Chat up line fail – why being yourself is better than trying to be clever

I was at a summer festival once, hanging out in the back of a marquee by myself, having just watched a band play. I sat down with my programme to look and see where I should go next when a guy approached me. I was single and the guy was fairly attractive. Had he simply sat down next to me and said “Hi” or asked if I was having a good time at the festival (or anything else within the realm of normal conversation) maybe things would have ended up differently. But he didn’t say any such thing. He said “Who are you and what do you stand for?” I looked at him incredulously. I may have even repeated what he said in that “did you really just say that?”  tone I reserve for people who deserve extra contempt. Shortly afterwards I excused myself and left. To this day, I’m kinda sad I didn’t use this opportunity to educate a guy who seemed pretty harmless on the whole and, as I said, not unattractive.

So what was so wrong with what he said? I mean, it wasn’t rude or sleazy in any way, was it? Maybe you’re reading this and thinking “what the hell is this woman on about?” So here’s the thing. Coming up to a woman and pulling out some whacky chat up line / schtick reeks of effort. Surely if this guy had any confidence in himself and his ability to communicate with people, he wouldn’t feel the need to come up with something like that. He’d simply say hello and start a conversation. The fact that he thinks he need some sort of flashy “hook” to get a girl chatting to him says to me he must not think very highly of himself at all. Maybe he thinks so little of himself and his ability to get girls he even went as far as learning some pick up “artist” tricks, thinking that would get him laid. Either way  – eeewww. Plus – what sort of stupid chat up line is that anyway?

Let this be a lesson to you. Looks have very little to do with whether women will like you or not. This guy was blonde, he had a nice face, he was tall and fairly well built. Yet I was instantly put off by his cheesy line and what it implies about his character to the point where I found him completely unattractive. I much prefer men who are confident enough in themselves to…you know, just have a conversation with me like a normal human being.

So remember: the real world is not like online dating where you need some snazzy first message to get someone’s attention enough so they click on your profile. The classics still work – say hello or give a (non-sleazy) compliment to get the conversation going and you stand a far better chance of getting a good response.

Five ways to survive long distance relationships

The Internet is full of fluff pieces nowadays, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at this recent piece in the Metro (looking more and more like Buzzfeed), giving 10 reasons why long distance relationships are “secretly the best”.

Having been in a few long distance relationships, I can vouch for them not being “the best” at all, as I’m sure many would agree. Ultimately, long distance relationships, if they are monogamous, are tough. For most people, there is only so much to be gained by phone calls, letters, chat and Skype. Unless you’re asexual or too busy to have a libido, you’ll be missing the sex. Intimacy, physical contact – even if not sexual but just affectionate – is also something most of us need. Jealousy can arise, which is often the cause of many over the top displays of affection outsiders see as so romantic. At the end of the day, though, most people would prefer the physical presence of another human being. For most people, long stretches of being alone interspersed with short bouts of relationship-lite is something that can only be tolerated short term.

Long distance relationships are also problematic when embarked upon after only a short acquaintance. For example, if you met someone in a foreign country, fell in love and decided to keep the relationship going. This is because the relationship pattern is usually indication to what life together would actually be. When you are together, it’s like a holiday, because your time together is so short, you’re likely to put everything else on hold. You’ll be on your best behaviour, you’ll tolerate changes in your environment, because you know your partner will leave soon and you can get your own space back.

Here are five ways to deal with long distance relationships.

1. Keep it open

This may seem like an abomination to many people, but as open relationships are becoming more popular, it’s worth mentioning this option. You can make a decision to keep your relationship going while still sleeping with other people. It’s up to you and your partner to discuss the rules of how this would work. You could agree to ask permission before getting off with anyone or you could even agree not to discuss it. If your love is really that strong then having the occasional shag should not come between you, as long as you are both clear on the nature of your relationship and its rules.

2. Keep it short

While I wouldn’t advise selling all your stuff and moving away at a moment’s notice to be with someone you just met, I do advise keeping long distance relationships as short as possible. If you’re in an established relationship, being away for too long can hasten the end. If it’s someone you’ve just met, then meet a few times for as long as possible and then start making arrangements as soon as possible. Don’t let the relationship gets stuck in this limbo stage if you’re planning on one day making it into a proper co-habiting one.

