Tag Archives: Online Dating

15 Million Girls Getting Married Before 18: Ending Child Marriage Now

“Every two seconds around the world another girl is forced into marriage.”

Upworthy shared this post about child marriage across the globe. Girls as young as 8 years old are being forced into arranged marriages as a result of issues like poverty, culture, and religious pressures. Continue reading

Are Girls Selling Their Bodies To Pay For College?

Marcel and I Doing Our Thing

Every now and then a story like this comes into the public arena. Burdened by college loans and living costs, a girl turns to porn (or escort services or being a dominatrix) just to stay above water. We feel sympathetic to these stories, bemoaning a troubled education system or the poor job market. But with social networking sites like MyGirlFund now littering every corner of the internet, and every fetish, fantasy, and “deviance” attainable at the click of a button, such techniques may become the way of the future. And that’s a scary reality.

MyGirlFund markets itself as a place for men and women to come together to “achieve their specific goals.” By that it means that women sign in to the site and set a fundraising goal they’d like to meet. Men sign in and can peruse the women, engage them in chat and video conversations, and contribute to their funds if they wish. The women will up the ante by posting nude or semi-nude photos and videos of themselves and set prices to certain “goods.” As an example, one woman posted: “$55 til goal… hit it for me and you get 6 vids.” Another posted: “All content $30!!” And there’s no mistaking what the “content” entails.

MyGirlFund is now reporting that many college girls are flocking to the site before matriculating, hoping to make some money for their college tuition. The site’s Director of Business Development, Stefan Patrick commented:

Members list their financial goals when they join and the new coeds are vocal about their tuition needs. One new member penned the memorable line, ‘When good girls can’t pay their tuition, anything can happen,’ on her profile, but overall these are young women who would never consider stripping, porn or public group cam shows.

Patrick argues that the women have total autonomy and that the site can actually be very empowering for them, allowing them to achieve their goals in a safe and private environment. Clearly this guy, and others involved with the website, can’t appreciate the deeply degrading and sexist system we live in that makes girls think their bodies can be assigned monetary value. But we’ve lived in this world with its rampant gender inequality long enough to know that men will pay for women to bare their bodies.

On that note, we’d like to know who these men are who get pleasure out of gawking at women in such a materialistic way. Perhaps it wouldn’t seem so offensive if the exhibitionism and voyeurism at least went both ways, but MyGirlFund organized the site in such a way that male and female roles are rigidly defined. Either way, we have to find healthier ways of paying tuition and making a living — not to mention connecting with other human beings in meaningful ways.

What do you think? Is this an acceptable way for girls to earn their college tuition, or is this as backwards, sexist, and disrespectful as it seems? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!

Myth: Online Dating Carries an Embarrassing Stigma

In 1982, Chris Dunn met Pam Jensen on a CompuServe CB Simulator program that linked computer users nationwide in an early version of online dating in a chat room. They hadn’t planned on finding love online, but after a few months of virtual chatting, Chris booked a flight from New York to Chicago where he and Pam met face-to-face. One year later, to the day, they were married (1).

Their newsworthy courtship and wedding were featured on numerous television programs and newspaper articles, including a Chicago Tribune story titled “Cupid and Computers Conquer All.” But not everybody accepted their relationship with an open mind – many people said a relationship based on online dating wouldn’t last, even Chris’s father. This was the one of the first examples of the stigma of online dating, and it was met with a great deal of suspicion.

These days, of course, a couple finding love online is hardly newsworthy. But Pam and Chris were charting new territory. “At the time,” Pam recalls, “computers weren’t as pervasive in our homes and our daily life. To a lot of people, especially my parents’ generation and their friends, online dating seemed very alien, a very suspicious concept to even be communicating like that. There was definitely a stigma with online dating.”

That was about thirty years ago and Chris and Pam are still in love and happily married, and live on the North Side of Chicago. “If it weren’t for the way we met, with online dating, I think we could be any other married couple,” said Chris. “I’ve always adored her. She adores me. It’s very easy to love my wife (2).” That part may be easy, but from the start, Chris and Pam had to put up with a great deal of critique from others who hold onto a stigma about online dating. And so have a lot of other singles currently finding love online, and couples who have sometimes felt compelled to hide the fact that they met through an online dating site.

