Let’s say you’re a guy who’s outgrown the bar and club scene. You’re tired of the same old shallow socializing with women in venues with music and noise so loud you can’t tell if she’s saying “hello” or “help!” upon your approach. You’ve now decided that you want to really get serious about this whole relationship thing, so you go online to one (or several) of the more well-known online dating apps, post a few pictures that you think look good, write a bio that you think is clever, witty and will make her laugh, and then with one press of a button, your profile is up and ready to be viewed! You browse through the profiles of women who strike your fancy, send out a couple of well- crafted initial messages, and after rinsing and repeating a few times with different women, you sit back and wait for the responses to come in. “I’ve done everything right,” you say to yourself. “I’ve got good pictures, a good bio, and my messages are genuine and are actually using words instead of provocative pictures of my privates. How could they not respond?”
The next day, you go to check your messages, and to your absolute horror, you find that your inbox is empty! “Hmm. Is there a mistake?” you say to yourself. “There must be some kind of glitch in the system.” Nevertheless, when you pull up your archived messages page, it shows that the women did in fact view your messages, they simply didn’t bother responding. “This is impossible! Everything was perfect!” You then proceed to silently curse under your breath. Rinse and repeat for the next several days, and after a week, you’re about ready to put your fist through the screen, crying out at the unfairness of it all, wishing you were back in the noisy, sweaty club talking with the women who couldn’t hear you.
Does the above description sound like you? I don’t know if this will make you feel any better, but the trials and tribulations outlined above are in fact quite common for guys in the current online dating landscape of 2018. But why does it happen? And what, if anything, can we do about it? There are actually quite a few reasons why online dating is so tough for guys nowadays. Some of the issues are systemic, and unfortunately not likely to change anytime soon, and others are absolutely, undoubtedly, 100% your fault. The good news about the latter category is that you can actually do something about those. I’m going to give you an overview of the major difficulties with current online dating best practices, why they are this way, and what the solutions are that you can use to increase your chance of success in the ever-growing online dating market. Let’s take a look!
Problem #1- Your pics suck, bro
Like it or not, online dating at its core is a very visual (and by extension, some would say, shallow) experience. The fact of the matter is that when a girl logs in to view your profile, she just doesn’t have much information to go off of. She has a total of anywhere from 5-7 pictures, a couple of paragraphs of bio at best, and that’s basically it. You’re not going to be able to show off your killer vocal tonality, body language, and non-verbal communication (which are all crucial for attraction, by the way) as well online as you can offline. This means the way you visually present yourself online in the form of a series of two-dimensional, static photographs is absolutely paramount. It is quite literally the single most important aspect to consider when deploying your online dating strategy. If your photos are grainy, or if you’re dressed like a bum, or if your grooming is bad, then you cannot realistically expect to inspire a majority of women to want to write to you. You have to have your visual game on point. How do we do this?
- Pay attention to your dress sense. Make sure your clothes actually fit you, first and foremost. Many people these days tend to wear clothes at least one size too big, sometimes even more. Find out your actual size, and then wear clothes that conform to that. Wear neat, well ironed clothes with no wrinkles. Try to mix up formal clothes with casual outfits in your photo lineup. A woman wants to see how you adapt your fashion to all different situations in life. A good rule of thumb to use is to pick 3 outfits, 2 casual, 1 formal (or you can reverse if you’d like, but just be sure to show variety.) Make sure your shoe game is on point. The first thing a woman will notice after she sees your face will be to look down at your shoes, believe it or not. Make sure she doesn’t look away in disgust.
- Pay attention to hygiene. Brush your teeth, make sure your hair (if you have it) is neatly combed and styled. Trim your facial hair, and remove unsightly hair from various orifices that may be visible.
- Show women that you have an interesting life. This one is critical! Even if you’re a reasonably good-looking guy, if all you do is show her posed shots of you and nothing else, she may get the impression that you’re 2-dimensional, and not very interesting. Mix things up by taking some posed shots (a quality head shot should be used as your primary photo), along with other photos that show her what you’re all about. You want to tell a story with your picture set. For example, if you’re an avid rock climber, show her a picture of you scaling up the highest cliff you can find. If you love traveling, show her a quality pic from your last trip to Costa Rica. It’s also a good idea to capture at least one photo of you in a group. This is important because it shows her that you’re a social guy and that people actually like you. Finally, a picture or two with a cute animal definitely helps. If you’ve got all these points covered, you should be good to go.
