When You Log On Matters

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?

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Why Are You Getting Crappy, Unimaginative Messages?

I’ve cracked the case. I’ve discovered one of the biggest scourges of online dating success, for both men and women.

This, ladies and gentleman, is why you never get any good messages from people you find hot:

  • Your profile contains 0 proper nouns 

Okay, so I didn’t do a scientific study to establish this, but it is, in my humble opinion, an open-and-shut case. I’ve studied thousands (no, I mean, thousands) of women’s dating profiles, and at this point, hundreds of guys’ profiles (no, I haven’t gone to bat for the other team; I’ve started reviewing guys’ profiles to help improve them). And the problem is pernicious and persistent for both genders.

This is how it typically goes for a woman:

  • Check out a guy’s profile
  • It’s generic, boring, bland, blah
  • This guy doesn’t stand out from the crowd.
  • Why should I message him?
  • I can’t think of a reason.
  • NEXT!

Girls, you are guilty of this too — and this is what the experience is like, from a guy’s perspective:

  • Check out a girl’s profile
  • It’s generic, boring, bland, blah
  • There is literally nothing in her profile I can reference, make a joke about, etc.
  • So what do I message her?
  • I can’t think of anything.
  • Wait, maybe I’m supposed to make something up that’s witty, but it’ll sound generic and copy-paste without any reference to her profile.
  • Too much effort.
  • NEXT!

And that’s just for average-looking girls. The bland-profile problem seems to be exacerbated for better-looking girls — or to be more precise, for the girls I can deduce spend more time thinking about their appearance, as evidenced by the numerous “hot” photos they’ve posted, the amount of time they spend in makeup, with hair done, cleavage-enhanced, etc.

Here’s how things go for those “hot” girls:

  • Check out a girl’s profile
  • It’s generic, boring, bland, blah.
  • She’s given me ZERO opportunity to relate to her as a human being.
  • But wait, she’s hot.
  • So what do I message her, “You’re hot?”
  • I guess I’ll just do that then. It’s my only chance.
  • Woman is all like, “Ewww, guys are just after me for my looks!”

See?

(Hot) women, you are complicit in the type of messages you get!

If you are tired of being called out by guys just for your looks, then please, for God’s sake, give us something else to call you out for! 

If you’re tired of getting these crappy, unimaginative messages, maybe it’s because you have a crappy, unimaginative profile!

But wait, I hear you say. I’m a hot woman! “Effort” is anathema to me! I put my effort into my appearance, and in uploading hot photos to the site!

Then don’t be disappointed when that’s all guys comment on.

If your social and reproductive value is primarily in how hot you are, don’t be surprised when guys pick up on that, and ask to date you simply for that reason. There’s a sick double standard in asking you girls to be pretty, and then asking you to get mad at guys who comment on the fact that you’re pretty.

It’s easier in person because in person, I get a sense for your personality, goals and ambitions in the first microsecond I meet you. I don’t know I know these things, but I do, and they enable me to relate to you as a human being.

On the internet, all I have is photos and text — you might as well be a dog I’m thinking of adopting. If you’ve failed to do a really good job convey your unique personality in those photos and text — and let me be clear, this is not easy to do — then it’s an almost hopeless game for both of us.

(And, yes, I know most of the guys commenting in your looks are doing it in an incompetent way. We’ll leave a discussion of competent vs. incompetent male attention for another day. For today, I’m just trying to drive the point home: bland profile = bland messages.)

One of the big sins of online dating is that it equalizes the playing field, i.e., it doesn’t take into account male and female sex and gender and value differences. So, until a site comes along that does, you might have to think and behave a little outside-the-box in order to get the results you want.

It’s really simple: don’t want to be objectified? Stop objectifying yourself. Put the cleavage away. Show us pictures of you cuddling your cat in a sweater while sitting on a stack of Great Literature instead.

