Online Dating Tips

This is where I collect all my online dating tips and Internet dating advice. Together this is quite a lot of information about how to get your online dating experience right and which mistakes to avoid. This is regularly updated with new advice posts, so if you’re confused, disillusioned or disheartened with your dating and lovelife, this is probably the best place to start.


Guest post: Why Online Dating Is Your Friend After a Breakup

If you just broke up and are thinking of getting back in the dating game, then online dating might just be the thing for you. There is always a little hesitation after a breakup to meet someone new after coming out a big relationship. With online dating you don’t really have to hesitate because unless you are completely ready, you are not forced to meet anyone. You can just flirt around and have fun before even going on an actual date.

One of the most common pitfall after a breakup is losing hope in yourself and in relationships. You feel like you will never find “the one” and you are doomed to be single for the rest of your life. But just creating a profile on an online dating site will give you a lot of perspective. Its one thing to tell yourself there’s plenty of fish in the sea and another to actually experience it. When you are on a website with millions of other singles searching for a partner, it’s hard to feel like you will never find someone for you. Just surfing an online dating website will help you realize the odds are in your favor.

Of course, you should have the proper mindset before you actually start dating someone. One bad date can make you start craving for your ex and start thinking about getting back with them. The truth is, you are bound to go on a few bad dates. And that’s completely OK. You should not look at dating as something you should do to finally be in a relationship again. Sure, that’s why you are doing it. But if you think of it as an experience, you will have a lot more fun going through the good, bad and ugly of dating.

Another reason why online dating after a breakup can be beneficial is because you are probably a little rusty with your pick up skills after being in a relationship for a long time. With online dating, you increase your chances of meeting people interested in dating and getting someone to actually go out on a date with you. It’s much easier to learn how to make an attractive dating profile than to learn how to approach people at a bar.

Online dating can help you jump head first into the dating game again. You just need to have the right mindset and remember that you should not go into a relationship unless you are completely over your breakup and are ready for one.

Kevin Thompson has helped thousands of people with breakups. He writes about breakups and getting your ex back at unbreakup.org.

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Add comment July 11th, 2013

Tips for mature online daters

Looking for love can be daunting whatever your age, but it can be especially tricky when you’re over 50. You might find it hard to meet potential partners or to find someone who shares your values and view of the future – or perhaps you simply lack confidence.

For these reasons, online dating, on sites like eHarmony.co.uk, has grown in popularity among mature singles. It enables you to find compatible mature singles and get to know them at your own pace before meeting. Here are some tips and advice for the mature online dater.

Make sure you’re ready

 

First of all, it’s important to know that you’re actually ready for a new relationship. Have you had enough time to reflect and get closure following your divorce or split? Are you ready to move on and have a life with somebody else? If you still find yourself dwelling on your previous relationship and going over everything that went wrong, it may be a sign that you still have some issues to work through.

 

Choose your dating site carefully

 

There are many dating sites to choose from, so it’s important to pick one that best suits you and your needs. Are you looking for a casual relationship or something long-term? Most over 50 daters should choose a site that specialises in mature dating.

 

Be honest

 

Be honest about yourself on your online dating profile. It’s no good posting a picture of yourself from ten years ago or describing yourself differently to how you actually are. If you do, you’re sending out the wrong message and may attract people you’re not compatible with.

 

It’s also important to state exactly what you’re looking for in a potential partner and relationship. If you’re looking for long-term commitment, say so – it’s important to attract the right person.

 

Be safe

 

Online dating is perfectly safe, so long as you take the right precautions. Before you meet your date, it’s a good idea to have some video chats with them. This way you can get a better idea of what they’re really like.

 

Also, it’s important that you tell a friend when and where you’re going on a date and when you’ll be back. Always meet your date in a public place, and don’t disclose any personal information on your profile or in private messages.

 

So, if you follow all these tips, you should have a safe and successful online dating experience. Many older couples meet on mature dating websites and go on to have long-term relationships. Happy dating!

 

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Add comment June 3rd, 2013

Suits you Sir? Online dating for professionals

There are fifteen million single people in the UK currently. If you’re one of them and don’t want to be, the question you must be asking yourself is why can’t I meet the right person? Chances are you are one of the growing class of professional people who just don’t have the time to meet anyone. If you’re a professional looking to meet a special someone, online dating for professionals has to be a credible answer.
Increasingly we are all working longer hours. The 9 to 5 for most professionals is a thing of the past. Many of us are at our desks or in meetings by 8 in the morning, we will perhaps snatch a coffee at some stage, and will eat a sandwich at our desks, sprinkling crumbs into the keyboard while valiantly trying not to drip salad cream down our shirts. Leaving before 6 is unusual and we have to add a long commute into the mix. We go home and do more work, or attend to chores, before collapsing in front of the TV and then dragging ourselves to bed. Sound familiar?
Approximately 15% of people meet their partners through work but if you are a professional you may feel that flirting with colleagues is unseemly. At the same time however, you would like to meet someone who has similar career aspirations to yourself, or is at a similar stage of their career, or at the very least understands that holding down a professional job is demanding and exhausting. For this reason you may well want to turn to an online professional dating site and there are plenty around!
Have a look at the various online dating sites for professionals that you can find, and see which one attracts you most. Once you have identified a good one take the time to fill out the profile in as much detail as you can. Make a date with yourself so that you have the time to do it. If you’re seriously pushed for time, then remember that you don’t have to complete it all at once, and if you absolutely can’t do it, you can pay a freelancer to complete it for you. Either way it is worth investing time and/or money in a good profile. Because it will do a lot of the initial groundwork for you by attracting people to you. Professional online dating sites allow you to meet accessible people and the profile helps to narrow down the focus.
When you’re completing the section of your profile that outlines what you are looking for try not to be too selective. High expectations are fine, but you may be single precisely because you’re not casting your net wide enough. Open yourself up to new experiences and new people. Don’t dismiss them just because they’re a little larger framed or short in the leg than you’d ideally like. If you have chemistry online and the first phone call goes well, then they have to be worth meeting. It’s just a drink after all.
In terms of scheduling a date, if you live locally try meeting for a coffee at lunchtime or a quick drink after work. It doesn’t have to take long; you’re just testing the water. Show interest by arriving on time and asking lots of questions. Be yourself and be confident. There’s no reason not to be.
Once you have met someone you click with you really ought to make the time to see that person, because you can’t keep a relationship going for very long by text message. If you can’t do that then there really is no point in pursuing a relationship at all, is there? Add into the mix that you don’t have any leisure pursuits or any interests and it’s a no brainer. You might need to sit back and take a look at your work/life balance! However, if you commit yourself to playing the game, you’ll find that online dating for professionals is a mainstream solution to a growing problem; give it a go!

Looking for dating sites specialising in online dating for professionals? Try these!

  1. Parship- Don’t fear their lengthy sign up process, this site has some quality people dating on it.
  2. Lovestruck.com – If you’re urban and you know it, you’ll love their no-nonsense approach to professional dating.
  3. Love and friends – A UK only dating site aimed at professionals. Draws a very good crowd, though can be a bit clunky.
  4. Guardian Soulmates – UK site frequented by liberal, cultural professional graduates

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Add comment March 21st, 2013

What are the rules? There are no rules! Getting in touch again after the first date

