Online Daters Are About To Break The Internet

Fueled by the weight of new resolutions and prying family questions around the dinner table, singles will flock to online dating sites on Sunday, January 3rd 2016.

Just as we’ve come to accept other seasonal traditions as inevitable, PlentyOfFish can now predict the exact time every year (down to the hour in fact), when single people everywhere collectively decide they’ve had enough – this year will be the year for them to find love.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the date doesn’t fluctuate much every year. The holidays have a way of constantly reminding single people of their relationship status with an unrelenting stream of love-based messaging. First you notice every other commercial seems to be for De Beers, then the mistletoe shows up at the Christmas parties, and when enough people have asked you about your New Year’s Eve kiss come January 1st… your online dating profile is basically halfway filled out.

It’s the perfect holiday cocktail for love (perhaps with a dash of exasperation), and it comes to a head on January 3rd, specifically at 3pm PST, the moment you’re quickly coming down from the last spiked eggnog of the season. Signups to PlentyOfFish will jump by a whopping 24% over 24 hours.

And it’s not just a one-day affair, either. The winter days are short and cold, social lives usually aren’t at an all-time high, and even solo Netflix marathons start to seem less fulfilling – so the signups continue. Historically, peak period in online dating starts the day after Christmas, and runs straight through after Valentine’s day, resulting in a permanent increase in signups of over 20%.

Further, these impressive numbers are set to pay off for hopeful singles. More signups mean more traffic, resulting in more conversations being started and eventually more matches being made. Users who sign up in the first week of January find their partner an average of two weeks faster than those who sign up later, an average of 10 weeks compared to an average of 12 weeks throughout the rest of the year.

So there you have it, time is on your side when it comes to online dating this winter. And with over 2 million singles predicted to sign up to PlentyOfFish in January alone, you’ll be in good company.

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.

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.

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.

30 Dating Cliches: Defined And Tested

Over the past month, Mandy Stadtmiller, Chief Editor at XOJane has been using PlentyOfFish to test out popular dating cliches to see if they hold any truth (all in hopes of finding a great date for Valentines Day). Turns out, as you might suspect, some traditional dating advice has no place in 2015.

To save you from going to the same trouble to find a date, we’ve provided a crash course in defining and testing 30 of the most popular dating cliches below, based on Mandy’s findings.
Do you agree with this list? Which dating cliches have popped up in your life? Let us know below, and find the full rundown of the 30 days on The Mandy Project.

30 Dating Cliches: Defined and Tested

Cliché #1: “Honesty is the best policy”



Challenge: Make a brutally honest online dating profile on PlentyOfFish
Learning Point: Unfiltered selfies make for unfiltered dating.


Cliché #2: “You never get a second chance to make a first impression”



Challenge: Hug strangers in Times Square, and ask them what their first impression of me is from that hug.
Learning Point: Lead with confidence and it will follow the whole night through.


Cliché #3: “You’ll find him when you stop looking”



Challenge: Hand over my dating profile to a friend, and let them look through your matches.
Learning Point: Not being able to see a man’s face leads to so much less judgement and more reflection.


Cliché #4: “Everything happens for a reason”



Challenge: Reply to one of my “suitors” on POF and explain to them how everything in my life had led up to the moment when I read their message.
Learning Point: Taking a radically different intro approach in online dating works.

Cliché #5: “Love like you’ve never been hurt”



Challenge: Have a date where no matter what, I can’t talk about exes or my past.
Learning Point: I suck at leaving exes out of things. When I consciously try, not just the date is better – but my life is better, too.

Cliché #6: “You should date a nice guy”



Challenge: Message a guy and ask him, “Would you consider yourself to be a nice guy? Give me several good examples why.”
Learning Point: Nice guys are honestly the sexiest guys on earth.

Cliché #7: “Opposites attract”



Challenge: Ask a guy out who is my opposite.
Learning Point: Don’t let someone who is totally different than you scare you away from a new potentially life-changing experience.



Cliché #8: “Never dress too sexy on a first date”



Challenge: Ask Instagram to pick my first date outfit in order to achieve just the right amount of sexiness.
Learning Point: Go with classy-sexy not slutty-sexy.

