Mistakes Men Make With Online Dating: Conversation Starters, Red Flags In Dating Profiles, Swiping Too Quickly, Opening Lines & Bad Photos, App Choices, Effort On Hinge, Bumble & Tinder
Despite the straightforward setup of dating apps, many people keep repeating mistakes over and over again and seemingly never learn from their mistakes. Despite racking up likes and matches these effortless signs of interest often mean nothing or don’t result in effort with respect to conversations and dates. Doing well on dating apps is not just trying to convert matches to dates but more so attracting more of the people you seek.
Online Dating Mistakes Guys Make – Dating Profile Mistakes & More
This post is all about helping men be more proactive in their dating lives, helping them take control and alerting them of the deception that plague dating apps, profiles and intent. Many men assume too much of women, apps, matches, and swipes. Knowing these common mistakes will save lots of headaches, frustration and time for you so you can focus on what’s important for you.
Click here for biggest mistakes women make on dating sites.
Bad Dating Profile Photos, Worst Photos To Use On Dating Apps: Looking Away, Not Smiling
There is a lot of bad advice out there with dating profiles and photos that guys sabotage their efforts from the get go. Lack of energy or smiles, posing next to cars, cringy selfies (home, bed, bathroom, gym), dark or distant photos (harsh lighting, creepy dark environments, lack of close up photos), narcissistic photos and photos that cover your face (sunglasses, hats, masks, looking away in photos) are just some of the photos that will likely yield an automatic left swipe on your profile.
Beyond that, being original, interesting and fun is that will separate you from the pack of guys using cliche, boring photos. Many guys either think smiling makes them look feminine or not smiling makes them more mysterious, attractive. The #1 complaint I get from women is lack of smiles and approachability. All smiles are not equal so you will need to practice and figure out what works best based on your gums, face, teeth etc.
Biased Advice From Reddit, PUA Forums & Buzzfeed Articles
Many men rely on the internet for advice on photos to use in dating profiles. It’s great to seek advice but often times these people either lack the ability to be brutally honest with you or they have context other people (strangers don’t). Similarly, their advice is catered toward Tinder audiences that are superficial and generally less mature. Just because you get a lot likes from strangers on an Instagram post, doesn’t mean people want to date you or take your seriously.
Plenty of superficial photos get likes on IG but fail to provide insight, personality or depth about you, what you are or what you seek. Similarly such superficial photos can signal you are not interested in anything serious. Rather than rely on people who have not proven to be successful themselves, get advice from people you know and trust. Don’t have many friends or people you can ask for help? Check out my dating profile critique service that explores profiles, photos and strategy.
Using Old Photos That Don’t Look Like You Or Photos That Have Different Looks, Appearances
Your photos should accurately depict what you would look like on a date now, not 10 years ago. Dating app photos should be 2-3 years old AND reflect your current weight, hair color, hairstyle, grooming patterns, etc. Less than 5% of people who say they look younger than they appear actually do look that way. They are lying or have friends who are biased and unwilling to be brutally honest and are lying to them.
Having varying hair colors, styles can give pause and result in fewer likes because you will be judged by your worst photo (not your best one). People will also look you up on Linkedin for a close up view, verify employment, location and check out your IG to see if you are following a bunch of IG models.
Lazy Prompts, Empty Bios, Lacking Vulnerability, Substance, Cliche Prompts
Leaving profile prompts blank or using generic, cliche responses shows lack of effort and boring lifestyle. Women will assume you are lazy, unable to be vulnerable, lack personality and substance or are trying way too hard to be cute.
Listing an Instagram handle in your profile will lead people to assume you are only looking for Instagram followers, attention, validation etc. Similarly, cliche answers like Jim and Pam Office references, pineapple on pizza or Netflix answers reveal absolutely nothing about you and make it harder for quality wommen to start conversations with you.
Stop trying to be cute and play it safe – be yourself for a change. Many men avoid showing emotions, passions and personality as a rejection can seem more personal, direct. The more boring, average and cliche you are, the harder it is to stand out from the competition.