One other thing that definitely helps, if you can afford it, is to hire a professional photographer to take your posed shots for you. Professional photographers have a great understanding of camera angles, lighting, shadow and so many other things that us non-photographer types don’t really think about. They can definitely help you to put forth your best-looking self. If you’re able to fork over $300-$500 for a shoot, it’s worth the money!
Problem #2- Your bio uses a lot of words, but says absolutely nothing!
Having great photos will take care of the initial attraction part, but if you’re serious about meeting the high-quality women that will be the best fit for you, then you’re going to need a kick-ass bio and profile that showcases exactly who you are. Different dating sites and apps have different lengths for bios and written profiles (Swipe apps like Bumble and Tinder want you to keep it to under 300 words, which can be tough, but do-able). Regardless of the length requirements, there are a few things that you must do in order to showcase your best self:
- Avoid a long, laborious list of adjectives. “I’m a guy who’s smart, funny, witty, a world traveler, a good cook, and I love to laugh! I’m just a nice guy looking for a nice girl!” BORING! Remember, with an online dating bio, you need to show her who you are, don’t just tell her. Instead, try saying something like: “Imagine the old world charm of wooden temples, fresh fish straight from the market, and compact motorbikes buzzing down the picturesque side streets of an ancient Japanese city. Yes, I love the purple orange sunset of the Kyoto sky, which is why I venture back there three times a year. But it’s not always about perfectly on-time trains and orderly lines on the bus though… so if we find we want to see each other some more after our first date, remind me to tell you about the time I almost got my arm broken in Judo club!” By showing her this, you are saying a lot more than just a mere description of traits. You are showing her that you are well-traveled, interested in the world, have the finances to be able to do so, and that you are physically fit enough to do a rough sport like Judo. It is a much more descriptive look into your inner world, and it says so much more than just a list.
- Put your accomplishments on display. Studies show that women are attracted to attributes like bravery, courage, and the ability to take risks. If you have demonstrated any of these things in your life, make sure you talk about them. For example, if you took the risk of dropping out of the corporate sector to start your business which is now making 7 figures, mention it!
- Don’t make it all about you. Most guys make the mistake of talking about themselves for the whole of their written profile. Try to cut it down to around 60-70% about you. The rest should be saved for talking about what you are actually looking for in a date. An ideal situation would be to: 1) Lead in with an interesting story about your life, 2) Show her what you do for a living, 3) Describe several key hobbies or interests, and 4) Let her know what type of woman you’re looking for.
Problem #3- Your Opening Message is Uninspiring
One time, just for laughs, I asked one of my close single female friends to show me her Tinder feed. I was curious to see how the world of swipe-app dating operated from the other side of the equation. When I looked at her match feed, there were messages from no less than seventy (yes, that’s 70) guys. I asked her how long she had been on Tinder, and her answer was,”3 days.” Yikes! Over 70 matches and conversations initiated within just 3 days! Most guys I know weren’t anywhere close to that rate of return. If that wasn’t surprising enough, what shocked me even more was the complete lack of un-originality in their opening messages. There was not one single example of creative thought mixed in with the sea of “Hey,” ‘What’s up?” “Ur hot! Number plz?” and the occasional “Good day, M’Lady.”
Here’s a bit of a depressing statistic. According to a post from Business Insider (link below), women only respond to 4% of guys who message them online. That means the other 96% go completely ignored. Looking at my friend’s Tinder feed, with their piss poor presentation, I could see why that whole group was relegated to the 96%. If you want to be in the rarefied air of the 4% that gets responded to, you absolutely cannot get by on phoning in your messages, especially your opening ones. Unless you are literally a Hollywood A-Lister or a superstar pro athlete, “Hey” just isn’t going to cut it. So what can you do? Here are some tips:
- Don’t just copy/paste your messages. Yeah, I know, you’re busy. You’ve got a lot of stuff to do, and you can’t afford to spend all this time specifically crafting a tailored message to each attractive girl you see online. But seriously, how’s the copy/paste job working out for you so far? Is it inspiring women to write you back? If the answer is “no,” then you might need to sacrifice the idea of writing to more women for the sake of getting a better rate of response from the women whom you do write to. Women I have spoken to tell me time and time again how much they appreciate a guy taking the time actually read their profile and comment on something that was explicitly stated in their description. “It feels like he’s actually interested in me, and not just getting my number or an instant date,” a female friend recently shared with me.