Cliché #9: “Trust your gut”


Cliché #10: “You have to date your type”



Challenge: Pick a guy based only on his profile picture and ask him out.
Learning Point: Over-thinking dating ruins dating.

Cliché #11: “You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else”



Challenge: Do something to treat myself that I’ve never done before.
Learning Point: If you take care of yourself then you’re able to be your best self with other people.

Cliché #12: “Never accept last minute dates”



Challenge: Don’t accept a last-minute date, unless social media thinks it’s okay to do so.
Learning Point: Screw the rules. Go out whenever you want.

Cliché #13: “Be yourself”



Challenge: Go on the most genuine date ever.
Learning Point: Authenticity leads to laughter leads to a really great date.

Cliché #14: “You have to accept men exactly as they are”



Challenge: Watch the Super Bowl with a group of manly men being exactly as they are.
Learning Point: I love men so hard, especially when they are being all manly men.

Cliché #15: “Love should be easy”



Challenge: Go on a date and we have to agree with each other no matter what.
Learning Point: Going with the flow is a choice.

Cliché #16:  “Don’t have sex until you’ve been on at least three dates”



Challenge: Message ten guys from POF to find out if this cliché is actually relevant.
Learning Point: Only ever listen to your intuition when it comes to sex – because you’re the only person who matters in this decision.

Cliché #17: “The two-day rule”



Challenge: Keep a diary of everything that I wanted to say to my date – while waiting two days before contacting him.
Learning Point: Contact him while he’s still walking out the door if you want to. If a man likes you, he is going to like you.

Cliché #18: “It’s a numbers game”



Challenge: Message as many guys from POF in one day as I could using the briefest messages possible — and see how many quality responses I got back.
Learning Point: Being bold, fearless and concise is the only way to play it.

Cliché #19: “Play hard to get”



Challenge: Create a scavenger hunt for your first date.
Learning Point: It’s okay to make them chase you. They like it.

Cliché #20: “You have to put yourself out there”



Challenge: Walk around New York City with a sign that says, “I’m currently SINGLE.”
Learning Point: Humiliation leads to fearlessness leads to risk taking leads to amazing things happening.

Cliché #21:  “Don’t kiss on a first date”


Challenge: Poll Twitter and find out if it’s okay to get intimate early on.
Learning Point: Coyness and directness are equally great strategies.

Cliché #22: “Love knows no age”



Challenge: Message 10 men older and 10 men younger than me on POF. Accept a date with one of them.
Learning Point: Younger men are thirstier than the silver foxes – which is less attractive.

Cliché #23: “A man should pay for a first date”



Challenge: Create an estimate of how much you’re going to spend for the evening and present to a man at the beginning of a date.
Learning Point: It’s okay to expect and demand old-fashioned chivalr

Cliché #24: “Make a man “engagement chicken” so he’ll fall in love”



Challenge: Bring a man engagement chicken on a first date.
Learning Point: There is no quicker way to cut the ice than to give a man a chicken.

Cliché #25: “Avoid the topics of politics, money and religion on a first date”



Challenge: Create a conversational itinerary directing my date to every topic other than these three.
Learning Point: Why steer clear of anything? You’re on the date; not the representative.

Cliché #26: “Don’t play games”



Challenge: Print out a list of relationship expectations and give it to a man on the first date.

Learning Point: There is nothing sexier than honesty.

Cliché #27: “Go after what you want”



Challenge: Pay for the date instead of expecting a man to do it.

Learning Point: Don’t be helpless.

Cliché #28: “There are plenty of fish in the sea”


Challenge: Ask out one of these “fish” in a big way for Valentine’s Day.
Learning Point: You can’t find your fish if you don’t ask him out first.

Cliché #29: “Be busy”



Challenge: Spend a day primping on yourself – no matter what happens on Feb. 14.
Learning Point: You’ll never be bummed or stressed when you treat life like a spa day.

Cliché #30: “Everyone should have a Valentine’s Day date”



Challenge: Go out and have the most celebratory V-Day ever.
Learning Point: V-Day exists. Why deny it? Own it instead of letting it own you.