‘Dates are like interviews with drinks… ‘
My friends sometimes say that ‘Love will find you when you least expect it.’ I don’t subscribe to this philosophy – I don’t like surprises and I definitely don’t like waiting around for surprises! Sure, you should be happy with your life, single or not, and I am very happy myself, but I don’t believe that there is one single (single!) person who would not prefer to meet someone amazing. That’s why we are on here online – right? My preferred mantra is, ‘If you want a pair of shoes, you have to go shoe shopping.’ And trying on shoes can be extremely entertaining…it also can be annoying, time -consuming and down-right disheartening. But! No one is going to find a new pair of shoes sitting at home, unless not without an internet connection. Right – enough with the dodgy shoe analogy. Back to Online Dating.
Perusing internet profiles: weighing up someone and imagining your perfect future together (oh, is that just me??!) is fun, but there comes a point when you have got to just bite the Dating Bullet. Winks, smilies and clicking on someone’s profile numerous times to let them know that you are interested just ain’t gonna cut it. You have got to get yourself back in the Dating Arena. Brace yourself.
If you are like me, you had probably never given much thought to how you presented yourself to the world. I am contented with my lot: good job, hobbies, family, friends, not too shabby looks-wise (I hope). But wait! Now you are presenting yourself to the rest of the dating world and everyone is now scrutinising all of this information!! Help! Suddenly, your job becomes boring; your hobbies (what hobbies?! is trawling Facebook and composing witty 140 character tweets counted as hobbies?) are too mundane and scant in number; your travelling history and places that you have lived far too pedestrian and predictable. The temptation is to grossly exaggerate all facets of your life – to give it a glamorous make over to entice every potential suitor into thinking that you are the person that he is missing in his empty life. This is very evident when you skim through the multiple photographs of males snowboarding, snorkelling, tackling mountainous terrain and building orphanages in some far flung corner of the globe. All very noble; all very impressive. But in the attempt to make themselves appear to so irresistible and heroic in the eyes of every female, they have actually just morphed into every other man that is cobbling together an internet profile. Women: look beyond the Iron man credentials and read his bio carefully. Men: please put some photos on your profile that are not just fuzzy skiing shots, or you looking sweaty and rugged in the Triathlon that you completed five years ago. Let’s face it – everyone really wants to see your…. face. And perhaps a full-length shot wouldn’t go amiss, either. Keep it simple.
Don’t become text pen pals…. although this may seem tempting. My advice? Exchange emails. Just a few, not too many. This is not a work type situation: you do not need to impart all of your Relationship CV to the other party. Some light questioning about work, hobbies, what the person has done recently – all very chatty, all very polite. Probably best not to divulge the torrid tale of last Saturday’s vodka fest which resulted in you snogging a 20-something in the local pub. Be aware: it is very easy to hide behind the written word, and someone that appears to be just on your wavelength, with such amazing humour and quick-witted intellect can really be just an awkward dullard once facing you across a table in All Bar One. Most people can appear quick- witted, given twenty minutes trawling on Google and some hefty plagiarising. Don’t fall into the Pen Pal Trap. You will only kick yourself for all that wasted time and energy spent once you have met and the spark is so lacking that you are left wondering which one of you is the imposter.
Pick up the phone. You know – that thing in your hand that you use to text, browse, swipe, surf and play games on? Yes, ring her/him. There is something about a voice that can really tell you about someone. I have had some great text conversations with people and then as soon as I have heard their voice, have known that I did not want to meet. I call it gut instinct and so far, it’s always worked. Talking to someone before meeting can also give you a good idea about whether you are going to get along when you actually meet in person. Do they let you speak? Do they ask you questions? Do they want to talk about things that you introduce into the conversation? All good clues for a potentially successful date. Plus, if you have already negotiated a successful conversation over the phone, you are likely to feel less nervous when you meet in person. It’s a win: win.
So, you have the person, day and venue lined up. Now, as for the actual date? Well that, is to be continued….
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