One of the biggest diseases in dating, online or off, is perfectionism. Some of us just don't like to fail. Some won't admit we have. Some avoid it at all costs. When this stubbornness runs into the living, breathing person we're dating (or trying to date), things can get rough fast.
Fortunately, online dating can help us get past this quirk. We turn to online dating to find love, but remember it's a numbers game. With hundreds of thousands of people dating online, the odds are against us. We will fail more than we succeed.
The key is to fail a lot, up front, and get it out of the way. Then the odds are in our favor!
I find these techniques especially helpful for people who've gone back to dating after some time away. I was there not too long ago: I'd just left a long-term relationship. And I learned not to wish for a perfect relationship to replace the one I just lost. It's best to rack up a bunch of small failures while getting your mojo back. So...
- Write your best profile. Then trash it. You can labor over a profile, writing a perfect masterpiece. But if it doesn't entice the people who'd love you in real life, it's time to revise. Rather than throwing it out, make it better bit-by-bit. In business, they call it kaizen, Japanese for "continuous improvement." It's rare to hit one out of the park on your first swing. So keep swinging-- keep improving.
- Aim for the stars. And crash and burn! Make the first person you contact someone you think you have no chance with. Too gorgeous, too rich, too young, too everything. Be genuine-- pick someone you'd genuinely like to meet. They probably won't message you back, which is kind of the point. You want to get detached from the outcome of your dating by failing right away. It's easy to get attached to Joey19930 or Kim7ZZ7 after reading their profiles, but remember that they don't really exist until you meet them in the real world. Failing right away will remind you that the worst that can happen is this kind of failure. Which is nothing at all!
- Tell the perfect match in your head you're not good enough for them. Ditch 'em. Then message, meet, even date someone who's not your type. Online dating makes it easy to go after ONLY 5'10" 28-year-old toned Catholic vegetarians with black hair. Which is good for being picky but bad for getting back in the game. So open your mind and meet someone new. (You don't have to marry them, or even fall in love. But you can learn a lot about yourself and have fun besides.)
- Fail to give it your all. Searching online can easily take over your life. It's like looking for the needle in the haystack: you know it's in there, so you waste a day looking. That's a good way to burn out. Instead, limit your time. Give it no more than an hour every few days. If you write your profile right, it will do a lot of the work for you while you're walking the dog and doing yoga.
- Fail to fail. By failing at online dating, you'll slowly get your confidence back. You won't look at a person who sends you a flirt as your last best chance. Instead, they'll be one of many options. Like the rest of life, the most vital part of all success is confidence. Remember, each failure is just a building block for the success you're about to build. As Samuel Beckett wrote, "Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better." And eventually, you'll succeed!