It's a new year and everybody's looking for love. Online dating peaks in January. And these days, 20% of couples meet online. The problem is, if a guy doesn't find someone he's interested in after 3 months - 97% of the time, he'll give up! So, here are tips for online daters - men AND women:
- Let's start with your picture. The vast majority of people look at profile pictures to decide whether or not they want to read your message. To figure out which picture to use on your profile, try OK Cupid's "My Best Face" application. You upload a few photos and members vote on your pictures, so you know which ones people are drawn to - because you're only as good as your worst photo. According to their algorithms, the strongest photos of men are ones in which they're doing something interesting and not looking directly at the camera or smiling. For women, guys like pictures of girls smiling and looking directly at the camera. But it also helps if the background is interesting, like you at basketball game.
- Here's a tip for guys: When it comes to your profile bio, forget loading it with lists of likes and dislikes. Women respond more to stories, mental images and emotions. So, instead of saying, "I play guitar." Say, "I remember seeing Jimmy Page on TV when I was 10 and after that, I begged my parents for a guitar. I've been playing ever since." *Hint at what you might like to do on a date. The president of SpeedDate.com suggests saying, "My favorite thing to do on a Sunday morning is to go for a hike up Summit's Peak with my dog Casper," instead of saying, "I like hiking," and "I like dogs." It's an instant icebreaker.
- Be genuine in your profile. That comes from psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Eva Ritvo. She says you shouldn't kid yourself into thinking you can get away with pretending to be something you're not. Why? Because your prospective date will Google you. But the fact is that people do stretch the truth. A study from MIT found that the average female online dater says she weighs less than the average woman of the same age. And the older a woman gets, the more pounds she shaves off. It's six pounds for a woman in her 20s, 18 pounds for a woman in her 30s, and 20 pounds for women in their 40s. So, how can you tell if someone is fudging the truth about their weight? Take a look at their picture. Women who post photos taken from an odd angle, or who only focuses on one body part, tend to be the ones lying.
- Don't give up; just get different people to notice your profile. A lot of people give up after three months if they haven't found someone they're interested in. Laurie Davis is an online dating coach, and the founder of eFlirt Expert. She says you can change the system by uploading new pictures and changing the details in your bio. Do that and your profile will climb back to the front page of search results. It's like shooting to the top of a Google search - and more people will see your profile.
- Guys, if you send a message to a woman, don't use the words "sexy" or "beautiful." It'll cut your responses by 10%. If you use texting shorthand, like the letters U-R instead of spelling out "you're," your response rate will drop by 25%.
- Don't troll for dates late at night - it's the online dating equivalent of drunk texting someone from a bar. And know this: Michigan State University found that the best predictor of how many messages people receive isn't how they look - it's how many messages they send.