5 Signs You Should Swipe Left

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If you use dating sites or apps and haven't run into a creep, weirdo or jerk, you're rarer than a unicorn. Sometimes it seems like online dating is only horror stories.

It isn't. There are stories that end happily-ever-after, with the lovebirds riding off into a picturesque digital sunset – you just may be the protagonist of a few less desirable tales first. It's part of the process, whether you're dating online or off.

The good news is, there are red flags that warn of dating doom if you're observant enough to spot them. If you see these bad dating behaviors, especially if you see several combined, it's safe to say you should swipe left.

  1. Their profile is excessively short. Two sentences and a mirror selfie doesn't cut it. The first sign that someone is serious about dating is that they apply that seriousness to their profile. They should have filled out the text portion completely and have a thoughtful selection of photos. If they're not willing to put time into that, odds are they aren't willing to put time into you.
  2. They talk about their exes. We all have them and it's ok to share stories of former relationships eventually. It's part of building intimacy. But someone who talks about their ex immediately – right there in their profile, before you've even started a conversation – is stuck in the past and probably not ready for something new.
  3. They speak ill of anyone, ex or not. Trash talking is not a good look. For the same reason you shouldn't date someone who treats a restaurant server poorly, you shouldn't date someone who is rude or crude about others in their profile. If they don't have anything nice to say, they should keep their mouth shut and their fingers off the keyboard.
  4. They use negative language. Trash talking isn't the only way someone could be negative in their profile. There's an endless list of things they could complain about. If their profile is focused on life's negatives, it probably reflects their real-life personality. Do you want to be in a relationship with a committed pessimist?
  5. They're already flaky. Rewind to #1. That's an early sign of flakiness. Later on, you may find that they're excessively late to answer your messages or don't respond to messages at all. Or maybe they divert the conversation when you try to arrange a date. Don't waste time trying to change their mind or change their ways. If they are really interested, they'll put clear effort into getting to know you.

Watch for theses red flags and eventually you'll swipe your way into that sunset.

5 Dating Tips From The Most Popular Woman On OkCupid

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Lauren Urasek was surprised when a reporter from a major New York magazine contacted her to interview "the most popular girl on the dating site OkCupid."

The makeup artist and self-proclaimed technology nerd became an internet celebrity when the dating site declared her its most messaged female user in New York City. She made the most of her new-found notoriety, spinning it into an article for xoJane, a Tumblr blog and now a new book.

In Popular: The Ups and Downs of Online Dating from the Most Popular Girl in New York City, Urasek offers advice, personal stories and essays to help singletons navigate the crazy world of digital dating. Here are a few of her tips for making the most of your online dating experience:

  1. Post photos that are flattering, varied and recent. Flatting goes without saying, but it doesn't count if your pictures are pixelated or highly filtered. Show off the real you. Group shots, sunglasses and outdated photos are also on the don'ts list. Be sure to choose a selection of snaps that feature face and body from different angles, as well as different facets of your personality.
  2. Have realistic expectations. It's ok that you want to ride off into the sunset with Prince or Princess Charming. Just don't expect do it on the first date. Someone who seems awesome online may prove incompatible in person. Anticipating instant fireworks puts too much pressure on the date and is bound to lead to disappointment. Focus on more lowkey goals, like having fun and meeting new people.
  3. Don't waste your time. Online dating can be a total time-suck. It's easy to fall into the trap of an endless message exchange, but writing back and forth for weeks before meeting can backfire. You don't want to go on a date only to discover that your fiery text chemistry translates to zero chemistry in person. Meet sooner rather than later so you can both move on if the spark isn't there.
  4. Answer the compatibility questions. Not every dating service includes these, but if yours does, answer them. They may seem pointless or tedious, but they serve an actual purpose. Whether or not you believe in a dating algorithm's scientific accuracy, there's something to be said for knowing that you have common interests and values (or don't) with people you're interested in.
  5. It's ok to be single. Despite being OkCupid's most popular female user, Urasek says she's happily single. If your swipes and messages and winks don't lead to love, that's ok too. Don't let societal pressure to couple up get to you. Being comfortable with your self is just as – if not more so – important.