Online dating can be fabulous fun allowing for lots of flirting and fantasy, so what happens when you’ve finally summoned up the courage to meet up and you’re not sure about how or when you should contact that person again.
In recent years there has been a ridiculous spate of dating rules that seem to originate in the USA. These suggest that you have to wait between three and six days to get back in touch with someone after you have had a date. These rules suggest that if a man calls or texts the same night as the day of the date, or the next day, then he is too eager and therefore desperate. Really? Who makes this stuff up?
If you have been online dating, then obviously the pair of you are already pretty good at communicating and have been in regular touch for a little while at least. If the man then has to wait six days to get back in touch then that’s seriously out of the ordinary for you folks, right?
Let’s stop playing games here for a second, and jumping through hoops like our American cousins do. Fact number one is that it is incredibly daunting for a guy to contact the woman in any case, so why stretch out the pain? Let him get it over with. Fact number two, it is really hard to be a woman waiting for that phone call. Put her out of her misery!
Regardless of how people meet, through online dating, speed dating, at work, wherever, on the whole women are pretty unlikely to contact the guy. It’s old fashioned but it’s true. It is still expected that the man will do the donkey work. This is unfortunate given that it’s the twenty-first century and we all think we’re post-feminist. Bollox. We’re still hanging three steps behind, ladies! I know it’s a radical thought but there is no harm in a woman contacting a man, and if he doesn’t like it, well that tells you something about his character too, doesn’t it? And perhaps even more radical, if you got along really well on your first date you could always close that one by arranging to see each other again, then and there.
So given you have been online dating, and that you’ve had your first date but you haven’t organised a second date yet, and given that that either of you can actually contact the other at any stage you choose, what should you say? Keep it friendly but cool. Ask if the other person arrived home ok, or if’s the start of the day, just wish them a lovely day. Communicate in the way that you have gotten used to when dating online. Leave a message online for old time’s sake.
I’d recommend that you keep the first follow up phone call short and sweet. Make sure you feel and sound relaxed, and that you have something to ask them: ‘what have you been up to today?’ and something to tell them: ‘I did such and such last night with Sam.’ This shows that you are interested in the other person but that you still have a life and other friends. You are interesting. Don’t gush about how wonderful your first date together was, or they were, be restrained and just be yourself. If you are going to ask for another date, ensure you have an idea in mind of something fun you can do together, otherwise you’ll drive each other mad by not having a clue.
So, at the end of the day there are no rules to dating, and any that you come across online or in books are just arbitrarily constructed by people trying to make a quick buck. You need to do what feels right for you when it feels right to you. You only need to be guided by your date, not by what anyone else says. If you have met the right person it will be right for them too. Remember, it’s a complete waste of energy worrying about when to get in touch after your online date. You only have one life, so grab it, and him or her, with both hands!

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Add comment March 18th, 2013

Ten Signs that He or She is not the One

Ten Signs that He or She is not the One
Online dating is a really fun and easy way to get to know someone, but at some stage you are going to have to bite the bullet and meet up with that person in real time. The fact is that no matter how well you have managed to get to know someone through an online dating site, eventually you will have to face the reality of who they actually are, and unfortunately, your suitors may not always match up to your expectations. Here are ten tips to help you decide whether s/he is the one or not!
If they take too long to respond to your messages and you get worked up about it, then ditch them. The fact is, the longer it takes a person to get back to you after you have texted, phoned or emailed etc., the less likely they are to be interested in you. People who are interested in you, behave as though they are. They ask about you, they are concerned about your wellbeing and they want to spend time with you. If you have been online dating with someone who emailed you twice a day for two weeks and then suddenly they email you just once in three days, something is amiss, and the most likely reason is not that they have been busy but that that they are simply not interested in you. Walk the walk.
They start to annoy you. You start to get annoyed by certain things they do or certain aspects of their personality or looks. When you’ve been dating online you don’t get to see the tics, but once you meet in the flesh, the crooked front tooth or halitosis can be a complete deal breaker. It may be shallow but it’s a fact of life. Deal with it.
The other person is secretive. They don’t like you to see who’s calling or texting them, or they claim to work away from home for a few days per week, or they have a job they can’t tell you anything about because they’ve signed the Official Secrets Act, or they have a disabled parent so you can’t phone them at home. It’s all BS. Run!
You can’t be yourself. You have built yourself up online to be their idol; you’re a Prince or Princess Charming. Now you find that you can’t fart, blow your nose, smoke, eat or cry in front of them. This is not a goer!
You think you can change an aspect of their personality or how they look or behave. You can’t. This person is not right for you. Move on.
You’re not a priority in their life. While you were dating online they wanted to know all about you and what you were doing. Now, out in the real world you find that most of their plans do not include you. S/he tells you what s/he is doing at the weekend and there is no space for you and no invite. Next!
You don’t feel special. The person that you bring into your life should help to make you feel good. They are your wing person. They care about you. They are supportive. They buy you sweet gifts, they text you daft messages and write silly poems. When you are with them you feel nurtured and that you are their number one. If that isn’t happening, if they are too busy ogling someone else, or they put you down, either to your face, or in public, you need to head on out and do not turn around!
You don’t get a chance to meet their family and friends. If you are not a part of their whole life then you’re on a hiding to nothing. Taxi!
Your friends don’t like them. Dating online is an intensely private process that you do alone, although you may have mentioned to your friends that you had met someone. When your friends meet your new partner you will sense fairly quickly whether your friends like your new mate or not. While it is not always the case that your friends are right by any means, it is worth taking into consideration what they say. If it isn’t just jealousy and sour grapes on their part, think about their perceptions and make amends if you can. Ultimately, however, what you do is up to you, not your friends or family.
No chemistry. Awww! Everything about the other person when you were online dating seemed sensational. Your profiles were a complete match and your messages and emails were full of fun and laughter. Online, they were exciting, interesting and sexy. In person their zip has zapped. You realise you are more in love with the fantasy image of them that you created online than you ever will be in person. It happens. You may even grieve a little for that online love. Be polite and let the real them go and then get back on that website and start the process over again!

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Add comment March 14th, 2013

Speed Dating vs. Online Dating – which one should you go for?

In our increasingly fast paced world, dating in many ways is becoming progressively easier and more high tech. These days you pay a few gold coins to a website or a dating agency, and before you know it, you can tap into a wealth of hot singles. Well, theoretically at least! It is entirely a matter of personal preference whether you prefer online dating to speed dating, or vice versa, or perhaps you have never tried either, but although you might be wary of one or the other, they both have a lot going for them.
Take speed dating for example. Speed dating gives you a fun night out. It tends to take place in a glitzy and sophisticated bar and you get to dress up to the nines, and take a friend along to provide Dutch courage! Try not to get too nervous or read too much into it; you need to approach evenings like this with a relaxed and fun attitude and take it all with a pinch of salt.
The big advantage of speed dating of course is that you are guaranteed to meet other singles (ostensibly). Everyone is there for the same reason; they are trying to find someone just like you are. You sit at a table and chat to a stranger for a fixed amount of time, usually between 3 and 5 minutes, although occasionally this might be up to ten, and tick a box if you like them. Then a bell rings and the guy moves on to the next table. The organisers take care of the details and email the next day with your matches. Your personal data is never shared with anyone else. You can choose to pursue a follow up date or not.
With speed dating you need to remember that first impressions count a great deal. You really have to be looking your best, and you ought to be capable of making small talk and looking someone in the eye; so if you’re desperately shy, speed dating is probably not for you!
Online dating on the hand is much slower than speed dating and is almost the complete opposite. You set up a carefully crafted profile that presents a face to the world that you are happy to display and you never have to provide spontaneous answers to probing questions. You can take your time to answer any messages and think about how you wish to answer without worrying that you’ll blurt out some ridiculous nonsense that you’ll never live down.
The other great thing about online dating is that unless you’re going to be conversing by web cam or Skype, you can attend to your messages and profile while sat in your pyjamas eating a sherbet dib-dab if you really want to.
Online dating also provides you with a vast array of interesting people all with the potential to date. As far as you know they all want to date you too. But therein lies the drawback. With online dating you can never be sure that people are who they say they are. They can misrepresent themselves, or just downright lie. This might be their job, their appearance, their age or their relationship status. Until you’ve made eyeball contact and gotten to know them you need to use a certain amount of caution.
The other drawback with online dating is that you will have a tendency to create mental images of another person, or even of yourself. Eventually the bubble will burst when you have met and cold reality strikes.
However, at least if you have been getting to know someone virtually you have already broken the ice. Speed dating can be quite awkward especially if you feel everyone else at the event is more gorgeous, glamorous, sociable and bubbly than you are, damn them, or if you don’t hit it off with the person sat opposite you and seriously can’t think of anything to say. It can be quite difficult to make small talk at first but after a few rounds, if you’re not bored of the repetitive process already, you should hit your stride and be able to ask some questions.
Probably the very worst thing that can happen when you’re speed dating is that you get an email from the organisers the next day explaining that you made no matches. In some ways, online dating is a hell of a lot kinder to your ego. If you’re rejected on an online dating site, you can simply message a new person to begin the process again, and reach for another sherbet dib-dab.

