The online dating world is rough. Dating in general is rough. You have a lot to compete with and who knows what the other person’s intentions are. I’ve never had a boyfriend (full disclosure, and all that), and it isn’t for the lack of trying. I do live on dating apps however, and go on quite a few dates. Here are the tips I have learned that work to at least get you the first meet.
1. Have a Face Pic or Provide it Without Being Asked
If I were to meet you in person I would see your face. And I like to see people’s faces so I know what you look like. With my new role at work, there are a few people I haven’t met in person and don’t even know what they look like. It kills me at least not having a face to put with the name.
My present dating app pic is not a face pic. That is because I am pulling off a one-legged wheel pose in some pretty skimpy underwear. Trust me, showing off that much skin in a pose that most people can’t do, works in your favor. However, I link my Instagram to my account, so there’s more to look at if they’re interested. If I message first, I send a face pic, and I have plenty on hand to send. If not for this awesome pic, I would use a normal face shot. If you’re going to make a rule you better follow it. Don’t say “face pic required” if you don’t have one or don’t at least have a link to some sort of social media site where I can check it out.
Yes, this is a big deal. You may have a smoking hot body, but the face is the deal breaker. Plus if you want to meet someone, which is the ultimate goal whether for a date or hook up, you’ll see it one way or another. Might as well deal with it up front.
2. Always Have a Few Extra Pics On Hand
You have the face pic, but people want more than that. You need at least three good face pics, and make sure they aren’t screen grabs from Facebook. Those are grainy and make you look like you might be cat fishing someone. Have the originals. You have to have a smart phone to be on the apps, learn to take a picture.
Also, a general rule of thumb, if some one sends you three pictures don’t send back just one. 3-5 is the acceptable amount, and try to match how many they send (within reason). If they send 10, don’t feel you have to send 10, but don’t leave them hanging either.
3. Get the Conversation Going
If you message first, then they respond, start asking questions. If you say hey and they don’t respond for 5 hours, don’t respond to their hey with another hey. Get the conversation going. Just because it isn’t an immediate response doesn’t mean you need to say hey again. It’s online dating; people aren’t glued to the apps. Be excited you got a response, but now get to know them.
My rule is if you message me first, you better be able to keep it going. If I message you first, I plan on keeping the conversation going. I’ve got a stock list of get-to-know-you questions and topics. I won’t leave you hanging. Maybe it’s my Libra talking, but the expectations I put on you I hold myself to as well.
4. Don’t Message 5 times in a Row
I love the guys who message me 5 times in a row in 3 minutes and are mad when I don’t respond. Clearly the green dot is lying and I’m busy at work or am not online. Since I didn’t respond as soon as you said hello, that should be a pretty clear indicator that you shouldn’t just keep messaging me and ending with a super passive-aggressive comment like “Well I hope you have a good rest of your life.”
No body is (or should be) glued to the app. Sometimes I know I am on for an hour on a Tuesday night, but then I go on with my life and start doing something else. A good rule of thumb is give someone 24 hours to respond. I sometimes have people respond to my message a week later. I always wait a few days before I even think about sending a second hello if they haven’t responded. Chances are they saw my message and just aren’t interested, or I didn’t have a face pic for them to see. Give them a decent chance, and don’t get clingy.
5. No Answer is an Answer
If someone doesn’t message back after a few days, chances are they aren’t interested. A lot of times it’s just easier to not say anything. It is the unofficial rule of rejection. And honestly, even if I did flat out say no, then you would ask why and just won’t let it go. Rejection does suck. It happens to me. Instead of getting my undies in a bunch, I just roll with it. If you don’t respond, you aren’t interested, and while that sucks, I get it. When it comes to these apps, we really do suck as human beings. This is not courtship. It’s fast-food ordering. Place your order, then move on. Next!
6. The Block Button is a Blessing
The block button has a lot of purpose. You can block the guy at your college you aren’t really into, plus maybe don’t want him to know you are gay. It’s also handy for people who are rude and won’t leave you alone even after you say no politely. If someone won’t respond to you after the 12248934982390th time, maybe it’s time to block them and free up that spot with someone you have a shot with. Instead of worrying about whether you’re hurting someone’s feelings or not, just block them if you aren’t interested and be done with it. It might sting for them, but in the end, it’s fast and merciful, without a lot of drama. It’s best for all parties.
7. Like the Pirate’s Code, These are All Really Just Guidelines
Let’s be honest. There really aren’t any rules to online dating. You can make a rule but then throw it out the window for that special someone. You can be selective who you send nudes to, as well. (Hey, you don’t owe anyone a glimpse of your intimates.) Really, in the end you can do whatever you want. But just remember (unless it really is a Bot) that it is a real person on the other end of that message chain. You don’t have to be a complete prick to let someone down.
photo credit: Rambeaux Stallione, cc
MATTHEW DAVID HAYS is a budding writer, currently living in Michigan. Matt loves to stay active and keep his mind engaged. You can usually find him at the local yoga studio or at happy hour.
Check out his blog at MatthewDavidHays.