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Author Archive

Dean Shanson

Dean Shanson

Dean Shanson is a New York Times best-selling ghostwriter who specializes in online dating. He has written dozens of articles about relationships, asked Mars/Venus author, John Gray, how his ideas apply to cyberdaters, discussed online dating with Kosher Sex author, Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, and been called “a brilliant dog!” by Elle magazine’s advice columnist, E. Jean Carroll. He has also helped more than 500 online singles produce dating site profiles that are humorous, interesting, persuasive and appealing. Dean is committed to helping serious online loveseekers find the life-partners they’re looking for. His experience, objectivity and eye for detail can turn any profile into an engaging text that turns your best qualities into fantastic, lifetime opportunities.

Are You Saying Too Much — And Saying The Wrong Thing?

After years of dating, you’ve probably got the basics down pretty well, even if it’s been a while since you had to use them. You know how to dress, what to ask, how to behave to show interest, and how to tell whether you’ve found a winner… or another loser.

Online, many of those skills go out of the window. Putting on your best duds is going to have a limited effect in a small portrait, and trying to get across that you’re both humorous and humble isn’t easy when you’re trying write  an essay that’s all about you.

And then there are the mistakes. You might know better than to blab on about your ex on a date or chat on your mobile when things get dull but on a profile, the errors are more subtle. The effects though can be just as devastating to your love life.

One of the most common mistakes is making small things look big. Because you can’t say much on a profile, whatever you do say looks like the most important element in your life. Write that you like playing golf, for example, and a reader will assume that you’re on the green every weekend whacking balls and fishing your club out of the pond. That could put off people who can’t stand the game. It would also disappoint golf enthusiasts when they learn that you’ve actually only swung a club twice, even if you did quite enjoy it.

The solution is to share the detail. If you say you like running, say how often you run. If you’re a fiend at the grill, mention what you cook and when you’re likely to do it. If you’ve got a political point of view, keep it to yourself… unless you’d rather cut your own throat than share a coffee with a Bushite or split a cake with a Clinton fan. Don’t let your preferences appear to readers as necessities.

And one of the biggest preferences that get overblown online is the preference to be part of a couple. Readers know why you’re online. They understand that you’re looking to start a relationship. Say that you’re fed up being single or even describe with passion the sort of relationship that you’re looking for and you run the risk of looking desperate.

And nothing kills a potential date faster than desperation.

Love has a habit of coming to those who seem to need it least. Look like you’re happy and satisfied — but could be even happier with the right person — and it won’t be long before you are.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Instant Action Steps that Can Take You from Singlehood to Coupledom

Have you ever noticed how the people who find partners the easiest are the people who need them the least? They’re the people who have three parties to go to every Saturday night, who have more friends than they can name and always seem to be happy, smiling and busy.

Love doesn’t just happen. It happens to people who make things happen. They do that by taking action.

Looking The Part Online

It’s the picture. If you still haven’t had a date that’s led you to consider suspending your dating site membership, then the chances are your photograph is holding you back.

Yes, your profile description could need some sprucing up — and we can help with that too — but it’s the photograph that always makes or breaks an opportunity on a dating site.

The chances are, your photograph contains at least one of these common profile errors:

  • It’s cheesy. Lots of people have professional portrait shots lying around that they took years ago in studio — or worse, in a mall. They think that because they were taken by a pro, they must be good.
  • They’re wrong. We reject more than half the photographers who apply to LookBetterOnline because we want photos that show who our clients really are — not photos that show them holding a tulip or grabbing their shirt collars. Who ever does that?
  • It’s indecipherable. If someone has to squint to see you, they’re not going to bother. Far too many photos on dating sites go for the natural at the expense of the expressive. We see the surroundings — they’re big and focused — but we don’t see the face (that’s small and blurry). If someone can’t see you, they won’t date you.
  • It’s says all the wrong things. When people look for a date, they look for the best they can land. That means to get someone who’s at your level of attraction, looks, status and charm, you need a picture that expresses all of those qualities.

Sub-standard pictures always bring sub-standard results.