Want to have a go at speed dating? Here are some companies running some very popular events:

Grapevine Social

Single Solution

Slow Dating

Urban Social

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Add comment March 11th, 2013

Dating online: how fast should you move?

I’m often asked whether slower paced online dating is better than fast paced, but I find it can be difficult to generalise. Either can cause issues. On the one hand you may end up in a relationship that is based almost entirely on physical attraction, and on the other you may get caught up in a fantasy world of your own making.
The first thing to consider about moving very quickly from online dating to seeing each other and starting something physical is the old fashioned notion that one or both of you are too ‘easy’. You’ll have your own thoughts on this and no-one has the right to judge, but do consider that there is nothing very special about jumping in the sack with someone straight away, unless of course that’s exactly what you’re looking for; and some people are. But you haven’t built up any emotional bond, so the physical is all you’re left with. A few weeks down the line when you’ve performed every move from the Kama Sutra, what’s left?
Another issue about moving too quickly is that it can smother the other person. If you are spending too much time together there is no breathing space. The best relationships work when both of you are still doing your own thing and seeing other friends and family, otherwise what do you have left to talk about? In fact, you are running the risk of becoming dangerously obsessive if you don’t slacken the relationship reins from time to time, and believe me, that way great pain lies.
The advantage of taking things slowly when you’re dating online is that you are able to get on with your own life and your new friend is a welcome addition. If you’ve been burned in a relationship you’re naturally going to be more cautious, so slower paced online dating will probably work well for you. You can take time to get to know the other person and just have fun chatting and flirting. You need to be careful not to be too slow however, and leave days or a week between messages and emails, because it will feel like you’re not interested at all. You have to give out the right signals. If you are caught up in a situation where you are responding to messages and emails slower than a deceased tortoise, then you really have to ask yourself whether you are interested in continuing to pursue the relationship.
What you need to be aware of is that slower paced online dating, while building a great deal of anticipation, can result in a relationship that has become more of a creation of your own mind, a fantasy, rather than anything that is based in reality. You can build a scenario of a wonderful imaginary romance in your head that can last weeks or months, and then when you meet, the bubble is savagely popped and you can get badly hurt. The problem here is that you spend a great deal of time getting to know someone without really ever knowing them properly. That can only ever come from meeting in person.
Faster paced online dating has the perk that you will speak on the phone more quickly, and then meet up. This has the biggest advantage of all because you will quickly be able to see what strange tics and characteristics the other person has; do they smell, dress strangely or walk oddly? These things are really important because great email chemistry is not the same as great up close and personal chemistry. Words can hide a world of weirdness.
Somewhere in between laborious slower paced online dating and drop your pants faster paced online dating, the magic does exist for you. I disagree with other experts who say there are ‘rules’ to online dating, such as, respond to two emails, get the phone number and then meet or that you should never respond to a ‘wink’ within the first 24 hours. That’s ridiculous. There will be a timeframe that works for you both; take it steady but don’t hold the relationship up unnecessarily. Make sure that you can satisfy both your physical and emotional needs and that you keep seeing the other people in your life. Its trial and error and you will quickly find what works for you!

Want to move fast? Some sites where people generally take things off the site quickly are Lovestruck.com, MySingleFriend.com

Feel like taking things slower? You’ll most likely feel at home with Parship.co.uk or eHarmony.

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Add comment March 7th, 2013

Online Chat on Dating Sites

Recently there has been an explosion in chat rooms dedicated to online dating and there are dozens, nay, hundreds to choose from. One of the biggest advantages of using the chat room technique to find a special someone is that you can draw from an extremely large user base. There has to be someone, out there, online, that you can forge an attraction with, surely? There are chat rooms for every possible sexual persuasion and flavour combination that you can dream up. LGBT? No problem. Over 40? Absolutely fine. Christian? God yes. Only fancy men wearing aprons? You got it. Just Google what you’re after and you’ll find something. (OK, I may have lied about the men in aprons website).
First off, you’re going to need balls of steel to find the chat room that is right for you. If you try out some of the free ones you are instantly going to be put off by the number of eleven year old boys practicing their swear words and using what they perceive to be seriously arousing chat. Ugh! Just close that tab and head on over to somewhere else. If you are registered with any of the larger and more established dating sites then their chat rooms are going to be a much better place to start, so I would recommend using their facilities for chatting. There are some good free sites, but one I visited used a pop up the second I went into chat offering me soft porn. Goodbye!
Once you have found somewhere that is relaxed and offers a more mature and reasonable level of online conversation then you’ll probably find that you’ll enjoy it. In a decent online chat room you are going to be able to mingle, chat and flirt with singles from across the globe. Feel free to join in the flirting and innuendo – it’s expected!
What is really interesting about online chat on dating sites is that if you meet someone who uses words well, then that in itself can raise their attraction for you. You may fall in love, just a little bit, with their writing and language. And why not? Someone who expresses themselves well through their language may well express themselves well elsewhere. Just saying!
One of the real advantages of chatting on an online dating website is that if you’re shy, out of practice or notoriously bad at talking to, or flirting with, the opposite sex then an online chat room can provide you with the perfect forum in which to practice your skills. You can go at your own pace and take risks. You’ll grow in confidence and if you spend a while chatting with someone and then meet them later, at least the ice is already broken. If you’re not confident about your looks, online chat allows people to get to know you first and like you for whom you genuinely are.
There are of course, a number of challenges for you to look out for. Online chat is easy to use and you cannot trust everyone. Some people cruise from chat room to chat room and they may have something to hide; they may be married, they may be crazy. Take everything with a pinch of salt until you know better.
Some of the biggest advantages of chatting online are: that you do it in the comfort of your own home; it’s easy; and it’s safe as long as you protect your personal information. Plus you can flirt as much as you like; be daring or demure, a goblin or a princess. You get instant replies to questions and can build a great rapport with someone who sparks that initial attraction.
Online dating using chat rooms can be genuinely exciting and great fun. You may have to shovel a lot of muck before you find your diamond but you’ll laugh a lot in the process. Be prepared for the frustration of immature users cramping your style and people telling great big porky pies! Schedule an evening of chat as an entertaining treat when there is nothing on the TV. Relax with a cup of tea or glass of wine and your favourite snack and just join in the fun. You never know who you might meet!

Here are some popular dating sites that offer chat and video chat and often have special offers and free trials:

match.com – still the most popular dating site in the UK. Use chat to set up dates and get a quick idea of who you’re talking to, but beware of people who want to use it for online sex.

Cupid – a big UK site which has also branched out into other countries: Ireland
The US
Canada

Australia
New Zealand

Like on match – you’ll find some users are keen to use the chat system for more than just getting to know people, but it’s useful nonetheless.

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DateTheUK – another big UK site where chat is a very popular feature.

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DatingDirect.com – a long established site with an active chat community.

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OKCupid – a popular free dating site.

Posted by ODB Staff

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Add comment March 1st, 2013

How mature singles are finding love in the UK

If you’re above the age of 60, dating can seem a daunting affair. You might have been out of the dating world for some time, whether you are widowed or alone due to divorce. Dating when you’re older may feel scary, but finding love is just the same at any age. These days, there are plenty of ways to meet your match. Here are some ways you can find your way back onto the dating scene.

Take up a hobby

Join a club or class which focuses on an activity you enjoy. Classes are a really good way to meet people who share your interests. This will put you in great standing for a good relationship. Whether you enjoy sports, reading or the theatre, you’ll be able to find a class which will suit you.

Be spontaneous

If you’ve just come out of a long relationship or a marriage, you may be feeling like you’re in a rut. Long-term couples can become too accustomed to each other to the point where they lose sight of what they want. If you try something you’ve never considered before, you could give yourself a new lease of life.

Use an online dating site

In recent years, dating websites such as eHarmony have shot up in popularity, and new profile matching features make it easier than ever to find a mate.

It is no longer unusual for older people to find new love online – for more information about how to get started, visit this page.

Try a matchmaker

Another way to meet a potential match is to visit a local matchmaking service. Matchmaking services have been around for a long time and provide a personalised way to meet your perfect mate. Potential matches are hand-picked by staff and dates set up according to your personal preferences.

Take a trip

Holidays for singles are offered by many cruise lines with group activities and flexible trip plans for any individual. Groups can be organised by age, giving you the best chance to meet singles in a similar position to yourself. The best part is that you may get to visit a place you’ve never been to before while searching for love.