3. Try it out first

If you’ve decided you want to take things further, don’t just drop everything and move. Sublet or rent your place (or have your partner rent out theirs) for a few months if possible and try to spend a few months with your partner to see if you can tolerate actually living together. If you like your own space or are more cautious, getting a place in the same town and dating for a bit before moving in together can actually be very helpful and less overwhelming. If you’re moving to your partner’s town, remember they have a life there. Don’t expect to get the same amount of attention you got when you were there for a week or a weekend and don’t get all huffy if they want to hangout with their friends every once in a while. Take steps to make your own friends and get your own life.

4. Make time for each other

Some long distance couples talk every day. Others have busy lives or other circumstances that prevent them from having this much time. But unless you’re away in the jungle on an expedition with no means to contact your partner, having at least one long conversation a week is pretty much a must for keeping your relationship relevant to your life.

For some people, this might also mean phone sex or Skype sex, so that you still have a sex life. If, like me, you find that’s somewhat of a poor, depressing substitute for the real thing, there are other ways you can keep each other involved in your day to day life while you’re apart. This could be anything from talking about your work day to consulting each other about everyday dilemmas. If this begins to feel like a chore – maybe it’s time to consider what that might mean.

5. Know when to move in and when to move on

What I learned about long distance relationships is that with the physical contact element removed, you can really get to know a lot about the person because you’re always talking. I also learned that it can get dull real quick. This can be a good thing in a way, because you can learn about a person’s political views, tastes, etc. quicker when you’re not spending your whole time in bed. If the person is right for you, this will strengthen your bond. If you learn that the person is radically different from your ideal partner, well, it’s easier to break up with someone when they’re far away.

Guest post: 5 Tips for First Date Success

First dates are known for being quite painful at times, but regardless of their uncanny ability to destroy a perfectly good Saturday evening, they are a necessary evil if one wishes to ever get to the loveliness that can be second and third dates. Although dating someone new is always going to be a nervy endeavour, by following these 5 helpful tips you can help ensure a pleasant enough date, without pressure and awkwardness, even if you aren’t spending it with your soul mate.

 

Always Focus on the Positive

 

Nobody has a good time if it is filled with whining and complaining. Be sure to only comment on the positives in your life and your company is sure to follow suit. Smiles and positivity not only make a great first impression, but they are also contagious.

Just as important as acting positively, is thinking positively. Leading up to and during the date try and just be excited to meet a new person and not have premade expectations. Having a pessimistic attitude can really make time drag and you are likely to overlook any positive attributes the other person has brought to the table. Even if someone is not what you were expecting, having a positive attitude about the situation can lead to a fantastic time, and you may meet a friend for life.

 

Properly Prepare Before the Date

 

It is crucial to prepare yourself before dating someone new. Try and learn some basic information about your companion, maybe from mutual friends or their social media profiles. Knowing a few things about them could help decide what activities to do on the date, or provide conversation opportunities while spending time together. Maybe even consider consulting a psychic for some clarity, and to see if there is any possibility or if they have advice on how to make the most of this particular date. Your psychic should be able to give you some guidance on what type of person you’re likely to end up with, so you should certainly use this when looking for potential partners online to narrow down your search. Whilst they won’t be able to tell you your soul mate’s name, they will be able to give helpful clues as to their personality, and maybe even their job or their interests. It is also important to properly prepare yourself physically. You should try to put your best foot forward, making a solid impression by dressing sharply and being well groomed.

 

Have Appropriate Expectations

 

Always remember to keep your expectations in check. People sometimes have illusions of grandeur, and hyping your date up in your mind beforehand will only leave room for disappointment on your end and put unnecessary social pressure on the other party. It’s important to understand that it is only a first date, and this time is for getting to know one another. You should not arrive expecting to be swept off their feet, or assuming their date will be the love of their life.

 

Go Dutch

 

By splitting costs on any meal and activities, you keep the tone of the date friendly and easy-going. There are no unspoken assumptions or expectations when each party is paying their own way. It is also a great way to end a date with no expectations if it has not gone well – nobody owes anybody anything.

