- Dating coach Blaine Anderson says the trick to dating apps is making them work for you, not the other way around.
- Research shows that photos are the most important piece of your dating profile.
- A profile that portrays originality, openness, and fearless self-disclosure is more likely to be well-received by potential suitors.
The online dating scene is no cakewalk, including for men. Lopsided sex ratios, a saturated marketplace, and an abundance of options have made it difficult to find the right person online—all but defeating the purpose of dating apps in the first place.
But, according to dating coach Blaine Anderson, the trick is in making dating apps work for you, not the other way around.
“As much as dating can feel highly personal and unique, it’s still a skill. And like with any other skill (e.g., playing tennis, or speaking [a new language]), once you understand the organizing principles and practice, you will see quick and meaningful improvements,” says Anderson.
As someone whose occupation is to help men understand and master each step in the dating process, Anderson advises men who struggle with online dating to not let the empty inbox or lack of matches get to them. When it comes to getting the right swipes, the problem is most likely not with your personality or your appearance, it is with your profile.
“The biggest and most common mistake men make with their online dating profiles boils down to not being deliberate about what they share,” she says. “You get just six photos and three to six sentences of written text to communicate who you are. That’s not a lot of canvas, and the competition is fierce, so each photo and word matters if you want to meet an awesome partner online.”
For anyone who is just starting out with online dating apps, or who has been on them for a while but still struggles, Anderson has three pieces of advice that everyone can follow to put their best foot forward:
- Invest in high-quality pictures. Dating-app-ready photos that are high quality and show off your best features are an asset you should definitely invest in. What you look like is the first thing women want to know when they visit your profile. Research conducted by the Pew Research Center confirms this: photos are the most important piece of your profile, more important than hobbies and interests, whether you have children, your religious views, and the type of relationship you're looking for. If your pictures are low quality and low effort, they won’t translate into matches. To be clear, you do not have to be exceptionally good-looking to get clear, exceptional-quality pictures.
- Market yourself well. Anderson advises against mindlessly following the app’s prompts when writing your bio or prompt responses. Instead, one should think carefully about what you want a potential partner to know about you—things about yourself that you think are unique, special, make you fun to be around, etc.—and answer accordingly. Again, research supports this. One study published in the academic journal PLOS-ONE found that profile text that portrayed originality, openness, and fearless self-disclosure was particularly well-received by potential suitors.
- Don’t let it get to you. At the end of the day, a dating app is just a platform to meet new people. It does not decide your value or attractiveness unless you let it. Not finding a partner online does not mean you are "undateable." It simply means you may need to explore a different direction: a new app, revising your profile, or getting help from a professional. Don’t give up but also don’t spin your wheels endlessly. Reassess and try again.
Anderson concludes with a single nugget applicable to any guy who might be feeling defeated in the dating game, online or offline: “If I could give just one piece of advice to guys who are single and struggling, it would be to remember that nothing matters more for dating than what it feels like to spend time with you, and this is 100% in your control.”