Be patient

The world of dating may have changed somewhat since you’ve been married or in a long-term relationship. There are many different ways to meet people, particularly with online dating services. Ask advice from those around you and pay attention to your wants and needs. Though times have changed, you’re still just as likely to find happiness.

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Add comment November 19th, 2012

5 types of date to avoid when looking for love in Canada

The first date is an all-important milestone in a nascent relationship. Get it wrong and there may be no recovery. Because neither partner yet knows that much about the other, the first date must provide the space for a bond to be created. Too many make the mistake of assuming that their choice of activity or venue will speak for them, so that they don’t have to.

1. Nightclub

Nightclubs are loud, brash and usually filled with slightly/very drunk people. None of these things are conducive to a good first date. If your prospective partner has expressed an interest in dancing, for example in their eHarmony Canada website profile, a better choice would be a class in a specific form of dance – say, swing. If neither of you have done it before, the learning experience can be fun and a good way to break the ice.

2. Family event

While being proud of your family is a positive attribute, forcing someone to meet them on a first date is a bad idea. For one, it presumes that you are forming a long-term relationship, which isn’t what a first date is about. Secondly, meeting someone else’s family can be intimidating. A first date is nerve-wracking enough without the prospect of having to impress parents or siblings. Similarly, it’s wise to avoid involving friends in first dates. These things come later, once a secure bond has been formed.

3. Remote cabin

While it may seem romantic on paper, whisking someone away to a remote destination can cause unease on a first date. After all, neither partner knows a great deal about the other. Also, the isolation places a lot of pressure on the couple to generate their own entertainment. This can put an unnecessary strain on the budding relationship. The ideal first date requires a little outside stimulus to help the couple through potentially awkward moments.

4. Cinema

A trip to the cinema forces couples to be silent, which isn’t a great way to spend a first date. The darkness and the requirement to stare straight ahead are also major barriers to communication. If you’re not a great talker and can’t stomach the prospect of an intimate dinner date, one piece of dating advice is to find an activity that allows for both entertainment and conversation. Daytime dates are good options in this case, as they open up a lot of outside activities. These don’t have to be exceptional – a visit to the local farmer’s market can be all that’s needed.

5. Extreme sports

While a little adrenaline is good, too much isn’t. Unless your date has expressed an interest in a particular extreme sport, don’t inflict what might be a frightening experience on them. If you must suggest a participatory sport, choose something relatively tame and uncompetitive such as bowling, crazy golf or ice skating.

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Add comment November 15th, 2012

I think someone I know is being scammed online, what do I do?

Sometimes, you suspect someone close to you is being scammed on an online dating site. It could be a relative or a friend looking for love who’s come across something he or she think is going to be the next love of their lives. When they tell you about it, though, it doesn’t quite sound right. Something makes you suspicious. Maybe you can’t even put your finger on it. If it’s a parent, this could be particularly tough, because you might end up feeling like you are being overly suspicious of anyone your mother/father like.

Because I’ve written a few posts about scammers on here, I have a few pages with hundreds of comments, each talking about a different scammer. Women exchange stories and have found these pages very useful when trying to decide whether the person they are talking to is a scammer. But for these women to get here, they have to have had the initial suspicion to Google the guy’s name. Sometimes, though, people come here because someone else has fallen for a suspected scammer. If the person being scammed doesn’t suspect anything at all, it’s harder to convince them that they are being scammed. Here are some tips that might help:

1. Be very tactful – this is a delicate subject. The person you’re trying to save may actually be in love with the scammer. You need to break it to them gently, rather than be forceful.

2. Don’t make them feel stupid – scammers are pros and they’ve perfected their method over the years. People who are vulnerable or new to the Internet may appear silly to you for having fallen for the scam, but without prior knowledge of how things work, these scams can actually look like the real thing.

3. Act quickly – the more involved the person becomes with the scammer, the harder it’s going to be to extract them and the more painful it’s going to be for them.

4. If your relative/friend tells you they’ve started dating online, a good way around the problem is to give them a lecture about scammers before they even start communicating. Tell them the telltale signs of a scammer (you can find some here and here) so that if a scammer does contact, they will be able to spot him straight away. This method is also good as a way to avoid having a conversation with them about any specific person they may be talking to. It might make them suspicious enough to search for more info themselves.

5. Perform the checks on the scammer yourself – Google their name for one, which may show you all you need to know.

6. If this person has contacted your friend/relative via an online dating site and still has a profile there, contact the dating site customer service department. They may not admit that this is a scammer (to save face), but the profile will be taken down quickly, as they will be able to tell it’s a scammer from just looking at it. You should be able to use this as proof.

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Add comment October 21st, 2012

Getting your dating profile to fit the site you’re on is key

I’ve written here before about the need to tailor your dating profile to your “audience” (which in this case means the person or people you would like to meet), but what I’ve noticed a lot of people do is write one profile and then use it on several sites. Now, there’s nothing particularly wrong with this. It can take a lot of time to hit a winning formula with your profile and most people hate writing about themselves. So once you get a good dating profile together you tend to feel that your troubles are over and now you can just plonk that on any number of dating sites you fancy trying and it’ll do the trick. But dating site vary quite greatly not just in the type of crowd that hangs out there and what they’re generally looking for, but also in conventions and the sort of house style, if you will. For example, if you go on a site like Lovestruck, you’ll find profiles geared towards busy London professionals who are generally keen to take things offline quickly, meet for lunch or a drink after work and generally not spend too much time reading lengthy profiles online. Try to use the profile you’ve come up with on one of the personality testing, take it slow, long term relationship NOW websites and you may well stand out, but in a bad way.

You want your profile to stand out, you want it to appeal and attract and most of all, you want it to represent who you are, but you also want to stay enough within the limits of the site so as to fit in and not put off people. This means that you should start by running a search as if you were the person you want to meet. So if you’re a straight guy, you run a search for guys, if you’re a straight woman, a search for women. Then start looking at the profiles you see. What do they mostly have in common? Are they short or long? How many paragraphs do people tend to write? This is probably the amount they’d be willing to read. In general, people who write longer profiles are ones looking for more serious relationships, as they have the inclination to dedicate more time and effort to their profile. But write too much and you end up appearing desperate and lonely when compared with other, shorter profiles on a site where most people keep things concise. Your best bet is therefore not to stray being a paragraph more than the general profile length consensus. This is where you also learn how to avoid cliches. Everyone thinks their witticisms are unique and entertaining, but read a 100 profiles and you’ll end up reading the same stuff over 50 times. Learn from others’ mistakes and know what not to put in your profile.

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Add comment July 11th, 2012

Online dating codes: reading between the lines

People are always saying that online dating is a lot like searching for a job. I agree. A dating profile, in a sense, is much like a CV and job ad rolled into one, even though nobody will expect you to include information about your past relationships or give references for exes (can you imagine how funny that would be?). Even if you’ve never tried online dating, you’re probably quite familiar with the job search and application process. Job ads have codes – things that any experienced job searcher would be able to see and immediately know what type of potential employer the job was posted by. Similarly, online dating also has codes and reading between the lines can save you a lot of time and hassle later.

What do I mean by codes? Well, if you were searching for a job and saw an ad that asked for a “hardworking person” who’s “not all about the money”, you’d probably suspect the job is badly paid and that the employer expects you to work long hours regardless. If you saw a job ad asking for a “high calibre candidate”, you’d know a significant amount of experience and expertise was required for the job.

Likewise, online dating has different types of codes that imply certain things about the person whose profile you’re looking at and the type of relationship they’re looking for.

Online dating codes that describe people

Words like curvy, BBW, cuddly, more to love, etc. are often used by overweight people to describe themselves, especially women. On the whole, those are pretty self explanatory.

Online dating codes that describe requirements

No strings attached

Looking for fun

Webcam chat

These are all code words for wanting casual sex (webcam chat more often than not means net sex). Sometimes it can actually mean the person is already attached but wants something on the side as well.

Online dating codes people give you without realising

Sometimes people will give away more than they intend, which I see as nature’s way of warning you off people who are blatantly not ready to date again.
Beware of any man going on about how he expects women to pay their own way and be financially independent (cheap) or anyone going on about how they hope you’ll “prove them wrong” about all men/women being bad (too much baggage).

