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Last updated on November 20, 2013 | by Aet Suvari


Online Dating Not Working? 6 Reasons & Fixes

Six reasons why online dating might not be working for you (and how to fix it)

We’ve all been there. Set up the dating profile, paid the subscription, spent endless hours searching and sent out a zillion messages – yet it’s still not quite working. Maybe you’re not getting enough attention or you feel like you’re getting the wrong kind of attention. Maybe you send out emails and don’t hear anything back. Or maybe you just don’t seem to be able to take dating from the online to the offline world. Whatever it is, you just feel like this whole online dating business isn’t really working.

Here are six common pitfalls for online daters – why things don’t quite work the way they should and how to fix them.

1) You’re on the wrong site

Not all sites are equally good for everyone. I mean, even the big mainstream dating sites like eHarmony or Match, don’t necessarily cater to all tastes. We’ve compared eHarmony and Match at a length in one of our earlier posts, so we’re not going to go into that here, but the bottom line is you have to make sure what the site offers for you and how exactly it operates. Some sites are for serious daters, some for more easygoing folks, some are geared for rather controlled and traditional forms of communication, others are all about video chat. Not to speak of the people on the site – they need to be your kind of people. Those who you are interested in and want to talk to. People who you’d like to date. In your area. So there are many factors to take into account when choosing a site.

Fix: If you find yourself on the wrong site, you should cancel your membership as soon as possible (hopefully you didn’t sign up for a year!) and try your luck elsewhere. My top tip would be to sign up for several dating sites and just spend a week looking around – don’t subscribe to anything yet, get a feel for the place, see which site you like the best and then sign up. What to do if you DID sign up for a longer period of time and have now discovered the site isn’t for you after all? You can still make it work better for you, you might just need to put in more effort on your profile and email messaging.

2) Your profile is lame

If you find online dating not working for you then it usually comes back to your profile. You can’t expect to get first-rate attention if your profile is something that you quickly put together on your lunchbreak. I’ve said it so many times before but I’m willing to say it again, even at the risk of sounding like a parrot: your profile needs to show who you really are. So if you’re not getting the attention you think you deserve to get, take a critical look at your profile. What does it really say about you? Does it accurately portray how you picture yourself? Does it sound and look you do in real life? Have you run it past a friend who knows you well for some feedback? Most probably you’ll find that it could be improved and probably makes you sound a bit generic and unimaginative.

Fix: Leave out the cliches, focus on your strengths, wear your heart on your sleeve. Never write things like: if you want to know more, drop me a line. You’re there to attract attention and make other people curious about you and sounding like a bad daytime TV salesman really won’t do the trick. Instead of saying you’ve a good sense of humour – show it!

3) Your photos are weak

Not everyone looks smoking hot, we get that. And we won’t patronise you with talk of inner beauty mattering more than looks. This is the age of Tinder, after all. Everyone understands the power of a photo on a dating site. Then again people coming to a dating site most probably have realistic expectations. They’re looking for someone kind of like them. If your photo is a blurry, off-colour selfie, don’t be surprised if it doesn’t attract much attention. Pics that also don’t work are those taken when you’re drunk, among a big group of people, covering your face or posing for a passport photo. Sometimes a bad photo is just as bad as having no photo at all.

Fix: You’ve got to invest some time and work into putting up a great photo of yourself. The best photos are those that are genuine, friendly, open and warm. The best photos aren’t usually posed, at least they don’t look like it. Everyone has at least a few snaps of themselves that they like, just find them. And if you don’t yet have them, take a friend with you and go for a photo-shoot in the town or the park.

4) Online dating not working? You’re not active enough

Being on the right site and having a great profile alone won’t help you if you just don’t do enough on the site. Not even a great photo will help if you’re only logging in every now and then to see who has viewed your profile and whether anyone has asked you out. There are thousands of profiles on dating sites, so there is a good chance you’re being overlooked.

Fix: Energy, courage and confidence go a long way in online dating. Browse. Search. Wink. Flirt. Email. Converse. Ask. Talk. Interact. That’s really the only way and the only piece of advice we can give you.

5) You’re too desperate

Nobody likes clingy and needy people and nobody likes to be stalked and hounded. If you find someone you like you really shouldn’t start bombing them with emails and questions – that’s not being active, that’s being annoying. And if people don’t get back to your emails the answer is not becoming rude and start insulting them. It sounds perhaps rather harsh but online dating sites aren’t really places to go looking for compassion. Most people there are single, quite a lot of them have probably gone through some horrible dates and endured some heartache. But talking about it won’t really help you – even if people feel sorry for you, do you really want that to be the reason why they are talking to you?

Fix: Being genuine and honest is important but you can do that and still not sound like you’re whining. If you feel like life has dealt you a bad hand, make it sound self-deprecatingly funny. Don’t rant and ramble. Don’t be pushy. Give people space. Ask questions and try to listen. People love good listeners.

6) You don’t care enough

Perhaps you’re already doing all the right things but it’s still not going your way. Then you’ve got to ask yourself whether your heart is really in it. Being in a relationship and dating are putting people under a lot of pressure because it seems like being single cannot be synonymous with being happy. Maybe you should take time off and decide whether online dating really is for you. Or perhaps it’s just the wrong time for you to do this.

Fix: Give online dating a break – for a week, perhaps two weeks. During that time you’ll see how you feel. Do you miss it? Are you thinking about all the great dates you might be missing out? Or is it in fact a relief not having to deal with all of that? Try and find the answers inside you. If you’re ready to get back online, start all over again – a fresh site, a new profile. If you’re doing your best, it will eventually work.

About the Author

has been reviewing and writing about the world of online dating since 2008 and the launch of Online Dating Help. A stickler for promoting ethical practices within the UK dating industry she champions the sites that get it right while highlighting those holding it back. You can follow her on Google+

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