Online Dating PhD: 8 Things You Should Know

The giant watery abyss of online dating spans a multitude of websites for every niche you can think of. Online dating sites for older people, divorced people, nerds, goths, furries, BDSM enthusiasts, and more are available with just a few minutes of Googling. Every site has hundreds, if not thousands, of members waiting to mingle (and eventually mate, in some cases).

With all of those people to view and talk with its almost just as much pressure of meeting someone in person. One should be prepared when braving the unpredictable seas of online dating, filled with creatures from the deep and the occasional mermaid. The point here is to avoid the ocean monsters (not harpoon them — that’s called murder here in the real world) and get to the treasure chest (or chesty treasure?). If you master these tips for online dating, you’ll practically have an Online PhD issued on the subject.

1. How to Make Yourself More Attractive

An OKTrends 2010 study found that certain pictures have larger response rates — and not just snaps of the most attractive people.

Women seem to get a higher response rate to photographs which feature them making a flirtatious face and staring directly into the camera. It doesn’t take a PhD to figure it out, but men had higher response rates to more serious pictures. More subtle was the detail that they tended to be looking away from the camera.

Although photoshop isn’t necessary, you do want to make sure your online dating profile picture represents you at your best. Interestingly enough, the trends also examined the relationships between photos and average conversation length. Those with pets in the picture, posing while doing something interesting (such as at a march or in costume), or at a travel location typically had the longest conversations with people met through the site. People posing in bed, hanging out with friends, and drinking had the shortest conversations.

2. Profile Do’s

There are a few ways to make your profile more interesting and yourself more approachable. While it doesn’t take a genius with a Phd to figure out that people want to date those who look interesting, fun, and intelligent, it did take a lot of studies to figure out what works best.

Your online profile should be emotional, but more on the positive side. A Rosen et al study in 2008 found that online dating site profiles charged with positive emotions usually garnered more and better responses than others. Online profiles using words like ‘wonderful’ and ‘exciting’ were viewed as fun and more desirable than others. Don’t be afraid to be passionate; talk about what truly interests you and what you’re really looking for. Opposites actually don’t attract; it’s been proven that people are online looking for a person similar to themselves, so don’t be shy about your hobbies and interests.

3. Profile Dont’s

Your online dating site profile is not a therapist, and shouldn’t be treated as such. Refrain from disclosing too much information — save that for the face-to-face interactions! No one wants to hear about your past relationships, family troubles, general hardships, or complaints on your profile. Your Phd in medicine means nothing if you seem like an emotionally unstable psycho.

Also, do not:

- Photoshop your profile picture. People can tell.
- Use old pictures which no longer look like you. People will meet you and figure it out.
- Talk about negative emotions. Emotionally charged is good — but positivity is the key to the goodness. Listing things like “no liars” and “no cheaters” makes you look insecure, angry, and hung up on your last painful and unsuccessful relationship.

4. Most People are Lying

Most people lie on their profiles. However, those lies are usually just fibs. Women note that money and height are more important when it comes to a man, and that’s what men tend to lie about. On the other hand, weight and age are what women lie about. These lies are usually so small that you can’t really tell the difference, so don’t feel bad if you put an inch on your height or took off a measly five pounds. Just try not to get carried away and get your photoshop Phd while trying to convince online applicants you look like Heidi Montag.

5. Spotting Fake Profiles

Don’t get scammed into messaging a fake profile. Not only can it be disappointing and in some cases hurtful, but it’s an utter waste of time that can leave you with computer viruses or wasted money. If a person messages you on an online dating site, great! No reason to be skeptical — yet. If they ask you to ‘sign up for this other site’ because it’s what they normally use and were ‘just visiting’ the current site when they came across your profile, it’s a huge red flag. This is a scam commonly used by dating sites to recruit members. You should also beware of stunning, gorgeous women who have just a single profile picture of themselves. This is not to say that beautiful women don’t use dating sites, but a single professionally taken photograph is usually the mark of a fake.

Obviously, you shouldn’t give any of your personal info out via online dating site messages.

6. Knowing When to Quit

Don’t get so wrapped up in online dating sites that you lose sight of meeting people face-to-face. You can e-wink, e-smile, and IM as many people as you want — but none of them will mean anything unless you take your journey to the next level. Make sure that your conversations end in date arrangements, or consider moving on from those who will only talk to you from behind a screen.

7. First Date Red Flags

There are plenty of first date red flags and you should learn to recognize at least a few of them:

- Too much disclosure. You don’t want to hear the intimate details of a person’s entire life story on the first date, especially if it entails a lot of negative trauma. That usually implies baggage and, unless you have a online Phd in psychology, should be of no interest to you.
- Getting wasted on the first date isn’t a red flag — unless that person is the only one who’s drunk. If you’re trying to carry on a coherent conversation and your date can’t stand up straight, it’s time to get the check and leave.
- Arguments. You should definitely not be arguing with your date. A friendly debate is fine, but an argument is something you should save for marriage or at least a serious relationship.
- Weird questions. If your date is grilling you about kids and marriage, you may want to watch out for the “cling-a-thon” to come.

8. Stalkers

No one likes a stalker, unless you are a stalker yourself, in which case you probably love stalkers since many of them have created online forums in which to share stalking tips.

If you’re on the other end of the spectrum like all us normal people, stalkers are the people you want to avoid at all costs. Multiple unanswered messages are a sign you may want to block the person before they somehow manage to find your Facebook.

If you have a date with a person who won’t leave you alone for more than a few hours, you may be dealing with someone who has more than just a major crush. Checking up on one another everyday is a quality of many marriages, not a girl who’s only beginning to ‘fall for you’. If the beginning is so clingy, what will the rest of the relationship be like?

There you have it, the training for your online Phd in dating. Stick to these simple tips and your online dating life will become both a lot juicer and easier to deal with.