This Friday my partner and I will be celebrating our four-year anniversary. We met through online dating. I had been on the site for about eight months before that and I had a blast. I made friends, ate some good meals, tried on lots of outfits and even had some good kisses.
(Photo credit: Nick Antony Photography)
My partner Nick and I
I know you might be wondering how this can be, especially when there are so many horror stories about online dates gone awry. For me it was all about the approach. I put in good vibes, I got excited, I didn’t take it too seriously and in turn, I never had a terrible date. Not a one. Ok, I came close once, but he was more annoying than anything else. I think it was nerves.
But I also avoided these five mistakes than can often attract the wrong people and lead to dates that suck. Want to make sure you aren’t a perpetrator? Keep reading…
1. You don’t know who you REALLY are and what you ACTUALLY want
OK, this is a big one. Knowing who you are is pretty vital for success in every single relationship you will ever have. Actually it’s not just knowing, it’s having the confidence to put yourself out there.
You want to be like: Yup! This is me! I eat peanut butter and pickle sandwiches, talk with my mouth full, am the best Scrabble player you will ever meet and have stinky feet. I am actually none of those things but you get the point. When we are able to stand in the truth of who we are, we are more likely to attract what we want and less likely to accept less than that. It’s really easy to get caught up with wanting to be accepted and liked but here’s the thing, it feels way better to be liked by people that actually get you. So get real with yourself and stick to it.
2. Your profile is vague and boring
If you have ever surfed the online dating ocean you know how important your profile is. You also know how dull it can be to read profile after profile that has the same stuff: I love my family, I like to go out to eat, I like this music, these movies are swell, blah blah, blah.
If your profile doesn’t have at least three sentences that jump off the page then you need to go back to the drawing board. Think about what would make you laugh or cause you to raise your eyebrows. To those of you thinking that you really ARE boring, I will ask you to dig a little deeper. There’s something.
Also, you want to show instead of tell. For example you could say you are a caring person who loves to help those in need, or you could say you run a yoga teacher training each year where your students raise funds to build schools in underserved countries and then travel to said country to build these schools. Which one is more interesting? Spice it up, make people laugh or at least feel.
3. Your pics are all selfies
I know selfies are all the rage and that they are no longer reserved for teenagers who could spend an entire afternoon perfecting one pic. But selfies are not the way to go. First, selfies only capture from your chest up. If you are thinking you could always use a mirror, stop! Slowly walk away from the mirror. You are better than a selfie and you are way better than a mirror.
If you really want to meet an awesome person and have fabulous dates you need to put some effort in. Grab a friend, a few outfits and an actual camera and do a mini photo shoot. Have fun. If you’d rather get a root canal than do a photo shoot then simply be sure to have friends take your picture when you are out and about doing fun things. Here is an actual pic I used on my profile. Make sure your pics tell a story.
(Photo Credit: JJ Tizou)
This is the pic that caught my guy’s eye. He wrote me and said, “Nice rain dance.”
4. You wait too long before your first date
I know there are a lot of creepers and sex fiends out there but waiting too long to meet someone can be a recipe for disaster and a huge time suck. There is a chemistry (or lack there of) that can only be felt in person. Spending too much time in the non-reality of email can create an image of the person that isn’t even accurate.
Say you spend a month chatting it up with this one person and then you finally meet them and you just aren’t feeling it. You just wasted a month. Instead just keep it short and sweet on email. Go back and forth a few times, and then suggest a meet up. Which brings me to my favorite mistake….
5. You ALWAYS suggest meeting for coffee.
Repeat after me, I will not go for coffee. I will not go for coffee. Coffee is blah. When you take a first date to a place that is blah, you are putting a ton of pressure on the two of you to be super interesting and dynamic right off the bat. That is just not fair.
Instead, try a first date at a place that is dynamic all on its own. You could go to a park that has lots of interesting people and street performers, a spot that lets you paint your own pottery, a yoga class, a rock climbing gym, a trampoline gym, a planetarium, a hibachi grill or a funky art spot. It doesn’t have to be a long date, most of these things can be under an hour. If you are sticking with coffee because you are worried about the date sucking then you are already setting the stage for failure. Instead pick a spot that will allow you to have fun no matter how the two of you get along. If you are going to take the time, you might as well have fun.
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