21 June 2012
Getting beyond the photo
by Fran Creffield
Most people sift through their matches and decide whether to read a profile based on whether they like the person’s photo. You may need to look beyond that if you want to find your perfect match.
It is sad but true – after all that time filling in the questionnaire and your About Me profile, thinking carefully about what to say and how to say it – that when your details land in someone’s inbox as a potential match they could take one look at your profile photo and dismiss you immediately if they don’t like it. It sounds harsh but it is how most people select matches – only reading the profiles of those that they find physically attractive. Not only is this unfair but when matches are rejected on the basis of the photo alone the chances of success in finding a compatible partner is seriously limited for everyone.
A different approach
eHarmony is different from other dating sites. The system, which has been used successfully for over 12 years, is meant to eliminate the laborious task of trawling through page after page of profile photos. The technology at the heart of eHarmony is built upon the work of Dr Neil Clark Warren. He spent 35 years researching the differences between couples who were in happy, healthy, loving relationships and those that were unhappy together. He concluded that there are certain key characteristics that made people compatible and therefore more likely to stay happily together. These things included their values, intellect, and sense of humour and it is these characteristics that the personality questionnaire is designed to elicit.
When you are sent matches from eHarmony they have been matched with you on these core characteristics. Even though the photo may not be instantly appealing to you, it is only a photo and if you met the person face to face you may just find them attractive and could develop a good basis for a relationship. The selection process has worked successfully for thousands of couples and it is meant to do the hard work for you.
While it important that you find a partner physically attractive it is not possible to tell from a photograph whether you will or not. Physical attraction is made up of more than just what the eye can see. How someone smells, their mannerisms, their way of relating to others and their personality are all part of the whole package that makes us find someone attractive. If you never get beyond the photo you will never find out how attractive a person really is.
Adjust your settings
Sometimes people start using photos to select profiles they are interested in simply because they get so many matches that they couldn’t possibly read them all. If you get too many matches go back onto your profile and adjust your settings. Change your ‘Must haves’ and ‘Can’t stands’ so they are less vague and more specific; adjust the age range you are happy to date in – this is your chance to find someone who is exactly right for you and the more specific you can be about what you want, the better chance there is that the matches you get will all be good prospects.
The majority of profiles get skimmed over when someone has a spare two minutes in their busy day. If you are really committed to the process of finding a new partner it is important to set some time aside each week to read as many of the matches you have received that week as possible. When we read information on a computer screen we are much more likely to skim read it. If possible, print out the profiles of any matches that you have received that week and resolve to read them properly when you have time and are relaxed and comfortable with no other distractions.
In traditional dating it might be seen as rude to be getting to know more than one person at a time but in the world of online dating not only is it acceptable, it is encouraged. The more people you make contact with, the better. From the matches you have read select two or three to make contact with each week even if they don’t seem ‘perfect’ on paper. If they return your contact then move onto meeting face to face as soon as possible. By meeting them in person you will have a more realistic idea of whether you find them physically attractive than and you will be sure that you ore not overlooking someone who could be the perfect match for you.
Dating is like most things in life – the more you put in the more you will get out.