From time to time I am contacted by people who are uncomfortable posting their photo for public viewing on a dating site. This is almost always related to their job: professors, teachers, or professionals with a strong presence online are examples that I have run into.
These people are hesitant to reveal exactly who they are due to having students or just having the concern that someone could Google them and find out more information than they are comfortable with (such as a home address or phone number).
For professionals with an online presence, this is especially difficult since they work hard to improve people’s ability to find them online but then don’t want this to happen when dating online.
So how can these people have success online without posting their photo? Every statistic out there states that having a photo online improves your odds dramatically. Here are some thoughts on ways to still have success:
Don’t Use a Browsing Dating Service
First, many people who contact me seem to be most familiar with Match.com or sometimes OKCupid. Both of these dating services are browsing based: you log in and can browse through any profile you want. This is what makes the professor or teacher so uncomfortable: anyone could find them online, including one of their students.
The important thing here is that browsing based dating services are not the only option. Dating services like eHarmony provide you matches and there are a few benefits in this method:
- No one can browse to find you. Only the people you are matched with will see your profile.
- You will only be matched with specific people and most often this will eliminate any chance of a student seeing the profile (even if they have an account).
- eHarmony profiles are much more generalized and tend to put you in a position where you are revealing fewer specifics about yourself (these specifics are instead discussed with your matches as you move through the communication process which is the core of how eharmony works).
- Here’s the most important one: only paying subscribers can see photos. So not only would the person have to be matched with you to see your photo, they would also have to be committed enough to be paying for the service.
To me, eHarmony is a great option for the single concerned about their exposure online. For more on this service you can see my full eHarmony Review.
Still, perhaps you like the browsing services and would prefer to stick with a Match.com. The only other thought I have in that case is…
Promise to Share Photos
In your profile you can prominently state that you are willing to share your photo but because of your job (or whatever) you don’t share them by default. I say this should be the very first thing in your profile as an incentive for those who read it to try to start communicating with you.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the biggest problem: people will often not even open profiles without photos. So how do you get them to open your profile in the first place?
- First, you can use the heading of your profile to state you have photos. You can even have fun with it with something like “Don’t skip this profile – I do have photos!”
- Guys, as the ones doing much of the initial contacting, you’re actually in a good spot if you need to avoid having photos. This is because every email you send is an invitation to look at your profile. You may find that your not having a photo does very little harm if you’re willing to actively reach out to others.
- Ladies, even though guys are often expected to do the contacting, in this situation you should be far more willing to do the same. At the very least wink at some guys to get them to check your profile out. You’ll need to be far more proactive than normal. Good news though: my wife didn’t have a photo on her profile and I still managed to find her! So while it makes it more difficult, having no photo doesn’t make it impossible.
Still, If You Can Have a Photo…
All that said, if you can have a photo it really is best. You might want to check with a friend to be sure you’re not being overly paranoid about posting a photo. Maybe you are in a position that would absolutely prohibit you from placing photos on a dating site…but honestly most conversations I have don’t seem to suggest that is frequently the case.
Still, the it’s your call to make. Just make sure that if you’re not including photos that you’re taking steps to make sure you can still have a lot of success with online dating!