You know what attracts smart guys? Mystery, intrigue, and a commensurate display of intelligence on your part. Guys like solving problems and puzzles. Give them a freakin’ puzzle to solve. Give them an obstacle to crash through. (And no, that obstacle shouldn’t be “I’m not on here much.”)

And please, God please, add some proper nouns to your profile. 

Proper nouns are easy, and fun. See, like this!:

  • Azores
  • Baryshnikov
  • Chlamydia
  • Dostoevsky
  • Euripides
  • Frank Zappa
  • Garfield
  • Hemingway
  • Io

See? So easy!

Just to spell it out further, here are the clear win-conditions and lose-conditions I’m trying to convey here.

LOSE CONDITIONS

#1

Can’t imagine my life without my
Friends, Iphone, my bike, potato chips, tea, and chocolate.

“iPhone,” while technically a proper noun, is so ubiquitous as to be useless. I love my iPhone too! I don’t know anyone eles who likes iPhones! Let’s date!

#2

I party, study, play with my cats, make a mess of my apartment, and clean it back up again. To understand my day-to-day, imagine this on a never-ending loop. That’s all I’ll give you, ask me if you want more.

Hi, I would really like more detail about your never-ending-loop of a life. Like, why don’t you insert me into this loop, since your pictures prominently feature your ample cleavage, and I am the #1 fan of ample cleavage?

WIN CONDITION (so rare I could only find one example)

Here are some things I’ve done in my life. . .

Collected ancient Greek pottery in Thebes.
Went to Disneyland in Tokyo when all the elementary schools had the day off (Jesus…).
Made Kid Cudi buy me a drink because he was mean.
Played with halogenated solvents.
Dressed up like Ke$ha, only to be mistaken for her later in the night.
Danced to Biz Markie with the huge guy from The Green Mile.

That block of text is almost 50% proper nouns. I don’t even know what half that stuff is, but it sounds impressive, so I’m attracted. And, she name-drops famous people, which is both obnoxious and hot. That’s the way you do it.

Listen, men and women are equally guilty of writing these snore-fest profiles. But men and women are equally interested in the love & affection that can result from a really good match on a dating website.

You want that really good match? Then hang that personality out there — your specific personality, as identified through proper nouns.

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OkCupid or Match.com: What’s Better for Online Dating?

I got a request to write up a Match vs OkCupid post, and that’s just exactly what I’m going to do.

In one corner, we have the hipster-cool OkCupid, (which is now owned by Match.com, although the founding team is still on board doing all the work.) Cupid started as SparksNotes, a note-taking service for college students, and then morphed into a personality test site, with built-in virality: you could post your test results, sort of like badges, on other websites, which inevitably drew more people into the site to take the tests.

OkCupid’s history is interesting because it basically started with everything you find on a dating website (tests, quizzes, personality profiles), minus the dating. Now it’s probably the premiere free dating site on the Internet, taking second place to Plenty of Fish in terms of raw traffic, but since I can’t bear to subject my eyes to the hideous awfulness that is PoF (and neither can any of my friends), it’s #1 in my book.

In the other corner, we have Match.com, the undisputed king of online dating websites, free or paid. Match is also amongst the oldest matchmaking properties on the web, having been started in the mid-1990s.

Since we’re focusing on the efficacy of these two sites from a user’s perspective, I’ve broken down the experience into a five main categories:

  • Efficacy. What are the quality of the matches and quality of dates?
  • Ease of use. How long does it take to get off the site and meet someone in person?
  • Value. What does the site deliver vs. what you give up to use it?
  • Design and aesthetics. Is using the site and/or mobile app a pleasant experience?
  • Network. What type of people are using this site? What is the dating pool like?

A couple of notes: in an informal and totally non-scientific poll, the first four categories represent what most people are looking for in a dating website: that it gets them good dates, that it’s easy to use, that it’s a good value, and that using it is enjoyable (or at least not unpleasant. Plenty of Fish utterly fails in the Design & Aesthetics category, which is why it’s not even on my radar.)

