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10 Tips for Tricking People into Thinking You're a Normal Person on Dating Sites

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In recent years, internet dating has become increasingly popular. Long the hideout of the nerdy, lonely, and desperate, normal people who at one time wouldn't be caught dead admitting they knew what an "avatar" was, are turning out in droves. And while we all have spent quite a lot of time squandering company time on Facebook, people who might be suave in person still have a difficult time crafting a dating profile convincing the online dating scene they don't have chopped up kidneys in their freezer.

Sports

Sports

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Such a common topic of conversation it's almost a cliché, for some reason sports is universally accepted as a method for showing that you're at least normal. You may be a roided-up ex high-school superstar who yearns for his past glory and takes his frustration out on his girlfriend, but at least you can talk about the game last night. Created in the 1950s by the government to keep boring people placated and full of conversation topics, sports nonetheless is the quickest and most efficient way to say to the viewer "I am a man who is not a weirdo".

But Watch Out For:
If you are otherwise not interested in sports, it's dangerous to claim or demonstrate an interest in your profile. Only football and quantum mechanics can so quickly degenerate into a complex set of numbers, statistics and obscure names and equations. Even though it's possible to walk your way carefully through such a conversation, you've basically signed yourself up for an entire night of talking about a subject that you likely find uninteresting, intermittently nodding and saying things like "yeah that call was totally [whatever you just said]".

Don't Obsess

Don't Obsess

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Despite our better efforts, most of us have something we absolutely obsess over. Maybe you're a mathematician and you can't get over how elegant Fourier Transformations or Prime Numbers are. Maybe you're a hell of a lot sexier and can cite the stats of every entry in the Monster Manual from memory (ladies). Whatever the case, we all have something that we are almost freakishly obsessed with. But even if someone actually likes that thing too, talking about it frequently, filling your profile up with it, and making really lame puns about it only makes you seem like a boring one trick pony. Or, you know, freakishly obsessed with something.

But Watch Out For:
Not talking about your strengths. If what you obsess about is being an astronaut/MMA fighter with a 6 pack and a Ph.d., that's not bragging or obsessing, that's what dating experts refer to as "Just Bein' Awesome". Maybe you're a competitive interpretative dancer who tours the country. Your job is your life, and likely colors just about any question from "what are you doing with your life" (traveling and dancing) to "what is your favorite activity" (dancing and traveling).

Sluttiness (for both girls and guys)

Slutiness

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The weird thing about the internet is that even though it's probably the most public sphere on the internet, people still tend to treat their profiles like their own private grotto. You may live in the center of Manhattan, but I guarantee more people have seen your Facebook profile, a word you've written, or a picture of you today than have seen you. But you would never actually go outside in that outrageous tube top and short skirt, bending over and duck-facing for any stranger who asked.

And guys you may walk around shirtless, but imagine if you walked around aggressively pointing at your washboard and asking people to let you bench press them. That's what these poses scream to anyone who looks at them, they just aren't simply the type of things normal people ask their acquaintances to fixate on.

But Watch Out For:
Making yourself too clean cut when you're just looking for some action. Let's be honest, one of the greatest things about dating sites is they drastically decrease the cost and effort that comes with meeting new people. Someone can message several dozen people in a day and the simple "getting laid odds" are in their favor - and a lot of people use dating sites for just that. Taking the time to wear a polo shirt and comb what we can only assume to be the fetid semen of Satan himself our of your hair is just a waste of time. Don't bother trying to appeal to the rest of us, appeal to the slutty median of your own group.

Hobbies

Hobbies

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One of the central tenants of being normal is not appearing to be too hung up on one thing. Sure we're all passionate about fighting poverty or liberalism or Sauron or the impending Reaper invasion. But to a normal person who has a job, family, friends and goes outside the house, they by necessity have a lot of responsibilities and experiences. To them sitting down with a non-normal person is like signing up for a conversation where someone won't change their minds and won't change the subject.

Showing you engrossed in a hobby is like the positive version of "Don't Obsess" above. You're not only showing that you aren't freakishly focused on one thing, but that you also have a variety of interests and skills. On the plus side, you can then share your hobby with potential dates, as well as not running out of conversation topics when not talking about it.

But Watch Out For:
I'm sorry nerds and weird old ladies, only normal hobbies need apply. Your Warhammer figurine and Precious Moments collections put you just a little too far outside the standard deviation of acceptable. If you're have difficulty figuring out what hobbies are socially acceptable, try watching a movie with a seemingly ruthless, anti-hero type lead. Any hobby he see he or she indulging in is generally okay, but prepare yourself to paint a bunch of old model ships.

Musical Instruments

Music

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Much like a hobby, showing yourself with a musical instrument is a great way to demonstrate that not only are you multi-talented, but you're artistic and soulful. According to the ridiculous false dichotomy, you instantly prove that you have an "artistic" side, and now all you need to prove is that you can think analytically. In addition, music proficiency can push you dangerously close to being considered (gasp!) "cool" and not just "normal".

