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12 Common Online Dating Mistakes You’ve Probably Made

12 Common Online Dating Mistakes You’ve Probably Made

The world has changed pretty quickly. More and more, we’re finding our jobs, our cars, and our homes online – and we’re also finding love. In fact, the online dating industry now reports annual revenues of nearly $1.25 billion. Because it’s such a nascent phenomenon, though, there’s a pretty steep learning curve. Before you reach out to that potentially perfect partner, make sure you go about it the right way. Avoiding any missteps can give you a better chance to initiate contact, land a date and hopefully see it blossom into love. For some of the more common online dating mistakes to avoid, read on.

1. Don’t Post Your Best Photo

People don’t often look like their best photos. If you do, wonderful. If you’re like the rest of us though, you’re only setting yourself up for failure if you post your best one. Instead, post normal, everyday photos of yourself and avoid any pictures where the light catches you perfectly and gives you that (unrealistic) movie star look.

2. Take the Time to Really Read Member Profiles

People put a lot of time and effort into creating their profiles – do yourself a favor and actually read them. If you’re outside someone’s age or location range, don’t make contact. If you’re a pet lover and a profile catches your eye, don’t reach out if that person is allergic to cats. Reading online dating profiles thoroughly may take a bit of time, but in the long run, it’s going to make your search for that perfect someone a lot more efficient.

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3. Be Careful What You Say and Who You Say It To

Don’t automatically assume that people on a particular dating website don’t converse with one another. If you’re telling one individual what a party animal you are but you try to come off as a homebody to attract another, you might get caught dead in your tracks.

4. Cast a Broad Net in Your Search

Rather than looking for reasons not to reach out to people, try to find things that do attract you to them. Contact anyone you might share common interests with and see where it goes. If you’ve never been attracted to brunettes, loosen up a bit. If you think you’d never date an avid sports fan, give it a shot. You never know what type of person you might fall for and the content of online profiles is limited by nature, so send messages to some folks the computer may not automatically match you with and you might just surprise yourself.

5. Consider a Paid Membership Over Free Websites

Going with one of the free dating websites like Plenty of Fish might seem like a no-brainer instead of paying for a membership with Match, but generally members of paid websites are more serious about finding a relationship. Your results aren’t guaranteed either way, but you could find yourself wasting a lot of time if you don’t consider shelling out a few bucks for a short-term subscription.

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6. Make Your First Message Original

Don’t simply write up a stock introduction and copy and paste it to all candidates. Instead, get an idea of how you want to present yourself and zero in on something in each member’s profile to comment on. If you work in similar industries, mention that. If you have a common hobby, break the ice that way. A lot of members can spot generic messages pretty easily and many won’t respond to them at all. Most importantly, don’t make your first message something as pedestrian as “Hi.” It’s not too hard to come up with a more engaging intro than that.

7. Cut to the Chase as Quickly as Possible

Don’t fall into the trap of endless email conversations or mindless texts that drag on for days. After a few electronic messages, ask to speak on the phone. Have some brief conversations and then request a date. Finding a suitable partner takes time, so it’s important to meet a candidate as quickly as possible to see if there’s a spark.

8. Be Up Front About Your Intentions

If all you’re looking for is a roll in the hay, say so tactfully. If you prefer to be friends first long before any romance, mention that as well. There’s no need to hide your intentions – they’re eventually going to come out.

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9. Don’t Stalk Members If You Don’t Receive a Response

If you message someone you think is a perfect match for you, do not obsess if you don’t receive an email in return. Everyone is different and if someone’s just not into you, simply move on to greener pastures.

10. Avoid the Urge to Get Your Hopes Up

It can be very easy to believe you’ve found “the one” based simply on a profile, but avoid the urge to get your hopes up until you meet in person. That’s when the rubber meets the road. Building up high expectations beforehand may just be setting yourself up for failure. Be patient and cautious and take things one step at a time.

11. Be Careful When Divulging Personal Information

Be very careful about any personal information you divulge, especially before you’ve met in person. Identity thieves peruse dating websites, which means it’s important to keep your guard up at all times. Use a separate email address that contains no identifiable personal information until you’ve met and determined that this is a real person with the right intentions.

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12. Don’t Go Overboard on a First Date

If you get to the point of a personal meeting, don’t drop a wad of cash on the first date. Instead, keep things low-key and low-cost – there’s nothing wrong with meeting for a walk in the park or grabbing a latte at Starbucks, as cliché as that might sound. If you get into the habit of spending big bucks each and every time you score a date, your budget is going to feel the pinch.

Online dating is convenient, in some cases free, and it’s a great way to meet people if you’re a busy professional – but don’t forget to venture out into the real world, too. Believe it or not, not every single person is a member of an online dating website. Get more sociable at the gym, involve yourself in your community, and get out more often with your friends. That way, you improve your overall chances of finding that special someone.

What mistakes have you made in the course of your online dating activities?

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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