How to Succeed in Online Dating

Celebrity matchmaker, Jasmine Diaz offers up her relationship advice exclusively on VeryUnmarried.

Back in 2000, online dating was not considered cool. In fact, it was frowned upon and for many years before sharing that I met my husband online, I was ashamed of admitting how we met. Now, online dating is the cool thing to do, so in the spirit of being cool I will share with you the top 5 tips from my new book, Dating like a Superhero, that will help you land a great catch.

TIP #1 – BE HONEST

No one has a spotless record. We’ve all made mistakes in relationships and have done things that we are not proud of. It may appear that you can be whoever you want to be online, but don’t fool yourself – you’re still a real person in the real world. Trying to avoid the truth of your life will only last a moment, but once you develop a relationship with someone, they will learn the truth and when they do it will get ugly.

Consider how you would feel if someone lied to you about who they were. All those hours spent reviewing profiles and then bam! Finally the woman of your dreams. She’s beautiful; seemingly down-to-earth and fun. She tickles your fancy in ways other profiles have not. You muster the courage to send her a message, then suddenly a connection forms.

Well, this “lovely lady” says she is 35 years old with no children and no attachments, but the truth is she is 28 years old with two children and is separated from her husband. Oh the tangled web she weaved. It hurts to be lied to. Although you may feel as though there are no casualties to your online lies, there are. Remember that most everyone online is trying to find someone special, but if you ruin it for one, you may ruin it for all. Be honest.

TIP #2 – BE PHOTO-CONSCIOUS

There are no words to express the number of unacceptable photos I receive from would-be members of my matchmaking agency. You would think that someone who desires a mate would put a little effort into marketing themselves as quality boyfriend/girlfriend material, but you’d be surprised at how many people underestimate the value of a great photo.

Your picture is your online billboard. It should say, “Hi, my name is (blank) and I am a great person. You want to know me!” But instead we see, “Hi, my name is (blank) and I am a little sketchy. Don’t trust to me.” A picture is truly worth a thousand words. It is important to evaluate your photos regularly and as someone who is going to be on the viewing end of your profile.

Question: If you’re serious about meeting someone, why would you find it acceptable to upload semi-nude photos, bathroom mirror photos, group photos – the one where you and your friends/family are hugged up (you know that one), blurry photos, or even black and white photos to your online dating profile? Do you really think it does not matter what you look like, but it’s who you really are on the inside? I’m sorry love, this is an online dating website not the psychic connection! Who is going to invest the time in getting to know you if you don’t look like you’re worth it? No one will “know” who you are on the inside if they can’t get past what you look like on the outside.

One of the reasons I believe many to be single is because they’re cheap! Online dating is inexpensive, but you still have to be willing to market yourself favorably to stand out among the millions of other profiles. Invest in professional photos that are clear and enhance your best asset – your face!

Recommendation: Vanie Poyey: Online Dating Photography (tell her we sent you!)

TIP #3 – YOUR SMILE IS YOUR TICKET TO DATES!

To piggyback on what I stated above, your smile means everything!!!!!!!! Never ever underestimate it. It is your official greeting card and I cannot put anymore emphasis on this subject than what I will say below.

I have a few clients with not-so-great smiles (and teeth). Unfortunately they are a bit harder to match because a great smile is an attractive quality that many singles desire. Those with not-so-great smiles may be fabulous people, but getting past that not-so-great smile is tougher to accomplish when you couple it with an oh-so-dreadful photo.

When you decide to post your photo online, don’t forget to smile (with teeth showing please). Smiling suggests that you are welcoming, open, and engaged. If you’re concerned about your teeth for whatever reason, either get them fixed or get over it and smile! I’ve seen quite a few awkward-smile photos in my day and it is clear that the person in the photo is uncomfortable. And if you look uncomfortable in a photo, do you think someone will find you attractive? Don’t count on it.

Do yourself a favor by posting an amazing photo of yourself. Review each picture for clarity, warmth, and attractiveness.  We all have moments where we dislike one picture more than another. Evaluate it to determine if you appear attractive and welcoming. And if your pictures do not show your face clearly, don’t bother posting them. Step up and take charge of your online identity.

TIP #4 – COMMUNICATE

Nothing sucks more than when you’ve finally found someone you’re interested in, they don’t care to respond. Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship. Especially an online relationship. It’s the bridge between you and them, and without it there is nothing. It’s the difference between a successful relationship and a bad one, so decide what you want, then go for it.

There is something very “real world” about communicating online that should not be ignored. If you can communicate in an effective way online, then when you meet in-person the foundation will have already been laid. Which brings me to…

TIP #5 & most important – DON’T RUSH THE INITIAL MEETING

This is a mistake that every online dater makes. They meet someone they like,  then rush out to meet them the next day only to find that they are nothing like what they expected! All you are left with is a few dollars less and more disappointment.

Want to know a secret? If you spend time building the relationship online by communicating regularly whether by messaging or phone, you will form the true foundation to every successful relationship: Friendship. Some will say the foundation of a relationship is communication (which is true), but I believe there to be four core foundations: Trust, Respect, Communication, and Friendship. If any one of these core four is missing, you will have problems.

Most people think very little about the relationship they have with their spouse outside of marriage, but if you can’t hold a conversation with your mate about subjects not related to your relationship, then you are destined to fail. You will not like your mate every single day. Some days they will irritate you they will drive you to drink and cause you to question your decision-making. It will happen. Anyone who has been married a long time will tell you that we have all been there. You will face challenges, but a mate who is also your friend will never be your enemy. Even in those hard times.

When you rush the initial meeting, you miss all of the important parts. The “getting to know you” stuff. That’s important! That’s what makes people fall in love! It’s the difference between those who make it in online relationships and those who don’t. You don’t fall for statistics (height, weight, eye color, etc), you fall for who the person really is; their morals and values. And falling in love takes time. It can’t be achieved over a caramel macchiato at Starbucks or one conversation about puppies. If you’re expecting that to happen, you will be disappointed, thus online dating will feel like a crapshoot.

Don’t sprint for the first opportunity to meet your match. Cultivate the relationship by giving it what it needs to grow. Time! Like most flowers, they don’t blossom as soon as you place them in the sun. You must groom and attend to them regularly. Why not do the same with online dating? Plus, online dating is perfect for this kind of cultivation. It’s a no-pressure way to meet people, and you have nothing to lose but your time (and perhaps a little of your money). So why not go slow? You owe it to pocketbook not to move faster than you need to.

Enjoy articles by Jasmine Diaz? Watch her daily advice show The Daily Very on VeryUnmarried.com and submit your questions now: experts@veryunmarried.com and be sure to tweet us @VeryUnmarried with the hashtag #TheDailyVery

Jasmine Diaz

Dating Strategist & Blogger, VeryUnmarried

Jasmine Diaz is a celebrity matchmaker and dating strategist with over 15 years experience helping singles nationwide. She has been featured in Huffington Post, NY Post, Marie Claire, Men’s Fitness, Brides, Refinery 29, Yahoo!, MTV, OWN, Bravo, VH1, ESSENCE, Ebony and Latina Magazines.

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