What other interesting codes have you come across?

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1 comment March 10th, 2012

Dating: to compromise or not to compromise?

Here’s a dating thought for the day. There’s often talk of how fairytale romance (think Disney) has made us have unreasonable standards when it comes to love. Little girls are taught to wait around for Prince Charming and many of us grow up feeling like we’re missing out on something amazing, always looking for the perfect man or woman and feeling vaguely disappointed by the reality of our relationships.

So the answer to that? We’re told compromise is a must, that nobody’s perfect (including, of course, us) and that we need to accept the fact that there is no Prince Charming. All good, important stuff, but here’s the thing. Take this backlash to the extreme and what do you get? Another fairytale! In this fairytale, the beautiful prince is trapped in a frog’s body. You kiss the frog (i.e. compromise) and it turned into your wonderful Prince Charming, giving you the ultimate happiness you desire.

Now, I’m not disputing the fact that relationships often involve compromises, especially the ones you want to last. I’m also not disputing the fact that a significant number of happy couples would never have gotten together had they not compromised on things they once thought mattered.

What I’m saying is that it’s important to know when to compromise your standards and when to hold out. The mere act of compromising won’t be your magic key to unlock the door to ultimate happiness.

In matters of love, you should lead with your heart and your body and not with your head. That is, unless all you want is a child and you’re willing to make your love life nothing more than a business transaction to attain said child.

If you don’t fancy someone and there is no chemistry between you, don’t force it. My experience of talking to couples who got together even though they didn’t fit each other’s “type” has taught me that there was always some sort of spark there that made whoever it was who was uncertain at first give their partner a chance anyway.
If you feel that you have to ignore your heart or your body because you feel that you ought to be in a relationship for some reason or other, then you’re onto a loser. All you’ll get at the end is the same frog you started off with.

As much as some online dating sites would like you to think that your intuition and instincts fail when it comes to forming happy, long-term relationships, let’s not forget that people have been loving each other for thousands of years.

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1 comment May 26th, 2011

5 things you can do to make your Facebook accont online dating ready

Most people have Facebook accounts nowadays, though in my experience, even the most avid Facebook users would shy away from using the site for strict online dating. When it comes to hooking up with complete strangers, rather than friends of friends, people still prefer the relative anonymity of dating sites. But let’s face it, the Facebook / online dating crossover isn’t just about the things you do by choice. Once you reveal enough about yourself to your new online beau or belle, they’re going to be rushing to Facebook and checking out your profile. Some may even ask you for your Facebook details, making it hard to refuse. This opens up a whole can of worms, from having your Facebook profile embarrass you with bad photos to giving personal information out to someone who may turn out to be a freaky stalker. You want to make sure your Facebook is ready for this onslaught in every possible way.

Here are 5 things you can do to make this integration smoother.

1. Watch your profile pic.

You’ve gone all out with your dating site pics, showing off your best side, but your Facebook pic is a blurry, unflattering shot of you pulling faces while drunk at a party. FAIL. No matter what you do, your Facebook profile pic will be seen by anyone looking at your profile, so if you’re trying to get dates, make sure it’s also up to scratch.

2. Make everything private

You can make most things on your Facebook profile private to anyone who isn’t already your friend or your friends’ friend. You then have the choice of who to share your information with, rather than the choice being forced upon you. Just go into your privacy settings and make sure nothing it set to “everyone”.

3. Control your tags

You don’t want last night’s drunken hen or stag night shots popping up on your profile when you’re trying to charm your future husband or wife. Luckily, Facebook lets you decide who can see these in your privacy settings. Choose “only friends” or even “only me” and the problem is solved.

4. Stop random people from searching for you on Facebook

In the “connecting on Facebook” section of your privacy settings, you can control who can search for you on the site. Setting it to everyone means any random person can look you up. This may mean more friends from your forgotten past, but it could also mean people you don’t know very well can look up your profile. If you reduce the permissions to “friends of friends” you may well lose out on some friends (like Facebook tells you), but you may win more peace of mind.

5. Make a special group for your online dating friends

It may be more convenient for you to add your new online dating buddies to Facebook than continue chatting to them on the dating site, especially if they seem fun and friendly. If you do, consider creating a new friends group and adding them all to that. This way you can control what they see more easily (for example, the aforementioned tagged photos) and collectively avoid them on Facebook chat if you’re not up to being sociable with people who are not close friends. The various privacy options all have a “custom” option, where you can hide stuff from a particular person or group.

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Add comment May 14th, 2011

Cyberstalking and scamming on social networking sites

Recently, more and more people have been commenting on this blog and saying they’ve met scammers on Facebook, pretending to be British or American soldiers stationed abroad. It seems social networking is turning into a battle ground as well.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, a recent study has revealed that social networking sites have overtaken dating sites when it comes to stalking. Cyberstalkers can target complete strangers on social networking sites such as Facebook and the victims can be both women (60%) and men (40%). Unlike real life stalking that’s often the result of a past relationship or an actual acquaintance, cyberstalking does not depend on the victim having more than a casual acquaintance with the stalker. Sometimes, the stalker can be a total stranger.
Unsurprisingly, cyberstalking has overtaken real life stalking. After all, it’s easier to do and you don’t actually need to know the victim…

This cyberstalking can involve repeated unwanted messages or it can involve serious intimidating and even death threats. It would seem the Internet is the choice of weapon for weirdos who think the anonymity it offers puts them above the law or under the radar.

You can read the Guardian article about the survey here, which offers advice on what to do if you’re being cyberstalked.

But I’d like to offer a different sort of advice. Websites like Facebook are notorious for compromising your privacy in all kinds of ways you’ve never even dreamed of. If you want to protect yourself from stalkers, consider taking the following steps when using Facebook:

* In your privacy settings on Facebook, avoid using the “everyone” setting for sharing anything such as your status updates, photos, etc.. Show as little as possible of your profile to strangers.

* In your “connecting on Facebook” settings (also in the privacy settings), you can decide whether you want everyone to be able to send you a friend request, message you, see your friends’ list, etc. It’s up to you how private you want to be. If you’re happy just being in touch with your friends and their friends, you can stop anyone else from every contacting you or adding you as a friend.

* I know people love all these checking in services, but personally I think they suck. The right to privacy is something that was bought in blood from big brother totalitarian governments. Now whole generations are happily broadcasting their whereabouts to the world without giving it a second thought. Apart from the businesses themselves, the only people who care about the fact that a person’s checked in at a supermarket or a petrol station are obsessives and stalkers. Seriously. I say avoid using these services completely, not just because they’re compromising your privacy but also because any tiny benefits they could give you are totally outweighed by the benefit to the businesses involved and the fact that they are using you for free advertising. Your privacy is precious so don’t sell yourself short.

I know a bar that offers people a free drink if they check in there 15 times. I’d rather stick with a paper punch card or, a radical thought, buy my own drink and maintain my privacy (and dignity). No free drink is worth advertising to the world where I am at any given moment 1984-style.

If you must use these services, for example, Facebook’s one, make sure you limit who can see your check ins (also in the privacy settings). I suggest limiting this to your friends only and choosing your Facebook friends wisely.

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Add comment April 12th, 2011

5 rules for writing a good first message on an online dating site

Most people turn to me for help with their online dating profiles, but one question I keep being asked is what makes a good first message. I thought I’d write a post about it to give a clearer idea, though obviously these things are pretty individual. There’s generally no one size fits all solution when it comes to love. At the end of the day, if you’re not the other person’s cup of tea, you’re going to have a hard time getting through, even if you write like Shakespeare.

So here are 5 handy rules for writing your winning first message:

  1. Make it personal
  2. Both men and women like to feel special. Sending everyone you come across a generic message may save you time, but is likely to also get you fewer responses. By making a reference to the particular person you’re contacting – asking a question, saying you like something in their picture or a particular thing in their profile – you’re more likely to get their attention. Of course, there’s nothing that says you should write a completely new message each time. You can use a generic message as a base, as long as you add a little bit of uniqueness each time.

  3. Be polite
  4. Unless you’re dating on a sex site where anything and everything goes, keep it clean. You never know what the other person is looking for, so until you do, don’t make any assumptions. Coming on strong or being graphic or physical is more likely to put people off than anything. Beware of doing things like telling women you contacted them because you liked their chest, for example (yes, people actually do this). This is why sending messages when you’re drunk is never a good idea.