It’s Called Stigma

During a Sunday school function, a group of newlywed wives were each asked, “How did you two meet?” Going around the circle, each woman took a moment to tell her romantic story. Then it was time for Tracy to speak up: “We met over the Internet.”

A moment of silence hovered over the group. “Online Dating? Really!” the teacher said. “Why would an attractive, outgoing girl like you need to resort to such drastic measures?”

That’s called “stigma” – a socially discrediting means of classifying others as going against the norm. It’s an undesirable stereotype and it conjures up disapproval, disgrace and shame. And the stigma of online dating associated with finding love online is based on uninformed impressions.

This Sunday school teacher is a perfect example of someone perpetuating an uneducated social stigma of online dating and using the Internet for finding love. Online dating has turned a corner over the past several years, and truth be told, this was an exchange that took place more than a decade ago. Today, these misinformed impressions about online dating are few and far between.

So if you’re embarrassed by an out-of-date stigma of online dating, you’ve somehow become stuck in a fleeting notion that died out years ago. Yes, it used to be that finding love online was looked at with suspicion. So was nearly everything about the internet. Most people scoffed at the visionary idea of using our computers to buy shoes, download music, or book a hotel room. So why in the world would you be interested in finding love online?

Of course, that was then, and this is now. And today the stigma of online dating has all but vanished. Practically everyone knows someone who has found the love of their life with online dating. Even well known celebrities talk about using matching sites to find love. We do enough marriage seminars in churches around the country to know that in every congregation there are couples who proudly identify themselves as being matched online. Sure, there are still some uninformed holdouts that perpetuate the stigma of online dating and finding love online, but their numbers are dwindling quickly.

Your Grandmother’s Internet?

If you’re looking for evidence that the stigma of online dating has shaken off its remnants, you need look no farther than your grandparents’ generation. You may think that they rarely even turn on a computer, but you’d be wrong. Are you ready for this? Of course, we all know how popular finding love online is for younger generations, but the fastest growing area for online dating sites is with single seniors (3).

70-year-old Hilda Gottlieb decided to try online dating after her husband passed away in 2004 (4). “I was 64 when my husband died, and I knew I was not going to be alone for the rest of my life,” Gottlieb told the Palm Beach Post.

Gottlieb ignored the stigma of online dating, found the dating profile of then-72-year-old Marv Cohen, and decided to contact him. That email led to an in-person meeting and an eventual romantic relationship. They have been married ever since (5).

The point is that online dating these days is viewed as socially acceptable even among many of the people who were perhaps the most suspicious of finding love online a few short years ago.

Online Dating is now Hyper-Mainstream

“The stigma of online dating has definitely dropped because people are advocating for it, talking with their friends about it, and sharing stories with families,” says Lija Jarvis, director of a large survey study on Internet dating (6). Another study, conducted by the research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey, shows how quickly online dating — in existence for less than two decades — has revolutionized the way people find and pursue potential mates and approach finding love online.

“It does seem to have displaced all other forms of dating,” says Susan Frohlick, a cultural anthropologist at the University of Manitoba who has studied online dating. “I would say that it’s been in the last five years that it’s become hyper-mainstream (7).”

So if you are embarrassed by a passé prejudice against finding love online with online dating, do your best to move beyond it. Swallow your irrational pride, and the outdated stigma you’re holding onto will disappear.

References

1. Stevens, H. “Chicago Couple blazed the trail for Internet love.” Chicago Tribune. May 18, 2008
2. Stevens, H. “Chicago Couple blazed the trail for Internet love.” Chicago Tribune. May 18, 2008
3. Farley, Meredith. “Online dating becoming more common in seniors.” RetirementHomes.com. June 16, 2010
4. Farley, Meredith. “Online dating becoming more common in seniors.” RetirementHomes.com. June 16, 2010
5. Farley, Meredith. “Online dating becoming more common in seniors.” RetirementHomes.com. June 16, 2010
6. Toy, Mary-Anne. “One in four adults finds mate online.” Sydney Morning Herald. April 17, 2010
7. Ellen Mc Carthy, “marriage-minded do better online than at bars, survey claims.” Washington Post, Sunday, April 25, 2010.

