Sunday, April 17, 2011

What do women look for in a dating profile?

Hey, I don't know about the rest of the blogging world but the weather here is amazing today. So this weekends post is courtesy of Starbucks, their free wi-fi and good "franchised evil" coffee.

Anyway continuing the dating theme and following on from previous posts on online dating profiles I thought I'd hunt out the female perspective on things. Specifically what they look for when browsing though adds and what stands out.

So first up we have a friend of a friend, Anna
"First, without being shallow their profile pic. I like well presented man that looks after his appearance, and if it they look comfortable. Shows self confidence. The name they call themselves, there are some funny one's, I stay clear from the ones that say Sexy, god, anything that gives a hint that they might love themselves is a no go or if it insinuates that they might not be confident or fed up with life. No thanks!!
Then in the text bit, must have interest's, know what they want, a job that they enjoy, like to laugh, hopefully like to dance,must be into music. Maybe a bit cheeky. Enjoys talking, and actually is looking for something that will develop rather than "the one".
I am looking for a relationship but want one that develops naturally I suppose rather than looking for one and hoping that is what I will get, just leads to disappointment lol"
...and next Tara
Number one priority: The picture. I think they all have pictures on It's not about someone being super duper looking. It's about him looking healthy, friendly, in reasonably good shape - and not having that "I will massacre you and your loved ones if the date is a failure" look about him. Also, if a guy has pictures of him involved in some sporting activity...big plus. A picture of him with kids (his own, if he's separated, or nieces and nephews) gives the warm fuzzies. A picture of him with a dog - ditto. As long as it's not a picture of him sporting a skinhead, a load of tattoos and nuzzling into the neck of a pitbull...though I suppose there will be a female market for that kind of guy as much as any other.
As far as what he's got to say for himself goes....I must admit that when I'm looking at these dating profiles, the pictures are the most interesting part and I skim through the other stuff. However, I suppose if I were looking seriously I'd pay more attention.

I would say it's probably a good idea to avoid trying too hard for the "I'm different from the other guys" angle. I've had a few whackos send me friend requests on facebook, armed with that "hey baby, I'm that bad boy your mother always warned you about" approach. It's disconcerting, creepy and makes them come across like clueless gimps who are going through the friends lists of friends of friends of friends, and spamming all the women.

Someone who comes across as a sane, normal and reasonable kind of guy is probably going to be far more appealing to most women than Mr Whacky whose profile was put together by a friend who works in the media. It may seem boring, but if you put in a nice picture and create a friendly sounding spiel about yourself then I think it's far more likely that women will make an approach.
From what Anna and Tara have written there are a few common themes and these can be distilled down to a few key tips:-

Tip Number 1 - Use good photos...It shows your not hiding anything and if you include activities, animals and kids then you're onto a winner.

Tip Number 2 - Profile Name... keep it simple straight forward and not a place to advertise your sexual prowess. Again you profile name should tie into your interests and things that differentiate you from the crowd.

Tip Number 3 - Positivity... no one really likes a misery, do they? So make sure you profile is up beat, engaging and talks in a positive way about you and your life. You are creating an impression of someone with a great personality who is confident and has direction so talk in those terms and avoid language that would portray you as desperate or lacking confidence...

Here's an example

"I can't believe I'm doing this, but here goes. My friends would tell you I'm an easy going, funny guy who likes to have fun."
On a first read you might think yeah good an honest funny guy who likes to have fun....mmmmm

  • point 1 - "I can't believe I'm doing this" = I'm so desperate (by my own standards) that I've finally had to resort to online dating.
  • point 2 "...but here goes."  = I'm really not comfortable doing this and I'm a bit self concious.
  • point 3 "..funny guy who likes to have fun" = I can't really articulate what I like doing in life...but it's fun

Tip Number 4 - Don't brag... if you are a tanned adonis, heir to a fortune, talented nose flute player keep it to yourself. If you are genuinely great in an area of your life it is far better to be understated about it than shouting it to the world. You run the risk of coming across as 'loving yourself too much' or just fake.

Tip Number 5 - don't lie - keep it real!

