We all hate to be wrong, but in reality we are wrong often.  We just don’t want to admit it to ourselves or others.  That holds us back from successful dating.  When we can admit we were wrong, we can learn from our experiences.

mr_handSchool taught us wrongly
In school getting a wrong answer generally meant you were either not very smart or you didn’t work hard enough.  Either way, you were not enough, inadequate, and that’s a feeling we try to avoid. We tend to carry this way of thinking into all matters of our lives, and that may be our biggest mistake.  We should be able to be wrong without shame.

heatseekerHeat seeking missile
The simple but effective intelligence of heat seeking missiles comes from the ability to know when it is wrong. It changes course regularly to find its moving target. When its heat sensor says that any move has resulted in less heat, the missile knows it’s wrong and its guidance system moves away from the cool and back toward the heat. Simple but effective.

Be a match seeking missile
Missiles learn a simple lesson from being wrong, how to correct themselves. If you are going off course and not finding a match, correct that.  It’s simple. (not really)

Missiles feel no shame from being wrong.  Don’t get hung up on your so-called “failures.”  You can call them your “direction corrections” instead.   Expect that direction corrections will be an important part of your dating process. Recognized mistakes are not just excusable, they are desirable!

Missiles make many corrections before finding their target. Your chances of finding the right person increase dramatically if you are willing to cull through a wide group of wrong people.  If your match-seeking sensor is on, you’ll learn something with each wrong move.

“Your best teacher is your last mistake”    Ralph Nader

So, get out there, make some mistakes, learn some things, and find your target!

I remember when I first started bicycle touring.wind2 I was training along the coast of North Carolina when I joined up with a seasoned rider.  We were cruising along easily, and I noted to him that this biking thing wasn’t really so hard. He grinned and replied, “Yeah, with a tailwind.” I hadn’t noticed.  I did when I turned around to go home. The headwind beat me up.

Finding your Tailwind

Albert#1 Use great photos online
Your first photo viewed and all the others are the most important online facts about you that will get you dates.  To understand this better see our post on window shopping. Don’t discount the importance of your image. It may be true that you are so much more than what you look like, but we all make snap judgments about people based on their looks.

#2 Don’t confuse selling with buyingmarket
Your online profile has one function, to sell you out in the marketplace for dates. It’s an advertisement for you. It’s your 30 second ad during the Superbowl.  Make it work for you. Know your product, and know your target audience. Advertisements don’t say “I want xyz from you.” They say “I’ve got what you want.” The desire for you is out there. Your job is grab the attention of the people with that desire.

You get to do “buying” when you check out their profiles and pay close attention to them on dates. This is equally as important as selling. Know what you are looking for. Hint: if you think it is mostly about looks, you are way off course. Looks are very important to begin with and way less important for a relationship.

pinocchio#3 Be Yourself
You ask, “What else could I be?” Well, people pretend to be all sorts of things they aren’t because they think that is what will get them the most attention. Talk about creating a headwind.  Sooner or later faking wears thin and you’ll just be you. You might as well make it easier by being you to begin with.  Be proud of who you are. People respect that, and studies show it leads to better dating success.

Know your strengths. Work on your weaknesses. Be happy.  Those three things aren’t so easy to do, but it you work at them a little bit at a time, you will be amazed at the tailwind you will develop.

Settling is not a bad word.
For some picky people there is a need to accept some deviations from the long list of date requirements.  For some who don’t expect much there may be a need to be more selective.  For most of us both settling and selecting will help us find the best mate.

Organic Applesapples_2327493b
Organic may or may not be your thing, but it’s pretty clear that they are better for you than conventionally raised apples. The conventional apples will probably be bigger and have amazingly perfect skin. As to which taste better, the organics may hold an edge. What kind of apples do you buy? You are both settling and selecting when you choose.

With your dating you have similar choices. Are you looking for the pristine conventional red delicious or the sweet, slightly-flawed organic fuji. There are always trade-offs. Always.

