Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Posts tagged “online dating tips

The Promise in a Thumbnail; Online Dating Hits and Misses

onlinedatinglies

The online dating profile, a mystery, a fantasy novel, a pulp fiction romance. Whatever the profile is, it’s not reality. In looking for love online, you’ve got a lot of obstacles. And getting a handle on the bullshit detection is a good start.

  1. Even the unattractive and obese can score a cute photo every now and then.
  2. Photos from 15 years ago may not be an accurate representation of the current state of affairs. You would hope that people would clearly label the “when I was younger” photos, but they don’t.
  3. The one photo profile. Um, why don’t you have some other photos of your gorgeous self?
  4. The “just checking this out” profile. Usually with only a few sentences about themselves and a couple photos. Variation: a friend put this up for me.
  5. The scammer account. Too cute. Way too young to be hitting on me. Has an age range that’s a bit odd. (example: female 32, seeks males 45 – 70)
  6. No profile photo. “Ask her for her photos.” Um, no.
  7. Sunglasses make for alluring photos, but they’re not very accurate.

As long as you know you are creating the fantasy when you look an online dating profile you’ll be okay. You are filling in the blanks and missing information in your head. And most likely you are filling it in on the positive side. Often that’s not the correct data at all. If a person is 1. ready for a relationship and 2. honest, you won’t have to go fishing for too much information.

Look for how this person articulates their desires. What are they looking for?

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 8.43.51 AMBad signs:

  • “I love to travel.”
  • “Just want to have fun.”
  • Every photo has a drink in hand.
  • Glamour photos.
  • The one photo that sticks out as “WOW-SHE’S-AMAZING.”
  • The one photo that sticks out, “What? How is this the same woman?”
  • Hyper-athletic. Too many mentions of “working out.”

Screen Shot 2013-04-22 at 8.18.57 AMGood signs:

  • “Intimacy.”
  • “Honesty.”
  • “One core relationship.”
  • “Low drama.”
  • Mentions a healthy relationship with the ex-partner.
  • Semi-athletic.
The goal in online dating is to minimise the false positives and set dates with the authentic potentials.

The goal in online dating is to minimise the false positives and set dates with the authentic potentials. That’s easier said than done. And culling down from 1,000+ matches can be a bit of a challenge. So you have to start somewhere. Find a couple of things that are really important to you. (My current desire is tennis. If I could find a tennis-playing girlfriend, I think I’d be a long way towards compatibility.)

Then if you find a potential you are interested in, go ahead and say hello. I have found that casual and funny is better than direct. You don’t need to ask for the date right off the bat. Mention a few things that you have in common, flatter them a bit (You’re very cute.) and see what their response is.

  • No response is a response.
  • A casual and playful response is a good sign.
  • A form-letter response is not so good. (Thank you.)
  • An engaging response with lots of information can be a good and bad thing. On the good side, they are probably very attracted to your “profile.” On the bad side, they may be trying too hard, because they are not getting enough dates, or their dates are not going well.

If someone is genuinely interested you should both be able to establish some rapport within 4 or 5 messages. And when the idea of meeting for coffee or wine is floated by either party, the other person accepts and you both agree on a time and place. This is great. Now, the temptation is to continue the conversation, learn more, keep being charming. But that’s a mistake.

Here is the goal of online dating: set the date without too much effort or build up.

We all know the deal. If it was a HIT we are probably both thinking “What’s next.” If you get a “What’s next” before leaving the first date, you’re well on your way to trying a real date.

Once you have the date set to meet face-to-face the rest is distraction. Get this straight: you can tell very little about the physical chemistry from online profiles or even electronic flirting. While it might be fun to rev each other up before you meet, it is really a waste of time. And the real danger is setting up these great expectations and then not feeling the chemistry at all. So then what do you do? You may have had a bit of fun, but you’ve used up a lot of energy, even flirting takes time and energy, and come up empty-handed.

Online dating is not a full-time job. If you are too hungry, too available, and always online the available partners might notice this. If you are too persistent and focused on getting a date, that might be an indication of a problem.

The best approach is simple hello flirting. Gut checking the profile for reality. See if their emails or texts are also witty and fun. And then set the date and move on in your search and in your mind. You’ve got the date. There is really nothing else to do before you meet in person. You can confirm the date the day before. It’s easy to provide a phone number (texting is okay) before the date “In case something comes up.”

And then chill out and see what develops when you meet. Getting to excited or too involved with a virtual date has never worked out for me. Never. But then I haven’t had very many hits with the in-person meetings. And the handful of women who were just my style weren’t quite interested. They may not have said as much, but they didn’t ask for the next date either.

