Let's see, there's Match, and OKC, right?
April 11, 2014 10:09 AM   Subscribe

A friend was telling me last night that she is ready to start dating again, and thinks that online dating is the way to go, but she has never tried online dating and hasn't the first clue as to how to go about it.

I don't have any experience with online dating either, so I didn't really know what to tell her. But I see the occaisional question about "rate my profile" here on the green, so I figured this would be a good place to start to learn something, so that I might be of some kind of help or support to her.

She is mid-forties, recently divorced, and has a small child. She is educated and works full-time in a white collar job, mid-management level.

I think finding someone who is also educated and professional is an important criteria for her. I think what is most important to her is finding a good personality fit - she mentioned that she wants to be with someone who is grounded, self-aware, has basically already done all of the counseling they need to do, or has otherwise come to terms with their rotten childhood or whatever life issues they have.

Her spouse was incredibly not self-aware, was grappling with undiagnosed mental health issues, and refused to pursue any kind of help. He basically just told her that it was her job to support him and fix his problems. I don't want to re-hash any of the details of her marriage, I only mention that as context to say that she doesn't ever want to be in that position again of being with someone who refuses to help himself. In her words, she wants to be with someone who is a "grown-up".

So, my question is, can you compare and contract some of the online dating sites? Are there ones where the culture is more geared for those who want to settle down, as opposed to being more of a hook-up culture? Are the profile-matching algorithms superior on one vs. another? Is it the sort of thing where you get what you pay for, in terms of matches or contacts or whatever (like, this is not the area of her life to cheap out on)?

And I suppose, protips with regard to creating a profile would be welcome (and maybe about how to respond to contacts, what to ask, what to avoid, etc.)

She is in Los Angeles, if that matters.
posted by vignettist to Human Relations (27 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Oh, and as reference to the title of my question, those are the only two dating websites that I'm really aware of, with the exception of JDate (but she's not jewish). So if there are newer services that have eclipsed those two, please do share that info too.
posted by vignettist at 10:11 AM on April 11, 2014

Anecdotally, I've had good results with OKC. Using the free version would be a great way for your friend to get started. It's super easy to use, and gives you (theoretically anyway) better matches the more questions you answer, but it need not be a huge time committment - you can answer as many or few as you like.

OKC tracks a ton of data about its site usage, and their blog is useful. I found this article very helpful with regards to what sort of photos seem to work the best.

(edit: looks like the blog hasn't been updated since 2011, but I imagine the content is still useful)
posted by jessicapierce at 10:15 AM on April 11, 2014

Match is probably what she wants. I have an aunt who matches your friend's description almost exactly, and she used match.com. She is currently engaged to someone she met on the site. He seems great, and they seem happy. (They live across the country from me.)

I don't know that you can specify "be perfectly self-actualized" on a dating website, however. She should go into this with the assumption that there are plenty of fish in the sea, and she will be going on some dates with people who ultimately aren't right for her. Online dating is for meeting people, plural, and in general. It's not some kind of magical computer match-up thing a la people's ideas about it in the 80s.

If she is religious, or has a religious or ethnic background that is important to her, there are a number of dating sites that cater to that. eHarmony is the one that comes to mind for traditional-minded "American Heartland" Christian types, but there's also Christian Singles, JDate, ummmmm I think there's also an LDS one, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 10:16 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

My dad and stepmom met on Match.com. It's better for older, divorced people looking for a second serious go than okcupid is, IMO. Okcupid is better for younger, more casual, less religious, and less mainstream dating.
posted by quincunx at 10:25 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

A friend of mine is pretty high on Coffee Meets Bagel right now. I don't know anything about it other than that he's very enthused and that you apparently only get one match per day, so it seems to be geared more toward thoughtful consideration rather than a meat-market. So you might check that one out.
posted by brentajones at 10:27 AM on April 11, 2014

Just don't do "plenty of fish". Not scientific at all, but friends have consistently found mentally unstable people from that site. I have no idea why.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:36 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

eHarmony is a site that bills itself as being geared specifically towards marriage. When I used it (at least jeez, six years ago, now?) it was a paid service. Their whole gimmick was a matching algorithm that keyed to "compatibility," rather than stated preferences or shared interests. Basically, users had very little agency in terms of browsing and contacting others on their own. eHarmony made a periodic list of people it thought you might vibe with, and was "wrong" more often than "right." So, you might go a week or more without any matches, only to get a handful, none of whom appealed.