Consider the importance of your Date Criteria
Being a lawyer (and maybe just too damn picky), I can get hung up about grammar. Rose is very intelligent, but she hasn’t lived in a world where the precision of grammatically correct speech is as highly valued.  If we weren’t together because of that mismatch, I’d be a fool of the first order.  We have other mismatches that we consider relatively insignificant because the areas where we do match are so nice.  For example,  healthy eating was a criteria for my dating, but I had no idea how wonderful it would be to find someone who really loves to feed me better than I ever expected to be fed.  And with love!

selectingOverly tight requirements may overly eliminate
Maybe height is a big hangup for some people, but if you found the perfect person for you and booted them for a few inches of altitude, in my book, you would be foolish. A graduate degree may generally indicate more intellectual firepower. So what? There are plenty of really bright college drop-outs.

Some traits are very important
Simple matching criteria like height, income, and education may generally help get matches in the ballpark, but the important things for really good fit with couples are primarily about personality; things like kindness, generosity, sense of adventure, attentiveness, and the like.

Rule for selection criteria
Those criteria that are easily measured and stated like multiple choice questions for online profiles are generally less important than the criteria that can not be easily stated or observed.   Example – height vs honesty.  You have to get to know someone before you can have an idea if you two are a good match.

Settle with little stuff  –  Select for the big stuff!

No one knows you as well as you know yourself (presuming basic mental health). You know where you’ve been, what you’ve done, how you feel about things, what you dream about, etc. elizabethanYet, we all find it challenging to classify ourselves into personality types with confidence.

Know Yourself
As you get involved in the dating game there are definite benefits to knowing generally what kind of person you are.
Know what you are offering
Not everyone wants the same things from a mate.  Haven’t you noticed that with some happy couples one is a talker and the other tends to be less talkative. The less talkative one probably likes it that the talker brings that to the table. Do you like to touch? Listen? Debate? Cook?

Know what you want
Do you want someone to exercise with you? Or to leave you alone while you exercise?  How much time do you want to be alone, with your mate, or with friends? Do you want your mate to structure your vacations for you? Do you want to do it? Do you like unstructured vacations?

distortedjpgHow to learn about yourself
Sorry, but while introspection is helpful, it will rarely give you a clear picture of yourself. We all have biases about ourselves that make it difficult to see ourselves. You are trying to get past that cloudy thinking, not accentuate it.

Counseling
Counseling can be a great way to learn about yourself. Sure, it takes time and money, but a good counselor (not one who just tells you what feels good) can open your eyes to see yourself in amazing ways.

Personality Systems
An easy way to start seeing yourself better is personality test like the Myers-Briggs 16 personality types.  Google “personality test” and you will find a bunch.  Some folks like the Enneagram personality typing scheme.  Look for yourself.

baby_in_mirrorDon’t be Afraid to See Yourself
You are who you are, warts and all.  You are an amazing product of nature and nurture; a complex, wonderful human being. The more you know about yourself, the more you can appreciate yourself.

People are window shopping on your dating site. Some may pause for a moment to glance and then move on. Some will take a little more time to look at your display in the window to consider whether they want to enter your shop.  Make your display get attention and interest from the type of shoppers who might buy what you are offering.
eyeglass-window-womenretroCapture Attention
Online daters are out shopping for dates.  They are looking in the various shop windows to see what appeals.  Why should they focus on your display?

Dating sites tend to arrange potential dates with thumbnail pictures and simple bios. If your likely dates won’t click your pic, you are doomed.  Make that image draw shoppers to the window. Be eye-catching!

Inspire Interest
It is essential that you have a basic understanding of what interests your shopper.  Yes, your shopper is interested in finding a person like you, but why would your shopper want you?  What needs of that person can you satisfy?  If your profile gives your shopper the idea that you will satisfy those needs, then you have inspired interest.  (Hint – the greatest need to be satisfied is companionship.)

