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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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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.

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It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.

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Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.

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1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.

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6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

More Tips on Dealing With Fake People

Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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