You Have A Date, Don’t F It Up

Just in time for the long weekend, You Have a Date, Don’t F It Up is available in audio.

It’s for those men who do alright getting a woman to say she’ll go out with them and then fail somewhere between that initial “sure, okay” and the second date or so.  As always, I’m probably more harsh than 90% of the women out there, but if you can pass my critique you’ll be golden with most other women.

(Keeping in mind, of course, that some women just aren’t going to like you no matter what you do and you’re better of not wasting time on them, no matter how attractive they are or how perfect you think they are for you…)

So enjoy!

Online Dating Basics Sale

In honor of the new year I’ve put Online Dating for Men: The Basics and Online Dating for Women: The Basics on sale for just 99 cents.  (Normally they’re $4.99)  So if you’re new to the world of online dating and looking for some direction, you might want to check them out.

(They’re also available in audio and paperback if that’s how you roll.  I almost never read ebooks myself because I forget they’re there to be read or I forget to charge my ereader and when I go to read it I can’t because it’s dead.)

I honestly think this’ll be a good year for dating.  I expect a lot of people are feeling exposed and vulnerable with everything that’s happening in the world these days and longing for a real connection. It’ll make people more open to going through the slog of dating to find someone.

That’s a good thing.  For you and the world.

Just make sure you’re finding someone who’s good for you.  Someone who likes you for who you are and supports you in what you want to do and who you want to be.  Life is way too short to be in a relationship with someone who drags you down or who makes you feel like you aren’t good enough.  You want someone who lifts you up and makes all those bad moments disappear.  And never ever settle for being with someone who is abusive towards you.  Verbally or physically.  There are better people out there. So find one of them.  Okay?

Wishing you much happiness and success in the new year.

(BTW, those links are for Amazon, but all the vendor site links are on the books page if you prefer to shop somewhere else like Kobo or iTunes or B&N.)

Dating Advice You Don’t Even Have To Read

Haha.

So, I’ve been bored lately.  You’d think that would mean I’d finally get around to writing my book about what to actually do once you have a date with someone.  Or the one about how you really can find love and to hang in there.

But no.  (I’ve been writing some novels instead…Not under this name, though.  Someone else seems to be doing that…)

What I did do though is go out and hire an awesome audiobook narrator, Erin Fossa, and had her record Don’t Be A Douchebag and Online Dating for Men: The Basics.  So now, if you’re a man and you want to hear my wonderful online dating advice (or if you’re a woman and you want to hear exactly what I think of married men who approach me on those sites), you can.

Listen on the way to work.  Or at the gym.  Or while making dinner.  Or while you’re supposed to be working.

(And, hey.  If you don’t have an audible account, but open one and borrow one of my books first and send me proof to show you did it, I’ll send a few free download codes your way.  So basically you’ll get to listen to my book for free and get a couple others free, too.  Not a bad deal…)

 

Communication Tip: Ask A Question

One of my closest friends is someone I started out just barely knowing and we came to know each other through e-mails for the most part.  And early on I realized this friend was very good at one aspect of communicating that I’d never really thought about before, namely, asking questions.

Almost every e-mail this friend sent me included a question I needed to answer.  It meant that I almost always responded, because I was raised to be polite and you answer questions when people ask them.

Think about most real life conversations you have:

“Hey, Joe.  How are you?”

“Good, Sue.  How are you?”

“Good.  What are you up to?”

We do this naturally in face-to-face conversation–prompting the other person to participate by asking them a question.

But I find that people often fail at this in online communication.

And it can kill your chances if you’re in an online dating situation.

See, here’s a terrible secret of online dating–people will respond to you even if they aren’t particularly interested.  You may just be in the “well, he/she’s not so bad I need to shut it down” category.  But the person isn’t sitting there hoping and praying that you’ll write them back.  (More true for the men than the ladies since men initiate most of the contact so generally if a guy’s done that he had some attraction to the woman before he wrote her.)

Well, if you’re in this, “eh” category, you don’t want to give the other person any chance to walk away until you can meet them.  You need to keep the conversation going.  And the way to do that is to (a) ask questions so the person feels compelled to respond to you and (b) don’t say anything so offensive or over the top that you drive them away.

I had a match fall down on this just this week.  He wrote and asked a few questions, I wrote back and answered and asked two questions, he answered the two questions.  And…I read his answers.  Neither of which made me feel especially motivated to continue the conversation.  Now, if we were in person, I would’ve followed up because awkward silences are painful.

But online?  Not so much.  It’s been a busy week and he was in that “eh” category and even if I’d continued the conversation I suspected it wasn’t going to be that interesting.