- When all else fails, use a GIF. Remember, online dating is a visual medium, and that goes with messages too. A cute GIF or picture to go along with your message works wonders with the response rate. Of course, this works better on sites like Tinder where they already have a massive amount of dating themed GIFs to choose from.
- Ask a question. When opening up your dialogue, don’t just make a statement and then drop off. Entice her to follow up with you by asking a question. This will serve as an easy jumping off point for her to reply to you, and asking questions also shows that you are interested in what she has to say, which is definitely a good thing.
Problem #4- Competition!
Now we’re getting into the more systemic issues with online dating. Some of what’s said from here on out can sound pretty depressing, but don’t fret, there are ways to get around these seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
We’re going to start off by tackling one of the biggest complaints that guys have about the online dating landscape. The fact that, no matter which sites they visit, and which city or location they’re in, there just seems to be so much……testosterone everywhere. Depending on which source you believe, most of the popular online dating apps average anywhere from 55 men for every 45 women, to as high as 60/40 on the more swipe oriented apps in certain cities. On top of that, there is also a surplus of younger men and older women on most sites, so if you’re a guy in his late 30’s to early 40’s who’s hell bent on dating women under 35, the competition is going to be especially fierce for you. On the surface, it appears as though women have plenty of options in terms of men to choose from. However, just because the numbers may not be on your side, doesn’t mean that the science isn’t. Remember, if your profile is within the parameters of that top 4% we talked about earlier, then it doesn’t matter about the extra guys who, statistically, will highly likely fall into the other 96% who don’t get messaged. If you’re a top guy, you’re going to be on top despite the additional numbers, so keep striving to make your pics and profile the best it can be.
Problem #5- Algorithms haven’t been perfected yet
Although algorithms have certainly improved since the beginnings of sites like eHarmony back in the early naughties, there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out in 2018. For starters, most algorithms match people on traits that are easy to quantify, like religious beliefs and a fondness for sports or cooking. What’s not easy to quantify is the chance that a spark will happen between the two of you. Despite all our technological and communications marvels, an old-fashioned face to face meeting between two people is still the most reliable way to determine raw chemistry. So if you feel like you have a good lead from a particular woman online, don’t waste your time or hers by becoming her text buddy. Ask her out, and see if sparks will fly!
Problem #6- Certain Sites and Apps “rank” you according to your Perceived Attractiveness
This was a real shocker to me when I first read about this. Apparently, several sites have, either in the past or today, maintained a database containing algorithms that will “rank” you according to how attractive users find you. This means that if enough users swipe right or message you, your value goes up according to the site’s parameters. You then have a better chance of being matched with other users of the opposite sex who are also highly ranked. Conversely, if too many people ignore you or swipe left, then your value will go down, and you will be matched with “more suitable” candidates from the lower rankings. Ever wonder why, when you initially signed up for that cool new swipe app, you saw plenty of gorgeous people, only to discover that a week later, all you see are people who look like they were beaten with an ugly stick? Well, now you know why. Sorry, buddy=(
If this happens to you, it would certainly behoove you to go get those professional photos taken, improve your dress, and maybe, just maybe, even step away from online dating for a bit and go all-in on improving your overall physique. Once you get these done, delete your app or profile entirely, and create a new profile from scratch, so that the site’s parameters are re-set to default.
Hopefully these problems and tips have provided you with some value and ideas as to how to tackle the oftentimes frustrating world of modern online dating.
Also, ladies, don’t worry, I’m going to be providing you with some tips on how to maximize your results online in the coming week. Stay tuned!
Links for your perusal: