How to Choose the Right Online Dating Photos

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First impressions count, especially in online dating. There are so many people registered on online dating sites that it's more important now than ever to stand out from the crowd. And the most effective way to do that is to optimize the first point of contact for any potential date - your photos.

I'm always surprised to see people posting grainy photos, or shots with so much glare you can't make out the person's face, or pictures taken while staring at a reflection in the bathroom mirror. These are all online profile don'ts, because it doesn't give potential dates a snapshot of the real you.

How many times have you met someone for the first time and were disappointed because she didn't look like her pictures? Well, don't make the same mistake yourself. Posting great pictures isn't just about looking your best, it's about giving people a glimpse of who you are.

Following are some ways to choose the best online dating photos:

Stay current. While you might think you look the same as you did on that trip to Vegas five years ago, you don't. It's important to show who you are now, even if you have a few more wrinkles or an extra ten pounds. Honesty goes a long way in online dating.

Pick one headshot and one body shot. Potential dates want to see who you are. Don't be sly and post grainy, blurry, or otherwise poor quality photos. Choose one nice headshot and another that is full-length. If you only post photos from the neck up they will assume you have something to hide. So show off!

Pick at least one "active" picture. This is really important. You want to tell a story with pictures, because many people flip through photos first before they even start to read the profile. If you tell them your interests in photos - whether it's a shot of you hiking, sailing, horseback riding, or playing the guitar, they have a conversation starter.

Don't hide your face. Stay away from photos with hats and sunglasses as they hide your features. People like to see your eyes, your hair, and your whole face - not what you're wearing.

Don't stand beside your toys, friends or exes. Many guys like to take pictures next to their expensive cars, houses, or boats. This is not attractive to women. It makes you look like you have something to prove. Instead, choose pictures of you - just you. And ladies - don't include a group shot with friends, otherwise he might never figure out which one is you. (And do you really want to know he thought he was emailing your friend?) And for both sexes - choosing pictures with exes is a big no-no. We can tell even if you Photoshop them out. Leave them out of the mix.

Science Says Men Fall In Love Faster Than Women

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Women are crazy, right? We fall head over heels in love with men the minute we meet them, and we're obsessed and clingy forever afterwards.

At least, that's the narrative that's commonly told.

In reality, science says it's men who fall in love faster than women. One survey found that a man hardly needs to have spoken to a woman before he decides that she's the one for him. Women, on the other hand, require more time before they're willing to give their hearts away.

The survey was commissioned for the launch of Elizabeth Noble's new novel, The Way We Were, the story of childhood sweethearts who reappear in each other's lives years later. 1,500 men and 1,500 women aged 16 to 86 were polled about their love lives

One in five men surveyed claimed to have experienced love at first sight. Just over half reported being smitten with a woman after just one meeting, and nearly three-quarters admitted they'd lost their hearts within three dates.

In contrast, only one in ten women said they had experienced the fabled rush of love at first sight. Most said they waited until at least the sixth date before determining whether or not they'd found the real thing. The study also found that:

  • The average British man falls in love just over three times in his life, while the average woman falls in love only once.
  • More men than women claim to have loved someone who did not love them back.
  • Men are also more likely to say 'I love you' first.
  • Both sexes agree that their first love was the most difficult to get over. One in four said they felt they would never fully recover from the heartbreak.

Another study from the University of Texas found that it takes men 20 minutes or less to decide whether or not they want a second date with women. And the study found this interesting difference between the sexes: the more attractive a woman is, the more a man thinks she's interested in him. Women, on the other hand, tend to underestimate men's attraction to them.

Professor Alexander Gordon, a psychologist and member of the British Psychological Society, has analyzed the differences between men's and women's views of falling in love and choosing partners. He believes that men tend to turn to superficial factors, like a woman's looks, to determine whether or not they are in love, but the process of falling in love is much more complex for women.

Women are more likely to weigh all the pros and cons of a potential partner before making their choice. "Women are better at reading social situations," Gordon says, "and are more likely to ask more questions of themselves after meeting someone, like is he going to make me feel secure and will he be a good father to my children?"

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Lie In Your Online Dating Profile

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So about that whole "lying in your online dating profile" thing...

