Myth #1: Always smile in your profile picture.
Not true! OkCupid studied more than 7,000 profile pictures of both men and women, dividing them up into 3 types: flirting, smiling and not smiling. For each type, they also noted whether the subject was making eye contact with the camera or not. Their results?
Men saw the best resultss when they didn’t smile and looked away from the camera. They saw the worst results when they made a flirty face looking away from the camera.
Myth #2: Only the desperate and unattractive use online dating sites.
This one couldn’t be further from the truth, but it’s easy to understand how many people get this impression. There’s a common misconception that the only reason people join online dating sites is that they are unable to find a partner in the “real world,” and that there must therefore be something wrong with them. In reality, many extremely desirable people join dating sites because they are fed up with the mates that simple chance has presented them with. They know they’re a catch, and don’t want to settle for whatever person they happen to meet on the street. They want to find their perfect mate, a person they really connect with, and they know their odds are better if they actively seek that person online instead of just twiddling their thumbs.
Myth #3: Online dating is expensive!
While it’s true that some dating sites charge handsomely for their services, there are myriad alternatives that are absolutely free: Zoosk, Plentyoffish and OkCupid are just a few examples of popular dating sites that are 100% free. So why would anyone pay for a dating site when you can get it free? The conventional wisdom states that the added hurdle of pulling out one’s wallet tends to weed out jokers and losers, leaving the “cream of the crop” so to speak. Whether this is actually true in practice is something you’ll have to discover for yourself!
Myth #4: People won’t take you seriously if you show off too much skin.
We’ve all heard it before: “Guys, we’re tired of seeing your abs. Girls, put that cleavage away.” There’s a common belief on dating sites that people who show too much skin get pigeonholed as shallow, slutty or worse, and that this gets reflected in their response rates. However, the data shows that what people should really be saying is “If you’ve got it, flaunt it.” OkCupid’s profile analysis showed that ab, cleavage and other skin-intensive poses garnered more responses and interest from the opposite sex for both men and women.
Myth #5: Online dating is all about hooking up.
Online dating is all about whatever you want it to be about. Sure, there are plenty of adult-oriented dating sites like Seductive Search and BeNaughty that cater to the hookup scene, but there are at least as many, if not more, sites that are geared toward long term relationships and marriage.
Myth #6: You can’t find true love online.
In a way we’ve all been brainwashed by too many romantic comedies and other Hollywood inventions about true love. First encounters are supposed to happen organically, spontaneously, and in totally amazing situations that make a great photo opportunity, right? Wrong! Men and women meet and fall in love everyday in a million different ways, and rarely does anyone feel compelled to make a movie about it. Finding love online is simply a more methodical approach to the same goal, and because you can use the internet to sift through millions of people to find someone like you, it’s actually quite possible to find true love online. In fact, eHarmony boasts that 542 people get married in the United States everyday because of their site.
Myth #7: You have to show your face in your profile picture.
Again going back to OkCupid’s excellent profile picture analysis, we see that for both males and females, it really makes no difference whether your profile picture shows your face or not! Unsurprisingly, what does make a difference is whether the picture is memorable or interesting. A unique camera angle, an unusual activity, or anything else that catches the eye will draw in potential matches.
Myth #8: Online dating is not safe.
With some good judgment and common sense, online dating is actually safer than meeting someone on the street. When you meet someone at a bar or club and want to see them again, an exchange of phone numbers (or at least an email address) is pretty much required. With an online dating site, you have greater control over how the other person can contact you, and can actually initiate a first date and a relationship without so much as giving out your phone number. Remember to keep personal information like your phone number and address private until you’ve had a chance to actually meet the person you’re talking to online. Most dating sites provide tips and guidelines for making first meetings go smoothly.
Myth #9: You have to go on a million bad dates before finding someone good.
The odds of immediately finding your perfect match online are about as good as finding it in any other way, probably slightly better. How many people do you know that found true love on their first try? How many bad dates have you been on that originated from a conversation at a bar or an exchange of phone numbers in the grocery store? Like anything else, online dating takes persistence, and it’s unlikely you’ll get exactly what you want on the first try. However, since most dating sites filter matches for you based on compatibility and shared interests, you should be able to avoid truly horrific dates simply by screening your matches carefully.
Myth #10: Online dating is only for ______.
Fill in that blank with just about anything, and you can believe someone has said it. The single biggest hurdle with online dating for most people is the belief that there is a specific demographic out there (ugly people, hot people, nerds, old people, young people, serious daters, hookup artists, whatever) that online dating is built for, and that they’re not a part of it. This couldn’t be further from the truth. There are dating sites to fit every age group, race, religion, interest, dating goal, etc. Finding a dating site that fits you is just a matter of looking.