THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO ONLINE DATING: Tips, tricks, and manipulations to Browse the pains and pitfalls She looked me directly in the eyes and smiled. Still, no response. It definitely wasn't my best moment, but it wasn't hers either. Apparently, as I found out later, I had fallen into a trap known as"the meal plan." The meal plan, if you're not familiar with it, is when women go on dates with men just to get a free meal. It was obviously quite popular with attractive college girls, a classification she certainly fell into. When I first heard about the"meal plan," I did a mental rewind as I scrolled back through all of the dates I had gone on until there: all 37 dates to be precise. Of course at first I was outraged. How could women take advantage of me like that? Especially since I was being so vulnerable by putting myself out there to ask them out in the first location. As I matured in my online relationship, however, I realized that this was really a reaction for what men do to women. There are 3 significant levers in our lives which, if we pull them properly, can change everything. Our career, our health, and our relationships are the difference between depression and elation. I learned this first hand because in the past five years I went through the excruciatingly painful and draining process of pulling all three levers at the same time. I stopped the career I had been building for over 7 years and I left my 10-year relationship with my girlfriend who I believed I was going to marry. All of a sudden I was a career and relationship novice. I was depressed. I was scared. After 9 months of misery and frustration I was going to give up on online dating all together. One dayI was sitting in the shower feeling sorry for myself for over an hour. And then, for some unknown reason, my ambitious gene triggered and a small voice in my head said,"you are going to give up? No, no you are not. You're going to kick on online dating's ass!" I started to channel my misery into anger, and my anger into determination. I began to approach online dating just like one big experiment. I started creating what I predicted,"The Process." In this blog post I'll take you through the whole process I chose to learn online dating. From optimizing your profile, A/B analyzing your descriptions, starting meaningful conversations, as well as crafting interesting dates. We'll discuss how to streamline the online dating process so you can't only get dates, but possibly find the love of your life (with minimal stress). Now, before I get into it, I should preface that depending on your context, your culture, and your own comfort, your process may have to be different than the under. However, the important takeaway here is to pull back the
emotions that come from relationship and treat it like an experiment. If you approach it with the mindset of,"I will go meet interesting people and do interesting things," you will be much more likely to enjoy the process. And, if you're diligent, you might end up finding that special person. UPDATE: As of 2019 I've been with my new girlfriend, who I met on OkCupid, for 4 decades and we've moved in together. So maybe these strategies are not all that mad, but perhaps they are, I will leave it for you to judge. Note: You can also hear the Modern Dating Show podcast, where my friend Trevor and I cover a lot of these approaches as we browse the current struggles and embarrassments of his own dating journey (and answer listener questions). STEP 1 -- Decide what you're looking for The absolute most frequent error I see both guys and gals making when it comes to online dating is they don't define their goal obviously. Deep down inside, most of us know whether we are searching for a serious relationship or just to have fun. The more common scenario that I've found is that both women and men who are searching for a meaningful relationship are optimizing their dating for fun instead. I remember how one day when my coworker, Maddy, heard about my success with online dating, she asked me to assist her with her OKCupid profile. She's a remarkably smart and capable woman and she's' really beautiful, a real 10 out of 10, so I was confused why she'd need my help. Basically, so as to optimize for getting dates, Maddy had chosen to only include her most provocative photographs. Now I want to be clear, there's nothing wrong with women having"promiscuous" pictures online. The issue, in the event of dating, is the arrangement of a dating profile and what you contribute with. Our brains have evolved over centuries to pick up on visual cues much faster than written clues. In fact, they've found that men that are even walking with their girlfriend, will reflexively look if an attractive woman walks by activating their conscious brain. Because dating profiles hide most information aside from the profile photo until a user clicks, resulting in provocative photographs sets a bad first impression. So, while it's totally fine to have hot photos up in your instagram, leading with them on your online dating profile is sending signals that could be attracting the wrong sort of guy. Additionally, there are plenty of classy ways to have interesting pictures that speak to more than just the unconscious brain. Internet Dating pictures can be both classy and intriguing So, although Maddy was trying to locate a relationship, her photographs were sending signals that she's searching for"fun." Understandably, she had a line of douchebag men filling up her inbox. Listen to The Modern Dating Show Episode 4 Every man who has done online dating will testify to the struggle of getting a woman to swipe right on their profile, let alone to make them engage in a conversation. Men, this is completely your own fault.
