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Is Your Magic Criteria List Killing Your Online Dating Pool?

If you’ve had a hard time finding true love by scouting in a crowded, smoky bar, maybe you’ve come to the conclusion that the reason you’re still single is because no one you’ve met is good enough.

You’re tired of the bar scene, and you’re ready to try your hand at online dating –  with the theory that you’ll be able to find someone who IS good enough, and fulfills the long list of criteria you’re looking for.

There are some common criteria that men and women use when they start searching the pool of singles in any online dating site, such as:

  • Attraction.  How attractive is attractive enough for you? A “seven”? An “’eight”?
  • Intelligence.  No one wants an unintelligent date who struggles to carry a conversation.
  • Success.  You’re not looking for a married-to-his- or her- career CEO or anything, but you want someone who has something going on, who’s not a dog walker living in Mom’s basement.

You probably even have more specific criteria.  Maybe you’re a woman who only wants a guy who is at least three inches taller than you or practices the same religion as you.  Maybe she absolutely must live within a ten mile radius fit within a very specific age range. Or maybe he or she must be thinking of marriage at some point… Or, not at all.

Don’t get me wrong; there’s nothing bad about having standards.  But if you have one rule that says “I’m not interested in matches that aren’t X,” and keep compounding rule after rule after rule, you’re eliminating swarms of potentially interesting dates.  Many of them are people you’d really get along with if you magically ran across them in that crowded bar without knowing whether or not they fit your magical list of ‘good-enough’ criteria.

Even if we just take the three criteria above that singles often use and sample 100 profiles, chances are the number of people you’ll come back with that will meet your criteria can be counted on one hand.  Of that very limited pool, you then have to find one that you’ll actually click with in real life, and one who’ll like you just as much as you like that person!  And some people wonder why it’s so hard to find love online…

Not only does the other person have to meet your criteria AND like you back, you also have to meet that person’s criteria, which are probably not all that different from yours. You think you’re a dateable person, right?  You’re intelligent, above-average looking, and reasonably successful.  You feel like you’ve got a lot to offer. Unfortunately, just because you’re great doesn’t mean amazing matches will magically find you, especially when you think that none of them are good enough.

Am I telling you to lower your standards?  Absolutely not.  But the bottom line is that you have to cast your net wide if you want to find enough dateable people. You also have to be willing to put yourself out there.  Ladies, are you really going to exclude a handsome, interesting guy because he makes $47k a year instead of $50k?  Would you exclude an interesting and good-looking guy that you met at a bar and really hit it off with just because he’s 5’9” instead of 5’10”?  Of course not!

If you’re using a measuring stick that doesn’t go up or down, be prepared to spend a lot of time sitting in front of your computer searching for your one perfect match while the others are out there dating tons of attractive singles that aren’t perfect, but pretty damn close to it.

The whole point of online dating is to weed through the masses for some people who fulfill your ‘basic’ criteria, so that you can meet them in person and quickly discover whether or not the chemistry is there. That’s it.

Even with a small checklist, online dating can feel like a part-time job if you really want to meet a lot of hot singles in your area. If you’d like an extra hand, you can hire the company Virtual Dating Assistants, and their team can help you lock down some great dates in no time. If you prefer to do it all yourself but would like some killer tips that will give you an unfair advantage over the “competition,” you can check out their Top 10 Online Dating Tips here.


How to Ruin Your First Date

First dates can be pretty awful, no matter how great the connection is. You’re stressed about what to wear (casual or dressy?), you’re stressed about when to show up (early, on time, or fashionably late?), you’re stressed about who’s going to pay (do you go dutch?), you’re just plain stressed (how did you get talked into this again?!). As if that weren’t enough, there are a thousand and a half things that could go wrong before, during and after the date, and you’re overanalyzing brain has thought of all of them. There are a few ways you can guarantee that a first date will be ruined though, no overanalyzing involved.

1.  You stay glued to your phone the whole time

There’s no better way to show you’re not interested then by continually checking your phone and sending texts updating your best friend on how everything is going. Not putting your phone on silent and answering calls during dinner is another good way to solidify that you care more about what’s going on with your friends then your date. Oh, wait – you were interested in your date?

2.  You’re already planning your second date, and your drinks haven’t even arrived yet

Hello Mr. or Miss Way Too Forward. Coming off as way too interested too soon is a great way to end a date quickly. What says deal breaker more than someone who is overly clingy and desperate within the first hour of meeting them?

 3. You spend the whole night bragging about yourself

If desperate and clingy weren’t enough, arrogant and self-absorbed should seal the deal as far as ruining a first date goes. So when in doubt, just talk yourself up incessantly.