The fifth category, Network, is sort of the category that rules them all. Even if the website looks and works awesome, if there’s nobody on it — or nobody attractive to you — it fails. With online dating, the pool is the product, and you’re paying to get access to the pool. 

So let’s start this cage match, shall we?

Efficacy: How Serious Are You?  

You can’t talk about the efficacy of a dating site without talking about its user base. OkCupid is free, supported by ads. It attracts people who would rather not pay for online dating, but are OK with looking at ads. I think this indicates a slightly-less-serious, or at the very least slight-more-cost-conscious, dating pool.

(You can pay OkCupid $10 a month to get access to some premium features — ability to search by  body type, and a few other perks — but I imagine fewer than 10% of users actually do this.)

On Match.com, users are free to browse other profiles and wink at other users, but messaging is locked away behind the subscription. Monthly access can be had for as little as $15 a month (a 6-month commitment is required) or as much as $35 (a one-month subscription). Match also offers a “guarantee” for an extra $1 per month — they will pay for another 6 months of use if you do not find your “special someone” in the first six months — although there are reports that this guarantee is hard to qualify for and sometimes enforced in a shady manner.

So I think it’s fair to say that Match.com users are more serious: if they’re messaging you, they’re serious about meeting someone, because they’re either paying for it monthly, or they’re on a 7-day free trial period and trying to get a date in seven days.

Here’s my experience. I tried Match.com once, and used it diligently for 6 months. I met one woman in person.

Now, granted, at the time my “online dating game” wasn’t very strong, but I still find this metric pathetic. Arguably, I wasn’t looking for something serious, so I was using the wrong site for me at the time: but I still find 1 date in 6 months to be an indicator of efficacy for me personally.

Of course, arguing from anecdotes is useless: I know at least one girl who got married from using Match.com. Now, she did spend about 10 hours a week on the site for 6 straight months, but if that’s what it takes.

In contrast, I have found OkCupid much more efficacious. I have met dozens of girls through the site, many of whom turned into friends, and several of whom I had short romantic relationships with.

Simply because of the cost difference, I think of OkCupid as the more efficacious site, but it really does depend on what you’re looking for. If you want to meet someone for the long term or someone who is serious about getting married, Match.com probably has the better network for you.

Winner: Depends what you’re looking for. Match for the more-serious, Cupid for the less-serious.

Ease of Use: How Fast Can You Get Offline? 

In my view, the objective of online dating is to make it offline dating as quickly as possible. Unless what you’re really looking for is a pen-pal, most of us will admit that actually building relationships takes place in real time in the real world, not mediated by electronic screens.

So which site gives you a faster time-to-real-life? It’s really a toss-up, because it depends on your skills with your profile, messaging and pictures, as well as the motivations and confidence of the other person in question.

There are all kinds of people on both sites, both very secure and bold people who are willing to meet up after 1-2 messages, and people who expect to exchange 20+ messages through inmail before a phone number is exchanged.

Having said that, I will also say that there are specific things a guy can do that make it more likely a girl will give you her phone number within 1-2 messages. I know, because I’ve used these techniques, and the success is repeatable. Recently, a girl gave me her number in the first reply message she sent to me (and then followed it up with a “wow, I just read your profile, it’s so good” message).

This one’s a toss-up, because I believe there are specific guys that everyone can do to improve their time-to-real-life, which work equally well on both sites.

Value: Free vs Paid 

Cupid wins. I’m just going to call it out right now. Free beats paid any day of the week, especially if you use an ad-blocker on your browser so you don’t have to be brainwashed by their ads.

I suppose there is some actual value in the signaling function of paying for online dating, whether on Cupid or Match. vis a vie the fact that guys willing to pay will probably be viewed by women as “more serious” and perhaps also “more marriage-material” which might be what you’re going for. For those of not going for that, it will probably hurt more than help: all the casual chicks will say, what kind of loser has to pay for online dating?

