Wait! Stop! Don’t do that…okay, okay, we can’t really be sure that you were just about to make a big online dating mistake, but we’re guessing that based on the fact that you clicked on this article, we might be right. Sometimes the best advice that you can get on anything is not what you SHOULD do, but what you SHOULDN’T do. This could not be truer than in the world of online dating.
Most of you are probably here because you’ve already been dating online for a little while and aren’t having much luck or aren’t getting the results that you’re looking for. If this is your very first stop and you’re new to online dating, we do recommend you check out our online dating 101 guide for beginners first as we cover A TON of the things you need to be doing to make sure you avoid even getting close to any of these mistakes. Trust us, it’s an awesome read, and you’ll be happy you took a few minutes to take a peek at it.
But, let’s get back on track with what we wanted to talk about today.
In the next section, we’re going to cover the top 10 online dating mistakes that you need to stop today if you have any hopes of finding that special someone. We encourage you to grab a drink, get comfortable, and take a few minutes to make sure you really soak up what we’re trying to share with you. It can be easy to pretend that you’re not doing anything wrong when it comes to dating and that it’s just everyone else’s fault that you’re not having success.
But, today we invite you to check your ego at the door, lower your guard, and for just a few minutes welcome the possibility that there might be things that you can change to help you have better results with online dating.
#1 – You’re becoming a checklist monster.
We LOVE you for taking the time to figure out what you’re actually looking for. When you don’t do this, it’s like walking into a brand new grocery store without a list or a plan and if you’ve ever done that before, you know it’s a mess. But, when you’re looking for that special someone, you need to understand the difference between a need and a want. Failure to do this is one of the biggest online dating mistakes we see day in and day out.
You NEED your significant other to want to have children; you WANT them to be over 6 feet tall.
You NEED your significant other to be the same religion as you; you WANT them to be into hiking.
You NEED your significant other to be okay with you having children; you WANT them to be wealthy.
Starting to see the difference? A need is something that is a deal breaker. This is something you have to have in your date or else you’re not interested. A want is something that you’d like to have, but you are willing to do without or the right person.
The tough part about online dating is that it can set you up to be a checklist monster. Why? Well, it’s extremely easy to look at someone’s dating profile, and then just go down the list and give them checks or x’s based on whether or not they have what you need or want. When you do this with your list of needs, it’s awesome. You can quickly discount singles that it’s just not going to work out with.
But, the problem is that it can tempt you to want to do this with your wants as well. The next thing you know you’ve rifled through every single on the site and you’re convinced there is no one worth your while. What makes this even worse is that dating sites give you the ability to use search functions to rip through this process even quicker. You can type in exactly what you want with height, body type, interests, religion, etc. and in no time you’ll have a list of every single guy or gal that matches your criteria.
Again, this is awesome when you use it for your needs, but can create issues when it comes to your wants. We aren’t telling you to discount and forget about all of your wants when you’re trying to find that special someone. But, what we are trying to tell you do is make sure you don’t become that checklist monster. It’s okay to know what you want, but you’re going to be forever single if you aren’t will to bend a little on your wants.
When you date in person, you do this all the time without a problem. You go on a date with someone, you really start to enjoy their company, and then you find out that they’re not into hiking. Do you say, “Thanks, but no thanks,” hop up and leave the date? Of course, you don’t! You usually ask them what they’re into and maybe even get excited about introducing them to hiking.
If this is how you handle things with dating in person, why not do it when you’re dating online?
Be a checklist monster with your NEEDS and your deal breakers, but don’t get out of control when it comes to your wants.
#2 – You’re being unrealistic.
Look, we love you here, and we only want what’s best for you. With that, we know that sometimes we have to hit you with a dose of reality. Uh oh….Don’t worry, it’s not going to be that bad. Have you ever gone into a really expensive jewelry store or an expensive car dealership just for fun? Or maybe toured that house that was light years out of your price range? You know that you could never buy anything there, but it’s fun to look.
When you do that, a strange feeling will usually come over you. For a little while, you’ll start to feel like you can actually afford one of those cars, that house, or some of that jewelry. But, then you’ll remember that you’re not a billionaire and snap back to Earth. Well, this seems to happen to a lot of people when they’re dating online. They’ll start to see all the young and beautiful people and start to feel like they can have anyone they want regardless of whether they live in two different worlds or are 20 years older.