Even if you did like one of those pre-selected profiles, you were encouraged to go through a lengthy process of exchanging form questions -- again, chosen/written by eHarmony, not you -- that could be answered in an a, b, c, or none-of-the-above format. My overall experience was one of frustration and boredom, with an element of creepy hand-holding (the founder was also the site mascot, offering tips and suggestions as though he was overseeing the whole thing). Ironically, the only person I went on more than one date with (after almost six months of nothing) turned out to be fundamentally philosophically incompatible with me, totally un-ready to be dating (let alone marrying), and more than a bit crazy. I'm sure they've improved things since that time -- I can't see how they'd still be in business if they hadn't -- but my impression was very negative.

Match is better, allowing a good degree of self-guided selection and interaction. I met a girlfriend of 2+ years on that site. It is (or was, several years back) also a paid service, although I think they offer a money-back guarantee if "love" isn't found within a certain time period. My feeling was that it skewed a bit older than say, OKC, but there were still a lot of people available who fit my age and cultural bracket.

I really liked using OKC, and found it to be the best fit for the types of people I was personally looking for. I think it does tilt "artsy/alternative/liberal" (which is ideal for me), but I know from skimming profiles that there are all kinds of folks on there. As mentioned upthread, they put a lot of effort into trend analysis and helping users create effective profiles. The matching algorithm isn't perfect, but it's largely helpful. And, the service is free, so it's low-risk for someone new to online dating. I met the most possibly-compatible people on OKC relative to the other sites I've tried, although the amount of actual dates was about the same as on Match. The interface and process feels intuitive and comfortable, so even if things don't pan out after talking to a given person, there's more of a feeling of optimism and progress towards a goal. My guess is that OKC is best for larger metro areas (there were hundreds of thousands of positive matches available in my midsize Midwestern city), so LA should be a good pool. My current, 2+ years girlfriend met me on this site, and if I hadn't met her, I'm certain I would have met a different awesome person soon enough.

Whatever your friend does, make sure to advise her not to pick one of the services that pop up on her facebook sidebar, or elsewhere on the web. I tried one that I'd seen advertised extensively (thus giving me the impression that it was legit), only to be met with robot profiles, inactive profiles, scammers, etc. And cancelling the "free trial" was a nightmare. Craigslist is also probably best avoided; I feel like I met more desperate/dishonest people on there than on other sites, and with the wealth of dedicated services now available, it's kind of unnecessary.
posted by credible hulk at 10:50 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed my time on match.com. Pay sites get a better quality of men than free sites like okcupid. Okcupid is fun but don't put a face picture on it or any personal information. If I were to do a paid site again, I would try howaboutwe.com because it looks like it would be fun.

Some tips- Never give out any personal information other than a first name. Investigate your guy before you meet him in a public place of your choosing. Men like to talk about their accomplishments. Talk to him on the phone. Pay attention to google friendly facts and then google his name, his user name, and/or his email with one of those facts. Example: John Jones runner baton rouge. If you can't find confirm anything about him, don't meet him.

Set up a meeting within the first few weeks of contact. There are men who will string you along for years, writing poetry for you and promising you forever, without ever committing to a date. Avoid these boy/men.

Everyone is nervous on the first date and everyone puts on their best face. Do not tell him where you live or work until after the third date.

Do not sleep with anyone until you have met someone in his real life and he has taken down his online profile.
posted by myselfasme at 10:50 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

I have no experience at all with online dating, but for general information purposes, Stuff You Should Know did a recent podcast on "How Online Dating Works". Parts of it are tongue in cheek, but it was informative, I thought.
posted by hungrybruno at 10:50 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I suggest creating a minimal, vague, photo-less, throwaway profile on multiple sites (don't break the bank) in order to browse. That way, your friend can see whether there is anyone who interests her currently on any site, and if so, does that person have the same profile photo on multiple sites.

Also, she can get a sense of how many and what type of messages she gets when the only thing dudes know about her is that she is a female with a dating profile. She can get comfortable with the blocking and hiding features. Your friend will start to recognize cut-and-paste insincerity, so that when she eventually creates a real profile, she'll more easily be able to sift through the crap.
posted by Bentobox Humperdinck at 10:55 AM on April 11, 2014 [3 favorites]

Before she signs up, she should spend a lot of time on these sites browsing profiles - those of both men and women. This will allow her to select the best site for her (I agree that Match is generally better for people in her age range, although there are some local online dating sites that work well too).

