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Photo via Flickr user Don Hankins.
Photo via Flickr user Don Hankins.

Editor’s Note: On Monday, we wrote about entrepreneur Jeff Reifman’s contention that Amazon.com is ruining the dating scene in Seattle for straight men, by hiring a disproportionate number of men in the city. We asked Virginia Roberts, an online dating coach and former Amazon employee, to share her thoughts on the situation. 

We all know that the tech industry has a major problem with gender imbalance, and we may have all whined over the years that Seattle is a tough town for singles. But I don’t believe those things are the root cause of Jeff’s dating frustrations, especially when it comes to online dating.

Virginia Roberts.
Virginia Roberts.

Dating is changing

Singles are getting more and more comfortable with online dating. Thus, sites are flooded with non-geeky, non-Internet-savvy users. These rookies write crappy profiles, post lame bathroom mirror selfies, and blast out tons of poorly composed one-liners instead of taking time to thoughtfully message a few great connections.

Lazy behaviors worsen the overall online dating experience, teaching singles that dating sites are full of losers who waste their time. No wonder singles encounter a lack of excitement, drive, connection, or commitment from the people they meet online.

Mobile is changing, too

Distraction in the smartphone age goes well beyond online dating, with every push notification or incoming email. Our fleeting attention spans are already under assault from many sources; this effect is felt in dating, too.

Combine the rise of mobile flightiness with online dating interfaces like Tinder, and it’s no surprise you get lower-quality engagement. Tinder clearly emphasizes looks, proximity, and easy app access over compatibility, lengthy conversations, or careful profile setup. That means a larger number of casually arranged online dates feel like a shot in the dark, with little established intimacy.

matchcomBetter dating yields better results

The most successful singles learn to improve their dating game. They showcase their personalities and interests. They spin their potential defects (super geeky day job; Game of Thrones mega-nerd) into assets (prosperous career; reliable HBO subscription). They tweak their grooming and communication to adjust for what attracts their desired partners. (They’ve already been doing this over time, as evidenced by the decline of the archetypal sweatpants-wearing greasy-ponytailed programmer.)

If you’re scratching your head on how you can make these changes, fear not! Here’s your handy shortcut to improving your dating life:

  • Spend time figuring out what you truly value in a romantic partner.
  • Cultivate activities that put you in the presence of those people; regularly reassess activities if you aren’t getting the desired results.
  • Get online; spend time crafting a well-written, thoughtful, funny, personal dating profile.
  • Enhance it with attractive yet realistic and fun photos that showcase your personality and lifestyle.
  • Spend time answering questions and seeking out matches via various search methods.
  • Craft charming, succinct, funny, direct messages for the people who most catch your eye.
  • Enact dating behaviors (such as calling first, following up quickly, or suggesting specific dates/venues) that engender more enthusiastic dating responses from the people you most enjoy.

I guarantee that dating won’t feel so hard when you make small concerted efforts in the ways that are most likely to be effective at pairing you up with someone you click with.

And hey, if you’re still struggling, you know where to find me — in sweatpants and a greasy ponytail, coding my site and enjoying Game of Thrones with the husband I found on Craigslist!

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