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Alison Roth on Dating Online
Alison Roth is an online dating guru who has consulted on business strategy, product development and partnerships for many of the largest online dating companies. She is the Chief Inspiration Officer for Thought Rocket, a company she co-founded and that helps sites like Jdate.com, American Singles.com, Cupid Junction.com, Match.com and Personals.Yahoo.com. She also helps people present themselves in the most flattering light as a consultant, writing profiles for individuals and acting as a dating coach for those new to looking for love online. Here Roth helps you understand what to expect when it comes to dating online.
What are typical reservations and fears you observe in people during the first 30 days of dating online?
That it “means something about them” that they have to go online to find love/romance/a partner/sex. They are afraid that they won’t find anyone “like them” and that if anyone finds out, it will be embarrassing. Many people try online dating after trying more traditional means of meeting singles, and often come to the online dating experience a bit frustrated, wanting a magic bullet.
What are some of the common feelings and emotions associated with the first 30 days of posting a profile on an online dating site?
There is a lot of expectation, excitement, trepidation, obsession, frustration, confusion, judgment, fear and elation. It really runs the gamut. So much depends on the profile you write and the photo you post. The challenge is marketing yourself uniquely and specifically so you stand out and attract individuals who will respond to you and your singular profile. It is typical for the first 30 days to transition from fear and distrust to enjoyment and play, depending on the expectations you bring to the experience.
Are there common mistakes people make when posting a profile?
Yes, using old photos, bad photos and photos that misrepresent you. Writing profiles that are generic and bland, doing nothing to set you apart from the crowd or provide a hook to catch the partner you’re looking for.
People spend a lot of time investing in creating a virtual relationship—and raising their expectations—only to meet someone later on and be disappointed. People also spend hours talking on the phone and inventing a false sense of intimacy, only to meet in real life later and be disappointed. People become frustrated and indignant or despondent and discouraged when members don’t respond back to their email, without realizing they are way out of the desired age range or geographic locale of the apple of their eye.
What are your top tips for finding online dating success?
Be honest, be unique, keep perspective, stay engaged in your life offline and remember that until you meet someone in real life, it’s just a lot of possibility and excitement. It’s tempting to embellish online since at least initially no one is looking. But it’s impossible to engage in a relationship of any merit that begins with deceit. Watch out for red flags and trust your intuition. If a person provides inconsistent information, does not answer questions directly, or after initial interest, the person just disappears, has a temper or puts pressure on you to do something or go somewhere that makes you uncomfortable, cut bait.
What are some interesting facts about online dating that singles might find useful?
Thousands and thousands of couples get married who meet online every year. Quality professional singles use online dating sites. You don’t have to look like a model or be a millionaire to find love online. More singles than ever before are online looking for love. There are plenty of people talented in helping you look your best and sound your best.
My brother and his wife met online. Both were successful, attractive singles in Los Angeles who had had been dating off and on for years through more traditional means. Both joined Match.com, dated a few other people they met before they met each other, and knew that soon after their first date, it would be their last. They’ve been married for four years and recently adopted a baby boy.
After individuals decide to try online dating, why are the first 30 days so crucial?
Because if it goes well it can open them up to the possibility of using the brilliance of internet dating to become exposed to thousands of people they would never otherwise have access to or time for. Online dating sets a tone for sticking to it and staying with it even if discouragement or frustration starts to creep in. Sometimes the first 30 days can be overwhelming, such that you’re so inundated with hundreds of emails that it becomes impossible to wade through all of them and find the ones you want to respond to. It’s important not to throw in the towel and walk away at that point, but to gather yourself together and be flattered.
Do you recommend people post a profile on more than one site at a time?
Absolutely. Sites have different personalities and different type of members. Being on different sites allows you to play and experiment a bit with how you present yourself and enables you to have more irons in the fire. Since other people will have the same idea about doing this, it’s likely you’ll see similar faces on other sites. If you’re really interested in meeting someone, why not increase your odds by increasing your exposure and increasing the pool of likely candidates? Additionally, it’s good practice in learning how to write profiles that get noticed and get responses and focus on who you’re targeting.
What is the best way to handle rejection? How can people avoid taking it personally?
Remember all the people you’ve passed up and haven’t even thought about since? If you don’t build it up too much before you actually meet someone offline, not hearing back isn’t as painful as if you create an entire narrative about what your wedding day is going to be like before you’ve even laid eyes on each other.
Try to maintain perspective and remember to live your life and go out in the real world. Sometimes when people start online dating they become a bit obsessive and stay glued to their computers, waiting for a response from Mr. or Ms. Right. The odds are low of your meeting someone whom you fall in love with on the first handful of dates. So, if in the beginning and middle of your online dating experience, you get hit with rejections, just take it in stride and remember that there will be plenty of folks you reject and won’t even bat an eye over. [When you find a prospect,] do meet immediately and don’t spend a lot of time online creating a false intimacy and getting your hopes up. Make it happen real quick. Meet in real life and if it doesn’t work out, then NEXT.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
That whatever comes my way does so because on some level I am ready to receive it, even if it seems overwhelming in the moment.
The best thing about change is…
…knowing I’ll be a different person in some way after I move through it.
What is the best change you have ever made?
A career change to become a therapist and stop working for “the man.”