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Online Dating & The Christian Single: Part III – Preparation

We are continuing the series about Christians and online dating.   The question, now, is how important is this to you, and to your walk with Christ, and will you put in the time and effort to succeed?

In other words, this post is all about:  PREPARATION!!!

 

 

We don’t plan to fail.
We often just fail to plan!

If we are really going to try this online dating thing, we have to get serious.  This is not something that you just slap up on the Internet on a whim.  No, if you want to succeed (in finding that special someone AND honoring Christ at the same time) you have to think about what you are doing!  I’ve talked to friends who “failed” at online dating, either by making no connections at all, or the wrong connections!  In each case they didn’t approach things seriously.

The vast majority of the profiles that I reviewed in my survey, across the board, seemed to be poorly thought out, or even just “thrown up there“.   I could tell this easily by how they described themselves, The statements of what they were looking for, and/or by the photos they posted. It would not have surprised me if some profiles were created with the aid of alcohol,also! (NOTE: If you are online dating and need alcohol for courage, you shouldn’t be online dating!)

Whether you are a Christian or not, you are seeking someone to date and, possibly, marry in the future (if the background check is good, right?).  SO IS THE VIEWER OF YOUR PROFILE (hopefully)!!!  Therefore, you need to market yourself WELL in order to attract the type of person you are hoping to meet.  And remember:  There is a lot of competition out there!  Factor in that you want to attract a BELIEVER who is GODLY, and forethought is even more important.

Your first step, then, is:  PRAYER!!!!!

Only after you are all prayed up about this endeavor can you begin preparing to create your profiles.  Yes, profiles.  You will probably want to try multiple sites, depending on cost and such.  Then you need to get serious about preparation.

Consider how much work that you would put into looking for a job.   To really succeed and therefore find a great job you have to put time and effort into crafting your resume, getting a suitable “interview suit/ensemble” ready, and  practicing (at least mentally) what you will say.  You have to have a plan.

Well, isn’t looking for a date/potential mate even MORE IMPORTANT?  C’mon!  You are looking for a new spouse!  So be intentional in what you are doing!

First:  You need to really dedicate some time to craft your description of yourself and the description of what/who you are looking for.  Put serious thought into what you will say about yourself.  A wise Christian will sit down and write a draft and then let it “percolate”  for a couple of days.  Then critically review it and make needed changes.  Then, after you’ve edited it, run it by a close friend to get a reality check.  Pick someone you trust, of course!

Be creative.  Be funny (if that is your style).  Be honest.

Here are some “DO’s and DO NOT’s”:

  • Do NOT talk about how hard this is.  Everyone knows that and it sounds whiny.
  • Do NOT make yourself sound desperate or fake.
  • Do NOT make negative comments about your past relationship(s).  If you’re divorced then state that, but without calling your ex- a “no-good-two-timing-whatever”.
  • Do NOT sound like all the other profiles out there.  Go looking online and see what EVERYONE is saying…the same way!  Then change up your wording so that your profile stands out!
  • DO talk about the real you, and what is important to you (kids, pets, Christ, the Texas RANGERS, etc.).
  • DO feel free to be creative, if that is in line with your personality. (I saw more than a few profiles that were written in verse!)
  • DO provide enough information  to get them interested in you, but not your entire life’s story!
  • DO consider how to make YOUR profile break out from the pack!
  • DO indicate how long you’ve been single, if you are single again. Consider if you should mention whether it is through divorce or death.

Second:  Take a break from preparing your profile and spend some time thoughtfully writing out what you are looking for in a new significant other or (eventually) a new spouse.  This is as an important part of your profile as your description, especially as many sites have a place for you to type in what you are looking for.   You probably won’t find all those characteristics in your dealings online.   That’s why you’ll chat for a while and then go on dates!  But, it is essential that you determine what is important to you.   To prepare for creating your profile you need to clearly know who and what you are, and are not, looking for.  So, sit down and list out what you think should be in these three categories:

  • SHOWSTOPPERS – These are hard requirements, good and bad.  Maybe they just can’t be a REDSKINS fan.  Maybe they have to enjoy TV comedies.  Maybe they have to be an evangelical Christian, or a certain denomination.  Maybe they can’t drink alcohol at all, or smoke.  Maybe you are a fitness fanatic or outdoors type and they must be, too!  It could be that certain physical attributes are requirements (no short/tall/whatever folks).  Just think, pray, and list your “showstoppers”.
    .
  • TRADEOFFS – These are the characteristics and interests you would like them to have, but it is not essential.  This can include many things such as profession, education level, hobbies, hair color, etc.  Maybe it would be nice if they had kids, but not at home, but can you live with it if they have kids at home?  YOU need to identify any tradeoffs, especially the important ones.
    .
  • DON’T CARES – List out the things you just don’t care about: Height, ethnicity, can they play a musical instrument, etc.

Again, it is very important for you to fully understand who and what you are, and are not, looking for.  Take plenty of  time. (A couple of weeks, even!)  If you have a best friend who really knows you then sit down with them and bounce things around.  Another perspective often helps!  Then, PRIORITIZE these lists!  Remember, your profile is a brief commercial about you.  It is not an autobiography!

