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5 Crucial Online Dating Mistakes

Working with thousands of clients over the years as an online dating coach, I’ve seen so many simple errors intelligent singles make that hamper their chances with online dating. Before you say online dating does not work (it does), or it will not work for me (why not?), or my friends tell me horror stories (believe me, they are doing something wrong—it’s them, not the app/site), here are some things to think about:

1. Your Profile It must be grammatically perfect with no mistakes. Yes, people read these and if they see you using “there” and “their” wrong, they very well may skip right over you. My recommendation: Write it in a word document first. Then run spell check.

2. A Unique Profile Short and Sweet sells. No one wants to read a long monologue. Yesterday working with a client, we saw an attractive, accomplished man who described in two paragraphs his wife who was wonderful. He listed all her amazing traits. She had passed away 5 years ago, and while we felt for this man, he was obviously not ready to date. He probably wonders why he is not getting any responses! We bumped into this profile yesterday that I thought was succinctly and cleverly written by a man----here’s an excerpt:

“YES: vanilla, rosemary, Buenos Aires, humility, Barnes & Noble browsing, bourbon, cilantro, dogs, generosity, bikes, empathy, skates, skis, boats.

NO: beets, videoconference dates, whining about online dating apps, Red Wings, selfishness, arrogance, snakes. I can’t grow a bougainvillea to save myself. It grows like a weed here and I can’t keep it alive for 10 days.”

Ok, there was a bit more to his profile but he clearly and with humor got across his likes and dislikes. Of course, we messaged this man!

3. Messages If I hear one more woman tell me the man should reach out first, I’ll lose it! No, no, no, said emphatically. Men love when you make the first move. Since a Stanford study running the last 14 years tells us that 79% of men’s biggest online beef is that they have to reach out first---or almost as bad, they receive a like/heart/wink with no message. This is the area where many singles fail. If they do send a message, it can be one of two big mistakes:

A. It’s a short generic message

B. It’s a 3-paragraph novella where you are cross-eyed by the end with way too much information. Just like a long profile, nobody reads long messages.

This is absolutely my favorite area to coach clients on! We are on the site/app together, and for the first few weeks of coaching, I type the message----then read it to my client before hitting send. Sometimes I hear a sharp intake of breath followed by “What---are we really sending this”. Yes, and I explain why! Most quickly get the hang of it---though I do wake up to a few texts each morning with screen shots saying “Help, how should I respond to this person” which I must admit I love crafting messages that get responses!

4. The Phone thing

Pre-date, why do you need to chat on the phone?

Here are the issues with that:

A. A 45–60-minute call---client all excited as they have so much in common and the first date expectations have risen astronomically. Very few dates can measure up now. B. A short, awkward call and no date ensues. This is a bummer because the other person may just not be good on the phone—perhaps a bit reserved, shy, etc. This could have been the right person for you!

Ok, the only time I encourage a phone call is if there is significant distance. Let’s say you live in Los Angeles and he lives in Laguna Beach---the traffic is rough. Then I encourage a 10-minute call first. And how do I recommend that you phrase it in a message---“I’m totally interested in meeting you---let’s do a 10-minute chat to see if we’d like to meet in person. My number is XXX”. This way, we have put in place two boundaries---the call will be 10 minutes and the reason for the call is an in-person date. You live within 20 minutes of each other. Go on the date. It’s coffee or a drink. It’s an hour. Let’s stop with all this time-wasting phone chats. What’s the complaint I get here? “I have to get dressed”. Get dressed and go!

5. Your photos Nobody, yes, nobody goes to your profile first. Photos make or break you. If you are serious about online dating and going on good dates or perhaps beginning a relationship, 5-6 great photos are a necessity. And by that I do not mean filtered, air brushed, highly edited photos. I just mean you at your very best. And current---as in from the past year. And what you will look like when you show up on your date. I vet client photos. I’d estimate that 50% of my clients already have online-ready photos. The other 50% I recommend one photo service that is reasonable, takes two hours, and they turn around the photos to us within 48 hours.

And the type of photos? After your Zoom call with me, I give you a photo shot list. And it’s not your LinkedIn or fancy, boring in-studio poses. It’s you---in action! What do you enjoy? That’s what we need captured in photos. I had a NYC Wall Street type juggling as he enjoys it. Plus, he bowls. (It seems no one bowls and that grabbed a bit of attention). Not the stereotypical private equity guy, right?

I hope this helps you a bit---I love what I do and really enjoy my one-on-one contact with clients. It’s one of the reasons that I sold It’s Just Lunch (I founded it in 1991 and sold out to PE when we had 110 locations globally) as I missed client contact. So, need help? Set up a 15-minute chat with me to see if I can help and we are a good fit.

Have a lovely weekend—

Andrea McGinty Dating Coach/Dating Strategist Founder, Founder, 702-494-7344 (I live on the East Coast)

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