This Sunday Is the Busiest Day of the Year for Online Dating
Bela Gandhi is the Founder and President of Smart Dating Academy, and was a speaker at Chicago Ideas Week 2016.
Believe it or not, there are 107 million single people in America (43 percent of the adult population), and falling in love is something that is very much ‘top of mind’ at this time of year—especially in the coming week. Match.com predicts that Sunday, January 8 will be the busiest online dating day of the year (and the busiest moment, specifically, is 7:49pm CST). Why? It’s the Sunday after the holidays and the New Year, and when the holiday hangovers are over and we start to think about resolutions, millions of singles will come poring online.
So how do you best take advantage of this day when the fish come to sea? It’s about having a plan, having a great profile and photos and seeing that plan through.
1) Have a Dating Plan
When you want to achieve anything big in life (career change, fitness, etc.), you put together a plan with specific steps and goals. Oftentimes, we think dating and love should “just happen if it’s meant to be,” and that planning is “unromantic.” Au contraire! To be successful at finding love, make a plan that is realistic, fun and that you can stick to.
A few tips on that front:
- Pick one or two sites or apps, maximum. We often think that “more is more,” but being on too many sites or apps can give us dating ADHD.
- Choose large sites with big denominators like Match.com, eHarmony, etc. Dating often feels like searching for a needle in a haystack, so make sure you’ve got a big haystack to have lots of choices.
- Choose a specific number of people to email each day. Our clients email a minimum of three to five people per day. Respond first to interesting people that email you proactively, and, after you’ve exhausted those, do your own proactive searches.
2) Take Your Online Dating Profile Seriously
Think about your online profile and photos as your personal marketing campaign in cyberspace. It shouldn’t take you five minutes to set up—a great profile should take several hours to put together.
Good photos drive connections
Great photos will determine 90 percent of your success, and most of us don’t have a lot of great photos of just ourselves. Getting great photos taken (if you don’t have them) is one of the best investments you can make in the online dating process. On your profile, a survey Smart Dating Academy and Match.com performed with over 1,500 singles said that five or six total photos (mix of head and body shots) is the magic number of photos.
- Headshot: Your opening photo is the most important picture. Direct eye contact with the camera, with a great smile. You should look warm and welcoming, so that the viewer will want to click on your profile, instead of one of the multitudes of others on the page! Well lit and high resolution works best.
- Body shots: People want to see what you look like from head to toe, so be sure to have at least three full body shots in your online portfolio.
- Keep other people, pets, sunglasses and kids out of your shots. This is YOUR profile.
- Dress to impress in your photos. Give the viewers something nice to look at.
Your profile text is a big selling point
A common question I get is, “Do people REALLY read your profile text?” The answer is yes. The kinds of people you want to communicate with will read what you write. So how do you write a good profile?
- Stand Out: Use fun facts about you that are different. For example, maybe you’re a secret ballroom dancer, you’ve hiked up Mount Everest, you’re a 10-time marathon runner. Tell one or two-sentence stories that will set you apart from other people.
- Be positive: Talk about your most positive traits, and what you’ll bring to the table in a relationship. Talk about the positive traits you’re looking for in a mate. Stay away from all negativity.
- Be brief, but not too brief. About 200-300 words on a dating site is great. If you’re on an app, you are more limited to number of words or characters, so curate your words well.
- Spell and grammar check profusely: People judge our intelligence by our word choices, spelling and grammar. It’s SO easy to make little mistakes on our cell phones and tablets. Pay close attention to what you’re writing because one small error can have big consequences, especially in the beginning phases of dating.
3) What are three things to ALWAYS do, and to NEVER do?
- Date safely, and set up a Google Voice account so you never have to give up your real cell phone number. It’s free and easy to use, and if you need to get rid of someone who won’t leave you alone, just change your Google Voice number.
- Talk on the phone before you go on the date. Talking on the phone can screen out crazies, and can also help to build a connection with your date so it doesn’t seem so awkward. The phone conversation can be short and sweet, but be sure to prepare your sound bytes so you don’t sound or feel awkward on the phone.
- Change up your profile once a week, because dating sites and apps prioritize users who have ‘dynamic’ content. Little changes in punctuation, adding a restaurant or new book you’re reading can get you a few new winks or messages.
- Get caught up in a purely “textual” relationship with someone. You don’t want a pen pal, or worse, that’s how people can get catfished or scammed. After five or six text or email exchanges, take it to the phone. If the person doesn’t want to talk on the phone, or always has an excuse about why they can’t, this is a huge red flag.
- Correspond with someone who sounds negative or too sexual in their profiles if you’re looking for a real relationship or love. Trust your gut—if something seems off, it is.
- Date someone who gives you butterflies—butterflies can be bad after the first date! They’re your gut giving off warning signals, saying something is off. The person you want to be with—for women, it’s a high GHQ guy (high in “Good Husband Qualities”)—will make you feel safe like you’re home.
So, this weekend, get your profile ready, get some new photos and text lined up, and take advantage of this surge in new, wide-eyed and earnest daters coming onto the Chicago scene. Remember, there are many lids to your pot, and you’re looking for one—Sunday is the best day of the year to find one.