But Watch Out For:
Brass, woodwind, basically anything besides an instrument in the Beatles - unless you're in a Jazz band. Anything besides a guitar, bass or drums just screams band camp, church groups or drum circle. Saxophones are a toss-up, just make sure you're wearing sunglasses, a fedora and are moodily-lit.

Animals

Animals

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Less on the "not obsessed with Naruto" end and more on the "Not waking up in a bathtub full of ice" end, it helps to have photographs of yourself having a grand old time with animals. After all, someone who cares for another creature speaks to their general empathy and ability to extend that awareness to other people. It generally means that, whoever this person is, they don't respond to things that don't do what they say with murder.

But Watch Out For:
If you're a guy, being in a photograph of just about anything other than a dog, or any dog with the sound "oodle" in its name. If you're a girl, anything resembling a cat is a dangerous area, and mentioning your cat in your profile is a quick way to be labeled a crazy cat lady - fairly or not. For guys, a parrot can be an option, but only if there is at least one picture of you in a pirate get-up. For girls, extra points are awarded for quirky pets such as a chinchilla. Really anything but cats for anyone, ever.

Don't Talk About Sex

Don't Talk About Sex

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One of the biggest problems with communication online, is that you can't add expressions, tone of voice, or "heyoooo"s without it seeming stilted and weird. Sex is a topic that can easily prompt even the filthiest minds to ask you to please never over-share again. That's why when it's talked about, it's usually in a playful or joking manner. Absolutely zero of that translates well to your dating profile.

But Watch Out For:
A girl with a mention of sex in her profile might be able to get away with it, coming of a open-minded, liberal and/or empowered. Both genders can get away with the occasional "that's what she said", which actually encourages the perception of you as normal - it being the most neutered sexual innuendo in history. Finally, for some baffling reason, both genders can easily get away with pictures of them humping statues.

Wear A Suit

Wear a Suit

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If you want to be perceived as normal, you need one of those things that normal people have. Legends tell of the land once being full of them, going by the ancient name of "A Decent Job". They have been long since driven from the Earth, but still the natives of North America and elsewhere frequently dress in the traditional garb of "Asoot and Tie", performing now-meaningless rituals such as interviews and trying to impress your parents. This long-dead culture is still a marking of great status among dating sites, proving that the wearer is couched in in cultural norm and relative affluence. Sometimes a suit and tie isn't necessary, but at least a polo shirt and some khakis come on Dave.

But Watch Out For:
Wearing a suit or work clothes in every picture. It makes you not look like a normal person who is down for going out but also enjoys staying at home to watch a movie. It makes you look like a workaholic, the type of person who never talks about anything but shop at dinner. Normal people have jobs, yes, but we don't like being expected to devote a lot of time to them.

Show Your Friends

Show Your Friends

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Dating sites often discourage you from putting up photos of people besides yourself, but showing yourself with friends (with those friends' permission, of course), is a great way to prove that you, Normal Q. Normalsmith, is able to be tolerated by other people. You have successfully interacted with other people and it's possible they are even fond of you. Some may even be giving you high-fives, hugs, or other symbols of affection that indicate you are a normal, cool dude who frequently refrains from being weird or murders-strangers-ey.

But Watch Out For:
To you, it looks like a great night out with your friends doing wacky things. To an outsider, it's hard to get the context because, let's face it, we do some pretty stupid things while in groups. Try to consider that what you may fondly remember as a wicked night out, might look like a string of felonies to an outsider (which it very well may have been, but that's beside the point).

Username

Username

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The first thing anyone will notice from your online dating profile is your cleavage. The second thing they will notice is your username. If you would like to be presumed as normal, imagine you are choosing an e-mail address that will go on all your job applications. That should be your username. You may be tempted to put something referencing your personality, your favorite movie or something cute and clever. However, these are far to prone to misinterpretation.

You may be a fan of Dr. Who, but making your username LuvsDRWHOOOO makes you seem like you're obsessed, even though you only mention it one other time in your profile. It has the ability to completely distort whatever information is put into it, so best just to go with something generic. Plus, very few people will pay much attention to it anyway.

But Watch Out For:
Making your username (or anything about you seem) too normal. No one may notice your username, but Rachel89777 just feels wrong and leads to an immediate knee-jerk shout of "LAME!". It's like a seizure induced by flashing beige and taupe. Similarly generic words for "person" trigger a similar response. Names like Dude86 or Bro77 or 9llChick9II, are a smear of pure-white bird feces on white milquetoast. Come on people, this is the internet. It is a place where people who like having sex with mock-ups of the Empire State building can meet each other and be happy fantasizing about large bolts and welding. Sure you can play the odds to your advantage by being as normal as possible, but you can also play the odds and hope that your fellow writer of Firefly slash fiction who loves cats is out there somewhere.

This article was written by Gerri Elder, a blogger from South Carolina. The views expressed in it are hers and do not necessarily match those of Free Dating.co.uk.