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Note: This is the second of a series of posts I am writing about online dating.  If you missed the first one, be sure to check out it before reading this one.

As I mentioned in my previous post, the rules that apply to offline dating is equally applicable to online dating.  Just because meeting people online is different and more efficient, doesn’t mean that it is governed by a new set of rules of engagement.  For that reason, first impression is just as critical even if the medium of exchange is casual.

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, it is worthwhile to mention that men are more visual whereas women are more verbal.  That is not to say men are not attracted to women who write well or that women are not attracted to nice looking gentlemen.  But as a rule of thumb, women are more attracted to men who have a way with their words, while men tend to gravitate towards women they find good looking.

Having said, that, I’ve confirmed the following with my small sample of friends: more often than not, the way a woman judges whether a profile is worth the pursue is how much information she can gather from the words on the page.  In general, the more the merrier.  So if you have a choice of writing one paragraph versus four, write four. But simply having more words won’t cut it.  The point is how well can a guy convey who he is in the space he was allotted to talk about himself, not how verbose he needs to be to get his points across.

Rather than talk about it, I thought I would show an example of a rich profile (note the number of words as well as the language this person used to describe himself — every word is deeply meaningful):

“Life for me is all about balance, being open-minded and trying everything once. You’re just as likely to find me at the theater, symphony or opera as at a crowded live show up front with ear plugs in. You might see me sipping Pinot at a gallery downtown, and then run into me gawking at fire-spewing art cars on the playa at Burning Man.

“I relish the comforts of home, but have been known to travel for months at a time with only my backpack, my camera, and antimalarial pills. I’m mostly a city boy, but love skiing off steeps, diving into bodies of water, and feeling sand on my skin.

“I can be cynical and sarcastic with the best of them, but those who know me well think of me as a romantic idealist with a soft gooey center. I can be independent and reflective, but have a wild side that comes out to play hard when the mood strikes.”

On the other hand, here is a profile that is sorely lacking in substance:

“i’m a pretty well-rounded guy – smart, athletic, and artistic. i’m into the outdoors. i can re-model a house.

i try to be conscious of how i live my life and how i treat people. i try to spread happiness when i can.”

The difference between the two profiles is how concrete a picture they each painted.  The first profile provided visuals using words; instead of just describing who he is with adjectives, he painted the kind of person he is with what he likes to do.  After reading the profile, I immediately got a sense of who he is without ever meeting him.  On the other hand, the second profile not only used very few words to describe himself, his description is hardly memorable or differentiating from most of the profiles out there.

Another aspect of first impression is how you choose to present yourself.  I’ve seen too many pictures of men drinking beer in wild party settings.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with posting pictures like that, but know that those kinds of pictures are mostly attractive to people who are like that themselves.  If that’s the kind of person you hope to attract, then by all means.  Since I am not a party girl myself, I tend to stay away from profiles blasted with party photos.  It’s simply not my cup of tea!

Finally, if the online dating sites allow you to choose your handle name, choose the name wisely.  Avoid words that convey pretentiousness or larger than life sentiment unless, of course, you are trying to attract people who like those qualities in a mate.  For example, calling yourself a “Prince” or a “SuperStar” is a big no-no, as is describing yourself as “sexy”, “freak” or “angry”.

Have more to add?  Please post them in the comment section!

If you missed my other posts on online dating, be sure to check them out:

Part I – Online Dating 101: Your Expectation
Part III – Online Dating 101: Your Opening Email
Part IV – Online Dating 101: Your First Meeting

I noticed I’ve been getting lots of traffic from people seeking advice on first dates and/or making good first impressions.  They mostly landed on one of the two posts about my personal experience with first dates: Do’s and Don’ts on First Dates, and How to Make A Good First Impression.

If you are looking for more, I have a treat for you.  This morning I came across a post from The Art of Manliness titled, “Nice Guys Don’t Have to Finish Last.”  In it the author tried to debunk the myth that women like and date bad boys by dissecting the attractive qualities that women want in their men.  When interpreted the wrong way, these qualities can be seen as bad boy-like when in fact they are just variations of self-confidence.  In my opinion, everything in that post rings true.  You don’t have to be bad to be attractive; You just have to:

  • Be a leader and a decision-maker, not a push over
  • Be ambitious
  • Have a cool man skill or hobby
  • Be supremely confident about your relationship
  • Be supremely confident and comfortable in your own skin

For more and the explanation to each of the bullet points, be sure to read the entire post.

