Lori Holland thought every guy on online dating sites was creepy. This was her perception, which created the fear that kept her single and offline for many years. Lori’s mother kept bugging her to get online and open up her options.  One day Lori’s 14-year-old daughter couldn’t take the grandmother’s nagging anymore, so she took it upon herself to write her mother’s profile. Two days later, Lori met the man who would become her husband. 

How is it possible that a child can write a successful online dating profile? The answer is simple – honesty.  When writing your own profile, your insecurities, self doubts and often self depreciating humor tend to creep their way into your mind and usually your writing.  It’s best to leave your residue behind. This profile is going to set you up for the rest of your life, ideally. 

An objective and honest view is what is needed for a successfully written profile.  With honesty comes passion, enthusiasm, confidence, authenticity and an ease and comfort level.  With a good profile, you are more likely to meet the right person sooner than later, reducing your time online.  That’s the goal, after all, especially since the average amount spent per year for online daters is $239 according to statisticsbrain.com.

The biggest complaint anyone has about their fellow online daters is dishonesty.  It could be their photo is not current, hiding a weight gain, hair loss or age progression.  An untold number people who have met someone in person after they met online have similar tales of woe.  You walk into the restaurant only to be confronted by a completely different person from whom you thought you had been conversing.  It’s frustrating, disturbing and really just an annoying waste of your time.

The untruths really span across the board.  StatisticBrain.com says men most often lie about age, height and income – although many Omaha daters would add to the top of that list marital status.  Awkward!  Women frequently fib about weight, physical build and age.  Three percent of online daters even lie about knowing a celebrity.

Lying is never a good idea. In building a lifelong relationship, you are always going to get caught. Telling the truth makes you more appealing and even more attractive.  Yeah that’s right, you can appear better looking to your potential mate just by being honest on your profile and with yourself.

Accepting yourself for who you are is the very important first step in the process of the newly honest and better looking you.  Get rid of all of those insecurities.  You’re old enough to realize that nobody is perfect.  Life really isn’t about perfection, it’s more about uniqueness.  What makes you different and in turn, special?  It’s your crooked nose, it’s the way you pronounce your r’s, it’s the odd way you fall into a sneezing fit every time you hear a Justin Bieber song.  Everyone has their idiosyncrasies, that’s the good stuff.  That’s what makes you, YOU!  Own it!  Work it.  What it comes down to is if you don’t accept yourself, then why should anybody else? 

Don’t try to be someone you’re not, either.  Not on your dating profile, not in face-to-face interaction.  Be yourself!  Why would you want to entice anybody into liking the person you’re pretending to be?   That’s leading them down a road to nowhere, exceeding the speed limit at that.  Slow down! If you want this to last beyond the current moment, then it’s time to show the goods.  If you’re honest with yourself and with others, then they will like you for you.  Judy Garland said it best, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.”

The upside is Omaha ranks number six in the best cities in the country to be young, broke and single, so says MoneyUnder30.com.  So we’ve got that going for us.  Plus we have an increasing number of choices for first date venues.  Credit our lively music scene, impressive museums and performing arts venues, world class zoo and botanical garden, plus countless restaurants, cocktail bars and coffee shops.  Add in seasonal events like the College World Series, music, art and beer festivals, apple picking, corn mazing and holiday light gazing.  Let’s not forget the uber romantic Bob Kerry pedestrian bridge; you don’t get one of those in every city!

But how does Omaha stack up when it comes to online dating?  Looking at the major dating sites alone, there are over 20,000 online daters in Omaha and the surrounding areas.  The advantage to that is there are far more people than you can ever hope to meet on a night out on the town.  The disadvantage is, while our town seems small at times, the online dating pool can tend to feel even smaller.  The likelihood of seeing someone you know, chatting with the same person your friend is chatting with, or worse, being matched up with an ex is greater than if we were in a larger city.  But no need to fret, you only need to find one person, right?  Easy as pie!  Let’s look at the options.

Best pay dating sites:

Match.com – starts at $22.99/month

eHarmony.com – starts at $32.95/month (but they’re having a special right now $7.95/month)

Zoosk.com – starts at $12.49/month

On these three sites you have to pay to play which helps to ensure the clientele will be more serious about their search.  These sites generally have a higher age range as well. 

Best free sites:


Plenty of Fish

Casual Kiss


These sites are mostly populated by the younger crowd, many of whom are just looking for hook ups.  There’s certainly a more colorful group on these sites as well – good place to go when you want to be entertained. 

Best local sites:


Meetup – Omaha loves Singles

Granted you can specify your city on every site, but these help to simplify things – and there’s no risk of getting an unwanted email from some random in Wichita.   The downfall is your selection is likely to be more limited. 

There are a host of other niche sites if you want to specify religion, age range, sexual orientation, hobbies, interests and even travel plans.  All help to narrow the field to better meet your search preferences, but they also limit you where numbers are concerned. 

In addition to the sites, there are local matchmakers who can match you up with their other paying members, or speed dating events which seem to be populated by people who have tried and failed at online dating.  Match.com even puts on the occasional mixer for their members, however the online reviews are less than favorable.   There’s even dating apps like Tinder, Badoo and Grindr who focus mainly on the superficial side of dating, caring very little about common interests.  Of course all of the major dating sites have apps as well, so you can keep tabs on your account wherever you may go. 

So what’s your best bet?  Keep it simple.  Don’t try too hard, don’t look too far, don’t expect too much.  Also identify your goal and stick with it.  If you’re hoping to find a long-term relationship, then chose a dating site that is more serious.  Keep your pictures respectful yet descriptive and write your profile in a manner that reflects the positive aspects of your personality and tells the attributes of the person you are seeking.  Be truthful with yourself and with others and the right person for you will magically appear. 

Stephanie N. met her husband Kenny W. online.  On their first date, Kenny said to Stephanie, “I feel like you always have to wait four dates or so to figure out if it’s going to work since people always just show their best and not fully true selves.”   Stephanie responded with, “I always just act like myself from the beginning because I feel like if the person doesn’t like me for who I am, why delay the inevitable.”  That’s all he needed to hear.  11 months later they were engaged. 

That quick courtship period is common for people who meet online; in fact the average is 18.5 months, compared with 42 months for people who meet offline.  Yet another interesting tidbit from StatisticBrain.com. 

A study led by John Cacioppo of the University Chicago Department of Psychology surveyed 19,131 people married between 2005 and 2012.  What they found is that 35% of those couples met online, and they were shown to have a higher rate of marital satisfaction.  Yes, people who meet their spouses online are happier than those who met in person!  How can that be? 

Maybe it’s because they were honest from the beginning.  Online dating sites ask you to lay it all out there, dig deep with your descriptions, and practically bear your soul.  So right away your mate has a basic knowledge of who you are and what makes you tick.    You start off on the right foot, which sets you up for success.

Jenny Lewis from Rilo Kiley said it best:

You’ll be honest 

You’ll be brave 

You’ll be handsome and you’ll be beautiful 

You’ll be happy 

Because in the end we all just want to be happy.  Wouldn’t it be great to share that happiness with someone else?  

Nanci Kavich is the cofounder of www.profilewingman.com.

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