Bonny Albo
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So you finally give in, sign up, and start filling out your dating profile.  It shouldn’t be too hard. Of course you fill out all you could want in the perfect match, as well as up-sell yourself to get the best match there is.  Then you wait. And wait. And wait some more.

When you do finally get a reply, they fit one of four categories

  • The two of  you have nothing in common;
  • They’re not attractive to you;
  • They want something casual and you want something more; or
  • They live 1000s of miles away.

Table of Contents

Where Did You Go Wrong?

You’re not the only one feeling frustrated.  It’s hard out there in the dating game. Trying to find the perfect mate in a sea full of people is HARD.

Maybe you can’t find the right person or seem to have exhausted your resources at hand. So you figure your next step is to try your luck online.

But what happens when no one strikes your fancy or the dating website doesn’t seem to understand anything about you no matter how many preferences you put in?

One of you asked for dating advice most of you can relate to.

Why Am I Not Getting Great Responses To My Dating Profile?

Q: I’ve been single for a while now, have joined quite a few free dating sites, and I either get matches by people in the US (I live in Ontario, Canada) or from guys that are not in my age range. Or not even anything I would like. Or on the other hand, if I send a message to somebody, they don’t reply back. What am I doing wrong?”

A: The reason you most likely aren’t getting responses (or are getting responses from the “wrong” kinds of people) are:

  • The free dating sites you’re using aren’t serving up matches properly;
  • You haven’t tweaked your wants on your dating profile to reflect your focus;
  • There is something off-putting in your dating description;
  • You’re too picky when it comes to responding to potential suitors;
  • You would be better served by a pay-per-use dating site.

Let’s explore all four of these possibilities a bit further.

Maybe… You Need To Change How People Find Your Dating Profile Via Search

Frequently – but not always – free dating sites either have limited or lacking search options. They either need some massaging to work in your favor, or they make it really difficult for you (and thus potential suitors in turn) to find whatever you’re looking for.

I have to assume you are using either Plenty of Fish or OkCupid, both of whom have decent search options. However, you’ll need to tweak the standard variables to ensure you only get high-quality matches.

At Plenty of Fish, log into your account and click on the “Mail Settings” tab to change who can contact you, and on OkCupid, you’ll find what you are looking for under My Account –> Edit Settings.

Having said that, try not to put too many restrictions here. It’ll impede some people from being able to contact you or reply to any messages you’ve sent. Anything you limit here, be 100% sure that it’s of absolute necessity to include.

Maybe… Your Dating Profile Needs Tweaking

In Why You’re Not Getting Responses, I’ve outlined two reasons directly related to your dating profile that may be holding you back: your “tag line“, and your profile photo.

If you don’t have a profile photo posted, this may be the only reason why you aren’t getting responses. Several studies – including one with eHarmony – have shown that men look at profile pictures first, and if they don’t find the photo they see appealing, they won’t bother exerting any effort into getting to know you better. eHarmony found the results of this study so conclusive on this matter that they went from not housing photos on the site at all, to requesting all users post a photo of themselves.

Maybe… You’re Focused On the Negative

Most dating sites today use a complex algorithm to match potential couples. A lot of it doesn’t include your list of desirable traits in a partner, but rather, the words you use.

For instance, you might want to start a family with the love of your life, and don’t want them to have kids prior. No problem. So instead of saying, “I want kids,” you write, “No single parents”.

Uh oh. There’s nothing wrong with either of these statements. Other than the algorithm will match whatever you write. Since most search engines can’t compute “no,” it gets deleted. You’re left with “single parents” – and suddenly all your matches have kids.

This also explains why the following statements backfire every time: “Don’t contact me unless you have your *** together” and, “Not interested in drama queens”.

Maybe… You’re Too Picky

I find that many women have become a tad too picky when it comes to their relationship expectations. This may or may not be the case with you, but I’m guessing that you’ve got a few man-meeting criteria points that may stop you from finding love. Try stripping down your list of “needs” and “wants” for a first date to a measly three:

  1. Within ten years of your own age or your age preference;
  2. Without significant red flags that would affect your personal safety; and
  3. And within a specified geographic area.

Many of my friends, clients and readers have told me when they lessened their search criteria and opened up their mind to dating people that didn’t fall into their set type, they were finally able to meet the person of their dreams.

Maybe… You Need To Try a Different Site

The online dating world has changed dramatically over the past five years. Totally free dating sites may not have had a lot of users, but the early adopters definitely found great use out of the fledgling sites. Today, there are so many users that many get bloated with profiles that are no longer in use, fake, or poorly crafted to really demonstrate what the person in question really, truly wants.

This recent change in online dating is unfortunate, yet far from insurmountable. What I suggest is that you sign up for one of the less expensive, yet still popular pay-per-use dating sites. Not only will you get a whole different set of users to draw upon and possibly meet, but you’ll know that everyone else who has a profile posted is really serious about meeting someone and not just posting for kicks. They’ve invested some money into the deal (even just a small amount), and thus will net some higher-quality pickings.

Which Dating Sites Should I Try On a Budget?

I suggest Lavalife (which is a great system in that the first respondent is the one paying for contact),, or even OkCupid again, where you pay for the added features.

Your other option is trying to meet people through other online means. If money is a serious issue and thus why you are only using free dating sites, then try perusing the forums at Plenty of Fish in whatever area you are looking to meet new people. Not only will you generate new discussion about dating-related topics, but you’ll also be privy to a host of singles events posted by other users.

Try attending one or two events – or even post one of your own. When I lived in Calgary, I found it extremely difficult to meet new people. So I posted an impromptu, “Who’d like to go for coffee?” on the local forums one day. Fifteen people showed up.Are you the one I'm looking for? What am I doing wrong?

Does Your Dating Profile Still Suck?

If you’re still struggling to get great responses from highly desirable singles, either post in the comments or send me a note. Alternatively, if you’ve rescued your own situation with a massive overhaul and found love (or lust – no judgement!) I’d love to hear what worked for you in the comments.