Woman Takes Selfie on Beach for Her Profile Picture

A Profile Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Your profile picture is the first thing people see, and it’s what will make them want to swipe right or message you. We have done some experiments to see what gets the right attention and what attracts the wrong attention.

Did you know most people make up their mind about you within the first six seconds?

I will admit, I am often guilty of being highly critical when it comes to crafting a dating profile. I like to think of it as a resume for love. Please forgive my passion, but I cannot stress enough, how important it is to put your best foot forward with a flattering photo.

So, what is your profile picture telling them at first glance? Your first goal is to just get them to give your profile a second look; pique their interest!

A Profile Picture is a Necessity

Not having photos on your dating profile will get you all the wrong attention. If people think you want to be anonymous, then most will assume you are only after a casual sexual encounter. If that’s not what you’re looking for, then let’s make sure you post a really good photo that indicates this isn’t what you want.

It is better to wait until you are ready to post your profile picture and your bio is complete before you start browsing so that you start out on the right foot.

Without a photo, you will only attract unwanted attention, and this can be hard for some people to handle.

Your main photo should be you and you alone. No children, friends, family, or pets. Just a nice, clear photo of you. Pose naturally, smile, dress and wear your hair as you would for a typical first date.

Headshots are great, but you should also include a full-body photo in your profile.

Depending on how many photos you can upload to the site or app you’re using, you can include group shots, but make sure it’s not the first thing they see. Nobody wants to go hunting through a photo to find out which one you are.

There are some apps that hide or blur your photos, so that you have to get to know someone before you make a snap judgement on their appearance.

It is a great tool to get you to pay a monthly subscription as most people are so curious they will pay just to see what someone looks like, and then you choose who you reveal your photo to.

Keep Your Photos Updated

Ok, let’s get serious now, why would you want to put a photo up from five years ago? None of us are getting any younger, that’s a well-known fact! People are known to send the oldest and best photo they have, and it infuriates me. I am often sent a photo before a consultation to show me how a potential client represents themselves and when I meet them I do a double take!

When I ask how old the photo is, I inevitably hear a story about someone’s brother’s wedding from three years ago. It makes me crazy.

No wonder they are not getting any second dates! Usually, the first date doesn’t even last longer than 30-60 minutes, depending on how polite the other person is. I understand feeling self-conscious about aging, but you’re setting yourself up for failure if you misrepresent yourself online.

Keep your photos current and make sure they’re an honest reflection of you. We are constantly changing. Anytime your style changes, you update your hair colour, gain or lose weight, etc. you should be updating your photos. If you’re clean shaven, don’t have a beard in all of your photos.

You should also change your photos up every three months or so, after all it doesn’t reflect well if people see the same photos. They’re likely to think you are a serial dater. If a photo is not generating the right interest then change it sooner. Play around with your profile picture, additional photos, and bio until you find what works.

Couple on Coffee Date Not Oversharing

TMI: The Fine Line Between Oversharing & Authenticity

Oversharing is Not Uncommon

Meeting new people can be very intimidating. Often dating anxiety leads men and women to overshare on a first date or at the beginning of a possible relationship. While it may seem like a great way to build a quick connection or get difficult topics out of the way, it isn't building a solid foundation for a stable relationship.

“Using vulnerability is not the same thing as being vulnerable; it’s the opposite—it’s armor.” -Brene Brown, Daring Greatly

Daters who share way too much information are often doing so out of anxiety. Everyone is worried about how they look, act, dress, etc. Oversharing can relieve that anxiety, but it can very quickly turn into a therapy session. 

Oversharing often occurs despite the best of intentions. They may share something embarrassing to overshadow someone else’s shame, or try to fill an awkward silence to make their date more comfortable. Unfortunately, it can often backfire and actually make everyone that much more uncomfortable. 

Avoid discussing things like previous relationships, financials, estranged family members, and medical history. A good rule of thumb is to steer clear of any topics that bring up negative emotions.

Prepare for your date the same way you would prepare for an interview, review appropriate topics beforehand so you won’t panic anytime there is a slight pause in the flow of conversation

Do I Share Too Much?

Let’s do a quick self-assessment; ask yourself the following questions. 

