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Online Dating Etiquette for Men 101

Jeannie has been writing online for over 10 years. She covers a wide variety of topics—hobbies, opinions, dating advice, and more!

Attention Guys!

I've been debating the right way to approach this subject for a while, but I've decided to just go for it. Online dating is something many of us have tried at this point, but sadly, plenty of people are failing at the basics. There is certainly a need for Online Dating Etiquette for Men 101.

I know you are thinking I am a female, so shouldn't I write for women instead? No, women are not trying to impress me online (and failing). I am only looking at men's profile pages and being subjected to their failed attempts to woo me. So therefore, I am writing this with men in mind. If there are some guys out there that would like to write Online Dating Etiquette for Women 101 to let gals know what we should be doing to impress you, by all means, please create it. I am sure there is a need.

So, let's begin our journey, shall we? It is time to give guys some helpful pointers on how to win over women online.

Smile like you mean it!

Smile like you mean it!

No Creepy Photos

Some of you guys are just creeping women out. I know that is a bit blunt, but it needed to be said. When posting photos for your profile page, please avoid photos that look like mugshots, creepy webcam photos in your parents' basement, and random shirtless photos. Even if you look really hot, you look conceited when you pose without your shirt. If you really want to show off how awesome your abs look, at least go to the beach and take the photo. You will look like a happy, fun guy at the beach instead of a conceited loser at home.

When posting online dating pics, all of the following photos are acceptable:

  • A nice head shot
  • A photo of you SMILING
  • A picture of you with your dog or cat (women are suckers for that)
  • A photo of you having fun with friends or family

I do not recommend posting a photo of you with your children. Make sure to mention your children in your profile, but posting photos of them on a site is not the best idea. I want to date you, not your kids. Furthermore, it is probably not the safest idea for your children.

While we are on the subject of bad photo ideas, don't post photos of you with your ex. That photo says to me you don't know how to move on. Even if that is the case, the world doesn't need to know it.

Put your shirt on!

Put your shirt on!

Profile Basics

When you are creating your online profile, think of it almost as a resume or application. When applying for a new job you want to cast yourself in the best light possible. The same goes for online dating. You should always be honest, but also present yourself in a fun and interesting way.

If at all possible, proofread your profile. I can't believe how many typos I read on some profiles. Naturally, some people are bad spellers. That cannot be helped. But at least try proofreading your profile. When your profile is full of errors and typos, I think one of two things: A) you are a total idiot (I won't date you) or B) you put no effort into your profile at all (I still probably won't date you).

If you are looking for a relationship, you probably want to tone down all of the sex talk on your profile if you have too much of it. If you are looking for a one night stand, you probably want to amp up your sex talk since other details won't matter as much. Remember that people are going to really read your profile. Make sure to come across as accurately as possible.

Make sure to be honest about important aspects of your life, like your children. No woman wants to begin dating a man only to find out 1 month down the road that he has 5 kids in another state and keeps them during the summer. Be honest about your kids! Be honest if you are divorced or are going through a divorce. Be honest if you are a drinker or a smoker. Eventually we will figure all of that out, so the sooner it comes out the better.

The Polite First Email

When you first approach a lady online, you need to approach with a nice normal email message. A good message is one that focuses on why you would like to date her based on her profile. You can compliment her on her looks, but don't go overboard. First of all, no one wants to date a guy that sounds desperate and pathetic. Second, it would be nice to know if you took the time to read the profile at all.

If you don't tell me anything you like about what I wrote in the profile, I know you did not bother to read it. Also, if you tell me something that is exactly opposite of what I put in the profile, that shows you don't really care. For instance, if a girl mentions she is a vegan, yet the guy recommends taking her to Outback Steakhouse, it seems like he did not read the profile at all. Sure, maybe a vegan can still go there, but that is probably not a top choice.

Make sure you are not aggressive in the first email! I cannot stress this enough. I have deleted or blocked more than a few guys for being too aggressive. Examples of being too aggressive in the first email:

  • You give your phone number in the first email before she even responds.
  • You wait one day and send another email.
  • You wait one day and send another email demanding to know why she did not call.
  • You have already made detailed plans for the first date, yet she has not even agreed to go with you yet.
  • You start talking about all the perverse things you will do to her.
  • You discuss how well she will mesh with you and your family already.
  • You insist on picking her up to take her somewhere for the first date instead of meeting somewhere public.
  • You mention you've "seen her around" and list some of the stores or restaurants where you believe you have actually seen her.

I am not kidding when I say I have honestly seen every single one of these mistakes at least once while using online dating sites. Guys, many of you are being too aggressive. Not only does it come off as needy or desperate, in many cases it comes off as downright scary. Stop doing these things now!