Tip Number 6 - Show, Don't Tell...use words to paint a picture as opposed to merely blurting out uninspiring facts about yourself. You may be thinking, "Well, that's pretty obvious. Tell me something I don't already know." But if you spend some time reading a few online dating profiles, you'll find that many guys miss this opportunity. Just by taking this step, you'll stand out from the competition.

Don't just tell women, "My friends would tell you I'm a funny guy." Why should they believe your friends? Maybe your friends are morons. Instead, why don't you actually write something funny? Show them what your sense of humor is like (in ways that women will find entertaining—not your buddies).

Don't just write, "I like to cook." Paint a picture with words. Describe some of the dishes that are your specialties with mouth-watering detail.

Tip Number 7 - Get feedback! Honestly the best way to write a killer profile is to get people's views on it.
Many dating sites have brave post a link to you profile and ask for feedback. There are a lot of people who'll be happy to help you out.

There you go for this weekend.
Next week I'll be looking at sending that first message... what to include and what not to include.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Dating - profile pictures

Following on from Sunday's post about writing a killer dating profile (here) we look today at supplementing this with a cool profile pic.

Now believe it or not profiles with photos get 8 to 15 more views and responces than those with out.
This is especially true for guys who seem to have a reluctance to show the world they're on a dating site.
Try it for your self - pick a free dating website andgo look at the blokes searching for women...more than half have no picture. What does this say about them? Are they just shy? Nervous about online dating? Hoping the wife doesn't spot them? ...or actually are they the elephant man? Seriously no one will want to meet up and go on a date when they have no clue what you look like and with the availability of digital cameras these days there are no excuses!

As a side note the other reason for doing this little bit of research is that it shows you who your competition is...after all love is war, and in war intel is key.

With pictures you have a split second to make an impression, to raise someone's curiosity to want to know more and then check out your killer profile. But as with your personal bio it pays to spend some time planning what photo's you're going to use on your profile.

Again this goes back to the concept of promoting 'you' as a brand and keeping in mind what you are trying to achieve. So the following types of photo are out:-

  • that funny snap of your drunk in a nightclub a few weeks back 
  • that carefully cropped shot of you and your ex...cutting her out of the picture
  • the picture of you 7 years ago on a beach when you looked tanned and trim, before the beer belly and hair loss
  • the one of that celebrity that people are always saying you look like.  

Bin them and don't let them anywhere near your profile.

Ok back to that little bit of research you did on other people's profiles.
Have a look at their photo's...fairly similar shots? Keep in mind that you have to stand out from this crowd (in a good way).

What pictures should I use?

When we wrote the personal bio there were 3 or 4 key interests that we tried to focussed on. These are the things that made you interesting, unique...worth finding out more about. Now when selecting photo's they should complement these activities if possible (tying into the brand that you're trying to establish). If you love surfing - find a picture of you on the beach; if you play bass in a band - get a cool shot of you with your guitar.

The pictures you post should be good quality and you should be clearly seen. Three-quarter length shots or shoulders and head shots work best.

But I don't have any good photo's?
Was Hannibal stopped by the Himalayas? No, he found a way over them!
Ideally I'd suggest going to get a few pictures done by a professional - there are some cheap packages around. Yes it feels weird but ultimately you're paying for their expertise and the results are usually very good.
Good lighting, the right angle and timing the shot makes all the difference.

Alternatively ask a friend to take a load of shots with you. Get them to take a fair number of pictures (20 or so), perhaps on different settings, because not all of them may work well, and because you then have a good selection to choose from. Again think about those interests and choose your backdrop carefully!

Always keep asking yourself what you would want to see if you were a member of the target audience (usually the opposite sex), looking at your profile for the first time, and be critical.

Final touches

If you are good with photo editing it might be an idea to touch them up slightly, just don't go overboard. If it's good enough for celebrities then why not.

Add a border to your picture of the same colour as the hyperlinks on the target site.
This makes the picture stand out when being displayed next to everyone elses and the colour builds the association that the picture is something to be clicked.

Hope that helps.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dating -writing an online profile.