Originally published January 2011.

photo by: Jane Rahman

Online Dating and Avoiding Past Relationship Mistakes When Dating Online

Woman and men will often repeat past patterns. When it comes to relationships, this can be a disaster. So you need to be very careful when you are entering into an online dating relationship for the first time. Make sure that you are careful when meeting someone for the first time, but at the same time be even more careful that the person that attracts you is not just a repeat of a past relationship that did not work out.

The following outlines some areas where people tend to repeat past behaviour and end up disappointed or totally devastated in the long run.

 

Past Abuse:
There are many forms of abuse that child can experience and all can have a devastating effect on the way they perceive those in their lives. Many of the people who experience abuse will have great difficulty trusting; emotional problems and a wide range of other mental issues that they might not even be aware of. Some of the people that experience abuse as children will unknowingly seek to repeat the pattern by entering into a relationship with someone who continues this abuse. In many cases the insecurity and pain of the person with this kind problem can be so great that they actually believe that they deserve more abuse. By the way, there is a very subtle form of abuse that is not actually physical abuse but can be just as devastating from a future relationship standpoint, and that is mental abuse. If you are constantly run down as a child, or even not given any form of positive feedback on your successes, you may end up relationship challenged in later life. Same advice as above, seek out some counselling.

Chasing a Stereotype:
In some cases people will chase the idea of what they believe is the right kind of person simply because they are under the impression that it is the type of person that others would want. While they might personally not share the same tastes, their need to be accepted by others is so strong that they will ignore their own feelings in favor of getting peer approval.

Bad Prior Relationship:
While some people begin dating with these kinds of issues, others are perfectly fine until they encounter a person who deeply hurts them. After enduring such pain many people tend to become very emotional which can cause problems in the future. Often people blame themselves for the failed relationship and enter into a pattern of behavior that is highly destructive to their lives. While seeking to repair the damage through another person they will often become more confused about who they are and what they want in their desperation not to have another failed relationship. Too many women I know do this ( I have ) and it is just not worth it. All you really have to do is wait, and when you least expect the right one will come around.

Okay so now we know why I (I mean all women) do this to themselves, lets solve the problem.

Break the Pattern:
Certain social places are known for attracting specific types of people; if these types have been a poor choice for your relationships it might be time to find a new place to socialize. Often certain memories that you will naturally think about while in such places will also help to trigger some of the negative thoughts that lead you to repeating your mistakes. Start fresh with a new place where you can begin making new memories. Continuing to spend time with friends who encourage this behavior may also be a mistake, at least until you feel that you are strong enough to ignore their influence. Try to keep friends close that will help you through your problem.

Get to Know Yourself:
Does any person really know themselves though?

This might prove difficult for a great many people who are suffering from insecurity and believe their likes and dislikes to be unimportant. Again, the aid of good friends is an invaluable tool, but if you find yourself without help this might prove a good time to make new friendships Many communities host activities that you may want to try. There are online friend-finding services that can easily match you with others who might be able to give advice, or just be someone to talk to. Once you feel a little better about who you are and know what you do and don’t like about yourself, you may feel better prepared to enter into a relationship. Even joining classes for self-improvement is a great idea.

Understanding Your Needs:
Making the decision to enter into a relationship with another person can be a big one; entering into it without understanding what you want in a companion is not always the best way to achieve success. Most confidant people know that in order to be happy in a relationship, or dating, the people that they choose to be with must meet some of their criteria. This is not to say that you should have a rigid list of demands that potential suitors have to meet; simply know what qualities you hope to find in another person. If you enter into a relationship not knowing what you desire from the other person your needs might never be addressed since neither you nor your partner understand them. Taking the time to think about what qualities you find most attractive in an ideal partner may prove very useful in sending up red flags the next time youre headed down that road to self destructive dating.

Independence:
While you try to work out your personal problems, hopefully with the help of those who love you, remember that sometimes a little space and time is needed before jumping back in. Be sure that you are free of any past relationships that may prove to be harmful to you and make a space for yourself that feels safe and positive. If you can achieve a healthy and positive state of mind you will more than likely realize that romance, while being a wonderful thing, is not something to that you need in order to be happy. Focusing on what will make you feel good about your life often leads to meeting people who have a positive influence on it. Take the time you need to change the course of your life so that if you do meet someone special you can proceed without fear or insecurity and instead make your way towards something that you can be proud of.