Not Specifying What You Want, Sounding Jaded, Dismissive
There is absolutely nothing wrong with having preferences and deal-breakers but listing what you don’t want will make you sound untrusting, judgmental and possibly invite the exact people you are trying to avoid in an attempt to get past your defensive shields. It also suggests an inability to screen profiles and read people and in a way, asking people to politely bow out if they don’t meet your requirements (good look with doing that on Tinder).
Rather than focus on what you don’t want, focus on what you want in your life. Be positive, focused. By sounding negative, you will also dismiss quality women who think you have trouble keeping drama out of your life. With that said, you can’t just wish for things to happen.
Mistakes Guys Make On Tinder, Hinge Dating Mistakes
Some guys use Tinder as their first dating app of choice given it’s brand familiarity, but it may not be the best app for you. It’s largely for younger demographics <25 and those in smaller towns where apps like Hinge, Bumble etc. don’t have enough users. Ask around and see what apps others in your area use.
As for Tinder, don’t enable Tinder Smart Photos nor should you use more than 4-6 photos unless all of them are excellent as you will be judged by your worst photos. Make sure to fill out your profile adequately as incomplete profiles will be viewed as lazy. Different apps benefit from different photos as each has different audiences on them. Knowing this is key to creating a custom profile for each app.
Liking Everyone On Hinge, Swiping Right On Everyone On Bumble, Tinder, Not Sending Comments With Likes
Some guys make the mistake of swiping right on everyone for efficiency purposes. Rather than be thoughtful and send out comments, some guys swipe right on every profile and then focus on those that they are most interested in. This type of behavior is not only bad etiquette, it can get you banned. Some apps might think you are a bot while others think you are not genuine enough for the app and their focus on relationships.
Making The First Move: Initiating Conversations, Opening Lines & The Volume Approach
Guys are awful at initiating good opening lines. They often use the volume approach (sending copy-pasted lines from the internet) to save on time and efficiency. This is a horrible strategy. Showing you read the profile and making a connection is key. Similarly, trying to seem to buddy-buddy will land you in the fried-zone. You want to show effort and customization, but don’t want to write a novel.
The other thing to consider is timing and tone. When you send a message is key as you want to improve the chances it will be read. Clients of mine get tips on the optimal time and strategy to get messages read on dating apps.
Being Too Picky On Dating Sites, Lacking Self-Awareness, Realistic Expectations
Some guys are delusional when it comes to dating app expectations. While I don’t believe in limiting yourself to dating with your league, you do need realistic expectations. Aiming for women significantly younger and more fit than you will yield more left swipes and thus reduce your visibility on certain apps over time. Similarly, while most guys will date women from further distances, women are more selective with geography.
Just because you are successful, educated or wealthy doesn’t mean you automatically deserve the most desirable women – there is a lot of competition for women on dating apps, so you need to be well-rounded, funny, interesting and charming to have a chance. Many guys lack social etiquette or dating experience, further setting themselves back on dating apps.
Assuming Too Much Out Of Likes And Matches, Carrying Conversations, Date Plans, Second Date Assumptions
Just because a girl swipes right on you on a dating app, doesn’t mean she likes you, wants to talk to you or even go on a date with you. They merely want to get to know you more and see if there are any red flags and see if you are worth meeting in person. Women are also examining your communication skills, etiquette (enthusiasm, responsiveness etc.) as well as date ideas. If you fail at any one of these things, that is enough for someone to stop replying or even unmatch you.
On that note, just because a woman agrees to go on a 2nd date with you, if you ask at the end of the first date, doesn’t mean a 2nd date will happen. If you choose a crappy date she (being too forward or inviting her to your place) she can change her mind. Similarly, some women are afraid of how a guy will react if she says no to a 2nd date in person, so she might decline later that night or next day. If you take too long to plan a second date or don’t put much effort into a 2nd date, she will likely meet someone else more worth her time.