Reading the profiles of other women will allow her to see the different ways that people present themselves, and will give her ideas on what to do and what not to do when she writes her own. Reading the profiles of men will allow her to see what the pool is like in her area on each site. You can't really ask that anyone who contacts you be self-actualized. But you can practice reading profiles really closely and trying to figure out what it means if someone says "no drama" (bad sign!) or some such thing.

She should also temper her expectations. If she goes into this with the goal of marrying someone within the next year, she's likely to be disappointed. If she goes into it as if it's an adventure, and something that will just allow her to meet lots of people, she'll enjoy the experience a lot more.
posted by leitmotif at 11:06 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

One thing to know:

Nobody, on ANY dating site, is going to send her sincere or well-considered messages without a profile photo and some minimal effort put into making a profile in general. Making a mostly blank profile with no photo will net her a few "Hey What's Up" messages, but nothing from anyone who is actually using the site for its intended purposes. Dipping a toe in by making a paper-thin photo-less profile is not a good way to test out a dating site, at all.
posted by Sara C. at 11:13 AM on April 11, 2014 [7 favorites]

It occurs to me that my previous tl/dr novelette was perhaps more reflective of my own preferences and experience than it was necessarily a helpful answer to the OP's specific question. In other words, it was the perspective of a late 30s unmarried guy, not a divorced woman in her 40s. Apologies for that.

In a nutshell, your friend is going to have to try a few services in order to find one that fits her comfort level and preferred approach. OKC works well, and serves a wide range of people, even if it trends a bit younger than her demo. But only if she is comfy doing a lot of the work herself, and is able to develop a thick skin and learn to screen people critically. eHarmony might be best if her priority is remarriage, first and foremost, and if she wants decision making and screening to be handled almost entirely by someone else. Match will probably offer a good compromise between these two extremes, and might (I'm not sure) fit her age range a bit better than OKC.

As other posters are saying, she's just going to have to hone her own instincts and read people's profiles with discernment. Getting the lay of the land on a given site is a great strategy, provided that maintaining only a minimal profile will allow that. Trial memberships generally don't unlock all of the features, of course, so she won't get a feel for how messaging works (or even whether the profiles she likes a real/active), without going "all in." There are great people -- and not so great people -- on any site, and no service or strategy can completely eliminate that crapshoot.
posted by credible hulk at 11:17 AM on April 11, 2014

> It occurs to me that my previous tl/dr novelette was perhaps more reflective of my own preferences and experience than it was necessarily a helpful answer to the OP's specific question. In other words, it was the perspective of a late 30s unmarried guy, not a divorced woman in her 40s. Apologies for that.

Well, I'm a divorced woman in her 40s, and I thought it was spot on. There are plenty of older people on OKC: if I were willing to date in the 60-and-over demographic, I'd have options for every night of the week. The 30s through 50s are very well represented.

I decided years ago I'd never pay for online dating again. I've done POF (shudder), Match (meh, and also you have no way of knowing whether someone didn't respond to your message because they weren't interested, or just weren't a paid member and thus unable to open it without shelling out), Nerve, LavaLife, eHarmony, Chemistry (the worst of them all, Match's attempt to beat eHarmony at its own lousy game), How About We, SciConnect, a whole bunch of others I've since forgotten, and OK Cupid. The latter is by far the best suited to me, but so much varies by individual preference and even regional trends.

I'm not a great poster child for online dating, since I've never made it past three dates with someone I met that way, but many of my friends--of all ages and persuasions--have been successful with it.
posted by Superplin at 11:31 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

No personal experience with it, but read an article about another online dating concept, tawkify at the beginning of last year. They use human matchmakers to pick dating partners. I thought it was interesting and from what I remember, they placed more emphasis on accomplishments and general togetherness of the people and screen everyone. Not sure about the cost, IIRC it's on a per date basis.
It's not the article I read, skimmed over it just now, but here is the LAWEEKLY piece on that site.
posted by travelwithcats at 11:36 AM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

OKC does trend young, but still has a tremendous number of users in older age ranges, just by virtue of being a popular site.

