This blog began as Online Dating Tips for Men and as my thoughts marinated the past few days, I thought, why just men today? Nope, this is for all the singles out there---this stemmed from around 60 dating coaching calls I did this week with clients (plus over 20 years of dating coaching) and my perspective on how Smart People do Stupid Things when online dating.
Here we go!
1. A first date is not an audition for marriage, or even a long-term relationship. It is simply a tryout for a second date.
2. Hearts and Likes are a major copout. Unless accompanied by a personalized, fun message. Men especially question me on this one: Why does she heart me and say nothing? Why do I have to make the first move? If you’ve taken my dating quiz online, you probably know you get dinged points on this one.
3. Put your phone away on the date. Not just turned over on the table, but in your pocket or purse. You can live for an hour without your phone---plus isn’t this what you wanted? An In Real Life Date?
4. Don’t make your online dating search the center of your life. Over 25 years of working with singles, I have found the more you do, the better your chances of meeting someone---volunteer, join a cycling group, try pickleball, how about a film or cooking class?
5. Retrain your brain. The past is in the past! Let’s move past bad dating experiences---and not talk about them on a first date.
6. Be aware of red flags on first dates. It could be negativity, too many drinks, doesn’t seem to have many friends, etc.
7. Be decisive. You’ve messaged back and forth 3-4 times and it’s time to take it to a real date. Be concise: : “Hey, Jim---how about we meet Sunday for brunch at Café M---it’s close to both of us and I’m excited to meet you in person!” (yes, one or two exclamation marks can be used in messaging to convey interest---remember, there is no tone in texts).
8. Facetime calls are not dates. One hour calls on Facetime pre-meeting face to face are just a waste of time. Sure, 5-10 minutes is fine to firm the up time, place and get a look at their face/smile in real life. Chemistry happens in person!
9. Your primary photo online must be a showstopper while still being you. Whiten your teeth. Good dental care counts.
10. Hold back some feelings until you know the person much better. It is suspect, perhaps a better word is desperate, to share all on the first date.
11. Don’t look at your dating sites and apps 3x a day. I recommend with my clients they look each evening around 8pm---and don’t spend more than 15-30 minutes on this activity. Online dating is effective and fun, but I don’t want you to burn out by being overly zealous!
12. Put yourself out there! The stigma of online is gone as Pew Research noted 1 in 3 couples in 2020 married via online dating. Online dating is a bit nerve-racking and risky, but so is life!
I have listened and advised my clients for 25 years on dating---first when I founded It’s Just Lunch before the advent of online dating and now with 33000 Dates. I truly believe the best way to meet people is online with a great strategy, sense of adventure and a positive attitude.