The 5 Online Daters You Should Avoid

With both personal and professional involvement in online dating, I have come to realize that while it can be highly rewarding, it can also be highly frustrating. The most common feedback from successful PlentyOfFish couples (as well as my own observations) is that when it comes to online dating, you get what you give.

That said, there’s a shortcut to navigating the time wasters from those who are actually worth your valuable time and effort. It all comes down to some very simple, very common traits that we see online everyday! To save yourself from endless profiles to pick through each day, here are the top 5 online daters you should avoid:

1) The Negative Nancy

Modus operandi: The person who has all the negative things to say in their profile. They have a laundry list of things wrong with online dating or the idea of how online dating should work. They have a wishlist of their perfect match and will always list it in point form on their profile. They will always state in their profiles “I’m not here for hook ups”, “Don’t message me if”… No matter all your redeeming qualities if you’re a tad on the flirty side and you’re not out to get married tomorrow, don’t have a beard, tattoos and a motorcycle you’re OUT. No if’s, ands or buts.

Why you should avoid them: They will bring you down. Online dating is hard enough as it is without having a pessimist in your midst. Trying to live up to their 500 deal breakers / makers listed in their profile is frustrating at best. While I strongly agree that intentions should be clear, a profile is supposed to put your best (positive) foot forward. Decision making to carry on a conversation or to perhaps meet should come at a later time.

2) Spammy Steven

Modus operandi: The person you know has sent you the same thing he’s sent to about 500 other people..and you know it. The classic spammy message that is obviously just bait.

Why you should avoid them: I always say “Quality over quantity”. A spammy steven has definitely not read your profile and is just pulling generics out of the air. This is not only annoying, it’s discouraging as well. Throwing out lines in hopes to catch something is like picking low hanging fruit and it shows they aren’t necessarily trying to put in any effort. What does that say if you’re trying to find prince charming? Creativity in a first message is the make or break, your first impression! Make it count.

3) Persistent Pablo

Modus operandi: Messages you over and over and over again, most of the time it’s with the same line they used 2 weeks ago (do they not realize you can see the conversation thread?). You’ve ignored them or declined their invitation to chat once and here they are again. Often linked with a spammy steven, they have definitely not read your profile.

Why you should avoid them: Hello, future restraining order. If you have politely declined them, then that should be enough.

4) Boring Beth

Modus operandi: The person who has nothing interesting to say but keeps responding to your messages with one or two words max. Riveting stuff.

Why you should avoid them: You can’t be the only person initiating conversation, if they have nothing to bring to the table, they can eat alone. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they are boring but it definitely doesn’t make them interesting, either. If they aren’t asking about your interests or have nothing to contribute to the conversation other than your regular “YES, NO” they probably aren’t that interested and you should probably move onto the next.

5) Phone Number Phil

Modus operandi: The person who gives you theirs or asks for your phone number on the first message without really conversing with you first. “I’m not on here much, call me at….”

Why you should avoid them: They are probably nuts or have a serious inappropriate picture collection / porn site subscription they wish to share with you. People often forget about the safety tips that should go along when online dating including not sending out your phone number to EVERY person you think is attractive. Consider using alternative options like a voice chat feature if you’re really interested in hearing their voice.

5 Unintentionally Insulting Messages Men Send While Online Dating

1. I Like Big Butts and I Cannot Lie

What They’re Trying To Say: You’re not society’s version of perfect, you’re my version of perfect.
How It Comes Across: I have acknowledged your flaws and am still interested. I should be rewarded for this.

While it’s great that you are interested regardless of our imperfections, if you really cared, you wouldn’t mention them at all. In fact you wouldn’t see them as imperfections.

2. I Think You Look Great Without makeup/those revealing clothes/your hair in that style!

What They’re Trying to Say: You don’t need those things to be beautiful.
How It Comes Across: This is how I like my women and you need to adhere to those standards.

Heads up boys, the majority of that stuff we’re doing isn’t for you. It’s for us. It makes us feel great and sexy and if a boy likes that too, then that’s just a bonus.

3. Insert cliched opener/witty random line

What They’re Trying To Say: You’re so special I created this unique opening line just for you.
How It Comes Across: Oh please! We know we’re not the first one you tried that line on.

We get it. The opening message is your first impression and is meant to be memorable. So you need something absolutely enticing to stand out. And once you find it, you’re silly not to use it once or twice more. Just don’t tell us we’re the only ones you say this to.

4. It’s Been A While, I Feel I Can Open Up To You

What They’re Trying To Say: You look like someone I could really date.
How It Comes Across: I’m lonely and need someone to save me.