What If I Don’t Want To Date Online?

Hello Arielle & Brian,
I constantly have people telling me that I should pursue online dating.  I am not sure if this is a sign from the Universe (or not) but I feel absolutely no inspiration whatsoever to do this. The idea just brings bad vibes.  If you do not take the signs the universe provides, does it stop orchestrating ways of bringing you a soulmate. I know the Law of Attraction is always in play, but I am still concerned that since I am not acting on the universes sign (because there is no inspiration) that it still sends a negative message to the universe. Also I briefly met a man at my work (a customer) who looked exactly like the type of guy I visualized (right down to the exact shirt and jeans).  Unfortunately I was too focused on my work too pay much attention to him.  I am planning to visualize seeing this particular man again, but I’m wondering if that will limit my chances of manifesting anyone else just in case he isn’t my intended soulmate. Please advise!
 
Thanks,

Bonnie
 
 
Hi Bonnie,
We don’t believe that you have to force yourself to do anything you don’t want to do in order to manifest your soulmate.  It sounds like online dating is NOT for you, so stop discussing it with other people and rehashing it with yourself.
Remember, the process of attracting your soulmate is one of magnetism. When you make the choice to live as if your soulmate is already a part of your life, you send out an irresistible signal to the Universe that you are ready now.  Not a signal that you’ll be ready someday – when you work less and your house is clean and you’ve lost five pounds!  Remember the famous line in the 1989 movie, Field of Dreamsstarring Kevin Costner?  “If you build it, they will come.”  Living as if is like flipping on a light switch inside your heart.  This is the light your beloved will use to navigate his or her way to your door of love, care and appreciation.
If you stay focused on “knowing” that the one you asked for is ALREADY yours, and savor the waiting and love your life unconditionally, the right one will appear at the right time.   If it happens to be the customer you described, how nice, but since you don’t even know anything about him except for his looks I think you will block other potential possible soulmates by focusing on a stranger.
 
Wishing you love, laughter and magical kisses,
Arielle and Brian

Arielle Ford, author of The Soulmate Secret:  Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction and her husband Brian Hilliard, a business consultant, answer your questions about life, love and relationships. They believe that whether you are eighteen or eighty years old finding Big Love is always possible. Email your questions to:  soulmatesecret@yahoo.com

Arielle Ford has spent the past 25 years living and promoting consciousness through all forms of media. She is one of the founding partners of the Spiritual Cinema Circle, a DVD club dedicated to providing movies about love and compassion.  She is the author of seven books including the HOT CHOCOLATE FOR THE MYSTICAL SOUL series and her newest book THE SOULMATE SECRET: Manifest The Love of Your Life With The Law of Attraction. Her husband and soulmate Brian Hilliard is a business consultant with a life-long interest in spirituality and the practice of compassion.  They live in La Jolla, CA  www.soulmatesecret.com  andwww.soulmatekit.com
 
Disclaimer: Arielle Ford, Brian Hilliard, the Big Love column and its publishers assume no responsibility for any consequence relating directly or indirectly to any action or inaction you take based on the information, services or other material related to this column.

A New Paradigm For Modern Dating? Combining the Real World and Internet World With One Flirty Card

Imagine that you are chilling by yourself in some coffee shop or bookstore. A non-creepy good-looking stranger–who may or may not have been eyeballing you or the book you have been reading for the last ten minutes–passes by your table and nonchalantly places a small black card next to your cafe drink before heading out the door. The card says: "I’m hitting on you" and below, a website code for looking up the your admirer’s profile to learn more or to send a message.

Super-creepy? Or a little intriguing? Consider it the flirty equivalent of a Facebook poke in real time.  

