19 Oct Cracking The Online Dating Code
In today’s culture, online dating should be a place where commitment-minded singles should be able to go to find a suitable partner. With COVID-19 still looming and many people fearful to gather socially, online dating should be the perfect solution to begin the courting process.
Should being the operative word.
However, the reputation of this platform is less of a “socially distant haven” and more of a “black abyss”. I’ve heard everything from “It feels like a full-time job,” to “It’s not set up for success.” From “There are no quality people on here,” to “It’s just so discouraging.”
Can we circumvent all the chaos and confusion surrounding online dating?
The short answer is: Yes!
At Gem Revealed, we’ve cracked the code, and we’re ready to help make your life less stressful and more successful when it comes to online dating.
First, I’ll share a real-life story. I was one of those people who thought I could never find a high-quality person or a man of integrity on a dating app. To say the least, my view of the entire process was suboptimal. Somehow, I thought that it was for “other” people—but not for me.
That was my point of view, until a friend of mine called me out and asked: how could I possibly claim myself as an expert when I haven’t been on any dating apps—where the majority of my own clientele would be coming from?
As I pondered her wise words, I listened to her guidance and decided I would begin my own “research laboratory.” I was able to convince myself this was a wise decision as long as I called it “RESEARCH.”
So I stepped out into the deep, dark world of online dating, completely unequipped.
And boy, did I pay the price.
I showed up to my first-ever online date, completely stunned when the person I met looked nothing like the handsome man in the photos I had seen. I was horrified and discouraged. The man in front of me didn’t bear even a slight resemblance to his photos, and had to have been at least 15 years older than what he claimed in his profile. After escaping this real-life nightmare, I knew I had to create a strategy for this online dating journey of mine.
Although I didn’t have my plan perfected yet, not long after that first terrible encounter, I thought I had met the man of my dreams—on this very same dating site! I was completely enamored. As the old cliche goes—he had me at “hello.” I was living in the fast lane, and built up a whirlwind of emotions at a speed that was electrifying.
CAUTION: I do NOT recommend this! Slow down, at all costs.
There were some fatal flaws that ultimately became the downfall of that new romance, which could have been prevented if we’d proceeded at a more gradual pace (I’ll expand on this below when we discuss tips on navigating long distance relationships.)
Once I was able to heal my heart and my mind, I jumped back into “research mode” and began the whole process again.
Only this time—I had cracked the code.
I had figured out how to make this program work for me. It doesn’t have to be a full-time job, or discouraging—you just need to follow a proven formula.
Ready to jump in and learn?
Creating an Intentional and Intriguing Profile
First, don’t choose your photos until you have written a well-informed profile (this is where most people make their first misstep!)
Your profile should be a creative (and witty!) narrative, reflecting your core values, interests, and non-negotiable standards. Yes—be your charming self, share your own story, but it MUST include the 3 components above: core values, interests, and nonnegotiable standards. Your photos should simply serve to demonstrate and validate the person you just summarized.
The more specific you can be with who you are and what you are looking for, the more streamlined this process will be. You will go from making painful small talk with lackluster matches for hours a day, to only receiving a few messages from matches who meet your criteria.
So, your first step is to identify what makes up your “core values”—perhaps better known as your “guiding principles.” What are the things that are most important in your life? Be genuine—this is not the time to share the Norman Rockwell fantasy version of your life. This is the time for you to be honest about who you are and what is important to you. Ask yourself, “What do I value most?” Do you value faith? Charity? A healthy lifestyle? Spontaneity? Humor? Certainty? Personal growth? Career? Family? (If you say “family,” better make sure it’s for real—like, you actually like being in the same room with them. Be honest!)
Core Values are different than your interests and hobbies. If you like golfing, hiking, or going to museums, these are important, but not core values. So make sure you identify your interests AND core values.
Be equally specific in your nonnegotiable standards when it comes to the partner you are looking for. If he or she must live a healthy lifestyle, or be of a certain faith, or must subscribe to a certain ideology—make sure you write it down. If things like generosity, leadership, or other attributes are important to you, make sure you include them in your summary.
