I have now officially closed my final online dating account (OKCupid) having removed Oasis last summer and POF in February. For the first time in nearly two years, I have no dating sites to log into and it feels… liberating in a way and now Mirror Image and I feel that little bit more official. I met some truly awesome people and some that I couldn’t get away from quickly enough. There was a succession of “hell no” and a good handful of “ooh, I really like you” and a large number of “meh”. For me, online dating has been a success in which I found out a hell of a lot about myself 🙂
I would do it again if Mirror Image and I parted ways. To that end I have decided to write a list of proposed rules for men and women to abide by to make the experience far more pleasant and successful for everyone. Most of these are non-gender specific but examples will follow my observations of women that I’ve dated and whose profiles I’ve seen.
1. Don’t Lie
Because you will get found out. It’s reported that as much as 80% of people lie about something in dating profiles (even if most of those lies are “white lies”. I didn’t at any point – I was honest about being separated before my divorce, and I was honest about being pretty sure about not wanting children. There are some lies that appear to be unforgivable for both genders – knocking years off of your age, putting up a picture of you when you were much younger and / or slimmer, and lying about children (i.e. pretending you don’t have them).
2. Drop the Entitlement
Just because you have a profile and pictures, you are not entitled to a date. Women complain of men being aggressive and complaining about never getting a response. Men complain at being expected to pay for everything all of the time from women who clearly have no interest in seeing them again but are happy for a free ride. In short – some men think women are after a free meal every night of the week and some women think men are only after sex. Neither men nor women are entitled to those things; if they are on offer then it should not be because the other person feels entitled to it or because society dictates it – but because it is being offered freely
3. Don’t Be a Hypocrite
Profiles that start: “Men won’t date me because I’m fat! You’re all pigs!” With such breathtaking hypocrisy usually finish with: “I’m not interested in bald men under 6′.” We all like to think we have standards – of course we do. There are things we like and things we don’t like, things we won’t budge on and things that are negotiable. There’s nothing wrong with that at all, but do not demand of others what you yourself will not do. If you won’t give this man a shot at dating you:
Then you’ve no right to demand this man give you a shot:
4. Look Inward Before You Blame
There is always something you can do to improve your chances. If you’ve been there two years and haven’t had any dates, assuming you are not being overly picky it’s probably something you are doing wrong. There’s always something you can do and blaming the opposite sex for shallowness in your profile is not constructive and is a certain way to make sure you won’t get any dates in future either – bitterness, whining and a victim mentality are not attractive
5. Treat Your Date With the Respect You Expect in Return
One of the biggest complaints from both men and women is “The Fade” (going silent after promising to contact then soon). The second biggest complaint is turning up late for a date, or not turning up at all. If you no longer want to talk to that person then do your best to put them off – don’t tell them that you are busy and will contact them soon. If you have second thoughts about turning up for a date, call it off – even at the last minute. There is no such thing as “fashionably late” -If you agree to meet somebody at 2pm then turn up at 2pm, not 2:15 because of something Cosmo told you “turning up on time will make you seem too eager and he’ll lose interest”. No, he won’t.
6. Be Gracious
The average response rate for a man just to get a message back is 1/20. Women fair higher than that because they are not expected to do the approaching. Men and women… you’re going to be rejected – a lot. Both genders are capable of reacting angrily to a well-meaning “you’re not my type but thanks and good luck” – getting angry and challenging them is not going to change their mind. If you meet up, decide they are not for you and offer a “I like you but only as a friend”, be gracious when they refuse that well-meaning offer – they owe you nothing. He’s right, people don’t go dating to find friends. It’s great when it happens, but don’t expect every man to leap up and down with joy
7. Don’t Fall into the “Sweet Shop” Trap
Yes, we get it… you have lots of options wanting to date you and you want a taste of all of them – otherwise you might miss out and what if option B is better than option A? Oh no, then there’s C and D and… oh now I have another message. Ok, so dithering with a current date who is keen and wants to see you again is not a good idea and you may end up with egg on your face when he dates somebody who does give firm plans. It’s too easy for us all to fall into that trap. Set firm plans to meet again with those you feel a connection and give the brush off to those you don’t. When you have several you can’t decide between, don’t dangle a carrot and expect them to wait forever – you will have to choose at some point. Playing with somebody’s feelings while you figure out your own is an unpleasant way to conduct yourself. Yeah, it happens in Hollywood – men fall over themselves, each other and you to be with you – but this is real life
With that in mind, game on and I wish you all the luck I have had!