Meet The Right Person Online

Swear you’ve searched high and low but your dream mate is nowhere in sight? Here, three mistakes that may be derailing your search—and smart solutions.

By Laura Gilbert

ure, meeting people on an online dating site is easy. Meeting the right person, however, takes more finesse—a finesse that, sadly, many online daters just don’t have, whether they’re new to cyberdating or have been at it for years. “So many people tell me that they’ve tried online dating but it didn’t work,’” says Cherie Burbach, author of At The Coffee Shop: If You Thought E-Dating Was For Freaks and Weirdoes Read This Book! Of course online dating works—but it sure helps if you have a few tricks to attract, and find, people you’ll click with. Here, experts reveal the top three reasons online daters encounter a slew of near misses, as well as solutions you can use to turn things around in case these scenarios sound all too familiar.

Problem #1: You fall for a “perfect” profile
If you’ve always wanted to date a Johnny Depp or Angelina Jolie look-alike who also went to an Ivy League school, it’s tempting to punch in those search criteria, find a match, and assume it’s going to be a lovefest. It’s called the perfect-on-paper syndrome,
A well-written email can greatly increase your chances of wooing someone. But all that work can backfire if it doesn’t really represent you.
and it’s easy to catch. But all too often, when you meet in person and there aren’t instant sparks, your illusions of online dating as a magical solution to your singledom are crushed. What’s going on?

Solution: Great dating resumés don’t always spell romance, so stop obsessing about superficial criteria like height, weight, and hair color, and instead try nailing down the personality traits that could lead to a true connection. Maybe you’ve always been drawn to people with nurturing instincts, or perhaps you get along best with someone who’s mellow since you prefer to take charge. Hone in on dates who have these qualities, and you increase your chances of clicking tenfold.

Reason #2: You bail too soon on so-so dates
So you spot a profile that seems “just OK”, or find your email rapport with someone uninspiring. Time to move onto new prospects, right? Not so fast. “There are so many potential dates online that it can be easy to pick apart everyone’s character and think that there’s somebody better out there,” says Burbach. But the options, while many, aren’t infinite—which may mean you’re cutting short what could become a great relationship due to pickiness and lack of patience.

Solution: If you find yourself on the fence about someone, be forgiving and keep going until you can decisively say “this person is definitely not for me.” “Everyone wants to meet Mr. or Ms. Right, but chances are you’re not going to know if the person is right until you date for a while,” says Burbach. “I picked apart dates like a Seinfeld episode—his eyebrows were too big, he sighed a lot, he ordered a salad—until I realized that a date with good conversation was better than sitting home wondering why I was single.”

Reason #3: You’re editing your emails too much
No doubt, a well-written email can greatly increase your chances of wooing someone. But all that work can backfire if it’s not who you really are. “Since we can perfect emails before we send them, they can lead to a false version of your personality,” explains Burbach. The result: Your dates do a double-take when your laugh-out-loud emails clash with your serious in-person demeanor.

Solution: It’s fine to craft your emails a little, especially if it’s the first time you’re establishing contact. But after that, you should really try to resist the urge to revise the living daylights out of every sentence. “Try responding as you would to one of your friends,” advises Burbach. And, you should insist on at least one long phone conversation before meeting up, since your tone, pacing, and word choice will reveal a lot about what you’ll be like in person. And while you can’t guarantee your matches are being as candid, if you’re casual, they’re likely to relax and be themselves as well.

Freelance writer Laura Gilbert has been guilty of most of the above.
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