Why is it that men on my dating sites (Elite and Match) who look non professional and have none of my interests the only ones who pick me? and the men I reach out to never respond to me? Those guys look like they should be on Post Office wall as the serial killers. Truly.
Please keep in mind is that what you're experiencing is not unique to you. On the contrary, it's a universal hurdle many single online dating users face. When I ask profile review clients what their experience has been with their dating profile, the responses - almost across the board - resemble yours.
This happens for two reasons:
We all overestimate our dating league when dating online
Online daters tend to pursue users who are roughly 25% "more desirable" than they are -- and, by the looks of their messages, many are well aware of the "hierarchy," according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances.
The study found that the higher up we reach, the longer our messages tend to get -- and the less likely we'll get a message back. - CNN.com
The relative anonymity emboldens people to shoot their shot.
"The costs of being aspirational are so low in this context -- in contrast to pursuing partners in person, where the rejection really stings," Eli Finkel, a professor of psychology and management at Northwestern University, told CNN in an e-mail. Finkel was not involved in the newly published research. - CNN.com
Before you suck your teeth and say, "Bless their heart" when you receive a message from someone you deem unfit, know this: there are people out there who think the same exact thing when they see your message. This is one of the biggest realities many online daters refuse to face even though, logically, it makes sense. The general belief is that people who initiate interest are low quality, when they're actually the opposite. They're the ones available enough that they're reaching out. Versus the people you pursue who, if they were interested or looking for people like you, would have found you.
But all is not lost, my friend. Here's another quote from the article linked above:
"If you're willing to put in the effort and you're comfortable with your low reply rate, you certainly can pursue and date people who are out of your league.
"We can tell you what your probabilities [of getting a response] are, and perhaps they are hovering around 10% when you're messaging aspirationally. But that's not zero."
Yes, there is a chance you can get a response from your desired potential match. Just make note of the verbiage in that quote. You have a 10% chance of a response. A response. Not necessarily a match. That said, there are things you can do to improve your match rate.
Use the dating sites and dating apps that most people use - People ask me why I include Tinder in my list of recommended dating apps. The answer is in the graph below. Tinder has almost 8 million users. Now, of course, many are inactive profiles, but that's still exponentially higher than those of Bumble or even Match.com.
There's a reason I don't hype up the niche dating apps like The League, Elite Singles or OurTime: they don't have a robust database of users. To be fair, their databases are small because they are targeted towards a specific, possibly even more selective, group. As a graduate of a private high school and college, I understand the mentality behind that, but I also know that paying good money should result in a more quality experience and increased chance at success. I don't think the niche apps offer the potential return on investment than the more mainstream apps. (Side Note: I beg of you to avoid Plenty of Fish and Zoosk. They're both scammer-central.) My recommendations are Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, Match and specialty sites like JDate (for Jewish singles).
Be who you want to attract - Whatever qualities you seek in a partner, you must reflect those same qualities in your profile. If you're looking for someone who's more refined or upscale, your bio and photos need to demonstrate that you lead a similar lifestyle. If you want someone who is active and healthy, your pictures need to prove that you prioritize health and fitness as well. You can't just say you like yoga or enjoy working out or lead a healthy lifestyle. Prove it. This is the internet, where people can be whoever they want to be. Successful online dating is all about transparency. If you look like you don't care about your appearance, sit home all day or otherwise have no life, don't be surprised at the responses/matches you receive. Women get this more than men. Guys, I love you, but you HAVE to step it up in this department.
Post an amazing primary photo - That primary photo MUST grab their attention. Rejection fatigue is real. It can lead to dating app users unconsciously swiping right and rejecting people before they've even looked at the profile. That's why your primary picture needs to blow them away. The picture should be of your face only and your face has to fill the frame. Wear something brightly colored or pose in front of an eye-pleasing background. And make sure to smile.
Upload only 3-4 pictures total - Full-face, full-body, and two social shots that demonstrate you have interests and a life outside of work or your home. That's it. The more photos you post, the more you increase the chance someone will see a non-existent discrepancy. You want to look as relatively similar in each photo so people don't think your pics are old or otherwise misleading.
Write a unique and compelling open line in your bio - When I was dating online, the first line of my About Me summary was, "I spent my first month in NYC in a convent." (I lived with my aunt until my apartment was ready.) The point is to keep people engaged long enough to read the rest of your profile. They're not going to learn how amazing you are if they stop reading.
Don't try too hard - One thing that turns a lot of people off is when the bio or initial message from their match gives them the icks. You know what I'm talking about. The bio is full of self-deprecating humor. They claim to like pretty much everything because they think it makes them look flexible but really makes them look boring or desperate. The message is nothing but a barrage of questions, emoticons or a repeat of their bio. Nobody is considered attractive or interesting by everybody. That's impossible. Be yourself. Be specific about your values and interests. Be positive.
Grow a thick skin - You're going to deal with a lot of rejection. The reality is that, since most users overestimate their desirability, even if you're blow-your-doors-off attractive and interesting, there will be people who have deluded themselves into believing they can get someone even better. You're always going to be swimming against the tide to some extreme. If you can remember that you - the three dimensional person - are not being rejected but rather a one-dimensional representation of you, you will be more resilient.