5 Things Most Online Daters Are Doing Wrong

This was the most popular picture from my dating profile.

This was the most popular picture from my dating profile.

That’s it. This is the year you’re going to find love.

You uploaded your best pictures. You wrote a sassy profile. You’re single and ready to mingle.

Then…you wait. You get some views. A few “Hey”s on Tinder. A couple of “winks” on Match. The guys that do pursue you? Well, let’s just say they’re not the ones you want.

What did you do wrong?

Don’t feel bad. Most online daters have no idea that their profiles ARE the problem. So now’s the time to make sure you’re not committing the top five online dating deal-breakers:

1. Thou Shalt Not Lie
When it comes to online dating, truth in advertising is EVERYTHING. That means your pictures need to look like the current you, not you 20 pounds or 5 years ago. Be upfront with employment and marital status. And please, pretty please don’t lie about your age – I’ve experienced all of these.

One guy showed up and looked nothing like his pictures. Another guy turned out to be a struggling actor who confessed he didn’t have enough money to pay for my cup of coffee. (I can’t make this up!) And still another turned out to be 51. A full SIX years older than what he posted. When I asked him why he lied, he said he preferred dating younger women. Dios mio.

Of course, I knew the date was over as soon as I realized they’d misled me. If they could lie about these things, what else could they lie about? My male friends tell me they’ve been in these same situations. And just like me, they immediately knew there would be no second date.

2. Your Photos All Look The Same
Innocent mistake, but a bad one nonetheless. Many people tend to have four or five pictures where they basically look the same. Why would you post photos like these? Easy – your hair and makeup is on point, you’re dressed well, and you look hot.

Great, but in a relationship, your partner will get to see you in all sorts of situations. Why not add a picture of you post-yoga workout or hike? With no makeup and sweaty? My most popular picture when I dated online was a very sweaty, red-faced me after a kickboxing workout. I was still wearing my boxing gloves and had the goofiest grin. I was in my happy place and it showed. Guys would remark on the picture and say they loved it.

So take a chance and post a picture that shows the natural you playing sports or enjoying the outdoors. Maybe you’re playing with your nieces. Or goofing around with your dog. As long as you’re being you, that’s what makes it memorable. Also, make sure you have at least one full-body picture. The number on a scale doesn’t matter! A woman is attractive when she’s confident and comfortable in her own skin. So don’t hide!

3. You Demand Commitment
It seems smart to declare in your profile that you’re looking for a long-term relationship, marriage, or that you don’t just want a hook-up. But slow your roll, lovely. First dates are all about seeing how you like the other person. Are they fun? Polite? Do they make you laugh? Do you share their values? Did you enjoy yourself enough to hope for a second date? That’s all you need to care about in the beginning.

Unfortunately, by announcing you want something long-term, you could be scaring away some really great potential partners. Relax, and let go of expectations. Just see if you’re compatible. Because if you are, you’ll probably end up going out again.

4. You’re Too Picky
Okay, having high standards is a good thing. However, if you’re only willing to date guys who are 6 feet or taller, or men with a graduate degree, or women who do yoga, you’re being way too picky.

Here’s the funny thing about chemistry: It often happens with someone you’d never match with on paper. I tried dating the “good on paper” guys and yet I ended up with someone who has very different interests and background. We’re crazy in love and I can’t imagine my life without him. So throw out your list and let love rule. Try dating guys who don’t quite fit your parameters and you just might be surprised in the best of ways.

5. Yadda Yadda Yadda
It may seem tempting to pack as much detail about yourself into your profile as you can. But no one wants to slog through long blocks of text. So, pick three things that define you. Maybe it’s writing kids’ books, kickboxing and animals (that was me). Or whipping up savory seafood dishes, tutoring teens and watching as many foreign movies as possible. Put these things in no more than two to three paragraphs. Think of your profile as a movie trailer: leave them wanting more.

Finally, if you’re not having luck, it could be where you’re looking. I had very little luck dating in L.A. during the five years I lived there. I happened to be 55 miles south of La La Land when I matched with the love of my life on Tinder. So try expanding your search geographically. It sounds inconvenient, but when the love is right, one of you will willingly move in a heartbeat.

Diana Alvear is a former network news correspondent turned online dating coach and profile writer. A decade of online dating, complete with enough bad stories to close a bar down, has given her insane insight into what does work and what fails miserably when it comes to finding love online. You can work with her at Find Your Penguin where her mission is to help you find your mate for life. Because you’ve had enough bad first dates.

Diana Alvear