Urasek's debut book Popular is available now on Amazon.

5 Online Dating Tips For Introverts

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You'd be forgiven for thinking dating is an extrovert's game. With all the messaging and the meeting and the inevitable talking, dating sounds like an introvert's nightmare. The kind where you wake up screaming and then realize you've wet the bed.

But even the shyest of the shy need love and companionship, right? Online dating is for everyone, and in fact may even offer advantages for introverts.

First, online dating can be done from the comfort of your own home (or whatever space you're most comfortable in). Second, it doesn't involve any of the pressures of meeting via traditional methods, like striking up conversations with strangers or jostling for space in crowded bars. And third, it eliminates the pressure of needing to having insightful, witty, flirty conversations on the fly – all of your communication can be done thoughtfully, on your own time, over a series of messages.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips for introverts dipping their toes in the online dating waters.

  1. Proceed at your own pace. Your friends are swiping like crazy and you'd almost swear they go on dates 10 days a week. Don't feel pressure to do the same. Go on one date a week, one date every two weeks – whatever works for you. And if it ever feels overwhelming, take a break.
  2. Be honest in your profile. Own your introversion. You can outright call yourself an introvert in your profile or, if that's uncomfortable for you, indicate it in more subtle ways. Mention how much you value quiet time, or how happy you are curled up with a book. Drop enough hints and people will get the picture.
  3. Choose your dating service wisely. Some dating services may be more suitable than others. A site highly focused on compatibility, like eHarmony, may make you feel more at ease. Or a service like Bumble, that only lets you communicate if mutual interest is established. Or perhaps a personality-specific niche site, like
  4. Screen carefully for compatibility. Isn't that what everyone is doing online? Well, yes, kind of, but this is about something very specific. If going out every weekend isn't your style, avoid profiles with tons of party pics. If, on the other hand, you're looking for someone to bring you out of your shell, perhaps the party pics are exactly what you need.
  5. Share your interests. So you're not into loud clubs and vodka-soaked dance floors. That's OK. Tell people what you are interested in. You'll attract suitors who are interested in similar things and – added bonus – possibly have a first date built right in.

6 Mistakes That Could Be Ruining Your Online Dating Profile

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We're officially obsessed with online dating, but that doesn't mean we're any good at it.

According to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey, one in five adults between the ages of 25 and 34 has used an online dating site or app. We're almost all on board with the idea of meeting through the Internet. We've become expert swipers, but we haven't become experts in presenting our best selves.

Are you making any of these common online dating profile mistakes?

  1. Choosing the wrong photos. Your profile picture is the first thing anyone sees, so make it count. It should be flattering but accurate, not outdated or heavily edited. Include a range of images – casual, dressed up, in different settings, doing different things. Don't post group photos in which it's unclear who you are.
  2. Being too generic. Everyone enjoys a good meal and spending time with friends. What really makes you unique? If you want to talk about food, mention specific cuisines or restaurants you enjoy. Paint a picture of the taco that changed your life. Universal interests don't offer any insight into who you really are and don't build a solid foundation of compatibility.
  3. Lying about yourself. Shave off a few pounds here, add an inch or two there – it's an easy mistake to make. You want to make a good first impression and score the greatest possible number of dates. But in the end, you're setting yourself up for disaster. Sooner or later your lies will be exposed, and when the real-you doesn't match the profile-you, everyone loses. Dishonesty wastes your time and your dates'.
  4. Leaving your profile empty. This should go without saying, but a surprising number of people choose to leave their profiles blank. Your profile exists to tell the world about yourself. You wouldn't want to date someone you knew nothing about, would you?
  5. Writing a novel. On the other hand, there's no need to go overboard with your profile. Attention spans are increasingly short and schedules are increasingly packed. Few potential suitors have time to read your entire life story. Besides, if you say everything up front, there's nothing left over for the date.
  6. Being too picky. It's good to be somewhat selective when it comes to your love life, but your profile shouldn't include a laundry list of deal breakers. There's a fine line between high standards and unreasonable standards. Focus on who you do want to date, not who you don't want to date.

Avoid these common online dating mistakes and you'll be well on your way to making a great first impression.