  5. Be casual
  6. You may think you’ve just found the man or woman of your dreams but coming on too strong too soon is likely to make anyone run away. To begin with, keep your message friendly but non-committal. Saying you liked someone’s profile (remember, be specific) and would like to get to know them is cool. Telling them you think you’re in love with them straight away is likely to make you look like a stalker or a scammer.

  7. Make it of a reasonable length
  8. And by reasonable I mostly mean not too long. While sending just a “hi” is usually not enough, writing volumes and volumes of text in your first message is more likely to get people to run away screaming than a boring, single word message. A single cheeky sentence, a single paragraph or, at most two or three is all that you need to make contact. If you want people to have easy access to information about you then put it in your profile. There’s no need to repeat any of that in your message as well. Simply tell the person to check you out if he or she is curious.

  9. Have a hook
  10. This one is somewhat related to making things personal, but involves thinking ahead and making life easier for the person you want to talk to. A hook is something to lure the other person into entering or continuing a conversation with you. Asking questions is usually a good hook – the person is invited to answer the question, so short of giving you the ultimate clue and ignoring you, they’re likely to say something. For your hook, you could comment on something you saw on someone’s profile and ask them a simple question about it (“Where did you live in China? I taught English in Shanghai for 6 months!”) or you could even ask a silly question without doing much else. This way, the other person already has a reason to contact you and an easy way of finding what to write. Using such hooks is also a good way to get a conversation going once it’s started, but be attentive to times when the other person loses interest – messages would get shorter, sometimes turning into single sentence responses to your questions and nothing else. A conversation involving shared interest will most likely have the other person sharing the same amount of information as you, as well as providing their own hooks.

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Add comment March 15th, 2011

5 first date location ideas

A dinner and a movie is no longer the default date scenario it once was. Frankly, when it comes to having first dates with people you meet online, there are a few more factors you need to consider.
You want your date to be somewhere public and safe (and is a dark cinema the best place for it?), you want to be able to speak to each other comfortably so you can get to know each other and, let’s not forget this, you want to be able to bail if the going gets dull. The net is full of overly creative ideas for first dates to amaze and wow you, but what’s good for a romantic second date with someone you’ve already established you fancy may be well over the top for a casual meeting with someone you may find incredibly not for you. In my opinion, you want the setting to be pleasant, but not to take centre stage. What you really want is something that will serve as a comfortable background, allowing you to interact effectively.

So here are some realistic suggestions for first dates with people you’ve met online.

  1. A bar or a pub after work
  2. In the UK, this is probably the most common first date. I realise that in the USA, inviting someone out drinking may make you look like an alcoholic to the vast majority of people, but in the UK and Europe bars and pubs are like cafes and restaurants – no big deal. The “after work” part is handy if you’re in the same town, not so handy if you live hundreds of miles apart and need to drive out to see each other. It does make it more casual and means you can excuse yourself should things get boring. Just replace “pub” with “cafe” or “diner” as appropriate. Choose somewhere comfortable where drinks are within your price range and there are enough corners where you could sit and have a quiet conversation. If you want a place with music, make sure it’s played at a conversational volume so you don’t have to scream to be heard.

  3. A coffee in the afternoon
  4. Nothing says “casual” like the afternoon. This is a good option even if you live far away from each other. You just head out, meet in the day time and then head back. If you really want to, you have the freedom to continue the date into the evening and night as well, but if you don’t you can leave and you’ll still have your night free to go out with less boring people.

  5. A quick lunch
  6. If you live in the same city or work in the same area this is a great option. It’s casual and it already has set times that are not even defined by you. If your date is dull you have the perfect
    excuse to leave and if it’s great then you can arrange to meet in more romantic circumstances later. If you leave further away from each other, you can move the lunch to the weekend in much the same way as the afternoon coffee option.

  7. A gallery or a museum
  8. If you’re into this sort of thing, then this is a great option for a date. You’ll get plenty of time to talk and learn about each other’s character. Unlike films, lectures, concerts and other loud, passive date locations, a gallery is quiet and invites instant debate. Don’t go if the concept bores you to death, though.

  9. A market
  10. Be it a food market, an antique market or just a general market, taking a stroll through one with your date can be a fun and varied first date. While here you can stop for some food or a coffee or even a few drinks in a pub if you’re in the UK. There are plenty of opportunities to talk and get to know each other when you’re checking out some stalls.

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Add comment February 28th, 2011

5 things you shouldn’t do on a first date

First dates can be stressful, but they really needn’t be. When meeting someone off a dating site for the first time, most people nowadays opt for a casual meeting, rather than a full blown, romantic restaurant date. But no matter whether you’re going for a meal or for a coffee or a beer, there are still things you need to watch for that could easily make the other person not want to see you again.

I’ll ignore things to do with physical appearance as I’ve already written about those in this blog, but let’s talk about behaviour today!

  1. Don’t be late
  2. To be clear, every rule has exceptions, especially when it comes to love. This one in particular can be forgotten in cases when you’re off to meet someone in another city and get terribly lost. For more normal dates in your own city, though, there is no excuse. Being late to a first date can make your date think you don’t care about meeting him or her. While being 5 minutes early or right on the dot can seem a bit nerdy, being more than a few minutes late is going to set you off to a really bad start. That feeling of “oh my god! Have I been stood up?” is not going to put your date in the mood for love, that’s for sure. If you find that you might be late, text or call the person to say so at least 5 minutes before the time you’ve arranged, so that they know you didn’t ditch them.

  3. Don’t split hairs over the bill
  4. This is especially for the guys, as there’s always that discussion about whether guys should pay and some guys get twitchy about it. For the record, I personally think on a first date people should split the bill, but even then you could still screw things up by going over every little thing your date had ordered and pointing it out to her. If you want the woman to think you’re super nice, offer to pay for the whole meal (and follow through if she doesn’t insist on paying). If you’re sharing, just go halves or, if you had more expensive stuff, offer to pay more. No one like’s a cheapskate.

  5. Don’t make or take overly long phone calls
  6. If your date is boring you, make your excuses and leave, but never just “hint” at it by having your whole social life on the phone while on your date. I know some people will do it even if they’re not bored on the date, but then it’s even worse! Being accessible by phone while on a first date is important, especially for women who may need it for security, but give your date the benefit of your time and attention, rather than make them feel second best.

  7. Don’t be rude or dismissive to service staff, homeless guys, etc.
  8. Even on a casual date, you’re still being somewhat assessed. If you act like a jerk to people around you who may seem less important to you, your date will know you’re a jerk. Annoying waiter? Laugh it off. Presistent homeless guy? Be assertive but polite. Even if you shower your date with attention and niceness on the date, he or she will view your rudeness to others as a really bad sign.

  9. Don’t forget about the safety rules
  10. If you’re a saavy urbanite, you could easily make the mistake of thinking the safety rules are not really for you. But while I don’t suggest you bring a bodyguard with you to your date, the basics should really be on your mind. Always. So meet in an easily accessible public place and make sure you have your own transport to and from the date. Let a friend know you’re going on a date and that they should maybe check up on you later. How much of a checking up is up to you. Some people are happy for a text, some prefer the friend to call half way (to quickly say if they need a rescue from boredom or worse) and some even go as far as to have their wingman sit somewhere nearby just in case or openly bring a friend as a chaperone.

    Either way, it’s better to be oversafe than sorry.

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Add comment February 25th, 2011

What to wear on the first date? Advice for men

Hey guys! Stressing about what to wear on your first date with the girl you just met online?
Fear not. Here are 5 dos and don’ts that should prevent any wardrobe malfunctions once and for all.

1. Don’t wear a messy, desperate or offensive T-shirt. “Hug me”? Out. Your favourite T-shirt that’s losing the print and is looking pretty shabby nowadays but you love it anyway? Sorry, out. Also, anything offensive or funny in an offensive way that can be misunderstood to make you a racist, chauvinist or any other type of jerk should be kept hidden till you’ve assessed your date’s sense of humour. Unfortunately, that means no Hipster Hitler shirts.