If there’s no chemistry, don’t make a big deal about it. Enjoy the conversation and make your exit. You can send them a note about “Not quite a match for me” but it’s not necessary. We all know the deal. If it was a HIT we are probably both thinking “What’s next.” If you get a “What’s next” before leaving the first date, you’re well on your way to trying a real date. Good luck.

Respectfully,

The Off Parent
@theoffparent

< back to On Dating Again

related posts:

image: a montage of online dating, the writer


Little Turnoffs: On a First Date with a Woman

bad date issues - the off parent

A reader of my 5 First Date Tips for Women asked a cool question and I thought I’d take a run at the little things that make men go “nu uh.”

Have you done a post on what signs/signals a woman gives in the first few dates, or things she might say or do, that make you say, ‘nu uh’ ? Of course it’s different for everyone, but curious what makes your interest wane. And I don’t mean the big stuff, necessarily, like her being racist or something similar…just the little things that make you shut down.

A. She’s late: Variation: She’s late and keeps making excuses, or is overly apologetic when she does arrive. Immediate KO Variation: She’s late and making excuses because clearly she is one of the most disorganized people you’ve ever met.

Bottom line: Don’t be late. There’s no excuse. If you don’t know where you’re meeting, say so, get directions, plan ahead, get there early. Getting to the date early gives you a chance to pick the table, your seat, and get a feel for the location before your potential arrives. If you get behind, a car wreck causing massive traffic jams, don’t make a big deal about it. Offer to reschedule if it looks like you’re going to be more than 10 minutes late. If you’re potential is still interested, then say you’re sorry once and move on.

B. She’s Got No Game: She’s got very little to talk about besides work, working out, and reality tv shows. What excites you? What are you planning when you’re not just working out? Are killer abs your highest goal? If there are no areas of interest that overlap, we’re going to cool down really fast. Listen to what I’m talking about and see if you can join in. I’m doing the same when you’re talking.

Stay present and honest. A lot of information is processed between two people on their first date. Timing, speech patterns, body language, scent, eye contact…

C. She’s Distracted: If you’re checking your phone we’re done, unless you are on-call as a brain surgeon. If you can’t maintain eye contact, because you’re so interested in what’s going on around us, there’s a problem. You don’t have to get googly-eyed at me, but make sure I know you’re listening and joining in the conversation.

D. She’s Not Over Her Last Relationship: Eventually we’re going to get to our stories. If we’re the same age it’s likely we’ve been divorced and have kids. And we do want to know what happened, but ease us into the tragic tale. Resentment and anger at your ex is a huge red flag. I’m not interested in being a stand-in for your unfinished business. Hopefully you and you’re ex have made the kids a priority and are going on about your lives without obsessing on each other’s faults.

E. She Doesn’t Light Up: I know it’s a lot to ask, but if you’re interested show it. You don’t have to bubble, but letting me know you’re happy, or excited is good. Giving me some indications early on, that you’re leaning-in to the idea is a good form of encouragement. And that’s what we’re really trying to do here, encourage the other person to be interested in us. If you appear bored, you’re showing me we’re a miss before we’ve even gotten started. And that’s okay, but it’s better if you just say it. Chemistry is something that is either there or it isn’t. But please don’t pretend it’s okay when you’d rather be brushing your teeth.

F. She Doesn’t Ask “What’s Next?”: So things have gone well on both sides, as far as I can tell. And we’re wrapping up. Please let me know if you’re interested in doing it again. That awkward moment, “Um, so… What are you doing this weekend?” is awkward on both sides. But a simple “What’s next,” can break the ice and make for a very easy conversation about timing and availability. Show you’re interested by initiating the conversation. Traditionally it’s up to the man, but we can both try and give the YES or NO signals more clearly.

There are very few nights you have to date, and fewer when you have the energy to do it. So let’s make the most of it.

Dating as an adult has a lot of advantages. For the most part, you don’t need the other person. Your identity is not invested in if they like you or not. You’re independently established and can pick and choose where to put your energy. If you’re interested in finding a partner, some of that energy should be spent dating.

There are disadvantages too. You’ve got kids and a complex schedule. There are very few nights you have to date, and fewer when you have the energy to do it. So let’s make the most of it. The simplest, quickest path to a yes or a no is best for everyone involved. You don’t have to be rude. You don’t need to gawk when their online dating profile photos don’t seem to match who you’re sitting with, by a long shot. But don’t say, “Okay, well, let’s do it again” when you mean, “Not a chance.”

Stay present and honest. A lot of information is processed between two people on their first date. Timing, speech patterns, body language, scent, eye contact, etc. Make sure you’re giving out the right signals, and hopefully I will make my feelings known as well. When we don’t have enough time, efficiency is our best ally.

