“I just feel invisible,” she said, throwing up her hands. The woman in front of me was a beautiful and successful barrister in her late 30s. She had Naomi Campbell’s cheekbones and rich complexion, Mel B.’s full curls from the Spice Girl Days, and Zadie Smith’s wit. Any man would be lucky to have her. Instead, she felt terminally single and undateable.
Before we even were able to address her action plan for real life dating and dating websites, we needed to address her insecurity. We started by working on her limiting beliefs, particularly the idea that she was less than anyone else because of her race. Eventually, this black butterfly came to see herself as the shining beauty that she is internally. Then she was able to put her best foot forward externally with a profile that reflected her charm, grace, and inner loveliness. She’s now been with her beau – a wonderful man — for a little over a year. She says he makes her feel special, but this is just the icing on the cake as she knows in her core that she is worthy and deserving of all good.
Feeling invisible is a common refrain that I have heard from black women of all backgrounds. Some feel as though the men they are interested in often overlook them. There’s also the feeling that the men that are interested in them, don’t quite measure up to their standards or expectations. Sure, everyone has preferences in matters of love, but when the majority of men seem to want women who don’t look like you, this is daunting to say the least. There is a line between preference and prejudice, but again, you cannot control anyone else.
It’s time to reframe the dating game. The cure for invisibility is to get visible. While we can’t control anyone else’s interests and desires, we can learn how to present ourselves in the best light. As with my coaching client, work on your inner sense of self-worth first, and then you can present yourself to your potential mates as your best self.
So once our inner game is “tight,” how do we raise our VQ, Visibility Quotient?
If you were wanting to make a new impression in person, you’d probably opt for a makeover, right? Well, with online dating this means that a profile revamp is in order.
Put Your Best Photo Forward & Don’t Be Too Conservative!
The results of my professional perusal of the photos of black women online is dismal. I see beautiful women who are not putting their best foot forward. Some post pictures with their kids, passport or business photos, or have profiles that exclusively feature pets. For the bashful, there is often no photo at all. Then there are those pictures of you with other people. You have what appears to be an ex-boyfriend cropped out or a bevy of best friends where I have to work to discern which beauty is you. This is a disaster.
Your ideal picture should look like you would look on a first date. Be sure to include one close up shot and one full length body shot. You want to see what he looks like head-to-toe, right? Be sure that the photo is up-to-date and taken within the past year. If you have lost or gained weight or have dramatically different hair, it is time for new pictures.
Show yourself in a variety of scenarios. If you enjoy hiking or diving, let’s see it. As they say, a picture is worth 1,000 words. A business shot won’t cut it unless it is balanced by pictures of you being your flirty, fun, attractive self. Strike a balance between overtly sexy and looking like a nun. Let’s see skin; uncover your shoulders and if you have great legs, reveal them. Make your assets work for you. Remember, love and seduction are transactions of the heart. Most men are highly visual. You may be a brilliant rocket scientist, but your bloke won’t get to that unless he is drawn in.
And please, no children in your dating profile photos. Also, keep your friends’ photos off your profile page as well. Thank you!
The Questions – Reveal What Makes You Interesting, Concisely
Be sure to share interesting details about you in the “essay” questions. I put essay in quotes because although it might seem like a great opportunity to list your every want, need, and desire, save that.
You will be asked to briefly share: what you like to do for fun, your job, religion, favourite hot spots, favourite things, and what you last read. You will also be given plenty of room to share “About me and what I’m looking for.” Then there are easy lifestyle questions about age, marital status, drinking, smoking, working out, and the like.
Digital Strategist Amy Webb used her love of statistics to find her husband online. She reveals her secrets in a popular TEDx talk and in her book, Data, A Love Story. As a smart woman, her propensity was to write two or three thousand words in the essay section. She created her own dating algorithm and learned that in contrast, the most popular women answered with only 97 words on average. 97 words! Find the balance that works best for you.
Be Optimistic & Focus On What You Want
Like you, the person looking for you is attracted to positive people. Be aware of the stories you’re sharing and the language you’re sharing it with. Droning on about an ex is not the way to go. Also, rather than including a long, angry list of what you do NOT want, in response to your challenging experiences, focus on what you DO want.
The real deal?
Let’s focus on factors within our control and get visible. In addition to giving your online dating profile a makeover, give your mind set a makeover as well. Remember, you are worth loving. There is someone who wants you just as you are. Approach dating with an open mind and a welcoming heart. Then be sure to follow up. Respond to those who reach out to you. The man behind that next wink or favourite might just be your Mr. Right.