Do wear a clean, cool or plain T-shirt. I’m all for first dates that require nothing fancier than a T-shirt and jeans. If you want to impress your date with your obscure music or cinema knowledge, now’s the time to bring out your cool hip T-shirt and start a conversation.

2. Don’t wear anything uncomfotable. If you’ve decided to buy some new clothes or shoes for your date – wear them in first. If you’ve gained weight since the last time you’ve worn your going out clothes, then invest in new ones, rather than squeeze into an evening of suffocation hell. If you have to spend your entire date doing your version of the Picard Maneuver you’ll be making your life more difficult for nothing.

Do wear well-fitting clothes. Something that fits your size is always going to look more flattering on you even if that size is a size bigger than you’d like to be.

3. Don’t panic buy yourself anything fancy because the lady in the store told you to. It’ll probably make you feel uncomfortable or end up being completely not what your date would have liked.

Do go in jeans and a T-shirt if that’s what you usually wear. Women who are fashion conscious will normally prefer that to the “wrong” kind of fashion choices. They can always help you dress up in a way they find attractive, but many would shy away if they thought you consciously made a fashion choice they find repulsive. If your jeans are tatty and you want to wear something nice, buy the same kind of jeans but new, rather than go wild with so-called trendy cuts.

4. Don’t wear too much aftershave. There is nothing sadder than a man who smells like he’s just bathed in alcoholic perfume.

Do follow the basic hygene rules of a shower and deodorant. Deodorant is really important, I cannot stress this enough.

5. Do pay attention to your shoes. Women do.

Don’t wear your work shoes you panic bought and have hated for years because you’re scared of wearing trainers. Clean, plain-coloured trainers are your safest choice or, failing that, simple shoes without too many bells and whistles, weirdly shaped toes or tassles. This will make your date concentrate on who you are rather than worry too much about what your shoes say about your style.

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Add comment January 22nd, 2011

What to wear on a first date? 5 dos and don’ts for women

Meeting someone off the Internet for the first time can be scary for quite a few reasons but picking something appropriate to wear can often seem like the worst aspect of the whole thing. We want to dress to impress, but how do we choose an outfit that will send the right message while also allowing us to be ourselves?

Here are 5 handy tips for you ladies out there that should help you dress for that all-important first date.

1. Don’t wear anything overlty slutty and revealing, unless all you want is a one night stand. Any good stripper will tell you that the hidden is just as exciting to men as the obvious. Some might say it’s even more exciting. You want your date to understand that there is more to you than meets the eye, making him come back for more.

Do wear something understated that makes you look sexy, but without making it looks like you tried to look sexy. Think flattering cuts, longer lengths and colours that are gentle on the eye. A tight jumper that shows off your curves but hides your cleavage is the sort of thing I’m thinking of here (rather than, say, work clothes that are indeed modest but are also dull).

2. Don’t wear too much make up unless you’re a goth or style yourself like Lady Gaga on a daily basis. What constitutes too much make up may vary according to scene and location, but in all cases opt for less, not more.

Do opt for light naturals that highlight your best features but don’t make it look like you made too much of an effort.

3. Don’t wear anything uncomfortable. Those new heels may be exactly what you need to look like a pin up bombshell on your date, but if they pinch your feet to the point where you’re walking funny, the whole effect will be gone in seconds.

Do wear something that makes you feel at your best in both look and feel. Nothing that requires too much attention, hurts you or annoys you in any way. You don’t want to be fiddling with your clothes all evening and looking like you’ve got OCD or running to the bathroom every 5 minutes to fix your hair.

4. Don’t wear your laundry day underwear. You don’t need a shameful secret on your first date.

Do as the French ladies do and dress from the inside out. Regardless of whether or not you’re looking for action on your first date, the confidence you’ll gain from wearing a matching set of sexy underwear will make you feel more confident and in charge of the situation.

5. Don’t make yourself way taller than you are. Research has shown that height is the most common thing men lie about online so you could make an awkward moment even worse by towering over your shorter-than-the-stated-6′ date.

Do wear low heels or flats. This will alleviate some of the potential awkwardness and help enjoy your evening more. If height matters to you, you’ll still be able to tell whether your date lied to you or not and assess the height difference.

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Add comment January 17th, 2011

5 mistakes to avoid when starting to date online

If winter, Christmas and the new year’s resolution have made you finally get it together and give online dating a try, then welcome!
Here are some common online dating mistakes you may wish to avoid when starting out dating online.

Continue Reading 2 comments December 28th, 2010

How long should you stay on a dating site before I give up?

Online dating is not for everyone and it can be a slow, frustrating experience. But what I find is that many people tend to make life more difficult for themselves, by putting much money, time and effort into dating sites that are wrong for them. How long should you give a dating site before moving on?

Continue Reading Add comment November 28th, 2010

Online dating advice recap

Looking for free online dating advice and can’t be bothered to search the whole of this blog for relevant posts? Here are a few pointers to posts that answer some of the most common online dating questions.

Continue Reading Add comment November 23rd, 2010

Online dating soldier scam – men beware!

There are a few very active posts on this site discussing the online dating soldier scam (see related posts below for the list). It’s generally understood that this scam is usually perpetrated by men against women.

I just had a comment (see comment #84) posted on the site from a man who came across a “woman” online who claimed to be a US soldier and reeled off the same sort of bullshit the male scammers use on female victims.

I guess it makes sense that both men and women would be targeted, but I have never come across a female version of this particular scam.

So men, beware. Apart from the more familiar damsel in distress female scammers out there, you may also come across pretend female soldiers.

Luckily, it seems these scammers are as simple to spot as their male counterparts, once you familiarise yourself with their methods.

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5 comments October 11th, 2010

What does the Internet say about you?

Here’s something to think about – if you’re talking to someone you met and they know your full name, do you know what they’ll find if they Google it?

Continue Reading Add comment September 27th, 2010

Why it pays to have your profile up on dating sites without paying

If you’re in the market for a new dating site to try, especially if you’re completely new to online dating, it’s good to shop around. In my book, on here and when advising clients privately, I always tell people to sign up to a few sites, set up a profile and check out those sites before deciding where to spend your money. This is because dating sites are all slightly but significantly different and you want to make sure you end up paying the one most likely to help you get what you want.

Continue Reading Add comment September 19th, 2010

An important thing to know about online dating soldier scams

As you may or may now know, I have a couple of very active threads on this site discussion online dating scams, in particular soldier dating scams. Here’s a comment one helpful lady identifying herself as LilyRose posted the other day. Please read this one and save it somewhere safe. It gives very important information about the difference between real American soldiers serving in Iraq or anywhere else and dodgy African (or other) scammers pretending to be them to scam you out of money.

Continue Reading 25 comments September 2nd, 2010

Online dating – who’s responsible for your safety?

New research suggests online daters have a false sense of security when dating online. But is the increasingly popular trend of pushing for intrusive background checks the way the online industry should go?

Continue Reading Add comment June 30th, 2010

Online dating and the World Cup – get in there!

You can try to ignore the FIFA world cup, but chances are that if you are in the UK, you won’t be able to. Signs, flags, big screen TVs and the eternal sound of the dreaded vuvuzelas are everywere and online dating, too, takes its traditional hit, with a small but significant slump during game time.

Continue Reading Add comment June 18th, 2010

Global day of action for reporting online dating fraud

I seem to have blinked and missed the global day of action against online scams, but if you’ve been a victim of online fraud of the online dating variety (and, of course, any other variety, but this is an online dating blog) and are a UK resident, you are encouraged to report it to the UK’s National Fraud Authority where each complaint is taken very seriously.

Check out the press release.

This is good news in a way, but the fact that “millions of Britons” are losing a total sum of 3.5 billion pounds a year to online scammers is pretty worrying.

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Add comment June 9th, 2010

A useful reference guide for common online dating scams

An Australian online dating company has recently come out with some useful safety tips for online daters, including a very handy reference guide for the ten most common online dating scams. It’s a good site to check out if you want to educate yourself about the dodgier side of online dating.

Australia has been hit quite hard with online dating scams and online scams in general, so it’s good to see people doing something about it (even if it does get their sites a bit more publicity along the way).

Continue Reading 1 comment June 9th, 2010

Spring clean your dating profile

Yes it’s that time of year again, at long bloody last. The flowers will soon be out, as will the sun and everyone is feeling a little bit like a good, old-fashioned spring clean.

