The Dos And Don’ts of Online Dating: Communication

You’re success in the world of online dating depends not only on your profile picture, or profile information, but largely on how you communicate with those interested in you (similar to real-life relationships, surprise surprise). Once you’ve found a likeable someone, it’s time to initiate contact. Most dating websites recommend to send some sort of wink along with a message (chances of a response increase if you also write to them as opposed to just sending a wink). Here are a few other notes on communication… and feel free to communicate back to me on whether you agree/ disagree/ or have other dos and don’ts.

Communication:

DON’T: Dismiss somebody because their favorite things are not your favorite things.

DO: Remember variety is the spice of life. If we were all exactly the same, we’d all be awesome, but possibly a little bored. In conversation, ask them about what they like, and hopefully they’ll do the same.

DON’T: Copy and paste a “Hi, I liked your profile. Hope to hear from you!” message then send it to 5 different people.

DO: Use the option to wink (or whatever the site offers for this type of notification) at people you think are interesting. In other words, don’t wait for people to wink first. Take initiative and yes, this is for the men and the women. Women, I know it’s not “traditional” to initiate contact, but think about it this way: you don’t join a site (and pay for it) to sit and wait. Heck, you can sit and wait for free and you probably already do. So get your money’s worth. For interests you like more than just a little, write them a quick note along with the wink.

DON’T: Expect replies or winks back the same day you wink or write. This will require patience, as it will also require patience to not respond immediately to messages you’ve received. Dating is a stupid game, but unfortunately there are rules. The more you follow the rules to the game, the higher chances you have of winning. The rule that applies here: whether you’re always busy or always bored, a little mystery goes a long way. So by giving a message a few hours/days to sit, at least the other person will think you have a life.

DON’T: Get upset if a few days go by and you haven’t heard from someone you wrote or winked at.

DO: Talk to more than one potential date at a time. It’s ok to have a few irons in the fire. If you only have one in the fire, you risk hyping up the first date and nerves may get the best of you. If/when the fire burns out, all you’re left with is one dull sword. Something about having other options relieves nerves and actually improves each date, because you don’t have to be there, you can just enjoy wanting to be there.

DON’T: Have too many irons in the fire. Then you’ll dial up Judy and say, “Hey Barbara!”

DON’T: Expect a date with Judy after you called her Barbara.

DO: If you need to, re-read some messages between you and the person your conversing with. Remember a few topics you’ve already discussed so you don’t make the mistake mentioned below.

DON’T: Mention that you also love “Wicked” when, oops, that was a different person that told you they loved “Wicked.”

DO: Write original messages tailored to the recipient. What do you like about their profile information? Tell them about it.

DON’T: Guys, don’t make your first message about how pretty she is. Mention something you like about her profile information as opposed to her pictures. This shows you are paying attention to the details and not just scanning pictures for hot girls. My guess is a girl would rather hear you like that she volunteers at an orphanage first, then later you can tell her how beautiful you think her green eyes are.

DO: Keep the first message short. No reason to write a novel to someone who hasn’t signed on in over 3 weeks.

DON’T: In your first few messages, don’t be careless when you attempt humor. Making someone laugh is usually about the delivery, and when a person is reading a message, they most likely won’t read it the same way you typed it. What you write is funny to you, but may seem odd or weird to the reader and they will think twice about continuing in communication.

DO: In your messages, it’s ok to talk about yourself. But remember to ask questions as well. This invites a response and keeps the conversation going.

DON’T: Respond to anyone who winks or messages you without checking their “about my date” section. If over half of it has “no answer” listed, move on. Especially if it has “no answer” for more critical relationship information like faith, smoke, drink, and have/want kids. Most likely this profile is some kind of fraud. I’ve actually come across profiles that fit this description, and a few days later the profile was removed, confirming my suspicions.

Hopefully you’ve been able to establish a real relationship with a few matches through interesting communication. Don’t be afraid to throw in an offer to meet up either. Once you do that, and they accept, it’s time to go out on the town for your first date. Check back Monday, September 27 for more about the first encounter with your match. Thanks for reading!

The Dos And Don’ts of Online Dating: Profile Information

To catch you up on the previous post about your profile picture: use common sense (for the full post, click here). If the image doesn’t make you look your best, simply don’t use it (ie. if you have doubts about it, most likely someone who may be interested in you will, too). You’re presenting a package deal so just as important as physical appearance is what you say about yourself. Remember, the goal is to score a date, not scare a date. So here are some things I’ve noticed that can help the process go well.

Profile Information:

DO: Make up a profile name that has no ties to your real name or your other web accounts (ie. OceanBreeze546). This will keep you from being stalked researched by people you don’t want stalking researching you.

