Online Dating: 3 Ways to Look for Healthy Self-Esteem

Dinner (Photo credit: Paul Watson)

Disclaimer: I know a lot of people will criticize this post by saying that you cannot believe anything you read on someone’s online dating profile. I challenge, unless you already have an existing relationship with someone, and have built trust, how can you believe anything they would tell you in person to be factual? Nevertheless, here are some useful tips to employ if you choose to analyze the data that’s offered on an online dating site.

Expression in Photos

Take a good look at the photos on the profile. Are they pictures of themselves having fun, with friends, or being silly? Or are they mostly pictures of them solo or with significant-other-looking-type cut out. This will tell you about the way they are choosing to portray how they spend down time. You may learn that they like to hang out with a smaller crowd, or they like spending time alone. Either could be an indicator of his/her self-esteem.

Look deeply into the eyes. I know, this sounds cheesy, but really, no matter what kind of expression is on his/her face you’ll get more information from their eyes. You could learn whether they were sad, anxious, tired, or intoxicated when the photo was taken. You may also see how alive they are to their own emotions. People who aren’t open may be smiling but their eyes will look blank. Make sure their photos match the description they are reporting on their profile.

What They’re Looking For

A number of red flags can come up as you start reading through this section of profiles. You’ll read anything from, “I just want someone to laugh with,” to “I want someone who completes me.” What someone is looking for will indicate their perspective on what romantic relationships should look like and what they want to get from (usually) or give to the relationship. If their answer sounds clingy or needy that may be an indication to select a different candidate.

General Self-Description

Sometimes people don’t fill this out or spend time on it. Other times people will tell you their whole life story in 2000 characters. Look for information that shows you how they view themselves and how happy they are with their current life. Someone who doesn’t share much may be lazy, not comfortable with disclosure, or doesn’t have anything nice to say. Similarly, look out for someone who describes him/herself as God-sent or God’s gift to the world.

The dating world has dramatically changed in the last 5 years. So many people are more mobile than ever. People frequently change workplaces, friends, and living situations. Online dating has grown as an option for many people looking to meet others outside of their brick-and-mortar everyday environments. This smart guy Morris Rosenberg developed a self-esteem scale in 1965. The scale items have influenced my selection of dating profile elements above. See the scale here.


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