How to Write a Great First Message

online-dating

How to Write a Great First Message

Online dating seems to be the way a lot of people get together nowadays. Make a profile, upload some pictures and off you go. It’s a great tool and for some a fun way to spend a couple of hours searching and considering. But when there’s one profile you keep returning to, or someone who you just can’t wait to know more about, it comes time to message them. Some of us just freeze up. What do you say? There are others who aren’t intimidated but keep sending out messages and never get a response. So what’s the best approach? What can you do to make that first message great?  The first step is to actually write something. Don’t abbreviate or use internet lingo, use proper English. Double check your grammar and spelling. Daters on these sites want someone savvy and sophisticated, not a Neanderthal typing with hairy knuckles. Next, watch the physical compliments, especially guys contacting gals. Most women like to be told in person that they are beautiful or gorgeous, but online they want to know that you took the time to read their profile, and found something in there that attracted you. They want someone who is interested in who they are, not just their looks.

Just like everywhere else, there’s competition online. Beyond that, you don’t want to seem a flat, uninteresting dullard. Why not use a greeting that shows who you are? If you are both Star Trek fans, type them a Vulcan salutation. If you both like country music, hit them with a “Howdy.” Even if you just go for a “Hey there” it’s better than just a hello. A line from a movie you both like might work. Strike a casual tone however. Too formal and you might come off as a stick in the mud. Now include what you liked about the person’s profile, and what attracted you to them. What do you both have in common? Spend some time reading their profile and thinking about what would appeal to him or her. Do they like the same books, movies or music as you? Are they a fan of the same sports team? Are they vegan? Do they practice yoga? Do they have six dogs, seven birds and a tank full of man eating piranha just like you? The more things you have in common, the more things you have to talk about and hopefully, the better a match you will make. Use your commonalities to get the conversation rolling. Don’t be afraid to challenge them a little. Ask a question.  Posit a theory or give them some insight that most people fail to notice. Bring up something they might not know like a certain band they might like, a book that would blow their mind or a great little restaurant tucked away in a corner of their neighborhood. The more interesting, the more they’ll want to message you back.

Talk about yourself, but don’t brag. Be humble. Arrogance is a turnoff. You don’t have to write an enormous amount. A paragraph or two will suffice. Be yourself. Don’t be weird unless the person you are messaging has already shown an affinity for your type of weirdness. Can you be relaxed and funny? Go for it. Not sure how it will come off? Then just be upbeat. If you still aren’t getting responses check your selection process. If your search filter includes the words “Ivy League” while you barely finished high school, you might want to rethink that. Make sure the person you are messaging would find it reasonable to date you and vice versa. If you are only going on classic chiseled features, the perfect body, a prestigious career and high salary when you spend your days shouting “You want fries with that?” you may be setting yourself up for a fall. Lastly, be sure to be nice. Sometimes we try to elicit a certain response with something witty and acerbic but come off as mean or bitter. Keep things positive and G-rated, at least at first. For more tips on making your online dating a success read, Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating by Laurie Davis.

How Available Should You Make Yourself for Someone You Like?

computer

How Available Should You Make Yourself for Someone You Like?

In comedian Aziz Ansari’s Live at Madison Square Garden standup special on Netflix, he talks about a common problem many of us who are single often run into, scheduling inconsistencies and how to bridge them. Oftentimes, we start texting with someone. There is a mutual interest. But since many don’t date one-on-one anymore, but meet in groups of friends instead, scheduling a meetup becomes nearly impossible. By the time one group arrives at said bar or club, the other has already moved on. Each side is too afraid to show any real interest. They are each apprehensive of making themselves too available and so lowering their market value. But without accommodating one another or by making the social paradigm so intricate, it becomes almost impossible for the two to get together. Some decry this new paradigm. Others say that when things are right, they will just fall together. But is that true?

Certainly those social butterflies who come complete with an entourage will want to dovetail their newfound love into the fold. But what happens when two people have an entourage? Perhaps you can combine them into a might army. Otherwise, this social paradigm is prohibitive. Rather than a way to take the pressure off, show a person’s social standing and benefiting from that, they are shutting the other out before seeing whether they have something together, before anything can even begin. So what’s the alternative? Certainly you shouldn’t make yourself too available. But others get caught up in the winds of their own social microcosm and miss what could be a terrific romantic opportunity. Consider keeping your options open for one or two nights per week. A little flexibility is required. But if you are bending over backwards without reciprocity, move on. Also think about seeing this person without your other friends, or if that makes you cringe even a smaller subset than the normal group. It’s okay to go on an old-fashioned date now and then too. You don’t have to look like a movie star with a huge following. But alone, if things go awry your friends aren’t there to see it, which is a huge plus.