I want there to be a back and forth flow with a guy I’m interested in.  A give and take.  (Think about this for a second–it’s not just in e-mails where this matters, right?  There are other vital parts of a relationship that require working together to create a mutually enjoyable experience…If someone can’t do that at a basic level that doesn’t bode well for more sensitive areas of the relationship.)

So.  Ask questions every time you respond.  Play on the other person’s sense of politeness until you can meet in real life and captivate them with your charm and wit or sheer physical attractiveness.  (And if you’re really bad at written communication, get to that point as soon as you can.  Short responses that don’t build a conversation will do you no favors in the world of online dating.)

Guys – Let’s Talk Dating Profile Photos

Long time no post!  My apologies.  I’ve been doing something or other that’s kept me busy, although if I really had to stop and think about it I might have to admit I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time watching episodes of Chopped.  But, putting that aside…

It’s time to talk dating profile photos.  Because I’m looking at a set of them this morning and I just want to shake my head.  Guys, guys, guys.  Come on!  Think about the purpose of your main profile photo.

It’s to get a woman to click on your profile and see all the great, cool things you say about yourself.  (And, please, tell me you’re saying great, cool things and not the same ol’, same ol’ “I like to ski and mountain bike and watch sports” that seems to be the default profile in Colorado.)

So, what am I seeing that pulled me out of my Chopped-induced absence?

  • No photo at all.

Hate to break it to y’all, but ya gotta put up a photo.  Girls aren’t quite as shallow as men, but I can assure you that an empty photo box has absolutely no appeal.  So unless you luck out and get one of those women who clicks on every profile hoping for a hidden gem, you lose.

  • Photo of guy in full-on helmet/skiing gear going through powder

This is a specific one I’m looking at this morning, but the general issue is one where I can’t see the guy’s face, eyes, or body shape.  Look, it’s awesome that you can shred some whatever on the ski slopes. (I don’t ski, so does nothing for me…)  But, dude.  Why am I going to click through to see more about you?  You could be hella hot (I’ll assume not since you didn’t lead with the photo that shows that…), but I will never know.

  • Photo that is cut off in some weird way

Look.  I get it.  Not everyone doing online dating is tech savvy, but come on.  You upload a photo.  They ask you to crop it.  You do.  If what you see on the screen when you preview is the top part of your baseball cap.  Or, worse yet, your crotch.  (I’m looking at you Eric.)  Then fix it!  Or choose a different photo.  Your main profile photo is the most important photo you put up there.  Get it right.

  • Photo of two dudes

Am I getting a package deal here?  You two looking for the woman to complete your perfect bromance?  No?  Then, don’t make your main profile photo a picture of you and another dude.  Actually, of you and anyone else.  This is about you and me getting together, right?  Then show me you.  (Because, you know, that friend of yours is kinda hot and I’m thinking I’m more interested in him right now than I am you…)

  • The mug shot

I’m sure it’s not really a mug shot.  I’m not seeing height lines behind the guy’s picture and he isn’t holding up one of those numbered signs.  But, man, that photo looks a bit serial killer.  Plain white wall.  Staring straight ahead.  No smile.  Intense eyes.  Yikes!  You have a photo, so you’re ahead of the first guy on the list.  And looks like you had a friend to take it for you.  Good, good.  But come on.  Sit down at your dining room table and chat with your buddy while he takes a couple of photos for you.  They’ll look real and natural.  Not…scary.

  • The professional headshot

It’s great that your company had someone come in and take headshots of everyone.  And it’s a nice photo.  Suit and tie, looking pretty dapper.  But this is dating not professional networking.  I give a pass on this one.  It’s not a deal-breaker.  But I note it.  And I keep an eye out for other signs that the guy I’m communicating with doesn’t understand the difference between dating and making a business deal.  Or can’t turn off the work mindset.

So, there you have it.  My mini rant of the day. I meant to post a couple months back when a buddy of mine started online dating again and was having some difficulties, but ya know.  I got distracted trying to figure out how you can make a dish using kimchi, pomegranate molasses, yak meat, and coconut macaroons.

(I did write a book last year that walks through all this stuff, ya know.  If this was post was an earth-shattering insight for you, might want to check it out: Online Dating For Men: The Basics.  Although, that’s not why I wrote the post.  I just wanted to rant a bit.  As usual.)

Boys, Boys, Boys…

Picture me saying that in a slightly exasperated, you’ve disappointed your mother sort of way.

A friend of mine has been valiantly trying online dating this year.  She did well and found a boyfriend for a while, but it didn’t work out so she’s currently in the midst of round two.  And the stories she can tell…

Like the guy who used her e-mail address to friend her on Facebook before they’d even gone on one date.  (Don’t do that.)

