To the uninitiated, internet dating can be a minefield – you’re as likely to enjoy an explosive encounter as you are to bomb out.
In this loaded exclusive, the author and online dating expert Gareth Fosberry reveals how to really make an impact.
OK, so you’ve made the decision. You’re ready to jump head over heels into the world of internet dating. What next? Despite what the dating sites may say, online dating isn’t always easy. For many, the ‘simple’ process of finding true love – or a one-night stand – can be a long, frustrating and expensive exercise. A significant proportion of online daters will never meet anyone in person, let alone ‘The One’.
I’ve driven around the dating block since it was built in the early 2000s. In that time, I’ve come to learn its features, its routes and its traffic better than anyone. I’ve also learned how to avoid being blindsided by catfish and rear-ended – sometimes literally – by perverts and scammers. I’ve drawn on my own 15-year dating career to compile a tried and tested set of tips for every would-be dater. From setting a great profile to turning on the charm, these six simple steps, taken from my new book Love at First Swipe, are a must for anyone looking for love or lust online.
1) Don’t say cheese: The importance of your main photo
Your main photo is the most crucial photo that you upload onto your dating profile and it should say as much about your personality as it does about your face. If you get this photo wrong, you could miss out on speaking to many people. The majority of people won’t bother to look at your other photos before swiping left or right on your profile, so you should ensure this is your BEST picture. Don’t go all David Brent though; relaxed shots are often far better than professional, cheesy ones.
2) Looking 50 is great if you’re 60: Uploading the right choice of photos
Make sure you upload at least three photos and that they’re recent photos, not photos of you from 10 years ago! Also, make sure your pictures show you in a good light. You should be smiling or having fun, but not looking miserable! You should include photos of yourself that are flattering. Uploading colourful, varied and fun profile photos is essential to creating a great online dating profile. Make sure your photos are representative of who you are.
Upload photos of you glammed up, dressed down, resting and letting your hair down. You should project yourself as a multidimensional person and uploading photos such as these to your profile will reflect this.
If you’re looking for love, not lust, avoid photos of your abs or muscles (or any other part of your naked body for that matter). Users will think you’re only after something casual. While it’s clear you are very confident about how you look, you will come across as an arrogant person. Users may think you are superficial and spend more time focusing on your muscles rather than developing other parts of your personality.
3) Better slapped by a truth than kissed with a lie: Creating an honest profile
Creating your profile is the hardest part when registering yourself on a dating site, but it’s also the most important. You need to make an effort and write something about yourself in your profile, even if it’s just a few lines. If you don’t have anything in your profile, people will think you’re lazy and will think you might be hiding something. Make sure you tell the truth and use words that reflect positivity.
Try to elaborate on your likes and interests. Far too many users use the same old clichés – “I’m sociable”; “I love movies”; “I like animals” – which are inevitably ignored. Instead, think of something interesting that you could add, such as why you’re sociable and in what circumstances; what movies you like and why; and what kind of animals you like and whether you have any. You could also list any hobbies you have and any sports or gym activities that you like playing or participating in. People need to imagine how they would fit into your life, so you should give them enough information to make them want to know more about you.
4) Do the deed in public: Meeting and staying safe
Safety and security are extremely important, and you want to make your date feel comfortable right from the start. You can help reduce the nerves by arranging to meet up in familiar territory and in a public place. This will help make you both feel more comfortable. Avoid your regular bar, pub or restaurant, as bumping into your friends on a first date could be distracting and can make things awkward for you both.
5) Avoid the (birthday) suit: First impressions count
First impressions are, as the saying goes, lasting impressions, too. They are so important and, if you get this right, it will set the tone not just for the night, but also for any future relationship you may have with that person. You may have lucky clothes that you always wear, but if they are ripped, scruffy or dirty, this will be the first impression your date gets of you. You should never pretend to be someone that you’re not, but equally, your date might like to see that you take pride in your appearance. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wear a dress, suit or tuxedo, but looking smart, smelling nice and being clean (don’t turn up with dirty fingernails!) will help you impress your date and get you off to a good start, without you falling at the first hurdle or having to play catch-up. You should be yourself in terms of what you wear, but you should make an effort and look smart. You also need to turn up on time, as your date won’t be impressed if she is left waiting around!
6) Be a cat not a twat: The difference between confidence and arrogance
Confidence can be a very attractive trait. Most people see confidence as an important factor when it comes to choosing a partner. The more people you speak to and the more dates you go on, the more experience you gain and the more confident you should naturally become. Plan what you’re going to talk about on your date, including subjects you’re enthusiastic about. Find out as much information as you can about your date before you meet them face-to-face. It’s even better if you have mutual interests that you can talk about. Many people are shy and worry about their appearance. It’s more attractive if your date sees that you’re comfortable in your own skin and are happy being you. There’s a fine line between confidence and arrogance though. The last thing your date wants to hear is you bragging and talking about yourself all night!
Gareth Fosberry is one of the UK’s most respected online dating experts. His new book, Love at First Swipe, is a comprehensive guide to modern online dating. It offers tried and tested tips and advice about all important aspects of online dating, including personal safety and the ways to maximise your chances of dating success.
It also has specific sections for disabled people and the over-50s. It is available now on Amazon priced £8.99 in paperback and £3.99 for the ebook.
By Gareth Fosberry