From a user perspective, the value equation has to be optimized for your time. Whether or not you’re spending monthly on online dating, my presumption is that your time is valuable, and you want to spend as little time as possible finessing your profile, messaging hundreds of women, and crafting the perfect reply. There are shortcuts and quick rules-of-thumb for all these activities that will radically boost your success rates. I intend to write about all of them in future articles, so stay tuned.

Online dating shouldn’t take more than 1 to 2 hours a week. That should be enough for you to get the results you want, whether it’s setting up 3 coffee dates with attractive women or 1 coffee date with one seriously attractive, seriously compatible woman.

Design and aesthetics: Cupid Takes the Cake 

This category seems to me an easy call: OkCupid wins, hands down, as the site with the superior user interface, design, and general look and feel.

Match is no slouch in this department, boosted by a recent redesign, but they’re still not up to Cupid’s standards. Nobody in the online dating game is (although WhyDon’tWe has plenty of pretty buttons with rounded corners.)

I mean, come on: which would you rather spend an hour staring at?

OkCupid profile. Notice how much cleaner it is.

On mobile: I have to plead ignorance here, since I’ve only ever used Cupid’s app, and my verdict is: it’s good, but not significantly better than the website experience.

I doubt Match.com’s Mobile Match is significantly better than their on-site browsing experience either, so I’ve got to call this one a tie. Sound off in the comments if I’m totally wrong here.

I will note that Cupid’s app has a “Locals” feature that tries to identify potential matches who are nearby, in your neighborhood, and allows you to post suggested date ideas that others can take you up on. I’ve had virtually zero success with posting my own date ideas, although one woman did contact me using the feature, once.

In general, I think dating sites are still struggling with the local-social-mobile intersection. Eventually, someone might solve this and make it a killer app — I know what kind of product I would pay for in this space — but nobody has stepped forward with the right product design yet, and no incumbent is thinking about it in the right way, so it might take a while.

Network: Dating Pool or Dead Pool? 

I know by now you’re probably convinced I’m a shill for OkCupid, but it’s not true, and this category will demonstrate why: churn.

Churn is a reality of online dating websites. Generally, the better the product, the higher the churn: paradoxically, people who stay on the site long-term, continuing their search month after month, are by definition frustrated daters, not getting results. So a good churn rate indicates one of two things:

  1. Your site is so godawful that people get off as quickly as they get on
  2. Your site is so damn good at matching folks that they get off as quickly as they get on

I’ve heard that Match.com turns over their entire customer inventory every 6 months. This makes sense, given their six-month membership packages, and their six-month guarantee: people probably think, “Okay, I’ll give this online dating thing a serious shot for 6-months, and see what happens.” One way or another, they’re getting off the ride after that 6 month period is up.

Cupid has no such artificial restrictions. In one recent sample, fully 30% of profiles I messaged over a two-day period disappeared within the business week. That’s a huge, colossal, stupendous amount of churn. It’s much, much more than Match.com’s.

So what’s going on here? Are Cupid users less serious about dating? Probably. Are they more apt to jump on and jump off at a whim? Probably.

The flip-side problem to too much churn is not enough. In other words: the dead-pool effect: people who create profiles, then abandon them shortly afterwards, either because they started dating someone, or because they got discouraged and gave up. This easily leads to the common problem of “messaging dead profiles” — beautiful people who haven’t logged in lately. Technically, they’re “active users” (although every dating site defines “active” users differently) — but they’re not going to see your message.

If I had to guess, I would say that Match’s inventory is probably, on average, more “stale” than Cupid’s. Is this good or bad for you? Well, it’s neither, because you’re going to use the only smart tactic that can be deployed when faced with the oscillating problems of too much vs. not enough churn: you’re only going to message people who are online now, or who have been active in the past day. 

Listen, profiles are products: but unlike a can of tuna, a profile has no “best-buy” date and no known shelf-life. A lot of is going behind the scenes with every profile you view, and you don’t get to see any of it: that ‘perfect profile’ that you’re convinced is your soulmate could disappear any instant. If they haven’t logged in in the last 3 days, odds are they’re not going to, either.