And there’s really no excuse to have a poor image on a dating site. When you can have a selection of great images to upload for just $149, nothing should be holding you back. Find a photographer now.

How To Hand Out Rejection

It’s no big deal to get heaps of emails on a dating site. With a good picture and a well-written profile, there’s no reason why your inbox shouldn’t see a steady stream of messages. But while all of those people might be interested in knowing more about you, it doesn’t follow that you’ll be interested in knowing much about them. Or anything at all for that matter.

In fact, you’ll probably find that most of the messages you receive in your mailbox will be from people who are a very long way from your idea of a perfect partner.

So what do you do with them?

The first thing to do is congratulate yourself. Your profile is working. Even if you haven’t caught the fish you’re aiming at, you know your hook is well-baited and you’re getting bites. There’s good reason to hope that it’s only a matter of time before something really exciting swims by.

But first you have to toss the minnows back. Winks you can ignore, canned messages you can can,  and super-brief emails that just say “Hi!” or “Hullo Gorgeous” you can send for recycling.  If the sender hasn’t put anything into a first contact, you don’t have to put anything into a reply.

But if someone has bothered to write a real email, one that refers to your profile and shows genuine interest in meeting you, then it’s common courtesy to drop them a line back.

The temptation though is often to lie, to thank them for their interest and say that you’ve met someone. No feelings are hurt and there’s little chance the person will persist. You can get away that if you’re 100 percent certain that you never want to date them. But lying is bad for the soul and if you just have the slightest doubt that you might want to go back and take another look, then it’s a definite no-no.

Instead, you can try softening the rejection. Say that you’re just browsing at the moment, that you’re not quite ready step back out there, but when that changes you’ll let them know. It’s you, not them… but without the cliché.


Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

Managing an Online Conversation

Having a great profile is crucial to finding good partners online — the sort of people you actually want to meet, date and see again. But it’s just the beginning. Having an effective profile, one that has an attractive picture and a well-written description, will help to make sure that you receive emails from people you want to hear from and that your own winks are answered.

They set up the first and most important step. But the second step — the one that leads to the date — involves writing the sort of messages that create curiosity and make clear that a face-to-face meeting is going to be the best way to answer those questions.

It’s usually men who make the first contact and it’s a good idea not to be too direct. A well-prepared profile will make a positive impression but it won’t tell the reader everything she wants to know. She should be interested but she’ll still have doubts. Move forward too quickly and she will simply step back.

A good first move then is to send an email — always better than a wink — that praises the profile and asks a question about one of the interests the profile describes. Asking about a book she’s mentioned is an easy one. Picking up on her love of scuba diving or horse riding is even better. It’s something that gets the conversation moving towards a destination rather than moves the destination — the date — into the conversation.

The reply too needs to be friendly rather than cautious. Answer any questions that were in the email and throw in one or two of your own. That’s how conversations work, especially when two strangers meet for the first time.

Ideally, after that first exchange, you’ll begin to get the feeling that email is just too clunky for the sort of conversation you want to have. That’s the best sign that you’re ready for a real date.

All of this though starts with a great profile, and creating that profile will always be your first move. LookBetterOnline’s profile photo packages begin at just $197 and can dramatically increase the number of emails you receive and the chances that your messages will be answered. Order yours here.

Don’t Tell Me Who You Are, Tell Me What You Do!

Read the first 150 pages or so of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice, and you’ll discover two things. You’ll learn that Darcy is proud and Elizabeth Bennet is prejudiced.

Jane Austen didn’t need 150 pages to tell us that. She could have done it in a sentence: “Darcy is proud and Elizabeth Bennet is prejudiced.” But that would have told us nothing. We’d have wondered what Darcy was proud of, what Elizabeth Bennet was prejudiced about. And every reader would have had a different idea of how that pride and prejudice would have affected their behavior.

That’s why Jane Austen shows us Darcy being sniffy at the ball and describes how Elizabeth behaves in his company.

It’s only by seeing people in action and understanding what they do — and like to do — that we can understand who they are.

What does this have to do with online dating?