According to this recent article on the New York Times, passing along a flirty card with an online code to your personal profile may be the next dating trend that combines real world encounters with online interaction. Cheekd.com is one website that provides a paid membership for users who want their own personalized cards with their personalized internet code to discreetly pass along to any alluring-looking cutie or hunk that catches their eye–be it on the subway, a club, a bookstore, or yoga class. As the article goes on to explain: 

Users receive calling cards to dole out to alluring strangers they encounter in their everyday lives, be it in a club or in a subway on their morning commute. Recipients of the cards can use the identification code printed on them to log onto Cheekd.com and send a message to their admirer. A pack of 50 cards and a month’s subscription to Cheek’d, where users can receive messages and post information about themselves, is $25. There is no fee for those who receive cards to communicate with an admirer through the site.

Each Cheek’d card has a sassy phrase like “I am totally cooler than your date,” or, for those with no regard for subtlety: “I’m hitting on you.” Ms. Cheek is dreaming up specialized card sets, too. One for New York City singles will have lines like “I live below 14th Street” and “I hope my five-story walkup won’t be a problem.”

Flipmedating.com is another dating website that markets the same concept: a pack of 30 cards and a three-month membership for $24.99. Each card is printed with the message that reads way cooller in written form than spoken outloud: "I’ve said ‘what if’ too many times … not this time.” 

The innovative thing about passing along sassy cards with an online link is that prospective dates at least can see each other in real life before deciding if they want to continue their interactions further. That’s one big step ahead of online dating, where misleading user photos is a common problem. And if the cutie bartender or svelte park jogger doesn’t respond to your flirty calling card? No problem–you still have more cards to go through, and more motivation to get yourself out in the real world instead of huddling behind a computer screen all weekend long.

Indeed, every new dating technology comes with its Pandora’s box of creeps and abusers; I can already imagine schmaltzy players signing up for packs of cards under multiple identities to two-time, three-time naive girls at bars with greater frequency.

But for the nice single folk who get a little shy about meeting new people in their neighborhood? It just might be the best ice-breaking tool out there so far to find your potential soulmate–or at least a weekend date that will allow you to skip your Saturday night ritual of ironing your clothes and re-alphabetizing your extensive DVD collection. 

PHOTO (cc): Flickr / hondapanda

 

 

Tips To Have A Successfully Safe First Off-Line Date

In this day & age, with all the new websites out there connecting people, it’s not uncommon to go out with someone you’ve met online. Whether someone’s Twittering your Facebook or you’ve just nabbed yourself an account on Match.com, there’s plenty of opportunity to meet the mate of your dreams. And just as likely is it for you to have a good time, it is just as likely for you to meet someone that things are not quite as they seemed over the chatroom glow. No matter how you met online, you still need to make sure your date is a successful and safe evening. Here are seven tips for your first date offline!

1. Refresh Yourself

Before heading out, freshen up on your date’s profile. With most social/dating networks, people have pretty extensive profiles that have info from their birthday to their favorite TV show down to how they feel about crunchy leaves. Their profile is the perfect place to think about some good topics of discussion, common grounds and similar interests to keep the conversation stimulating and the night rolling.

2. Meet In A Public Place

No matter how well you think you know someone, for the first couple dates make sure you meet each other at a public place until you feel comfortable. I mean, let’s be real, Patrick Bateman was a pretty handsome and charming fellow. How would you know getting picked up in his luxury sedan would lead you to being axed up in his apartment? Okay, okay, that was really extreme but the point is you don’t really know people from their online presence and you should be in control of your situation at all times: go somewhere where you are not alone and have control of where you are by driving separately. 

3. Be A Conversationalist  

Take all those keynotes from the first tip and be genuine in the conversation. You should be open, honest and relaxed while conversing with your date. You should also be an active, interested listener by asking questions and taking cues from people’s body language. It is scientifically proven that by observing one’s body language you can more accurately interpret the words of another, which is important since this is your first time meeting with them offline and you want to get a good feel for how this person is outside the world wide web.

4. Have An Emergency Contact

Give one person a low down on your night’s plan. Provide your emergency contact with the fore mentioned public establishment’s info so that way if you really are drug off by American Psycho, someone at least knows where to start looking. If you plan deviates, make sure to keep your contact updated.

