Beginners Guide to OkCupid

Let’s rip the bandaid off. Online dating sucks for men. The response I get from most men gives me this impression: You sign up, you wait, you start to message, nothing happens. A sea of women with which you may find your great love or next one night stand, but you can’t get a response. Fact is, women are pelted with messages from dudes every day. (Rip #2: Online dating sucks if you’re a woman, too.)

Here are some tips that may be helpful in upping your odds of a response:

1. See when the person signed on last

If they haven’t signed on in three months it’s possible they’re not checking the site very often. It’s also possible you’re messaging someone who already paired off.

2. Check your match percentage

While not the only predictor of success, you’re probably going to have better luck with a 90% match than a 10% match. Plan accordingly.

3. Check what questions they’ve answered

After you check the match percentage, check the number of questions they’ve answered. If they’ve only answered five questions, that might put a huge gap in what the site is rating them by. You should also check questions that are important to you. Pro-choice man/woman a must? That’s a question. See if it’s answered.

4. Send out lots of messages, lots of them!

As often as you can, browse the site and send out thoughtful messages. Don’t sit around and wait for people to come to you. Message everyone that you find yourself drawn to. That’s what the site is for.

5. Pay attention to the content of your messages

Read their profile before you message them. All of it. There may be hints or flat out instructions on what they want from your message. Some people are only looking for something specific and you’ll be unlikely to get a response if it’s cleared you’ve ignored this.

6. Don’t be too upset if you don’t get a response

Some people don’t check their messages every time they log on. Some people take a while to catch up on their messages. Some people read mobile and respond on the web. Sometimes they just don’t like you (and that’s okay, too.) If this person seems to be your soulmate and you just can’t let it go, in rare circumstances, send a secondary email. Don’t beg, plead, or ask what you could do differently. Reiterate the point of your first message and wish them luck on the site.

7. Remember to meet someone sooner rather than later

My general guideline was to chat with someone until I felt like we’d get along well in person. I would have met a lot more people if I’d relaxed this a little bit and had more adventurous (/awful) dates. It’s good to get to know someone and see if that connection is there, especially if you’re like me and conversation is important. But it’s also important to actually meet in person! Set up a date somewhere you feel comfortable, somewhere public, and don’t forget to let friends know where you’ll be.

8. Be clear about your expectations

If you’re looking for a relationship, make it clear that you’re looking to go on a date. If you’re looking for some fun or a one night stand, make that clear, too. There isn’t a wrong way to do it, but everyone needs to communicate clearly so they get what they want.

9. Be active on the site

That means have new photos of you, for one. A face shot, a body shot, maybe a shot of you doing something like a hobby. Update those photos as needed to attract new views. Keep your profile filled out and up to date. Answer questions to improve your match ratings.

10. Be you.

No matter who you’re meeting, you want them to like you for you. Don’t pretend to be something that you’re not to get a date. If that person didn’t work out (too bad!) If they don’t want someone like you (their loss!) Any kind of dating can be a struggle, but sites like OkCupid help you reach a larger range of people who already have things in common with you. Take advantage of that and use it in addition to meeting people in other ways. And have fun.

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Dating on OkCupid

I haven’t been back on OkCupid since I started seeing someone late last year. Still, from time to time, I find myself missing the insane interactions from various OkCupiders (Check out some of my worst messages here.) I sometimes find myself wishing that OkCupid had a less date-y name and welcomed more people looking for friendship. I met a lot of awesome friends on there that I still talk to, to this day. There is no real equivalent to OkCupid that allows such open communication between people looking to make a connection.

Since I don’t really have any reason to log on to the site, I’m opening up my blog for your experiences. Have you been on a crazy date this year? Have you gotten a message that just blew your mind? How do you navigate online dating as a dude, where it seems twice as hard to get a message? How do you put up with all the horrible messages you get as a woman? What about if you’re trans* or in an open relationship? Have you had any memorable experiences with the site you want to share?

Send me your online dating stories and I might publish them on my site. Include a link to your personal blog if you’d like to be linked back to.


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