  • Do I know as much about the lives of my friends, family, and acquaintances as they know about me?
  • Do I talk a lot when I get nervous?
  • How often do I catch myself saying things like, I shouldn’t be telling you this, but...?
  • How often look back on conversations with regrets?
  • Do I often share intimate details about my life with strangers or acquaintances?
  • Do I fill lulls in conversation by any means necessary?
  • Have I ever shared something about myself to:
    • Cultivate a connection with someone?
    • Make someone else feel comfortable?
    • Take the focus off of someone else?
    • Gain someone’s sympathy?
    • Get someone’s attention?

Conversations should be reciprocal;  be sure to practice active listening. Pay attention to your date’s body language. Are they sitting back, looking away, or playing on their phone? TMI means you run the risk of making your date uncomfortable and alienating them before they even get a chance to know you.

Building connections through vulnerability is one of the best parts about dating and new relationships. Getting to know a person on a deep, personal level is a beautiful, challenging experience. Do you find yourself sharing too much because you crave interpersonal connections? 

Unfortunately, when you overshare early on, it doesn’t speed up the relationship process like you might hope. The early stages of a relationship where couples keep things light while they get to know one another is key to building a solid foundation. Sharing your personal story can be empowering—at the right time, in the right place, with the right people. 

Couple Leans in Over Dinner - Decoding Body Language

Decoding Body Language

According to Vanessa Van Edwards, Author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, there are over 800 non-verbal signals made during a 30-minute first date. Once you learn how to read your partner’s body language, you’ll be better equipped to decipher their needs and fill their love tank.

The problem is, we’re not taught to be aware of the signals we’re subconsciously giving off or how to read and interpret others’ cues. It’s just one of those social skills we’re expected to pick up and adapt to which is difficult or even impossible for some.

Joe Navarro has written several books on body language and non-verbal communication. In his book, What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People, Navarro discusses how non-verbal communication is guided by the limbic system, a very primitive part of our brains. 

The limbic system assesses danger and risk, preparing the body for fight, flight, freeze, or fawn reactions. It is also the portion of the brain responsible for the high we feel when we fall in love. 

Reading Body Language

Being even marginally aware of body language, can lead to better connections and conversations. Some suggest as much as 80% of human communication is non-verbal.

Although it may be difficult to decode, there is good news. Body language is a more honest form of communication than verbal because so much of it is subconscious. Even the best poker faces can’t control micro-expressions

She’s leaning in; that’s good. But is she trying to get closer to you or the wine?

It’s true that crossed arms and fidgeting can be a sign someone is disinterested, angry, or closed off. But it’s important to take the entire situation into account.

Is this your first date? It could just be a sign of anxiety. Did you cross your arms first? Perhaps they’re mirroring you; in this case it could indicate increased interest. 

Positive non-verbal communication can include blushing, fumbling over their words, playing with their hair, fiddling with their clothes, or touching their lips. Getting tongue-tied often means one is nervous and trying to make a good impression.

Did you know hair follicles release pheromones?

Pay attention to whether they open their body toward you or away. Take a quick glance at their feet, where are they pointing?

Subtle touches are great signs. If they slap your knee when you tell a joke, or touch your arm for emphasis, you can bet they’re flirting.

It's Like Mocking, Only Cute

Mirroring is subconscious mimicking. You know the saying, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? It’s true. If someone likes you, they will start to adopt your mannerisms and movements.

It’s common for couples to start to share each other’s preferences over time. Some even start to resemble one another! 

We like people who are like us. Love and belonging are a vital part of our hierarchy of needs. It’s why cults exist and civilizations survive.

Now that you know this, you can alter your own behavior to mirror your date and build a stronger connection.

Don’t be creepy about it and follow their every move, but subtle things like mirroring the way they lean on an elbow or cross their legs. 

Work Your Angles

First and foremost, I want you to relax and sit comfortably on your date. Take a few deep breaths, because the most important thing is that you feel confident and secure.

Now, let’s think about how to make small adjustments to your posture so that you’re comfortable, but still giving off positive energy.

Tilt your head slightly when your partner speaks to show you’re listening intently. Try to maintain an open position and close some of the space between the two of you.

Angle your body toward your date—head, shoulders, knees, and toes—pointed in his or her direction. Notice their body language, are they angled toward you or pointing directly at the door?

Touch Yourself

Not like that. Don’t make it weird.

Fellas—did you know your beards produce significantly more pheromones than your heads? Increased testosterone causes facial hair growth, so twirl your mustache or stroke your beard, and watch the ladies come running.

