So now that I’m a married woman, I’m supposed to be some sort of expert on love. Or at least that’s the impression that I get when I talk to some of my single friends. I am supposedly an online dating whiz as well, seeing how I was in a 6 year relationship with someone I met on RSVP and I met the hubby on Plenty of Fish.
I’ve been asked for online dating advice, so I thought I’d write it all down.
The best piece of advice I can give anyone on a dating site is not one of those cliched lines you hear bandied about on the interwebs. Those are important to keep in mind, yes… but I doubt you will find what I am going to say published anywhere.
So what’s this magic hint?
USE THE BLOCK BUTTON
This is going to sound extreme but abuse that block button for all it’s worth. Some of the reasons I’m about to list may sound really trivial but in all honesty, they’re all for the best. Why waste your time and effort and someone else’s time and effort if you know that there’s very little chance that you’ll want to even talk to, let alone be in a relationship with? Do you entertain every Tom, Dick and Harry who comes up to you at the bar? Would you put a wild lion next to a zebra and expect them to be buddies?
There’s nothing wrong with being fussy. So use that block button.
Here were my common reasons for blocking someone:
They don’t match what you look for in a partner
I’m not saying to dismiss someone just because they have a tattoo and you don’t like tattoos (if I did that, I wouldn’t be married to my lovely husband!) but to take a look at the complete picture they’ve set before you. Weigh up the pros and cons. Your gut instinct is usually right. If you’re a homebody who prefers to stay home with a good book and a cup of cocoa, do you honestly think that guy with “embarrasing night club photos”-worthy photo on his profile picture is going to be compatible with you? I don’t think so.
I’ll give you another good example. If you come across someone who has kids and you don’t like kids or don’t feel comfortable raising someone else’s kids… block them. Even if you’re on a dating site just to expand your social circle (a really good strategy to take by the way… more on that later).. others aren’t on there for that reason.
Even if you think that the person is a really nice guy, just block. Why? Because the last thing you’ll want to do is waste the poor guy’s time and break his heart when you try to force the relationship to work but then freak out because he, understandably, has to put his kids before you.
They have a threadbare profile
Dating sites vary in terms of price. Some are free and others require that you pay to get in contact with other people. They all have one thing in common though – it is absolutely free for you to create a profile.
If someone is truly serious about making friends/forming a relationship as opposed to a booty call, I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t milk this freebie for all it’s worth. Why wouldn’t you tell someone about yourself in a nutshell on a profile? Why wouldn’t you take the time to make yourself stand out from the rest?
Your online profile is your first impression. If someone can’t make an effort to put up a decent first impression when they can do it in their pajamas in the comfort of their home without having to worry about taking a shower… I shudder to think of how little effort they’d put into that first meeting.
They send you a one line/pleasantry email.
My pet peeve was receiving one line emails. Namely of the “Hi, how are you?” persuasion. It’s such a lazy conversation starter and one that is so easy to shut down. Think about the possible scenario:
Hi, how are you?
And you’re back at square one. Only a more awkward square one all because you were to lazy to initiate a proper conversation.
There’s an old chestnut floating around in the self-improvement arena – if you want to build rapport with someone, don’t ask them a close ended question, ask them a subjective/opinion question instead. In other words, don’t ask them a question which can be shut down with a word or a couple of words. Ask them a question to get them talking – it’s much easier to build on a conversation based on the details they provided you as opposed to one word.
Did you have a good weekend?
Yea, it was good.
What did you do this weekend?
Oh I went to the beach just to chill out.
Nice, which beach did you go to? I generally prefer Floreat beach because of bla bla bla…
How hard is it to phrase an opening question right? NOT HARD AT ALL.
I also found it incredibly insulting to receive one line emails. I invested my time in creating an online profile so that you’d have a better sense of who I am – surely you can make the effort to come up with a talking point in relation to that? If you only have time to send a throwaway line, you’re surely not even interested in knowing me as a person.
Even if I didn’t put much detail in my profile, how hard is it to ask someone what their hobbies are? Or if you don’t want to ask any questions, at least introduce yourself?
Case in point: the last time I was on a dating site, I specifically put in my profile that I wouldn’t respond to one-line emails. Guess what: 80% of my emails were one liners. Since they couldn’t make the effort to make conversation or even pay attention to my profile, I blocked them all.
