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How To Meet In Real Life: A Refresher Course For Online Daters

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You have that friend. The friend who says they don’t need online dating because they don’t have trouble meeting people in real life. Or the friend who says they don’t want to try a dating service because they would rather meet someone face-to-face.

If you’re a regular online dater, it almost sounds quaint - a relic of the past, like a Ford Model T or a flip phone. Dating apps and sites have become so ubiquitous that they’ve fundamentally changed how we meet and mate. Exploring your romantic options offline feels like a lost art, but studies say it’s still the #1 way couples meet.

Does that mean you should kick your online dating habit like a junk food addiction? Of course not. But if the only way you date is through a digital device, it may be time for a refresher course on how to meet people IRL. Here are 3 lessons to get you started:

#1 Diversify Your Destinations

Your phone and your laptop are no longer your wingmen. Where do you go to meet potential matches? The most common answer is a bar or a club, and though those aren’t inherently wrong options, they’re limiting. Expand your horizons and your odds expand along with them. Visit parks, book stores, wineries, bowling alleys, a cooking class - anywhere you’re in the presence of new people. Bonus points if you choose a place that means you and any intriguing strangers already share a common interest.

#2 Actively Stretch Your Social Muscles

Your social skills may be rusty if you haven’t used them in a while (and even if you think they’re solid, there’s always room for improvement). Give your social muscles the workout they need by intentionally exercising them. Challenge yourself to talk to a stranger for no reason, or to smile at 10 random people each day, or to go somewhere even if your friends say they can’t make it. When you push yourself socially, you open yourself to a whole new world of connections.

#3 Flee The Comfort Zone

Break out of your routine. If you go to the same restaurants, same bars, same coffee shops, and you’re not meeting the kind of person you’re interested in, it’s time to make a change. When opportunities for new experiences present themselves, take them. When they don’t, create them. Explore your hobbies and sign up for the classes you’ve been meaning to take. Not only will you be exposed to a whole new dating pool, you’ll be making yourself a more interesting date at the same time.

Summer Loving: Why You Should Keep Your Options Open

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Summer Love

According to Match’s Singles in America Study, most people are interested in long-term relationships, especially men. However, if you spend much time in the real world of online dating and dating apps, you see a different story unfold: most people are afraid to commit, less they lose their options for meeting other people.

It’s a double-edged sword: there are more options now thanks to apps like Tinder which have made meeting people online very easy, but there’s also the problem of choice as Aziz Ansari talks about in his book Modern Romance. When there are too many options, people tend to feel less satisfied with any one choice.

So what should daters do?

I read a Washington Post article recently penned by a single Mom, who used to find online dating a horrible, time-consuming experience. But since apps came into the picture and she’s able to swipe at any time, like say – between diaper changes or feedings, she finds it absolutely freeing. Dating apps have given her more confidence, because she knows that even when she has a bad date, she can always find someone else. At any time.

But for those of us who have experience looking for love for months or even years, you can start to feel a little bitter and exhausted from the process. After all, how many first dates can you go on before you feel like you’ve had the same conversations and met the same types over and over?

That’s why this summer I have a proposition: instead of looking for someone special, or jumping into a relationship too soon, or getting too excited about an online match before you’ve even met, try taking a step back. Swipe right on more profiles than you want. Try dating a range of people outside of a “type” you find most attractive.

And most importantly, date more than one person at a time. Really.

There’s no reason to continue with serial monogamy this summer, when you do have choices and you can explore your dating options a bit more than you have in the past. Instead of getting excited and let down, riding that roller coaster, try scheduling more dates and seeing all the people you can meet.

There’s no reason to fixate on one choice when you aren’t exclusive. Dating means exploring your options, testing the waters, and seeing who is out there. Plus, when you date outside your type, you are adding to your choices.

I’m not trying to stress out your already busy schedule, but why not take advantage of longer summer nights by keeping your options open? It can’t hurt. And you might have more fun when you don’t take things so seriously.

Tired of your Friends Complaining about Dating? Here’s What To Do.

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Complaining about dating.

It can be fun to get together with your single friends and compare your dating experiences. I blog about it, and when I was single, bad dates provided some pretty great ideas for posts!