You shouldn't do it. I know it. You know it. I know you know it. You know I know it. And yet you're going to do it anyway. Or, at least, you'll be tempted.

I get it...you want to put your best foot forward, and sometimes it feels like the only way to do that is to invent a totally new foot.

Here's the truth: you don't need that new foot, and it's more likely to hurt you than to help you. Here's why you shouldn't lie in your online dating profile:

Reason #1 - It's not fair to you.

  • You're selling yourself short if you aren't honest in your online dating profile. You'll never find someone you're really compatible with if you lie about who you really are. Instead you'll wind up with someone who's perfect for the person you were pretending to be, which won't make either of you happy. Do yourself a favor and be honest so you can meet a match who is actually right for you.

Reason #2 - It's not fair to them, either.

  • Imagine if the shoe was on the other foot (sorry for all the feet metaphors today). Would you be happy if you fell for someone, only to find out later that they were nothing like the person they pretended to be? You'd feel cheated, angry, resentful, maybe even humiliated. That kind of dishonesty will end the relationship the moment it is revealed.

Reason #3 - It's a lot of work.

  • Seriously - inventing and maintaining a good lie takes a lot of effort. Unless you're some kind of sociopathic supergenius, you're probably not going to be able to pull it off. At some point your story will slip, and then you'll be in serious trouble. It's better to tell the truth from the beginning than to have to constantly cover your tracks.

Reason #4 - It's not a quality people look for in a relationship.

  • Have you ever seen a dating profile that mentioned "dishonesty" in the list of desirable traits in a partner? No, you haven't. You'll never find it nestled between "Intelligence," "Humor," and "Confidence." No one is looking for a partner who thinks it's better to lie than to be themself. Long-term relationships are built on truth and trust; founding one on a lie is bound to end in disaster.

Reason #5 - It's a waste of time.

  • It wastes your time. It wastes your date's time. It probably even wastes the time of someone I haven't thought of yet. Why devote so much effort to creating a profile full of lies when you could be putting that same amount of time into crafting a wonderful and honest profile? The truthful profile will make you a happier match than the dishonest one ever could.

Online Dating Report: Women Want Younger Men

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When it comes to dating with an age difference, there's usually only one story told: men love younger women, and women love older men.

Yeah, it's true - some men do want to date younger women and some women do only go for older men - but it's not the full story, and it's time we recognized that there's more to May-December dating than one unscientific-but-still-predominant view.

AYI.com (Are You Interested?), a dating service that uses Facebook to pair people based on interests, has pulled data from its 68 million downloads and 20 million Facebook profiles to analyze what it takes to make a successful match. Their experiment focused in on the 1 million recommended pairings in a specific population of 35,942 users ages 30 to 49.

AYI's most surprising finding was this: their female subscribers were five times more likely to show interest in men who were five years their junior than men who were five years older. The old narrative is outdated and inaccurate.

Well, sort of. Men do still like dating younger women, as the AYI study proved. Among the 26,434 men between the ages of 30 and 49 who were studied, 42% said they wouldn't even consider dating a woman if she was older than them. If, however, an older woman contacted them first, they admitted they wouldn't necessarily turn her down. AYI's data shows that a man is only 22% less likely to respond to an older woman than to a younger woman if she is the one who initiates contact.

What gives, guys? If you think older women are an easy target with no other options - and it doesn't require any preliminary effort on your part - you'll go for it, but otherwise you won't go anywhere near them? That doesn't sound like the progressive society I like to think I live in.

There are a few theories that explain why AYI's study turned up its findings. Once upon a time, AYI analysts think, young women marrying older men had an appeal based on wealth. While there are still plenty of women who like the idea of marrying for money, younger women are now inundated with requests from older men on dating sites and the myth of the Sugar Daddy is never as glamourous as it seems.

A 2008 study published in the journal Psychology of Women Quarterly found that women who are 10 or more years older than their partner are more satisfied and more committed to their relationships than women who are the same age or younger than their partners. So guys...don't limit yourself to younger women, and girls...don't be afraid of dating younger men.

The Science Of Speed Dating

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If you'd asked me about speed dating a few weeks ago, I probably would have responded with a blank stare. Speed dating? Does anyone even do that anymore? Haven't those people heard of the Internet? It seemed like a completely outdated approach to finding love.