DON’T: Use your real name as your profile name (ie. JohnSmith21457). Unless you want people to look you up on Facebook without you knowing.

DO: Use Facebook to research stalk people who use their real names as their profile name. Use the motto: Real name = fair game.

DO: Be honest about food you like/dislike. No need to hide who you really are.

DON’T: Be a picky eater. Try new places. Guys, eat sushi because most girls like sushi. Girls, eat more than a salad.

DO: In the appropriate section of the site, list local favorite hot spots and why they’re your favorites. Scammers/shady people won’t use hometown specifics and definitely won’t explain in detail because they don’t know the details.

DON’T: Go against your gut. If a profile seems a bit off or questionable, it probably is. Skip it and move on to someone else.

DO: On your profile, fill out the “about my date” section as thoroughly as possible. You want to find someone that fits a general idea of who you’re attracted to, so this helps narrow down the field. It also makes your profile look more legitimate.

DON’T: Be too narrow in your search criteria. You may miss a diamond in the rough.

DO: Embrace your body type and be honest about it.

DON’T: Lie. This early in the game will cost you now or later.

DO: Write enough for someone to recognize some commonalities and start a conversation.

DON’T: Write so much that people feel like they already know you and therefore don’t need to ask you out.

DO: Be positive and write about yourself with a sense of energy.

DON’T: Be positive and write about yourself with a sense of urgency.

DO: Talk about things you like.

DON’T: Say too much about you don’t want, as it comes off too negative.

DO: Tell about what makes you happy. Mention few non-generic qualities in a match that you’re looking for.

DON’T: Reveal that you’re insanely serious about finding The One. If you’re asking for marriage before a “wink” is ever sent, first calm down. Second, crawl before you walk.

DO: Act your age.

DON’T: Write your profile in text lingo. Also be careful about texting in text lingo, unless it’s 2004 or you’re 20 years old. Note: it’s not 2004 and you’re probably not 20. Lolololol means youre laughing out loud out loud out loud out loud, and that clearly makes no sense. A simple “ha ha” should suffice.

Once you’re done setting up your profile, it’s time to mix and match! Check back Monday, September 20 for effective communication technics. Thanks for reading!

Remembering 9/11

I was in the last semester of college at Florida State University, standing in the University Center (offices inside Doak Campbell Stadium) getting my parking pass for the Fall semester. It was a room like you’d find at the DMV, where there’s a long row of attendants ready to help with whoever was next in line. I was the only one in line. Four of the attendant windows were operational, yet no one was asking me to approach them. In fact, the employees behind the long counter were not even at their windows. They were all looking at the television mounted on the wall behind them. Me, being a passive 4th child, assumed they simply didn’t know I was there. Wondering what in the world was more important than their job, I became slightly frustrated. Then I noticed the content of what they were watching. I got my parking pass that day, but classes were cancelled so I went home and turned on the news. Where were you on that day?September 11 has become somewhat of a National holiday, a day of remembrance. Do you think we feel the same way Americans did when Memorial Day was officially recognized as a holiday? Because on Memorial Day, we take time to remember those who fought for America’s freedom and who fought wars in the 20th century, but it’s ancient history we read about in books. September 11 is a new memorial day that everyone over the age of nine is connected to directly. Instead of reading about stories, we can tell stories. From government, society, military, race relations, religion, music, television, movies, travel, so much of what America is about today is an extension of that day. The day the United States showed vulnerability. A strong and proud nation whose residents never thought we’d be attacked here inside our own borders. In countries we only hear about on the news, terrorism like that happens every day and after 2001, we became their equal. An ally engaging in the fight that’s been long going, but we never had the need or the reason to join in. I hate to think about losing, but on September 11, 2001 we lost. I think it was hard for us as a country to accept that, because we value winning. Whether it’s sports, the lottery, or speeding through a light before it turns red, we place a lot of importance on being ahead, being the best, finishing first, not slowing down. Bang! Two towers are hit, both fall down, and all of the sudden someone else has the upper hand. For a short time, we were not the best. We were vulnerable and the innocence of our young country was exposed. But we are no longer innocent. We are no longer naive. And unfortunately for our enemies, we are no longer uninvolved.

My dad served for 27 years and for that, I couldn’t be more proud. I’m not a soldier. I’m just a normal citizen with a house and a dog. But I love this country and will forever hold my hand over my heart during the pledge of allegiance, while thinking of the soldiers like my dad who defended, are defending, or will defend this country.

The Dos And Don’ts of Online Dating: Profile Picture

Online dating isn’t what it used to be. When it first began, the perception was that it was only for the desperate or lonely.

