Do Facebook Status Updates Affect Your Dating Life?

General News
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There's no denying that Facebook and other social media have become a big part of our lives. The vast majority of us have a Facebook page, (and many also have a Twitter or FourSquare account and a Pinterest page among others). So what does that mean for our dating lives?

Facebook has become a way for us to update our network of friends on everything that is going on in our lives, sometimes on a minute-by-minute basis, depending on how much time you spend on the site. It's also a way for us to check in on other peoples' lives. People use their status update tool to announce everything from a new baby to an engagement to what kind of coffee they had for breakfast. While it's great to keep updated on the lives of our friends, when is it too much?

Studies have been conducted recently on this topic, and whether too much time on Facebook can lead to jealousy or depression. While there are no definite links between clinical depression and social media use, there was a study from the University of Salford in the U.K. that indicates social media may cause anxiety and lower self-esteem.

While this study was not extensive - about 300 people participated - about half of them reported that using social media has made their lives worse. In particular, they noticed feelings of jealousy and low self-esteem when they started comparing their own lives to those of their Facebook friends.

For example, if your ex-boyfriend posts a new photo with a mysterious woman, or friends a member of the opposite sex, you might find yourself not only curious but jealous. And this might lead you to more stalker-like behavior, trying to figure out who this woman is and why she's in a photo with your ex.

Sometimes posts can seem insensitive to single men and women: posts announcing a couple's marriage, new engagement, a trip to Europe together (complete with pictures of the happy couple), or an announcement of the baby they are expecting. While these events are all wonderful, it can make single Facebook friends start dwelling on all the things they don't have.

While we can't prevent people from posting a million pictures of their new babies on Facebook or gushing about their new loves, we can take a step back and limit the time we spend on social media sites. We could also block certain people from our feeds, if they have a proclivity to gush. Regardless, it's important to keep perspective. Some people gush on Facebook in order to convince themselves of their own happiness. Others just want to share. Either way, don't take it personally - it's not about you. The more you can distance yourself from other people's status updates, the more secure and relaxed you'll be in your own life.

To find out more on how to use this social network as a dating tool and if it is worth doing so, please read our Facebook review.

POF.com Review Updated

POF (Plenty of Fish)
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Our review for the dating site Plenty of Fish has just received a major update and is now available online. Our last significant update to this review was completed under a year and a half ago. Beyond shortening there name from Plenty of Fish to POF this dating site has gone through a number of changes since May 2011.

So what has POF updated with their service since the last time we did a review? Here is a quick list of some of the more important changes:

  • Profile questions modified and added
  • Photo rating removed
  • Relationship chemistry predictor went from 28 to 73 questions
  • Profile themes now requires a paid membership
  • The ability to see who viewed your profile find out the date and time it was viewed now requires a paid membership
  • The amount of credits you get has changed for the 3 price points
  • Additional relationship statuses have been added
  • Some limits to what users can contact you via private messaging has been removed. You can no longer specify that the sender’s profile must have an image and that the message must be a certain size
  • New "Hottest Girls" feature that lists women who consistently reply to messages
  • New "Most Attracted" feature that lists men who have a high likelihood of being attracted to you
  • There are now 5 different Personality Tests

To find out more about this popular free dating site and the changes please read our updated POF.com review now.

myLovelyParent Lets Children Play Matchmaker

Advice
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The hippest parents turn to their kids for advice on up-and-coming bands and the hottest new fashion trends, but would you ask your kid for dating advice?

That's the premise behind the latest dating site to join the fray, myLovelyParent. myLovelyParent hopes to help single moms and dads find love online with the aid of the most important people in their lives: their children. The site is the brainchild of two brothers in the UK who hope to find their "very lovely single mum in her 60s" a few "handsome chaps" for friendship and companionship.

In their own words, the brothers describe their project as "trying to open up the world of online dating to our parents' generation." "They're a generation who, on the whole, are less digitally proficient, less accepting of social networking (in its most literal sense) and who are incredibly discrete when it comes to matters of the heart," they write on the site's blog. "There are plenty of people out there who don't want to be alone. And we believe, through digital, we can bring them together."

The process, as the brothers describe it, is simple:

  1. Sign yourself up.
  2. Recommend people to your mum/dad.
  3. Ask to be more involved OR sit back and know you've done a good thing.

Sons and daughters sign up their single moms and dads and create a profile for them, then search the site for people they think would be perfect companions for their parents. Emails are automatically sent to the parents when their child "recommends" someone for them, and from there they can take things into their own hands.

myLovelyParent seems to be taking a cue from mysinglefriend.com, another dating site based in the UK. My Single Friend lets third parties play matchmaker by asking your friends to write your profile for you, a concept that's similar to children finding dates for their parents. Other well-meaning relatives, like aunts and uncles, grandparents, and step-parents, are also welcome to help their loved ones find partners.

The goals for myLovelyParent are lofty - "I want to create something that can, once again, disrupt a saturated marketplace whilst delivering something that changes the world for the better," wrote one brother on the blog - but the site has already generated a lot of interest. myLovelyParent is currently only available in the UK, where it's in beta with plans to go live in September, but the brothers hope to bring the site to the US in January.

Can Men And Women Ever Be “Just Friends”?

Friendship
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I will always be one of the first to insist that men and women can just be friends. I have great friendships with women. I have great friendships with men. And I don't see a difference...friends are just friends, right? If you get along with someone gender doesn't matter, does it?

A new study called "Benefit or burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship" has examined the controversial issue of male-female friendships, and found that the answer is no...and yes. Inconclusive? Yup. Interesting anyway? Definitely. Here's how it worked and what they found...