On second thought, don’t touch your face during a Pandemic. But when it’s over, you should know how to use your hands to flirt. 

Touching your throat or neck indicates you’re not a threat. You can also mess with your hair, fiddle with your watch, adjust your glasses, etc.

Eyes are the Window to the Soul

Speaking of glasses, try to avoid sunglasses.

Eye contact releases the bonding hormone, oxytocin. Studies show your eyes dilate when you look at someone you care about. Both of these are hidden behind shades.

I do want to issue a word of caution. There are a number of conditions and diagnoses which make eye contact difficult or impossible for people to maintain.

Even if they’re not staring longingly into your eyes, you can still take note of where their line of sight is focused. Has something just caught their attention briefly or are you receiving rejection signals?

Is she staring at your lips then coyly averting her gaze? It might be time to think about leaning in for the first kiss. 

Playful Couple Cuddles on Couch Laughing at Bad Dating Advice

Don’t Listen to Bad Dating Advice

We have all received outdated, unsolicited, downright bad dating advice from friends, family, acquaintances, maybe even complete strangers. You know that nosey aunt who shares way too much information and inserts her opinion into everyone’s life? She says things like:

Don’t listen to that lady and her bad dating advice.

Rules are meant to be broken. It’s a new decade, so take all the bad bad dating advice you’ve been told throughout the years erase it from your memory.

There is an entire genre of self-help books dedicated to dating advice, much of which is solid, data-based research, but an equal amount is opinion-based and anecdotal. As they say, don’t believe everything you read. 

Love is Magical

Soulmates, twin flames, love at first sight, happily ever after—these are the types of magical love we strive for from our very first bedtime story. 

Real life love is much more practical. Don’t get me wrong, it has its magical moments when you swear the earth stops spinning. But true love, the kind that lasts forever, is a choice that must be made every single day.

Love is a verb as much as it is a noun.

The worst dating advice I ever heard was: If there is no chemistry on the first date, it’s not worth pursuing.

Attraction is not limited to our primal instincts, even though it may feel that way sometimes. As feelings of love and admiration develop, so does that magical, unexplainable spark.

Don’t write someone off right away. Some of our strongest matches have come from couples that we initially had to talk into going on a second date.

Remember the Three Date Rule!

Keep Conversations Light

We’ve talked about the opposite end of this spectrum: oversharing. You don’t want to share too much too soon, but you also don’t want to avoid meaningful conversations that occur naturally. As the relationship progresses, you should feel comfortable opening up about more sensitive topics like family goals, career dreams, and wishes for the future.

Imagine investing months into someone only to find out your goals for the future couldn’t be more opposite. You want to marry and raise a family, but she has different dreams.

By not defining the relationship and communicating your needs, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time dating people who aren’t a viable match. 

Be Your Best Self

We’re taught to be on our best behavior in all new relationships, and it’s true—to an extent. On a first date, at a new job, or even with a budding friendship, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. 

As Miranda Lambert put it, Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.

But there comes a time in every new relationship, where both parties have to be vulnerable, let their guard down, and show their flaws. If this doesn’t occur, the connection will remain in surface-level acquaintanceship territory rather than growing into something deeper.

Often in new relationships, people will behave how they think their partner wants them to behave. This leads to a myriad of problems.

If you’re not behaving as you normally would, your partner doesn’t truly get to know you. She may fall in love with a false version of you. This often leads her to a sense of feeling defrauded. And you’re left feeling as if your partner never truly knew you after all. 

In trying to be everything your partner wants, you’ll end up losing your sense of self.

Communicating one’s needs, expectations, and boundaries is key for building the foundation of any new relationship. 

You’re finishing up dessert on your third date, when your partner suggests a bar across town for a nightcap. You know you have an important meeting first thing in the morning, but you don’t want to upset him, so you say yes. Unfortunately, while you’re sharing a drink an hour later, the mood has shifted. Now, you’re in your head, stressed out about the morning, and constantly checking your phone. Your date studies you closely for some sign of what caused the flip after dinner, but ultimately he’s left clueless.

If you had set boundaries and explained why you needed to go home after dessert, you could have both ended the night on a high note, excited for your next date. 

Have you listened to bad dating advice in the past? It’s not too late to purge all that junk from your mind. Just remember, not all advice is good advice! When in doubt, ask your Matchmaker