If you're new to online dating, you should check the advice dished out by Laurie Davis. She's the founder of dating consultancy eFlirt Expert and is the author of the new book Love @ First Click, a guide to successful online dating. But she's not stale or old-school in her thinking about love - she's a real virtual-world dater, and she knows all the ins and outs of how to attract online. I had the opportunity to sit down with her and chat about her book and some of her best dating advice just in time for Valentine's Day.
We've heard a lot about "catfishing" lately in regards to online dating. What are some suggestions you have for the new online dater to protect himself/herself, especially if they are nervous about meeting virtual strangers?
First off, new online daters should know that catfishing happens more frequently on social networks than online dating sites due to the real-time environment. But staying safe online regardless of what site you're on is a must! Email enough with your match to develop a mini-rapport, but then get offline. Ideally this should happen after about six total emails. If you feel like your relationship with someone is developing to the point of confiding in each other before you meet, that's a red flag for catfishing -- most take things to an emotional level to fulfill a void in their own life. And keep an eye out for date dodging. If your match continually makes plans to meet and then cancels, they may be stringing you along without intentions of getting face-to-face.
You have a lot of great advice about how to build an effective profile in your new book, Love @ First Click. What would you say is the best piece of advice when it comes to grabbing someone's attention online (besides good pictures)?
Illustrate personality traits rather than listing a bunch of adjectives. Words like "witty" and "fun" are so broad -- what makes you different than everyone else who says the same? Rather, get specific about what types of "fun" you enjoy. Does rock climbing put a smile on your face or are your happiest moments simply sharing a bottle of wine with friends during happy hour? Showcase who you are by injecting these behaviors into your profile through specifics.
What's the biggest mistake that you see online daters make?
The biggest mistake most online daters make is describing what they DON'T want in a match rather than what they are actually looking for. Remember this is your first impression to potential partners so delete all negativity. It's easy to feel like a few ultimatums will fend off members of the site who you'd rather not enter your inbox, but instead you may end up turning off awesome matches too.
What are some of the most surprising things you've learned about online daters since you started eFlirt Expert?
Guys can over-think things in their love life just as much as women -- some keep stats on their account (percentage of emails responded to, etc). Ladies often approach online dating differently than the rest of their love life, getting more emotionally invested earlier on-- sleep with a guy sooner, expect that they'll be exclusive sooner, etc.