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The Big Date is Finally Here!

After weeks of talking online and maybe some phone calls, the big day has finally arrived to go out on the date. Make sure to meet somewhere out in public so neither of you will be too nervous or feel unsafe. Just remember guys, there are some crazy chicks out there, so meeting in public is not just a safety precaution for her.

Some good public places to meet are coffee houses, cafes, or a restaurant. I've heard of people meeting up at bars, but that is probably not the best idea for the first date. Sure, it can take the edge off, but unless the two of you have already agreed this date is all about hooking up, the bar is probably not the best spot. When all else fails, I have actually met dates at the mall. Considering there are always restaurants at the mall, it is not as bad as one might think. It is also very public.

Another pointer, don't ask if you can bring your child along on the first date. Yes, this has happened to me, too. A child has no place on a first date. If you can't get a sitter for your child, you probably are not ready to date. Ask someone... anyone... to babysit your kid. Your child does not need to get attached to a new person yet. All of that should happen much later down the road.

Finally, have fun on the date. Even if you don't think you clicked on the first date, but you had fun, it is always worth giving it another try on a second date. If it doesn't work out, that is OK. There are other single women out there waiting for you. Online dating can be fun and exciting. Also, I know at least 4 couples that met online that are now happily married. So give it a try, but be safe and smart about it.

More Online Dating Hubs!


Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 10, 2012:

I am glad you agree with me on the suggestions. I wish more guys would read this. I can't stand it when guys are too aggressive online. I never respond to overly aggressive guys. Thanks for the comment!

J80 on April 10, 2012:

Great points, Jeannie. As a 32 year old guy who’s done online dating off and on for over ten years, I wish I’d read your article when I was in my early twenties, because it’s taken me a long time to figure out how to do it the right way. My biggest problem was being overly persistent. I guess since persistence has worked for me with some women, I figured it should work with most women. Wrong. I think I ended up creeping out some gals even though I always tried to write notes that were lighthearted and humorous. One good initial note is all that’s needed. If someone’s interested they'll get back to you eventually. I can’t believe it took me so long to figure that out. Thanks for the article.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on April 04, 2012:

I am happy to help you change your perception of online dating. It really is a great way to meet new people. I know plenty of happy couples that met online. The key is being patient. You are probably not going to meet the perfect person right off the bat. Thanks for the comment and thanks for sharing!

Vinaya Ghimire from Nepal on April 03, 2012:

I have never done this and never considering doing this until now. I always believed online dating is a fake kind of thing. But after reading this hub, my perceptions have little bit changed.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on January 06, 2012:

Thanks for dropping by! I am glad you enjoyed the hub. Yes, guys tell me all the time they hate it when a woman pretends she is thinner than she is. I've been told most men can tell if a girl is overweight because she only posts close ups of her face. Ah, a strange world we live in!

Mary from Washington on January 05, 2012:

I love your post. You are right on with so many of your pointers. I have heard some good pointers from men for women. One of the most common ones is to post a recent photo; don't bother presenting yourself as 50 pounds lighter than you really are. I have heard some great stories about online dating from both men and women. You might like some of my online dating hubs at

I look forward to reading more of your writings.

Angel709 from midwest on November 04, 2011:

Wishful thinking here but let me know if you find a site that looks promising! :-) The ones I've visited have the same "tired and withered" 12 men on them. lol!!!!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on November 03, 2011:

Exactly! As a matter of fact, I am scoping out dating sites right now. Some men need to seriously improve their profiles.

Angel709 from midwest on November 03, 2011:

Agreed! If he's "that" private he's not going to make it on social networks. Can't wait to read your next hub!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on November 03, 2011:

Thanks so much! Some guys just do not know how to fill out a profile page or provide a good photo. I don't understand the "mystery guys" that leave the profile blank. I understand maybe they are shy or private, but they are not going to be successful unless they share a little.

Angel709 from midwest on November 03, 2011:

You have my vote once more: printing and taking a red pen to their profile description is a temptation! Yes, I feel your pain on this one. And I totally agree, I do not respond to 'blank profiles' with no pictures or lacking vital info.

Your writing indicates that you're objective and sound enough not to fall into the creepy category unless we live in the land of opposites! ~blessings and best of writing to you

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on October 23, 2011:

Hi Angel, thanks for reading and thanks for the comment. I can tell you also feel my pain on this one. I don't know what some people are doing trying to use online dating sites; they lie or don't put any effort into their profile. Some guys have practically blank profiles, yet they've been using the site for months. That concerns me and I just can't respond to them.

