Online dating is rapidly becoming one of the main ways in which people meet romantic partners in today’s world.

We’re willing to bet that you know at least one engaged couple that first met through online dating.

We’re also willing to bet that you’d love to have a success story like that to call your own.

We get it: online dating can be tricky. It can also be intimidating, annoying, and stressful. Of course, it can also be fun, exciting, rewarding, and a great way to meet your soulmate.

Need a little help getting started with your profile and getting quality online dating advice?

Read this ultimate online dating guide to master the art of dating in the Intenet age.

Yes, Your Pictures Matter

We know what you’re thinking: “I want someone who appreciates me for the beauty I have on the inside, not only on the outside.”

As sweet of a sentiment as that is, it sounds like you haven’t heard the all-too-true saying, “You don’t notice a great personality from across a crowded room.”

This doesn’t mean that the people you’re attracting are shallow or are only interested in supermodel-worthy good looks. What it means, however, is that in the ultra-competitive world of online dating, you need to use every possible tool to make a great first impression — before they swipe away.

Your pictures are, far and away, the most important part of your profile.

This section of our online dating guide focuses on the kinds of pictures you need to include if you want to catch the eye of as many people as possible.

The Pictures You Need

So, which pictures do the writers of this online dating guide say you have to have in your profile?

Remember, it’s all about choosing photos that will help another person come up with something to say to you other than “hi.”

This means that your profile photos need to be dynamic and engaging. They should show you doing something, whether it’s rock climbing, standing in front of a travel destination, or even teaching kids or grilling something on the barbecue.

Remember, when it doubt, give them something to talk about.

Next, it’s important that you show a full-body shot.

We know that, for some, this can be a hard pill to swallow.

However, the reality is it’s not other people’s opinions that need changing, but rather your mindset. No matter what kind of body type you have — whether you’re extra curvy or super thin — someone is going to be into it.

Instead of trying to hide your body type, which can come across as disingenuous and make people think you lack confidence, don’t be afraid to show it off.

We guarantee you’ll find someone who loves what you’re working with.

The Pictures You Don’t

Now that our online dating guide has told you the kinds of pictures you need to include, let’s focus on the ones it’s really best to leave out.

First of all, never include a picture of you and another person of the same gender you’re interested in dating. It doesn’t matter if she’s your sister, if he’s your cousin, or if she’s just a really good friend.

People will automatically assume the worst. That’s your wife, your boyfriend, or “the one that got away.” Or, they’ll think you’re a major flirt, and not ready to settle down.

Leave it out.

Next, stop posting your gym selfies — or really any selfies at all. We don’t care how “amazing” you looked, though we are glad you’re working out. Studies show that people who post too many selfies are more likely to be narcissists and even psychopaths.

That’s not exactly the kind of impression you want to be making.

Finally, just stop uploading pictures of you and exotic animals, especially tigers, to your online dating profiles. It’s played out, it’s cruel, and just about every other person on the dating site is doing it.

The Text In Your Profile

The next section of our ultimate online dating guide is all about what you should and should not include in the text section of your online dating profile.

Depending on the sites and apps you’re using, you may have a limited amount of space. But even if you’re using a website or app that allows you to have more long-winded answers, it’s best to keep things short and sweet.

You don’t want to look desperate (or like you had nine free hours to spend filling out your online dating profile.) You also don’t want to be so specific in your profile that you come across as overly picky.

Keep reading our online dating guide to find out how to get it right.

What To Say

First of all, it’s important to be accurate when you’re describing yourself, your hobbies, and your personality.

Think about it: do you really want to have to spend the rest of your life pretending like you like cats, when you’re actually more of a dog person?

Being honest about what makes you tick is a crucial way to find a partner that you’re truly compatible with.

Let your personality shine through when you write your profile. Avoid cliches like “I love long walks on the beach” or the truly awful “I’m a nice guy.” Also, hopefully we all love “music” and “friends.”

Be a little more unique than that. Help people get to know you.

If you’re interested in certain subcultures, hobbies, or even have a favorite film that you’d like to reference, go for it. This will give people reading your profile something to connect with if they’re into the same things.

Plus, sometimes the things we like — and especially the things we find funny — can say a lot about our personalities. Don’t be afraid to close with a joke.

What Not To Say

First of all, you should avoid talking about sex in your online dating profile. This is one of the most important things we hope you’ll take away from this online dating guide.

While it’s fine to say that you’re “only looking for something casual,” it’s quite another to describe the explicit acts that you’re looking for someone to “help you out with” for the night.

Not only is this classless, but you also never know when your boss, coworker, or someone else who knows you in “the real world” will spot it.

If possible, also avoid using any foul language — even if you curse like a sailor in real life. It can make you come across as overly intimidating and mean, even if you’re a total softie.

Your online dating profile is also not the place to insult men or women and complain about how hard it is to find a mate. Avoid offering unsolicited advice about what other people should put in their profiles.

Also, definitely avoid trashing your ex or desperate closing lines like “I’m just looking for someone to get me off this app!” or “I’ve been here too long.”

Nobody wants or needs to know that you’ve had bad luck with online dating (though we hope this online dating guide will help to turn things around.)

The Opening Line

The final section in our online dating guide?

It’s all about what you should say to the person that you’re interested in.

First of all, since you’ve (presumably) graduated from the second grade, the time for cheesy pickup lines is over. Not only are they unoriginal and cringe-worthy, they’re also not going to do much to help you get a response.

Instead, try to focus on a specific part of the person’s profile that drew you to them.

Maybe you noticed that you’ve traveled to a few of the same places they have. Perhaps you’re both interested in the same kinds of movies or tv shows. Maybe you noticed a tiny detail in one of their photographs and would like to learn more.

Whatever it is, get as specific as possible. Generic is not the way to get a response in the world of online dating.

Try to always ask an open-ended question, so that the person will know what to say next.

Again, this is where humor can help you out. Don’t be afraid to make a lighthearted joke.

Above all, be respectful.

Use This Online Dating Guide To Find The One

We hope you’ve found this online dating guide to be useful — and that you’re ready to give your own profile a serious makeover.

Just remember to keep things fun, kind, honest, and respectful. Show the best version of yourself, certainly — but make sure that you’re truly showing people who you are.

But once your profile has actually landed you a date, what should you do next?

Looking for more dating advice about where you should take them, what you should talk about, and how to reel them in?

Keep checking back with us for more awesome ways to find love this year.

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