Searching Online: When to Prefer and When to Search

By: Samantha Eng, Copy Cutie

Online dating has dramatically evolved, from casual chat room meetings where a simple “A/S/L?” accomplished the basics to detailed profiles, in-depth surveys and sections dedicated to preferences helping us narrow down the vast world of online dating. But to keep it simple, we’re bringing you a three-part series that will help you understand the search, your preferences and what they mean to you and to who you’re looking for.

Our searching online series delved into must-haves and would-likes and also defined our dating dimensions. But now that we have a better understanding of our ABC’s, when do we sing them aloud or hum them to ourselves?

Some online dating sites give users the ability to let other online daters know what they’re looking for. Known as “preferences” to some, it’s easy to fall prey and list our must-haves (concrete absolutes in a person) where our would-likes (vain physical attributes) should be.

To avoid mislabeling, pay attention to the following categories to determine whether they should be search-based requirements only or how to check them off publically to avoid signaling any red flags.


Economic stability is a common must-have for this generation of online daters, but listing income preferences by mentioning monetary brackets could garner a “gold digger” label if you’re not careful.

If you’re determined to be forthright and prefer including income ranges on your profile, rather than only making it a search requirement behind the scenes, think about also listing your own income and what you’re looking for right above or below it. There’s nothing wrong with wanting someone on your level.

Hair/Eye Color.

Some reports say that blonde-haired adults make up only two percent of the world’s population. Physical features like hair and eye color should remain a preference, so only mark what you prefer when your search privately.

Also, think about how you’re narrowing the field when selecting blondes over brunettes when the latter is the majority. Besides, when the first hair dye was invented in 1907, it easily helped us all have more fun!


This category is tricky. If familial traditions encourage you to narrow the playing field to your own, that’s fine (and of course, your choice); most people can understand an old-school mentality. However, this should be limited to private searches to keep things simplified — just something to consider. As dating evolves, so should you!