Congratulations are in order!  You’ve decided to create your first online dating profile since the divorce.  Choosing to put yourself back on the market is a positive first step in the right direction. Creating an online profile can be a very daunting task with many decisions to make when all you want to do is meet someone and get on with the process.  It is common to feel a bit overwhelmed when deciding what to write, how much to share and what pictures to include.  First impressions are everything in the online dating scene as women are flipping through profiles like dresses on a rack.  Flip.  Flip.  Flip.  Oh, that looks interesting.  Flip.  Men can put hours into the written portion of their profile, but if a woman isn’t drawn in by the pictures it’s likely she won’t go in and read the profile.  Before you get completely discouraged, please note women aren’t looking for perfection, women are looking for someone who is perfect, for them.  The best way to spark an interest is to  include pictures that are, well, interesting.  As interesting is highly subjective, let’s start with some basics on what not to do as there are several common pitfalls that many men fall into.  Women, on the whole have banded together to make life a bit easier for you.  We have compiled a simple list of things that we are pleading with you to avoid.

The Selfie. The selfie can rear its ugly head in many forms in the online dating forum.  The most highly off-putting to the female species are those that are taken in the mirror where the phone is visible.  Common locations to avoid doing so are mirrors in your bedroom, the bathroom or the gym.  Should you decide to go rogue and include a mirror selfie, understand that we are no longer looking at you rather we are scoping out how clean your room is, what bathroom products you use and if today was leg day.  Usually it’s not.  Only slightly worse on the selfie scale are those taken in your bed with no shirt on, one naked arm folded behind your head.  The bedroom-eyes pillow-shot is not offensive on a prudish level, mind you, it’s just creepy.  Understand that we realize you were not thinking about us when you took that picture.  Some things should not be recycled.

Pics with Mom, Kids or 10 Friends. Your online profile pics are supposed to show us who you are.  You.  If we hit it off, you have the rest of your life to introduce us to your mom, your kids and all your friends.  Meanwhile, we don’t want to date your kids, we certainly don’t want to date your mother and we don’t know you well enough yet to pick you out of a group shot at the bar.  We understand that if you’re a father, you love your kids.  We understand that to love you is to love your children, but first let us figure out whether or not we even like you.  There is something odd about putting pictures of minors, even with the best of intentions, on a dating site.  Same goes for your Mom; sweet, but too much.  If you must include a group shot of your with friends to show us what a fun-loving guy you are, don’t use it as your profile pic.  This may backfire in the instance that we find one of your friends attractive and are disappointed when it is not in fact his profile we are viewing.  It makes things awkward before we even meet.

Pics With Your Toys. Your online profile pics are supposed to show us who you are.  You.  Not what you own.  Countless online profiles read “gold diggers need not apply” or “I’m just looking for someone who appreciates me for me” however the same men post photos where it is easier to discern the insignia on the hood of their car than the look on their face.  While we understand that at times you would like to communicate that you enjoy boating or motorcycling cross country, better to show us photos of you in action as opposed to posing in front of your possessions.  If the laws of attraction apply in this case, wouldn’t it be better to find someone that is attracted to you rather than what you own?  If that’s the case, let us see who you are and what you’re about.  Odds are, you will attract a more suitable mate that way as well, at best you will attract a more authentic prospect.

Pics of you from 10 years ago. Be recent.  Be honest.  Be current.  Even if your picture from ten years ago is very attractive, we will find it misleading if the guy from the photo is not the one that shows up.  Ideally, on a first date you would like to approach a happy smiling face, not one that is crestfallen and confused and she nervously scans the bar wondering when the guy from the photo is going to arrive.  Give us an opportunity to like you and get to know you for who you are, today.  Start a potential relationship by being honest, that starts with current pictures.

Online dating can seem overwhelming, but it can also be a very rewarding, fun experience.  Avoid these common mistakes and set yourself up for success from the start.  Understand that women are contacted by an overwhelmingly large number of men every day.  Some will not take time to respond to your messages or give you feedback on your profile.  Consider this an insider’s guide to helping you achieve better results and get those conversations started.

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