No Price Tags
Window displays don’t show prices.  Prices scare people away.  fabioOne of the biggest mistakes we see with online profiles is showing the price.  Do you wonder how you might be showing your price?  You display it when your profile creates high expectations of what you require from your potential mate.  Profiles do it explicitly and implicitly.  Do you really require your mate to be tall, lean, athletic, rich, and possess a graduate degree or are you just in fantasy land? Your shoppers aren’t perfect and, most importantly, they are not likely to be altogether confident in themselves.  Remember, your display is there to appeal to the shoppers needs, not to over-state your needs (real or not) that may scare off buyers.

window shoppingIt’s Not Facebook
Window displays work best with simple and powerful images. You don’t need to put the whole store in the window.  You want to create a positive feeling about you that inspires a further look. Yes, your store has a diversity of items, but you have to get the shopper in the door before the real shopping begins.

Most people feel insecure about creating a profile for the world to see. We sure did. One way many of us compensate for that insecurity is to try to create a profile that makes us look good.  Well, that is OK as long as it also serves our purpose of communicating our abilities to satisfy the needs of the desirable shoppers.  That is often not the case.  Too much about where we have been and what we’ve done may turn off some shoppers. Don’t let your profile seem like bragging about yourself.  With your profile you should be exposing yourself in a manner that makes you desirable to the people you want.  No more, no less.

You would think that the number one “Deal Breaker” for dating would be something that we can’t easily control, but that is not the case. You might think it is something people commonly lie about in their online profiles, but that is not the case.

Messy

Messy  Sloppy  Dirty  Disheveled  Grubby  Grimy  Unclean  Soiled  Stained  Smelly  Unsightly  Bedraggled
Bad personal appearance, messy car, and cluttered home are cited as the number one dating turnoffs.  Both men and women do it, and both men and women are turned off by it.

Why so messy?
Everyone knows being sloppy will hurt their chances, but people do it anyway. Dates show up unbathed (and smelly).  Dates wear obviously dirty clothes. Cars have piles of trash from years of accumulation.  If you want to lose at the dating game, being a slob is a fine game plan.  It’s proven to turn off dates.

Do the work – Get the rewards
Anyone can be clean. It just takes a little effort. Forget the excuses.  Everyone knows that being messy just means you aren’t willing to make the effort, and that unwillingness is a strong statement of disrespect for your date.  We are sensual creatures. We are attracted or repelled by what our senses encounter.  Make your sights, sounds, and smells attractive on your dates. (You may then be able to offer touch and taste later)

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”    Benjamin Franklin

People clean up wellsharp-dressed
It’s amazing how much better people can look when they try! Nice clean clothes, a haircut and a reasonable amount of grooming go a looooooong way.  Ever had an old car detailed?  It will amaze you how nice an old car can look. Good posture? Why not.

“Accept me the way I am” is nonsense
We’ve heard people say they don’t think they should appear different on a date than they normally appear. That logic is flawed. There are only two conclusions to be had from that approach:  1) the date is not a significant event that requires special effort or 2) this is the absolute best the person can do.  People usually shave, bathe, and put on nice clothes for a wedding or job interview.  Why not for a date?  Telling your dates that they are unimportant won’t help you.

Packaging
One of the reasons Apple is the most valuable company in the world is their great packaging.  Their gear looks cool. Other companies have learned that too.  Appearances matter.   Ever noticed how much effort goes into a perfume bottle?  Champagne labels?

Number Two Deal Breaker?
Laziness!  Are you seeing a pattern?

Hi, I’m a lazy slob.  What about a second date?

Your online profile is like a tapestry of who you are.  Weave it with skill and care, and it will attract attention, desire, and collectors.

swift-silvertails-passing“SWIFT SILVERTAILS PASSING” by Ulrika Leander

So maybe your first attempt won’t quite be a masterpiece like Ulrika produces, but you can weave an image of yourself that is cohesive, coherent, and very appealing.