I have seen men spend hours talking about the numbers of their favorite sports team, which player has what stats, who's health is suffering, as well as how financial reports will effect the team's chances. However, when it comes to online dating, guys have a tendency to slap a few pictures in their profile and then start swiping like orangutans until their palms develop calluses. Guys, stop. Before you begin creating or re-creating your dating profile, stop and think about what you're trying to attain. Are you trying to date a lot of people? Or are you searching for a meaningful relationship? And"both" isn't an answer. "If you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one." The techniques I will outline below work for desired outcome, but the choices you make will vastly affect your"conversion" rate. For example, the first time I mastered everything in this process, I started going on a great deal of dates (3--4 per week, weekly ), but I still felt incredibly unfulfilled. I just realized months later that, while it's great to go on a lot of dates and get practice dating (remember I had been off the dating scene for 10 years), it was even more important to make sure I had been dating the perfect folks. Fortunately I realized this before I was the victim of some more"meal plans." STEP 2 -- A/B Test your online dating profile images and descriptions First impressions matter. According to a study from Princeton, it is projected that in any relationship, whether its work or social, we make up our mind about if we like the person in less than 1 second. The single biggest flaw in online dating is the first impression you make is based solely on your profile image. They do not get to hear you talk. They don't get to shake your hand. They don't get to smell you (it's a thing). All you get is one picture and there's a 99% chance it's the wrong one. If one is coming online dating as an experiment, obviously the first thing to test is the profile picture. I started this process in a very unscientific way... I went to every female friend I knew and asked her what she thought of my photos. One hundred, and I mean 100% of them said that my first picture wasn't my best. It was interesting feedback, but I wasn't sure how I could test numerous pictures considering that I could only put
one as the default. The answer: testing across apps. I created profiles on Hinge, OKCupid, CoffeeMeetsBagel, along with the dreaded Tindr. I retained my profile description the exact same on Discover more each profile, but I set up another profile picture on each. I rotated the images across profiles before I could get a large enough sample size and be certain that the platform was not effecting results. Four of my actual dating profile pictures Sure enough, the profile picture which I thought was my best was always the one with the least matches. Interestingly enough, a picture I didn't read into, pic B, was actually a huge turn off for pretty much 100 percent of girls. I was shocked when I found out this, because the two girls in that photo are really good friends of mine, so I never would have made this connection. Sometimes your photos can be your biggest blind spot. To totally test this idea out, I actually enrolled a couple of friends (both men and women) to the experiment and had them change out their profile pictures. This is a super simple optimization that may look to be a pain today, but it is going to save you from dozens, if not hundreds, of missed matches. This is the 20 percent of work that will get you that 80% improvement in results, so please rotate your photos and rotate them often. Top Tip: If you want to speed up this process, you can actually ask your games exactly what they think of your pictures. If a conversation with a match was not going well, I decided to at least get some"user feedback" by asking her why she swiped right and which of my photographs she believed was best. (I also used this technique to ask recruiters why I was not getting jobs.) In highschool I had a history teacher, Mr. Hernandez, who gave me the worst piece of advice I've ever received:"just be yourself" Now, a part of this error may be my fault, because I took his advice very literally. I started to speak my mind, dress how I wanted to dress, and act how I wanted to act. This turned out to be a very bad idea. Without any filter or idea behind my actions, I rubbed more than a few people the wrong way. Now that I've matured a bit, I have come to understand that there is a difference between being your overall self and being yourself. Whether we like to admit it or not, we are never our complete selves except when we're by ourselves.
Seth Godin has a wonderful podcast on"signals," which you can listen to here. In the podcast, he explains that we actively choose which signals to give to other men and women. A man wearing a button up shirt, as an instance, is not necessarily wealthy, but the button up shirt is putting out the signal that he is wealthy. Much like someone who wears all black and an anarchy necklace is signaling she doesn't wish to follow society's rules, the guy in the button up shirt is signaling that he is okay with following convention. In college I met a woman at a party who immediately caught my eye. She was wearing a summer dress, flower earrings, and looked very cute. I approached her and we instantly hit off. We spent the entire party dancing and flirting. We made plans to have a lunch date at the college cafeteria later that week. I got to the cafeteria early and chose to save us a booth seat. As I was waiting, a girl walked up to me and smiled. I looked up and saw a cute girl dressed in black, wearing black eyeshadow and an anarchy necklace around her neck. Initially I did not even recognize her, but after a few baffled blinks with my eyes I realized it was my date. She sat down and we began talking. After some awkward conversation, she explained that her friends were sick of her being single so they'd dressed her up to be"cuter" for the party to attract a man. I was that man. I did not really care what she dressed like, but as we picked up our conversation we soon realized we had practically nothing in common. The outfit she'd used as a sign at the party didn't match her personality in any way. We finished the date cordially and moved on. Signals matter. Choosing your signs is great, but choosing false signals not so much. The same goes for your online dating profile description. You don't want to lie, but you also don't want to be your total self. You want to tell them about how you collect classic records, you do not need to let them know about how you cry every time a U2 tune comes on. You want to tell them about the way you volunteer at the animal shelter, you do not want to tell them about how you ran over your cat. First impressions matter. Crafting a good description is perhaps the most difficult and personal bit of improving your online dating profile. There's absolutely no right answer, but there are definitely some wrong answers.
