When you first start online dating, it’s tempting to use it as much as you want.
Don’t. Resist the temptation. More time won’t get you better results: more strategically and tactically-sound behaviors will get you better results.
Here’s the lowdown on your logged-in behavior.
- Log on during “down” times in your week: mid-day on Sunday, lunch break, right after work. I see lots of girls answering messages at these times, especially in the 4:30 – 6:30pm time frame. Another key time period would be in the early morning, since many people do email, social media, and dating sites first thing, as they warm up for their day. Sending out messages right before these peaks is the next best thing you can do after messaging women who are already online, since your message is more likely to be at the top of her inbox.
- When you’re on, be on. Answer your messages and send a few new ones. I’ll cover more about messaging strategy in future posts, but suffice it to say, it’s better to send a few messages every few days than 40 messages in a single weekend. Whatever you do, don’t just lurk and hang out. That’s useless.
- When you’re off, be off. Don’t leave the app running on your phone (keeping you logged in) or the browser tab open. Women searching profiles need to see that your “last online time” wasn’t “15 minutes ago” no matter when she hits your profile. The idea that some time has passed (like up to 24-36 hours) is good for you. It says you have a life, and it doesn’t revolve around the online dating website.
- Make plans for the weekend on Tuesday. OkCupid’s own data suggests that this is the major usage pattern for people looking to set up dates for the weekend. Similarly, set up early-week dates, such as Tuesday or Thursday nights, on Sunday night. Most women, no matter how busy their lifestyle, have down-time on Sunday night. It’s the ideal time to get into an online chat or, better yet, a text-message conversation. It helps that people are often relaxed from a solid weekend, and preparing for the week, maybe dreading it, looking for a little friendly distraction. Be that distraction.
- Be disciplined about your schedule. I recommend you log on to the site a maximum of once per day, with a caveat for mobile app use if you’re riding the bus or waiting in line or what not. I further recommend that you set aside at least three nights per week to go on dates — adjusting for your own life and schedule, of course. I like Tuesday and Thursday evenings after work, and Sunday early afternoon. The weekday night dates are a little more romantic, since there is a time constraint — you both presumably have to get up for work in the morning — without being the obvious “social” slot of Friday or Saturday night. Sunday afternoon is good because it is a less-pressured time: you both are likely to be relaxed, and there’s no time pressure.
- A note about scheduling dates on Friday and Saturdays. As a guy with an active social life, these are either third-date nights for girls you’re really hitting it off with, or social nights to spend with friends, dancing, partying or doing whatever fascinating fun hobby you have. I would never schedule a first date on a Friday or Saturday night for this reason. Saturday nights are really ‘girlfriend’ or ‘girlfriend material’ nights, and my presumption is you won’t know if she’s girlfriend material until a few dates in.
There you have it: seven simple rules to guide your online dating usage behavior.
What rules do you use to get your best results?