5 Photos You Need To Delete From Your Dating Profile ASAP

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You'd think we'd all be experts at choosing photos by now. We need them for Facebook, for Twitter, for Instagram, for Snapchat, for LinkedIn... even our Gmail accounts can display an image. So why do we still find it so difficult to select photos that are accurate, flattering and appropriate?

The pressure is even stronger on a dating service. You're desperate to find the photo that says “I'm fun, laidback, ambitious, adventurous, funny, friendly, good with pets and parents, and – duh – attractive as hell.” It's enough to make any head spin.

It's time to end your era of inadequate photos. If you have any of these images on your profile, delete them ASAP.

  1. The bathroom mirror selfie. Let's start with the obvious. It's 2016, so selfies are standard – but that's no excuse for taking one with a toilet in the background. Ideally, you don't need a mirror at all. Step up your selfie game and use the front-facing camera. If you just can't resist the allure of a mirror shot, use one somewhere else in the house. No one needs to see how often you scrub your shower.
  2. The behind the times photo. Once you had hair like Fabio. Now you're Bruce Willis bald. Who cares? There's no shame in embracing your current self in all its glorious imperfections. What is shameful is pretending you're someone you aren't anymore to get more dates. It will be obvious immediately when you meet in person. Save yourself the embarrassment and your date the irritation by posting current pictures.
  3. The heavily filtered 'gram. See above. Do you want to be greeted by a look of disappointment on your date's face when they realize you look nothing like your photos? It's the era of Instagram, so you're bound to run into filtered photos on dating services, but don't edit your face until you look like a completely different person (or, worse, an alien).
  4. The group shot. Um... so which one are you? Today's singles are impatient and it only takes a second to swipe left on your profile. Don't make prospective dates play a game of Where's Waldo? with your photos. Even if you include a caption identifying yourself, there's only so much someone can see when you're just one figure amongst many. Your dates want to know what you actually look like.
  5. The cropped out ex. Yikes. Did every single picture of you get deleted except that one? Because that's the only excuse for using it. Sure, your ex is out of the picture (literally), but isn't it still kind of weird that that's the photo you chose for your dating profile? A cropped or blurred out ex just looks odd. And for that matter, don't leave the ex in, either.

What's the worst photo you've seen on a dating profile? Share your best snap mishaps in the comments.

Four Simple Dating Profile Changes to Make in 2016

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The New Year is here – and the majority of us seem motivated to make positive changes in our lives. In addition to healthy diets and exercise regimens, many people have also vowed to make changes to find love this year – whether it’s making more time to date, committing to finding a relationship, or even making an attitude adjustment.

So what has been holding you back from pursuing a long-term relationship? Do you find yourself getting frustrated from the online dating process? Do you feel that relationships don’t ever work out for you? Or are you just not meeting the right person?

With dating, we have to get clear about what we want before we can expect a relationship. And that means looking at our online dating profiles and making some changes. After all, it’s your marketing tool – your first introduction to potential dates and your chance to make a good first impression. So why not spend some time on it, so you can attract the kind of person you’d like to meet?

Following are some simple profile changes to make to get 2016 started on the right foot:

Change your photos. This is an easy and effective way to spruce things up in 2016. Look for photos that show your whole body as well as a headshot. Include shots of you doing yoga, surfing, hiking, playing guitar, or whatever else you like to do. People look through photos before reading profiles, so try to tell a story through yours.

Reconsider your handle. People do make snap judgments about handles. If you have a sexually suggestive one, get another – it’s a big turn-off for women. Or if it’s too generic, like John1987, opt instead for one that includes a hobby or favorite song, for instance. Get creative.

Pick a topic and get specific. Instead of including a laundry list of likes and dislikes in your description, try naming a specific thing and telling a story. For instance, if you like to travel, instead of just listing where you’ve been, think of a favorite trip and describe what it was like, or tell a funny story of something that happened to you. The goal is to get potential dates to message you, ask a question, start a conversation.

No generic phrases. Liking to “Netflix and chill” is not a good way to attract a potential relationship – nor is the fact that you are “looking for a partner in crime” or that you “love to laugh.” Doesn’t everyone love to laugh? What tells a story about you is what makes you laugh. Do you like comedy shows, or telling bad jokes, or is there a favorite Instagram feed that makes you giggle? Show that you have interests, where you like to go on the weekends, or the fact that waking up to Rihanna's music helps get you through the work day. Potential dates know that anyone can sit on the couch and watch TV, but they really want to know who you are and what sets you apart. Think of it this way: write phrases that can start conversations.