This post is a follow-up to my previous post about making good first impressions. I’ve been on several more dates since and have a few more things to add to my previous list. Here goes (and again, not in any particular order):

  • Don’t mention money at the first meeting, ever! I went on a date with this guy who sounded great on paper — Caring, smart, tall, etc. I was more than excited to meet him, but it quickly became apparent to me that he was very hung up on money. Of all the topics we discussed, 75% of them centered around money: How do you spend your money? How much do you want for retirement? How much is it to raise a family of four? He even went into details on the math. Luckily, I am well-versed in money management/investment, so I was able to keep up with him on the topics. BUT, I was still very turned-off, especially for the first meeting! Our conversation gave me the impression that money is the only subject that matters to him. Who would want to spend the rest of her life with somebody like that?
  • Remember, first date = good first impression. First date is about first impression. I put effort into looking nice when I meet somebody intentionally for the first time. I expect as much from the other party…not that they need to look the best, but that they put forth the effort to make a good first impression. Now imagine meeting your date for the first time, and he has body odor! I mean, if that’s supposed to be a good impression, imagine what kind of guy he is when he’s not putting in the effort at all! No thanks!
  • Don’t act like a bachelor. There are many reasons why people remain single, but the last impression you want to leave a date you’ve just met is that you like your bachelorhood. In other words, don’t talk about how you enjoy closing down the bars on the weekends, or how you like to frequent strip clubs. The first thought that crosses my mind is: If you are so content being a bachelor, why are you dating?
  • Do be yourself. I recently met this guy who was trying so hard to impress upon me that he’s just like me. I know we all like people who are similar to us, but it’s kinda creepy when a guy you barely know tries to act and think like you. Besides, that kind of behavior screams, “I have no backbone”, and that’s probably the LEAST attractive quality you can present to a date! Instead, be yourself and if you want to impress your date, be attentive and open to what she has to say. It’s perfectly fine to agree to disagree!
  • Don’t brag about how little you work. No matter how hard we try to deny it, sexism exists. Just like most men prefer more feminine partners, most women prefer manly man. Before I get any grief about my generalization, I just want to note that there are exceptions. But in general, part of what makes a man “manly” is his drive, particular in his career. It is SO NOT ATTRACTIVE to tell a date you’ve just met that you pride yourself in working as little as possible! If you really aren’t ambitious but instead prefer to be a bum, don’t mention anything at all!

Update: If you are looking for what women want in their men, check out my latest post on the subject: What Women Want.

As mentioned in my previous post, I recently decided to get back into the dating game. It’s only been two weeks, but I’ve met quite a number of people already. Alas, most of the people I’ve met so far don’t make very good first impressions. Nevermind dating, I am not even sure if I want to hang out with them as friends based on their initial behavior. But rather than criticizing, I thought it may be more constructive to write about the kinds of behavior that are complete turn-offs. Here goes (they are not in any particular order):

  1. Do not interrupt conversations needlessly. I met this guy recently who interrupted me six times in the first ten minutes of our conversation. He not only butted in when I was talking, he RAISED his voice to get his two cents in. I finally had to tell him to stop talking over me. He initially complied, but it was back to square one after that. Guess I won’t be talking to him again!
  2. Be careful of the questions you ask. Another guy I met asked me questions that were simply inappropriate for the first meeting. For example, “Were you married before?” simply wasn’t a question you ask a person you have just met, regardless of whether the meeting was platonic or romantic in nature. Stick with neutral questions such as hobbies and activities instead!
  3. Don’t carry on a soliloquy about yourself. Yes, we all like to talk about ourselves, but unless you are on a stage, the monologue is incredibly boring to your audience. This guy I met went on for what seemed like an eternity about his job, his life, his accomplishment, etc. I tuned out after a while, but he didn’t get the hint. Sigh….
  4. Don’t brag about yourself. I may not have gotten an Ivy League education, but I have plenty of friends who did. Truth is, an education does not a person make, Ivy League or not. Some women may find it sexy to date a guy who graduated from Harvard, but I find it incredibly tasteless to use that as an opening line. If you must, a better approach is to mention it with subtle undertone. Better yet, let her find out for herself!
  5. Do act like a man. I met this guy who would start out talking with normal voice but gradually fade as the conversation continued. Hello? I can’t hear you if you whisper. And why are you whispering anyway?
  6. Don’t appear cheap. One of my favorites places to eat are holes-in-the-wall with great food. And although I don’t mind at all going to a hole-in-a-wall restaurant for the first date, I want to know that the reason for the choice is NOT because my date is cheap! So how do you get your date to try your favorite hole-in-a-wall without appearing cheap? Provide her with three or four choices and let her choose. Briefly introduce her to each of the choices, and while you do that, mention that the hole-in-a-wall is one of your favorites.

Well, that’s two weeks worth of dating do’s and don’ts. I will post more as they come up! Meanwhile, feel free to add more of your own in the comment section.

Update: I have since written another post of the do’s and don’ts of making a good first impression.  You can find it here.