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“Forget the reasons it might not work and believe all the reasons why it will."
This is the final entry (for now) of our 3 part series on online dating.
Love Lesson: “Online Dating Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make”
If you think that online dating is just for needy and desperate people, you’re still living in the dark ages. Cancel your dial-up and pay attention because investing time in your own love life has never been easier. In this comprehensive guide to online dating we wanted to make sure that you knew the ins, outs, ups and downs needed for your love journey. After all, your Mommy Noire Love Class is all about you being an empowered woman, loving herself and being an asset to the world.
Put simply, mama deserves to get the love she wants. This is not about committing a DWD, Dating While Desperate. This is about our BYOB, Be Your Own Bombshell movement!
In part one we talked about why you needed to be dating online as a single part seeking a relationship. In part two we broke down which sites were hits -- and misses. Now it’s time for the nitty gritty. You’ve chosen a site, now what?
1. Dating Site Overview
The same way that each nightclub is different, each online dating site has a different approach. No matter what, however, each site will require you to create a dating profile. Your profile is your face to the public in the world of online dating. Be clear that online dating is never a one-way street. You are not a weeping willow waiting to be chosen. You are being clear about who you are and what you want.
2. Choosing Your Photo
Men are visual creatures, and truth be told, so are we. You want to choose a photo that communicates exactly what you want it to. Remember, people only know what you present. You could be an amazing person but if you put up a crappy photo the man of your dreams might never know that you exist.
As a Passionate Living Coach, I always recommend that my clients to take pictures specifically for their dating profile. Please note that these headshots look nothing like the Sears portraits or class photos you took when you were a kid. This is also not your buttoned up LinkedIn business shot. If you’re serious about your dating life, it makes sense to invest the time. If you’re reading this, be honest with yourself that you want to be in a relationship. Go for it all the way!
5 Online Dating Photo Don'ts:
- Do NOT post any pictures with you and your children
- Do NOT only post photos of you and your pets
- Do NOT post pics with you and anyone else
- Do NOT post blurry or fuzzy images
- Do NOT sext half naked pics to strangers
5 Online Dating Photo Dos:
- DO take a gorgeous, natura head and shoulders shot.
- DO include head-to-toe shots
- DO wear a cute, red tank top
- DO let your best assets shine
- DO smile, smile, smile!
Bonus: 5 Online Dating Photo Musts:
Your photo MUST be current. You may think you look the same as you did 10 years ago, but others may beg to differ.
Your online photo MUST be an accurate portrayal of who you are. If you share pics of yourself dancing on the table and you’d rather read a book or vice versa, you’re doing a bait and switch.
Your photo MUST show some skin. I’m talking arms, shoulders and collarbones, not a full-on Kardashian bikini selfie. Studies show that (shocker) women get more of a response when they’re not all bundled up.
You MUST have more than one photo. Anyone can get it together and look cute for the Best Photo of Her Life. Your dates want to see what you look like from a variety of perspectives.
You MUST use photos unique to the site if you hope to be incognito. Google photo search can help any stranger pull up your Facebook page and website if you have a photo overlap.
3. A Rose By Any Other Name
When Will Shakespeare said that a rose by any other name still smells as sweet, he wasn’t talking about online dating. Each dating site will ask you to select a unique profile name. In real life we can blame an “off” moniker on your overzealous parents. However, we know that “LikkinBerries69” is a name you chose all yourself.
Your online dating name can turn away your potential sweetheart before you have him at hello. Names like “MustFindLove” or anything with the word “Easy” in the title reek of desperation.
Choose a name that reflects your unique persona. Some people choose career-related names or names related to their favorite sport or city. Whatever you do, do not include your real name as a part of your online dating name. You want to pre-screen first for safety and practical reasons before anyone online knows who you are offline.
4. Breaking Down the Profile
The thought of filling out an in depth dating profile can be intimidating. Some sites like Chemistry.com and eHarmony have these profiles because those sites are looking to match people for long term, committed relationships. However, plenty of marriages are also made on BlackPeopleMeet.com, Match.com, Plenty of Fish and OKCupid as well.
If you’re a geek like me, you’re relish the chance to tell your life story in your profile. Don’t. Studies show that most folks won’t read all of it anyway. Just like in a bar, you want to be genuine, interesting, funny and thoughtful.
Keep it real with your answers. Make sure that your grammar and spelling are on point. Having fugly spelling mistakes in your profile is like being on a date with bad breath. Run a spell check on anything you post.
5. The Safety Question
Keep your wits about you. Just because you like some guy’s photo doesn’t mean that you ignore red flags. Avoid “Catfish” style scams by dating people only in your general vicinity. There is no need to enter into an online dialogue with someone in Italy, Alaska or Nigeria when there are men right in your backyard. Don’t spend more than a week or three back and forth exchanges chatting on the site before you go offline to see if it’s a match.
Use the phone. Set up FreeConferenceCall.com so that you don’t have to give out your phone number. Chat by Skype to see if the person looks like their picture.
Do not have strangers pick you up from your home. Meet in a bright, well lit area and have your own transportation. Do not get into a car with “SexyDex46” no matter what he tells you. Phone apps like “Are They Really Single,” “Been Verified” and “DateCheck” use people search tools to reveal if a man is married, has a record and what his personal contact information is. Use Google.
In other words, use the same common sense you use in the real world in the online world. Does this kill some of the romance and wonder? Maybe, but there is nothing romantic about being hoodwinked.
Also, watch the video below, "How to Avoid Online Dating Scams."
6. The First In-Person Date
You may opt to meet first for drinks to make sure that there’s chemistry before being tied into a whole dinner. Tell a friend where you are going and who you will be there with. When you feel safe you can really be yourself.
Don’t hide the fact that you have children. The man you’re seeking will see this as an asset rather than a detriment. However, there’s no need to whip out an album on the first date. Let him get to know you first. You also can leave discussions of your ex and how involved he is with you and your children until you get to know your date.
Have fun. Be your fun, flirty, cute self. You are not waiting for him to give you his approval. It’s just a damn date, an opportunity to collect data to see if it’s a match. Enjoy yourself and stop stressing. Everyone doesn’t have to be “the one.”
7. Oh -- I never thought I’d have to tell an adult this but it came up the other day with a client:
NO Naked Skyping or Big Girl Panty Sexting with a dude you’ve never met on a dating site when you’re hoping for a long term relationship.
Congrats on venturing out into the dating world again, gorgeous.
Keep reading as in the coming weeks we’ll go deeper into how to make sure you get the love you deserve. In the meanwhile, don’t be afraid to test the waters. You are worth loving!
Watch "How to Avoid Online Dating Scams!"
Catch up on Love Class
- Should You be Dating Online?
- What Men Want from Women
- Your Sexual Self Esteem: A Quiz
- Orgasm 101: Female Orgasm Q&A
- Are You Forcing a Relationship?
- Control Your Sensual Pleasure
Passionate Living Coach Abiola Abrams gives extraordinary women inspiring advice on healthy relationships, self-esteem and getting the love we deserve. You’ve seen her love interventions in magazines from Essence to JET and on shows from MTV’s “Made” to the CW Network’s “Bill Cunningham Show.” Find love class worksheets, advice videos, coaching, and more at Abiola’s Love University. Her upcoming advice guide is named “The Official Bombshell Handbook.” Tweet @abiolaTV or #loveclass.