Or the guy who asked her to text him each morning when she woke up even though they hadn’t met yet.  (What the???)

Or the one who texted her non-stop at all hours of the day.  (As she said, I have a job, don’t you?)

(You can see why I don’t give out my number if I can avoid it until I’ve met a guy in person and determined he isn’t insane.)

She’s also experiencing the usual, standard ones that every girl runs into.  Like the guy who put on forty pounds and then posts only old photos of himself and talks in his profile about how much he likes to jog and hike even though it’s clearly been a while since he did anything active. (Uh, women aren’t blind, buddy…)

And I say boys, but these are grown-ass men we’re talking about.  Somewhere in the thirty or forty-year-old range.

Don’t do that shit.

If you’re a guy and you read any of that and recognized yourself in those comments then you may want to check out my book Don’t Be A Douchebag.  It’s currently on sale for 99 cents.  Buy it, read it, and save us all a little bit of pain and suffering, because finding a good match is hard enough without some of the shit guys pull (knowingly or unknowingly).

Oh, and if you’re a woman who recognized some of that behavior, you might want to read Online Dating Is HELL which basically just rants about the same things I tell men not to do in Douchebag.  It, too, is on sale for 99 cents right now.

(Of course, if you’re new to online dating, don’t read those books.  Keep your starry-eyed optimism as long as you can.)

Online Dating Basics: Men vs. Women

Wow, I am a really bad blogger because it’s been a couple months since I posted last.  But I have an excuse.  I was writing two new books.  Online Dating for Women: The Basics and Online Dating for Men: The Basics.

They started out as one book but then I realized that men’s and women’s (and we’re talking straight men and women here) experiences online dating are so different that it was just annoying to try to write about them in the same book.

In what ways you might ask?

Well, how about photos?  OkCupid does these great studies of their users every once in a while and came up with completely different recommendations for profile photos for men vs. women.  Women are supposed to smile into the camera, men are supposed to brood away from it.  Who knew?

(Although, I do wonder a bit about the advice for the men.  Maybe men looking for casual and fun are supposed to look like distant assholes.  But if you want something more serious, then I think looking nice and approachable works, too.)

Then there’s communication.  I think we all know that even in this day and age men are responsible most of the time for initiating a new conversation and that women can join a site, do next to nothing, and get messages.  A man who did the same would find himself very lonely.

Even the red flags I thought of were different between men and women.  Men had to watch out for the drama-filled types and women had to watch out for the “all women are bitches” types.

It’s kind of crazy when you start thinking about it.  Which I hadn’t, because the first time I tried online dating must’ve been about fifteen years ago.  But I had a friend try it for the first time this year and her comments reminded me of all the little things you need to think about that first time around.  Like choice of site, user name, what photos to choose, what to say, who to respond to, how to respond, when to agree to meet in person…There are a lot of moving parts to the whole thing.

So I wrote a book about it.  As you do.  Currently up at Amazon (including for free borrowing through Kindle Unlimited.)  It’ll go up everywhere else in a couple more months.  Probably in time for Valentine’s.  Always a fun holiday for the unwillingly single.

Dating: Sometimes It Has Nothing To Do With You

I think most of us when we approach someone we like and get turned down assume that there must be something wrong with us.  Maybe we shouldn’t have made that joke.  Or maybe our profile photo is awful.  Or they noticed our [insert physical insecurity here].

But often that’s not the case.

I closed down a match today because the guy said he can’t live without his cat.  That’s admirable.  He has another living being in his life that he cares a great deal for.  But, since I (a) am allergic to cats and (b) can’t really stand them at all, he wasn’t the guy for me.  It was nothing personal.

Unfortunately, you can’t say that on most dating sites.  You just ignore the communication or shut down the match without providing any feedback.  So, this guy is probably thinking it had to do with his age or his hairline or his taste in movies.  It didn’t.  He just wasn’t the right fit for me.

For anyone out there dating, I think it’s important to keep that in mind and not take it personal.

I had a friend just break up with a guy she’d been dating for a few months because their ideas of the appropriate amount of time to spend together were just too far apart to work.  She wanted one weekend day to herself, he thought showing up after work on Friday and not leaving until Monday morning was the way to go.  He’ll make a great husband for someone, just not my friend.

I almost shut down another match because he looks very much like someone I went to high school with.  I’m hoping he isn’t, but it was a real enough possibility that I wondered for a minute whether to keep that one going.  That had nothing to do with the guy (assuming he isn’t the guy I went to high school with).  He could’ve been perfect and if I’d decided he was who I thought he might be, I would’ve shut it down anyway.