We can do better, so, let’s do better.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

< back to On Dating Again index

related posts:

resources:

image: iphone date, Ding Yuin Shan, creative commons usage


Dating Tips for Modern Adults: Texts, Facebook, Profiles, Phonecalls

dating tips for the modern adultIt’s a lot more complex trying to figure out relationships these days, then it was before I met my ex-y. Today things like Facebook and text messages go for communications. And the signals can come from all directions. You’ve got to be a communications savvy person, or get lost. Or refuse to go “online” for your romantic prospecting. But if you’re not willing to up your online game, you’re going to be at a disadvantage.

These days phone calls are almost archaic. The dates I’ve set up over the last three years have involved only a handful of phone calls. Some never progress off the initial dating site. Others will give you a phone number as a back up, but won’t ever respond to texts. And then others…

It’s easy to get swept up in the joy of messaging as well. I’ve had a number of startup relationships that were amazing in text and not-so-much in person. And that too, is one of the problems with online dating. There is a lot of intensity and fantasy you can give into before you ever look into the other person’s eyes. There’s even a question on OK Cupid’s massive question database, “Do you think you can fall in love without ever meeting someone in person?” Really?

Let’s pull that idea apart for a second.

  1. Photos are not very good indicators of what a person really looks like. If they are using really old photos they could be 50 lbs heavier in real life. (It’s happened to me three times, so far. You want to ask, “Um, that photo… When was that taken?”)
  2. Romantic articulation is not a good indicator of a chemistry match. It’s a good indicator of a romantic writer.
  3. The imagination can run wild with #1 and #2. The let down can be shocking.

I have a new strategy (as of my last online dating date, two nights ago) get the texts going. And then trade selfies. This has only snipped one escalating online flirtation, but it was immediate. There is very little manipulation you can do to a selfie in most circumstances. And you want to get the raw story before committing to a date.

And dates take time. They can be fun or uncomfortable. But they are distractions, at some point, if you keep finding yourself sitting across from “what was I thinking?” more than a few times. You need to refine your criteria a bit.

Here are a couple informal tips I’ve learned so far.

  1. If there’s only one photo – they are probably hiding something.
  2. Look at all the photos. There’s usually that one photo that’s a bit more real, less romantic, than the others. You can sometimes see through the mirage of great photography in that one photo. (I only learned this after the fact. I’d go out on a date and come back home and ask “what did I miss?”)
  3. If they don’t have kids, they’re never going to understand me and mine.
  4. Look for something magical. One thing that you can really get into about the person. (Not a pretty smile.) What they do or profess to love that you also love. See if you can tease a few more details about that “concept” in your conversations via txt, email, or whatever.
  5. Pretty smiles are amazing. But they are not a complete package.
  6. Go ahead and say what you’re looking for in a relationship on your profile. I have it out there. “I’m looking for extraordinary.” I don’t want a half-charged woman. I’m not low-power or low-maintenance. I want brilliance.
  7. Keep plenty of time to yourself. If you are going out on dates in order to not be alone, you might look at that. You’ve got to keep refining what you want love to do, building the relationship without yourself, BEFORE you get in another relationship. Your goal should be to build on those things, not just a sexy connection.

There are a lot of ways to communicate online. If you really like this person in initial conversations, but it’s hard finding the time to date, you can ask to be “friends” on Facebook. (Another source of great REAL photos.) And don’t discount Facebook as a potential dating pool as well. Much more touchy on Facebook, to seek dates, but when there is a connection it’s easy to get a feel for what this person is into by looking at their Facebook wall. I’m happy to share mine early. I’m not trying to hide who I am. My Facebook profile is 100% public.

And it’s quite okay for them to unfriend you when they decide you’re not a fit. Don’t be offended. It’s not about picking up more Facebook friends. It’s about trying to establish a communications system between the two of you.

And finally: DON’T DATE ON FACEBOOK. Sharing your “new boyfriend” is very embarrassing when you have to go back and delete all their pictures. And those “first Ikea purchase together” photos just seem sad when you’ve known the person for two weeks. Leave your Relationship Status on Facebook as “make selection.” Nobody needs to be trolling you for dating. And you don’t need to be broadcasting to them or anyone else when you go from “In Relationship with Sandy” to “It’s Complicated” to “Single.” It embarrasses your friends for you. Just don’t do it. (Unless you’re in your twenties, then perhaps, everyone is doing it. I don’t know much about that demographic.)

It’s wild enough out there. You need to get your communications strategy in place. And then if the other person has a different pace or different style you can figure out how to adjust.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

< back to On Dating Again index

More Posts on Dating:

Resources:


Promises and Lies In Online Dating Profiles

I’m beginning to get tired of online dating. Like “real tired” of it.

okcupid and online dating

Here are a few observations I had while checking into my online dating profile this morning.

Thumbnails can tell a lot about a person.