You could bring up something you both are interested in. Say you are both movie fans and looking forward to the premiere of a certain independent film. You can just invite them because you share a common interest. It’s somewhere you would have been anyway. You can play a little hard to get. But don’t be unavailable or unapproachable either. You may look intimidating, even arrogant. It’s hard to strike a balance. There’s a feel to it. You want to telegraph interest without being too interested. The problem today is people try so hard not to look needy that they end up looking completely uninterested. For ladies, though we live in a more enlightened time, it’s often the case that a man likes to chase you. So play a little hard to get, but give a clear opening to allow him a place to move forward. Also, evaluate how shy he is or how perceptive. Sometimes guys miss what to women seems obvious. You might think you gave him a chance when he didn’t even recognize it. Experimentation is the only way to figure it out, trial and error. For guys, watch her carefully, get to know her and woo her. When things are right, they usually fall into place. But sometimes you have to goose things along a little bit. If you’re doing all the goosing though without anything from the other end, go out with your friends instead. This person is not worth your time. For more on the state of love today read, Modern Dating: A Field Guide by Chiara Atik.

Advice for Dating Over 50

Seniors-Dating

Advice for Dating Over 50

If you are over 50 dating can be a whole different world. Most people are independent at this age, perhaps with adult-age children who are hopefully out of the house by now. These are the divorced empty nesters. They don’t take any guff and know exactly what they are looking for. Today, it’s much easier than in the past because of the internet. But even then sometimes there’s no one that strikes our fancy. A lot of singles in this age group don’t want to be alone but don’t want to feel as though they are settling either. It isn’t easy but a lot of people get in their own way, too. Here is some advice for those dating over 50. First, consider the law of attraction. What you focus on in your life is what you bring into your world. If you are focused on the idea that there are no good men or women left then that is the situation you will dwell in. But if you are secure and happy, entering into each situation in an open-minded and lighthearted way then perhaps the right person will find you. That’s because this newfound positivity will sooner or later attract those who are also secure, open and happy, the exact type most of us would like to date.

Consider how you feel about dating. It often fills 50-somethings with anxiety. Sometimes we just have an unlucky streak. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to put dating aside and later on try again. When you come back to it in a week or two with fresh eyes, take a look at your meeting and selection process. Consider reworking your dating profile. What does it say about you? Who does it attract? Perhaps freshen it up with a new photo, an anecdote or insight and then ask a friend their opinion on it. A lot of people at this stage are afraid. They’ve lost out in one or more serious relationships. They may be bitter or carrying baggage. Perhaps they feel as though they’ve been through the meat grinder and don’t want to do it again. This idea that there is no one of high enough quality is a projection we use to protect ourselves from certain fears about love, while also protecting our status. Here, it isn’t us that have the problem but the available dating pool. Sooner or later those that say these things start to sound like a broken record. It becomes a battle worn, thin piece of armor other minds can easily pierce. Instead, jettison excuses. Deal with whatever interworking makes you feel negative or reticent. Talk it out with someone and work toward a new perspective on your life and your love life, one that’s positive and edifying.

Dating at this age is not easy. We often run in the same circles. Start to break out. Explore new hobbies or old ones you put aside in the days of yesteryear when the demands of kids and career got in the way. Read articles and books about dating at this age. Attend singles events. Try a different website or app for meeting someone new. Pursue interests that are social through Eventbrite, Meetup, a local civic organization or a charity close to your heart. Network with friends and others to see if they know someone who is single that would be a good match. Those who are friends will have other friends who you might have things in common with. Another thing, don’t so easily cast others aside. Some people make their wants and desires in a mate so extensive that they price themselves out of the market. Everyone is imperfect. But judgment has to be set aside for an exploration of who exactly the other person is. A first date is like an initial interview. Often it tells you little of the person before you. Give it until the third date before you say no for sure. Some of the happiest couples weren’t so hot for each other when they first met. It takes time for anxiety to wane, understanding to grow and love to blossom. For more advice for those of the female persuasion pick up a copy of, The Winning Dating Formula For Women Over 50: 7 Steps To Attracting Quality Men by Lisa Copeland.

Should you Have Deal Breakers when Dating?

deal breaker

Should you Have Deal Breakers when Dating?

A deal-breaker is a quality that makes a person unfit to date. These can be traits one does not have, such as employment. Or it could be something a person does have that drives you crazy. Smoking, sloppiness, and having political views opposed to your own are just some examples. Lots of people, especially women, have dating deal breakers. Many people no matter the gender who have been through a divorce often rework their whole vetting process. But some people make their list of wants and needs too stringent. Others use it as a roadblock instead of a checkpoint. This gives the dater the ability to reject anyone while claiming that the fault lies with the poor quality of mates available rather than with one’s self. Those with commitment or intimacy issues often rely on this tactic. Others have a specific picture of the person they want or have in mind, and don’t open themselves up to the actualities and possibilities that exist before them. So at issue is whether or not these deal breakers cause someone to reject a mate without giving them a proper chance. Certainly one shouldn’t be dating everyone but those who have potential. You just have to make sure your vetting process doesn’t accidentally filter out someone who could make you very happy, and whom you could make happy in return.

