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Online dating: avoiding disasters (tips for men)

Updated on April 8, 2015

The attempt to meet new people

As I mentioned on my blog, I have attempted dating online off and on. With limited opportunities to meet new people, it would seem that dating online would be a good choice. But the online dating pool is a sad one, indeed.

I am sure there are quality, dateable men on dating sites. They are just buried beneath the piles of not-so-great guys who dominate these sites.

After multiple horrendous messages from questionable man-types, as well as a number of disastrous dates, I have compiled a list of suggestions for men.

Don't be one of these guys

  1. Craigslist (and other sites, I'm sure) have whole sections for people looking for hookups! So please don't troll women who are looking for a relationship with your sex needs. It's rude and it's tacky.
  2. If your user name mentions anything about your sexual prowess and/or your genitalia, women will automatically assume that you are insecure and don't know what you're doing.
  3. If you are looking for fun, don't list that you're looking for a relationship. Liars suck, you will be found out, and karma will bite you in the butt.
  4. A first date does not equal "going to your house for a movie." We all know what that means, so let's not pretend here. See items 1 and 3 above. Show a little respect.
  5. Don't message a woman and then disappear for a week and then come back suddenly wanting to meet. We all know this means you found what you thought was a better option, which didn't work out, so you're coming back to Option B. Nobody wants to be your Option B. You should have chosen better in the first place.
  6. If you are married or have a girlfriend, keep in mind, you WILL get caught. I will never forget the time I was chatting online with a man and later received a message from his WIFE. I have friends who have experienced this as well. It's sadly common.
  7. Don't be a deadbeat. Take care of your kids! Women are attracted to men who take care of their responsibilities. Especially when they are your kids. Single moms in particular will not respect you if you don't take care of your kids, or if you lie about taking care of them. We WILL find out eventually.

How to get her attention

It's amazing how often I see men message a simple "hi." Or when they ask questions or make statements that make it very obvious they didn't read the woman's profile. I also see lots of men state in their profiles about how women get so many messages they rarely reply. If you are not getting responses to your messages, here are some suggestions that may work in your favor.

  1. Women want to know that you've read their profile. Mention something specific to what they wrote. Do you share any interests? What is it about her that caught your attention? Hopefully it's more than just her appearance. Does she have an unusual hobby? Ask about it!
  2. Be careful with compliments. Of course women love to be complimented, but make it something meaningful. Tell her she has a nice smile or pretty eyes. Or that you thought her profile was funny or interesting. Avoid complimenting body parts. While some women may enjoy being told their boobs look awesome, most women who are looking for a relationship will likely take issue with you objectifying her body.
  3. Make sure your profile is full of good information. Of course you don't want to reveal all, but when your profile says to "ask" about this or that, a woman has nothing to go on when it comes to deciding whether she wants to carry on a conversation with you.

Setting up your profile

Women are less likely to show interest if your profile isn't up to par. The key is to give enough information to make them want to know more.

Photos: Make sure you have a photo. A lot of men don't post photos. If you don't have at least one photo of yourself, it's unlikely you'll get much response. Physical attraction is an important part of the dating process. You don't need to post a bunch of photos of yourself doing the most exciting things. You can always share more photos later on, but you have to have a somewhat current photo that shows your face and part of your body at least.

And for the love of all things, do NOT post a photo of yourself with an ex cropped out. I have seen this so many times. It's obvious when you take a couple photo and crop someone out. Are you unable to have a new picture taken? Everybody has a camera on their phone. Take a new and current picture please. I'd prefer seeing you in your every day attire over an old pic taken at your cousin's wedding while you're wearing a tux and cropped out your ex-girlfriend.

Also: the bathroom selfie. Are we adults? Unless you're 15 years old, you should not be taking a bathroom selfie. Do you not have any friends who can take a quick pic of you?

Your interests: Be honest. If you'd like to try snowboarding or skydiving, say that you'd like to try it. Don't say you go surfing all the time if you've only surfed once. Don't say what you think women will find attractive, because, sooner or later, you're going to have to live up to that image you've put out there.

What you're looking for: It's interesting to me the different things that men will state under what they are looking for. If you are looking to date and have fun, be honest about it. There are women who are on the same page. Don't put that you are looking for a relationship if you aren't.

