"Relationship" - for some that word stirs up fears of commitment and for others it conjures up the idea of ever lasting love. For many on the dating scene "ever lasting love" is their ultimate goal but how do you find someone to go on a date with and once you do how do you go from date to relationship?
While the person you're dating may be looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right, they may not be looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right now, meaning pull in the reins and go a little slower. But let's start at the beginning instead of jumping straight to the finish line. Let's get back to the basics.
To get back to basics, let's start with a history lesson. Dating can be a scene right out of your High School memory banks. Many are haunted by memories of their first date and the nervous tension that resulted from the anticipation of it: "Did I pick the correct outfit?" "Will I smell good to them?" "Is my breath okay?" "What will I say during those awkward moments of silence?"
Things haven't changed that much since High School. Often the same questions come to mind and you will still get that same sense of nervous anticipation before embarking on a first date with someone.
Dating can be a very intimidating time to even the most experienced and savvy dater. Recently I asked both men and women who dated frequently (3-4 times a week on average) if they still got first date jitters. The same answer echoed through 93% and that was a resounding, "Yes!"
Amazingly enough, even those people who seemed confident and poised; those who seemed to have an endless amount of dating potential as well as a line of prospective suitors, still got first date jitters. So for those singles that still have troubling memories of their past dating experiences, how do you jump into the dating pool and begin to swim again?
Unlike swimming in a pool filled with water, don't dive into the deep end of the dating pool first even if you remember how to swim. There may be sharks lurking waiting to attack. It's always best if you start in the shallow end of the pool first. Start out small by meeting people in groups at functions until you feel comfortable enough to seek out a dating partner. After that hurdle is crossed then by all means dive right in to the dating pool!
Where can you find a dating pool in your area? Because many people have a select group of friends, they tend to see the same people at all of the functions, B-B-Q's, parties and other events. Same faces with the same stories that become all too familiar. So where do you meet compatible and available singles? Here are a few suggestions:
1. Find charity events in your area and attend them.
2. Look in your local paper for events that singles would go to. Social functions, chess cafe's, ice cream socials, etc.
3. Find sporting clubs (the kind of clubs that actually have participation such as water or snow skiing trips.)
4. Take a specialty courses at a junior college or community center.
5. Go to your local coffee cafe and sit on the comfortable chairs that are in the round to make conversation more likely.
6. Your local grocery store can be a buffet of single people. There are specific times and ways to approach people that I talk about that in my book, but don't have the space here. Use your best judgment.
7. Check out reputable online dating services (be careful, more later).
If you're nervous, as most of us are, prepare for your first encounter just as you would when vying for a promotion at work. Practice ahead of time! Make up a little 3x5 flash card set with subjects you are comfortable talking about or questions that are conversation initiators (forget about the weather, that's a dried up subject).
Here are a few you can use that are sure to spark some interest:
1. Read or watch the news ahead of time and discuss current events. Stick to positive uplifting ones and stay away from politics and religion. Example: Recently in the news there was a story about an autistic boy whose lifetime dream was to play basketball. To be close to the sport he did all the dirty jobs for both the boys and girls teams at his school. The last game of the season he was allowed on the court and scored a slam dunk.
2. Talk about your family (positively). Example: I have two brothers and one sister. Growing up we...
3. Liven up the conversation with topics of any recent travels. Example: Recently I traveled to Washington State to see the Fish Market in Seattle. Talk about your experiences there and what you saw.
4. Ask about their career and how they happened upon it. Example: What do you do for a living? What made you decide on that career path? Did you go to school for your career choice?
5. Ask about their family (if they shy away, you need to also). Example: Do you have brothers or sisters? Does your family live close?
These are just a few topics. If you can't think of any yourself pour over the Internet for resources on topics of conversation. While I gave you a few suggestions above, there are many more I am sure you can come up with. Because online dating has become the norm for meeting people I want to outline a few tips for using online dating services.
When you join an online dating service you have much the same feeling of anticipation and excitement as you do when you are about to go on a blind date. The prospect of having people approve of you and possibly accept you as someone they want to have around them is exhilarating.
But how do you create a powerful and compelling online dating profile? You've heard that honesty is the best policy ... It is. Be honest. The person you're trying to attract will eventually agree to meet you if you have written an eye catching profile. Eventually the "real" you will pop out. You don't want to get dumped once your feelings are involved.
Statistics show that people can only keep up a facade of pretending to be something other than they are for approximately 3-6 months (there have been cases of years but that's not the norm). If you want to find Mr. / Mrs. Right, adhere to the honesty policy and represent yourself exactly as you are and not want you want others to perceive you.
Be clever and funny in your profile but be sincere. (Think of the online dating profile as if you were actually speaking to them in person for the first time.) If you'ree funny, then show it in your writing. Don't tell someone how funny you are, e.g. "I'm funny and have a great sense of humor." That won't make them a believer.
Here is an example of something funny and clever. Football fans will enjoy this one. (This is not for your profile but used as an example of funny lines I have used when talking to an audience.):
"If your partner is more concerned about that 3rd and 1 on television, than the 4th and 23 in your own living room, then you might be another statistic on the playing field of love. Tell them to not try for a 58 yard field goal, go for six instead."
Do you see what I'm writing about? Word pictures are very powerful tools that help draw the reader in and help to reveal who you are and what you're about.
Another important aspect of your online dating profile is pictures. Show them a picture of you. A picture speaks volumes about who you are. If you say you are sporty but have a picture of you sitting on a couch, what does that say? Use a picture of you on a bike, in a race, waterskiing, etc. Don't use a High School picture if you are in your 20's or older. Use a recent picture. They will find out what you look like when they meet you. Why draw someone in and then have them ditch you if you don't look the same?
The eyes reveal a lot in a picture. If they sparkle with what's called a "catch light," the viewer will be more drawn to you. (A catch light is the little light that shows up on the pupil). If your eyes look suave, the viewer will probably click you away.
Make sure to do a spelling and grammar check before you post to an online dating site. Words that are spelt incorrectly and bad punctuation can tune a lot of people out and then they will click you off.
A few last words of advice: Forget about negativity in your profile and don't talk about ex-relationships. That will give the reader a sense that you are a serial dater and perhaps a heartbreaker.
Avoid phrases like: "I don't play games."; "I love long walks on the beach, candlelight dinners, and romantic nights by the fire." You can show them that when you meet them.
Every person I have surveyed in the past has said that lines such as the above are red flags and a sign that he/she is a "player."
Online dating can be fun, exciting and successful, but be safe and enjoy the process. When you finally connect with someone on an online dating site, agree to meet at a coffee shop during the day. Never go off in their car no matter how safe they seem, always take yours.
Here are some more "baby steps to dating success"