Five Signs You May Need a Break from Online Dating

Online dating is a great way to meet new people and potentially find love, but it can be exhausting. Some former online daters even told us it feels like a part-time job: you sift through the various profiles out there, look for things that appeal to you, try to contact the possible dates, physically GO on dates, and then hope that things progress from there. It takes time, effort and energy. And over time, it can wear you out.

While you might not want to lose precious time in your search for a mate, there might come a time when you should take a break from the exertions of online dating. You don’t want to get completely burned out; that will skew your judgment and make finding a truly good match even harder for you. So how can you tell when you’ve reached your threshold and need to step back? Dr Greg Kushnick wrote an article for Huffington Post that outlined some of the key signs to watch for. They include:

  1. You check your dating apps almost constantly. This is an obsession that shows you’ve gotten far too attached to the process. If you can’t go an hour between glances at the screen, it’s break time.
  2. Little letdowns cause major upset for you. A small dealbreaker, rejection or other hiccup in your dating process shouldn’t feel like the world is ending. If you’re tempted to cry into a pillow because the person you messaged turned out to be a smoker, you need to step back.
  3. You only go on first dates, never second ones. Something is clearly not quite right if none of your meetups continue for more than one evening. Maybe your perspective is off; maybe a temporary break in dating will help you clean your slate a bit and start fresh.
  4. You complain about online dating like you’re a victim of something horrible, but you keep on doing it. If you bitch about the process, whine about how no one is suitable, or badmouth the experiences you’ve had, you come across as bitter, and that vitriol festers in you. If you complain, take some time away from what you’re complaining about.
  5. You’re depressed or anxious, and getting more so. If you are already prone to depression or struggle with issues like depression and anxiety, online dating won’t fix anything. In fact, it could be making you worse. If you have depression, you should be spending your main efforts on helping yourself get better. That way, you’re more likely to be in the right mindset to find a healthy match, and you won’t be expecting anyone to come along and make everything magically better (because that simply doesn’t happen).

Going from the Web to the Real World: Three Tips for Meeting In Person

So you’ve found someone on a dating site that you actually click with. You exchange some winks, some flirts, some chats… Yep, definitely a match. So now it’s time to plan the first in-person meetup! After all, that was the point of making an online dating profile in the first place, right?

Is your date already planning this outcome? If so, trust your gut and run.

Is your date already planning this outcome? If so, trust your gut and run.

Getting ready for the first in-real-life meeting can be stressful. Where do you go? What do you do? Most people know that they should plan the first date for a public place (it’s safer on both sides that way), but beyond that, what’s the best option? Judy Cole of Men’s Fitness had some tips for guys looking to plan the first face-to-face experience with a new flame, and really, these tips can apply to guys OR gals.

  1. Go on a real date. This seems obvious, but many people who meet for the first time after an online connection do it in super-casual places, like Starbucks. Treat this like a date with someone you already know in real life. You don’t necessarily have to pay for a whole meal, but choose a decent restaurant, a classy bar for drinks, or a pleasant al fresco lunch spot. Make it feel like you care about the effort your date put into getting ready and meeting you, because they probably DID make an effort.
  2. Watch for telltale signs of trouble. On a first date, it’s easy to ignore or completely overlook red flags in the other person. Watch for things like a date who asks too much about how much money you make, doesn’t look or seem very much like her online profile, or is already planning several dates down the line. My brother recently started dating a new girl, and in under two months, she was talking about what their wedding would be like. That’s a huge no-no, and when it happens, you have to be ready to split. Don’t lie to yourself about what your dealbreakers are or what you’re willing to put up with: a red flag is a red flag. Even if it’s nothing in particular that bugs you about the other person! Our gut feelings are often a great indicator of something being just not quite right. Follow your instincts.
  3. Know how to get out safely, if you need to. Women are told this a lot, but it applies to men, as well: Aside from meeting in a public place, you should know where the exits are, tell people where you’re going, and have a plan to get out if things get hairy. Sometimes, that means having a friend call you partway through the date in case you need an excuse to bail. Again, this isn’t a negative thing for either side of the meetup. This is a safety thing. Meeting someone in person when you’ve only known them online is a risk, and even though the vast majority of first dates from dating websites go fine, it never hurts to be prepared.