I'm 38 and have recently been using it to find new friends in a new city. Because I'm not looking for a partner, my age range is super wide. I'm seeing heaps of people from every age group (and tons I wouldn't mind dating). There's definitely a HUGE heap of 20-26 ish people, but no dearth of 30s, 40s, 50s. I see lots of people in these older ranges who are divorced and/or have kids. They also tend to seem more settle-downy and less hook-uppy than the younger users, although of course anyone can turn out to be anything, and of course people can lie.

Your 40s friend will have a somewhat smaller pool to draw from if she uses OKCupid, but "smaller" may just mean thousands, instead of tens of thousands.
posted by jessicapierce at 11:38 AM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

Another vote for OKCupid. I am 44, and while yes, the site does generally skew younger it is not some sort of wasteland for the 40+ set.

Note: It's important to fill out not just the profile/about me section but to answer a meaningful amount of questions (100+). That's how their matching algorithm works.

Also, it's free, so there is no downside to trying it out.
posted by O9scar at 12:07 PM on April 11, 2014 [4 favorites]

Los Angeles is, by the numbers, one of the better cities for online dating for a woman of your friend's demographic. She will find that there are plenty of men meeting her baseline criteria (education, employment) in her age group. Of course, a not-insignificant percentage of these gents will be looking for women younger than themselves (and younger than your friend), but that's not something to take personally or be discouraged by.

She can approach this new adventure in a step-wise fashion: put up a free profile on OKC, start to explore the site, and learn (trial by fire method) how to make the process work for her. She can simultaneously put an ad up on a paid site (probably match.com), and see how that flows for her. The caveat about match.com is that there are too many unpaid/fake/lookie-loo profiles.

And in terms of finding a partner with qualities such as self-awareness, etc. -- that is something that can only really be determined through actual dating and in-person interactions. EVERYbody on those damn sites claims to be smart, honest, funny, kind, making-the-world-a-better-place. If anything, I guess my pro-tip would be: anyone who trumpets those qualities is actually a bit suspect.
posted by nacho fries at 12:50 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another OKC success story here - early 40s divorced professional woman. I went on OKC at 41.

I was overwhelmed with messages from professional, degreed or multiply-degreed men - divorced, never-married, kids, no kids - in a tight range around my age (meaning not 60 year-olds, though I got a few of those). I found it an embarrassment of riches and wish I'd done it sooner. I live in a mid-size Southern city that is super family-oriented, so I had no idea how many single men were out there.

I agree a photo(s) is crucial. No one will take you seriously otherwise. I never had a bad experience and I've been with my wonderful man for a year and I thought their matching was spot-on. I answered tons of questions and it really worked. All my high (90%+) matches were really great fits for me, at least for a few dates.

I only went out with five guys, and they all seemed to be emotionally healthy-ish for our age. Of course, a few dates or a month or so of dating doesn't show all in that regard. I was totally surprised by the non-bias against over-40 women. I had many, many young (20's-30's) sincere, serious guys who wanted a serious relationship/marriage (i.e., not cougar-hunters) message me. My man is younger.

My guy and I looked through each others' FB friend lists and we did not know ONE single person in common! We never would have met otherwise.

Good luck to her, whichever one she decides! It's so fun (but can be overwhelming for women - so many messages). I agree to look at it as a fun experience to meet lots of people and to not get all het up about it.
posted by Punctual at 1:20 PM on April 11, 2014 [2 favorites]

In her words, she wants to be with someone who is a "grown-up".

I strongly suggest not putting anything in her profile about wanting to be with someone who has already worked out their crappy childhood or issues or is a grownup or not a man-child or whatever. Just in my short time of browsing profiles (I am your friend's age and have been doing what Bentobox Humperdink suggests for a while), comments/criteria that talk about what you're not looking for (drama, bs, immature people, princesses, man-children, cheaters...) set off my flag-o-meter, sounding like the person isn't fully over their prior experience.
posted by headnsouth at 1:24 PM on April 11, 2014 [6 favorites]

