The online dating market can be a pretty harsh, superficial and judgmental place, which makes it challenging to be vulnerable and put your desire for a relationship out there.
Despite coming across literally thousands of profiles in your area, you've likely found yourself hurt by the lack of singles swiping right on your profile, frustrated with unanswered messages, and confused by the difficulty of getting offline to in person.
But the real question is, are you guilty of doing some of the same dating behaviors you hate?
Results from the 2017 Singles In America survey suggest singles are pretty judgmental:
- 42% judge your social media posts
- 42% judge your quality of picture
- 39% judge your grammar
- 37% judge your teeth & smile
- 35% judge your clothing
If you’re being honest with yourself, you’ve likely turned down many potential suitors for the reasons above. Does this make you superficial, overly picky, or just a dater who knows what she wants? That depends.
On the surface, it may seem trivial to judge someone on their grammar or clothing style choices, however these often indicate broader interests, values, and beliefs. As much as I’d like to encourage singles not to judge a book by it’s cover, more meaningful advice is to be mindful about why something is a turnoff.
For instance, poor grammar could indicate numerous things, such as English as a second language, a hastily written profile, a lack of formal education, a reference to something in pop culture, or slang.
When my husband and I were first dating he texted me, “sweet dreamzzz” and that was nearly the end of our courtship!
Often times our clothing choices reflect our hobbies, such as artist, skater, jock, or prep, as well as our socioeconomic status. All of this is useful information to gather and make inferences about someone; our brain does this automatically.
The key is to slow down this process and more carefully evaluate your preferences. A judgment is an assumption you’re making about someone else, but you’ll never know the truth about him or her unless you put in the effort to talk or go on a date.
The process of becoming a smarter, more intentional dater begins by turning inwards before you can turn outwards to find love.
If you’re dating with intent to find a serious committed relationship, it’s important to think about the type of person you want to attract. This means getting clear on who you are before you can find the right partner.
Ideally this person will share similar core values, interests, and desire a similar lifestyle.
For instance, where do you stand on things such as whether you want kids and how you’d like to raise them, where in the country do you want to live and is your physical environment important to your happiness, what is your work-life balance and what are your career aspirations, how do you manage your money and what types of things do you like to spend money on (experiences, material items, charity), what are your values around education, religion, and politics, and what are you most passionate about?
You can more insightfully rule someone in or out when you dive deep and talk about these topics. But this time your decision won’t be based on superficial perceptions, but rather on information you’ve learned about someone through quality conversation.
Before you go judging others’ profiles, how are you presenting yourself?
The entire online dating process will be easier and more rewarding if you first spend time creating an authentic, genuine profile that touches on or hints at your core values.
You can’t grow hair on a balding head, have your teeth straightened overnight, or wake up three inches taller, but you can put in effort to convey who you are and what you’re looking for.
You may notice that with online dating you’re often searching for what’s wrong with someone, rather than what you like.
To help shift your mindset from negative to positive, always ask yourself why you’re ruling someone out. If it’s a superficial reason, you might fall into that ‘too picky’ category, in which case consider giving this person another look.
After gaining insight into yourself, which will inform what you want in a partner, you’ll be better able to identify what’s a want versus a need.
Wants may be more trivial, such as physical traits, or food and music preferences, whereas needs should be based on your core values, or personal traits, such as being family oriented, kind-hearted, or career driven.
You’re the only one who can define your own needs, just make sure you’re ruling someone out for legitimate reasons.
So, before swiping left or turning down a first date, try my 80 percent rule. If you like or are excited by 80 percent of someone’s profile, which includes both photos and content, get offline and in person for first a date. Meeting in real life is the only way to determine whether there is chemistry.
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