Before we go any further, we want to make sure that it’s clear we think that beauty is far more than skin deep and that age at times can just be a number. But, here’s the reality check. Not everyone feels that way. Some people like to date people within their age bracket. Some people like to date people that look like them or already run in the same social circles as them. This is life. Do we think it’s fair or how it should be? No. But, it’s life.
What does this have to do with you and your dating life? Make sure you’re being realistic about the people you’re chasing and the people you’re choosing to respond to or ignore. Just because there are a ton of perfect 10, 25-year-olds on the site (and you’re 35 or older), does not mean you should be ignoring the people in their mid or late 30s. Sure, you can still try messaging these other people, but you should be looking in your age bracket as well.
Here’s the bottom line. Don’t let reality escape you just because you spent some time in the expensive car dealer. Sure, you can try to work out a deal to take that car home, but don’t neglect the amazing Hyundai with the 100k mile warranty and a much better safety rating sending you a message. We are not telling you to settle, but we’re also making sure that you stay grounded and realistic when it comes to the online dating matches that you’re choosing to send messages to and choosing to respond to.
#3 – You’ve only got one foot in the shallow end.
We’re going to keep it rolling with the off-the-wall analogies so get excited. How great of a swimmer can you become if you just keep one foot in the shallow end of the pool? Not that great. On the flip side, you probably won’t be an incredible swimmer if you dive head first into the deep end and end up drowning. You’ll probably never step foot in a pool again.
This is a lot like online dating. If you’re not willing to wade into the water and actually commit some of yourself to the process, you’re never going to get any good results. We see online daters who will come to us and tell us they’re getting no messages, no responses, and no results. Usually, all we have to do is ask them a few questions and we realize they aren’t putting in the time and effort needed to generate some results.
Have you filled out your dating profile completely? Did you actually put some effort into it? (Make sure you check out our guide on how to write the perfect dating profile (with actual examples).
Are you sending messages to potential prospects? Are you responding to people messaging you? Are your messages more than just a few words?
It really doesn’t take a lot to get some results stirring with online dating, but it does take some effort.
#4 – You’re not utilizing the technology available.
Part of the reason that you got involved (or are planning to) with online dating is because it’s convenient and helps you to have more dating success with less work and headaches. But, this can only happen if you actually let online dating do what it’s supposed to. What are we talking about? We’re talking about utilizing the technology and features that the dating sites put out there for you.
There’s a reason they spend a lot of money developing their matching algorithms, search functions, messaging functions, and other capabilities. It’s because they WANT you to use these. The online dating sites actually want you to have success. The more success you have, the more you tell your friends about their site, and the more business they get.
Make sure you take a few minutes and learn as much as you can about the different features available. If you’re not letting the dating sites do what they do best, then you’re just going to be spinning your wheels and wasting your time. If you’re looking for some more information on the different features from the major sites and how they work, check out our dating site features page for all the info.
The bottom line is you have to trust the process at least a little bit and take advantage of the technologies they put out there for you. This is especially true if you’re using a paid dating site instead of a free one because you’re not really going to be getting your money’s worth if you’re not.
#5 – You’re not investing in what’s important.
What is your biggest asset? You! You are your biggest asset. You cannot succeed in life, dating, or online dating without making sure that you take the time to invest in the most important person in your life – you. Now that we’ve gotten all philosophical let’s talk about some specifics of what we mean.
So many people get hung up on whether or not they should pay for an online dating membership. They’re not sure if it’s worth it, or if it’s going to be a waste of their money. Let us put this in perspective. Here comes a shot of truth be told.
You are not shopping for a new pair of jeans. You are not shopping for a new restaurant to eat at. You’re looking for someone special that you potentially could be spending the rest of your life with. Someone that you will potentially spend decades with, raise children with, grow old with, and travel the world with. Now, we could understand if you didn’t want to pay $10 or $20 a month to get help shopping for new jeans. But, to not think it’s worth spending that to find someone you’re going to spend decades of your life with?
That just seems crazy.
If we’re being honest, we could probably rationalize spending a whole heck of a lot more money finding that special someone. But thankfully, online dating site costs are much more reasonable and don’t take into account that you realize how important this search is. This is that investment in yourself that we’re talking about. Don’t be scared to spend a few bucks on you and your happiness.
It’s worth it because you’re worth it.
#6 – You’re spreading yourself too thin.