If you’re serious about getting results from online dating, you should therefore only be reviewing product that is guaranteed “fresh” — that is, product that is using the site at the same time you are. The bigger the local pool, the easier this is (i.e., in a big city) — if you are in a rural area or a small-ish city (less than 1 million people), you’re going to have to expand your browsing to longer and longer temporal scales (last 5 days, last week, etc.)

A final note: since OkCupid is free, it’s not unusual to run into the same people on both Match and Cupid.  It’s also not unusual to see the same person on the site for a long period of time; there are a few women on OkCupid that I have seen pop up multiple times, on and off, over a 3 year period. I call them the “long-term-available” and I suppose I share a certain camaraderie with them, since I’ve obviously been in and out of serious relationships during the same time period. Maybe one day we’ll all have a big meetup and swap stories.

The Final Analysis: What’s Better, OkCupid or Match.com?

The answer: it depends.

Here’s my advice: if you’re looking to get into a seriously-long-term relationship and/or marriage, use Match.com. It probably has a dating pool slightly more aligned with that intention, and in any case, putting your money up front signals your seriousness, which is the right message to send to potential mates.

If you’re just looking to get your feet wet with online dating and you’re not sure how serious you are about marriage or finding a long-term mate, use OkCupid. It’s free, it’s easier to use (IMHO), and the dating pool is just as good as you’ll find anywhere else on the Internet. Plus, it’s more fun to use, and that counts for something, right?

If you find yourself straddling the fence, use paid OkCupid. The additional options will make your searching and messaging more effective, and help you spend less time and get better results.

Of course, there’s nothing to say you can’t use both sites, and many people do. But if you’re like me, your attention is already spread thin enough. A busy man only really needs one dating site and application.

I hope this has helped your decision making. Sound off in the comments if you (dis)agree!

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Dating Cliches to Avoid Like the Plague

Cliches, they bore me.

They bore everyone else, too, which is why, if you don’t want your online dating profile to read like a snore-fest, you ought to go through with a scalpel and ruthlessly excise any cliches from your online dating profile.

OkCupid has a great blog post on on this topic entitled The REAL ‘Stuff White People Like” (as well as black people, Asian people, Indian people. . . .) that you should read to get a start on this stuff. Below, for reference, I’ve pasted some of the most commonly-used obnoxious cliches for male and female profiles, as well as adding some of my own commentary to the bottom.

Men: Don’t let me catch you saying you like this stuff (unless you really, really love it)

  • guitar
  • golfing
  • most sports
  • brew
  • boating
  • hockey
  • jeep
  • grilling
  • boats
  • skiing
  • software
  • mostly rock
  • i’m a country boy
  • i can fix anything
  • a few beers
  • great sense of humor / i’m funny
  • looking for a nice girl (no shit, Sherlock)
  • equally comfortable going out to crazy parties as sharing a glass of wine and cuddles at home (right. Most people are equally comfortable with these things, so don’t mention it. It would be worth mentioning if you were equally comfortable delivering a baby horse in a rural stable as creating stop-motion Matrix reproductions using paper mache. Otherwise, don’t mention it.)

Women: Don’t you dare mention these pastoral fantasies (unless they make up 80% or more of your life)

  • horseback riding
  • bonfires
  • horses
  • summertime
  • wine
  • coffee
  • thunderstorms
  • fashion
  • yoga
  • baking cooking
  • tea
  • chocolate
  • trying out new things
  • foodie
  • want a guy with hygiene (he’s not going to change his hygiene for you)
  • want a guy with a job (no duh)
  • must have your own car (see above)

What are some cliches that absolutely drive you crazy? Leave your own in the comments.

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Your Online Dating Profile Needs Work

What?? No it doesn’t! It’s perfect! I’ve spent hours laboring over it!