 

Pre-plan your Escape Route

 

Despite our best efforts some dates are just…well, awful. Before venturing off on a first date with someone new be sure to have an emergency escape route already planned. Plan dates early enough in the evening to be able to have plans for later on, and be sure to mention them previous to or at the beginning of the date.This way if you’re having an awful time you have an end point to look forward to, and if a great time is being had you can invite them along.

Consider having a pal call or text you part way through the evening to check in. If the date is particularly painful you can take that opportunity to pull the plug.

 

Provided by Derek Acorah’s Psychic Ether, providing online psychic reading experiences as personalised as though provided traditionally face to face.

Guest Post: Top 5 Destinations for a Romantic Weekend in the UK

Ben Holbrook from www.driftwoodjournals.com takes us on a journey to the country’s best romantic getaways.

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It’s difficult to really get to know someone whilst in your comfort zone, especially if you both live in the same city. And there’s only so much time you have available for your new flame during your normal working week. What you really need is a weekend of fun and intimate quality time, and what better way to do it than to escape to somewhere new, somewhere exciting, neutral. A place where you don’t have to worry about bumping into people you know, a place where you can focus on nothing but each other. That’s right, you need a romantic weekend! Here are a few excellent suggestions.

1. Camping in Cornwall – Sun, Sea and Surf

What could be more romantic and fun than a camping trip in the UK’s southern surf capital. The water is clean and the waves are big. You can rent a surfboard or two and take part in a surf lesson at Fistral beach, before taking a stroll along the golden sands, stopping only for a drink and a bite to eat at one of the famous pubs and cafes. And then, as the sunsets and the temperature drops, you can head back to your cosy little tent, aka “the love nest” and keep each other warm.

2. Hiking in the Scottish Highlands – Cold Kisses and Warm Whisky

There’s something incredibly romantic about Scotland’s blistering winds and misty moors. The burnt orange ferns setting the hills alight, contrasting against the mossy greens and starry skies. Stay in an ancient castle hotel, or rent a ramshackle little cottage and see in the days with hot toddies and log fires. Scotland is a seductive surprise not to be missed.

3. Music Madness in Manchester – Slow Dance Magic

here is no better city on earth to visit if you’re a music fanatic. With a wealth of musical heritage, live venues and clubs, Manchester is the place to go for loud music and quiet kisses. Don’t worry, it’s not all about rock and roll in Manchester, there’s definitely something for all musical tastes.

4. Candyfloss and Fun Fairs in Brighton – Bright Lights and Flying Kites

On a warm summer’s evening, with the neon horizon and soft ocean breeze, Brighton feels more like the Mediterranean Coast than the English Channel. Flocks of loved-up tourists walk the promenades, enjoying vintage sweets and nostalgic fairground games. Hailed as one of the UK’s hippest and most vibrant alternative cities, Brighton is a must for any creative couple looking to indulge in some quality one-on-one time. Pack your skateboard and do as this quirky couple did, if you dare.


Video credit: #Sk8seeing – Brighton on a Skateboard by HotelClub Brighton

5. Good Food & Great Fun in London – Sky High Smiles

There’s always something new to do in London, even if both you and your love interest are London residents. As the saying goes, If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life. Drop in to one of the famous theatre productions, dine at a restaurant with epic views over the River Thames, or take it easy with the hipsters at an edgy Shoreditch coffee shop. Your options are unlimited, and it won’t take long to work out whether your new relationship is the real deal.

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.

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!

 

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!

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.

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.

Guest post: Best Foods to eat on a date in spring

Guest blogger Rick Walker is back with another post, this time about food and spring dates.

Various foods come in and out of season, so there are many delicious delights to eat during spring. What food you eat on a date is important because it shows the other person a reflection of your personality. For example if one sits there nibbling on a carrot and some salad leaves, it demonstrates that the person is health conscious whereas if someone eats a burger and loads of chips, it displays that they love their food as much as they love life.
Smooch.com has revealed the best foods to eat on a date in spring. Tantalise your date’s taste buds this season with strawberries or lamb. Lamb is a very popular main course in spring and strawberries are ideal for a romantic, saucy dessert. Casseroles are not just for wintertime and a spring chicken pot is packed with light vegetables; whereas springtime spaghetti and meatballs is great for warmer weather.
A healthy light meal is salmon which is scrumptious with asparagus and baby potatoes, and a warm salad with meat is ideal for a lunch date. Goat’s cheese is a favourite springtime food as well as risotto, jacket potatoes and hearty lamb burgers. And spring fruits like cherries and apricots make cooking a treat at this time of year. If you are going on a first date, make sure to tuck your chair as close to the table as possible to avoid getting food down your shirt and a major no-no is talking with your mouth full of food.
Spaghetti is a good meal but it can result in slurps and mess, and spinach and corn on the cob are not so great for getting in-between your teeth. Food can be a universal language which you can converse about over your date; so don’t be afraid to share your love of food.