All you need to know when someone stops communicating or doesn’t call back for that next date or otherwise doesn’t return your interest is that they weren’t the one for you.  Move on to the next person.  Because somewhere out there is the one for you.  You just have to keep going until you find them and you can’t let yourself get discouraged just because you found the wrong matches first.

(And, no, I would not recommend changing things about yourself to try to find someone.  If you want to change, fine.  If you do it out of insecurity about how others perceive you, that is not a good thing.  It will bite you in the ass someday.)

(Having said that, if you’re getting lots of rejection do have someone take a look at your profile photos.  It may just be an issue of how you’re presenting yourself.  Try to put your best foot forward.)

Online Dating and Safe Sex

As I’ve mentioned, a few of my friends recently ventured into the world of online dating.  As a seasoned pro I gave them advice.  What photos they might want to post, the disappointments they might face, exercising a little caution before meeting a complete stranger they found on the internet live and in person.

I thought I’d covered it all.

Seems I needed to play mom to a teenager and have a little chat about safe sex.

My one friend spent about a month getting ready for online dating.  She debated which websites to use, which photos to post, thought about what kind of guy she wanted….and yet she forgot to prepare for what would happen if she was successful.

Sex.

Because  let’s face it, unless you have strong religious, social, or moral beliefs that lead you to abstain from sex, once you’re dating someone you’re going to have sex with them.

So prepare for it.

If you’re a guy, buy condoms you’re willing to use.  And get an STD test so you can provide it to your partner if she asks for it.

If you’re a woman and not already on a form of contraceptive, get on one.  And in enough time for it to matter.  (You can’t start the pill on Monday and have sex on Tuesday).  And women should still get some condoms because the pill or a diaphragm or an IUD aren’t going to protect you from nastiness.  And get tested, of course.

And then USE THE CONDOMS.

Condoms do no one any good if they’re sitting in the drawer by your bed while you’re having sex.

And if you can’t bring up the subject with the person you’re about to have sex with then you probably shouldn’t be sleeping with that person.  And if they don’t bring it up with you, ask yourself how many other times they’ve been in that situation and just gone ahead without having the conversation.  And what that might mean to your sexual health.

It’s not fun.  It’s not sexy.  But neither is getting an STD.

I still have these horror images from 8th grade sex ed class (this is back in the AIDS lecture days) when the teacher drew a little picture of two people in bed and then started showing the math of how many people they were really in bed with when you take into account the other people each of them had slept with and the other people each of those people had slept with and the other people each of those people had slept with and….Yeah.

Aside from STDs, you also don’t want to get pregnant with someone you barely know’s kid.  I know a girl who just had a very cute little baby girl with a guy she really can’t stand because of one night of not being careful.  Her life from here on out is not going to be easy.

And relying on “I’m getting older, so I can’t be fertile enough to get pregnant that easily” is STUPID.

If you’re in your mid-30’s and trying to conceive you have about a 60% chance of getting pregnant in a year of trying.  And since the odds go down with every month you try (since the couples who don’t get pregnant right away are more likely to have fertility issues), let’s ballpark this and say that in the first three months of a new relationship when you’re bonking like bunnies you probably have an 80% chance of getting pregnant.

Those aren’t odds I’d want to play with.

You sleep with someone once without protection, okay, fine.  We make mistakes.  (Might get pregnant or an STD even that once, but fine.)

You keep sleeping with someone without protection?  Come on now.

So, if you’re venturing out into the dating world, along with new clothes and a new haircut, get some condoms.  At a minimum.  And use them.

Online Dating: Give It Ten Weeks

I had dinner with a friend the other night.  She’s currently over the moon about the new guy she’s seeing.  It wasn’t easy for her to get there, but get there she did.

I have another friend I touched base with recently who is also in a new relationship.  Last time we’d touched base he was just beginning the slog which is online dating.

Yes, slog.  There are some folks who find online dating exciting and exhilarating.  All those new people!  But most of my friends just want to be in a happy relationship with someone that interests them and the process of getting there can be downright painful at times.

Both of my friends found their new relationship through online dating.  One on Match.  One on eharmony.

Both worked it–hard.  We’re talking five to six dates in a week early on.  Maybe more.

Both had their down moments when they wondered whether it was really worth it.

But they pushed through.  And they both found someone.

Now, it helps that they’re both normal people looking for normal people.  And two is a pretty small sample.  But I really do think that most people if they really try hard (respond to most messages, send messages, agree to lots of in person dates) and are in that mid 60% of folks range, will find someone given enough time.

And, given the random anecdotes of my friends who have succeeded at this, it takes about ten weeks.

So, if you’re doing the online dating thing and struggling to get through, keep going.  It can work out.  And if my friends are any example, it’s pretty darned awesome when it does!