I am glad you agree with me on the proofreading issue. I've seen horrible typos in a profile. Sure, it doesn't have to perfect, but I should at least be able to read it without wanting to print it out and take a red ink pen to it. Sigh. Men.

I am sure there are some creepy women out there though. For all I know, maybe I am one of them. Hehe.

Angel709 from midwest on October 22, 2011:

I agree with every comment and the article in its entirety. My name is Angel and I approve this message!!! lol...Okay on a more serious note: I'm glad we all share a mutual understanding but while we all hubble together (hubble's not a word but you get it) the guys are still taking pictures in a mirror showing their chest hair and less than sculpted abs to put it mildly. Yes, the horror stories can be compiled into a TV series or full length feature film, but will it get us any closer to a guy that stops posing and saying things in a manner in which he alone wants to hear? We can only hope!!!!! And at least we can laugh in the meanwhile.

p.s. I've seen a few of these articles but this is the first that included the advice to: PROOFREAD GENTLEMEN!!!! "I think YOUR hot!" ???? ouch!!!!

Final note: Jeannieinabottle, I've felt the same way, not wanting to come off as arrogant but I'm ready to start emphasizing my desires and "only qualified need apply". A compatible guy will understand because that's part of what I seek. He'll probably be posting something similar to the gal that thinks her 4 extra-large tattoos simply aren't enough. (posting up!!)

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on September 15, 2011:

Thanks, Angie! Yes, I do hope some guys read this. It is sad that only women have commented on this hub geared towards men. Sigh. Guess there will still be a lot of clueless guys on the dating sites.

Angie Jardine from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ... on September 14, 2011:

Great, much needed hub, Jeannie ... now we just need to make sure all the blokes read it.

And what is with those creepy profile pics anyway .... eugh!

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on September 13, 2011:

It is true. I can't figure out why guys try to pretend they are someone they are not when using dating sites. If we meet them, we will figure it out then. A guy may as well be honest right off the bat and not waste anyone's time. Thanks for the comment!

Louise from Calgary, AB, Canada on September 13, 2011:

Hi Jeannie,

This was awesome! Why do people try and hide behind their identities on dating sites, disguising the truth with false photos and profiles? It doesn't help anyone. Guys need to realize that girls are looking for truth and honesty and a real personality that they can connect with. I hope all guys read your hub!


Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on September 13, 2011:

This is so sad, but true. In a sense, I think everyone could use a little extra help on the dating sites. Some people are not good at "promoting" themselves. I am willing to bet the same people that write poor resumes are the same people that write poor dating profiles.

Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment!

emmy1980 from North Carolina on September 12, 2011:

Totally agree with nycgirl! Dating sites would have much more success if the process was guided, and not that stupid crap that eharmony does, which is pointless. I mean before you're allowed to email a woman a thing pops up and reminds you not to say "DAYUM! I'd TEAR YOU UP!" or various other common mistakes. They need to IDIOT PROOF the entire process. Even after the first date, they need to be told how to behave.

Jeannie Marie (author) from Baltimore, MD on September 12, 2011:

Thanks for the comments!

akune - Thank you for agreeing with me. Men do need some help. Thanks for sharing the link, too.

nycgrl - I think I am going to start posting some of these rules in my dating site profiles from now on. Sure, I may come off as harsh, but at least no one will waste their time approaching me if they don't know some basics.

AutumnJo - Trust me, you are not missing a whole lot by not using dating sites. There are some real weirdos out there. For some reason, they all like to hit on me.

AutumnJo from WI(Formerly IL, formerly PA) on September 12, 2011:

I found your article very funny! Even though I've never been on a dating site or tried it, I've heard the stories! (I've even had a few random guys message me over social network sites!)

These are great tips for those awkward fellas! I hope they can read this and take the hint!

Veronica from New York on September 12, 2011:

This combines all of the horror stories you and I have traded perfectly! I wish every single online dating site would make users read something like this and force them to follow these rules - then maybe people could be more successful with online dating. In the many different sites I tried, I did manage to get a 6 month relationship out of and a few somewhat fun dates as well. Never had any luck with the other sites like I did with but that's just me. But I have way more of the bad stories than good lol. The creepy profile pics, etc almost all men who do online dating are guilty of one of the sins you wrote above...just goes to show you that whether online or at some bar/club, men are just dumb and pathetic. Voted up, useful + funny :-)

akune from Surrey, England, United Kingdom on September 12, 2011:

How refreshing and helpful. Men all over the world should line up and thank you for helping a good percentage of their kind in the field find success.

I am putting this link out.

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