It’s way too much to ask someone. And we’re not here to save you.

5. How Are You Single!?!?

What They’re Trying to Say: How come a girl as awesome as you is still on the market.
How It Comes Across: You must be crazy/have lots of flaws/too many cats for men to stick around.

Thanks for thinking we’re too awesome to be single. But at the same time thanks for being so condescending about it too. You’ve just reminded us we’re not as awesome as we think.

Got any more to add to this list? Comment below!

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Spring Clean Your Relationship Clutter

Spring is here! This is the time of year when people clear out their closets, clean their homes, and refresh their wardrobes. But what about the other stuff? The stuff that actually matters? The stuff that you bury in your heart? The stuff that you are too scared to face?

Yea, that stuff.

I call this relationship clutter. It’s old baggage from past relationships – baggage that we either consciously or subconsciously cling to. This clutter is the reason why you’ve found yourself in a cycle of mediocre, awful, or toxic relationships. If you feel as though your relationships seem to embody the same theme… it’s because they do. When you hold onto your relationship clutter, you’re holding onto those stories; you replay events over and over again, driving yourself to insanity. Then you find yourself going out on another date with another mistake because you have yet to learn your lesson.

It’s time for you to spring clean your relationship clutter. Let go of the stories, release the past, and make room for healthier, more fulfilling relationships. You can do so by following these 3 steps:

Recognize Your Clutter

Ask yourself: “What old relationship stories am I holding onto?” Are you holding onto stories of being cheated on? Being dumped? Or feeling neglected? Take some time to reflect back on your past relationships… What did you walk away with? How were you left feeling? Recognize each and every single one of these stories so that you can finally accept their presence in your life.

Acknowledge The Clutter’s Affect On Your Life

How does your old relationship clutter affect you? What type of impact does it have on new relationships? I’m going to assume the impact isn’t positive. When you hold onto past relationship stories, you’re allowing those stories to hold power over you. They will seep into every new relationship experience, tarnishing it from becoming something different. For example, if you’re holding onto stories of being cheated on, you’ll probably find yourself living a ‘victim’ mentality and won’t be willing to trust a new partner. This is how you end up in a toxic relationship cycle. Go ahead – take note of how each past experience holds power over your current life. If you want to gain your power back, you’ve got to clean out the clutter.

Release The Clutter

This step is all about your willingness to move forward. It’s time to release your old relationship clutter. This is where you start dropping F-Bombs, aka FORGIVENESS. You’re probably cringing at the F-word, but that’s because you don’t fully understand how forgiveness serves you. Forgiveness does not condone another person’s actions; it’s about allowing yourself the freedom to let go. The more anger and resentment you hold against another human being, the stronger the bond. Think about it… Remember your ex? The one who cheated on you? How many times a day do you think about them? How have your thoughts about them negatively impacted new relationships? You’ve basically rendered yourself powerless to this person! It’s time to let go. Forgive them, forgive yourself, and cut the ropes that keep you tied to your past. Clean out every single piece of relationship clutter from your subconscious knowing that by doing so, you’ll create space for healthier, more positive relationships. FYI: If you’re having difficulty with this step, I would question your willingness to actually create change.

Relationship clutter is comprised of all our old wounds, hurts, and scars. But guess what? These things heal! You just have to allow them the opportunity to heal. It’s time for you to get rid of that stuff. It’s time for you to rid yourself of these old wounds. And Spring is the perfect time to begin cleaning out your relationship clutter.

How To Avoid Online Dating Burnout

So, you’ve been online dating for a while now. At first, it was super exciting. But then, online dating burnout happened. Now, you’re not so sure it’s worth the effort. And it IS an effort. It takes a lot of your energy to find someone you’re interested in, arrange a meeting, make yourself look presentable, show up, go through the time of getting to know someone, and sometimes (read: most of the time), it doesn’t turn out to be the be-all end-all relationship you were looking for.

So, how do you keep your energy up, make sure that you’re putting your best self out there, and avoid the Burn Out?

Read on.

Keep your profile fresh and up to date.

Swapping out your profile pic gives you an instant lift in attention and messages. Someone who has glanced at your profile before might be attracted by that new photo showing a different side of you, (literally). It changes the first impression you make on the site. We recommend testing out a few different main images over time and seeing which gets you the best results. Also, updating your profile information like your description and interests could be the difference between someone deciding to send you that first message or passing you by. Keep them current and engaging. Oh, you both have chicken wings or craft beer listed as an interest? Icebreaker + first date idea in one!