Guest post: Honesty is the Best Policy with UK Date Sites

I’ve recently started accepting guest posts so I’m happy to introduce my first guest poster, Rick Walker. Here is is post about the importance of honesty in online dating.

It seems you have finally made the choice to throw the single life out the window in favour of finding someone to share your life with through online dating. Making that decision is the easy part. Selling yourself by making yourself look desirable through a good online profile is the part that people have the most trouble with. You want to make yourself look good but not too good. In other words, in the end you are going to win up meeting the person who choose you, with any luck.

Because of this the best policy is to make sure and use as much honesty as possible. Don’t pretend to be into things you are not and certainly never show only the “good” headshots. Show pictures that depict what you really look like, and not just at night or in low lights! If you are looking for a real UK date then make sure you understand that you had better show the real you. Otherwise you are wasting your time and that of the lad or lass who happens to be allured by your trumped up profile and unrealistic pictures.

Once you have provided a realistic picture of yourself both through photographs and details about yourself then you will need to specify what you are looking for in a prospective date. When looking for a good date the UK is as good a place as any to look but take care not to let yourself look like a psycho by stating things like, “Must never lie or cheat” or “must like cats.” This says a little too much about you by making someone assume you are picky or demanding. Of course you don’t want to come right out of the box looking like you are an obsessive freak who insists on everything being your own way.

Rick works for the online dating industry and enjoys writing about his experiences with online dating. He is passionate about sharing his tips and advice with other users.

The best online dating site

One question I keep getting asked is “what is the best dating site?” The short answer is, of course: there is no such thing.

Where is the best place to meet the love of your life? Ask any person who’s happily married and they’ll tell you the place where they met their husband/wife. This could be a particular club, the supermarket, the chess club, a resort in Ibiza, or practically anywhere else in the world. If you went to the same place as person X, would you meet the love of your life too? Who knows? There is absolutely no guarantee.

All we have going for us are statistics: increasing our chances of success. Sure, you may well meet the love of your life on the bus or on the beach, but you are far more likely to meet him/her somewhere a bit less random. While miracles obviously do happen, you can’t live your whole life sitting at home, passively waiting for one to happen for you.

So the first step is to put yourself out there, go out, date online, etc. Doing this increases your chances already, so how do you increase them further?

If you were picking a singles’ bar to go to in order to meet people, you would probably base your choice on the type of people who go there. The way a bar is designed, the music played there, the price of the drinks – these are factors to consider, but often only in relation to the audience they attract.

Basically – If you want to meet some cool kids and all the cool kids are going to Bar X, you’ll go to Bar X even though Bar Y might be better value for money.

It’s the same with dating sites. Some sites are clearly better designed than others, some are cheaper than others and offer plenty of cool features. There are now thousands of sites out there promising to revolutionise the way you date with their amazingly clever new concepts. Does any of this matter?

At the end of the day, people would happily sacrifice everything from additional features to basic functionality if they can make contact with similarly-minded singles. As long as a site allows you to search for people and make contact with them (even in the form of a really basic message) then it is suitable for anyone’s needs.

For this reason, it’s only possible to answer a question such as “what is the best online dating site?” on an individual basis. I often recommend sites to people based only on the site’s vibe and general clientele, rather than features, pricing or concept.
For people I don’t know personally, I recommend serious market research across a number of sites before deciding which one to go with.

Never make the mistake of assuming all dating sites are the same. They differ from each other as greatly as bars, restaurants and clubs differ from each other. Only you can decide which dating site is the best for you and you can always change your mind if the site you’re on is not performing as well as you’d hoped. So try a few different ones – big ones, small ones, generic and niche and see what works best for you.