Online dating can be hard, I know!  I’ve been teaching it and involved in it for the past 10 years.  And, with the advent of apps like Tinder and Bumble, sometimes people are only looking at you and your profile for a matter of seconds.

So, how do you get yourself ready to compete in this market?

You need to highlight the 5 “F”s!  The 5 “F”s are Family, Fun, Friends, Fitness and Finance.

Whether people realize it or not, they are checking to see how you check off these 5 boxes. So, let’s help get you “swipe right” ready!

Swipe Right 1c

Family

You don’t need to go into depth about all your family and you certainly don’t want to come across as a momma’s boy.  However, ladies want to know what the relationship you have with your family is. A contentious and fraught relationship may make them decide to continue looking.

The best way of inserting this into your profile or pictures is to either casually mention them, or to have one picture that has a family member in it.

It can be something easy in your “about me” page.  “I love teaching my niece and nephew how to play golf.” It shows that you have a good relationship with your family and enjoy spending time with them.

In a picture, perhaps have one of you at a family event like a wedding, bar mitzvah or cook-out.  You don’t have to be heavy handed about it, but it’s always good to see.

If you don’t have a good relationship with your family, figure out one sentence you can use that addresses it, but doesn’t go into too much detail.

Perhaps something like, “I don’t see much of my family, so if you come from a big family, that’s a plus for me!”

You’re both stating your own relationship, and showing that you desire more.

Fun

Nobody likes a bore.  You know what dating is supposed to be?  FUN!

Now, this doesn’t have to mean swinging from the chandeliers or bungee jumping out of a hot air balloon.  As we all age, our fun usually takes on a more measured tone. Still, we all still LIKE to have fun!

What have you done recently that was fun for fun’s sake?  What do you do that fills you with happiness and joy? If you have to struggle to answer these things, it might be time to reconnect with fun.

The goal of dating is not necessarily to get more dates or to get more women.  It’s to turn yourself into the type of person that is so interesting and dynamic that it draws women to you. Part of that is by being fun. Join a local Meetup group. Reinvest in an old hobby. Pick up a new endeavor.

First, you want to “exhale” all of the bad and frustrated energy you might be feeling and “inhale” some happiness and fun.

Second, what happens to your body language when you’re having fun? It opens up, you become more relaxed, you smile more, you have more energy, your eyes sparkle.

Even if there is no one in that particular group that you would be interested in, they all have sisters, coworkers, friends. So, get out there!

Have a picture of what you love to do.  Write briefly about your passion and why you like it so much. Be the type of person people want to surround themselves with.

Swipe Right 2c

Friends

Because online dating is so quick, it relies heavily on impressions.

The first flush of feelings about this person. Do people like this person?  Is this a person that others enjoy spending time with? Basically what this is, is about social proof.

I had one client who was a 40 year old virgin (seriously) that did not have any friends. So, instead of focusing on the dating aspect, we focused on the social skills aspect.

If someone finds out that you don’t have any friends, they begin to wonder if you are the Unabomber or something similar.

You might be an introvert that prefers time alone with a good book over a raucous party, but people still want to know that others have “vetted” you and that you are, in fact, a person worth knowing.

Now don’t write to overdone, “I love my friends and could never live without them!” This tells us nothing. It’s empty air. Instead, tell about a fun event you were at with friends. “This year’s highlight was the Travis Tritt concert with my old high school buddies!”

For the pictures, you want to have one that you are easily seen (and, don’t choose the one picture that has your friend that looks like Tom Cruise in it) and people can tell it is a social event.  People want to like people that other people like.

Swipe Right 3c

Fitness

This does not mean that you have to be trim and fit or have a six pack.  What it does mean is that you want to assure your potential match that you are not a “neckbeard” that is 150 lbs overweight and hasn’t walked more than a couple of dozen steps at a time in months.

Most people don’t need or want someone who’s running triathlons and a gym rat. But, they do want someone that they can do fun things with. They want someone who is going to still be alive in a few decades.

I am constantly amazed at the amount of middle-aged men that I meet that are grossly out of shape, yet say they are only looking for young, fit women. However, should I point out that they may need to work on themselves to earn that type of woman, they complain about looking deeper than the surface.

Um, excuse me, didn’t you just say the SAME THING about women?!?! **facepalm**

Anyway, in your pictures, make sure that you include at least one photo that is full length so that they can see what they are dealing with. And, in your profile, mention some things you do that are active. “Though I live in an urban environment, I walk a couple of miles a day commuting and walking my dog.  I’d prefer to be hiking flower-lined trails, but I’ll take what I can get!”

Finance

This is not to say that you need to try and brag about how much money you make.  It is just to show that you are able to stand on your own two feet. Do you have a job?  Do you not live in your parent’s basement? Do you have enough disposable income to date?

She just wants to be assured that she’s not going to have to pick up every bill. Or, that every date consists of her going to your house for a night of Netflix and chill.

And listen, I know that this doesn’t include everyone. There were plenty of moments in my life that I was unemployed and had no money. If that’s the case, change “Finance” to “Future.”

What are you actively doing to change your situation? Most women are okay with some difficulties, as long as you are working hard on fixing them. “Currently, I’ve been ‘downsized.’ But, while working at Home Depot, I’m also working on growing my own landscape company that I started.  I may not be able to take you to a fancy restaurant at the moment, but I’ll make damn sure your yard is the envy of your block!”

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Hunt Ethridge is a Hoboken-based dating consultant and a fashion writer. Currently, he is the Senior Dating Coach at New York Dating Coach (www.newyorkdatingcoach.com).