During my single days, dating apps were my thing. I would spend hours each day swiping, talking to men, trying to take pictures for my profile, and agonizing over writing the most appealing bio and opening lines. Dating seemed like a part time job. I spent a year on dating apps before I met my fiance. And looking back, no wonder I didn’t meet a quality guy before the time I did! I was a mess! I was underselling myself, making myself too available, and projecting desperation. If you’re new to online dating or are not having a good time doing it, read on.

Pictures are everything. Dating apps are very visual. Attraction by attractiveness levels are magnified on such platforms so make sure your pictures capture your best self. I don’t suggest doctoring your pictures to the point of catfishing, but make sure they are taken in good lighting and the picture quality doesn’t look like you took it with a potato. I recommend this order of pictures on your profile: 1st: the very best picture you have of yourself (Highlight your best features: face, abs, butt, whatever), 2nd: a picture that showcases your personality (smiling, angsty, etc.), 3rd: a picture of you doing your hobbies, 4th: a picture of you in your work outfit (if you want to share that side of yourself). Bios are a great way to turn off people, but I have yet to meet a man genuinely turned on by a woman’s bio. Keep it short and positive. The list of “No this” or “No that” or “___ swipe left” may turn off a man not because they are those people, but because you come across as a negative person.

You’re not an angel investor. Many women agonize over the perfect opening line, making sure it’s witty but not too forward, funny but not immature, and so on. Just stop. A simple “Hi, guy’s name” will do. If your profile really captivated him, he will be waiting for your message already so he will respond no matter what line you open with. If the app does not require you to message first, wait for his message. If he was really interested, he will message you the moment you both match.

Pen pals remain pals. I don’t believe in texting for weeks before meeting up (barring certain circumstances). I also wouldn’t spend so much time texting a guy only to find out we’re not compatible. Many think that an in-person date is more investment than texting and will text someone for so many hours before agreeing to a date. Run the numbers with me here: texting almost daily for x hours over the course of days/weeks/months OR ~2 hours for a dinner date. When you initially make contact, a couple lines of banter is fine, then that’s it. If he doesn’t ask you out on a date within that timeframe, sign off. He may ask you out on a date a couple days later or not. There’s no need to give him a trailer of your life through text. If he wants to get to know you better, he’ll ask you out. This approach will also weed out men who are low effort. They don’t want to take on the risk of spending money on a date that may or may not turn out well so they date through text. Hard pass. 

Attachments are for emails. Do not get attached at all costs. Online dating is a numbers game and both you and the man know your chances in your respective dating pools. There will always be someone wealthier or prettier, and many will try to get the best deal they can get with the assets they possess. Such is dating, and this is nothing new. What is new, however, is the availability of bigger and better options. You will be passed over for someone else countless of times and you need to be prepared. Don’t get attached even when the man seems to make you feel special. Until you get a wedding ring, his affections are only good for the present day. Keep your options open. I would even warrant that even with a wedding ring, you need to keep your options open. Stay on top your game. You just never know. 

Availability: by appointments only. Don’t answer the “You up?” or “Wyd” texts. After your initial conversation that should last about 15 minutes tops, if he’s not asking you out for dinner, it’ll be a no. I don’t recommend agreeing to last-minute dates either. Dates have to be scheduled at least a week in advance, no less. You’re a busy woman. He has to fit into your life, not the other way around. Here’s a tip: if he schedules your date on anything but a Friday or Saturday night, you’re not his first choice. What do you think an eligible bachelor does on those nights? Yeah, he takes women out on dates. If he’s not asking you out on those nights, it means you are not his first or second choice. I don’t care what excuse he gives you for being “busy” on those nights because I can tell you he’s lying. Promptly turn down such dates and move on.

Get wined and dined. Allow him to impress you. Let him make plans for the date, pick the restaurant or activities, and be a masculine man. If he suggests coffee or a walk in the park, politely decline and move on. If he’s the type of man to suggest a low-effort date as a first date, he’ll be low effort forever. It’s not about the amount of money he has or anything like that. A man who cannot buy you dinner doesn’t need to be dating right now, and you shouldn’t date anyone who can’t or won’t buy you dinner. It’s the least he can do after you show up as your beautiful self who put in the time, effort, and resources to look as good as you do.  Add up the expenses of your gym membership, fitness classes, beauty and fashion costs, and you’ll see that you have spent way more on this date than this man will on your $40 entree. When you put in the work, you will feel comfortable demanding more of men.

When you start practicing these things, it will feel awkward and you will feel mean or “high maintenance,” but don’t. There is nothing wrong with being high maintenance. If at this point, you are not yet in love with yourself, you need to take a step back, delete the apps, and date yourself. Only when you are comfortable with giving yourself the best of everything are you ready to find a partner who will strive to do the same.


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