Interested in examining how heterosexual, opposite-sex friends tackled the issue of sexual attraction in their friendships, a group of researchers asked 88 pairs of opposite-sex, college-age friends to fill out questionnaires about their friendships. Participants answered questions about their friendships - including questions about their levels of attraction to each other - separately. To ensure honesty, all responses were kept confidential, even after the conclusion of the study.

The results showed that men tend to be more attracted to their female friends than female friends are attracted to their male friends. Overestimating women's interest is common amongst men, says April Bleske-Rechek, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin who worked on the study. "Men over-infer women's sexual interest in a variety of contexts," she explains, "and I definitely see that extending into the domain of cross-sex friendships as well."

Men and women were equally likely to report finding their opposite-sex friends attractive even when they were already romantically involved with someone else, but more men said they'd like to go on a date with their female friends. Fewer women said they would be interested in dating male friends, preferring to keep their relationships platonic.

The research team then expanded their investigation to a second study, which asked 107 young adults ages 18 to 23 and 322 adults between the ages of 27 and 55 to list reasons why cross-sex friendships are both beneficial and burdensome. They were overwhelmingly voted beneficial, though adults reported having fewer opposite-sex friends than the younger group.

What's most interesting about the pros and cons list is that "attraction" almost always fell on the "burden" side of the cost-benefit analysis. Men were less likely to call attraction a burden than women, but both men and women were unlikely to see it as a positive aspect of an opposite-sex friendship.

So does that mean men and women can't be friends after all? Of course not. But it may be wise to be clear and upfront about exactly what your intentions for a new relationship are. If you want to be romantically involved, set the foundation for that right away. Don't build a close, platonic friendship first in hopes that it will one day turn into something more.

iDreamofU Makes Love At First Sight A Reality

Reviews
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I have never been the most romantic of gals. I never fantasized about being swept off my feet by Prince Charming or a knight in shining amour. I always found the idea that there's only ONE person out there for each of us - a soulmate - to be a little silly (and, frankly, far too limiting). And the idea of "love at first sight" seems more than a little corny to me.

Now a new dating service is trying to make those of us who are romantic realists change our minds. 1iDreamofU is a new online social dating site that allows members to visually create an image of the person they would like to meet, making "love at first sight" a reality.

So it's like The Sims for my love life? I'm totally in.

After a user creates the image of their perfect match, the IDOU software compares the image, along with responses to questions on demographics and relationships, to other members on the site to make the match. Joe Schwinger, President of eXcelaweb, the company responsible for IDOU's custom software, says "The software associated with IDOU's creation leverages a unique algorithm which allows users to custom select and compile every asset of the person they want to create. The compiled assets, the image of a person, are shared via social networks to crowdsource that perfect match."

New users can create their dream guy or girl from the ground up, customizing every detail - from ethnicity, to facial structure, to eye, nose, mouth, and hair shapes - or chose from "Almost Famous" faces or already-created base faces. After the Dream has been built, users rank their chosen features from most to least important.

Following the creation of the Dream, users answer typical dating site questions about relationship status, religious and political beliefs, occupation, and education. Other questions ask users to describe their "Actual Saturday" and their "Ideal Saturday," and to go into more detail about themselves and the date they're looking for. You can create as many Dreams as you want in search of your perfect match.

Once the Dream is created and your profile has been completed, hit the Search button to receive your matches. You can use advanced search features to filter the results, and can organize matches by adding them to your favorites, connecting with them, or blocking them. To initiate a conversation, send a message (you can even use a pre-made subject headline) and start talking! You can also ask your friends to help you find your Dream by sharing it on Facebook and Twitter.

Karen Howard, President of KLEA, Inc., the owner of the IDOU brand, says this of the new site: "IDOU is fun and entertaining in that you can create a person just for the experience or in the hopes of meeting the person you've built. That you can share the person you created with friends through social media is an added bonus."

Dating Within Your “Circle”

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Online dating can seem a bit intimidating - meeting a complete stranger and seeing if you click. But what if the potential dates you meet are friends of friends, or people connected to you through a social network? Would that make a difference?

Circl.es is betting on it. This dating app uses Facebook to help you find other single friends of your friends - ones you might not necessarily run into in real life. (Especially if you prefer to spend time interacting with people online rather than in person.)

Even though they just launched in April, Circl.es is already steadily gaining active users. There is no "online dating profile" per se, or a long list of questions to answer before you see your matches, just your basic stats. When you join, you share the basics of what you're looking for - body type, age, etc. and you can scroll through its list of friends of friends in your vicinity. It pulls your basic Facebook information - like birthday, where you live, and general info and likes to match you. It's pretty simple, and it won't match you with your own friends so you don't have to explain that embarrassing situation.

A great feature: there is a disclaimer when you join, stating that Circl.es won't show up in your timeline, and that your information won't be shared with anyone who doesn't fit your criteria. Your information is kept pretty private, as long as you're willing to share some of your Facebook life with potential dates. But keep in mind there isn't the same privacy and anonymity you have with online dating sites.

With Circl.es, your Facebook information isn't visible unless you meet a few criteria, namely that you have a friend in common and that you match each other's basic criteria in a partner (including being single). So, it's not like you're disclosing your Facebook page to just anyone - but keep in mind, you're still putting your information out there for non-friends to see, so be sure to keep the full disclosures and drunken photos to a minimum. (See my previous articles on how to use Facebook as a dating tool for more information.)

Circl.es isn't the first dating app to utilize the vast network of Facebook, and probably won't be the last. I have to admit, social media lends itself to dating, if only because we are addicted to checking in with our friends and followers all day long - social media captures our attention and engages us, so why not find a date while we're updating our status?