1. Instant messaging before messaging. There are chat functions on many of the dating sites, kind of like Gchat. When you’re browsing, the icon signifies that you’re online and allows users to “chat” you. God. Please. DON’T DO THAT. Not before you’ve exchanged messages with someone and have confirmed that they WANT to chat with you. Even then, I would use it sparingly. It’s essentially the e-equivalent of an unwanted advance at a bar. And to the guy who IM’d me four times with nary a response, LEAVE ME ALONE! Messaging a woman you don’t know, have never chatted with, makes you seem creepy and desperate.
What to do instead: Send a message and wait for the lady to get back to you. If she does, you’ll know she’s interested and can proceed from there.
2. Too many emoticons. EMOTICONS ARE NOT SEXY. Using too many emoticons makes you come off like a ‘tween girl. Aside from being ridiculous, they’re the bottom feeders of communication. I’m giving you tough love here. It’s nothing you wouldn’t say to my own brother, who, when he Gchats me overuses the smiley face emoticon along with hee hee. But guess what? He’s not trying to score dates online. So let him smiley face and hee hee all he wants. He’s my brother, so I’ll let it pass.
What to do instead: Try, if you can, to avoid using emoticons in lieu of human words. It’s tricky. But push yourself to find the appropriate phrase to communicate your sentiment. Example: “I’m looking forward to meeting you.” or “That sounds good.”
3. Pictures of you face deep in a beer. Or a whiskey or whatever your drink of choice is. There’s nothing wrong with you enjoying a drink with your boys, but what those pictures say to me are: I’m still really into partying!! While this may appeal to a woman who is still really into partying, it will not speak to women who are seriously looking to date.
What to do instead: Put the beer down, and pose for a shot where we can see your damn face.
4. Messaging women who live in other states/countries. While you acknowledge that occasionally LDRs are sparked online, your odds are better if you stay within spitting distance.
What to do instead: As Dorothy learned in her time over the rainbow, there’s no place like home. Look for women who live in your own backyard. Not literally, of course.
5. Highlighting your nomadic lifestyle. Traveling is sexy, never being home … not so much. It’s really a plus if you like to travel, but you might want to avoid bragging about how you “live out of a suitcase” or are “never home for more than three days a month” or how “your whole life fits in a backpack.” Guys who say those kind of things make me suspect that they are like George Clooney in that movie where he travels all the time to avoid facing the reality of his life. I didn’t see the movie, but I think that was the gist. Don’t be like George Clooney.
What to do instead: Say that you like to travel, talk about some of the best places you’ve visited, and leave it at that.