So now you're communicating

So now you've messaged back and forth a few times. What's the next step?

You've been communicating on the dating site for a bit, you're getting along well, and now it's time to exchange numbers.

First off - if you ask for her number and she doesn't give it to you right away, don't be put off. Some women need more communication before they feel comfortable with giving out their number. If you ask for it and she declines or says "not yet," be patient. Of course, if you have communicated consistently for a week or more and she still refuses to give you her number or meet in person, it's likely time to move on.

The next step is to meet in person. The first meeting should be simple and low key. You don't want to plan an elaborate date, because you might meet in person and decide you aren't right for each other. It's easier to make a graceful exit from a somewhat short date than a longer one. Save the longer dates for later down the road.

Coffee or drinks is usually a good, low pressure option. This leaves it open for you to extend the date if it goes well, or to part ways after a short time if things don't go well.

I cannot stress this enough: do not set your first date at someone's house. Show enough respect for the woman to go out and meet in public. I cannot believe how many times I've spoken with people online, we seemed to get along well, then they suggest dinner or a movie at their house or mine. This is in no way appropriate for a first date.

Be aware of your safety, and respect the safety of the woman. Keep in mind, while you may be the nicest guy in the world, this woman does not know that. Remember, even murderers can come across as charming and polite. Do not hold it against a woman for being cautious. And be cautious yourself, because some women can be unsafe as well. Always tell someone where you will be going.

If things go well, end the date with a hug, or if it seems appropriate, a kiss. But don't take it further than that. Show some restraint. The woman will respect you for this. Trust me.

After the first date

So you had your first, semi-casual date. How do you feel?

If you feel like you weren't really connecting, be honest. Or maybe you felt like the connection was great, but maybe she didn't feel the same way. Honesty is always the best road to take.

If you find you aren't interested in the woman after all, it is better to let her know. In a polite way, of course. Don't do the "fade out." As a woman, the fade out is always more painful than the up front honesty. If she texts you or calls and you aren't feeling it, just let her know that you had a nice time, but you don't feel like there was a connection. In the long run, she will appreciate that you didn't waste her time.

Hopefully, there was a connection, and now you are on your road to more dates and a possible relationship.


Have you had any luck with online dating?

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    • Jennifer Silagy profile image

      Jennifer Silagy 2 years ago from California

      Great comments, thank you for sharing!

    • dashingscorpio profile image

      dashingscorpio 2 years ago

      Voted up and useful!

      I would say avoid all the "free online" sites! Craigslist is trash!

      It's important to know what (you) want and then research dating sites that are likely to have the type of people you'd be interested in meeting. Trust me very few busy professionals are going to be scrolling through Craigslist, Plenty of Fish, or DateHookup. has an online section that reviews various online dating sites and provides various demographics about their members such as percentage of males versus female. There are also niche online dating sites which may be ideal for those who have particular requirements such as, political parties, race, age (Seniors), and religious sites.

      Ultimately (you) are responsible for which people you (choose) to engage with!

      Online dating is just a "tool" for meeting people much like a fork is a tool. It could be used for eating a garden salad or a slice of double fudge cake. However you will never hear an obese person blame their weight gain on their fork! And yet oftentimes people who have bad online dating experiences will blame the online dating industry!

      If someone is having one bad dating experience after another it's probably time they re-examined their "mate selection criteria". As you noted there are worthwhile people online but apparently lots of folks haven't figured out how to "shop" for the type of people who are looking for what they themselves are looking for.

      If you go to the store to purchase an apple but buy an onion instead whose fault is that? Do you curse the onion for not being an apple? No! You learn to become a "better shopper"!

      Lastly I would have to say there are lots of people who simply HATE the dating process. Your subconscious will never allow you to succeed at anything you despise! People are attracted to positive/happy people.

      Another alternative is to visit which not a dating site per se. It list thousands of hobby interest groups that meet once or twice a month. They just about everything you can imagine from wine tasting, hiking, yoga, meditation, singles mixers, writing, book clubs...etc

      This allows one to meet and get to know people over time at the meetings. The worst case scenario is you get out the house and make some new friends. :)