Have a sense of humor about it.

Now that you’ve boosted the attention you’re getting online, how do you avoid mediocre dates that leave you feeling discouraged? Well, bottom line, you can’t. You’re probably going to have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the right frog for you, so it’s best if you can accept it and try and laugh about it. You’re meeting strangers from the internet for crying out loud – it’s bound to be hilarious! That guy with the horrible breath, or the one who couldn’t stop talking about his Etsy store where he sells sweaters for guinea pigs? Sounds like great fodder for girls night! You’re not going to jive with everyone. There’s probably someone you went out with that thought you were nuts for spending so much time restoring classic VW vans or for hating Seinfeld, so, it’s mutual. There’s someone out there for everyone, (yes, everyone), and if that wasn’t the right date for you, laugh about it, forget about it, and move on.

Do the things you want to do anyway.

Want to check out a new coffee shop that opened up in your neighborhood, or take a walking tour of your historic downtown? Do them with a date! Even if it doesn’t end up working out, at least you’re getting to do things that you wanted to do, regardless. It’s easy to get burned out if you feel like you’re going on a million of the same date over and over again. Be a little selfish; do something that you’re excited about. Life’s too short to waste your time!

Take everything with a grain of salt, manage your expectations, play it cool.

We’ve all felt it, where it seems like this person is perfect and exceptional and might be The One, only to have them drop off the face of the earth for whatever reason. It’s easy to get really excited about a new conversation or someone you had a great date with, but proceed with caution. It sounds cynical to say, but don’t get too attached too early. You’re still just getting to know them in the beginning; they might be on a completely different page. Don’t take it personally. Keep it cool and take it easy at first. Don’t play games, but don’t throw your whole heart into the ring until you’re sure things are on solid footing.

And of course, remember that he or she IS out there.

This is the hardest part, but you have to keep your eye on the prize. Lots of people I know who have burned out from online dating did so because they lost their focus. “Why am I spending so much time and energy on getting dressed up, going out, and making conversation with a stranger? Again?” Well, frankly, because that’s how you’re going to meet the one person that finally makes it all worthwhile; because you decided that you were over being alone; because what you were doing before wasn’t working; because you’re ready for something different. While it can definitely be challenging, remember what you want to get out of this process, and use that to motivate yourself. It’s the promise of that happily ever after that keeps us going; the “what if?” that keeps us all logging back in. Because who knows, your perfect match just may join tomorrow, better be ready 😉

With 100 Million Fish In The Sea, Why Haven’t You Found Yours?

PlentyOfFish recently announced it has surpassed 100 million users worldwide – that’s enough people looking for dates to fill 2000 Yankee Stadiums. So with more of us online dating than ever before in this hyper-connected world of ours, why is it so easy to feel like a drop in the ocean?

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to why exactly you haven’t yet found someone, but here are 3 reasons you may be feeling like the modern dating landscape is nothing but a lonely, desolate plain.

You’re spending too much time cultivating an image

Crafting our online avatars can take significant time and effort, yet what we’re left with when any sort of dating profile is completed is more of an idealized online ambassador than an accurate reflection of who we really are. While it’s completely natural to create a sort of parallel version of ourselves when we think it will make us more appealing, it’s really just distancing us from what should be a very social experience.

And I get it, we’re living in an Instagram world where the bar for adorable quotes and how we photograph ourselves has been set impossibly high. So instead of being 1 out of approximately 500 other men in your city who are hugging tigers in Thailand in their profile images, choose to upload the one at your family reunion last summer instead. Rather than being 1 out of approximately 100 million other single people who like “walks on the beach” and “going out for dinner”, choose to share a unique experience or an anecdote. Treat your online conversations the same way – don’t be so concerned with how you’re appearing online that the actual human interaction takes a backseat.

You’re thinking big…but too big

When you sign up to an online dating site, you’re being released into a terrifying new eco-system. Suddenly, you’re faced with what appears to be endless options to temporarily hold your attention, and it becomes difficult to choose just one person.

Although our prospective dates start out as perfect strangers, we’re already privy to details like their profession, education level, and whether or not they have a car or even want children – all before we speak a word to them. I mean, what if you agree to date a guy with a master’s degree and that same day a similar guy, but with a Ph.D., shows up in your Matches?

So although the process of dating (and elimination) has been effectively streamlined, we’re still left feeling a little dissatisfied with our choices. To combat this, we need to simplify.Try identifying just 5 realistic must-haves for a partner, and aim to arrange a date with those who appear to meet this criteria. This way, you’re able to stick to your core values while keeping an open mind.