  • Too plain (maybe they don’t have friends or advisers who can help them spruce up)
  • Bathroom mirror shots (maybe they don’t have friends or a modern smart phone to make a proper selfie)
  • Too radical (if they are trying really hard in their profile picture, they are hiding something)
  • Too glam (too much makeup and flash and that’s how I’m going to think of you – puffed up)
  • Too many tattoos (I find tattoos kind of sexy, but if it’s your lead story, you’re probably a dancer or a roller derby star)
  • Too Annie Hall (it was cute back then, but frumpy is just not sexy or intriguing)

The rest of your pictures.

  • There’s usually that one picture that’s a bit more realistic – like what you really look like. You can either hide these or show them as a way of weeding out the misses. Cause in person, the real you is going to show up. You can’t keep your profile in perfect perspective in real life. I currently am employing the “here’s a wakeup photo” method. When we finally meet, you’ll already have a good idea of what I look like. As in RIGHT NOW.
  • Pictures that are from ancient times. You can tell when someone’s using a picture from college. It’s obvious. Make sure your photos are real, and up-to-date. If you’re trying to inflate how you look now, you’re going to spend a lot of time in disappointing first dates. When I see you across the room and notice you look nothing like your photos. Um, is that really what you want?
  • Pictures of your beautiful smile that show little or nothing else of your frame and figure. (Um, what are you hiding, exactly. The answer, actually, is often quite a lot. I was a few dates in with a woman, before I really got a good idea of what the rest of her body looked like. OOPS. It was an uncomfortable situation. I’m not saying you should show your flabby whatevers, but don’t present yourself as a runner and “thin and athletic” if you haven’t worked out since high school.
  • Pictures with kids are okay. I’m sure they will weed out the non-kidded prospects, but that’s probably a good thing, if my experience is any indication. If they don’t have kids and you do… There’s a disconnect immediately. They simply won’t understand about half of your life. They can say, “I love kids.” But they didn’t put them as a priority in their lives. And they probably won’t understand you putting your kids before them.
  • Pictures with drinks in your hand. Fine, we all like a (some of us) like a drink ever now and then. But if you’re leading with you interest in drinking, well, you might be indicating more than you know. I am happy to share a glass or bottle of wine. But it better not be the formative activity in the relationship. That leads to disaster.

Language in your profile.

  • Stay away from Jesus references, unless that is the only type of guy you are considering: the Jesus guy. Because I am spiritual and believe in God and some-variations of Jesus, might not mean I’m ready to be with a Jesus-girl. It’s okay if that’s the priority in your life. And if that’s the case, be sure and be up front about it. But if you’re simply saying, you like to go to church and pray. Leading with your faith, is a bit of a turn off.
  • The words “drama” and “easy-going” are antonyms. But you don’t need to disclaim your dislike of drama. Who really looks for a “scene?” We’re all looking to make life a bit easier. And for some reason we’ve each turned to online dating to try and fill that last little, but critical, tidbit in our lives. The drama, or easy-going-ness will be apparent as you begin to engage with a potential date.
  • Too recent in your divorce trajectory  If you indicate you’re “recently” divorced, I know a lot of us are going to avoid getting involved. Who wants to experience all that turmoil. Call me when you’ve got a few years under your belt. I supposed the contrary is also possible, opportunists who see “recently divorced” as vulnerable and potential objects for bootie calls. The opposite is probably more likely. But if you did hookup with the newly un-married be ready for a lot of drama. The emotional roller coaster is real. I prefer for things to be a little more even keel.
  • Too much “follow your bliss.” Yes divorce is a HUGE opportunity to re-invent yourself and rediscover your priorities in life. But if you’re too far out there in the “exploration” mode you’re probably ignoring some of the basics. Like: do you have a job, are you happy with your job, are you happy with your life, and what else do you do for fun. Too much “ready for the stars” language sets up an expectation of fireworks and flightiness.

Again, these are my opinions. I’ve stripped my OKCupid profile of a good portion of my story. I have the “telling” picture in my set. I’ve decided this time around NOT to answer any of the questions. This creates a 0% match, 0% friend, 0% enemy. And that’s okay. Often I found myself getting worked up, or intrigued by women’s answers to the questions. Really, I just want to get a good picture of who you are, what our potential might be, then I’d like to move towards meeting in person. All this dance before meeting is exhausting and not all that productive.

Finally, my current approach is to only pursue 100% awesome. If there are obvious flaws or misses in the categories above, then I’m out. NEXT.

And that’s also a problem. There are currently ZERO women of interest on my OKCupid radar. That’s okay, I’m more interested in the current rising star. (see: It’s About Time) But at the same time, I know it’s important to keep farming, keep looking for options and information about what I do and don’t want in my next relationship. That’s my part of the equation. Putting all of my eggs in any basket before the hatching begins is just bad farming.

Sincerely,

The Off Parent

< back to On Dating Again index

Resources: