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Online Dating Mistake #1: Being Vague About What You're Looking For

Online dating is a numbers game. Among the tens of thousands of women in your city who are looking for a partner online, there are at least a dozen who want to meet you and who meet your criteria for looks, brains and personality. But how do you find them?

The first step is to become crystal clear about what you're looking for in a woman and a relationship. Have you ever noticed that when you're thinking of buying something—an MP3 player, a style of eyeglasses, a motorcycle—all of a sudden, you start seeing it everywhere? It isn't that the universe conspired to bring the items to your proximity. You were always surrounded by them, but your brain filtered them out because they had been unimportant.

So the first step is to decide what kind of woman you want in your life, and make it important that you find her. Create a clear image of what she looks like, how she acts, how she thinks, how she spends her time, etc. Then hold the image in your mind as you're browsing through online profiles, and you'll find that you can quickly sort through the obvious misses to find the hits.

At the same time, don't broadcast all of the details to the world; they're for your benefit, not anybody else's. When you describe your ideal woman in your profile, be mercifully brief. Nobody likes to be rejected preemptively.

It might seem contradictory that you can attract more women by being more selective, but we've found that it's true. The more clearly you define your ideal woman, the more likely it is you'll be able to recognize her when you see her, and the more likely she'll recognize herself.

And yet, we've seen online daters repeatedly make the mistake of being vague about the person they're looking for. They specify a huge age range (like 20 to 45) out of fear that they might exclude a match who would otherwise say yes. Instead, they look either desperate or wishy-washy to everybody, including the women in that age range. Even worse is saying "I'm not looking for anything in particularly—I'll just see whoever comes up." That's a virtual guarantee that few women will respond because, given the choice, nobody ever wants to be "whoever comes up."

Being specific doesn't mean you have to be demanding or close-minded. It just means you have a clear idea of what you want, which is attractive in itself. If the right woman views your profile and sees that you're a perfect fit for reasons other than general criteria like age or musical taste, she'll just ignore your criteria. And chances are, you'll be happy she did.