I often wonder what my dating life would have been like with eHarmony? I dated plenty because back in the day I was plenty busy in my community which meant I was also meeting people. While being busy in the community I was always a pastor. That sets up quite a first impression, right? I had a rule that if the guy had the guts to ask me out—knowing I was a pastor—I would say yes. So I had a lot of nice dates that didn’t lead to anywhere. Oh well. I learned a lot about me (a Brave Dating practice), I learned a lot about what I want in a future mate (a Brave Dating practice), and I had lots of good conversations, particularly about faith. The guy felt he finally had someone he could ask his faith questions to.
I imagine my life on eHarmony would be similar to all that minus the actually going out to dinner thing. eHarmony and other internet dating sites are set up to introduce you to people who are not in your normal rhythm of life. And I’m all for that! Simply meeting people is part of the process of finding your love for a lifetime. If it wasn’t for my community involvement I never would have met my husband—and is he ever a good match for me!
I love when my single friends allow me access to their online dating profiles. Especially when they allow me to have a say in their choices. I love introducing good single people to each other! I kind of get to do that when I’m reading all of these profiles and encouraging the messaging step.
Which means I’m encouraging you to be messaging with maybe 20 different people. There are so many possibilities!
Which can feel overwhelming. Which definitely feels confusing. Sometimes you forget who is who. Sometimes you start being drawn to a profile and the messaging conversation never happens. Or does happen and there are typos in that conversation. I hate being so judgey about typos but I am. You’ve only got this nonverbal way to communicate so can’t you at least put in the effort to spell correctly and use proper grammar? And can you also please use full words and not text shortcuts? This is your first impression.
In these messaging conversations we (the single who invited me in and his/her team members) are looking for something to connect with. Something that creates chemistry. Chemistry is sooooooo important in dating. It cannot be overlooked or dismissed. It has to be there. You can find the beginning of chemistry in someone’s words on a profile on an internet dating site.
Which is why how you write your profile is soooooooo important. Read What Should You Include on Your Online Dating Profile.
Here’s what I’m learning to find that chemistry for the one I’m trying to help match with someone through online dating.
When I read these matched profiles I’m reading with wide grace because I believe in wide possibilities. God is big enough to have a love story for you that is crazy wonderful. God’s love story for you is not limited.
I believe too many singles start off with a long—and limiting–list of what they want and think they have to have to find a good match. This list causes them to negate many of the matches on an online dating site. If they even dare to try to meet new people on an online dating site. Ahem.
So I’m looking wide understanding how flat and contrived a profile is. I start from a place of optimism instead of what is lacking. Optimism is a brave trait. Optimism requires curiosity which requires vulnerability because you must surrender to uncertainty which means anything is possible. Vulnerability is a “no thank you” for some of you.
With this sense of optimism this is what I look for. This is my list in no particular order:
- Common relationship goals
- Values – The values I look for are faith and could this person be a giver. That’s not a very long list because I am optimistic.
- Shared interests – Interests are great because they are bonding and stimulating and fun to share those. I have a friend who loves running and who particularly loves running with my niece. I think it is important for him to date someone who could run with him. It’s not a deal breaker but it is something I definitely look for. I have a single friend who loves books, Harry Potter, and Disney. If I see that on someone’s profile, I’m giving him a chance. If a guy would put that on his profile it must be important, right?
Notice none of these have to do with the pictures. Looks don’t measure into this—yet—because a picture does not give you chemistry. Pictures get you stuck into types and that is limiting. (Read that link to understand.)
Though I do have one judgment on pictures. If I see a bathroom selfie chosen as a profile picture, he/she is off the list.
This optimism leads to you talking to 20+ different matches at a time. Because they are all possibilities! Responses back give great information. The back-and-forth messaging is clunky and slow but it is all information to dig to see if there could be any chemistry—or connection.
Do not feel any guilt for talking to 20+ different matches at the same time. This is as if you are at a social party and just met 20+ people. Only you get to do this at your speed in the comfort of your home—and in the comfort of your jammies and unkempt hair and not all at once. Whew.
You be optimistic too. Give these flat static profiles a chance to separate themselves from the pack. This requires you to message and to be your curious self in those responses. Over clunky time you will be able to figure out who’s who because certain matches will separate themselves. Then you can move on to the next big step of IRL—meeting in real life.
Remember that a bad date doesn’t define you. Which also means that all of those bad matches that an algorithm sends you don’t define you. Hide them. Delete them. Laugh at that bathroom selfie and delete. The one you messaged which you felt some connection to (from a static profile page) who never messaged back does not define you. There is so much you don’t know to let that blip of a person define you. None of this defines you.
Talking to 20+ possible matches at a time also doesn’t define you. Other than saying you are curious as well as optimistic—and that is a brave trait. It does take a bit of bravery to date, right? Define yourself with that bravery. It’s a bit attractive.