Design it
Your dating profile is an image of you that you have decided to present to the world.  Isn’t that worth composing well?  We are regularly amazed when incredibly fine people present profiles that make them look like clods of dirt. Maybe consider your first attempt at drafting your profile to be a “rough sketch.”   Re-read what you did and start to better develop the idea of who you are and how you can best be presented. Maybe crumple up a few drafts and file them in the recycling.  We’re willing to bet big money that Ulrika didn’t just sit down and start weaving with the vague idea that a flock of birds would look pretty cool flying through a forest of trees.

Weave it
It’s work. Creative work? Yes. Rewarding work? Yes. But nonetheless, work.  Invest the necessary time and energy into what may ultimately be one of the most important things that you do in your whole life. What if you were offered the deal of having a great mate for the rest of your life in exchange for a dozen or so hours of work creating your profile tapestry?  If you’re too busy watching TV to take that deal, it’s probably best that you just keep on watching Cheers reruns.

Get help if you need it. Would you fix the brakes on your car yourself without knowing how?

Profile bonus
Unlike woven tapestries, you can rewrite your profile to improve it at any time.  If it ain’t working, fix it.  You can and will learn what works and what doesn’t. Apply that knowledge.

Be a masterpiece!

You only have one chance to make a first impression!

We encourage you to take the time and make the effort to deliver the first impression that works best for you.

Put your best foot forward = to act or appear your best; to try to make a good impression

To Act and Appear Your Best Online
The first goal of your online profile and pictures is to catch the attention of dates who are good matches for you.  After you catch their attention, your online presence needs to create sufficient interest in you to make dating likely.

Rule # 1 – Appeal to universal desires
Unless you are one of those rare people looking for something “peculiar” in a relationship (shades of whatever), count on the fact that most people are looking for the same normal things in a relationship.  Not many daters are looking to avoid people who are “nice” and “interesting” and “happy” and “healthy” and “honest” and….

Rule # 2 – Avoid unnecessary turn-offs
Sometimes trivial things detract from your image. Skip displaying information that is irrelevant to you. For example, including your astrological sign may give someone the impression that you are an astrology true believer.  That may be an unnecessary turn-off to some people.  over-accessorizedThere is a tendency to believe that the more you put in your profile, the more likely you will attract a date.  Not true.  Show what is important to you.

Rule # 3 – Keep the “your” in your best
If you are creating an attractive image that is not you, that is not likely to benefit you in the long run.  On the other hand, get past the generic descriptors when describing yourself.  Maybe sit down with a friend and “brainstorm” what makes you special.  Sometimes others see us more clearly than we do.

Rule # 4 – Don’t try to hide the obvious
Research has proven that being open about your obvious characteristics you may believe are  “negatives” works much better than trying to hide them.  For example, if you think you are too short to be attractive, it’s better to show you are comfortable with your height than to initially appear to be hiding your height.  People are attracted to confidence.  Don’t make your insecurities (we all have them) the focus of their attention.  If your profile seems to say “Yes, I’m 5′ X”. I’m good with it.”  you defuse the issue.  More often than not, what you think is your big “negative” is not nearly as big a deal to potential dates.

Fit and Balance
We have nine kids between us. Wait, let us recount. Yep, nine kids, and that has not been a problem for us. Actually, it has been an opportunity to have a better relationship.

When you think of finding the match for you and your kids you might ask yourself, “Who in the world would want all of us?” Sounds like mean old Mr Fear has been whispering in your ear.  We all know that guy too well. In reality, there are thousands of people who want all of you. Your job is to find the one you want.

