The Real Secret to Meeting Mr. Right Online

online datingonline datingWhenever I read articles about online dating or the subject comes up when I'm chatting with a friend who is a singleton (to borrow a term from Bridget Jones' Diary), it seriously blows my mind if there's even a hint of adversion to the idea that one might find their soulmate on the web. Come on, people. It's been a decade or so since everyone started meeting and hooking up thanks to their internet hook-up. So to think it's sketchy these days, sorry, but you're simply behind the times.

That said, even those who are super openminded about online dating have issues I can sympathize with. The number one problem: Finding someone worth your time. Finding The One. Unfortunately, much of the advice out there on how to "win the online dating game" is leading would-be lovers astray!

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For instance, you might read that you need to sell yourself. Like you're a brand that you're trying to entice your dream guy into trying ... then, hopefully, eventually, buying. So you have to market yourself for that guy with the right photo, headline, and attitude throughout your online dating profile. You have to make sure it is "about him, not you." To that I say: UGGHHH! What is this, an issue of Seventeen circa 1958? "Snag your perfect romance by making yourself pleasing to HIM!"

Getting a little nauseous there? Me too. As someone who met her fiance on JDate.com in late 2006 after earning her badges as a seasoned online dater, I can tell you that the above "advice" will, at the most, snag you an awkward date and disappointment on both sides. Who would want someone who was only interested in fabrications designed to draw them in?

Advice like that only sets daters up to be total phonies with one another -- never to make a real connection. Sad.

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So what's the real secret then to attracting the love of your life with an online dating profile? The Genie in Aladdin said it best: "Beeee yourself." Your most colorful, glowiest, you-to-the-max genuine self. I tried using profile pics with all sorts of different poses, smiles, outfits, colors, yadayada. In the end, it was a close-up taken when I was laughing, showing my biggest smile, legitimately enjoying myself that attracted my fiance. (When he first IMed me, he gave me the now-permanent moniker "Smiley" right off the bat.) Not sure what my profile actually said when we met, but at that point, I figured, "Hell, if a guy doesn't want me for me, then I don't want him," so I really put myself out there. And guess what? IT WORKED!

So, don't fall for any more of this bunk advice, okay? Stop feeding into these ridiculous games, bending yourself Cirque du Soleil-style to "hook" your dream partner by creating a persona they'll buy into. That's not the dream partner you want. He or she is out there -- and they're only going to be attracted if you're "selling" the real you.

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Have you "played" the online dating game? What rules did you adhere to? Any advice you'd give someone hoping to meet their match online?

Written by Maressa Brown on CafeMom's blog, The Stir.

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