The most common mistake that online singles make is to try to describe their personality. If it took Jane Austen 150-odd pages to describe the personalities of her characters, what makes you think you can do it in 150 words?

Instead of using the usual list of adjectives to try to summarize who you are (“I’m passionate, loyal and adventurous, etc…”) describe what you like to do.

If you say that you spent last weekend base-jumping, we’ll know you’re adventurous. If you say that you’re the type of person who’s prepared to pick up a friend from the airport at 3am in a snow storm, we’ll know you’re loyal. And if you say that you never miss a Cardinals game, we’ll know you’re passionate… and what you’re passionate about.

No adjective that you use to describe your personality can ever say who you are. Everyone uses the same terms on their profile even though everyone is different and everyone reads those descriptions differently.

But when you say exactly what you like to do, fill it with detail and say what  you get out of it, we’ll get to see your personality. And more importantly, we’ll get to see what life with you will be like.

And that’s the real goal of your profile.

Is Your Profile All It Could Be? Find Out With A Profile Review

Online dating profile, before and after example

Online dating profile, before and after example

Writing an effective dating site profile isn’t easy. It’s no small thing to blow your own trumpet without hitting a bum note that puts off potential partners.

That’s why at LookBetterOnline, we offer a Profile Review service.

A professional profile writer will look at your profile, tell you what works, what doesn’t… and give you some practical tips to make improvements.

You’ll still have to make the changes yourself but you’ll end up with a profile that’s improved, effective… and all you.

Ask for a Profile Review here.

How to Find Love During a Dateless Weekend

It’s easy to rationalize being single. When you have to hold down a full-time job, who has time to go out on dates? When you’re seeing the same friends every week — and you already know their friends — how can you meet someone new? When you have children, how can you fit evenings in clubs and afternoons at barbeques around PTA meetings and soccer games?

Those are the sorts of questions you ask yourself as you settle into another Saturday night with your old friends instead of your new best friend.

But if you spent your last weekend without a date, you can use that experience to make sure your next weekend doesn’t go to waste.

A date-free weekend is the best time to start an online relationship.

You can send winks. You can write emails. And you can even chat online with other singles who also happen to find themselves dining partner-challenged on a Saturday night.

But try dividing the weekend into two. Spend Saturday sending out your messages but use a do-nothing Friday night to spruce up your profile so that those messages get results. Check your description to make sure that it says not just who you are but what you do. Add wit and personality so that readers will understand what a chat with you will be like. And ask questions to make it easy for interested people to write back.

Most importantly, ask yourself whether your picture shows you as you would look if you were heading out for a date… or planning an evening in front of the television. If it doesn’t show you at your best, take the effort to replace it before you spend an hour or two on Saturday making your moves.

Getting all of that right can be a little tricky, so it’s worth looking at how our packages can get your profile ready for some online dating. From just $197, you could have a set of great pictures or a perfectly written profile that could help to make sure that your next weekend is a little more interesting than your last one.

Flexibility — The Key To A Working Relationship

If you think that finding the love of your life online has its challenges, wait until you’ve found it.

You still have to turn that success into a lifelong relationship — the sort that gets warmer as the years roll on.

The key to making that relationship work is flexibility: understanding when and how to compromise so that in addition to being two individuals, you also act as one united, relatively trouble-free couple.

The art of compromise starts with understanding your red lines. You need to know where you can never compromise — and recognize that everything else is up for negotiation.

Children, for example, will always come first. If you’re raising a child, anyone you consider dating will have to understand that your child is your priority. You won’t be able to shoot off for a romantic weekend at a moment’s notice. Weekends are as likely to involve trips to the zoo as often as strolls through museums and even a quiet night in with a DVD could start with three’s a crowd.

Children aren’t negotiable. But lifestyles are. If a guy has to see his favorite football team every weekend, that’s not a reason to fight. It’s an opportunity for his partner to get together with her girlfriends, go shopping or hit the gym.

If one partner is a vegetarian and the other serious about steak, that’s not a reason to say you’re incompatible. It just means you’ll be making eyes at each other over different plates.

