Ladies, Listen Up: Your Worst Online Dating Mistakes (According to Men)

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Ladies, Listen Up: Your Worst Online Dating Mistakes (According to Men)

I have a question for you ladies. How’s online dating going? Is your inbox looking empty? Do you wonder why he stopped texting? Why he didn’t want a second date? Maybe you’re making some mistakes when using the internet to find a relationship. I mean, we’ve all probably made dating mistakes right? Profiles, first impressions, texting–it’s a learning curve. Do you want to hear what guys think are the biggest online dating mistakes made by women?

I did– so I asked some guys about their online dating experiences.

Meet the Panel (names have been changed to protect the innocent. They still need to get dates, you know?)

Duke: Duke is currently single. He was with his ex for fourteen years and has an eight-year-old son. He tried online dating for about five months before he’d had enough. He likes to keep first dates simple.

Ryder: He is dad to two teenage girls and divorced for five years. Hobbies include the outdoors and sports. He has had a girlfriend for about two years who he did not meet online.

Rhett: Rhett is a professional hacker. Yes, it’s a real job. He has two children, nine years apart. He met his current girlfriend on OKCupid. They’ve been together about a year and a half.

Pip: Recently single after ten years of marriage with a ten-year-old son. He has been dating online for about six months. He’s had some good dates, but nothing has stuck.

Without further ado, here’s what they told me:

Your Photos

Unsurprisingly, all of the guys we talked to want current, honest photos. And not just a headshot. Why not a headshot? I think you know why. They want to see our bodies. That doesn’t mean they’re superficial and only want a supermodel. Some men like that, sure, but some men just want a woman whose height and weight are proportional. Some men think big is beautiful. They just want to know what the whole package looks like before they write.

Ryder says, “Don’t fill your profile with selfies.” This makes you look narcissistic. Dating Coach Laurie Davis agrees. On the Match.com blog she says, “One or two won’t make-or-break your first digital impression, but it’s more important you show off some other angles in addition to your selfie. Guys want to see what your bod looks like, so make sure you have at least one full body photo uploaded. It’s the photo we find is the most important.”

Try not to take photos merely of your boobs. Or at that particular overhead angle which shows your face (and makes you look ultra skinny) and gives an ample boob view. Sure, most men like boobs, but aim to show more of your personality with your pics. Look nice, smile. Don’t treat your photos like you’re the sum of your bra size.

Your Profile

Talk more about who you are rather than what you want from a man. They don’t want to hear what they could and should be doing for you. They want to know what your personality is like, your interests, goals, what you want out of life. You can tell them what traits you want in a man, but don’t write about all the ways he can serve your needs. In fact, your profile should be 75% about you, and 25% about the type of person you’re seeking.

They want you to be unique, to be yourself. Everyone is happy, likes music, movies and walks on the beach. Add details. Liking Willie Nelson is much different than 5 Finger Death Punch. What kind of movies? What are your favorites? Tell them interesting things about yourself. Do you have a cool hobby? Volunteer somewhere? What kind of activities do you enjoy that aren’t a cliché? Back it up with pictures.

Avoid being overly “unique” though i.e. weird. Duke sent me a couple pictures from Tinder. In one photo a woman is brandishing her fists. Spelled out in black ink (I hope to holy hell it isn’t a tattoo) across her fingers were the words “Fist Slut.” I inquired as to what it meant. Duke said, “I didn’t have the nerve to ask.” I don’t blame him.

Another image he sent me showed a woman dressed as a naughty nurse. Under her picture she wrote that she is the wife of Satan. She then went on to talk about all the people she loved in life, and that if you didn’t like it you could BLEEP off and BLEEP on a BLEEP of BLEEP. Then she said, “Add me, I love and accept everyone.” Um, really?

Yeah, so don’t be that unique. That’s scary unique.

Pip once read a profile that said, “I’m in an open relationship and practice ethical non-monogamy.” Um, WTH? Is Gwyneth Paltrow dating online now? Keep it real. You don’t need frilly words to say you have permission to cheat on each other.

Duke stated, “Honesty is huge!” He has come across women that lie even about small things, which is stupid, which brings me to the next point…

… the perfect profile. The one in which the woman is gorgeous, fit, wealthy, well-traveled, with the ideal personality. I would be skeptical. Very skeptical. No one is this perfect. If all of this is true, I would guess you are a heinous b*tch or completely unstable.

These men aren’t alone. According to research done at the University of Iowa, daters prefer authentic rather than perfect profiles. They tend to stay away from those that appear “too good to be true,” because, well, they usually are.

About Your Standards… And How You Interact With Your Dating Site Of Choice

Men think you choose poorly when it comes to dating. Rhett and Ryder both think you’re too picky. Ryder said women go for the bad boys or men that sweet talk them to get their foot in the door. I for one know that this can be true. I fell for it myself.

When I date online, I have certain standards. Must have job. Must have place to live. Must have transportation. Must live in my city. Must not have kids under the age of 12. Must not have pets (though I changed that last one because I pretty much ruled out 98% of men). Well, this guy who broke pretty much all of my dating criteria, plus a bad boy, buttered me up, boosted my ego, and made empty promises. No job, young kid, cat, lived outside my geographical area…needless to say, it didn’t last very long. I do miss his Harley though.

