Relationship column: The do’s and don’t for online dating
Editor’s note: This is the second in a two-part series. Visit http://www.vaildaily.com to read the first installment.
If you are on internet dating sites, or if you’re considering such a site, here are some recommendations about how to present yourself in the very best light.
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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
First, treat the search for a new love as an active — not a passive — process, and give it as much time, energy, attention and focus as you do with every other high priority in your life. Treat it with the same priority that you would if you were actively looking for a new job.
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Second, in your online profile, say more about yourself, not less. You want to offer people enough information on you so they think: “Wow. I like horseback riding, swimming, dancing and weekend excursions out of town also.” The more you describe yourself and your interests, tastes, experiences and outlook, the more someone has a chance to feel close to you because they will be able to see similarities and interests the two of you share. What’s unique or different about you that someone else might find interesting or amusing? And don’t say you’re looking for someone who can make you laugh. Those who are good with humor will use it anyway, and those that are not so good will try to use it and come across forced.
Post Recent Photos
Third, you need at least two good, recent photos of yourself: one a close-up face shot, and the other a full body shot that clearly reveals your figure or physique. Don’t camouflage your body, no matter how self-conscious you are about it. (When you’re meeting each other for the first time, you think the other person isn’t going to be checking you out anyway?) Use recent photos only — not ones from several years ago when you were younger or thinner. You do not want a potential sweetheart to be disappointed in you because you don’t look as attractive as your photos. And don’t use photos where you have to crop out someone’s arm around you, or show photos from your recent trip to Italy. That’s for later.
Always tell the Truth
Fourth, tell the truth about yourself. You do not engender trust by being misleading or deceptive or by omitting important information about yourself.
Consider What You’re Looking For
Fifth, What are you looking for? A casual relationship? A friend or companion? Marriage? Children? Say what it is you’re looking for, so someone can know upfront whether they fit that description. If it’s romance that you’re looking for, what does that mean to you? Can you describe it?
Sixth, use humor if you can pull it off.
Seventh, open up. You are not going to meet the person of your dreams by being surface, superficial, guarded, standoffish or independent. Heart-to-heart connections do not develop when we’re being emotionally safe and self-protective.
On your first meeting, look good and dress well. You have to have a good connection, but you also have to have chemistry if anything is to come of this and your attire will either add or subtract from your overall appeal. Also, if you aren’t interested in pursuing a relationship after talking with or meeting someone else, have the courtesy to turn the other person down gracefully. You can be classy if you’re going to say no. It’s no use in hurting someone unnecessarily.
Finally, online dating is riddled with rejection. You reject someone for living too far away or for a lack of chemistry, and someone else will reject you for not being the right body type or for not feeling that there was a good connection between you. The entire process can be quite deflating and frustrating, although it can also be exhilarating. Develop think skin for a while. It’s the exhilarating you’re looking for, but you’re going to have to endure and overcome some of the frustrating and deflating in order to find it.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 21st year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777, or email him through his website: http://www.heartrelationships.com. He is not able to respond individually to queries.