Five Tips for Approaching (and Conquering) Online Dating

Know what you're looking for even before you start.

Know what you’re looking for even before you start.

We’ve given tons of tips in our blog about how to be a successful online dater. We help you take a good profile pic; we point out what NOT to do on a first date. We even suggested some niche dating sites for people with specific interests. But in a general sense, just how can you turn online dating into a successful endeavor? Amy Webb did a month-long experiment to analyze successful dating profiles, and she shared her results with the world (and now, we’ll share a few of those with you).

  1. Know what you want before you start (make a list and everything). It’s hard to find the perfect mate if you don’t even know what you’re looking for in the first place. If you want someone who has kids, have some idea how many kids and how old/far apart they are. After all, there’s a big difference between someone who has one ten-year-old kid and someone else who has five kids ranging from 6 to 16! Write down what really matters to you, what you seek in a partner, and what your dealbreakers are. Be honest with yourself; there’s no reason to settle here.
  2. Figure out the sites you like best, and join more than one. For the most success, belong to at least a few sites. Keep in mind that paid sites like Match.com tend to be successful for long-term relationships (they tout their high marriage rate in their commercials), while free sites like Tinder are more hookup-friendly. Watch your budget, though; paid sites can nickel and dime you for all the features they offer, so do your homework and figure out what you really need each site to provide for you.
  3. Keep it short, and don’t be funny. Don’t use your profile as a place to ramble on about yourself. Stay short and to the point, and don’t try to be funny. Webb suggests that humor doesn’t translate well to text, especially dating profile text, and sarcasm often falls flat. Instead, be earnest about who you are.
  4. Don’t fixate too narrowly on your own interests. Say there’s a TV show you love. I mean, you LOVE it. If you spend too much space in your profile talking about that show, you could turn off potential matches who might not appreciate your show the way you do. Instead, mention a few of your interests, maybe keep it more general (“I really enjoy sci fi TV” instead of “I’m completely in love with Star Trek, especially Commander Data”) so you can create a potential “in” for those who might be attracted.
  5. Keep your language positive and upbeat. Webb found that profiles that use words like “fun” and “happy” got more love, so don’t use your profile as a place to dump all your issues, your pet peeves or your hangups. Stay as positive as possible, smile in your profile pics, and try to describe things that genuinely excite you. What would your ideal day look like? Let some of that joy show!

First Date Foods: Six Things You Should NEVER Eat

A first date in person is a great way to get to know someone better. But if dining out is part of your first date plan, be careful which restaurant, and even which meal, you choose. Some foods lend themselves quite well to first dates (or any dates, for that matter), while others set you up for a less-than-pleasant experience.

First, a few GOOD choices for first date food. You might try:

Swiss or not, fondue is a sexy choice.

Swiss or not, fondue is a sexy choice.

Fondue – yes, it has the potential to be messy, but in a fun way. There’s something intimate about a shared pot of hot cheese. And feeding each other is a flirty way to get closer.

Picnic – Sandwiches and fruit under a tree in the park are no muss, no fuss. They travel well, don’t make much mess and give you the portability to enjoy the great outdoors. Cap it off with some cookies!

Appetizers + Dessert – Light fare, finger foods and other small plates provide a lot of variety without the heaviness or mess of larger meals. Then split a slice of cheesecake or chocolate temptation.

