Advice

Nerve Dating’s Online Dating Tip Sheet

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Our own Miss Information shares some tips for successful online dating.

by Cait Robinson

So, as you may have heard, we have this kind of incredible revolutionary online dating site, Nerve Dating. And we're really excited that more and more people are learning about it. But, as G.I. Joe famously said, "Knowing is half the battle." That's why we've enlisted our own Miss Information to offer some tips and tricks to those of you dealing with the world of online dating. Because doing is presumably the other half of the battle. 

1. Don't use boring language to describe yourself.

Vague adjectives are red flags of "dull" that appear in far too many profiles. "I'm just a California girl looking to have fun in the big city!" — bzz, boring. Everyone is looking to have fun. How do you define "fun?" Be more specific.

"I'm a laid-back, easygoing guy…" — these terms don't mean anything. Even high-strung people often think they're "laid-back." Find something more descriptive.

Other common terms that mean almost nothing: "cool," "awesome," "funny." Nearly everyone "loves to laugh" and "enjoys fun" — none of that sets you apart. Instead of saying "I'm witty," for instance, say "I'm one part Tina Fey, one part Claire Huxtable, and a tiny bit of Jerri Blank." That paints a more of a picture.

2. When contacting someone, put a little effort into it.

Comment on some detail in their profile, which shows that you read all the way to the end (and, thus, care enough to pay attention). Avoid commenting on their physical attractiveness right off the bat, since that can read superficial and off-putting. Treat an initial message like an opening line at a bar: keep it coy, genuine, and interesting. "Hey, what's up?" doesn't cut it. "I can't believe you met Ryan Gosling! Was it hard to form sentences around someone so attractive?" is more likely to lead to a real conversation. 

3. Choose photos strategically.

The pictures you choose will dictate how potential dates view you. Decide how you want to be viewed. If you're looking for a solid, LTR-type, avoid pictures of yourself drinking excessively or making kissy faces at the camera. If you're looking just for flings, skip the photos from the church bake-off and tart it up appropriately. Give a critical eye to the photos you choose, and think about the message they're sending.

4. Don't be a flake.

The lowered stakes of online dating can mean an increase in flaky behavior. Remember that there's a human at the other end of any message or text. If you make a date, keep it; if you decide you're not into a second (or third, or fourth) date and the feeling isn't mutual, don't just fall off the radar — send a polite email. It may be virtual, but the fact you're online doesn't mean you don't have to act like a grownup.

5. Avoid lists. Tell stories.

"I like surfing, reading, swimming, jogging, and cooking." So dull! Put yourself into a potential date's shoes on this one. If you saw a list like this on a cute girl/guy's profile, how would you possibly respond? "I also like surfing. What's your favorite thing about surfing?" Blech — that conversation is dead in the water. [Cait, I would also accept "That's a wipeout." — Ed.]

Instead, tell stories. "Last summer, I went surfing at on the Jersey Shore nearly every day with my dog Rufus. It was a fascinating anthropological experiment. Buy me a beer and I'll tell you more."

That example gives a possible date plenty to want to talk to you about. Plus you sound like an active, interesting person — not just a list of gerunds.

6. Don't lie.

Don't stretch the truth, even on dumb details. Let's say you're five-foot-ten, but you decide you'll seem hotter if you say you're six-foot-one tall. (What's three inches among friends?) It may be a superficial detail, but if/when your date notices you fudged the numbers, they'll wonder what else you sugarcoated. It's not just two inches; it's a sense that you are insecure enough to be lying. You shoot yourself in the foot immediately.

7. Don't overshare.

It can be amazing what red flags people slip in to their profiles. If you just got out of a bad break-up, or you're feeling really cynical about your ability to find a good guy, or you're in a depressed place in general, keep all of those feelings out of your profile. Some people conflate melancholy and depth; don't be one of these people. Any hint of sad trombone will send quality dates running. 

8. Ask for help.

Capturing the cute, pithy individual that you are can be a daunting prospect. If you aren't sure how your profile looks, ask a friend to proof it. They can catch any potentially off-putting, Charlie-Brown-sulking statements, as well as good-naturedly make fun of you for any weird phrasing or half-truths. A good friend will help you punch up your profile, give you an outside perspective, and probably be more truthful than you'd actually want them to be (which can be a good thing!).

So armed with the weapon of online-dating knowledge, the good readers of Nerve did go forth and have many satisfying dates, as well as emotionally satisfying, long-term connections. And it was good.