And if one partner enjoys camping in the woods while the other prefers camping it up in a nightclub, that doesn’t mean you’ve got nothing in common. It just means you have to be open to new experiences, look for something you enjoy in an activity you wouldn’t normally do… and look forward to the payback.

But that doesn’t mean you should be keeping score. Negotiation in a relationship isn’t about calculating what you’re getting; it’s about both partners competing to give the most.

If that’s the attitude used by both partners in the relationship, you’ll find that the negotiating comes easily — and the relationship lasts forever.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!

The Secrets of a Successful Profile

It’s supposed to happen quickly. You should be able to join a dating site, shoot out a few winks, follow them up with some emails and in no time at all find yourself sipping cocktails with someone who makes you go “hmm, I like the look of them…”

In practice though, it’s never that simple. Online dating is exactly like offline dating… but with a greater number of people and a wider variety of options. You still have to put in effort. You still have to look the part. You still have to smile, dress up and make people laugh.

But online, you have to do it all before you even meet.

That’s the part that dating sites tend to neglect. They assume you know that dating is all about first impressions, looks and personality.

But they also assume you know how to express those things online.

The truth is that making a good first impression across the Web requires some very special skills.

It requires a photograph that doesn’t just show you, but one that shows you at your best. Your features have to be clear, your look has to be appealing and your appearance has to be relaxed and inviting. A snapshot won’t cut it — any more than wearing jogging pants and a t-shirt will cut it at a party — and neither will an old vacation photo. It’s possible that you might have a good, usable photograph stashed away somewhere on your hard drive but in general few people do have one. They just have photos that make do.

That’s the difference between meeting someone wearing the first thing you picked up off the bedroom floor, and meeting someone wearing your best outfit, while feeling confident and relaxed.

It’s the difference between being just another fuzzy-looking online single and being clearly an attractive partner and an excellent date.

It’s the difference between spending months writing emails or waiting for responses, and receiving plenty of replies and dates as early as this weekend.

LookBetterOnline was created to give singles the most important tool they need to find love online fast: a look that truly reflects them. For as little as $197, we can give you a complete set of pictures designed specifically for dating sites and save you months of fruitless searching. Take look here to find a photographer in your area today, and give yourself a profile that gets results.

What To Expect On A First Date

The real test of a dating site isn’t the number of messages you get or the beauty of your essay. It’s the dates and the face-to-face meetings. You might both have been whizzes at email and talked easily on the phone but it’s only when you’re together, across the same table, that you can get a feel for whether you can keep the conversation — and the company — going for years.

Often though, the first date is a disappointment. After a two or three-week build-up, you can expect to hit it off right away, to be chatting for hours and to assume that you’ll want the first date to last forever.

It doesn’t always work that way. In fact, it rarely works that way. It’s more usual to wonder how the person sitting in front of you managed to look so good online and so bad in the flesh, how they could be so eloquent in an email and so tongue-tied in person… and how you can get out of there fast as a flash without being rude.

The first way to avoid to avoid disappointing first dates is to lower your expectations. Assume that the picture you see on a profile is going to be flattering — the fact that someone can look that good doesn’t mean they will look that good. Meeting someone you’ve found on a dating site isn’t a blind date but you’re not going in with 20/20 vision either. Expect to be surprised… and be open-minded about what you see.

It’s also a good idea to prepare. That means more than pulling on some fancy clothes and splashing on the scent. It means thinking of a few conversation starters for the times when the talk breaks down. Go over the person’s profile and look for things you’d like to know more about: what did they do in Tahiti? Why did they choose to become a patent lawyer? How was growing up in Bogsville, Iowa?

And finally, prepare your escape. Book a call from a friend, practice your fake migraine, think about the early meeting you have in the morning. If all goes well, you won’t have to use it, but you should never go into a first date without a good excuse already lined up that can stop a bad night lasting forever.

Dating online? The most important thing you need to know…

Having a great photo is the single most important thing you can do when dating online, so visit LookBetterOnline and find out why more than 98% of our customers get better dates, and see how we can help make your online dating experience successful and more fun than you thought possible!