We are officially in the summer months, and unlike fall and winter, when relationships become a priority because it's "cuffing season," summer has a notorious reputation as the season of hookups.
But what if you want more than that and you're really looking for a relationship this summer? On Monday, dating app Match released AskMatch, a new in-app dating coach service, to its Chicago members.
The service includes free 15- to 20-minute phone calls with an experienced dating and relationship adviser. Members can call the love coach from the app whenever they need advice on dating.
AskMatch started in New York last month, and the free feature will expand to 10 additional cities this summer. As the feature becomes available to locals, members will receive a message in their app inbox with details on how to access the service.
Rachel DeAlto, Match's chief dating expert, says summer is a good time to make more connections, but your dating profile can be an obstacle. As a coach, she hears a lot of questions about dating profiles, she said.
"The summertime, especially in Chicago, is amazing," said DeAlto. "People are going out way more, and in this better mood because of that. When people are happy and enjoyable, that's when you draw people in more."
DeAlto explained that how you put yourself out there and the feelings you present are typically what you'll get back. If you're seriously looking for a relationship this summer, DeAlto has six do's and don'ts to make your dating profile more attractive.
Be positive. "It doesn't have to be cliche, like rainbows and unicorns, but what are your words saying? Are they saying 'I don't want this, don't swipe if this'? All of a sudden, you're yelling at someone instead of offering something someone can be drawn to. Tell about who you are."
Choose photos wisely. "Ah, men: Don't take pictures in the bathroom. Nobody feels sexy when they see a toilet in back of you." said DeAlto. "Keep sunglasses off. Choose five to seven pictures, from up close and smiling, to full body -- so no one is surprised -- and some outside. Make one of the photos a conversation starter. It doesn't have to be showing you in the best light, but did you go somewhere cool or hang out with a tiger?"
Save any life mantras for the date. "Your profile is not the place for phrases like 'work hard play hard,'" said DeAlto. "You're not here to preach; you're here to connect. The profile's purpose is really just to give people a hint of who you are and an opening to connect."
Pick three adjectives. "Choose adjectives that describe you, and give an example. If you're a happy person, you could say, 'I have a smile on my face even through the saddest movies.' Or share a hobby you enjoy, like cooking, but be specific. Say, 'My homemade tortellini is to die for.' Give a snippet -- you don't have to put your whole life in it."
Keep the kids -- and pets -- at home. "There's a time and a place for that," DeAlto said. "If there are excessive pictures of your pets, everyone will think you're in love with the dog. Don't jump to that level so quickly; it's not hiding, but there's a time and place for that. You want people to picture themselves in your life and avoid assumptions."
Ease into the messaging. "Sometimes people need time letting others in and can feel protected by the app," DeAlto explained. "Don't go all in for the number and date on the first message. Be cautious about using the same one line that works with one person and start doing it for everyone. Make sure you make it as personal as possible, but not too complimentary. 'Say OMG, that tortellini sounds amazing,' where it's not as invasive-feeling. ... Keep things light and fluffy in the beginning."
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