You’re not taking risks

With more than 4 million logins every day and 30,000 messages being sent each minute on PlentyOfFish, it would appear that conversations are being started online. That said, establishing meaningful personal relationships takes courage, and that means engaging in your communities both online and offline. If you’re still sending the same copy/paste note to 10 people each time you login or simply waiting for people to message you all the time, you’ve arrived at Complacentville.

Online communication will never be as valuable or as real as an old fashioned, face-to-face conversation. Next time you’re using a dating app while commuting or standing in line for a coffee, I challenge you to look up, and start a conversation with someone. Of course, this does mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but I assure you, the investment in your real life social network will be worth it. At the very least, you’ll have a brand new anecdote for your dating profile about that time you struck up a conversation with that total weirdo on your way to work.

Spring Cleaning Your Online Dating Profile

The seasons are changing and that means one thing. It’s time to dust off those winter blues and clean up. When it comes to spring cleaning, it’s not just your house that could use a little freshening up. Whether you’re in a dating lull or you’re back on the market or you just want to revitalize your profile, these simple tips will help you spring into action.

Picture Perfect

The easiest way to refresh your profile is to change up your images. While your profile is your main selling point, it’s your profile picture that reels them in. Instead of just changing your profile picture from your existing images, upload some brand new ones that showcase where you are at in your life right now. If you’re not having any luck with your existing pictures, it may be time to bin them all together and start anew.

Make Headlines

After your profile picture, your headline is the next thing that could catch someone’s eye and make them linger longer on your page. Some of us use headlines to showcase our wit and our love of pop culture; others to say exactly what we’re looking for a future mate. Regardless of our intention behind our headline, the most important thing is that it stands out. The same old boring headline could just lead to glazed over profiles while new, current and eye-catching headlines could lead to great first impressions.

Update Your Interests

Just as the seasons changes so do our interests. Your profile should reflect this. While all-weekend Netflix marathons were all the range in winter, you may want to update your profile with your current likes and interests. And it’s not just seasonal changes that you could add or remove; think about all the things that have recently spiked an interest. New interests could mean more compatible potential partners.

Free Your Mind

Spring isn’t just about cleaning up the old; it’s also about new life and beginnings. One way to breathe new life into your dating profile and your dating game is expanding your horizons. If you’ve found that your current crop of matches hasn’t been yielding the right results, perhaps it’s time to rethink some of those parameters. By changing or increasing the usual demographics could open up your chances of finding the perfect partner.

Why We Still Can’t Stop Talking About Online Dating

Before a time when the world was obsessed with flavor of the week apps and shiny new tech startups only to forget about them as quickly as you can swipe left, I got hired at an online dating site.

The year was 2010 and I had just turned 21 years old. The concept of dating online was more publicly uncomfortable then, although, almost 5 years later, the reaction remains more or less the same when people learn that I work for PlentyOfFish. Sometimes shock, often an involuntary facial twitch, always questions. Although the positioning of online dating in conversations is changing, one thing remains the same: we’re having the conversations. On the way to work, in the line at Starbucks, out for drinks with friends on Friday night, we’re having the conversations. So what is the big deal about online dating, and why can’t we stop talking about it?

Because We Still Don’t Know How It Works…But It Works

When we create these digital portraits for ourselves online, we’re navigating in a space we don’t really understand, but excites us nonetheless. This also makes us wary, though. We meet a jerk at a bar and we chalk it up to bad luck. We meet a jerk while we’re online dating, and it starts more of a conversation because we can’t make sense of the moving parts. The onus can be on cyberspace for bringing this loser to your inbox and not your own judgement. Still, most days I’d bet on the good judgment of matching algorithms and data scientists behind the scenes of a dating site over a great deal of my friends at the bar.

Even so, in the media you’re still more likely to hear about an online first date gone wrong than Harry and Sally (and thousands of people just like them every year) who met online and lived happily ever after, because those battle stories reassure us that there are still people out there who haven’t found anyone either! The thing is, Harry and Sally have told their friends, and their friends have told their friends, which results in a great deal of signups for us, and at least 1 in 5 marriages for those who are keeping track.

Because We’re Curious

Dating online means putting yourself out there – like really out there. Your hopes and dreams and wish list for an ideal partner is out there for your exes, coworkers and aunt Barbara to stumble across, and that can be scary at first. Maybe aunt Barbara actually met someone, and that pushed you over the edge, or maybe you heard that a celebrity is now considering joining a dating site after her latest breakup. Either way, you don’t want to be left behind.