4.  You leave your wallet at home

Nothing says “don’t date me” like being unprepared. It doesn’t matter if you’re the guy or the girl, not having any money on you makes you look cheap or like you’re fishing for them to pay entirely, especially if you were supposed to go dutch, or one of you was going to pay for drinks and the other dinner.

5.  You complain the entire time

The bread is stale. You’re water glass needs to be refilled. This food sucks. You’d rather be doing (insert whatever). Welcome to the date, Negative Nancy or Negative Norman. Everyone likes a little negativity – right?

It’s hard enough these days to find someone that you spark with, and highlighting your worst qualities just makes it that much harder. Then again, who likes first dates anyway? It’s not like they’re completely necessary to start a new relationship or anything…

Author Bio

Mary Edwards is one of the contributors and editors for She is passionate about thought leadership writing, regularly contributes to various career, social media, public relations, branding, and parenting and online dating community. She can be reached at edwardsmary936 AT

Awkward mating rituals

This is a guest post contributed by Erin Whitehead. Erin is a featured writer for the online dating site and a comedian and improviser in Los Angeles. You can follow her on Twitter at @girlwithatail.

So I’m driving through Hollywood checking out a billboard for yet another show about beautiful people coping with terrible things, when the Mercedes in front of me gets smashed into by a classic Jaguar. I manage to brake in time and steer my little Echo over to the curb. Both parties are okay, though you can see the driver of the Jag eyeing my unscathed, dingy little car with a look of all being wrong in the world. Since I witnessed the whole thing I figure I should stay. First on the scene is a fireman. He approaches me and asks which car I was in. “Neither, I just witnessed it. Should I stay?” He smiles. “Let’s start with your name.” Oh right, witness protocol I guess. I tell him my name. “Great,” he says, “Can I call you sometime?” There are two smoking cars leaking fluid and holding up four lanes of traffic, two disgruntled drivers looking ready to fight (one limping), and this guy prioritizes asking me out? You gotta kind of respect that.

My friend Natalie and I have had this conversation before. She’s a free spirited German girl raised by gypsies and only dates sexually overt men. She has a tattoo of heaven on her lower abdomen and I’m still not sure whether that suggests the area below is hell. The last guy she dated picked her up in a store on Hollywood Blvd with the line, “Damn, girl, why don’t you back that ass up this way?” Natalie and I operate slightly differently in the love department. When the fireman handed me his number at the scene I smiled, pocketed it, then threw it away when I got home. It was clear to me that a guy who moves that fast on the street probably moves fast other places. And if a guy ever asked me to back my ass up anywhere I would either think I was in his way or he was totally sleazy.

But Natalie doesn’t see it that way. “He was just expressing an interest in you,” she tells me. “Yes,” I tell her. “An interest in… doing… stuff.” (I have an inner 12 year-old, by the way, who refers to sex as ‘stuff’ and my lady parts as ‘down stairs’). Natalie laughs and asks what else you think about when you’re first attracted to someone. When I found out she actually went out with a guy who’s first words to her involved a body part and a directional command, I was grossed out. But to her, he was just being direct. “How do you know if a guy likes you?” she wanted to know. I consider the mating rituals of the white and awkward. “Well, you know, we talk about everything other than the fact that we’re actually attracted to each other. Then we make some jokes to see if we laugh at the right parts… then maybe we make plans to go do something under the guise of just liking each other as people even though really, we’re probably thinking about making out the whole time.” Natalie looks at me like I’m nuts.

So maybe it does sound like kind of lot of work. Pretending not to want to kiss someone while also sending the signal that you want to be kissed is a tricky endeavor. And truth be told, Natalie has had far more lasting relationships with men who have picked her up with some kind of sexual comment than I’ve had doing my Wonder Years, “Do you like me or like-like me” dance. There doesn’t seem to be an argument that beating around the bush suggests more noble intentions. It’s more like a last attempt to throw a little romance into the courting process. Which I guess means that my idea of romance equals mixed messages and pretending. Maybe it all comes back to my inner 12 year-old, the one who got depressed after sex-ed because it all seemed so technical and dangerous, the one who cried when no one asked her to dance to “End of the Road,” by Boyz 2 Men. That kid still wants to believe that when someone likes you (like-likes you) they are seeing a piece of your soul. Yeah, that kid also apparently listens to Jewel.

I respect the direct approach Natalie and her suitors take to relationships. It seems no-nonsense, adult. But even though I am one, I find adults depressing. Congratulations if you can say, “I’m lonely, you’re hot, so here’s an obvious solution.” But even if it’s all means to the same end, I’ll beat around the bush a few rounds to feel like I’m falling for somebody, not anybody. And sure, then we can dry hump. Because now it’s meaningful dry humping.