These were exactly my thoughts when I first sought feedback on my OkCupid profile. Sadly, I was wrong: my laborious hours had not, in fact, resulted in the world’s sexiest profile. There were still things  I could do to improve it. Major things, in fact.

Guys, this post is for you. Ladies, I’ll address your profiles in a future post.

Okay, so you’ve fired up an OkCupid account, uploaded a few flattering pictures, and done a pretty good job writing an introduction that will catch the ladies’ eyes: you’ve remained humble while sounding genuine, threw in a few “lols” so she knows you’re an easy-going guy, and highlighted how hard-working and responsible you are. You’ve got a job. You’ve got a car. You have your own apartment.

Game on, right?

Wrong. I’m here to tell you that, no matter how much time you’ve put into your online dating profile, it’s probably still not good enough.

This doesn’t mean you should spend more time. Nothing is more common in online dating than spending a HUGE amount of time and getting tiny results. That’s the default trap that people fall into: “Oh, this is like reviewing resumes; so the more time I put into it, the better my results will be.” Wrong again.

(This mistake is not limited to guys, by the way: I know some women view Match.com as a part-time job and spend 10 hours a week for 6 months going through guys’ profiles. Some of them even get married. Is that just the price of happiness? I don’t believe so.)

As with most things, it’s doing the right things, not doing a lot of things, that will get you the results you desire. It’s the difference between efficiency and effectiveness: some guys I know can send 100 messages an hour. They’ll have better results than me, right? No, they won’t, because although they’ve gotten very fast at sending copy-paste or even semi-personalized messages to girls, they haven’t stopped to ask themselves “Am I doing the right thing?”

And that’s what this blog is all about: not doing things right, but doing the right things.

Let’s Explode Some Myths

Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be an awesome writer to have a profile that “works” for you. Smart women will realize that good writing skills are an indication of . . . good writing skills. There is no relationship between your writing skills and your relationship or love skills. This author is a case in point.

In accord with popular belief, you should use proper spelling, punctuation and grammar. You should leave out obnoxious text-speak. This signals that you are intelligent enough and care enough to put on a clean pair of clothes in the morning. I’m serious: grammar, spelling and punctuation is to the online world what clean, fitted clothes are to the real world.

Would you go to a bar wearing dirty sweatpants and sweat-stained wife-beater full of holes? No, you wouldn’t. Neither should you go to the OkCupid Club with your participles dangling out and your tenses unmatched.

Okay, back to your profile. There are three simple rules you need to follow to write a kickass profile that will actually get you dates with cute women:

  1. Show don’t tell
  2. Humor & Confidence
  3. Not taking life too seriously 

Let’s take these one at a time.

Show Don’t Tell

In reviewing guys’ profiles at the OkCupid subreddit, I’ve typed this over and over again until there’s a permanent path worn on my keyboard: show, don’t tell. This is a cardinal rule of writing fiction and it applies doubly to an online profile.

Don’t say you’re a funny guy. Crack a joke instead. Don’t say you’re confident and authentic. Write so that your natural confidence and authenticity comes through. Don’t say you’re a champion motocross racer. Post pictures & video of yourself winning races instead.

Do this: comb through your profile looking for sentences that start with the phrase, “I am. . .”. Delete them all. Re-write with declarative statements or story-telling that gets to the same thing. You cannot use the phrase “I am.” (Not even “I am looking for a fairy princess with sparkle-dust on her eyelashes.” Rewrite that to say, “Fairy princesses with sparkle-dust on their eyelashes might awaken my inner Aladdin, but only if they’re prepared to sew up my carpet.”)

Okay, I’ve belabored the point enough. On to the next most important thing; Humor & Confidence.

Humor and Confidence 

I just have to take a historical time-out to talk about pick-up culture for a minute.

Back in the early days of the “pick-up-artist” subculture, a guy named Eben Pagen coined a term called “cocky & funny” to express a winning communication style that generated attraction between men and women.