6 Things To Do When You're Sick Of Online Dating

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Swipe, swipe, swipe. It may seem like a small gesture, but too much of it is mentally and emotionally draining.

Sustained effort is the key to success in all areas of life, including love, but if dating has become a part-time job, it's time to step back and hit the cosmic refresh button.

When you feel online dating fatigue setting in, try these strategies for getting back on track.

Refresh your profile. Maybe all you need to get excited about dating again is a makeover. Not the kind you get at a Macy's counter – the kind you can do from your couch. Swapping out your profile pic makes a new first impression and gives you an instant lift in attention. And while you're at it, switch up the written part of your profile. There's bound to be something outdated that needs a delete.

Cultivate other interests. Remember when you enjoyed things that didn't involve staring at a screen? It's time to bring those back. Step away from the digital device and recharge with something fun, challenging, calming – whatever it takes to make you feel rejuvenated, like a mental spa day. This is the perfect time to indulge in an old passion or test out a new one.

Schedule vacation periods. There's a reason you have vacation days at work. You can only do the same thing for so long before it drives you insane. Pencil in online dating freeze days every so often and use them to recharge. Work out, read, take a class, go shopping, or just veg-out on the sofa. Do whatever makes you feel good during your dating downtime.

Slow down. How many dates did you go on last month? Can you remember the last time you had coffee alone? Can you remember what it's like to ride public transportation without obsessively swiping? Too much of any good thing is a bad thing, online dating included. If you find your emotional energy feels drained, give yourself the gift of some much-needed alone time.

Revise your mindset. Dating – online or off – is rarely smooth sailing. You'll burn out quickly if you don't acknowledge the reality that, yes, sometimes it will suck. Sometimes you'll be bored. Sometimes you'll be hurt. Sometimes it will feel hopeless. Stay positive, have a sense of humor about it, maintain a balanced perspective, and manage your expectations in a healthy way.

Date offline. If you're tired of dating online, just... don't. Join a club, attend a meetup, go to the park. Meet dates the old-fashioned way and call it charmingly retro. Do people still say “duh?”

5 Signs It's Time To Delete Your Dating App

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Online dating fatigue: it sounds silly, but it's a real phenomenon. You can only spend so much time in cyberspace before your head starts to spin and arthritis sets in on your swiping hand.

When burnout begins, it's time to take a hiatus from the smartphone. Do yourself a favor and delete your dating app.

Yes, I said it. It may sound drastic, but it's the only way to be 100% sure you won't succumb to temptation and start swiping again.

How do you know it's time to take such a radical step? If any of these signs sound like you, your dating app belongs in the bin.

You're logging in out of habit, not out of interest.

It's hardly news that we're addicted to our devices. We check Facebook every 30 minutes and our email every hour. And our online dating apps? They're right there in the same boat, squeezed between Instagram and Vine. Dating should never be done on auto-pilot. When checking your app becomes a habit or an obsession, not something you're actually invested in, it's time to take a break.

You've resorted to stock messages.

The copy/pasted greeting is never a good look. Creating a great introduction isn't easy for everyone (or maybe anyone), but it's essential. If you're not taking communication seriously, you're not taking dating seriously. Go on a dating diet until you're ready to read profiles and put real thought into your messages.

You immediately look for what's wrong instead of what's right.

Being too picky can be just as bad as not being picky enough. If you're experiencing online dating burnout, chances are your subconscious will subtly sabotage your efforts. Instead of looking for the good in each potential date, you'll zero in immediately on the negatives. Your brain is looking for any excuse to avoid yet another tedious date.

You're desperate for a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Wait, isn't finding a relationship the point of online dating? How can wanting one be wrong? Well, it isn't. “Desperate” is the key word here. If you're too focused on that specific outcome, you're more likely to settle for someone who isn't right for you. A title should never be more important than actual compatibility.

You're on there for a reason that isn't dating.

Be honest. What are you really looking for? Do you respond to messages? Do you go on dates? If not, you're wasting your time and everyone else's. It's tempting to use dating apps for validation – who doesn't love be on the receiving end of a right swipe? – but it's unfair to users who are looking for real connections. And don't even get me started on the evils of catfishing.