I think my friends are completely taking over the OKCupid scene in the DC area. It’s the first website I recommend for girls who are looking to start online dating because it’s super simple, free, and a little bit less of a hassle than other sites since the guys typically come to you.
My best friend joined recently and asked for some advice on setting up a profile, and I realized I actually had a lot to say on the matter. Here are the first five things you should do when initially setting up a dating profile:
- When choosing a screen name, choose something that represents you, but doesn’t give away any personal information. Do not use your name, numbers that signify your birthday or area code, or the school you attend. An OKC profile is public, which means anyone in the world can see it. Some ideas for a username could include a sports team you root for, an activity you enjoy, or a pop culture reference. Something like TeamRavenclaw, RedskinsFan, or Swiftie13 could be a good start. The people you will potentially date don’t have to understand the reference, but it can be a good conversation starter for those who do have that interest in common with you!
- Answer only questions that are truly important you. OK Cupid has a nice little feature that shows what percentage you and a match are with one another, and this can be super-helpful if you’re trying to sort through your matches quickly. If you’re not looking for a hookup, smoking is a deal-breaker, and you only want to date someone who is neat and tidy, answer those questions so that the percentage will reflect what’s really important to you. Questions like, “Do you enjoy discussing politics?” or “Is astrological sign at all important in a match?” may end up messing up the algorithm if those questions don’t matter to you very much, whereas questions about religion and seriousness of a relationship have more importance.
- Use recent photos that reflect who you are. When I was on OKCupid I started off using some of the best photos of myself that I had — some of which were from modeling I did in college. I had a couple of “regular” photos as well, but quickly switched over to all normal photos of what I looked like in my everyday life. When I used the glammed-up photos I actually felt more insecure about my profile, as I felt like guys might think I was catfishing them when we met up and I didn’t meet the standard of my perfectly-lit, lightly airbrushed photos. I felt a lot better knowing people were looking at the girl who would show up to the date we had planned, rather than the more perfect version of myself.
- Change your location to wherever you’d like to meet up with your dates. For example, if I technically live in one city, but am closer to DC than most of the rest of my area, I might just say my location is DC to eliminate an explanation of why I’d like to go on a date there instead of in my own town. Plus this makes it just a tiny bit more difficult for someone to track you down on Facebook.
- Fill out the entire profile, but don’t write a novel. I think making your profile reflect your personality is important, but the messages you exchange with someone will definitely play more of a role in whether or not you want to meet up with someone. A profile is a good place to write about a few things that are really important to you and showcase your personality. Don’t be afraid to put one or two things that you want in a date on your profile, but be careful about crafting it in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re being demanding of your dates. For example, I always wrote that I wasn’t looking for a hookup in my profile, as I didn’t want guys who just wanted a very casual date sending me a message. That saves both parties time and energy that they can use on other people on the site.
Bonus tip: Don’t take online dating way too seriously, and have fun with it! The more pressure you put on trying to find something meaningful, the harder it is to relax and let things fall into place naturally. I know online dating can get old quickly — and sometimes get frustrating — but instead of giving up on it, take a break, enjoy some time with your friends, and come back to your profile when you feel like you can take things slowly again. There are so many fish in the sea, which is great because you have a lot of options, but it also means you’ll probably go through a lot of people who aren’t right for you before getting to a good match. Breathe, pace yourself, and enjoy. You never know when you might meet someone who will put an end to your online dating days, so enjoy this season of your life while it’s still around.