The Top 4 Online Dating Mistakes Men Make

Online dating is more popular than ever before, so you’ve got a lot of competition for the attractive women you want to meet. If you’re not getting the results you want, chances are you’re making one of the 4 biggest online dating mistakes that men make, and it’s costing you dates.

Here’s what you’re doing wrong, and how to fix it:

1. Having no photos, or using terrible ones

Photos can make or break your online dating profile. Women are visual creatures, and they form an impression of you within 1/10th of a second of looking at your picture. That’s not a lot of time to make a good first impression, so you need strong photos to attract beautiful women online.

online dating mistakesAnd yes, you have to use photos. They’re essential to your online dating success. If you don’t, most women will assume you aren’t willing to put any time or effort into online dating, or worse – that you have something to hide. Many women will exclude profiles with no photos from their search results.

Even the authors of Freakonomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, weighed in on the subject:

“A low-income, poorly-educated, unhappily employed, not very attractive slightly overweight and balding man who posts his photo stands a better chance at gleaning some emails than a man who says he makes $200,000 a year and is deadly handsome but doesn’t post a photo.”

For most online dating sites, you’ll want to choose 3-7 photos. Any less than 3 and it’s hard to highlight the different aspects of your personality. But it’s difficult to look equally attractive in 7+ photos.

Remember – you’re only as hot as your worst photo. You can have 6 incredible pics, but if your 7th is horrible, guess which one she’ll remember?

Here are the top 3 things to avoid when choosing online dating photos:

  • Photos taken with flash. OkCupid data revealed using flash adds 7 years to your age. Unless you’re a 15-year-old posing for a fake ID, that’s a bad thing. Natural lighting is far more flattering, especially if you have your picture taken during the “golden hour”. That’s the pro-photographer’s term for the hour after dawn and the hour right before sunset. The soft glowing light makes everyone look better.
  • Bathroom mirror selfies. They instantly turned off 29% of women who responded to a recent survey. If you have to include a selfie, make sure it’s an intriguing one. Think rooftop bar with a stunning skyline as the backdrop, rather than you capturing the moment while in line for a Whopper.
  • Photos that are too similar. You want pictures that showcase different facets of your life and personality, because that’s what she wants to see. In fact, a full 81% of singles indicated they wanted to see casual photos showing your everyday life. The last thing you want to do is include 7 different selfies (she’ll assume you have no friends) or a series of pro headshots (boring!). You have an interesting, full life – so show it! Include pictures of your hobbies, your travels, backyard BBQs, sports, etc.

And keep this in mind – when a woman looks at your photos, she’s going to be imagining herself in the frame with you. So choose your photos accordingly, and keep an eye on the background. Skip the drunken party shots, and if your kitchen counters are a disaster area, she’s not going to be impressed with your ability to saute chicken. She’s too busy picturing herself having to clean that mess up.

For essential tips on how to choose your strongest online dating photos, check out this article.

2. Your profile lacks personality, or it’s inconsistent.

online dating mistakes men makeWriting your profile can be a tricky business. Say too little and she will think you aren’t serious about finding someone. Say too much and she’ll get bored and move on. This isn’t the place to write your memoirs. You’re up against thousands of guys just like you trying to sell themselves to beautiful, educated women, so focus on showing them what sets you apart.

And your profile should always show, not tell. Anyone can write, “I am adventurous.” Your job is to prove it to her. Tell her about the time you went rock climbing in Yosemite.

Don’t just write “I’m a funny guy.” Let your writing make her laugh instead. Use exciting stories and witty tidbits to illustrate your personality, rather than just listing a bunch of traits.  

Also, be careful not to make it all about her. If your profile looks like this:

I am a nice guy looking for a smart, beautiful woman who likes the outdoors. I’m searching for my dream girl. Who knows, you could be her!

That’s a problem. After reading it, she hasn’t learned anything about you, except that you’re nice. And you know where nice guys finish…

It’s a good idea to make your profile around 75% about you, and 25% about the woman you’re looking for.

Make sure your writing jives with your photos. If your profile text describes a jetset daredevil who climbs faraway mountains and jumps off cliffs, but your photos show a homebody who had to visit a local photography studio to get more pics, she’s going to feel like something isn’t quite right and move on to the next guy.