Fitpuzzle-pieceXSmall
We tend to think that finding the right person is all about precise fit.  Life is not that demanding.  As we have all learned as we’ve traveled through our lives, things don’t work out exactly as we imagined they would, but they work out.  The pieces of life actually have a sloppy fit. That looseness is both good and bad; bad, only if you insist on perfect fits in a world that will always frustrate you by denying you perfection, good, because your options for a “good fit” go up astronomically when you accept imprecision.  Forget the perfect fit image.  People are flexible and ever changing, unlike jigsaw puzzle pieces (unless you’re 4 and think you can cram in that close to fitting piece).

wonderland-mobileBalance
Think about getting families together as adding to a hanging mobile.  Each person is a piece. Balance gives a desirable harmony. Begin by imaging how all these pieces for your family are arranged and hanging together.  Rarely is a family hanging in perfect balance at any one moment.  For example, one child may be too heavy with a personal problem that throws everyone else out of their comfortable place.  Maybe your family now has a nice balance that you don’t want to spoil.

Balance Rule #1 – Light pieces are easy to balance
Adding one small piece is pretty easy.  It doesn’t need to throw the family mobile into a crazy arrangement.  Start light with dating, like not meeting the children until you’ve dated a while and not trying to jump into a parental role too soon, if ever.

Balance Rule #2 – Each added piece changes the balance
When a new piece is introduced, don’t act like it’s not happening. As the parent your job is to observe the consequences of the new piece and deal with them in an appropriate manner.  Maybe introducing a new partner means spending more, not less, time with your kids.  It’s your balancing work that needs to be done.

Balance Rule #3 – Adding a group of pieces is a serious balance challenge
The two of you must have your act together before attempting the challenge of combining your family mobiles. A wire and metal mobile maker can work on a table then pick it up and try the balance.  You don’t have that luxury.  You have to hang new pieces while your family mobile is swinging in space.  You need serious planning and great execution.  Even with those things, expect some crazy swings and collisions at first.  Adjust and compensate with all your focus, and you will achieve a workable balance.

Balance Rule # 4 – Keep your mobile out of the wind
Wind on mobiles can be destructive.  With family mobiles that wind is fear.  It will happen. Anticipate it, and deal with it with love and intelligence.  You are going to be afraid, and your children will too. Like fear of the dark, fear of the unknown is rarely necessary because of real dangers.  Ask yourself and your children about the real concerns with changing the family dynamics.  Honor the fear, don’t discount it.  Remember, it is often easier to move the mobile out of the wind than to untangle the mobile after the wind messes it up.

A link to Wonderland Studio on Etsy who offer the mobile above. No connection to us – we just think they make nice mobiles.

Pay attention to your sources of advice!

“No enemy is worse than bad advice.”   Sophocles

keep-calm-and-follow-the-moneyWhat is their Motive?
If your source of advice is a commercial enterprise, how do they make their money?  Ask yourself “Is this advice being given because they want my dating to succeed?”

Click Bait
Many web sites make their money through the advertising on the site.  Every time someone clicks onto their site they make a little money from their advertisers.  If a site claims something like “The TOP 5 SECRETS to finding EVERLASTING LOVE” and their web pages are plastered with ads, can you guess what they are up to?   Do they care about you or your click?  If the claim is too good to be true, well….

Books
Granted, people generally write books to make money.  They also spend a lot of time writing, and, if the book comes from a big publisher, there has likely been some intelligent editing. We’ve read quite a few books on dating. Some are relatively worthless. Some offer real help. Some we disagree with entirely.  The good thing about buying from bookstores is that you can thumb through the book to see if you like what is being said.  Amazon has reviews that may be helpful, but we’ve purchased some well-reviewed books that were ludicrously bad.  Hey, at least we got a laugh.

Dating Websites
There are some excellent dating websites out there. We are really glad we were able to attract each other through match.com.  While we see no reason to believe the dating websites don’t want to help make matches, they make more money the longer you pay to have their service.  Hmmm, there seems to be a conflict.helping

Who Cares?
We believe there are many good people in this world who care about the well-being of others. Keep your eyes open wide (and your hand on your wallet) and look for the caring people who want to help you.

Find your Own Way using Directions
Recognize that you can figure out this dating challenge.  Also, recognize that it’s smart to find help.  You can drive from NYC to LA without a map, but it’s not such a bad idea to use one.  On the other hand, a map won’t get you there, you still must get behind the wheel (and pay for the gas).