The first step to getting a great dating profile description is having a clear structure. I break down a relationship profile description into 3 components: Headline: A short sentence someone can read quickly. Intro Paragraph: A bit longer description that provides some colour to your interests and character. Call to Action: A desirable action you want them to take. Internet dating is inherently awkward, so help the other person by letting them know something you two can talk about. Ladies this is especially true for you. If you do not want men messaging you"hey" or"wanna f*ck?" Then give them some fuel to begin the conversation with. Unfortunately, people tend to surf internet dating apps the way they surf social media sites: quickly and without much thought. It might be, in fact, that mobile devices have trained us to browse everything in a similar manner. Due to this, I think the headline is perhaps the most important bit of your description and you should try different variations until you find one that works for you. After a lot of testing I discovered that this one worked best for me: The objective of the headline is to provide a quick snapshot of what is unique about you. Having a headline that's authentic, interesting, and brief acts like a stop sign for the individual who is scrolling through the dozens of profiles on their phone. If you ask any top-performing marketer,"how do I create content which will be successful?" Chances are they'll laugh at the question. As any solid content marketer knows, terrific content is about respecting the medium that you're producing the content for. By way of instance, if I went up to a woman at a bar and said,"Outdoorsy, curious, ambitious, active," she will definitely get up and leave. The opposite is true for online relationship, however. You want your headline to be fluff free. Keep it to a 3--6 words, or one sentence, and make certain it is quintessentially you. After that initial curiosity is peaked, you can start paving a path towards them getting to know you a little bit more. This isn't the time to write a book about yourself. After all, this is only your 3rd touch point with this individual, your headline and picture being the first two. The intro paragraph gives a little bit of color and perhaps some talking points that you two can talk about in chat (again, ladies, this is incredibly important to include if you want to have more meaningful conversations). The intro paragraph which worked best for me was: "I love being outdoors as much as you can! Some of my favorite things are surfing, climbing, and playing volleyball. I am a creative at heart but I love learning about new and businesses ideas. I'm into photography, layout, and Tim Ferriss.
My perfect Saturday is playing volleyball at the beach with friends. My perfect Sunday is reading a good book at Promenade cafe." This paragraph outlines a couple of basic activities and hobbies I like as well as some non-standard things like business, design, and Tim Ferriss that might peak curiosity. The most important thing to remember about this section is to avoid the generic activities that could apply to pretty much anybody. I can not tell you how many profiles I've seen that list things like: "I like hanging out with friends, watching movies, binging on Netflix, and going on hikes." While I am positive that there are people on earth who don't like watching movies or hanging out with friends, probably 95% or more of those folks in your area enjoy those things too. As opposed to trying to fit in, attempt to stand out. Try to balance your description between things most people like, so it's possible to discover common ground, but also things that are uniquely you. For example in my description above: -- Many people like being outdoors and photography. -- But very few people like learning about businesses or Tim Ferriss. The Call To Action This is optional, even though it certainly helps. In advertising, a call to action (CTA) is the action that you want the user to take after they've viewed your content. In dating, you basically want the individual to message you. This seems like a no brainer, but I've found that a lot of people, both guys and girls, have been rejected so many times that they finally become discouraged from making initial contact. I've heard countless stories of women who have matched with a man who they really enjoy, but the guy never messages them. When I ask them why they do not message first, it is said that they don't know what to say or they don't want to appear desperate. The call to action helps alleviate this problem by making it clear that you want them to message you. But, obviously you don't want everyone to message you, so make your call to action specific. On OkCupid they have a single section that says: "You should message me if..." ← This is OkCupid's sub-heading but you can just manually add it on other internet dating apps too. My CTA goes as follows: "You should message me if you're an interesting person who likes to play outside."