7 Bad Online Dating Habits To Stop In 2016

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Everyone is caught up in the “new year, new you” excitement of January, so now is the perfect time to make positive changes for 2016.

For some people, that means eating healthy and going to the gym. For others, that means spending more time with family, picking up a new hobby, or finally asking for that raise. For you, it means dropping your bad dating habits for a more romance-filled 2016.

As you navigate the dating scene, you're bound to make mistakes along the way. Here are some of the biggest blunders that could be keeping you single:

  1. Only looking in one place. If you've refused to try online dating, make 2016 the year you step out of your comfort zone. If you exclusively use online dating, get back to basics and experiment with traditional dating this year.
  2. Cutting corners. Some dating services keep profiles minimal in favor of photos (ahem, Tinder), but if you're looking for more than a low-key hookup, the profile is important. Don't leave any sections blank, don't be vague, and don't rely on cliches to describe yourself. The profile is a vital part of finding a like-minded, compatible date.
  3. Succumbing to FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out is a real phenomenon, and it's particularly destructive for online daters. With so many possible partners at your finger tips, it's easy to feel like your options are infinite. It's time for a reality check: if you're always waiting for something better to come along, you'll miss the good things right in front of you.
  4. Doing too much. Learn to let go. If you don't get a response to your message, don't flood their inbox with 10 more messages (especially if those messages are berating them for not answering the first one). If they're busy but interested, they'll reply when they can. If they're just not into you, move on gracefully with your dignity intact.
  5. Doing too little. Underwhelming can be just as damaging as overwhelming. A one-word message is never a good conversation starter. It's 2016, we shouldn't have to keep saying that.
  6. Expecting immediate chemistry. There's nothing like that instant spark of attraction. Thanks to Disney movies and romance novels, we've come to expect it. In reality, instant attraction is not a reliable indicator of long-term compatibility (in fact, it can literally mess with your brain chemistry and judgment). Be open to the possibility of chemistry developing over time, or you might miss out on someone amazing.
  7. Taking everything personally. It's hard not to take it personally when people are saying yea or nay to your profile, but you'll be a happier dater if you learn to let it go. Everyone isn't your cup of tea, you are not everyone's cup of tea, and that's a good thing. If someone isn't interested in you, all it means is that they're not interested in you. It doesn't mean you're undateable or unlovable. And remember, every “no” gets you closer to the “yes” you're looking for.

What other dating habits do you need to break in 2016?

Five Dating App Tips for the New Year

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Happy New Year!

Tired of swiping endlessly? If you’re looking for forward movement in your dating life, then the New Year is a good time to check your habits when it comes to online dating, and see where you can change things up a bit. There’s nothing like ringing in the New Year with a new attitude towards love!

Let’s start with perceptions. Most people think that dating apps are easy tools for hooking up, but not much else. While they are convenient, many people using dating apps are also looking for long-term love, just like you. Don’t make assumptions about why others on using dating apps – it’s important to keep an open mind, otherwise dating is nothing more than an exercise in handling frustration.

Following are some tips for the New Year on how to get a better handle on those dating apps:

Join something new – but do your research first! Most people join Tinder because that’s the app they know, without realizing there are a slew of dating apps out there catering to every type of dater. If you know you want something serious, try eHarmony or even Coffee Meets Bagel (for a little less pressure) instead. If you are looking to find dates with similar religious leanings, try JSwipe for Jewish singles or Collide, which labels itself the “Christian Tinder.” If you are looking for Star Wars fans? Try AYI (Are You Interested?) – which matches up people with similar interests.

Update your photos. Let’s face it – dating is visually-driven, so you have to put your best face forward. Instead of posing in a slew of selfies, have a friend take some more interesting photos – you playing guitar, doing a yoga pose or out hiking, for instance. Then visually you can show potential dates who you are – it is more effective than listing your hobbies in a description.

Get to the date. Instead of the endless messaging back and forth, it’s much more efficient to ask your matches out right away. You can’t tell if there will be chemistry until you meet in person, so why drag things out and get invested in an online fantasy? If you’re a woman, do your share of the asking. It’s 2015 – and he will be fine with it.

Be mindful and courteous. Just because someone is on a dating site doesn’t mean they are DTF. Don’t send messages suggesting otherwise. Ask someone out to a public place, not your apartment to “Netflix and chill.” Treat others respectfully, and they will return the favor.

Say “yes” more often, ladies. Some guys accept all matches in the hopes of bettering their chances to meet someone. Women are the opposite: the accept very few, sometimes to their detriment. Remember, keep an open mind. Just because he isn’t exactly what you want on paper – you might have chemistry together IRL. Give everyone a fair shot.

