Online Dating Advice (I Wish Wasn’t Needed)

In January I made my begrudging, cynical way back into the world of online dating. It’s not my favorite thing. It’s not in my top 1,000 favorite things. However while I have more than my share of amazing friends, most of them are married and I kind of ran out of ways to “put myself out there” in the real world. So I spent a bazillion hours writing a profile, chose the least terrible pictures of myself I could find, and let one friend talk me into signing up for six months instead of three (she felt I didn’t have the best attitude about the situation, go figure).

Three months in, it’s been an…interesting experience. I’ve picked up a few new pet peeves and, after talking with lots of girlfriends who have also done the online dating thing, have realized we all have some of the same cringe-y reactions to certain things. So, for those who care, a few pieces of advice for any dudes trying out the online dating thing from a small handful of women:

  • Please, please, please use capitalization or punctuation. Or get really fancy and use both. Just take a comma, throw it at the screen, and see if it sticks somewhere. Putting aside the immediate turn-on of a guy properly using two/too/to or their/they’re/there, grammar kinda matters. The red squiggly line means something is misspelled; just take a sec and see if you can figure it out. is a great little helper.
  • On the other hand, PLEASE DON’T CAPITALIZE EVERYTHING AND END EVERY SENTENCE WITH !!!! Because now I feel like you’re screaming at me. And that hurts my feelings.
  • One more on this subject: “lol” is not an appropriate substitute for a period. It does not officially end your sentence, and is particularly inappropriate when you didn’t tell a joke. “i like baseball and fishing and hunting lol” written by a 37-year-old man is wrong on so. many. levels.
  • Try writing something, anything, specific. “I like music.” So does every other human being. “I like movies.” So do toddlers. Please give a girl something specific to mention if she decides to send you the coveted email. I get that not everyone on an online dating site is a writer. But you are paying to meet women through a digital, written form. What you write is your first impression.
  • When a girl asks you something specific, like “What do you like to do for fun?”, responding with a list of the qualities you want in a wife and the question “What are you looking for in a husband?” is frustrating. What am I looking for in a man? Subtlety and the ability to answer a direct damn question, thanks.
  • Also, maybe ask a question. Or two.
  • Photos of yourself shirtless, in a bed, or clearly in a hotel room or bathroom are always, always creepy. Even if you’re ripped, they are creepy. Leave a little something to the imagination, you know?
  • Finally, and this is maybe the most important, don’t ghost. It’s immature, cowardly, and like it or not causes a lot of damage. Every girl I know who has tried online dating is still smarting from at least one ghost’s behavior. It doesn’t cost you anything to send a kiss-off email. It just takes thirty seconds and a spine.

So now that the negatives are out there, some advice about what does work. Be interested. Ask her questions. Actually read her profile. Use complete sentences. Imagine for a moment that this is a real, living human person you are interacting with and treat her accordingly. I’ve appreciated the “no, thanks” emails from guys who took the time to actually write out their “no, thanks” way more than the guys who’ve written me “hey ur a cutie wanna chat lol.”

I would genuinely love to hear some other people’s thoughts on navigating the online dating world. And…go!



  1. Barb said,

    April 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm

    1. If you’re unemployed, don’t list your profession as “Entrepreneur”.
    2. If you DO list your profession as “Entrepreneur”, spell it correctly.
    3. Use some decorum when devising a screen name, especially if it’s on a Christian dating site. Out4Sx or HotStud4U is not appealing.
    4. Even if you MUST take a pic in the bathroom mirror, make sure the toilet seat in the background is in the “down” position.

    Of course, I wouldn’t mind constructive criticism from the male species for their views.

    • MandyK said,

      April 10, 2014 at 3:19 pm

      Barb, these are some good ones as well 🙂 And yes, I would also love to hear the pet peeves guys have with girls’ profiles and communication!

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