Using The Wrong Dating Apps & Sites, Using Too Many Apps, Paying For Premium Features On Dating Apps
There are a bunch of bad dating sites out there, and even the good ones are bad if you don’t fit their demographics. Too many guys default to Tinder because it’s easy but that app has awful male to female ratios. Rather than use more apps to get more likes and matches, focus on quality over quantity.
Being on too many apps will likely yield lost opportunities (not reading/replying quickly enough) or create profile fatigue (too available, desperate). Similarly, paying for premium features doesn’t make you attractive. Focus on getting better photos, improve your writing/communication skills and learn to dress well, smile and be more approachable.
Being Socially Awkward, Lacking Writing and Communication Skills, Being Too Boring, Lack Interests, Hobbies
Video, startups, anime and working out will only get you so far in communicating to others you are interesting, fun or intelligent. Many guys default to dating apps to avoid rejection in real life, or because they are awful at talking to people in real life (this is particularly true for engineers). Once you meet, your soft / in person skills are needed.
Not working on these will ultimately lead to you failing on first dates. If you can’t text well, communicate effectively, plan dates or be alive on dates, you will waste your time and her time. Expand your hobbies, develop interests, join teams, seek out groups of people with similar passions, practice communication to connect with people rather than sounding robotic of disinterested.
Wrong Mindset: Too Focus On Data, Conversions (Photofeeler, Tinder Smart Photos)
A lot of guys try to hack their way through dating and this includes use features like Tinder Smart Photos to have the app pick their top photos and using sites like Photofeeler to rank photos from other users. It’s great to seek out help but there are problems with relying on features like this to quantify efforts.
Tinder Smart Photos won’t tell you if your photos suck on an objective level. You will be judged by your worst photo so it doesn’t matter what your best photos is. Similarly, Photofeeler doesn’t look at profiles as a whole and relies on feedback from users that struggle themselves giving an inflated set of scores. The sum of the whole can be less than the parts when it comes to ranking individual photos. Similarly, different apps require different sets of photos to do well (what works on Tinder doesn’t always work on Hinge, Bumble).
Copy And Pasted Bumble Bios, Hinge Prompts & Tinder Pickup Lines
Many women have seen all the lines on the internet. Using copy-pasted info from dating coaches, ghostwriters and dating app assistants is not helpful. Being able to think on the fly and come up with timely responses, captions, prompts and bios that complement photos are key. It might take more time, effort but believe me, more effective, efficient. Once you go down the volume approach, you will get stuck in the Hinge, Tinder and Bumble algorithms.
Swiping Right Too Much, Too Quickly On Tinder, Bumble, Liking Too Much On Hinge
Swiping too much, too quickly can limit who sees your profile on dating apps. Slow down, avoid accidentally left-swiping on someone you are interested in. The more you take your time on profiles, the better experience you will have.
Online Dating Advice For Men: How To Successfully Navigate Dating Apps
In my coaching services, I work with men to unlock these and other roadblocks that get in the way of meeting quality people, being ready to be open and vulnerable and knowing how to ID time wasters and cut things off more quickly. Knowing where to go on a date, places to avoid, timing of messages,
Don’t rely on biased feedback and advice from friends who look different than you and have different lifestyles and preferences than you.
Contact me today for a consultation.
Personalized Online Dating Profile Critique
Strategy (App Choice + Timing + First Messages), Photo Critique, Bios + Prompts + Photo Captions, Wardrobe Feedback, Body Language, Smiles & More
Additional Reading: Online Dating Tips For Men
About Eddie Hernandez
Eddie Hernandez is a dating consultant & professional photographer based in San Francisco, servicing clients in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and beyond as featured in the NYTimes, SFGate, ABC7News, East Bay Express, Salon; contributor to Good Men Project, Plenty Of Fish and Meddle.
In addition to photos, he provides guidance around app choice, bio optimization, messaging techniques, wardrobe advice, date planning, screening profiles, ID'ing red flags, offline techniques for meeting people organically, naturally.
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