There’s no better time to take a look at your online dating profile and see whether it too needs a bit of a spring makeover. This is especially true if you’ve been dating online for a while (maybe since your new year’s resolution?) or have been losing interest and hope in your online dating adventures.

So think – is your picture up to scratch? Would a fun new picture of you looking at your best make you feel better about putting yourself out there?

When was the last time you looked over the text in your profile? Does it still represent who you are? Have you done anything exciting recently you’d like to include? Is there anything you’ve learned about who you are and who you’re looking for in the course of your search you think would make an interesting read? I mean positive stuff, of course. Nobody wants to hear you vent about bad dates! :)

It could also be time to expand your search criteria on sites that run the searches for you, especially if you’ve been online for a while and not getting enough suggestions.

Either way, taking stock of who you are, where you are and what you want to get out of your online dating experience can be a really good thing, even if you decide all is well with your profile and nothing needs updating.

Think of it as a checkpoint on your quest, just at the point where, say, a new year’s resolution may start to flag.

Just like the new year, spring is also a time of new beginnings, so what better reason do you need to help the seeds you planted previously grow into something beautiful?

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Add comment March 21st, 2010

Online dating liars – strange new research

CNN ran a weird article recently, about people who lie on online dating sites. The article details research done by a professor in the University of Kansas, looking into people’s lying habits on one “big long-term relationship dating site” (unnamed, but I have my suspicions).
The researcher spoke to over 5000 people and asked them whether they would lie on a dating site and why.

The results seem to imply that those people who said they would lie are the type of people who want to please people and tell them what they want to hear. They don’t lie out of malice, but because they want people to like them.

Both the article and the research seem to blatantly ignore things such as scammers, married people passing themselves off as single and players passing themselves off as serious.
All of these are, sadly, a big part of the online dating industry, which people should be told about and taught how to spot and avoid. Unfortunately, I doubt any of those types of online dating liars would take the time to answer the good professor’s survey and share with us the reasons why they choose to lie and cheat.

On the other hand, we’ve learned that people who are lonely, looking for a serious relationship and willing to take a (most likely lengthy) survey for no personal gain are apparently keen to please. Who’d have thought?

And… get this!

“Online daters shouldn’t be concerned that most people are presenting a false impression of themselves,” Hall said in a news release before Thursday’s phone interview. “What influences face-to-face dating influences the online world, too.”

The fact that the professors conducting this survey tell people that they don’t have to worry about people lying to them online just shows me how out of touch they are with what’s going on out there. The only worthwhile conclusion of this so called “research” is what everyone in the online dating industry knows already and has done for years:

the people who would lie to you online are the same people who’d lie to you in the real world, be they scammers, compulsive liars, cheats or just “self-monitors”, to use a term from the article itself.

Did someone actually pay for this research? If I were paying taxes in America I’d be well pissed off.

You can read the full text of this, frankly rather lame, article here.

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Add comment March 8th, 2010

Use Parship for free this weekend!

It’s that happy time again. Forward thinking to Valentine’s day, Parship.co.uk are letting you use their site for free until Sunday. Hurry up and give it a go if you want to see what it’s all about.
On a site that won’t let you view pictures before you pay, being able to see who you’re talking to for free is a big big plus, I’m sure you’ll agree.

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Add comment February 5th, 2010

Improving your odds while online dating

How do fate and luck factor into online dating? What can we do to improve our chances when dating online, to prevent ourselves from falling for the wrong people?

Continue Reading 1 comment February 3rd, 2010

Dating – don’t just keep it online

Online dating is all well and good, but limiting your social life to online interaction will do you no favours. For many people, it takes a while before all those profile searches, winks and messages turn into actual dates. So in the meantime you should be looking at additional ways of getting yourself out of the house and into social situations where you will meet new people.

Continue Reading Add comment November 25th, 2009

Online dating news for this week

A weekly roundup of some online dating stories and offers from around the Internet and the world, as well as my own commentary, of course. This week – an offer from eHarmony, a new iPhone app and some new online dating research.

Continue Reading Add comment November 20th, 2009

Dating profile: faking it won’t make it

A good profile in itself is not enough to make your online dating experience successful. The truth is, with the right advice and support it’s not very difficult at all to come up with a profile that portrays you as someone most men or women would want to date. But if all those things you take out of the profile were originally put there because of your state of mind, baggage, fears or bitterness, then the thin screen provided by the profile won’t be enough to carry you through the whole dating process.

Continue Reading 2 comments November 12th, 2009

5 things you need to get over if you want to find love online

If you want to get anywhere with online dating, there are a few things you will need to get over. Finding love online is a lot easier if you allow yourself to use all the resources at your disposal. Here are 5 common difficulties you will need to overcome in order to get the most out of your dating experience.

Continue Reading Add comment October 19th, 2009

How to spot an online dating scammer

I get a lot of people asking me how to spot a scammer online and the truth is, spotting a scammer is at once very difficult and very easy.

Continue Reading 78 comments October 7th, 2009

5 alternative ways of using the Net to meet people

Online dating sites are certainly the most direct way of meeting other singles online, but as much as online dating professionals hate to admit it, they are not for everyone. If you’ve given online dating a good try and have decided it’s not for you after all, then it’s time for a bit of lateral thinking. You can still use the Net to meet new people, for both friendship and romance. It may not be as direct as going on a dating site, but for many people, that is actually somewhat of an advantage.

Continue Reading Add comment October 2nd, 2009

5 things you can do now to get a boyfriend / girlfriend by Christmas

If you hate being single during the holidays and are looking for romance, rather than just a casual fling, now’s the time to start thinking about preparing your lovelife for winter.

Continue Reading Add comment September 22nd, 2009

Online dating: How long should the first message be?

New figures released by dating site OKCupid reveal some interesting things about online dating response rates and important information about sending your first message to someone online.

Continue Reading 1 comment September 12th, 2009

Online dating profile tips

If you are struggling to write your dating profile, here are five tips that will help get you started. Take your time, and remember everything is a work in progress.

Continue Reading 2 comments August 20th, 2009

Online dating profile cliches

Writing an online dating profile is not easy. Maybe that’s why many people end up relying on cliches in theirs. As an online dating consultant, I’ve seen my share of profiles (thousands) and there are definite trends when it comes to writing them. In fact, the majority of profiles I come across read more or less the same. When I provide dating profile writing services I try to get people out of the trap of stating the obvious in their profile, but if you’re looking for dating profile examples to help you write yours, here are five dating profile cliches you’ll want to avoid.

Continue Reading 1 comment August 11th, 2009

Five things online dating won’t do for you

I recently read one of those annoying articles about online dating and what a great disappointment it is.
I often wonder what people expect from online dating to be so unpleasantly surprised by the reality of it.
In my experience, such disappointment is often a product of unreasonable expectations. Yes, some sites are better than others and some people are more easily suited to online dating than others, but ultimately, if you expect online dating to solve all your problems, you will most likely be disappointed.

Here are some things you shouldn’t expect online dating to do for you:

Continue Reading 3 comments July 23rd, 2009

Online Dating Profile: keep it friendly

For most people, the online dating profile is a work in progress. It changes as they use the site(s) they’re on and it adapts as they get responses and learn more about the type of people who contact them.

Sometimes this is a good thing, but all too often I see people, obviously fed up of getting the wrong type of responses (or being in the wrong type of relationships), who decide to address the issue in their profile… with terrible consequences.

Continue Reading Add comment June 22nd, 2009

Choosing a photo for your online dating profile

If you’re here then you probably already know that uploading a picture to your online dating profile is a must. Most people won’t even bother looking at your profile without one and many will make snap judgements about you based on the photo you upload.
Unless you’re comfortable and natural in front of a camera and already know your best side, this will have undoubtedly caused you some concern by now. In general, women tend to overdo it, whereas men are notoriously bad at picking unflattering photos. There are, of course exceptions…

Here are some tips for helping you choose the right photo:

Continue Reading 1 comment June 11th, 2009

Rejection in online dating

Much has been written about how to handle rejection. Being rejected on the Internet can be just as painful as being rejected in real life. Remember this, because this post is actually not about handling rejection, but about doing the rejecting.

Continue Reading Add comment May 21st, 2009

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