Why women get caught up in the past

This is a guest post contributed by Allison Schleck, a featured writer for Online Dating Sites. Allison is a well-accomplished bilingual writer for magazines, websites and newspapers who teaches Karate Do on her down time.

Curiosity can be a blessing and a curse for women. When we start a new relationship everything is going great as we try to get to know this person intimately. However, there comes a day where we have this urge to ask questions that we really do not want to know the answer to, and above all else, have very little to no ramifications in regard to your new relationship. Why does our curiosity of other women in our new man’s life matter?

What is Important in a New Relationship?

It is not a good idea to pretend that the new person in your life has never been with anyone before you. You should ask your partner when the last time he or she was tested for sexually transmitted diseases. Even if you use protection, you should still know. Ask if your new partner has been with someone after he or she got tested. If so, then you should get tested together just to make sure that everyone is healthy. Once you get this extremely important detail out of the way, is there really a need to deep further into the past?

The Wrong Questions You Ask

Women love to ask every detail related to their new partner’s past relationships, questions like; how many people have you kissed, how many people have you slept with, when was the last time you went out with someone, what did you guys do, what did you love and hate about your ex, and more. You may even start trying to compare yourself to his ex-girlfriend. But why are any of these things important? Now that you have started a wonderful, new relationship, especially with someone who you think could potentially be the one, why does the past matter?

Creating Imaginary Problems

Instead of reminding your new boyfriend about his ex–girlfriend, you should be concentrating on moving forward. Do you want to stay in the past with your ex–boyfriend or do you want to move forward? Let go of the past. There is no need to throw it in your new boyfriend’s face that you have been with someone before him and you do not need to know about the escapades that he had with someone else. This only leads to problems, doubt and fights over a past that neither one of you were part of.

Commencing a new relationship is extremely beautiful where two kindred souls meet and learn about each other. Why take away the beauty of this meeting and relationship by tarnishing it with events of the past? The safe rule is if you cannot handle knowing the answer then do not ask. This only applies to questions that you know are unimportant and that will not affect you. You should know about your partner’s health but relishing in his past with ex girlfriends will create circumstances of doubt on your part when he has done nothing to give you any suspicion. Let go of the past and start anew with your new beau.

7 Things that Scare Women Away

This is a guest post contributed by Julie Fishman who is a writer for Julie has done everything from develop a dental school guide to write an intellectual analysis of MTV’s “The Hills” to contribute to the book Gradspot: A Guide to Life After College.

While there are plenty of fish in the sea, you’ll never hook one if you’re throwing out the wrong bait. Sure, women are complicated and it can be confusing to determine exactly what they seek in a man. But, there are definitely certain behaviors that send nearly every gal running. Check them out below so you don’t blow a great catch.

You’re still in love with your ex—Bringing your ex up on the first date, constantly making comments that compare new gal to old gal, or never changing your ILoveJess screen name all signal that though you may say you’re done with your ex, you’re still secretly pining. And pining is best done solo.

You’re a player—While women like a practiced man, they don’t want someone who’s written the playbook, if you know what we mean. If she feels like you may be manipulating or using her, she’ll never offer her trust or respect.

You’re a pushover—If you let people walk all over you, she’ll likely walk on by. A man who knows what he wants and how to get it is a definite turn on.

You’re a momma’s boy—Still go home on weekends so mom can do your laundry? Call her several times a day? Live by her mantras? These all signal a man that can’t take care of himself, and if you can’t do that, no woman will believe you can take care of her.

You’re insecure—You know how much guys hate it when girls ask if they look fat in something? It works both ways. Stop questioning if your gal is too good for you and might run off with the hunky waiter. Be confident in how you look and feel, and she’ll think you’re the hunky one.

You’re a narcissist—The more time you spend looking at yourself in the mirror or touting your accolades, the less time women perceive you have for them. If you’re obsessed with perfecting yourself, you’ll never have time to perfect a relationship.

You’re immature—If you spend your entire weekends playing beer pong with your old frat buddies and consider Carl’s Jr.’s $6 Angus burger a fancy dinner, we can assure you that you will likely be spending your drivethru time alone. Women look for dependable men who are committed to making their partner a priority.

The next time you hit up happy hour or head to a speed dating event keep in mind that the biggest thing that separates wheat from chaff is emotional openness and the ability to match actions with words. You don’t have to be her knight in shining armor—just call when you say you will, respect her opinions and offer a compliment (or two).