Wait, are your sure your friend isn't me? I too am a recently separated (in the process of divorcing) professional woman in her mid 40s, with a small child, and her ex sounds exactly like mine. I with that guy for 19 years, so when it ended, I had no idea what to do. After doing some reading around, I decided that if online dating was the way to go—and near as I can tell, it is—that I'd try more than one site and see how it goes. That strategy has worked well. There's a lot of good advice above, so I won't repeat it, but I will say that an attractive, smiling picture is crucial, as is writing a profile that is positive and forward looking, rather than one that sounds bitter or overly critical. She might want to think about playing things easy for a while, go on some dates and see who's out there, rather than focusing on finding someone to settle down with right away. I know very well that it's hard to shake off the habit of thinking long term, but it has to be done. I did Match, and found it boring, full of real estate agents and tech bros, which are really not my cup of tea. OKC was better, since there was more variety. Yes, I too wanted professional, but there're different kinds of professional and some are more interesting to me than others. If she does OKC, she should think seriously about ponying up the money that will allow her to look at profiles anonymously, rather than the free version where people can see if you've read their profiles. And then go on some dates—do just a drink or coffee, not a full dinner, since that way if you're not enjoying yourself you can easily bail out. I found it helpful to calm my jitters by pretending these guys were just work colleagues, with no potential romantic dimension to the engagement at all.

Once I got the hang of it, I wound up getting on Tinder, just as a lark. Yes, it has a reputation as a hookup app, and that's true, but it also can be more. I had extraordinary luck with it, met some super interesting and attractive people, including my wonderful, fabulous boyfriend. Good luck to your friend! Online dating can be a lot of fun, or at least so I've found it.
posted by pleasant_confusion at 2:09 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: comments/criteria that talk about what you're not looking for

Yeah, I think that's why I particularly was curious about the matching algorithms. If it was me (and I'm sure she would agree), I would not want to put anything like this in a profile where it would make me come off like a crank.

My impression (probably from old eHarmony tv ads, now that you all have reminded me of the existence of eHarmony!) is that the questions these sites ask are similar to a questionnaire that my hubby and I had to fill out when we were doing pre-marital counseling. Again, my impression being that they would sort of look at each person's answers about how involved a partner should be in solving certain issues and see if they have similar comfort levels in regard to those issues.

(All great answers so far, thank you. Please keep them coming.)
posted by vignettist at 2:18 PM on April 11, 2014

that's why I particularly was curious about the matching algorithms

For what it's worth, this is not how the matching algorithms on OKCupid work (not sure about Match).

It's not so much for "do you have your shit together, do you have baggage from previous relationships, are you a princess/player/crazy/commitmentphobe" type questions. Those are things you have to figure out for yourself via meeting people.

In the case of OK Cupid, the site ascertains your compatibility with other users based on answering multiple choice questions (in this way, it's like eHarmony, but with some notable differences). There are thousands of questions, and you can answer as many as you like. Though I think the registration process will prompt you to complete a certain number in order to assign your compatibility with other users. The questions are things like (actual examples):

Could you date someone who was really messy?

Do you think our country would be safer if every adult owned a gun?

What is the most exciting thing about meeting someone new?

Do you enjoy discussing politics?

Within those questions, you can also specify what answers you would "accept" in a partner, how strongly you feel about it, and there's also a blank to elaborate on your answer if you want.

You are welcome to look at any profile you want, but the compatibility questions are used to screen your matches in the following ways:

1. The site pitches matches at you in various ways based on the site's metrics, which comes from compatibility questions,

2. You can tell the site not to allow any contact from people who don't meet a certain compatibility level (which drastically improves the signal to noise ratio),


3. If you use the browse function to find potential matches, you can specify what compatibility level you want to see, as well as seeing each user's compatibility with you.

Another great thing about the questions is that you can always see how any user answered individual questions, right in their profile. If it's really important to you that you date someone with similar politics to yours, or who sees eye to eye with you about ethical stuff, or has the same tastes in bed, you can just go find out. You can even search for their answer to a specific question (I like the question about whether it's important that women keep their legs shaved, personally).

Some of these questions might be useful to tell whether a person is mature, together, no-bullshit, or whatever. But unfortunately no dating site really takes on the No Scrubs mantle.
posted by Sara C. at 2:55 PM on April 11, 2014

A little more, ugh, sorry for the novel and sorry for not saying this stuff more succinctly:

One thing to keep in mind is that OKCupid's questions are all over the map. They're not really about whether the two of you would be good in a serious relationship together. The site really does not rate compatibility in that way. Which is good, IMO, because how the hell can an algorithm predict your future as a serious/engaged/married couple? We're not there yet. I just want to know if you're secretly a gun nut.
posted by Sara C. at 3:02 PM on April 11, 2014

I suggest she also read the answers to this AskMefi.

