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We come up with “My ideal match is someone who loves family, has an opinion on current events, and can hold his own at a cocktail party on a Friday night, then chill with me on a lazy Saturday.” The final touch is a headline that sums up my approach to life, like a personal slogan. "It's like a slot machine—the majority of the time, you pull the lever and nothing happens, but every once in a while, there's a payoff." A deflating solution from one online dater: "Draw a face on it and send it back to him."Hoffman looks at my photos and nixes the corporate headshot and mirror selfie. Mirror selfies often give off an air of vanity.” She says the best profile shots feature the three Cs: color (vibrant shades, especially red, grab attention), context (pics that involve your hobbies, like travel or, say, clog dancing), and character (something quirky or funny, “like you in your Halloween costume”).

For the main photo, we do a close headshot where I’m smiling into the camera.

After a lengthy back-and-forth with a cute guy who asks why I’m still single (beats me! We have a short phone call, as Hoffman recommends, to set something up. That’s online dating: You meet the freakazoids and think, Ghosting happens to the best of us, says therapist and dating coach Melanie Hersch.

), I try a Hoffman move, writing, “That’s a story better told over a drink.” He suggests... To stay sane, she says, “stop telling yourself stories to explain it, like ‘It’s because I’m not good enough.’ Trying to figure out why someone didn’t choose you is like trying to swim with ankle weights: You’ll get pulled right down instead of moving forward.

I want you to be on the site at least three hours a week.” Uh-oh. Kindly, Hoffman refrains from mocking my unassisted self-description: “I’m a loving person who likes trying new restaurants and a sweet treat before bed.” (I never realized how dirty that sounds.) She asks about my hobbies, how my coworkers would fill in the “most likely to” blank. And if they occasionally get a positive response, they may figure it can't hurt to try again.