One of the biggest welcomed surprises for a lot of people that get started with online dating is how much attention they get. Trust us, it’s pretty awesome, and most likely you’re going to quickly realize why dating online is so awesome. Consider this attention double if you chose to join multiple dating sites. But, all this extra attention and singles to choose from can create some issues if you don’t handle it properly.
You might find yourself tempted to talk to every single person that messages you as well as every single person you’re interested in. Before you know it, you might be talking to way more people than you can handle. What ends up happening is you start sending shorter responses and engaging less with the people that should matter the most.
We get it that you don’t want to be mean or you want to keep your options open or whatever excuse you’ve come up with to convince yourself what you’re doing is okay. Here’s the problem. While it might seem like you’re really covering a lot of ground, you’re just going wide and not deep.
Don’t spread yourself too thin. Focus on a few people that matter, and if they don’t work out, then you can start devoting some more time to other people. If you keep getting messages from new people, let them know that you’re way behind in your messages and that you’ll get to them when you have time. It might sound rude, but it’s being honest.
Or, you can just not respond to them. Check out our post about whether or not you should answer online daters you’re not interested in. It will shed some light on what is the right thing to do.
#7 – You’re using the wrong dating site.
If you’re trying to catch a marlin in a freshwater river, you’re never going to have success until you move out to the ocean. Okay, we tried to come up with a “fish in the sea” analogy there, and we give ourselves about a C- for effort. The point we’re trying to make is you’re never going to find what you’re looking for if you’re looking at the wrong dating site.
What does that mean? It can mean two things. One, it can mean you’re at a cruddy site that doesn’t have your best interest in mind. If their sole goal is not to help you find what you’re looking for (maybe they care more about the almighty dollar), then you’re at a bad site. If you’re curious the quality of the site you’re on or that you’re interested in joining, make sure you check out all of our online dating site reviews.
The second way you could be at the wrong site is if you’re not at a site that is designed for what you’re looking for. If you’re looking for a quick fling, but you’re a member of the dating site eHarmony, you’re probably not going to have a great day. There are so many sites out there, and they’re all pretty open about what there are designed to do. You have sites for flings, relationships, marriages, specialty niches, and literally everything else you could possibly think of.
If you want some help finding the right dating site for you, check out our list of the top 10 online dating sites. We work our tails off to keep that list updated with the best of the best in the industry. If you’re not happy with the dating site you’re currently subscribed to or are new and interested in checking something else out, that’s a great place for you to start.
#8 – You’re forgetting the real end goal.
The goal of online dating is NOT to talk to as many people as possible. The goal is NOT to get as much attention or validation as possible. The goal of online dating is to find that special someone that you’re looking for. Now, whether that is Mr. or Ms. Right or Mr. or Ms. Right Now is up to you. But, you need to remember what the real end goal is.
Don’t get caught up in the feel-goods of getting attention or talking to everyone. Your goal is to find someone special. This ALSO means that at some point you’re going to have to actually meet up with someone you’re talking to. It can’t just be a 100% online relationship that never progresses to meeting in person. There’s no reason to rush anything, but you do need to have the correct goal in sight.
#9 – Your profile is all wrong.
Oh boy…If we had a nickel for every terrible online dating profile we saw, we would probably be the Supreme Ruler of the Nickels. Whether they’re incomplete or filled out completely wrong, the result is the same. Anyone you reach out to is not going to respond to you, and no one is going to reach out to you. Usually, the number one reason that you’re not getting the attention you want online is because of your profile.
Your dating profile is like your commercial. It’s your opportunity to showcase who you are and what you have to offer (but not in a showy and annoying kind of way). If you’re worried that your online dating profile isn’t up to par, check out our guide on how to write the perfect online dating profile for more information. We will get you squared away, and we even put some examples of what you can put on your profile.
#10 – You’re forgetting to have fun.
Online dating should not feel like pulling teeth. We put this mistake last because we wanted to send you out the door with the right attitude. Online dating is supposed to be fun. Sure, it’s going to be an emotional rollercoaster, but it’s supposed to be a good time. You have to keep in mind that the entire process is going to benefit you no matter how long it takes.
Two things are going to happen. You’re going to get to know yourself a lot better, and you’re eventually going to find that special someone. That should sound pretty awesome and fun.
Something else awesome happens when you focus on having fun. You don’t get as stressed about the situation and all of your positive qualities are going to shine through even more. Basically, you’re going to have much better results when you focus on having fun with the process.