I think the thing that people initially struggle with is not realizing they're intuitively applying real-world social cue responses to online-dating social-cues that mean something else entirely. The result is people getting horribly stressed out, or upset, or slighted, or rejected, or depressed, for no reason other than misunderstanding; they would have every reason to feel that way if those cues were given to them in another context, but online dating is its own thing until after you physically met the person.
posted by anonymisc at 5:07 PM on April 11, 2014 [1 favorite]

I am currently the world's biggest OKC fan. I recently left a six-year marriage, and a friend convinced me to sign up. I am not looking for anything serious right now, which does mean my candidate pool is a little bit different. But so far my luck is great. I'm also only 34, but I date older, and a lot of the people I've gone out with have been in their early 40's. And, while there are obviously a lot of dreadful people on that site, as anywhere, there are also a lot of really great ones. I am incredibly glad I took my friend's advice, even though the idea of online dating seemed very strange at first. I live four blocks away from someone I recently started dating, but we never would have met if not for OKC, because our social circles are completely different. Let alone the ones I live farther away from.

I find the match algorithm pretty helpful; though not, of course, infallible. It seems that a lot of what it looks at is one's general outlook on social and political matters, which is very important to me. I know when I get a high match/low enemy rating, I'm going to be talking to a guy who is not racist, not sexist, in favor of gay rights, and socially liberal in general. Also not especially religious, not looking explicitly for marriage, and friendly toward skinny tattooed 34-year-olds with unnatural hair colours. I've found it extremely helpful. And, yeah, I've used the "Do you think women are obligated to keep their legs shaved?" question as a dealbreaker before. (I do, but ain't nobody obligated to do nothin', buddy.)

I also always note that it's worked very well for me not to do the optimize-for-general-appeal thing that seems to be the conventional wisdom. If you are very forthright about who you are in your profile, then you know, if the person messaging you has bothered to read it and is still saying hello, that he's actually interested in *you*, and has some idea what he's letting himself in for. I've gotten dozens of messages telling me that mine is the most honest and interesting profile they've seen on OKC. Some of those people explicitly say that they don't think we would be a good match, but they wanted to tell me they appreciated that. Apparently that's a good way to stand out. I do list a few things I don't want. And I'm sure some people don't like that. But that's fine. I don't want to get the most messages. I want to get the *right* messages.

And I don't get the 50 messages a day that I guess a lot of women do this way. Which frankly makes the experience a lot nicer.

I haven't tried any other sites, because I'm getting exactly what I want out of OKC. And what I want is different from what your friend wants, but I do see profiles sometimes of men who seem to be seeking the same thing she is. It's definitely worth a try. Tell her to have a glass of wine, sit down and make a profile and have fun with it.

I love living in the Future.
posted by Because at 5:44 PM on April 12, 2014 [3 favorites]

Just for reference, I'm a 49-year-old woman. I haven't tried OKCupid, so can't speak to that. I was on True.com briefly and definitely had the impression that it was largely populated by young people wanting to hook up. eHarmony rejected me as unmatchable; I had the impression from the message I got that they have certain "types" (based on the test results) that they like and know how to "match," but reject people of different types. I found my current partner on Match.com, and we've been together for 6 years, living together for 5 years.

Couple of points, based on my experiences:
- Write a good, complete profile--WAY too many profiles are of the "I'm nice and pretty easygoing" variety and don't provide any window into the author's personality. Keep it positive--avoid the "none of this, none of that" negativity--and specific. When I got on Match, I decided to just let it all hang out there, be honest, and be willing to scare off a few prospects. What happened was that the man who would become my partner e-mailed to tell me that he was sorry when he got to the end of my profile because he so enjoyed it.
- Everyone will tell you that you aren't going to have any luck without a pic. I never put one up on True or Match and still got plenty of responses. What I did instead was to bluntly state that I'm not skinny or beautiful, but I am smart and interesting. If you do use a picture, use a recent one that actually looks like you.
- I would recommend Match for your friend--plenty of 40+ folks there and the "matches" that they e-mailed me were mostly men that did seem to be reasonable matches (my partner was a 100% match). I liked that I could see at a glance who wanted kids and who didn't, who was religious and who wasn't, etc.
- I can't stress this enough, but don't make the initial mistake I did--there are guys on there that just want to flirt or who are married. Don't let anybody string you along; you should meet after the first few messages/calls and if they put you off or are "too busy," you should move on. There is no substitute for real-life, in-person interaction.
posted by WorkingMyWayHome at 2:28 AM on April 13, 2014

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