your future spouse is not directly looking for a spouse, but to focus on making friends. The benefit of this is they can help filter out the rubbish give you people to hang out with as a couple when you’re introduced to someone, which is really great for bonding as a couple. Online dating, on the other hand, is a whole other world. It can often feel overwhelming and incredibly disheartening, especially because your mind says “Here’s a place with all kinds of single people; if I can’t find someone here in a week or two, I must be a serious loser.” About ten years ago my brother was single and not really doing anything to change that, so naturally… I set him up on a site called ChristianCafe.com; he’s Christian so that site made sense. After his initial shock… and anger, he further developed his profile, messaged people, went on a couple dates, and in a month or so met his wife. Thus proving, sometimes it pays to have a brother meddle… although you need to be careful with this. There’s a reason I haven’t done this for my sister. She might actually kill me. I also have a friend who found her future spouse with her first match. Is this the way it’s always supposed to work if you’re not finding- a-date challenged?
From what I’ve gathered, dating online is a lot like getting pregnant. Some people get what they want in the first couple tries while others can take years and need to hire extra help in order for it to work. Surprisingly, from talking to couples, I have found Plenty of Fish to be the most common site that leads to couples hiring me to do their wedding, which I find surprising when most people know it as a hook up site. Does this mean that’s the best site to use? No, but it does mean people who like that site also like me… which I’m not sure is a compliment or not. This Plenty of Fish phenomenon suggests, there is no simple solution or set rules to follow when dating online. In fact, I have worked with three brides who didn’t even put up a picture on their profile, which to me is insane if you want a guy to look at you. I’d normally assume no picture means the person is ridiculously ugly, but they weren’t; they were just very shy about online dating. The one picture-less profile bride also only wrote one line about what she wanted and nothing about herself, and yet she still had her future groom message her. He claims he wanted to see if she was a dude and get her in trouble, but that’s beside the point. Ultimately, when it comes to online dating there is no set rule… except don’t send genitalia pictures, which I hear is something a lot of guys do. Besides it being sexual harassment, why would you send the ugliest part of your body to impress a girl? I’ve never heard a girl say something like: “He’s the ugliest man in the world, but his kibble and bits are to die for.” Guys who send pictures of their privates have clearly watched too much porn, and have no idea what women want. Now, there may not be set “rules” for online dating besides don’t be a pervert, but I still have tips based on what I’ve seen and heard.
Tips for Online Dating:
- Don’t Put too Much Hope into One Site or Profile: Experiment with different ideas, and change things up every 2-3 weeks. Who knows what will click with someone.
- Experiment with Sites: There is no perfect site. Try a site for a month and then try another if you’re not happy with it. Try to find something that fits you like how I chose ChristianCafe.com for my Christian brother. Going to MuslimMatchUp.com or AthiestAlley.com for him, not as smart.
- Experiment with your Profile: There is no perfect profile. Try different things
- Be Patient with Yourself: Don’t beat yourself up if people don’t respond. Tell yourself that’s just one to cross off your list of losers and move on.
- Message More than Once if You Really Like Someone: I know one groom who messaged his future bride two times and didn’t get a response. The third time he asked her what he should name his new puppy and that started the conversation. She then swore she’d never go out with him… but you know how well that lasted. The funny thing is he wasn’t planning on getting a puppy; he was just trying to start a conversation. You never know what will work.
- Be Straight with What You Want: Avoid rambling and hidden messages. Don’t make people guess what you want or be overly playful. Be straightforward, especially since you don’t want to waste your time with someone who has irreconcilable differences. If you want a travel partner, say that. If you want someone who wants to start a family, say that. If you want someone who is more independent, say that. If you’re a pet person, make sure that’s known. Don’t waste your time talking to people who don’t meet the foundational things you need in a relationship.
- Have 2 Twitter Pitches: In a marketing book I read it suggested you should be able to say what you want in the length of a tweet. This means you should be able to sum up what you are looking for in a partner in a few lines as well as knowing what you have to offer.
Best Tip for Anyone Dating: Know What You Have to Offer: In sales, you need to know the product you’re selling and why someone should buy it, same goes for selling yourself. If you don’t know what’s good about you, how can you expect someone else to find it; you should know yourself better than anyone else. If you can’t figure this out, ask friends and/or see a therapist to figure out what’s good about you. You should have at least 10 things that you can say are reasons someone should date you.
This week may you realize what’s good about you.
Rev Chad David, ChadDavid.ca, learning to love dumb people