Forget the Penpals or the LoveBombers. Here’s how to use online-dating to get actual, face-to-face meets.
Now, be aware: my advice isn’t touchy-feely. But this is how I acted when I was online dating, and it’s how I met my husband.
You can’t be too sweet, accommodating, or keen when you’re online dating. Nice Girls get chewed up. The best way to date online is to set your own boundaries, and not to get excited until you’re meeting up in person.
To understand men’s behaviour online, think about how you shop online. You browse different sites, add clothes to your favourites, even put them into your shopping basket – then quit the site. Right? That’s how men are when faced with a seemingly endless supply of attractive single women.
So you have to be strict, otherwise you’ll waste hours chatting to men who really never intended to meet you. Weed those guys out, then go on dates with the rest.
Rule 1: Online dating is all about numbers
The more men you meet, the more fun it’ll be. And the less upset you’ll be if things don’t work out with one particular man.
Even bad dates are great opportunities to practise your flirting and conversational skills.
Keep first dates short – 90 minutes. A perfect Saturday/Sunday would be two coffee dates in the daytime, then early-evening drinks. During the week, meet for quick lunches, or after-work drinks then go on to a singles event.
If you’re not getting asked out, refresh your profile (edit the text), upload new pictures, or do Stealth Flirting (see below).
Rule 2: Stealth flirting online leads to more dates than contacting men directly
Men only message women they find attractive. If he wrote to you, he LIKES you. Revisit your inbox after the initial rush – did you miss someone nice?
Stealth Flirting allows men to notice you, and then contact you if you’re their type. If you’re NOT their type, it won’t work out long-term.
Stealth Flirting: Add men to your Favourites, or view their page when they’re online.
Rule 3: If you MUST contact a particular man through a dating site because he’s PERFECT, use these tips:
Be brief! Messages of just 50 characters or less have the highest reply-rates for women.
Don’t start with Hi or Hello. Messages that cut straight to the chase get more replies.
Use the killer line: “You mention that…” then reference something from their profile. This gets an almost perfect reply rate.
Feel confident: men reply to 40% of their emails. (Women reply to just 20%.)
Rule 4: To get a date, create a REASON for him to ask you out
Have a happy, sociable profile that suggests you’d be fun in person.
Don’t be available to chat online, or message, 24/7. He’ll have less reason to secure an actual date.
Don’t reply to every message immediately, and don’t answer every question. If he wants to know your thoughts on the Arsenal back four, or what you’re looking for in a partner, he can ask you in person.
Stop replying to men who send more than 10 messages without suggesting meeting in person. They’re Penpals. Ignore.
Rule 5: Only accept dates, not “Bookmarks”
A Bookmark is when a man says something like, “Are you free on Friday?” but then doesn’t follow up. It’s annoying because it leaves you hanging in mid-air, not knowing if you have a date or not.
The answer to, “Are you free on Friday?” is, “What did you have in mind?” That forces him to think of a nice date to take you on!
He’ll say something like, “We could try that karaoke bar you mentioned in your profile?” You then reply, “Sounds fun… What time were you thinking?” (YOU DON’T SAY YES UNTIL YOU HAVE A TIME.)
He says, “8.30pm?” You say, “Perfect! I’m really looking forward to it.” Now you have a place, a day, and a time. You have a date!
Rule 6: Don’t get annoyed by a man’s brief opening message on an online-dating site
Don’t hate men who only send 1-sentence first emails. They’re simply being efficient, or are annoyed because 80% of their emails go unanswered. Don’t take it personally! Reply in kind (never invest more time or effort than they did) then see what happens in the second email.
Rule 7: Don’t hound him for a confirmation
You arrange a date on Monday with a time, venue and day (let’s say 8.30pm on Saturday). If you haven’t heard from him by Friday, don’t panic. Saturday 4pm you can send him a brief, “Still on for tonight? I’m looking forward to it” email but it’s not vital. Dates with times, venues and days are less likely to be ignored.
Rule 8: But don’t be too forgiving
If he stands you up, he is dead to you FOREVER.
If he reschedules once, be nice about it. If he reschedules twice, move on.
Rule 9: Say thank you ON the date, not the next day
Men see the follow-up, “Thanks – I had a great time last night” message as you wanting to know when you can see him again.
Men who like you will contact you very quickly. If you haven’t heard from him in 1.5 days, chances are you won’t. Let it go.
Rule 10: Rinse and repeat
Remember – it’s a numbers game. Don’t take yourself off the market after a first date. Keep focussed on your own life, keep checking your profile, and keep your feet on the ground.
When a man wants you all to himself, exclusively, he’ll ask you. Until then, you’re single.