Red Flags: Steer Clear of this Date

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By Andrea McGinty

I was asked this question.  Not once, twice, thrice—but four times this week.   As I’m on an online dating site/ app with a client, perusing potential dates for them (in my role as dating coach) this topic came up.  Is there a way to quickly identify a fake dating profile or an unwanted date?

The quick answer is yes, most of the time. Phew. Relief.  Probably because we all agree that there is no bigger time sucker than online dating.  The rabbit holes you fall down. The choices!   How does one get to the “one”?   

And, in under 90 seconds per person to be the most time efficient?*

So, here are a few tips to steer clear of dating mayhem:

  1. Lack of Photos:   Could be one photo. Delete. No photo?  Skip—no benefit of the doubt given as to maybe they are just a bit behind posting pictures.  That also means they are not too bright—they should have hidden their profile until it was complete.
  2. Photos look old.   Go with your gut—they are.
  3. Oddly positioned photos:  only a head showing in a group shot, an arm dangling over their shoulder, an odd shaped photo.  Who did they cut out and why? 
  4. No full body shot.   Oh oh.  Beware—there is a reason.
  5. Photos look fake (90’s clothing?  C’mon).

While photos are the very first item most singles look at in our chemistry-driven world, next we get to the words, the profiles, the captions, the dating prompts.

  1. Grammar and punctuation errors.  You know the “you get one chance to make a good impression” and all that.
  2. Negativity.  Yes. I mean no.   There will be many “no’s” in this profile.  No short men. No overweight. No emotionally unavailable.  (Personally, that one scares the heck out of me—what happened to you to put that in your happy, loving dating profile?).
  3. Desperation seeps out.  Oh, you think we didn’t intuit this? Line such as “Are there any good, honest men left who want a committed relationship” or “I’ve been on Bumble for a year and what’s up with you men?”   (Yes, two real ones we saw yesterday while online with my client Michael.)
  4. Incomplete Profile.  Skipped many of the questions—was the bot confused?  Or is this person really not into dating?  Perhaps they should have hired a dating pro to write it all as many do for their LinkedIn accounts.
  5. Politics….and not just politics but how about this: “If you voted for XXXX, don’t bother EVER contacting ME”.  (Hmmm, earlier they remarked about their unusual command of communication, curiosity and openness—and mentioned world peace would make them happy).  Ohhh, those caps scared me.

Bonus:  Just general statements such as “like traveling, I look great in a little black dress or jeans and enjoy dining out”.  (What could we possibly do with this information to make a decision about them?).

Luckily, as online dating has evolved positively over the past 10 years (yes, it’s been around since 1992), so has some of the quality of online profiles.   

In our one-hour coaching session yesterday, Libby and I were having a blast—and giggling often.   But when I had her set her iPhone alarm to 90 seconds per interesting profile/person, we had our own game of speed dating on—-skipping through the above timewasting profiles—and ended our hour with 14 unique messages sent.   And by this morning, 8 positive replies.  

Pretty good work for an hour!

Don’t want to go it alone?  There is help…and it’s fun! Click here.

Love & Laughter,

Andrea McGinty

*Technique Andrea McGinty uses with her clients to show you needn’t be online for hours!

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