Well I've been off doing some research and it seems the whole online dating thing has lost a lot of it's stigma. Back in the day you'd often see lines like 'can we lie about how we met?' on peoples profiles but no more...on-line dating is now cool, trendy and the place to meet people. As my friend Tess put it "after a few glasses of wine you're not safe to drive...and after seeing some of the guys I've pulled when out I'm not safe to do that either. At least with online dating you get to vet them first and work out if they're nuts while you're sober."

This weeks post are all about online dating - writing that killer profile, picking the best pictures, grabbing people's attention with a great headline...and generally marketing yourself to the best of your ability.

Most dating websites follow the standard
You register with an email address, supply your vital measurements, pick a username, add a tag line, maybe some photo's and finally you get to write a little bit out yourself.

Now often the little personal bio comes all the way at the end and is often at the point where you're losing the will to live and debating if this was such a great idea in the first place. However I'd argue that this is the part you need to consider first and put most effort into.

Here's my rational... Online dating is very much like marketing. You are the product and the people you are hoping to meet and date are your customers. The best selling products in life go beyond just the thing you buy they have a brand - and brands are powerful things. When it comes to your dating profile it is your first chance to make an impression and start building that brand. The personal bio you write is your chance to sell that winning personality and show how witty, charming and down right funny you can be.
For us blokes, we tend to be visual creatures and so just flick through hundreds of pictures until we find the girl we like. Women on the other hand are far more discerning and what is written on your profile will be what  they judge you on - so make it count.

Just a side note - yes this is a generalisation and if you look like Brad Pitt or Christian Bale then no you don't have to have that much of a write-up....but then why would you be reading this if you were (-;

Back to the write up.
Before you go anywhere near registering on one of these sites take some time to plan you brand.
Get some paper and a pen, find a quiet comfortable place and do a little brainstorming.
Note down all the things you like doing - hobbies, interests, work, family, holidays
Next jot a few aspirations you have for the future...
...and finally what are you looking for in a date and where would that date be?

Ok - now circle three to five things that you think are the most interesting or engaging.
These are going to be the focus of your bio.

So lets get down to writing it...

The C's of good communication
When writing anything I always keep in mind the 7 C's of communication. It's a little on the management bull side of things but there are some good principals that are worth keeping in mind....

The 7 C's are:-
  • COMPLETE - take time to write a few paragraphs in your bio
  • COURTEOUS - this seems obvious but avoid any topics or views that might be easily misinterpreted 
  • CONSIDERATE - always thing of the person you are trying to attract while writing your bio
  • CLEAR - avoid text speak or slang, and just write in an easy to understand manner cutting out any jargon.
  • CONCISE - this isn't the time for florid prose, keep it short and sweet - this is to get you chatting nothing more.
  • CONCRETE - mmmmm yeah forget this one
  • CORRECT - keep what you write honest - it's easy to re-invent yourself online and be something you're not. If you're serious about meeting people then keep it real. 
Now not all of these apply to writing a dating profile but they are handy to consider.

Finally to help you write that killer profile here is a structure to follow that might make things a bit easier...
  1. Witty opening - humour is one of the best ways to start a hook them with a catchy line. 
  2. About you - pick off a few of the things from the brainstorming excersise that make you unique. Don't go into too much detail or you'll have nothing to talk about on the first date.
  3. Your aspirations -  Add a few sentances about where you see your life going which helps build the impression that you are someone who knows what they want and have direction
  4. ...maybe fit a joke - again humour always seems to work
  5. What you're looking for - Both in terms of the person you're looking to attract and what the first date might be.
So there you have my quick and dirty guide to writing a dating profile...part 1


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Successful Dating Strategies

Firstly an apology.

Given that I'm a bloke, who has done his fair share of dating women, the following posts are going to be centred around single guys pursuing single girls. It's not a chauvinist thing I just don't have much experience, or inclination, to go chasing after guys. Having said that I'll do my best to cover all angles and I may do a post on what guys go for...we'll see how we go.

