Dating tips for the busiest online dating day of the year

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy, stopped by ABC7 on Thursday to share tips on taking advantage of the busiest online dating day of the year.

What sites are best for each age group?

20s: Apps are great - Hinge, Bumble, Tinder - they're easy to use, free, all you need is a good Facebook profile and a smart phone!

30s/40s: Online sites are great for daters that are more serious, looking to find love. Match is great, and where our clients at SDA have seen most success.

50s+: eHarmony is excellent, and specialized sites like Our Time have been successful for singles too!

What kind of photos get best results?

Great photos will determine 90 percent of your success! You need 5-6 total photos (mix of head and body shots) to see the magic start to happen...

HEADSHOT: Your opening photo is the most important picture. Direct eye contact with the camera, with a great smile. You should look warm and welcoming, so that the viewer will want to click on your profile, instead of one of the multitudes of others on the page! Well-lit and high resolution works best.

BODYSHOTS: People want to see what you look like from head to toe!
No other people, pets, kids in your shots. And, dress to impress in your photos. Men, wear a nice sport coat, dark jeans, a crisp shirt underneath, or nice layered sweater looks. It goes a long way, and doesn't look like you're trying too hard. For women, look feminine! Pretty blouses, dresses and skirts in solid bright colors photograph best.

What are your best tips for writing your profile on an app or site?

Stand Out: Use fun facts about you that are different. For example, maybe you're a secret ballroom dancer, you've hiked up Mount Everest, you're a 10 time marathon runner. Tell 1-2 sentence stories that will set you apart from other people.

Be positive: Talk about your most positive traits and what you'll bring to the table in a relationship. Talk about the positive traits you're looking for in a mate. Stay away from all negativity.

What are three things to ALWAYS do, and to NEVER do?

Have an online dating plan: You should be on 1-2 sites at most - more than that is distracting and won't lead to good results! You should answer emails within 24 hours, and keep a spreadsheet of who you're talking to - so you don't confuse people!

Date safely: Set up a Google Voice account so you never have to give up your real cell phone number. It's free and easy to use, and if you need to get rid of someone who won't leave you alone, just change your Google Voice number!

Talk on the phone before you go on the date: Talking on the phone can screen out crazies, and can also help to build a connection with your date so it doesn't seem so awkward.

Get caught up in a purely 'textual' relationship with someone: You don't want a pen pal, or worse, that's how people can get catfished or scammed. Alter 5-6 text/email exchanges, take it to the phone. If the person doesn't want to talk on the phone, or always has an excuse, this is potentially a HUGE red flag.

If you are looking for love, never correspond with someone who sounds negative or sexual in their profiles: Trust your gut - if something seems off, it is. Don't talk yourself into something just because someone is really attractive....

Date someone who gives you butterflies: Butterflies can be BAD! They're your gut saying that it's anxious, or that something is off. The person you want to be with is a high GHQ guy (high in "Good Husband Qualities) that will make you feel safe, like you're home.

Extra Tips
Never date someone who is too fast, too furious: Someone who wants to "inhale" you within 3-4 dates, someone who says they want to be exclusive in the first few weeks, someone who can't wait to introduce you to their family and take vacations together, are all signs of someone who will flame out within 4 months
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