Now on to the things you should definitely NOT eat on a first date:

  1. Large amounts of onion or garlic. These two pungent flavors are delicious, but they stay with you for a loooong time after, no matter how many breath mints you eat. Garlic is so strong that, if you put cloves of it between your toes, you can actually TASTE it after a while. Skip the garlic sauces, onion rings and other potentially-powerful flavors.
  2. Ribs and other BBQ with sauce. This is a mess waiting to happen, both for your face and your clothes. And no one finds another person attractive when they’re wearing a protective bib. Try to avoid food that makes you look like a caveman to eat.
  3. Corn on the cob. Tasty as it is, it’s a mess to eat, and you’ll probably still be finding corn hairs and kernels in your teeth hours later. Unless you carry floss with you at all times (and don’t mind using it all night), avoid this side dish.
  4. Super-spicy or fermented foods. Not only are these flavors so strong as to overpower everyday mints (see garlic, above), but they aren’t for everyone. If your date has a more bland palate or simply doesn’t like excessive spice or flavors like kimchi, you’ll be an instant turn-off if you eat those things. Save the exotic options for a later date.
  5. Whole crab, lobster, peel-and-eat shrimp or other crustaceans/shellfish. Most of these have to be eaten, at least in part, with the fingers, and that’s not fun to watch. It’s messy, usually involves bib-wearing (see BBQ, above), and in the end, you’re ripping up a dead carcass for your meal. Sure, it tastes awesome, but the visual is hard to get past. Perhaps on a later date, when you’re more comfortable with each other, you can split a bucket of shrimp and a few beers and laugh about the mess you’re making. But not on the first date!
  6. The most expensive thing on the menu. On the first date, you may be looking to seem like you’ve got it going on. Ordering the top entrée can give the appearance of wealth and/or taste. But seriously, don’t do it unless you REALLY love whatever it is. Your date will be less impressed by the gesture than you think. Instead, give the meal options some thought, perhaps talk about how you’re torn between two (reasonable) choices, and select something that you genuinely like. You won’t have fun on this date if you’re choking down something you don’t enjoy eating!

20 Things You Should Never, Ever Say on a First Date

And now for some slightly lighter fare.

For most people, the do’s and don’ts of first date conversation can vary quite a bit. Some people say never to talk about politics or religion, while others insist that those topics are vital in getting to know if someone is a good match. Talking about exes is generally a no-no, while discussing music is usually safe. Some things, however, fall firmly in the do-not-say category. In the spirit of humor (and just a touch of uncomfortable realism), here’s a list of twenty of those particular no-go comments that should get you kicked to the curb in no time flat:

  • Do you have a photo of your mom? I want to see whether you’re going to age well.
  • What are your feelings on roleplaying as badgers?
  • Mind if I take a quick blood sample?
  • I think Hitler was somewhat misunderstood.
  • You can’t be a REAL gamer unless you play [insert obscure game here].
  • I’m a better driver when I’m drinking.
  • What does your hair smell like?
  • This tie is made of real baby seal pelt!
  • I’m not a crazy cat person. It takes at least 10 cats for that, and I only have 8.
  • I’m pretty sure the moon landing was a hoax.
  • Come on, don’t you read the science? Vaccines cause autism!
  • Want to hear about my kidney stone experience?
  • If climate change were real, it would never be snowing out.
  • You should meet my parents! And look, they’re right over at that table!
  • Well, I’m currently married, but it’s just a green card marriage so it doesn’t count.
  • Does this rag smell like chloroform to you?
  • You sure you want to order that? It has a lot of calories, and you probably don’t need them…
  • I like that shirt on you! It’s a lot better than the one you wore last night when you were sleeping.
  • Sorry to rush you, but I have another date after this one.
  • I’m gluten-free, dairy-free, meat-free, egg-free and sugar-free. Also I’m allergic to water, but I take a pill for that.

Online Dating and Color: How Hues Affect Your Chances

We’ve talked a lot in the past about how to construct a good online dating profile: what sort of photo to use, what headlines and taglines will get you positive feedback, etc. But online dating goes a lot deeper than the surface. Much like real-world interactions, there’s a psychological element to what we see in an online profile, as well as how we react to it. Much of it is subconscious, but fortunately, there are people who study this sort of thing.

Photo by Hadret

Photo by Hadret

The University of Rochester in New York did some research on color in online dating profiles and found that, when men see a woman wearing red in her profile photo, they are more likely to find her attractive, ask her out and even spend more money on her. A similar study out of France showed that, when researchers digitally changed the color of women’s shirts in profile pics, the photos with red shirts resulted in the most messages sent to the women.

