I received a call today from a prospective love coaching client. She was looking to pursue internet dating for the first time, and she had a lot of trepidation. She was concerned about getting started and how to do it smartly and effectively.
We had a long discussion, and I offered her a number of tips. And, they hold true, even if you've been using the web for some time as a dating tool. I have also worked with singles who have been on JDate.com and other sites for a good period, and sometimes they say it's not working for them, and they don't know why. I have known others who have had success.
Consider the following.
*Post a great photo of yourself. Invest in hiring a photographer, if need be. It's worth it. And, you can find services on the web that specialize in internet dating photos. Your photo is your first impression, and the web is a numbers game since so many are pursuing it. You want yours to stand out as much as possible, and capture the essence of you. I have seen many post photos they've had laying in their nightstand drawer because it was easy. One of my clients posted a photo of herself wearing sunglasses, and you couldn't see her face. Another wore a tuxedo, which made him look dapper, but very stiff, yet he had a good sense of humor and was fun-loving. That did not come across. Another posted a shot with part of the arm of someone else he had been standing next to and cropped from the photo. These don't work. You can do better.
*When writing about yourself, don't just post the facts. So many I work with want to get it over with, so they write as if they are extracting info. from their resume. This is a bore. You want to attract someone. You want them to want more. And you want them to want to meet you. So, what can you do? Write with personality and colour. Ask your friends how they would describe you? What do they think would attract someone to you? It can be hard to write about yourself. You're too close to the subject. Be specific. What are some of your interests? Do you like movies? Name your favorite movie. Do you enjoy travel? What is your favorite vacation spot? The last thing you want is to sound generic. Give someone a "hook" to write to you about. You want what you describe to resonate with them, and make a connection. Back in my single days, I placed a personal ad, and I began it by writing "pretty pizza lover....." I thought it was cute, and original, and might get a chuckle. It did lead to some fun responses, and broke the ice conversation-wise, because we began by discussing our favorite pizza places. So, don't be afraid to be playful and clever.
*Don't exchange in an overly lengthy email exchange. Two of my clients had the experience of doing that, and it didn't turn out well in either case. In both instances, they conversed a lot on the computer. Long, detailed notes were exchanged, particularly after hours, when they were feeling somewhat vulnerable and alone. Things were shared. It became personal. All before they met. Way too premature. When they finally did connect in person, the dates proved disappointing. They had set themselves up for potential failure because there was so much expectation. They had built up their hopes too soon. This is understandable, but it might have been avoided. Don't be tempted to put a lot of stock in email. Best to keep your notes brief and to the point, and make a date. There is something to be said for a little intrigue, and email can easily be misinterpreted. It's also common to share a lot in email because the words sometimes pour out, especially if you're a fast typist. But, this isn't the best way to get to know someone. It's a start....but you need to come face-to-face.
*When you do make the date, meet in a public place. Get yourself there and back. Have ample money on hand to pay your own expenses. Remember...you don't know this person, no matter how many emails you've written to each other.
In general, I am a fan of internet dating. It think it's an option worth exploring when you are seeking a mensch, but you want to do it safely and smartly.
I'd love to hear your internet dating stories, especially if you've met a love that way. Do tell.....