Then along came not one, not two, but three friends who had all taken a chance on speed dating in recent months. One even involved a boat. Apparently I didn't have my finger on the pulse of the dating industry as much as I thought I did...speed dating is still alive and well, and it's definitely not just for people who haven't heard of the Internet yet.

Curious about what seemed like a very retro way to date, I started to research speed dating. Ok, so people were doing it, but does it work? Is there any way it could possibly be better than the online dating sites I'd come to know and love?

Two researchers at Stanford University in California were just as intrigued by speed dating as I was. They found that there are a few key factors of the standard four-minute speed date that predict whether two people are likely to hit it off. They rounded up students to take part in a series of recorded speed dating sessions, then analyzed 1,100 transcripts of the subjects' dates.

According to the study, men and women most often said they clicked when their conversation focused mainly on the women. Women were more likely to report connecting with men who used appreciative language (like "That's great!"). Women also reported greater levels of connection with men who interrupted them - but only when they did so to show understanding and engagement (like "Exactly").

Counterintuitively, asking questions was not necessarily a hallmark of a good dating conversation. Asking questions actually signals a lack of connection, most likely because it indicates that the participants feel the need to put effort into keeping a boring conversation going. Signs of a good conversation are much more subtle, like the variation in speech volume.

While some previous research on speed dating has found that physical attractiveness is the most powerful force determining whether two people are initially attracted to each other, the Stanford study proves there's more going on. Another study found that speed-dating couples with similar speaking styles were more likely to report a mutual connection.

Speed dating still seems like a thing of the past to me, but if science thinks there's something to it, who am I to argue? Studies have proved that people are shockingly quick to determine whether or not they're interested in seeing someone again and though swift, it appears their decisions are based on more than just a pretty face.

For some sites that offer this type of service you can check out our speed dating category.

ChristianMingle.com Surpasses 10 Million Members

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Congratulations to ChristianMingle.com, which recently reached a major milestone: the site has now passed the 10 million member mark.

To commemorate the achievement, ChristianMingle launched a nationwide search for the most inspiring love story. All entrants must have met through ChristianMingle.com, and one lucky couple will receive a "second honeymoon" to an all-inclusive Club Med Resort on Columbus Isle in the Bahamas Archipelago of San Salvador.

Greg Liberman, CEO of Spark Networks, owner and operator of ChristianMingle, is justifiably proud of the company's success. "Cresting the 10 million member milestone, with most of those members joining in the past couple of years, is just another indicator of the impact ChristianMingle has on the Christian community," he says. "Our mission at Spark Networks is to create iconic, niche-focused brands that build and strengthen the communities they serve, and ChristianMingle's growth is a reflection of laser-focus on the needs and values of the Christian community."

There's sure to be many more milestones in ChristianMingle's future. According to the State of Dating in America report, 94% of Christian singles think online dating is a great way to meet people. ChristianMingle has certainly felt the boost from the Christian community's increasing acceptance of online dating:

  • ChristianMingle members are now associated with 246,797 churches across the country.
  • In 2012, California-based ChristianMingle visitors surpassed those of any other state.
  • More than 2,500 different types of devices are used to access ChristianMingle each month.
  • Every day, more than 200,000 messages are sent by ChristianMingle members.
  • ChristianMingle users "smile" at each other nearly 100,000 times each day.
  • More than 10,000 new subscribers join ChristianMingle on a daily basis.

ChristianMingle considers itself the premier online community for Christian singles looking to meet a match within their faith. The site's success can be chalked up to its targeted, laser-focused dating experience, based on the premise that Christianity is central to a person's identity and therefore should be an influential force in the choice of a partner.

To build on their mission to support and expand the Christian community, ChristianMingle plans to continue their expansion. "Our commitment to building and strengthening the Christian community is evident not only through ChristianMingle," says Liberman, "but also through our growing Gospel Media Group, a network of online destinations, which includes not only ChristianMingle.com, but also Believe.com, Faith.com, DailyBibleVerse.com, and ChristianCards.net."

For the contest, ChristianMingle announced on it's Facebook page the winning couple on July 15th. For more on this dating site you can read our review of ChristianMingle.