Online Dating for Men: The Ultimate Guide

Do you remember the last time you met someone in-person, struck up a great conversation, exchanged contact info, and actually went on a date? Me neither. Let’s face it — online dating has made it incredibly simple to find a date, yet dating has never been more complicated.

There’s an overwhelming number of dating apps and websites, and the number of people on them is even higher. Using the “fish in the sea” metaphor, there’s never been more fish in a bigger sea. The question then becomes — how do you stand out? 

In this guide, we go over the general rules to dating online as well as give you the best advice around how to craft your bio, what photos you should include, and the proper messaging etiquette to get your online connection offline (That’s the goal, isn’t it?).

The General Rules

  1. Know what you’re looking for
    • Every man has a different goal when dating. Some are out for casual relationships, while others may be looking for their future wife. Understanding what you are searching for will help you decide what to put in (and leave out) of your profile. 
  2. Choose the appropriate dating site(s)/app(s)
    • As with the above, each dating site is catered to different needs their users may have. Some are better for long-term relationships, while others are where you’ll best find casual dating partners. Here is a grid with each major dating site/app and their level of “seriousness.” This isn’t a perfect analysis (we just ranked them based on our team’s perspective), but it’s a good benchmark to think about when choosing which platform(s) to use for your dating life.
    • Tinder (app): 3
    • Bumble (app): 6
    • Hinge (app): 7
    • Zoosk (site/app): 8
    • Coffee Meets Bagel (site/app): 9
    • eHarmony (site/app): 10
    • (site/app): 10
    • OkCupid (site/app): 10
  3. Show, don’t tell
    • This rule goes for both the pictures you include as well as the words you write for your bio. Your goal isn’t to say you’re funny, it’s to convey that. You have to allow people to come to conclusions themselves, instead of making the conclusions for them. 
  4. Leave more for their imagination
    • Similarly to the above rule, you don’t want to put an exhausting amount of detail in your profile. You should have enough information about you to pique their curiosity and want to learn more over a few messages, and eventually a date. 
  5. Be respectful of their boundaries
    • Everyone has their own boundaries when it comes to dating, and with online dating, even more so. There are a lot of horror stories from dates gone wrong, people stalking matches, and more. You have to understand that some people may be hesitant to meet in-person or even exchange contact information. The best approach is to be empathetic with their requests and patient with their preferences. 
  6. Schedule an in-person date sooner rather than later
    • The point of online dating is to find someone you want to go on dates with in real life. If you spend too long messaging someone back-and-forth, it can seem like you’ll never end up meeting each other, and one of you will get bored with the other person.
  7. (Bonus): Don't lie about your height!
    • Height can often be a tricky thing when it comes to dating, but it really shouldn't be! Whoever you date shouldn't consider your height as a factor that makes you a better partner, regardless of the height difference. There are many couples where one partner is significantly taller than the other. If someone you're dating has an issue with your height, then they're generally not worth dating anyways.

So, with those general rules out of the way, let’s get into some specifics!

Your Photos

While there are no hard-set rules regarding what pictures you should have in your profile, there are a few Do’s and Don’ts.


  • Smiling (In general, looking happy!)
  • Action shots
  • You “leading the pack” (Ex: You’re in front when hiking)
  • Pictures where they go, “How did he do that?” or “That’s really cool!”


  • Selfie pictures (Especially shirtless)
  • Too many group shots
  • *Holding a fish*

Your Messages

You got a match. Great! Now it’s up to you to apply all that advice about being witty, humorous, and charming to the conversation! When messaging someone you matched, it’s important to talk to them as if you were talking to them in-person. Use full sentences, have complete thoughts, and have good taste. You’re talking to someone online, and they may not be as open with you as they would be if you had met them in-person. The goal is for you to eventually meet with them in real life, but for now, you have to establish a reason for them to do that.

A few tips:

  • Be honest
  • Personalize your greeting message! 
  • Chat as you would in real-life — use full sentences
  • Don’t talk about yourself too much
  • If you like them, tell them!

There you have it, the ultimate guide to online dating for men. It’s complicated, to say the least, but we hope this guide has been helpful in giving you the best direction in how to start. Go get ‘em, player!