Some women find it hard to believe when I tell them I've met doctors, engineers and business professionals on Tinder and even Plenty of Fish. Sure, I've had my fair share of cads but overall my online dating experience has been enjoyable. As a typical millennial, I've never been hesitant or found it shameful to meet men online. After all, the entire world is operating on the internet so what is there to be embarrassed about? Furthermore, I understand how important it is for black women especially to make use of every dating tool available to us to achieve optimal results.
We've all seen the unfortunate stats showing that black women have the worst luck with online dating but the truth is that some of us simply aren't doing it right. Sometimes our own insecurities, close mindedness and bad choices gets in the way of us finding the one or making meaningful connections. I'm certainly no expert, but I truly don't believe you need one to succeed in online dating. I've never had to pay for dating advice and I believe that sharing is caring.
The following tips are to help you navigate the online dating world with ease, confidence, skill and poise. By employing basic psychological tactics and strategies, you'll be sure to attract more men online than you can keep up with. Be sure to bookmark this article and take notes if you need to. Let's go!
RULES OF THUMB
1. Be authentic. Nobody likes a catfish so be honest about your age and post recent pictures and information. You will almost always fail in online dating if you're not honest.
2. Have realistic expectations. It's okay to be picky but understand that every guy won't be a perfect match nor will you be for them. Know your deal breakers be comfortable with compromise.
3. Don't allow the bad apples to ruin the bunch. Matching with duds and assholes is going to happen. Just remove and/or block them and carry on.
4. Don’t be afraid of competition. The worst attitude you can take towards dating is having an aversion to competition as a single black woman. After all, other races of women are competing with you for the best men with no shame. Get real about what it is, know that your competition is stiff and play the game to win.
5. Keep your options open. American black men aren't you're only option and many of them don't see you as such either. There are foreign black men, white men, Asian men and so on. Online is the best place to meet a variety of races and ethnicities because there are less barriers that exist in person. Even if you don't think you're into dating interracially or connecting with foreigners, keep yourself open to the idea. You just might find a winner.
6. Be available. Going into online dating with a closed mind and a closed heart is a waste of time. If you're truly not ready for companionship just be alone and do you for a while instead of attempting to court. It will show if you're hearts not really in it so don't force it and wait until you're ready.
7. Beware of scammers. If something looks fishy or too good to be true then it probably is. Beware of men who start of being pushy, dishonest or too secretive. Men who are truly looking for someone have nothing to hide or lie about and have no reason to rush into things.
USERNAME & HEADLINE TIPS
Usernames should be catchy, compelling and unique to your character. Try thinking of two simple words describing your interests or hobbies or use a thesaurus if you need to. Be careful not to choose negative words or words that are overtly sexual or juvenile as you might give off the wrong impression (i.e. "BootyfulGoddess").
Good username examples:
For the headline, think of this as your personal sales pitch to a potential suitor. A good headline should be short, catchy and relevant to your personality. Be sure not to come up with something cliche so you won't sound boring (i.e. "Looking for Mr. Right"). Use a famous quote if you can't think of anything original or unique.
Good headline example:
"We write to taste life twice" (creative/abstract)
"I'm done looking for perfect, I just want something real" (romantic/realist)
"If you are lucky enough to find a weirdo, never let them go" (quirky/humorous)
1. Remember, you are only as good as your worst photo so only put your very best out there. Remember, you're competing, so if you want to win at this game, you must present only your finest shots.
2. Have at least five pictures, two selfies max. Posting just one picture or all selfies is boring to look at because all of the photos look the same. Display a handful of diverse images to get the most responses.
3. Know that natural hair is an attention grabber and a conversation starter! I can't tell you how many times my online dating conversation has started with "I love your hair!". Natural hair is the black woman's statement piece and it's truly what makes you stand out from your competition. Use it to your advantage.
4. Avoid posting oddly cropped photos or noticeably photoshopped pictures and pictures with Snapchat filters. Men respond better seeing pictures that have no noticeable filters that cover parts of your face or alter your features. Posting photos like this makes it seem like you're hiding something or don't like the way you look. Drop the popular dog-with-the-tongue-out filter for your dating profile - it's not appropriate.
5. Your first picture should be you and you alone - not pictures of you and other women, not pictures of you and an ex boyfriend or ex husband at your wedding. When looking at your first picture, there should be no question that it's you in the photo.
6. Make sure there’s a good mix of head shots and body shots. Allowing men to see you from different angles and in different clothes gives them a better idea of who you are and what you look like in person. Dress up in some pics and dress down in others Hiding your body in every picture also makes you look less confident about your figure. Go full length and you'll attract a guy that likes your body type.