That makes some sense; red is a color associated with love, lust, passion, and other relationship-themed concepts.

What about other colors? James Houran, PhD, a writer for Online Dating Magazine, suggests that blue is actually the best color for a dating profile, as it conveys peace and tranquility, as well as loyalty. We would add that blue is one of those colors that is almost universally flattering (especially turquoise shades, which go well with every skin and hair combination), so it would have a positive impact on most photos. Houran suggests green as a second choice (it’s easy on the eye and conveys a message of nature, fitness, health and wealth) and red as a third.

What color should you probably avoid? That’s simple: yellow. Yellow is not flattering on most people and it’s tough for the eye to perceive comfortably. If a color could be loud, yellow would do it. It can suggest sunshine, carefree fun and other positives, but in the end, it’s probably better to choose another color for your online dating profile outfit.

Keep in mind that the MOST important thing for your online dating profile photo is that you feel comfortable in it. Wear something you like, in a color you like. When people feel positive and confident in what they’re wearing, it shows, regardless of what the color actually is!

What do flowers actually mean? 7 flower meanings to help you date

Before bringing a bouquet of these, make sure you know what you're "saying."

Before bringing a bouquet of these, make sure you know what you’re “saying.”

The tradition of giving someone flowers to show them you like them is one that stretches back centuries. But one aspect of that tradition has fallen to the wayside in recent decades: what the flowers actually mean. As it turns out, flowers speak a “language” of sorts, and the types of flowers you give someone stand for various messages that you want to send.

So how can you decide which flowers to give your date? The first option is the most obvious and skips the flower language altogether: choose a flower that you know they like. If your date’s favorite flower is lavender, it doesn’t really matter that it means “distrust” in flower language. All that matters is that they like it, and they probably don’t care what it means. If you have the chance to give a favorite flower, go that route first as it’s the easiest and should be a win no matter what.

If you don’t know their favorite flower, florist shops and flower markets are a wealth of opportunity. To help you build a bouquet that truly “speaks” for you, the experts at Teleflora have provided a list of flower meanings. Try a few of these if you want to make an impression, but remember: not all flowers go together well, not all are fragrant, and not all last long in a vase. Consult with your florist to get the best expert help in creating an arrangement that is memorable AND meaningful.

On with the flower meanings:

Sunflower: These large, bright blooms once cultivated for their seeds and oil stand for the sun because of their big sunny faces and they way they the turn to follow the light. In a bouquet, they mean warmth, adoration and happiness.

Tulip: These tend to “pop up” in the spring, and while each color of tulip has its own personal meaning, the general meaning of a tulip is grace and elegance.

Rose: This one is pretty obvious, but like the tulip, each color means a different message. Roses in general stand for love, but also confidentiality. Red roses are love and passion, yellow are joy and friendship, orange are desire and enthusiasm, white are innocence, purple are enchantment, and pink are admiration and gratitude.

Daffodil: This is another spring bloomer that signals the end of spring and the start of prosperity. Daffodils in a bouquet stand for happiness, but be careful to give more than one flower at a time. A single daffodil traditionally means misfortune is coming.

Lily: Lilies have been around, and meaningful, since ancient times. They usually mean innocence (especially white lilies), and they are very common at funerals, suggesting that the person who has passed is innocent again in the afterlife. Like other flower varieties, Lilies mean different things when the colors change: pink stargazers mean wealth, white stargazers are sympathy, and Peruvian lilies mean devotion and friendship.

Gladiolus: This is a big, bold flower with sword-like leaves and long stalks of blooms. It’s a powerful statement in any bouquet. Gladiolus means strength, integrity, and the idea of the recipient piercing the giver’s heart with passion.

Carnation: This is another bloom with a long, long history, and also a choice of meanings that vary by color. White means pure love, but dark red means deep love. Purple should be avoided (it suggests your date is flighty or erratic), but pink is the more significant (though not date-friendly, probably) color of carnation, as it means a mother’s undying love.

Now you can build a flower arrangement for your date that speaks a language all its own!