Make sure you have this well thought out prior to creating your profile (this is not the time for a guessing game!)
Once your profile is complete, this will narrow down your search time and minimize the people who reach out to you. Yes—you will have fewer people interested in you! But the people who do contact you will be the ones you want contacting you, making your online dating experience more enjoyable and less frustrating.
Choosing the Correct Photos
Most women think that sharing their “glamor shots” is the best way forward. I can’t emphasize enough—this could not be farther from the truth!
Think of it this way: you want to under-promise and over-deliver. If you post only your most deliberately posed, highly filtered photos, when you arrive looking nothing like the person on your profile, your date will feel discouraged, let down—even taken advantage of.
To make things simple, I am giving you a list of DO’s and DON’Ts when it comes to choosing the best photos for your dating profile:
- Include a minimum of 3 to 4 photos
- One unfiltered, close-up shot of your face
- One full-body shot
- Your photos should reflect your profile. So any of the hobbies or interests you’ve mentioned, make sure you include those actions shots. Maybe you enjoy horseback riding—include a photo of yourself in the saddle!
- Share any other photos that validate your core values.
- Photos should be a maximum of 6 months old (unless it’s a photo that explains a story or event that you’ve shared in your profile)
- No sunglasses. I repeat: NO sunglasses! (unless you have 3 or 4 clear shots of your face, then you can include one for variety)
- No bathroom selfies (please consider your surroundings!)
- No friends in your photos—we don’t know who you are in those group shots (and we may like your friend better!) Be wise.
- Sunset photos or pics of your pets are not that interesting (spoiler alert: everyone has them!) However, a photo of YOU at a specific travel destination is intriguing, and makes you a more exciting match
- Be modest. Your matches will fall for the authentic person you’ve described in your profile before anything else!
- Optional: Family photos. Personally, I’d recommend saving those for after you’ve made a connection. But if the photos share an interesting personal story—go for it.
Your photos should tell the fascinating story of YOU. There is a science to it, so please consider these recommendations and choose your photos accordingly. Take new photos if necessary – this is to attract the man or woman you want to create a meaningful connection with. Invest the time!
Make Online Dating a “World Class” Experience
Lastly, here are some tips to consider when it comes to online dating to help make yours a “world class” experience:
- In the first few messages, enjoy getting to know each other. But make sure you intentionally look for alignment surrounding your core values, interests, and nonnegotiable standards
- Move the conversation to the phone the moment you feel that there is possibility of alignment. Hearing each other’s voices is another way to build confidence when deciding if you are a potential match
- Prior to meeting the first time, it’s wise to have a “video date.” Meet up on Zoom or FaceTime to get comfortable with one another (I highly encourage this step!)
- When you meet in person for the first time, meet for a short period of time in a neutral public place. You can always extend the date if you think it is going great, but I highly recommend scheduling something that’s finite, like a meal, coffee or a cocktail.
- If you are considering a relationship with a long-distance match, try not to get too deep into emotional attachment prior to meeting. Enjoy getting to know each other enough to understand if there is potential for a meaningful relationship. The moment you think the potential is strong, arrange to meet in person, as physical attraction is of great importance to a relationship. It can be discouraging to build an emotional relationship, share your heart, allow yourself to be vulnerable, only to be let down when there is no physical attraction.
- Do not mistake intimacy for physical connection. I strongly discourage physical intimacy without a bullet-proof commitment. I write this as a woman of biblical faith, and I believe that sexual intimacy should be reserved for marriage. Although this isn’t a popular modern-day belief, I ask you to consider that the moment you do take that step, you create a soul tie that is very difficult to overcome once that connection is made. Intimacy will cloud things and make it more difficult to get to know each other objectively. I’d caution every reader to think about this prior to shrugging it off as a mindset that died with the dinosaurs (don’t hesitate to contact me for more facts, data or details on this or any topic regarding the dating process!)
Want to get even more out of your search for “the one?” Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about our Matchmaking services, our “Dating Wiser” consulting packages, and one-on-one personal development coaching. Our goal is to help every single person go from self-mastery—to soulmate.