Get yourself an online dating profile, they said.
It’ll be fun, they said.
Yet, virtually everyone who’s spent maybe … oh, half a minute on dating apps can probably attest to how much it sucks.
First, you get served up this incredible menu: Would you like Slim, Athletic, Curvy, or A Little Extra? Within 5 miles of you, or 10? Caucasian, Hispanic, African-American, Asian, or Other? As young as 29? Or maybe 31? Exercises 1-2 times a week, 3-4 times a week, or 5? High school diploma or Ph.D.?
Naturally, you say yes to all the things, whatever they are. You send out tons of messages, sit back, and wait. Time goes by. Then, after lowering your standards and having some stiff, yet hopeful messages with people you’re halfway interested in, you ask someone out and get an encouraging, “That sounds great!”
Then, she ghosts you.
And honestly, it kind of stings. You wish you could go back and swipe left.
The thing is, we all know dating apps are here to stay. This is how people meet each other now (a whopping 40 percent to be exact, according to a recent survey on eHarmony). So it’s almost impossible to opt out. But the good news is, since so many single women are online, it’s highly likely that the type of person you’re looking for — maybe even “the one” — is on there, too.
You forgot one thing though. You already passed on her.
Why? Because like a lot of people, after months or years of being on these apps, you’re now traumatized by the sheer number of times you’ve been catfished, ghosted, gaslighted, benched, or otherwise mentally tortured by someone who seemed attractive at first. It’s enough to practically give you PTSD.
So now, you obsess over things that are arbitrary. First, it’s easy to memorize “red flags” — those things about her profile that must mean she’s bad news. One photo only? Nope. Catfish. No full-body photo? Pass. She’s overweight.
That kills maybe 20 percent. Still, avoiding classic red flags doesn’t quite weed out all of those special brands of crazy that you’ve come across. So then, you try to sniff out anything that remotely smells like ANY bad experience you’ve had. You might immediately swipe left because of details such as:
- She likes emojis. Dumb!
- She’s not smiling enough. Bitchy!
- She likes horses. Weird!
- She has a tattoo. Trashy!
- She doesn’t drink. Prude!
- She wears yoga pants. High maintenance!
- She wears camo pants. Rough!
- She uses puns. Annoying!
- She mentions religion. Fanatic!
- She “loves to laugh,” “lives to love,” or worse, both. *tries not to hurl*
I know personally how incredibly random these labels can get. I had to chuckle when I saw a guy on OKCupid start his profile with this disclaimer:
“If you have no full-body photos, are FROM GHANA, or have more than two children, then move ON!!”
My father’s from Ghana, and I was born in the U.S., so I obviously couldn’t help but ask him about the Ghana thing. Turns out, I had failed to realize that all Africans are scammers. Kind of reminded me of another guy on POF, who said he almost ghosted me after not being able to recognize my zip code, even though we were in the same city.
Look, we all have a right to weed out crazy. But it’s so easy to focus on the wrong criteria. You know how people say the best experiences in life are on the other side of your fears? Well, I’m just saying, there could be decent women on the other side of your judgments.
Here’s a seemingly unrelated, yet relevant example: I never used to understand why people lived in studio apartments. It just seemed odd to me, especially in LA. Then, I moved into one, and I love it. And it really makes me think. I could have saved hundreds of dollars a month, for years, with literally zero impact on my quality of life, if only I was willing to let go of my judgments. Why do we do this to ourselves?
Still, giving up on judgments is hard when it comes to dating. But even if there are some judgments you can’t let go of, we can still explain some of those classic “red flags” in other ways. For example:
- Yes, having only one photo could mean she’s a catfish. But it could also mean she’s just not putting in a lot of effort. Why? Maybe she’s not sold on online dating, or it’s a new profile.
- If she has no full-body shots in her profile, she might be overweight. But she also might be weeding out guys who would focus on it.
- Her out-of-date photos might mean that she aged horribly. Or she actually could look fine now, but just liked those photos better.
- If she complains or sounds negative in her profile, she could be high maintenance. Or she could be a dating veteran who’s simply as jaded as you.
- That crazy Snapchat filter could mean she’s terribly immature. But have you noticed how much it slims the face? Women kind of like this. Plus, it’s just fun.
The point is, before you swipe left, it can’t hurt to relax and take a breath first — otherwise you could eliminate someone who’s actually worth your time. In fact, keeping your head clear in the dating world is crucial if you want to be able to recognize women who are right for you. Because, again, they are there. If you want to really be able to see them, here are some suggestions.
First, Don’t Expect to Be Treated Well on a Dating App
It’s social media. Nobody is having real human interaction until they meet. So, for the same reason you wouldn’t expect all nice comments below a YouTube video, you shouldn’t expect people to be totally human on a dating app. It’s crappy, but that’s the way it is. If you can get to a point where you’re not hurt by this, then you can continue to be open to the possibility of someone being actually cool … instead of getting so jaded that you shut down.
Before You Swipe Left, Take It Slow
Really look at who you’re passing on instead of doing it automatically, and be honest with yourself about why. Sure, you could be right to avoid her. But remember there’s a margin of error for every judgment you make.
Rethink Your Opinions
I’m not suggesting that you just turn on the firehose. Don’t swipe right on everyone or turn off all your filters, because it won’t help. You can’t just be like, “Okay, today I’ll look at people over 5’11”,” or “I’ll try to ignore the tattoo thing,” because when you see those women, you won’t really be giving them a chance mentally.
Instead, think about what that trait means to you and honestly see if you can change your opinion on it.
Decide to Take Risks
As they say, no guts, no glory. When was the last time you got something amazing without taking any risk? If you’re trying to make this dating thing risk-free by eliminating 95 percent of your prospects, then you aren’t taking enough risk to let someone in. It’s about being open and not closed. How do you want to approach this overall?
Realize You Actually Don’t Know What’s Best for Yourself
None of us do. You already tried to reason your way into finding the perfect partner, and where are you now? Exactly. Out here with the rest of us. So now it’s time to feel your way through. In other words, relax on your checklist, because you could find someone who technically checks every box and still not be happy. Instead, check in with your emotion on things, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense at first. Take a risk on someone different, and she just might resonate with a part of you that you didn’t know existed.
Jump on Anything Mildly Interesting
You might as well, because that’s about as accurate as a profile gets. They can be wildly inaccurate. The only thing it really tells you is how that person wants to present themselves, not how they really are.
I can’t count how many times I found someone who was “perfect on paper” and then after meeting them, realized something major about their personality that their profile (shockingly!) failed to capture. So on the flip side, that perfect profile with no red flags is STILL hiding something. Maybe lots of things.
The point is, if there are one or two things that sound interesting about her, that’s enough. Just go for it.
Try to Meet Her ASAP, to Get Real Data
Again, profile information isn’t as real as we’d like to hope. Someone’s body language, tonality, how you guys vibe together, and all those other things you only see in person, is the real stuff. The sooner you meet in person, the sooner you’ll know who you’re dealing with.
Finally, to make sure you get the most of your future dates, I suggest you book a New Client 1-on-1 Skype Session with Emyli. She can give you the honest rundown of what’s working for you in your dating life and what’s not, along with an action plan for getting the best results. Good luck!