So I thought I'd start by sharing a few general strategies that have been used over the years. These may seem a bit counter intuitive but they do work. But with many things in life you have to use what works for you and timing can be everything.

Anyway here are nine strategies for successful dating:

  1. Chasing - ok this is a huge generalisation but in my experience holds a lot of weight.
    Women like to be chased by men!
    Now I'm not talking about the weird stalker pursuing and would never advocate continually trying your luck when a lady has made it clear she's not interested. However if you are a man waiting for a woman to make the first move - well you'll probably be waiting a long time because some other guy will come along and sweep her off her feet.
    Get in the game! Make your intentions known - what is there to lose!
  2. Sex talk!
    Now we're all adults, we all know that dating is a mechanism to weed out a new (hopefully long term) mate. That means that if all goes well sex is going to happen! But the first conversation/date is not the time to find out what her favourite position is or whether she likes firemen or Santa!
  3. No sex before marriage!
    Only kidding...but there is an important point here that follows on from point two. Most women aren't interested in just one night stands (a topic for a future post). If you're serious about finding a long term partner why rush things? Although sexuality is a big part of a relationship, it is not a good foundation on which to build a relationship. If you build your relationship on sex, it will most likely fall like a house of cards.
  4. Don't live in each others pockets.
    Date went well? Been texting and phoning lots? Have you been doing that whole 'you hang up first' thing?
    Chill out! How is a house built? Brick by brick. How have you developed friendships? Over time. Same principal here with dating...less can sometimes be more.
  5. Real relationships need real interaction!
    Texts, emails, phone calls, facebook - these are all great ways of staying in touch with your chosen girl. However the more you get used to chatting via electronic means the more you may feel awkward with each other in person. Plus this stuff is just far more fun in person.
  6. Be yourself!
    Again if you are after a long term partner in life why try and be someone you're not? At some point the real you will shine through leading to an interesting dynamic in your budding romance.
    If you are compatible, you will discover more things to like about each other. If you are not compatible, you will be able to find out sooner rather than later.
  7. Be aware of who you're dating!
    While being true to yourself remember that everyone is unique and different. Ok you might only date carbon copy look-a-likes of your first girl friend, but the girl you're now dating is her own person with her own personality. Give her a chance and don't assume she'll have the same baggage as all your other ex's.
  8. Don't go changing!
    The only person that can really change you - is you; the only person that can change your significant other is them. If at the start they have an annoying habit that drives you mad - well it's always going to be there. You don't get to just pick the bits you like so if there is something that drives you mad then have an honest conversation with yourself.
  9. Have fun!
    Dating is a chance to meet new and interesting people and do fun activities. It's an opportunity for growth and can add sparkle to your life.

There you go 9 tips for successful dating.



Friday, April 1, 2011

Dating it is

Well the poll is closed and it looks like the next topic for my posts is dating and finding the person of your dreams.
Nice choice....and probably the subject I've struggled with most myself - so I've a fair few examples to share.
I've also asked a few female friends to give me their take on the whole dating scene, from online dating to meeting people in bars and even supermarkets...

So I'll make a start this weekend - but as always feedback is welcome.



Sunday, March 27, 2011

Motivation Quotes


To wrap up the whole motivational theme here are a few quotes from some successful people.
Also there's a poll up about what you guys would like next as a topic...enjoy

If you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make the change.
Michael Jackson

I'm different. I have a different constitution, I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I got tiger blood, man. Dying's for fools, dying's for amateurs.
Charlie Sheen

I won't be a rock star. I'll be a legend.
Freddie Mercury

I'm not afraid of death because I don't believe in it. It's just getting out of one car, and into another.
John Lennon

A relationship isn't going to make me survive. It's the cherry on top.”
Jennifer Aniston

My parent's divorce and hard times at school, all those things combined to mold me, to make me grow up quicker. And it gave me the drive to pursue my dreams that I wouldn't necessarily have had otherwise.
Christina Aguilera

A lot of people are afraid to say what they want. That's why they don't get what they want.

Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.
Thomas Jefferson

Your regrets aren't what you did, but what you didn't do. So I take every opportunity.
Cameron Diaz

To climb steep hills requires a slow pace at first.