5. Monitor Your Drinking

This should go for any date with anyone you can’t fully trust yourself with. I’m hoping everyone can read also knows that drinking impairs your judgement but just as a reminder, monitor your drinking and make sure to stay in a place where you are still in control of yourself and your decisions. Also keep your drink with you at all times. 

6. Trust Your Gut

If you’re starting to feel weirded out for any reason, don’t ignore it! Remember how you drove yourself? That will come in incredibly handy if you need to skedaddle!

7. Have A Plan That Ends

By setting a time for the date to end, you’re setting yourself up for a win. It’s either a savior and keeps you from sending a 911 text to your BFF to call and bail you out of the evening or it sets you up for a second date, keeping both of you wanting more! 

Over-the-Top High Tech Flirting: 6 Rules to Remember When You Date Online

Dating site trolls, creepy sex texters and instant messaging prowlers beware! A crew may be waiting on the sidelines to bust you at your next stroke of the keyboard or dial pad button.

It’s not hard to imagine this on the horizon, so don’t say we didn’t warn you. With the ever-increasing popularity of Dateline NBC’s series "To Catch a Predator" we envision that this next extension in the line up of undercover sting investigation programs will follow a similar format, only this time the hidden camera will be honing in on romance unabashed romance seekers or interlopers."I can deal with over-the-top flirting or dirty cyber talk with someone that I know and trust" says Stephanie a SingleEdition.com reader. "But it’s a whole other ballgame when you receive an instant message from an AOL stranger seeking sex talk, or better yet the booty call at 2:00 in the morning, They have got to be joking!"

Unfortunately most of the time they are not. With more than 73% of single adults online, many of whom are searching for friendship and/or love, the indiscriminate messaging can be unsettling, and chicanery can cause long term emotional bruising. Take 34 year old Jason, who thought he had met a long term companion, until one of his friends spotted her actively casting her net on three other dating sites. And with mobile technology making anywhere, anytime dating and relating an option, there is no foreseeable end in sight.

Individuals are far less inhibited and more willing to take chances when there is no one in front of them. Plus the chances of getting caught or being taken up on an offer are so unlikely that many people are willing to push the limits. The problem, according to experts, starts when individuals longing for intimacy and emotional connectedness start lurking and leering compulsively.

So while there are no set plans, To Catch a Pervert seems ripe for a spinoff. Here’s how you can keep yourself off of the watch list:

1. Set Realistic Boundaries: One online dating profile means you’re putting yourself out there; two to three lets them know you are actively searching. Anything more is a red pervert alert.

2. Know Your Audience: Remember. Asianfriendfinders is for Asians, Jdate is for Jews, PrimeSingles for baby boomers and SingleParentDating for non-married single parents. If you do not match the criteria, but have a fetish for those who do, come clean in your profile.

3. Cover your tracks: If you spend more than 2 hours a day on a particular dating site, have clicked on a single person’s profile more than seven times in the last hour, or been out on more than 3 dates with someone(s) within a community, be sure to deactivate the setting which lets others know when, how often and what you do when you are online.

4. Be Sensitive to Timing: Do not instant message your prospect(s) seconds after they appear on your buddy list, especially during daytime office hours.

5. Limit ALL CAPS usage: Keep your voice down, shouting at a stranger is the sign of an angry lunatic.

6. Save the Sex Texts: SMS should be avoided until there has been at least one date whether it’s virtual or real.

And finally, remember, friends don’t let friends ping drunk. If you have had one too many, hand over your keys and your cell phone.

 

Do You Suffer from Yo-Yo Dating?

You’ve been working on your wardrobe, got over your summer fling and survived the anxiety that comes with the June through August wedding rush. So you put down the money to renew your online dating subscription, made sure to upload new photos of the hotter sun-kissed you, and even had a friend edit your personal profile.
 
But suddenly it’s almost New Year’s and you’re still fantasizing about woulda/shoulda/coulda, feeling sorry for yourself and scheduling clandestine rendezvous with your DVR. Stop chastising yourself! Online dating is a game and chances are you are not playing it right. So in order to find the perfect pick, here are the rules of engagement:

Learn Not to Take it Personally: You simply cannot let a few unnoticed pokes or a series of bad first dates send you into a tail spin. Yes, rejection is difficult. But is it rejection when you don’t even know the person on the other side of the screen? And if a person decides to blow you off after one evening of cocktails do you really know what’s going on in their head? So don’t waste time writing their story when you could be working on your own.