Rhett said that since women get so many more messages than men, they will first hit up those with money and/or looks instead of assessing the whole profile before selecting someone to respond to. Well, duh. Okay, that’s harsh, but seriously, he has a point. There is more to a man than his gorgeous face and abs. I think we all know that.

Maybe we shouldn’t be so fast to judge the book by its cover. I mean, if a guy only has photos of himself, all we know about him is visual – what he looks like. However, if he has photos of pets, vacations, activities, hobbies, we can sense a little better, who he is as a person.

So, if rock-hard-ab guy only has pictures of himself at the gym, drinking beers, or hanging out with his buddies, then he might not be all that profound or all that interested in getting serious. Might want to swipe left and move on.

Ryder also says he doesn’t like it when women fill out every personality test, every compatibility questionnaire, and answer every match question. He thinks it comes off as desperate, needy and maybe just a bit deranged. I kind of like the questions on OkCupid, but to be honest, I didn’t read the tests and questionnaires on the other sites. Truly, I’m not sure anyone would. We are used to instant gratification these days. Do we have the attention span to read through an entire test or questionnaire? Okay, maybe we do, but I bet a bunch of people don’t so it anyway.

The Messages

There are two things you should never, ever talk about while messaging with a prospective date.

  1. Exes. They don’t want to hear how you were done wrong, or how he broke your heart, or what a douchebag he is. Keep your ex out of any and all discussion during, before, after or really, EVER with a potential new partner.
  2. Marriage. The M word is off limits. Don’t talk about wanting to get married someday, or again, or ever. Nothing scares a guy more than the talk of marriage. He’ll be gone faster than you can say “I do.” He might even desperately want to get married– but it has to be his idea.

Other message don’ts: Don’t be too aggressive. And when I say aggressive, I mean don’t offer up sex right away. This is a turn off for some guys. Bold is good. Blunt is good. Vulgar is bad. Do not ask someone to come over to your place and *cough* service you if you’ve never met. Yes, some men might like it, but the ones you might want to take home to Mom – they find it icky.

A bad first impression does not make for a second date.

Scheduling The Meet Up

Ladies, always keep in mind that the point of online dating is ultimately to meet people. Our panel guys all told us that when the messaging has run its course and it’s time to meet, some women disappear. When that happens, it’s hard to not feel like you’ve wasted their time. Why are you even there if you don’t want to meet someone in person eventually? Get over any lingering anxiety, insecurities, and coyness and get your ass out there and meet the guys you’ve been talking to!

If you’ve spent time messaging, texting, or talking to a guy for a period of time, and you’re not willing to meet whether it be because you’re busy, not that into them, got serious with another guy, whatever, you should tell him and break off communication. You don’t have to divulge every little bitty reason, but you should at least tell him something, even if it’s “Yeah, I’m going in a different direction.” Now, I’m not talking about some Joe Schmo you messaged maybe once or twice. I’m talking guys that you’ve had a back and forth exchange with for weeks. Don’t just leave them hanging. Give them some closure.

Your First Date

If you’re not feeling it for the guy, be honest, but kind. Sometimes the chemistry is just not there and there’s nothing wrong with that. Never pretend like it is. You can say it on the date, or if you’re uncomfortable with that, you can message him afterward and say there just wasn’t a spark.

If you like the guy, stay in the middle ground. Don’t cling, but don’t be aloof either. Let your actions show him that you’re interested. Not so much that he contemplates your potential stalker-ness, but not so inadequately that he thinks you don’t like him.

If you’re a woman in your forties, beware. Unfortunately, some men automatically think you’re insane and flaky. I’ve heard this from more than one guy. I’m not sure why. It seems many men have had bad experiences with women that age. So, just some advice, if you’re in your forties, you may want to be a little aloof (but still approachable) unless you want to scare your date away. It isn’t your fault, it’s an unfortunate PR problem for your age group, and it sucks, but less so if you’re aware of it.

When you’re out on a date with a guy, they do not want you to tell them that you’re in an open relationship and that your boyfriend is cool with it. This is information that should be given before you both meet in person. Many men are on dating sites to find true love, not a threesome. Let him decide if whatever you’re bringing along is something he wants before you both haul yourselves out in public for the face-to-face meeting.

So what do you think about this online dating advice from men? Completely accurate? Way off base? Do you have any advice for your fellow females? What has worked for you and what hasn’t? We’d love to hear from you in the comment section below.

Struggling with online dating?  Check out this video where Michael Fiore which explains exactly what your online dating profile says to men. Go watch it now.

Megan Bostic

About Megan Bostic

Megan Bostic has an unhealthy obsession with sock monkeys and lives in the rainy but lovely Pacific Northwest with her two crazy beautiful girls. She’s the author of the Young Adult titles Never Eighteen and Dissected. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter, a variety of online dating sites and anywhere else social media addicts hang out.

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