One problem with deal breakers is that those who carry them hold them as gospel. There may be someone for instance with an opposite political viewpoint who is kind, considerate, attractive, passionate and has a great sense of humor. This is where the decision-making process gets difficult. If you focus too much on this one particular aspect of the person you may lose sight of all their other positive qualities. Of course if your political outlook is such an integral part of your life that it cannot be separated out then perhaps dating someone from the other side of the spectrum isn’t the best of ideas. But for most people this isn’t the case. What’s more, a person’s focus on this issue who doesn’t hold politics as central to their life would find that having this aspect as one of their deal breakers would be getting in their own way, obstructing love for a reason that seems inconsequential. If you have someone that you adore but hate their politics don’t talk politics with them and focus on their other qualities. But putting one quality ahead of others, specifically a quality that seems superficial, may filter out those who have real potential, and therefore obstruct one’s own chance at happiness and love. More important qualities like integrity, wit, charm, and chemistry among others may be eclipsed by less integral aspects. So should we even have deal breakers when dating?

A deal breaker is pivotal only when it focuses on core aspects of a potential mate’s personality that will cause harm to you or the relationship. If a person isn’t considerate, isn’t honest or trustworthy for instance, these qualities can make or break a relationship. Of course there is some gray area here. For instance, if you have severe asthma and the person you are trying to date refuses to give up smoking then a relationship cannot form. But what is at issue is not the smoking per se but their unwillingness to give up a harmful aspect of themselves for a loftier goal, keeping you around. If someone drinks moderately and you don’t like alcohol, if they are responsible then perhaps you can overlook it. But if they enjoy drinking and you are a recovering alcoholic, this person is not right for you. It’s all relative and for each person it’s different. It’s best to have a sketch of what you are looking for. Most romantic comedies start out with two unlikely characters that are good people who end up falling in love, despite their differences. This really happens in life from time to time. You don’t want to stand in the way of your own romcom coming to life. Make sure your deal breakers are things that are significant qualities that can harm you or the relationship. Don’t reject someone outright for superficial quirks. Instead be on the lookout for deep, integral positive and negative qualities that can help or harm a relationship. With the right vetting process in place you should have far more positive dating experiences. For more on the updated guidelines of love pick up a copy of, Not Your Mother’s Rules: The New Secrets for Dating (The Rules) by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider.

If He Has One of these Traits, Still Give Him a Chance

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If He Has One of these Traits, Still Give Him a Chance

Single women are the largest growing demographic in America. That said, some experts think that many women who could end up with a man they enjoy being with, deflect men who show interest in them for small, superficial, inconsequential reasons.  In a new book entitled, Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough Lori Gottlieb explores this very notion. Women have to be more open minded when selecting their mates, and stop considering little things as deal breakers. But what kinds of things is she talking about? If he has one of these traits, you should probably give him a chance.

First, if he is younger or older than you don’t rule him out right away. The truth is that you can’t always select who you jive with. Not everyone has to fit some sort of cookie cutter mold. Instead, realize that people of different ages who have a fondness and compassion for one another, whose souls intermingle when their bodies are at a discrepancy, these are still vital relationships one should give a chance to, no matter what loud mouth ignoramus is spouting about dirty old men, cougars or what-have-you. If someone is older or younger than you are, of legal age of course, but makes you happy and you make them happy, what’s the difference?

Lots of women single a man out for what they perceive as certain physical shortcomings. For instance, if he is bald or balding, if he is a little overweight, a tad two short, wears glasses, has facial hair and so on. Often, women bemoan the shallowness of men and of our culture, which is true. But then they reject someone who doesn’t fit some sort of mental image or standard they themselves have set. Sometimes when we first meet someone we find it hard to look past physical things, that turn out to not be a big deal later on. But the guy who has a bald spot may have also written a book. He may have a great sense of humor. He may speak French and know how to dance the Calypso. If you knew all that upfront perhaps you would give him a chance. So don’t judge a book by its cover. Reserve judgment and get to know the person. That said, if there still isn’t any chemistry, remain friends. Don’t try and force something that isn’t there. If he lives far away but you two hit it off, consider a long distance relationship. Perhaps go and visit. Have him visit you. Consider moving or see if he can move.  Life is too short. And if you live your life to other people’s standards you’ll never be happy. But don’t set yours too high either. There are lots of people with amazing qualities out there that can’t wait to sweep you off your feet, if you’d let them.