If you take a step back you will realize it is not a reflection of what you look like, how much you make or where you live. It all boils down to one thing and one thing only and that’s timing. What’s important to remember is that each person you meet brings you one step closer to the person with whom you are meant to be.

Find the Right Spot to Settle Down: Many singles gravitate to the most popular sites without realizing that profiles can get lost or overlooked in the highly trafficked dating destinations. You are more likely to find success by sticking to smaller, niche sites whose members meet your search criteria right off the bat.

To find a spot that’s right for you, stick with what you know (skills, interests, education or career), where you are (age, location or life stage specific) and/or what matters to you (The environment, fitness, religion). And whether you’re looking for a super tall mate or want to canoodle with a Star Trek fan, chances are you will come across a dating website that’s ideally suited for you.

Imperfect Your Profile: It may not seem obvious but even the most prolific writers have a hard time perfecting their profiles. Here’s what you need to remember. Most normal people shy away from those who (a) disclose their annual salary (b) post aggrandizing personal shots or (c) write themselves to perfection. And, try not to preface your bio by excusing yourself for why you are looking for love on line. Your profile should paint a picture of who you are and should never justify what you look like, so make sure it’s accurate, heartfelt or humorous and uniquely you. For example, rather than rationalizing being a tomboy one SingleEdition.com poster told how she listed all her "shortcomings,"

Old Techniques for Modern Daters

Question:

I’m in my early 30s and I’ve never dated anyone that I didn’t meet through online dating or speed dating. While I’ve met some good people through these means, I always feel it is a little forced and wonder what people did before we had these things. I don’t meet many single men I’m interested in, but when I do I have no idea how to move from knowing someone (a colleague, coworker, friend of a friend, team mate, classmate, whatever) to dating them. How are all these people getting together?

Sherri’s Answer:

Hi Anna!

The frustration you express seems to be the trend these days. So many people are tired of the online dating scene and looking for new (or old) outlets. We have become so dependent on the Internet and other social networking tools like speed dating that it’s incredible to imagine that less than 15 years ago many people were taking out ads in the personals to find a mate in and between blind dates. While Internet & speed dating certainly present some interesting challenges, conversation lulls and moments of discomfort are natural in any setting and take time to overcome.

Regardless of the medium of how two people meet, I always encourage individuals to go beyond the first date or two and remind them to give others the chance to be themselves minus the pretenses. Many people freeze up when they meet someone they are interested in dating and do not even realize that they are giving off the "I am not interested" or "let’s just be friends" vibe. While I cannot say for certain if that is the case with you, it is something you may want to think about for the future.

When it comes to relationships, quality and compatibility vary from person to person. Your best bet right now is to focus on finding the right someone for you and not on those who are coupling off around you. You may want to take a break from the online dating scene for a while and explore other avenues. Here are a few suggestions to help you get started:

1. Try reaching out to friends, colleagues (and if you are really bold, family) and let them know you are interested in being fixed up. Don’t be shy about telling people you are actively searching for set-ups— meeting friends of friends is a tried and often true matchmaking technique because they know you and have your best interests at heart.

2. If time and budget permit, plan to take a group trip for the holidays or invest in a winter time-share with other singles. There are plenty of travel companies and cruises that cater to the single segment including GAP Adventures, Club Med and Singles Travel International, to name a few. To make sure you are paired with other singles before embarking on your journey, call the travel provider and find out who else has signed up for the getaway you are interested in booking.

3. I am also a big fan of the "house party" because they are more intimate, which makes introductions and conversations less forced. With the holidays just around the corner, you don’t have to wait to be invited to one, just invite some friends over and encourage everyone to bring someone who is single along to the party.

4. You should also consider dining out or attending the movies alone on a regular basis. You never know who will be sitting in the row in front of you or at the bar stool beside you and it’s very easy to strike up conversations in those situations.

5. If you meet someone cute in the elevator at work or at the gym, just smile and say hi. You’d be surprise how far a friendly "hello" can take you today.

I hope these tips help and wish you Good Luck!

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