Jan is a frequent emcee for the popular southern California senior dating conference series called “To Love Again”, an award-winning columnist, keynote speaker, and author of the award-winning book, Hot Chocolate for Seniors. She may be contacted at www.janfowler.com or at (909) 793-6419.
This month’s topic: Writing a Great Online Dating Profile
“Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim to it.”
“Everybody’s doing it, so maybe I should too!” you exclaim? Well maybe you should because you just could be right. Read on…
There are nearly forty million seniors sixty-five and older throughout the United States, many of whom are posting their profiles on Internet dating sites every single day. In fact, it’s our senior market which comprises one of the fastest-growing group of subscribers to dating websites! And to be sure, this online dating world provides a wonderful new opportunity to connect with someone who’s also hoping to connect with you. Before you decide to give it a whirl yourself, however, here are ten tips to consider for boosting your visibility and making your profile stand out from all the rest.
Tip #1. Before writing your profile, put some careful thought and honesty into the reason why you want to date in the first place. Everybody’s needs and goals are different, you know, so what is it you’re seeking? Marriage? A casual friendship? Or just an occasional date for dinner and a movie? You’d be wise to clarify what’s best for you before you even begin.
Tip #2. Set your goals about the type of person you wish to attract by thinking it through beforehand. Be specific about their age range, level of education, outlook and attitude toward religious, moral, ethical, and financial values. Ask yourself if you’d be willing to accept someone whose grown children still live with them. Are you seeking an outdoorsy man or woman, a sports aficionado, music lover, ballroom dance enthusiast, king of the barbecue, or gourmet cook? Clarify what you want in your own mind before you begin your search.
Tip #3. For goodness sake, have some fun when selecting a username. Make an effort to spark yours with pizazz and give it some personality. Choose a name which is just enough of a teaser to capture the reader’s attention, such as Disco Queen, Devil-on-the-Dance-Floor, Senior with Sizzle, etc.
Tip #4. Overcome any jitters which you may feel so that you come across as confident. If the truth be known, most people feel like a nervous wreck when posting their profile for the first time, but regardless of how insecure you feel, no one likes to read about your vulnerabilities. The truth is we want to believe that you feel more self-assured than we do! State some factual information about your background, work, hobbies, or interests, as well as a statement about the type of person you hope to meet.
Tip #5. Post a flattering recent picture of yourself alone. Your response will be much better with a picture, especially if you’re smiling. Don’t misrepresent yourself by using an old photo from ten years ago which bears little or no resemblance to the current you, or you may never make it to the second date! Why not use this as an opportunity to showcase your personal hobbies or interests, such as a shot of you on a fishing trip, a rock-climbing expedition, volunteering at a quilting exhibit, working at your library’s used-book sale, or firing up the barbecue at a local community fund-raiser?
Tip #6. Enhance your profile by stating some of your assets. Yes, what are some of the good things that you personally have to offer which distinguish you from others? In other words, take note of the number of things you’re most proud of which you can brag about when you first meet someone who seems truly interested in knowing more about you. Come on, don’t be shy. It’s okay to feel proud without coming across as bigheaded. You may be a low-key laid-back person, but you don’t want to sound limp. So are you a whiz at electronics? A “Mr. Fix-it”? Or proud of your ability to grow the juiciest tomatoes on the block? I personally happen to be proud of my killer chili. Plus I love to bake fresh apple pies made with real vanilla grown in Mexico.
Tip #7. Please don’t take rejection seriously. Think of it as a numbers game, folks, not a place to get your heart broken. So if you send someone a wink, smile, or flirt because you feel attracted to them but they don’t feel enough chemistry to respond to you, consider yourself lucky–you’ve just weeded out one more person to not waste time on so you can get closer to your goal! And by the way, while you’re at it, there’s nothing wrong with your casting a wider net by posting your profile on multiple websites, as long as they happen to be reputable and suited to you.
Tip #8. When you finally do connect and correspond with a potential partner, make an effort to show a sense of humor. You might be interested to know that the most widely-cited “must-have” qualities which seniors state they’re seeking in a mate is the ability to laugh and find humor in everyday life.
Tip #9. Keep yourself safe, use caution, and don’t divulge personal identifying information about yourself online. In fact, any reputable dating site will most likely refuse to even post your phone number, address, or level of income.
Tip #10. Be truthful about your age as well as other characteristics. In fact, be as honest as possible so that you don’t mislead someone to expect someone younger, taller, or shorter to show up on that first date. Never lie about your personal qualities or experiences because eventually you will be found out and will then discredit yourself.
I urge you to overcome discouragement, keep updating and refining your profile listing, and remain open to meeting someone new and wonderful every single day. Just think, whereas Harry was Sue’s 200th Internet date, Sue was Harry’s first date. He was so grateful that she’d hung in there and hadn’t given up on taking just one more chance to meet someone new. I’m happy to report that Harry and Sue—who happen to be very dear friends of mine–are still very much in love and are now approaching their sixth year of marriage. Another married couple I know who met on the Internet discovered they had been living only one block apart for nearly a decade!
Later-life relationships can be magical, you know. I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Just when you think your life is over, you get another chance at love. So may good fortune be yours and may you attract the partner of your dreams who is loving, kind, respectful, compatible, and a perfect match for you—someone who, in time, can become your very best friend!