At a book club discussion for my novel, The First Husband, a reader joked about how she kept frequenting the hotel bar where the book’s heroine, Annie Adams, met her husband, Griffin. “I’ve gone a hundred times!” she said. “Where’s my Griffin?”

Everybody laughed, but her question is one I receive often from readers: How do I find my soul mate? Of course, many of my friends have been skipping the hotel bar in favor of a more direct approach. Online dating.

With thousands of profiles to choose from, how do you make the right choice? I asked friends and readers who’ve found happy relationships online for their best advice on meeting Mr. or Ms. Right:

  1. “Sometimes It’s About Staying Positive”

A friend in San Francisco who married his online love earlier this year says the number one thing to look for is positivity. “Lots of people’s profiles are negative — basically complaining about bad dating experiences or how much they hate their jobs,” he said. “My wife’s profile was so positive. She was thrilled to share her life. Her profile even said, ‘I see the glass as ¾ full.’ I wrote to her because of that line. Someone who is that optimistic makes a guy want to be around her. She still does, every day.”

  1. “Sometimes It’s Seeing What Isn’t There.”

A reader in Hoboken, New Jersey said, “Of course, with online dating, you have to impress potential dates,” she said. “But after reading so many profiles with long lists of countries guys had traveled to, exclamations of how funny they were, I was struck by how understated my boyfriend’s profile was. He wasn’t trying to impress anyone. He was just sweet and earnest. That’s a great thing to look for in a partner. And when I met him? He was so much better than the fanciest profile could ever be.”

  1. “Sometimes It’s Seeking One Thing That Is There”

“You can’t expect someone to have everything based on a profile,” a friend in Washington D.C. explained. “So know what you’re looking for. I was very focused — I searched by the two things that matter most to me. Someone who loves dogs (I have two) and someone who is adventurous. My girlfriend’s profile was the first one in the search results. It’s a good idea to know one or two things you really want in a partner. And if they have it? Reach out.”

  1. “Sometimes A Photo is Worth A Thousand Words”

A friend in New York City, who met her husband on JDate, insists that choosing comes down to the photograph. “I’m not saying you should only reach out to supermodels. What I’m saying is that when I saw my husband’s photo, I thought, he’s ‘The One.’ There was something approachable and authentic about him. That’s the key. Seeing something — a killer smile, kind eyes — that make you want to know him. Then going for it!”

  1. “Sometimes It’s About Listening To Your Mother”

A reader in Texas swore that she’d never try online dating — until her mother signed her up. “It may sound crazy, but she searched through profiles for me and found my fiancé. She told me I could cancel my membership once I reached out to him. So I did. The rest is history.” And what was it about his profile that made her mother look twice? “She’ll say he talked about being a teacher and loving his work with children, but really it was that he was a Red Sox Fan. She knew he’d get along with my Dad!”

Laura Dave is the author of several acclaimed novels, including “The First Husband,” which was recently released in paperback.  A New York Native, she now lives with her husband in Los Angeles. Visit her at and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.
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