This is also the place and time where you need to strongly consider how you will share your spiritual/religious expectations and desires, and how you will describe your own faith walk.  Whatever you do, do not hide who you are!  Be open and honest.  It can help you avoid unpleasantness, too! (More than one friend has neglected this and suddenly been sent pictures/texts that were unwanted and inappropriate!)

Lastly, it doesn’t hurt to say who should “keep on moving”, such as folks just looking for a hook-up, married folks, etc.  Also, it might save you embarrassment to state that anyone who sends inappropriate pictures is OUT!

Third: Take the time to thoughtfully fill out the profile questionnaire on the site that you are joining.  Many sites will have quesitonnaires for you to fill out that will affect how your profile is displayed and who you are matched up with.  Carefully consider the selections you make in the multiple choice areas.  Give as much thought to what you are asked to provide in free-text sections.  You will probably have many selections to make and you should never just click your selections willy-nilly….THINK about them and what your answers say about you!

Fourth: You must  be INTENTIONAL about what photos you are posting.  Yep, you MUST have photos.  Many folks will not even consider a profile without photos because it indicates you don’t care, or that  you have “something to hide”.

Never forget that these photos are the largest part of your first impression!!!

There are a lot factors in taking and posting photos.  Reviewing those hundreds of profiles highlighted a lot of photo-related DOs and DON’Ts that were quite evident.  Here are some of the most important, in my opinion:

  • DO use a picture that is in line with your faith in Christ, both in terms of clothing and location.
    Gals: Pictures of you on your bed, in lingerie, or partially clothed should be avoided. You know how we guys think….  Likewise, pictures of you just l
  • ounging around in sweats is probably not a good impression-maker.
    Guys: Trust me, Godly ladies do NOT want to see profile pictures of you sans shirt (or other pieces of clothing).  That was actually stated in MANY of the ladies’ profiles quite often!You’d think all of this would be a no-brainer, but it is not!
  • DO provide 5-10 pictures.  Make sure you include at head shot and at least one full-body picture.  Make the last picture one of the best, to end on a good impression!
  • DO have your children’s faces blurred.  It shows you care about their online safety.
  • DO make sure that your pictures are in focus, have adequate lighting, and are not blurred, and don’t look like they are from 1985!!!!  Yes, there were many, many photos that violated this one, even primary photos which were the first to be seen!
  • DO make sure that every picture you provide is large enough.  Many of the pictures were too small to be useful, and what does that communicate?
  • DO include recent pictures with your children, if you post pic (but remember to blur faces of minors).
  • DO let folks know if you are using a picture that they are in!
  • DO include one, maybe two, pictures of your pets, if they are a large part of your life.
  • DO include pictures that highlight any strong interests you have, especially any extreme ones like skydiving or piloting fighter jets!  If you are a hardcore baseball fan, pictures at a game are fine!  But, make sure that it is a good picture of YOU, and try not to have sunglasses on!  Likewise, if you enjoy hiking, skating, camping, etc., have some good pictures in there that show you having fun!
  • DO use many different pictures.  One profile I looked at had 4 pictures, three of which were crops of the same image!  What does this say about the person you are looking at?
  • Do NOT use pictures you took of yourself in the mirror.  This is a pet peeve of mine in general, and especially if you are marketing yourself.  First, your bathroom/bedroom is probably not the ideal setting/background for your first visual impression and, secondly, it implies you don’t have at least one trusted friend or family member who could snap a picture of you in a better setting and less dorky pose.
  • Do NOT use pictures that are more than 2-3 years or 10-20 pounds old!  That’s for both you guys and you gals.  Show who you are…NOW!  If you are on the dating sites for more than a few months, change up the pictures regularly.  I saw some photo collections that spanned YEARS!
  • Do NOT use pictures where the image is good, but you are teeny-tiny.  You’re not advertising Pikes Peak or Disney World.  You are advertising YOU!
  • Do NOT use pictures of you and other men/women unless you annotate them and the people of the opposite sex are relatives or obviously not your date.  Those viewing your pictures will assume that they are either your ex- or a current/recent boyfriends/girlfriends/date.  If it is your brother/sister/aunt/cousin/etc., make that clear.
  • Do NOT use pictures where you might be hard to identify unless you indicate (text, an arrow, etc) which one is you.  These are often group pictures.  Ask yourself: “What does this picture really contribute to my marketing campaign?” and“What will this communicate to the person I want to attract?”

You can download a PDF with some examples by clicking HERE or on this picture >>>>>

Before selecting a photo to use you need to always ask yourself:

“What does this picture really say about me?”

“What will this communicate to the kind of person that I want to attract?”

“Does this photo honor Christ?”

The bottom line on photos is this: Put MORE effort into the photos you will use to market yourself on a world-wide dating site than you do if you are only trying to sell something on eBay!!!

Coming Soon:  Part IV – YOUR WITNESS!  

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