Again, if you’re too lazy to even type a few extra sentences on the computer… how can I expect you to keep me engaged when we meet in real life? BLOCK.
Who cares if all these reasons sound a bit too harsh. What can I say, I’m Singaporean – it’s all about efficiency. I’m not interested in wasting my time or anyone else’s for that matter.
I know I’ve outlines my reasons for blocking, good ones which I believe EVERYONE should employ so that you can weed out the time-wasters. That said, don’t ever feel like you have to justify your reasons for blocking someone. It’s your life, you know it best and you’re responsible and liable for everything related to it.
Here’s some more food for thought, where online dating is concerned:
Investigate, investigate, investigate.
Go on, do it. If you have already established some form of correspondence and you have a full name, Google it. Look for it on Facebook, Twitter and beyond.
But wait… isn’t that kinda creepy or stalker-ish?
Unless you’re going to obsess over someone’s Facebook profile, then no. Put it this way – whatever you find online in the public arena WITHOUT hacking into a website is fair game. People who upload things which are viewable by others who are NOT their friends are undisputably responsible for their actions. It’s not your fault if they’re either stupid, social-media unsavvy OR exhibitionists who don’t mind sharing what they look like first thing in the morning with everyone on the internet.
Wow, I can’t believe how much I’ve written. And I’m sure some of you might be thinking, man that’s a lot to consider, online dating is not as straightforward as I thought.
Well, I’m not halfway done yet.
If you’re seriously seeking a relationship why wouldn’t you invest the time and effort to ensure that the next relationship you go into is THE ONE? Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t get people who yearn for a happy ending (the whole married with kids and living in your own house shebang) yet bounce from one relationship to another.
If you are so inclined to find the one and settle down, yet manage three partners in a span of two years (and you’re NOT a teenager or a young and reckless, hard-partying twenty-something year old), there is something wrong with YOU. Either you don’t really know what you want or you don’t know yourself and therefore you don’t know who you should be spending your time with.
Which brings me to another point:
Don’t online date because you feel like you need someone to complete yourself. If you’re not comfortable in your own company, you’re not ready to online date. Why? Because if you’re not happy with who you are, chances are, you’ll clutch at anyone who throws a compliment your way and that you’ll settle for something for the sake of instant relationship gratification… which often will not end well.
Treat an online dating site as a way to expand your social circle. It’s not that you’re unhappy with your current group of friends – you just want to network and meet new people.
As funny as this seems, I think that people just want to be loved – and because that urge is so strong in some people, they’re willing to sacrifice parts of their lives and souls (which they shouldn’t have to) in order to be lovable to someone they deem worthy.
Treat online dating as friend finding – don’t invest too much of your heart, just take it as meeting a new friend and seeing if you can strike up good conversation. Can you spend hours chatting to this person on the phone? Can you be honest with this person about everything? Your soulmate is meant to be your best friend after all, so logically speaking, shouldn’t you start as friends first anyway?
If you take this tactic, be very blunt. Make sure you state in your profile, correspondences and face to face meetings that you’re only after something platonic for the time being. If that person is nice, they’ll still be friends with you. If they suddenly go quiet… you don’t want to know them anyway. If they get angry with you – well, you can point out the obvious.
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t expect results overnight. I had a profile up for three years (with long periods of inactivity in between bursts of random profile browsing) before I met Ant. I’m sure if I had tried harder, I might have gotten attached earlier but if I did, I may not have crossed paths with Ant when I did. So don’t be discouraged if it seems like everyone is a dud. Get off the computer and go outside. Give the dating site time to generate more members for you to peruse. Enjoy the sunshine, read a book, go to the beach in the meantime… who knows, maybe you’ll meet somewhere there! lol
There’s more to life than the quest for your soulmate. And as I learnt, often, you end up falling in love when you least expect it. Heck, I didn’t expect to fall in love with the hobo I very nearly stood up!*
If you do decide to proceed with the online hunt, then I bid thee well. Remember, keep the right attitude, use the site to your benefit and employ a little common sense when it comes to safeguarding your own personal safety. You’ll be fine.
Also… USE THAT BLOCK BUTTON!!
*True story, I spied Ant from the safety of my car. He had his long hair and a beard, features which generally turn me off men and I was very tempted to start my engine and drive off. I ended up telling myself I had nothing to lose but a friend to gain… and the rest is history.