By Erin Quinn-Kong
With the advent of apps like Tinder, meeting people is easier than ever. But finding someone you actually want to date — or even marry — seems even more difficult. Julie Spira, aka The Cyber-Dating Expert, has been helping men and women find love online for more than two decades. (Yep, she started online dating when it was done via dial-up!) “There isn’t anybody I know who doesn’t know someone who met their significant other or spouse online,” she says. “So if you’re single and dating, you need an online strategy and an offline strategy.” Here are her tips to meet “the one” in the age of swiping left (and right).
State your intentions. The most important thing to remember about online dating is everyone isn’t looking for the same thing, so be specific about what you are looking for. If you are on Tinder, for example, but are looking for more than just a hookup, let that be known. “You only get a few words and pictures on Tinder, so you have to be specific in what you say and show,” says Spira. “Don’t show a picture where you’re wearing a bikini — it’s just lingerie with different material.” She also suggests stating: Looking to hookup? SWIPE LEFT. “I tell my clients to put that in all caps, because then you’re really saying swipe left,” she says.
Think less is more. For traditional online dating sites, such as match.com and okcupid.com, Spira says the key is to peak someone’s curiosity. “I have a magic formula: 125 words,” she says. “Anything less is not enough, and they probably won’t read anything more. Definitely don’t write more than 150 words.” And women who are really accomplished and interesting shouldn’t hide that. “I would rather see a profile that says, I enjoy my work, I’m accomplished, I’ve worked hard, but now I want balance and a meaningful relationship,” Spira says. “You’re chasing away the ones who don’t want a serious relationship, because there will always be guys who just want to hookup.”
Keep an open mind. Online dating makes it easy to stick to your list of “requirements,” such as meeting someone who is a certain height or certain age or who has never been married. But Spira suggests throwing that list out the window. “We all have the list of our dream person, but we may not actually have chemistry with someone who checks all the boxes,” she says. Use online dating as a way to get out of your comfort zone. “Expand your height and age parameters a bit,” Spira suggests. “That 45-year-old guy who messaged you may be smart, funny, in great shape and looking to settle down. Why not give him a chance?”
Get off the computer as soon as possible. “The whole point of online dating is to connect with someone you think you have things in common with and chemistry with,” says Spira. When you do find someone you’re interested in, exchange a few emails, have a phone call and then schedule a quick date. “You should take the relationship offline as soon as possible, so you don’t end up with a digital pen pal,” she says.
Recharge when needed. If one too many bad dates has got you down, a dating break may be in order. “There is nothing wrong with taking a break and hanging out with your girlfriends or going on a big trip. Just don’t make it permanent,” says Spira. “Come back refreshed and renewed, update your profile and try again.”
This story originally appeared on Modernae.com