7. Strike a pose! Feminine smiles and poses statistically get the most attention from men in online dating. Be sure not to frown, smile with teeth, make eye contact in some photos and look away in others. Studies also show that women wearing red get the most attention so think about rocking red in your main photo to catch his eye.
8. Leave something to the imagination. If you're not looking for hookups only then don't present yourself as the hookup girl. Too many butt shots and cleavage shots will always attract overtly sexual men. A little tease is fine but save the full exposure pics for an actual relationship - make him work for those.
9. Get a male opinion or second opinion on your photos - sometimes others see you better than you see yourself.
PROFILE DESCRIPTION TIPS
1. Let them know you’re options are open. As a black woman it's important to let other races/ethnicities know that you are interested. Sometimes intimidation can happen even online so let them know that you're open minded by putting "open to all races/ethnicities" in your description.
2. Leave profile “bait” for the reader. Giving men an "in" within your description makes it easier for them to start up a conversation with you. Good bait starts with you describing your interest then following it up with a question or a task. Example: "Horror movies are my favorite, ask me if I've seen your favorite."
3. Be detailed - make a list. Lists are straight to the point and easy to read. Find an interesting, creative way to list your interests and desires. Make sure your list is not too lengthy so you can save some of the details for conversation.
4. Be confident with your language. Stay away from words like "hope" and "wish" when describing what you want. Also do not mention if you've had bad luck with online dating. Instead of saying "I hope to find my soulmate" say, "A soulmate is the only mate for me". Being confident gives off a strong message that says you will not settle for less and that you know your worth. This is extremely important for black women in particular because some people expect us to be self loathing. Even if you have to fake it until you make it, exude self love on your dating profile.
5. Avoid being cliche. Find a witty, humorous or intellectual way to describe yourself. Be a little bit weird and share something unique about yourself. Be open about your passion. Tell a story if you want. Remember, there's only one you so don't be too vague, get specific about who you are and stand out from the crowd.
6. Be multifaceted. Show different sides of yourself in your profile. If you're both romantic and funny, tell a joke and end with a romantic quote. If you're into football but still love operas, then express that. Showing that you're a well-rounded woman will always be appealing to a potential suitor.
7. Avoid listing ALL if your deal breakers. Putting “no hook ups” in your profile is cool but leave it at that. Listing everything that you do not like comes off as negative and whiny. Save it for later.
8. Don’t lead with your education. Black women in particular love wearing their degrees not understanding that it doesn't do much for men in terms of desirability. Being proud of your accomplishments is one thing but making that your selling point as a partner is another. Most quality men don't need your accomplishments because they have their own. Lead with your femininity, it's more powerful than you think.
9. Don’t describe yourself that much in your description. Anything that you can show, show it don’t tell. Show that you love to travel through your pictures, show that you’re outgoing by displaying pictures with friends. Anything that you show doesn't need to be explained in the description and it will always be better than words. Showing that you're adventurous and living a rich life is always appealing.
10. Leave them wanting more. Don't dish it all out in your description, leave some cliff hangers. Tease your readers and write just enough to make them want to message you to learn more.
HIS PICTURES SAY A THOUSAND WORDS
1. The hot guy is usually the NOT guy. I know this may not be something you want to see but the guy with swag is usually the guy that plays the most games or has the most issues. You might be lucky enough to find a drop dead gorgeous man with an equally gorgeous personality but understand that they are few and far between. If a man is a 7 in looks or isn't 6 ft. tall but has a 10 personality with a great career then he's a winner. Don't pass him up.
2. Say no if he’s naked. Guys that take explicit photos usually just want to hook up. A shirtless beach picture or a gym shot is one thing but boxer briefs and a d*ck print is quit another. Know the difference.
HIS PROFILE DESCRIPTION - WHAT TO LOOK FOR
1. Avoid the lack of profile. Men who are serious about meeting someone are fairly descriptive and take the time to complete the about section. Some may not be that great with words but they usually at the very least put in the effort.
2. Beware of the empty occupation field. Successful, hardworking men usually have no problem listing their occupation. Avoid career fields that say "self employed" or "self made" if there are no other details. These men are most likely unemployed, underachieved or ashamed of what they do for a living. If this is the case then they are most likely in no position to start a relationship or create a future family. This is something to be mindful of if you're looking for a stable relationship and a partner who has the same level of ambition.
