As messy, difficult and vague dating is, online dating is even more challenging. Lack of proper etiquette, laziness, ease of setting up a profile, unclear reasons for signing up (lonely, play games, vanity, boredom etc.) has given online dating an unfair shake. With that said, Match.com the dinosaur of dating sites/apps has muddied the waters even more with a laundry list of questions and preferences.
On the spectrum of dating sites and apps you have two types of dating sites and apps: Easy set up, easy viewing and easy messaging (think Bumble, Tinder etc.). On the other side you have apps/sites that focus more so on profiles and less so on just photos: Match.com, Coffee Meets Bagel etc. Both have their pros and cons but Match definitely is one of the more confusing and error prone out there. (Check out my gender ratio charts for Match.com)
No other app aside from eHarmony is so intrusive when it comes to bombarding you with questions. Is knowing someone’s favorite baseball team really that much of a deal-breaker? How many times to people state there body-types are athletic/toned or slender when they are actually more like average or curvy? What other app asks for income? Who uploads 22 photos to their online dating profile? (by the way, you only need 4–6 photos). What is your sign? Who does that? Match.com.
There are some parts of your bio you should answer. Too many “I’ll tell you later” signals lack of effort or inability to open up about yourself. When it comes to the question “do you have children” you should answer yes or no — answering with “I’ll tell you later” is a bit odd and could turn away people from your profile.
Just because Match asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer it. Furthermore, online dating is meant to be treated as another avenue for meeting other people outside of your day to day life. It is not meant to be treated like a Restoration Catalog catalog where you filter everything down to a T. I am not saying you shouldn’t be picky but treating dating sites like a shopping cart on Amazon will leave you frustrated and anxious. Too much pressure on a first date is fun for no one. Do you put that much pressure on someone you meet at Blue Bottle? While waiting for your perfect cappuccino and a cute guy asks you for the non-existent wifi code, you reply back with do you have kids? Are you a Libra? Doubtful. Why would you do that online?
When it comes to the questions, you should not specify a trait unless you yourself are willing to divulge that on your profile. If you seek someone who makes $150k+, list your salary. If you want a non-smoker, list your status. If you are 65 and list you are looking for someone 27–32 don’t be surprised why no one responds to your messages. Don’t lie about your age and list the age you think you look like. Lastly, if you list San Francisco as your city but you list your are looking for someone 15 miles within Los Angeles, one can assume you moved are have not updated your profile and/or you are looking to move.
Preferences vs. Deal-Breakers
Online dating is not without its risks. There are many skeevy guys online (and women too). You should be cautious and on guard but there is a fine line between being careful and being oddly particular about whether someone is 6’1” or 6’2” or has auburn hair or brown hair. Match.com provides a misleading sense of power over who one matches with and interacts with but it also does an uncanny job of turning one’s nice-to-haves into deal-breakers. Don’t waste your time going out on a date with someone who you absolutely despise and loathe but at the same time don’t dismiss a match who only has 31 of your 32 desired traits.
When it comes to photos, Match has the least restrictive criteria. Don’t upload anything smaller than 400x400 pixels — just because you are not not blocked from using a thumbnail 100x100 pixel photo doesn’t mean you should. Also don’t use photos that don’t have you in them. Don’t repeat photos in similar locations with the same outfit. Don’t use blurry photos nor ones with harsh shadows. People want to see what you look like.
For help with dating app questions (i.e. how to select photos, which apps to use, when/how to messages matches etc.) check out my Frequently Asked Questions page or contact me directly here for a consultation.