Happy dating in the New Year!

What Economics Can Teach You About Online Dating

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Remember how much you hated your Econ class in high school? Now would be a good time to dig up your old notes. It turns out economics can teach you about online dating.

Paul Oyer, an economics proessor at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and author of Everything I Ever Needed to Know about Economics I Learned from Online Dating, says the marketplace of romantic partners functions a lot like any other marketplace. Throw in the fact that Oyer met his match online and, well... he may be onto something.

How exactly is online dating like economics? It starts with the market. An online dating site with more members is better than one with fewer, as you'll be exposed to more options over time and have a better chance of meeting someone who suits you. This, explains Oyer, is called a “thick market.” More options means greater efficiency and a greater chance of finding what you need.

You could argue that the thick market approach means niche dating sites are a bad bet, but Oyer says it's not always the case. If you're a specialist dater – someone with a serious dealbreaker requirement – your personal thick market is a site targeted to that criteria. But take note, specialists: niche sites are a significantly more viable option in densely populated areas, where there is a larger pool of people who meet your requirements.

Here's one thing that might surprise you: Oyer says lying in an online dating profile makes economic sense. “Economists think of lying as a rational thing to increase utility, or happiness,” he explains. “Where parties’ interests aren’t completely aligned, we expect some people will misrepresent the truth.”

In other words, lying while online dating is a logcial strategy to try to increase the number of responses your profile gets. And even if you're completely honest, you should expect that your competition (or your dates) are twisting the truth.

Before you go swapping your photos for a professional model's, Oyer adds that the utility of lying has its limits. You cannot stretch the truth beyond belief, because when it's obvious that you're faking it, people will be less likely to believe you in the future. Dishonesty isn't always the best policy.

Oyer also weighs on in on the pickiness problem of online daters. He calls it “romantic unemployment” - a condition inspired by a type of search theory, in which people cannot find exactly what they want, even if it exists, because the act of searching is too costly. Singles hold out for better and better dates, like a company holds out for better and better job candidates, both potentially passing up good matches along the way.

Ultimately, Oyer says, “economics is the study of scarcity.” When it comes to online dating, the scarce resource is time. It doesn't pay to be too choosy. You can try to keep trading up, but according to search theory, there's a point where it's no longer worth the trouble.

4 Online Dating Questions Everyone Asks (And The Answers)

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Bing! Your computer's notification noise goes off and there it is: a new message in your inbox. You click it with a mix of nerves and excitement. Maybe this one, finally, will be the one that sticks.

Or not. Maybe they'll look nothing like their profile picture. Maybe they'll be “fun-employed” and living with their parents. Maybe they're cheating on their significant other. Maybe they're a con artist or a serial killer. For all you know, they could be all of the above.

That's the gamble of online dating. It's an bundle of pros and an assortment of cons, wrapped up in one package and tied with a digital bow.

You have questions. Whether you're new to online dating or a frustrated long-time dater, you've run into challenges and confusion. You want answers that will make your experience better. You want to know what’s happening behind the scenes – and your screen.

These are 4 questions all online daters wonder about (and their answers).

  1. Is anyone actually reading my profile? You've heard that it's all about the picture, that a photo can make or break your profile, because it's 2015 and no one can be bothered to read anymore. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Because of the way most dating sites and apps are designed, photos are prominent. They're what we see first, and what we use to decide if we want to explore the profile. In fact, there's a scientific reason for it: we're drawn to images over text because our brains can process visual information and make inferences more quickly. So yes, people will read your profile, but only if they like your photo first.
  2. Can I skip the photo? See above. You could omit the pictures if you're concerned about privacy, but it will dramatically impact the results you get. Few people will click through your profile and, if they reach out to you, a request for photos is likely the first thing they'll send.
  3. Can I try online dating if I live in a small town? There's no point in using online dating if it's slim pickings, right? Wrong. Living in a small town is a great reason to try onilne dating, provided you're willing to search outside your immediate area. If you're open to the idea of traveling, online dating can dramatically increase the size of your dating pool.
  4. Why can't I find someone when there are millions of possibilities? This is the other side of the small town coin. It may seem counterintuitive, but it can be harder to find what you’re looking for when you have a larger number of options. A bigger population means more people online, and those people tend to be pickier. Because they are surrounded by so many potential partners at all times, they constantly wonder if there is something better out there. FOMO is not an ingredient in any successful long-term relationship.