I used to go around looking as frumpy as possible because it was inconceivable you could be attractive as well as be smart. It wasn't until I started being myself, the way I like to turn out to meet people, that I started to get any work.
Catherine Zeta Jones

Try not to become a man of success but a man of value.
Albert Einstein

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.
W.C. Fields

The best revenge is massive success.
Frank Sinatra

Life is full of risks anyway, why not take them?
Lindsay Lohan

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers - you can blame anyone but never blame yourself. It's never your fault. But it's always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you're the one who has got to change. It's as simple as that, isn't it?
Katherine Hepburn

With every project you do, you bring out a part of yourself, and it seems to be quite a good way of expanding a person.
Kate Beckinsal

Where there is no struggle, there is no strength.
Oprah Winfrey

When I was a child, ladies and gentlemen, I was a dreamer. I read comic books, and I was the hero of the comic book. I saw movies, and I was the hero in the movie. So every dream I ever dreamed has come true a hundred times...I learned very early in life that: ‘Without a song, the day would never end; without a song, a man ain’t got a friend; without a song, the road would never bend - without a song.' So I keep singing a song. Goodnight. Thank you.
Elvis Presley

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Motivation - Towards and Away From

Previously we've talked about motivation being driven by our internal preferences or external force. Another way to look at motivation is the old analogy of the carrot and the stick.

Things we want and desire that we work towards; or those things we find on some level painful we want to move away from.
These are often classified as 'towards' motivation and 'away from' motivation, or pleasure and pain.

It seems logical and simple doesn't it?

However people are complex things and often motivation towards a positive result is simply masking movement away from a deeper rooted pain.

Towards Motivation
As it's name suggests, towards motivation is all about moving toward a goal. 
If you are predominantly a towards motivated person you will do things for the reward at the end of the task.
Towards motivated people tend to strive to be the best and crave recognition. They are motivated by competition and love targets and league tables.

Away Motivation
Away motivation is linked to pain, which is one of the greatest motivators.
Now we're not talking necessarily about physical pain, it can be physical or have elements of physical discomfort but it might also be emotional or physiological discomfort.
Generally away motivated individuals do things out of fear of what might happen. It often takes an extreme measure to prompt an an away motivated individual into action. Also, once a little action is taken and the situation instantly becomes less threatening that motivation quickly evaporates.
This is characterised by just doing enough to get by.

The classic example used to illustrate towards and away from motivation is smoking.

For the towards motivated person they quit because they want the health benefits and lifestyle of a non-smoker.
For the away from motivated person they are worried about the health consequences of smoking and so stop out of fear.

Many people tend to use one system more frequently than the other, but this does not mean that you should discard your less dominant motivational system. You should make effective use of both systems to ensure that you are harnessing your full motivational potential.

Another example (courtesy of

Away from motivation

The first man had grown up in poverty, never knew what Christmas presents were, never guaranteed that there was food on the table, constantly hearing his parents argue about money. This man had it set in his mind that once he grew up he would not be poor, he would not have his children live in the environment he did when growing up. To him he linked extreme pain to being poor and did everything he could to move away from it. He was a classic case of away from motivation, yet he had great success at what he did. He has successfully implemented this strategy in other aspects of his life as well. During hard times he would catch changes that were happening because for him it was an anticipation of pain. So he took action before it got to that point.
Towards motivation
The other man had a very different mindset. He grew up in a middle class family, had plenty to eat, got nice presents at Christmas and lived what a lot of us would call a good life. He was very much into sports and loved going to school. When he was about 16 years old he made up his mind that he wanted to make his first million by the age of 30, he had a very clear picture in his head of what it would look like, feel like, what it would sound like. The only thing he wasn´t sure about at that point was how he was going to do it. He applied the same technique to this as when he played sports, when he was on the field he knew exactly what it would feel like to score, what it sounded like with the crowd cheering and had a clear image as his fellow team mates gathered around him. He knew the technique behind towards motivation and used it in other aspects of his life as well. He was always looking for now opportunities and did his best at utilizing every chance he got.