But after a while, all the awkward and disappointing dates can get you down, especially when you commiserate with friends. In fact, you might be at the point where you don’t want to get together with friends at all, because the date bashing sessions can feel tired or depressing. You might wonder if dating is this way for everyone, or if there are any good men left.

Well, don’t worry – with over 50% of the American population who are single, and many more around the world, you can meet some pretty amazing people. You just have to keep perspective, which can be hard to do if you keep revisiting dating problems with your cynical friends.

There are different ways that your friends can influence your thinking and overall outlook on dating:

They stereotype.

Be careful of anyone using language like “all men are players,” or “nobody is looking for a serious relationship.” These blanket statements aren’t true, and worse, they are influencing how you think about your dates.

What you can do instead:

Approach every new person as a blank slate – assume nothing. Instead of believing your friend’s advice that men on Tinder are only looking for casual sex, take a different attitude. There are plenty of guys out there looking for relationships – you just have to put it out there that you are, too. If you're not finding it on Tinder, try a different app, or take a class, or join a running group. There are so many ways to meet new people - take advantage.

They encourage you to join in the rant.

It might feel good to get those bad dates off your chest, but then what? Usually, you all leave feeling a little more cynical about your dating prospects.

What you can do instead:

Rather than joining in the men-bashing, try thinking of positive things to say about the men in your life who you love, like your brother, cousin, or a good friend. It’s important to remember that dating is a process, and you’re not going to click romantically with everyone. But that doesn’t mean the men you date are bad people – they just aren’t for you.

They get quiet if you have a good date.

Did you have a good date, but nobody wants to hear about it? Or maybe they pick your date apart, looking for what’s wrong. Either way, this is not a good feeling, and can kill that good first date buzz.

What you can do instead:

Try mixing it up with your single friends and invite a friend or two who are in happy relationships. Sometimes it helps to get a little perspective. Dating can be exciting, too when a new relationship is starting to bloom. It's good to remember that it’s okay to be excited and hopeful. Yes, you might get hurt, but you also might find love. The risk you take is always worth it.

How to Work Through a Break-Up

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Each year, the majority of break-ups happen just before the holidays. There are many people hurting right now over lost love, and wondering how to get over their pain.

The truth is, healing takes time and patience. There are no short cuts, as badly as we might want them. But if you allow yourself to go through the process of mourning and letting go, you can move on to healthier relationships. Many people get stuck in the grieving process, wanting to move on quickly by jumping from relationship to relationship or closing themselves off from emotional intimacy with a new person.

Don’t let this happen. There are ways to deal with a break-up that lead to a much healthier, happier you. Here are some steps to take to work through the pain:

Exercise, be active. Interestingly, moving our bodies physically can help us become emotionally unstuck, even if getting up from the couch is the last thing we want to do. When you are feeling sad and lethargic, try doing some yoga poses, going for a walk, or even jumping rope. Movement helps release endorphins, and helps lift depression.

Journal. So you’re not a writer – it doesn’t matter. Get your feelings out on the page. And don’t blog about it; treat yourself to an old-fashioned paper journal that you won’t be sharing with anyone else, so you can really lay out your pain, vulnerability, and relationship issues. There’s something healing about personal journaling when you are working through pain that helps clear things up.

Lean on friends/ family. There’s no shame in asking for help when you need it. Call up a friend to go for a walk with you, or a family member to cry it out. We’ve all been through heartache – and it helps to release with people you trust.

Meditate. Meditation isn’t just for Tibetan monks or hippie chicks in Santa Cruz. It’s become very popular lately for very good reason – it works. Meditation helps calm your mind so that emotions don’t take over – it helps you work through pain, release it, and create a more peaceful existence. If you’re not sure what to do, there are plenty of apps and online tutorials – try Deepak Chopra, Oprah.com, or the apps Headspace or Synchronicity, which provide short guided meditations.

Rediscover yourself. Have you been part of a couple so long you’ve lost track of what you really like? Are you looking for a new routine, a new hobby, or a change of scenery? Now is the time to explore. Clear the slate and start anew – whether that means redecorating your house, picking up a new hobby, visiting a new place, or cutting your hair and getting a fresh look. Trying new things opens up our world, and helps us find those things that make us happy. It’s a step in a new direction, towards a new life.