Again, as with all this advice, when in doubt just test it out. Try using a call to action and see whether your conversations improve. If they don't, simply delete it. The attractiveness of dating programs is that instead of having 1--5 opportunities to make a connection, as you would if you went to a pub for example, you have tens of thousands of opportunities and"do-overs" to play with. STEP 3 -- Making first talking and contact The place where online dating falls flat on its face compared to"in real life" relationship is when it comes to the conversation. Having to talk online as your initial conversation is a huge limitation when you are trying to begin a new relationship. For starters, it is a really unnatural way of communicating, because it's been proven that we receive 55 percent of our communication from non-verbal (or in this case non-typed) communicating. It is logical then that if you take millions of people and put them in a supernatural communication environment you get some fairly unnatural conversations. While it might be fun to play around with bizarre conversation openers, if you are serious about finding a fantastic relationship through online relationship, then it's a good idea to research your results a little bit. As I got better at optimizing my profile, I started matching with more and more people. This gave me the chance to start testing different conversation openers and see patterns that I simply wouldn't have been able to determine if I didn't have a high match rate. Listen to The Modern Dating Show Episode 6 I will spare you some of the terrible thoughts I had, but in the spirit of good fun, let's examine how well you can judge a fantastic opener from a poor one. QUIZ Which of the following conversation starters performs the best? What is it going?" B) "Hey! C) "Question: Batman or Superman?" (or any other variation of this type of question). D) "Hey! (according to a book they listed in their profile) I will allow you to think about it for a second. (I will add some space before the reply below. Scroll once you're ready.) Scroll for the response
Scroll for the answer Scroll for the response Scroll for the response Scroll for the answer Scroll for the answer And the answer is... If you guessed D, you picked the best answer! (If you guessed C, you chose the worst response.) In order of best to worst, the answers are D, B, A, C (D being best). There are pluses and minuses to any conversation starter. While I found that the absolute best conversations resulting from"Hey! How did you like X book," that obviously depends if they've put a book in their profile. You can modify this to ask about some other part of their profile, like a movie or a place in their own pictures. The reason I guess that the book one works best though is because a) it shows you actually read their profile and b) it shows that you read. If I may use the book opener to start a conversation I usually also extend it to,"Hey! How did you like x book? (This is how I opened the conversation with my now-long-term girlfriend). Pretty much every conversation I began with this opener felt much more natural and moved past a few messages. The second best choice,"Hey! How was your weekend?" Works almost as well, but it's obviously limited to Sundays, Mondays, or Tuesdays. (It would be odd if you used this on a Friday). Have any fun plans for the weekend?" This worked pretty well, but not nearly as well. I suspect it's because it sounds too much like I'm going to ask her on a date or it puts her on the spot to think about something interesting. The Do's & Don'ts of Online Conversation Now that you have made contact and another person has responded, it's time to have a conversation. Every dialog changes, but there are a few guidelines that I will put in here as hints. First, some online dating tips for men: DON'T attempt to be interesting by being obnoxiously weird. I can not tell you the number of messages my female friends have shown me that noise objectively psychotic. The sad thing is that I know that the man is just nervous and trying to think of something interesting to say. Just have a normal conversation like you want a friend.
DO attempt to talk about things she's interested in but also add your own thoughts. Among the most common complaints I've heard from female friends is that they feel like they're being interviewed. Be sure that you ask questions, but that you also share things about yourself in equal measure. DON'T make comments about her body or appearance. Regardless of how well intentioned you are, it'll be perceived in the wrong way. Saying things like,"you're so beautiful! You've got a cute smile! You're..." will only lead to a polite"thank you" and won't create meaningful conversation. Now, a few online dating suggestions for girls: DO be nice and help direct the conversation. Even when I've tried to be friendly and nice, I have still received very curt or standoff-ish responses. No matter how much men pretend that they don't care about the dialogue, they do. And they normally have no clue what they're doing, so offer them some help and direct the dialogue in a positive direction. DON'T answer questions without asking some of your own. If you're tired of conversations feeling such as interviews, then make sure that you ask the man about things he's interested in as well. It takes two to tango. DON'T make judgments too soon. In my experience women tend to put a lot more thought into their text messages than guys do. If a man says something that looks weird or odd, give him the benefit of the doubt and don't read too much into it, chances are he did not either. Now a proposal for the two parties: Attempt to move the dialogue from online to in real life relatively fast. Online dating is a excellent tool to meet someone, but it is just that. It's a tool, it is not actual dating. My overall recommendation for moving from online to in real life is either one long conversation or two brief conversations. It should never take more than a week to establish a date. Thus, if you match with one another on a Monday, you should definitely have begun talking about using a date by Wednesday. So yes, use the programs, but also get off them quickly. In real life is a good deal more fun too if you know how to set up great dates... Step 4 -- Creating a date sequence that will cause you to smile more and sweat less Once I had mastered the online portion of relationship, I soon realized that procuring the date is only half the battle. The second half of this battle, how well goes, is largely determined before you've even set out from your house. As they say in real estate: location, location, location. In which you have your date decides about 50--70 percent of the outcome of the date.