Actually, it may still work for the desperate or lonely, but it’s become something better, a legit avenue for starting relationships. It’s not even an “alternative” way to meet people, it’s simply a way among many ways to find dates, mates, and fates. That’s a slogan waiting to happen. Anyway, I’ve made a few notes to help those willing to step out of their friend circle, out of the bar, and step into— or should I say— step on…line. Disclaimer: I may refer to Match.com-specific features, most sites have similar functions but are named slightly different (ie. wink, ice-breaker, etc). This is by no means an all-inclusive list, but rather a compilation of personal observations based on real life experiences. 

Let’s start at the beginning, setting up your profile. Information you post here is critical as it’s the first impression for traffic your profile will pull in. You want it to be a cross between sincerity and humor so when people see your page, they’ll say to themselves, “Wow, that guy is
scrumdiddlyumptious!” (girls say that, right?) or
“She has all the characteristics I want in a wife!” (guys say that, right?)

Alright, step one is uploading pictures.

Profile Pictures:

DO: Post more than two pictures of yourself, preferably a couple of close-ups and a couple of head-to-toe photos.

DON’T: Post pictures of you and kids, unless they are yours. If you want people to know you love children, just type it into the “about me” section. No need to scare off half the potential dates in the first five seconds. And for no reason is it ok to post pictures of you with nieces/nephews. There are too many creepy’s out there to endanger your sibling’s children. 

DO: Use pictures taken within the past year. Remember, surprising your date the first time you meet in person is rarely a good thing.

DON’T: Post pictures of you and fifteen of your friends. Most of the time the picture is entirely too small and most people won’t squint for ten minutes trying to figure out which one you are. If you really want people to know you have friends, don’t worry. We assume you have friends.

DO: Post pictures that show you at your best. Save the I-just-woke-up  pictures for later. Even a picture or two with a few of your friends is ok, as long as you… (see below)

DON’T: Post pictures with friends that look better than you. The last thing you want is someone looking at your profile and wishing you were that other person in the picture.

DO: Look happy in your pictures, whether it’s a smile or just having a good time. No one wants to date a Negative Nancy or Danny Downer. If you’re sad or annoyed, my advice is to cancel your account, fix what needs fixing, then rejoin as a happier you.

DON’T: Upload extreme close-ups of your face. It’s like looking at a square inch of Starry Night. Allow enough space for the viewer to appreciate the whole package, whether it’s your face or the head-to-toe photo.

DON’T: Look completely different in every photo. If you’re currently a brunette with long hair, don’t post pictures of you as a blonde with shoulder-length hair.

DO: Think twice about uploading pictures of little Scruffy. No one is online trying to date your pet. And quite frankly, it’s an invasion of your pet’s privacy. My dog Piper is howling in agreement. 

DON’T: Use stock photography. Using Getty Images offers nothing original about you, even though everyone knows beagle puppies are cute. My dog Piper is howling again.

Ok, so you’ve got more than two original pictures uploaded and you’re using the best one as your main picture. Next, it’s time to describe yourself, or more simply, give all the information you’re willing to reveal to the world!

Check back Monday, September 13 for what to say and just as important, what not to say on your profile. Thanks for reading!

I Know More Now Than I Will Ten Years From Now

I’m 31-years-old and the world is mostly at my fingertips. I’ve made plenty of mistakes but mostly I’m over that. I know what’s right and I choose to do that almost every single time I have the chance. I can sort of see, though, that there’s a lot of evil in the world. It’s seems to be spreading quickly so when I think about starting a family and bringing more children into the world, part of me wonders why I would do that to them? Do I want them to see the things they will see? Do I want to pass down to them a society that’s defined not by churches on every street corner, but by how well we all accept each other and believe everything is right? Where wrong is only wrong to those who think it’s wrong? If you believe in God, great. If you don’t, great. Jesus was cool, but so was Muhammad and Gandhi and Joseph Smith. Everyone can be right, it’s the great thing about acceptance and tolerance and it’s the future of America! Hooray. That’s not what I will be teaching my kids, if I ever have kids. Probably won’t have to worry about that, because this video hasn’t gotten me nowhere! And neither has this one!

Even with our society promoting an inclusionist behavior, and my sarcastic view on it all, I have hope still. Not sure why, perhaps it’s the faith passed down to me from my parents. Faith passed down to them from my grandparents who bore the weight of such harrowing opposition and became known as “the great generation.” Is that faith what keeps me hanging on to something, some thing that exclaims there is good in the world? There is a reason to have joy. Bring kids into the world and teach them about puppies, and rollercoasters, Coke floats, and football, freeze tag, flip flops and the beach, faith and love. Forget what our economy is doing, forget who our President is or isn’t, but teach about a deep and rooted faith in a bigger and higher and smarter and wiser and more loving Being, then there’s joy.

But I’m only thirty-one and I know less now than I did ten years ago. Wink.

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