20 No-Fail Online Dating Tips

The relationship gurus at How About We helped us create a list of 10 dos--and 10 don'ts--so you can navigate their site with ease

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Do: Answer All Profile Questions

... no matter how silly they may seem. It's your only chance talk directly about yourself in your own words.



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Do: Get Specific with your Date Ideas

Dates that have a clearly stated agenda, such as eating at a specific restaurant or doing a specific activity, are 40% more successful than their more ambiguous counterparts.



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Do: Post a Variety of Photos

Make sure to at least cover the 3 main types:   

The Attention Grabber: Pick a main photo that indicates your interests and gives others a reason to click-in. We see a lot of success when members use a shot that isn’t just a portrait, such as travel photos (showing a well-known landmark or picturesque scenery) and hobby photos (like playing your guitar or rock climbing).
The Portrait: We need to see what you actually look like. Keep it real. A nice shot of you smiling in a natural setting is perfect. Try not to use a photo where you’ve cropped friends out (it’s abrupt and unsettling), and opt for a solo shot when possible.
You Being You:  Daters look for photos that say "I can really see myself in a relationship with this person” – and that includes everything from movie night at home to out and about on a Friday night to the office holiday party. Photos that reflect this show you doing an activity that others can imagine being a part of.



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Do: Embrace Humor

Dates with the words “jokes,” “funny,” and “laugh” are more successful than the average date. The ability to laugh and make others laugh is a universally attractive trait. For example: “How about we have a staring contest in the park and see who can make the other laugh first. Loser buys a round of drinks after.”



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Do: Enjoy the Process

Dating is supposed to be fun. Drop the expectations and assumptions - just go out, be you and have fun.



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Do: Seek Adventure

Men respond very favorably to dates with the words “explore” “wander” and “find a new”. It shows you’re fun, interesting and up for new experiences.



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Do: Keep Your Messages Short, Sweet and Direct

Long messages get fewer responses, period. “Hello, nice to "meet" you, I've read your profile, and I think you sound nice..." is way less engaging than "What?! You like Friday Night Lights but not the West Wing?! I'm appalled. What's your argument?"



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Do: Keep your Date Ideas the Length of a Tweet

The ideal date proposition is 120-140 characters. Though there are exceptions to both extremes, dates that fall into this window get the most responses. Here’s an example of the ideal length: “How about we grab a sandwich at Torrisi then go for a walk on the Westside bike path.”



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Do: Be Aware of Timing

Wednesday is the best day to ask someone out on a date. The worst day to propose a date? Sunday. However, we’ve also found that Saturdays are ideal for proposing same-day dates, such as “How about we go see the show at Joe’s Pub tonight? I have tickets!”



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Do: Split Up the Date

Most people can tell if there's chemistry within the first 15 minutes of meeting someone. That’s why the top 60% of the most responded to dates are two-fold: a short, active first part followed by a more intimate second location. The rationale? An activity eases the awkwardness of a first meeting and helps create a more positive experience. Then, if you hit it off, you can go someplace more intimate for the get-to-know-you conversation. For example: “How about we see a photography exhibition and grab tea or a drink afterward.”



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Don’t: Be Lazy

...or vague with your profile information and date ideas. One-word answers don’t provide any insight into your personality. Instead of simply answering "What's an awesome place you've visited?" with “Italy,” describe something that you loved about Italy. The same is true for dates. Dates placed in the catchall “out & about” category are the least likely to be responded to. Your answers also give visitors a reason to stay on your profile as they work up the courage to message you. Give them something to bite into.



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Don’t: Tailor Your Profile To What You Think He Wants

Be yourself, whether that’s a nature-loving outdoor nut or a high-heels and mini-skirt loving shopaholic (or whatever lies between). Choose photos that reflect your true self and post dates that you’d genuinely want to go on.


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Don’t: Skimp on Photos

Members with at least three photos get twice as many messages as those with only one photo. Like the rest of your profile, you want your photos to showcase the many things that make you who you are --  so make sure to diversify.



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Don't: Propose the Same Dates Over and Over Again

Monotony is not your friend.


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Don’t: Be Late for Your Date

Respect your date and make a good impression by arriving on time.  According to singles, anything more than 15 minutes late is considered extremely rude.


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Don’t: Be Afraid to Post Dates

Forget about stereotypes concerning who should initiate: Men and women have equal success proposing dates. In fact, ladies are at a slight advantage. Dates proposed by women get an average of 5.4 responses each, whereas men get about 4.9.


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Don’t: Wait for Him to Make the First Move

You’re all there to meet someone. If you’re interested, show it!


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Don’t: Post Only Black and White Photos

In a stream of bright colors, you’re less likely to get clicked on. Also, if all your photos are B&W, he’s going to wonder if something strange is going on. It’s just not as attractive.



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Don’t: Be Afraid to Brag a Little

You’re a catch! It’s a fine line between just enough and too much, but a little bit of bravado goes a long way in boosting your sex appeal online.



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Don’t: Keep It Online for Too Long

Chemistry doesn’t happen in front of a computer. Message prospective dates to the point that you’d feel comfortable meeting in person and then get out there, in the real world. Most HowAboutWe.com members prefer to send no more than 4 messages before meeting up. As you would for any new encounter, take necessary precautions by meeting in a public place and telling a friend where you’re going.



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First Published January 31, 2012

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