If she can’t trust you after a few sentences, she won’t say yes to meeting you. She’s reading your profile to get a sense of who you are, so make sure you paint a consistent picture.

If you’re unsure about your profile, have a friend read it. Or do what 1 in 5 of all online daters do, and get help writing it.

For further reading on this topic, check out these tips on how to write the perfect dating profile in under an hour.

3. Your messages are boring

She’s attracted to your photos. She’s interested in your profile. Then she reads your message:

Hey. I think you are very beautiful and we have a lot in common. I would love to get to know you. We should go to dinner.”


Do you know how many of those messages she receives in one day? A lot – her inbox is overflowing with them. Send that and she’s going to hit delete before finishing the second sentence.

You have a lot of competition, especially for the more attractive women, so your message needs to hook her attention. On OkCupid, 4 million messages are being exchanged every day. That’s roughly 166,666 messages an hour, one of which was yours.

No “Hey”, “Hi”, “What’s up?” That’s the type of message all those other guys send. Be more creative than that, and she’ll respond.

Your message needs to pique her curiosity and make her want to respond to you. Ask a question that’s fun for her to think about and answer. Here’s an example:

“It looks like you have a good sense of adventure, so tell me this: If someone were to offer you an all-expenses paid trip to anywhere in the world but you had to leave in the next hour, where would you go?”

And even better, this question works for just about any woman. Why spend 20 minutes crafting a message that’s specific to one woman’s profile, when you could message 20 women in that same time frame?

Cut & paste messages work, and they’ll save you a ton of time and send your response rate soaring. You can even write “custom” messages for different keywords, like hiking or skiing. Here’s an example:

“I see you enjoy skiing so tell me, would you rather heli-ski freshly open avalanche chutes in the Swiss Alps or get completely off the beaten track on untouched land in Antarctica?”

Use the advanced search feature of any dating website and enter the keyword “skiing”. The results are a goldmine of women who share an interest in your favorite hobby – all you have to do is send your cut & paste skiing message to all of ones that interest you.

Whatever you do, never send a winky face instead of a message. She’s just going to think you’re lazy, and even worse, it puts the pressure on her to send the first message.

You want to be in control of the conversation, and sending a cut & paste question like “So tell me…after a hard week at work, what would be your ideal weekend escape, from the moment you clock out on Friday, to the instant your head hits the pillow Sunday night?” is just as easy as sending a wink, and it will get you way more dates in the long run.

4. You’re taking too long to ask her out

So you’ve found a woman you are interested in, and the two of you have been messaging back and forth for days. But suddenly she goes radio silent. Sure, women disappear on online dating sites all the time, but you really thought the two of you had great chemistry. What happened?

Most likely, you took too long to ask her out.

when to ask her out online

Women don’t go to sites like to find a new pen pal. She’s looking for a date and if she doesn’t think you’re ever going to suggest meeting up, she’s going to give up, no matter how interesting your emails are.

Not sure how to pop the question? Check out this article for tips on how to ask a girl out online, but here’s the nitty gritty:

  • Put her at ease. Mimic the form and length of her messages because women feel more comfortable with someone who reminds them of themselves. It’s called the Rule of Connectivity, and you can use it to your advantage.
  • Recognize when she is ready to meet. Here at ViDA, we’ve analyzed hundreds of online message exchanges that led to dates. Our data shows the best time to ask her out is after 2 or 3 messages. If she’s writing long messages, asking a lot of questions, and using an excessive amount of emojis, she’s interested. Pay attention to these signs and don’t miss your opportunity.
  • Suggest two options. When asking her out, give her a choice – coffee or drinks. Our data shows the acceptance rate doubles when you give her an option, and plummets if you only suggest meeting for drinks. You also want to stick with “low risk/low investment” activities for the first meeting. Dinner or an afternoon at the museum means she’s stuck with you for hours if things don’t go well, versus the hour or so it takes for a cup of coffee. And never call it a “date” – for the same reason. It’s an emotionally charged, high-investment word. “Meeting up” is much more casual, and she’s more apt to say yes.

Whether you’re making one of these mistakes, or all four of them, don’t worry. We can help.

From writing your online dating profile to choosing your best photos to messaging attractive women you approve, our dating experts can do it all for you. All you have to do is show up for the date!

Click here to see how we can set you up with your ideal types of women so you never have to spend another Friday night alone.

About ViDA

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