3. Aim for your equal or higher. Often times black women in particular are taught to date down and settle for less which causes many problems. Cancelling out any man that doesn't match or exceed your education/career level makes online dating much less of a struggle. You'll most likely never have to worry about intimidating a man, emasculating him nor always footing the bill for a nice dinner or an outing. Don't be a Mary J. Blige or a Jill Scott and hook up with your subordinate. It may sound immoral and outdated but this kind of relationship dynamic usually never works so save yourself the trouble. Only answer to your true match.
1. To send or not to send the first message? Yes, men still love to pursue so allow him to approach you first. When they are interested, they usually make the first move with no hesitation.
2. Show that you’re interested. Remember, competition is stiff so don’t play hard to get. However, create a good balance - don't send multiple responses before he replies as it may look desperate on your part.
3. Give him you in doses. Don't offer up everything about yourself during the first conversation. He doesn't need to know that you have acid reflux or anxiety in the first chat so save that for later. Keep the first exchange light and give him glimpses into your life and personality. Expound on what you wrote in your profile and leave it at that.
4. Be able to take a compliment. If a man compliments you accept it by saying thank you and giving one back. Never downplay your pictures if he thinks they're attractive as you run the risk of looking insecure and unsure of your beauty. As a black woman sometimes this is true but you don't have to show it. Respond to compliments like you know you're worthy of praise.
5. Acquire a Google Voice number. If you don't want to give a guy you met online your number but you're ready for phone talk, Google Voice is always an option. Google allows you to acquire a free number in which you can call, text, send pictures etc. You don't have to tell the guy that you're not giving him your personal number just yet and you can always change it if he becomes a stalker or a pest.
RULES FOR MEETING UP
1. Don’t rush the meet up but don’t hold off too long either. Online daters lose interest fast if things aren't moving at a steady pace. If you've met someone you truly feel like is a good match then it's important to see if the chemistry over the phone is the same in person. If one party travels or you're shy or unable to meet up after a couple of weeks then Skype or FaceTime is a good way to communicate. Video chat isn't face to face but it's the closest you will get to gauging whether or not you two will click in person.
2. Whoever asks for the first date, pays. It's a general rule of thumb that whoever asks for the date first, pays the bill. I prefer waiting for the man to ask first but if you ask as the woman, be prepared to treat him. If he offers to pay anyway it's okay to let him but still show that you know the rules.
3. Be safe and meet in public. This is a no brainer but can't be stressed enough. Online dating in some cases can be dangerous so meeting in public in a well populated place is best. Not letting your date know where you live right away and meeting at a decent hour is also ideal. It's better to be safe than sorry.
4. Know and stick to your boundaries. If you're set on not having sex until 30 days after you meet a guy, then stick to it. A guy that wants it bad enough will wait and without any pressure. If he's pushy then that's probably a red flag and sign that you need to cut it off.
5. Display a fun and carefree attitude. The first date should be fun and giggly, not a heavy interview session. Keep the questions light and not so serious. Getting weighty too soon quickly stales the relationship and it rushes the pace.
6. Get flirty and a little bit physical. Being too closed up may give the guy you're interested in the wrong impression. He may think you're not that into him and will get right back online to search for someone else after your date is over. To keep that from happening, show your interest in person by using flirty body language. Even if you're shy, touch his arm while complimenting him or laughing at his jokes and hug him before your departure. You'd be surprised with how much a minimal amount of touching leaves a lasting impression.
7. Say thank you. Men love appreciative women. If he takes you out to somewhere nice, open doors etc. be sure to thank him. Humbly display your gratitude and show that you are impressed especially if you are genuinely interested in a second date.
8. Offer to take him out sometime. Even if he says no, most guys secretly love when a woman at least offers to treat him. It shows that you are not selfish and not only in the relationship for personal gain. In addition, it usually gets them to spoil you more because they sense that you are not greedy and need a hand out.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
1. Mismatches happen, it may take kissing a few frogs before you get to your prince. Don’t get discouraged - be patient.
2. Experiment with different dating sites - don't put all of your eggs in one basket.
3. Go to paid sites for older, more serious potential companions. If you're not finding what you're looking for on sites like Tinder and POF, maybe a paid site like Match.com is more your speed. Men on paid sites are generally serious about settling down and finding long term partners.
4. Take a break when you need to. Like anything else, online dating can be draining if done excessively. Limit your online dates to once a week or a couple times a month if it's getting too hectic. Sometimes deactivating your dating accounts for a week or so will clear your mind and refresh you for your next round of suitors.
5. Dating doesn't stop online. Remember that dating online is just another tool to find quality men. Be sure to continue to go out and about to places like upscale lounges and pubs, luxury shopping centers, coffee shops, spas, sports clubs, charity events and anywhere else successful men frequent. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to finding love black women so explore every option possible.
Live your dating life to the fullest and have fun ladies!