So before you know it, you’re signing up too. And it’s strangely optimistic, to see those rows of hopeful faces smiling back at you, all of them single. So like a high school dance, you hang out on the outskirts for a while, maybe even until someone makes the first move and messages you. All of a sudden, our false modesty vanishes and the experience becomes more human than humiliating because you’re actually allowing yourself to have fun.

Because It’s Always Evolving

There was a time, so I’ve been told, when dating was not always this way. Despite this, I’m inclined to go the tough love route and tell you, sorry, but this is the way it’s going to be from now on. Technology has been seamlessly and irreversibly integrated into almost every nook and cranny of our existence, and the advancements in the online dating space are remarkable.

We’re obsessed with maximizing efficiency and tailoring all of our experiences to best fit our needs, but when it comes to our love lives, maybe we’re still more old-fashioned than we’re willing to admit. We routinely blog about deeply personal aspects of daily life, order our groceries, reserve a Car2Go, plan trips across the world and customize our own Nike sneakers, all online, but when it comes to dating online, we pretend it’s still just a little too out there.

But that’s OK! We’re still afraid that our stories won’t quite stack up when we’re recounting to our grandchildren that yes, “Grandma was checking her PlentyOfFish app on the commute to work and saw that Grandpa had selected her as a Favorite, and the rest is history.” We may not necessarily have the ancient family feuds or years spent oceans apart, but that’s only because life has changed. Dating has changed, and online dating will continue to evolve. But the hope and the intimacy and the love, that’s still the same. Besides, you have nothing to worry about, because in 10 years all the romantic comedies will be about online daters anyway.

5 Spooktacular Halloween Dating Tips for Singles

Looking to scare up a date or two this Halloween? Let the sparks fly with your favorite ghosts, goblins and ghouls, as POF’s resident Dating Coach Sarah Gooding shares some tricks and treats to help you find a hair-raising sweetie this Halloween night!

1. Choose a Costume that Plays to your Personal Interests

Halloween only creeps up on us once a year, so it’s completely acceptable for even the most conservative of people to dress on the sexier side. So go ahead – dress as crazy and outrageous as you dare! Rather than sticking to the typical sexy costumes, (ie. sexy police officer, sexy nurse) try your hand at a costume that plays to your personal interests. For instance if you love NFL football, dress up as a cheerleader from your favorite team. If you love race cars, try your best imitation of your favorite race car driver. If you love entertainment and current events, go as new mom Snooki clutching her new baby, a blue-wigged Katy Perry, or a happy dancing PSY from Gangnam Style. Playing to your personal interests will show off your humour and act as an easy conversation starter at the costume party.

Little Red Riding Hood2. Cast a Spell with your Interactive Costume

Of course it’s easier than normal to break the ice on Halloween night, but why not make it a bit more fun by adding an interactive element! We recommend including aspects in your get-up that will make it easier to approach someone or get a conversation started – and that means less pressure on you, too! For instance, Kelly, a POF user from NYC went as a graffiti wall last Halloween. She wore all white, carried around a few markers, and asked others at the party to contribute their creativity to her blank canvas. This could be a fun, flirty way to exchange numbers with someone you’ve been chatting with. Another POF user named Samantha, dressed up as little red riding hood and handed out candies from her basket all night. “It was an easy way to approach someone and everyone loves an unexpected treat

3. Stay Away from Bulky Costumes or Too Much Makeup

Costumes that take up a lot of space (particularly those made from large cardboard appliance boxes), or require makeup from head to foot are difficult to maneuver in – especially if you’re at a crowded bar or house party. These costumes attract attention and can be a big hit at the beginning of the night, but by midnight your costume is usually on the floor, or haunting the personal space of anyone who happens to walk by. Other party goers will usually try to steer clear of costumes like these rather than attempt closeness. 

Halloween Mask4. Behold the Man in the Mask

With all of the wigs, makeup, and masks worn on Halloween night, it might be a little too easy to pass by people you can’t quite get a good look at. But beware – the unknown and mysterious are often the hidden gems! Don’t be shy to approach these people…you may just get a wicked surprise of your own when they reveal their true identity!

5. Go Easy on the Witch’s Brew

The 31st has the tendency to be a bit of a wild card, so it’s best not to add to its uncertainty by having too many drinks too early on. Besides, drinking too much makes it harder to meet people and make a good impression with someone new – try having a glass of water, or take a break and bob for apples in between drinks. Most importantly, the thought of our members making rotten decisions when it comes to a safe ride home gives us goosebumps, so make sure you have established a designated driver for your fright fest!