When I put out the request for your adventures in the world of online dating, I wasn’t prepared for the wide variety of responses. I learned a lot from you—thanks for sharing! Since there was so much information, I’m going to break this into two parts, just to do your stories justice.
Oh, and the names have been changed to protect, well, everyone.
So these are Kendra’s Rules for Successful (or at least not Terrible) Online Dating. I’d say Kendra’s Five Rules, but who knows what I’ll learn from you in the next week.
- Choose your service wisely.
When I finally broke down and decided to go online, I first selected Christian Café. It was affordable and Christian (haha), so I thought it’d be a good place to start. Plus, I have this eensy-weensy tendency to abhor that which is popular—that’s why I avoided eHarmony and Match.
In some respects, while searchable services give you a wider pool, they are more work—you have to spend hours sorting through profiles, knowing nothing about the other person. I met a few great guys on there and loads of creeps. (It turns out I have sexy feet. Who knew?)
You also need to be willing to start over if it seems a service isn’t working for you. After about four months on CC, I switched to eHarmony on a whim and decided to purchase a six-month subscription. On a shallow note, I loved the clean layout after the darker pages on CC. While initially I was talking to less men, the ones I met and eventually dated were actually guys that I really liked and enjoyed spending time with. Well, except for that one guy who didn’t even pay for my latte after I got up early for a first date on New Year’s Day. Who does that to a girl?
My man is quite sold out on the compatibility matching of eHarmony. He feels like it takes the guesswork out of whether you’ll get along, and ensures that you’re not going out just because the other person is hot. Even if they are. 😉
If you like being in control or simply don’t like being constrained, you might prefer one of the searchable services. In the end, I met my man on eHarmony, but plenty of people have had success elsewhere. One of them I’ll be talking about in part 2.
- Be honest
You are looking for a long-term, quality relationship, are you not? Then start it out with the truth. Dishonesty is one of the six Love Busters, according to Dr. Harley. Tell the truth with your profile, your pictures (we all want to post the perfect ones, but make sure they actually look like you), and with your communication. Be honest about your comfort level, and when it’s time to end a relationship. Don’t waste anyone’s time trying to be nice. And good grief, if you’re going to stop talking to someone, tell them. Don’t just drop off the face of the earth. That’s just wrong.
(Hmmm. Do I sound bitter?)
- Work it like a part-time job. Seriously.
This one and number five are probably the two hardest points. I’m assuming you already have a full-time job, and maybe even one or two part-time jobs, not to mention a full life, friends, family, and hobbies. But in order to get any benefit out of this service, you have to work it.
For me, that looked like an hour or more each evening (even when on vacation or business trips) reviewing matches, sending emails, closing matches, responding to emails, and whining about how much of a pain it all was. Oh, wait! I did the complaining pretty much constantly.
If you’re looking for a quality relationship, you can’t just sign up, set up your profile and wait for The One to email and sweep you off your seat. That’s kind of like buying a franchise and sitting back expecting to make a killing. Success in any endeavor takes work, unless you’re truly one of the charmed ones. But since you’re thinking about going online, I’m guessing that’s not the case—at least not in your dating life.
From my days of applying for jobs, I remember this one principle: keep 7-10 potential positions in the mix at all time, because 8-9 of them will fall away through no fault of yours. In the dating world it means this: see and talk to multiple people until you determine that you are serious about someone and want an exclusive relationship. But also be honest that you are seeing and talking to multiple people. It all goes back to honesty.
Since this is just part 1, I definitely welcome any comments or stories you might want to share. You can make part 2 even better than it already is!
After several recent conversations with single friends about online dating, I had hoped to write a post on this subject. Then I went and slammed my index finger in a door and can hardly type. (Backspace is getting a workout today!) So while I gather more info, I want to hear your thoughts.
Comment, message, text, or email away what you love, hate, or question about online dating and I’ll give it a shot for next week when I’m less handicapped.
Is it just me, or is applying makeup overwhelming at times? Working from home doesn’t mean I run around the house with a bare face, but it does mean there are many days where it doesn’t have to be applied first thing. However, I’ve noticed that I work much better with makeup applied and hair styled. Are you the same way?
So on those days (like today) when I’m exhausted or just overwhelmed by how crazy long my list is, I set a timer. Did you know you can apply serious makeup in about five minutes? That includes liquid eyeliner. Just don’t overdo it on the coffee beforehand.
I also use a timer when the kitchen has gotten out of hand and all I want to do after getting the Little Butt in bed is pour a glass of wine and put up my feet. Deep down I know that tomorrow will be better if the kitchen is clean and the coffee pot prepped, but it’s just so much work!
On goes the timer. This time I use the one on the stove because I can see what I’m competing against. Did you know that a seriously messy kitchen can usually be cleaned up in just seven minutes? I give myself ten because then I can work on one of those chores I usually put off—like washing the window over the sink.
Back when I was teaching piano full time and struggling with a difficult student (I no longer remember who that was), a parent named Mary Jo told me, “You can do anything for thirty minutes.” She was so right. I tell myself that when I turn on my workout DVD each morning.
The timer concept is not my own. I learned it from FlyLady. But I’m sure she learned it from someone before that. And now you can pass it on to someone else, after giving it a try and seeing what works for you.
If you can do anything for thirty minutes, ten or fifteen minutes are a breeze. I challenge you—go find a timer (you may even be holding it as you read). Give it a go and see what you think.
A few weeks ago I bumped into my friend Tara in the post office. A change of plans for the morning left her headed to the gym with a perfectly made up face and pretty nice hair (although she swears she didn’t do anything besides dry it—the sign of a truly great cut, my friends). In a text a few minutes later, I jokingly stated, “You look WAY too hot to go to the gym. Every woman there will hate you.”
My statement was pretty much true, but I must ask—why are we like this?
Then last week my cousin Lisa shared this article on Facebook, and it made me wonder for the umpteenth time—why do we women make life so difficult for each other?
Now, perhaps I wonder more than most because I grew up in a relatively sheltered setting, having been homeschooled for about ten of those 13 fundamental years. My three sisters and I did not treat each other cattily. My mom was not catty. But as I would soon find out, cattiness has no age limitations.
That said, as an adult I see that no matter what one’s background, there is something inherently female (note I didn’t say feminine) that makes cattiness a trait specific to our gender. We are called the B word. On some level, we are expected to gossip, backbite, sneer at, and throw members of our sex under the bus.
As I read and pondered that article, I decided that the root could be nothing more or less than our insecurities. We feel threatened, so we seek to hurt before someone else can hurt us. Or we mock because we know we can’t compete. Or we ignore because of a fear of personal failure.
Seriously? Enough already. We need each other. And we need to respect one another. Your choices may be different than mine, and you may look way better while working out than I do (yes, Tara, that would be you), but does that really require me to demean you and thereby degrade myself?
God knows I do my share of judging, whether in my head or aloud to my husband, poor man. But it needs to stop. I need to give others the benefit of the doubt, and to believe that they are doing the best they know to do.
Rather than judge, I need to befriend.
Rather than let my insecurities dictate my responses, I need to be transparent.
When all of us become transparent, we’ll finally see that we all want the same things anyway. We might go about our lives differently, but deep down we are all the same. And that’s worth embracing and celebrating.