But first a question... Where is the worst place to have a date? As it turns out, it is actually at the most frequently selected dating location: A sit-down restaurant. Initially I was taking all of my dates to restaurants for dinner. But bear in mind, I was completely new to relationship so I was only following what I'd seen in movies. Most of them didn't go well, but I wasn't certain why. After a dozen or so awkward (and pricey ) dates, I decided that I should experiment with some other locations. What occurred next was absolutely mind blowing. Almost like flipping a light switch, my dates enhanced tremendously. It was not that I was doing anything differently or that I had been picking better women to go on dates with, it was merely a matter of context. Here's why I think dinner dates don't work, it goes something like this: You meet a complete stranger outside a restaurant. You have an awkward hug. You sit down at a table. You begin talking, then the waiter interrupts asking about drinks. You continue to speaking. The waiter interrupts again for your food order. You are not ready to order because you've been talking. The waiter provides you"another moment." You look at the menu making remarks about the choices. The server comes back ten minutes later. You order food. You continue talking. You talk and talk. You then run out of things to discuss. What should you do next? You need to keep talking. Talk... Talk... Talk! A dinner date provides no choices. It is a singular task that depends on you linking with a complete stranger almost immediately. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that most of us are getting worse at having in-person conversations. Spending so much time online has improved our written communication skills, but it has also atrophied our in- house communication abilities. So, if we are getting worse at having in-person discussions, why would you bet your entire love life on the fact that you'll be able to have an remarkable in-person conversation with a complete stranger? 3 Rules for Creating Great Dates I never thought that dating could be a life-or-death action, but one day changed all that. I was holding on to a little ledge, about the size of a golf-ball, while the rest of my body dangled 30-feet above the ground like a giant cat toy. "O well," I thought,"this will be a good bonding experience." As I let my fingers slip off the ledge I expected the sharp shock of the rope on my climbing harness. But there was no jolt. I began falling for what felt like eternity.
As it happens, my climbing partner had momentarily let go of the rope as I'd slipped off the ledge. She panicked and didn't grab the rope until I had dropped 15 feet to what I was certain was my forthcoming death. Eventually the rope finally stopped and I felt a huge jolt, both physically and emotionally. "Okay this date may be a little too exciting," I thought. My entire dating profession made a 180-degree turn once I started taking my dates on fun activities rather than dinners. I'd take them to play tennis, rock climb, festivals, picnics at the beach, music shows, and everything in between. A number of these activities worked better than others. But I found out that the most crucial elements to a wonderful date spot could be distilled into three classes: Walkability -- Do we need to sit together or can we walk around? When you are walking, your landscape is changing so you can grab new conversation topics as you go. "O look at that naked man on rollerblades!" (It is San Francisco after all). Action -- Can we both do the action reasonably well? I've seen guys get this one pretty wrong. It's fun to teach someone something that you are passionate about, but be sure it's not too hard. Taking a woman rock climbing? Make sure she is not afraid of heights first. Scalability -- Would the date increase or shrink in scale as needed? Having a great time? Great! No chemistry? No problem, how can we end the date sooner? Using these three criteria, I crafted a three date sequence that nearly doubled the amount of successful dates I went on. Now I know what you're thinking,"This guy took women out to the very same places like it was some sort of regimented assembly line?" No. This was my go-to order, but, depending on interests, I would substitute different activities to keep the dates interesting. This was simply a template that simplified my decisions and decreased the cognitive load I was putting in my mind. So here is my ideal dating sequence: Date #1 -- Off the Grid: Off the Grid is a gathering of food trucks each Friday from the San Francisco bay. Why I like it: One of the problems of inviting someone out to dinner is that everybody has different food preferences. Then (if you're a man ) you have to account for cost of food. Off the grid accomplishes this since there are over 20 distinct kinds of (affordable) cuisine. Additionally, it allows you to walk around, people watch, and get drinks. Feel like going all out? Date #2 -- Variable: This date could vary based on interests but I had a few go-tos, namely: Little Italy, rock climbing, tennis, picnic on the beach. Why I like it: What these activities had in common were the 3 variables: walkability, activity, scalability. We could walk around Little Italy, grab cannolis, stay for drinks at Jack Karouac's favourite bar, or abort early. With both rock