Words matter, and Eben’s choice of words, while bringing a lot of success to a lot of guys, also steered many, many guys off course. Guys emphasized “cocky” and started acting like assholes towards women. Guys emphasized “funny” and started acting like clowns. Many went from socially awkward losers to socially awkward ass-clowns.

But the concept underneath Pagen’s word choice is sound; he just chose the wrong words.

I’d like to suggest that the right words are Confidence & Humor. Confidence, not cockiness, attracts women like no other. Women want to be with a man who is confident in himself, in his abilities, in his place in the world, in his leadership. Humor, not merely being “funny,” has to do with having a unique perspective on the world, and on not taking reality too seriously.

The combination is what women truly want. A woman might call up a confident man to fix something, but if he lacks this unique perspective on the world that puts him at ease, if he lacks humor, she won’t be as attracted to him, because she doesn’t have any fun in his presence. A woman might enjoy partying with a man who has humor, because she feels at ease with him and enjoys his presence, but if he lacks confidence in himself and in what he wants, she will not see him as a man, a masculine creature, a sexual creature.

Back on track: your profile must exude confidence & humor. Why do I say exude? What rule did we just learn? Yes, that’s right, your profile must convey — and not in a declarative fashion — that you are a man who trusts himself, his place in the world, who is on his mission, and who doesn’t take any of it too seriously.

That last part is particularly important, and it leads us directly into the third principle. . .

Not Taking Life Too Seriously

Online dating, just like real-life dating, is a delicate balance: you must try, but not too hard.

Trying too hard is the kiss of death for men. An attractive, high-status male epitomizes ease in all his interactions with the world. He doesn’t overwork it.

A man who lacks confidence overworks it. He tries to “kill it” so hard that his efforts become a turn-off. Everyone can see him struggling. He’s a try-hard.

This is a delicate balance to strike, and the best way to strike it is to get feedback. But here are some general attitudes to start cultivating in yourself.

  • You’re a busy guy. You’re not on the online dating website 24/7.
  • You’re not super invested in the outcome of online dating. If you make cool friends, awesome. If you don’t, awesome. You might meet a girl you really like. Who knows?
  • Online dating is not your mission in life; your mission in life is your mission in life.
  • Your mission in life, by the way, should suck up at least 80% of your waking life. If it doesn’t, you need to get your life to a place where it does. The search for a woman should not suck up more than (at most!) 20% of your life.

Rewrite your dating profile with these principles in mind: Show don’t tell, convey confidence & humor, and don’t take any of it too seriously, and your results will begin to improve auto-magically.

If you get stuck, give me a ring.

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Welcome to Become Awesome At Online Dating!

Hi everyone, and welcome to BecomeAwesomeAtOnlineDating.

I started this site when I realized it was possible for most guys (and girls!) to drastically increase the quality of the results they were getting from online dating, while drastically reducing the effort they put into it.

I realized this myself. I had never had a ton of success in online dating. I thought it was defective.

It’s not defective. My approach was defective. As is the approach of 90% of men (and women!) who use the free dating sites.

So I realized that anytime you can spend less time on some activity, whilst simultaneously increase the quality of results, you have a recipe for increasing happiness. 

And I’m all about increasing happiness.

BEFORE applying what I’m about to share with you . . .

  • More time spent trying to get results on online dating sites
  • Less actual results

AFTER applying what you can learn here . . .

  • More (and better) actual results
  • Less time spent trying to get results

It’s an easy trade-off.

Let’s get all the preliminaries out of the way first. Everything I’m about to share with you has ben pioneered using the dating sites Match.com (paid) and OkCupid (free), but I have also tested it exclusively on OkCupid, and it works just as well there, so you don’t even have to pay for online dating.

Some people will tell you that if you’re serious, you have to pay for online dating. Don’t believe them. It’s just not true.

Are you ready to begin? You’ll need:

  • A willingness to learn and put into practice what I suggest
  • A free OkCupid profile (and/or Match.com; up to you.)
  • An email account

All set? Let’s go!