5 Tips For Writing A Dating Profile That Actually Gets Dates

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Lisa Hoehn is an expert in the art of online dating. Her website, ProfilePolish.com, specializes in giving undateable profiles a much-needed makevoer so you are still you – just a better-sounding, better-looking version. The kind that actually gets dates.

In her new book, You Probably Shouldn't Write That: Tips and Tricks for Creating an Online Dating Profile That Doesn't Suck, Hoehn shares her best advice for creating a sought-after digital dating presence. Not only does she reveal the mistakes you probably don't even know you're making, she also offers step-by-step guidance to correct them.

Read on for 5 of her best online dating tips.

  1. Pick your username carefully. Most of the time, potential suitors will ignore it. But if it's really awesome – or really terrible – they'll notice. Hoehn's biggest username no-no's include: sexual references, too many numbers, obvious bragging and your last name (because you don't need to be Googled by someone you've never even met).
  2. Ban bad photos. It's more important to have good pictures than to be good-looking. Your photos should paint you in a flattering light while offering insight into your personality and lifestyle. Images that are blurry, small, dark, grainy, edited, outdated and – worst of all – don't even include you – need to be nixed.
  3. Use the English language (or whichever one you speak) properly. Sloppy grammer and spelling mistakes are instant attraction killers. Hoehn also advises against including too many exclamation points, overusing emoticons, typing in all caps and adding hashtags.
  4. Watch your words. Certain subjects just don't belong in your dating profile. Don't insult a group of people. Don't mention your ex. Don't be blatantly sexual (unless you're using a service specifically for that). Don't talk about money or your medical history. Don't say you're looking for a “new beginning,” a “fresh start,” or something “drama-free” – because what you're really saying is “I come with a lot of baggage.”
  5. Don't go overboard. If you're one of the rare specimens who actually enjoys filling out a profile, resist the urge to pen a novel. Don't wax poetic about your favorite subjects (no one cares). Don't use too many lists. Don't make sweeping, corny romantic statements (it's cheesy and you're definitely jumping the gun). Don't share so many details about your life that there's nothing left to talk about on a date.

For more top tips from Lisa Hoehn, pick up a copy of You Probably Shouldn't Write That: Tips and Tricks for Creating an Online Dating Profile That Doesn't Suck at Amazon.com.

Are You Texting Your Way Out Of Dating?

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Texting Instead of Dating

Have you ever followed up with a date over text, the flirty banter going back and forth for a couple of weeks, when suddenly it tapers off? Or maybe he disappears altogether? Before you wonder what you might have done wrong, or what might have happened, it’s time to set the record straight about texting.

Texting is fun and flirtatious. It is a great, low-maintenance way to keep the fire burning if you and your date had some chemistry together. But many of us feel too comfortable behind the screen – to the point where it actually hinders real relationships, and interferes with our romantic life.

Texting is not a substitute for dating. We need that real in-person connection in order for something to grow. When you text or message someone, sharing flirty banter or even more personal thoughts, it feels like you are growing closer. But texting and messaging don’t help you develop a relationship – they create a false sense of connection. In fact, if texting is your barometer for how well your relationship is going, you’re going to be completely misled.

When someone really wants to pursue a relationship with you, they want to see you in person. They want to set up dates. Flirting over text might be part of the fun, but it is only part of it. If a man you are seeing is only communicating with you over text, no matter how charming he is, he isn’t really interested in pursuing a relationship. If he was, he would be asking you out.

You deserve a real-life relationship.

Consider the last relationship you had that was great over text, but fizzled out quickly. There could be any number of reasons this happened. Texting might be a fun way to pass the time for the object of your affection, or a distraction from thinking about an ex, or even a Plan B in case the other person he’s interested in doesn’t pan out. It can also be a quick ego boost. Whatever the case, it doesn’t make a difference. The fact is, there isn’t a chance for a real relationship to happen if your main interaction is through text.

Instead of relying on your texting chemistry after a good first meeting or date, it’s better to see what happens on a second date, or a third. Don’t just assume that texting will eventually get you to the place you want in a relationship. Let your dates know what you want. Ask him or her out. Don’t accept anything less than real-life interaction – there is no substitute. If someone keeps putting you off, claiming they are busy, or only texts you to hook up at the last-minute, move on. They aren’t the right relationship for you.