climbing and tennis we can alternate between talking and activity. Why I like it: This date was especially important because if a girl had made it to date #3, it meant I really liked her. Additionally, it meant we might take the connection to the bedroom. The Cal Academy night fulfilled all requirements, plus it was a semi-formal event so we could both dress nicely for that particular night. This was also my secret evaluation because if a girl did not like facts and science it probably would not work out between us anyway. Listen to each of the episodes of The Modern Dating Show These are merely three examples of how to take online dating offline and make a reasonably successful dating sequence. Here are a few ideas on what to look for on every date as you try to create your own dating arrangement: Date #1: Search for a casual environment that is not intimidating. Dark bars or loud places don't make for great conversation. Make certain that you can reliably visit this place, so avoid places with long waits or where you need to make reservations. Ensure you are able to schedule the date for a weeknight (try to not book someone's weekend for a first date). Date #2: You've broken the ice and you have both agreed to a second date, so have fun with this one! Choose an activity you'll both like that isn't too tricky. Avoid intimidating activities like karaoke, group sports, or water skiing. Ideally choose an activity which has a cadence where you alternate between doing something and talking. Going on a 10 mile run is great for exercise, but it doesn't allow for conversation. Watching a movie at a movie theater has similar limits. Date #3: You confirmed you enjoy each other, it's time to take it to another level. Try to make this date a little more special than the first two. It needs to be romantic, it should test how compatible you both really are, and it should confirm whether or not you want to keep on seeing each other long term. Following the excitement of dates one and two, there can be a lull in date 3, so be sure whatever you select provides new intimacy to the relationship. By way of instance, if I did not visit the Cal Academy I'd go dancing instead. STEP 5 -- Getting your Timing Right maybe one of the most crucial pieces of the online dating puzzle that I see men screw up again and again is timing. Assuming the guy is the one driving the relationship sequence (which is not always the case) there are some questions you will need to ask: When should you ask her to go on a date? Here I will share my answers to these questions that I've found most useful. But again, depending on your context, your culture, and your comfort your answers may vary. The main thing is to actually consider timing, rather than leaving it up to"feeling" Going from Online to Offline It is quite easy to let a great online dialog die out. You message , she messages you, back and forth, back and forth. In order to make sure I do not waste all my time with online conversations I found it was best to ask a woman to go on a date after about 2 days of messaging or roughly 20 minutes of continuous conversation. Again, try not to linger at the safe-space of this digital world too long. It might feel like it's necessary, but it's quite easy to waste plenty of time and momentum in the chat room. Going from Date 1 to Date 2
once I was 25, functioning as"the new guy" at a tech startup, my desk was placed right behind the sales staff. One thing I discovered is that each and every time they were finishing a call they would ask,"okay so what does your calendar look like for next week? Busy? Okay how about the week after that? O that's no great also. Okay how about the week then?" Regardless of what the prospect said, the salesperson would always insist on at least"penciling" the next meeting into the calendar with the option of cancelling if desired. When I took this technique and applied it to dating, it led to some pretty incredible results. This rule is somewhat contrarian, but it's worked really well: Always request the second date on the first date. One of the worst things about dating is that you're putting yourself out there. You are opening yourself up to strangers and in return you are getting plenty of uncertainty. No one likes uncertainty. No one likes to look at their phone every hour to determine if you've texted them or not. No one likes to wonder if you like them or not. Surprisingly, most individuals do not mind if you don't like them, they only want to know. So my suggestion would be to quit playing games, both with another person and with yourself. If you do not, have the respect to let them know you do not. (A gentle means to do this is by telling them that you are not ready to date right now. I had a girl tell me this and it was the simplest let down I've ever experienced and used it later myself also ). I should pause here for a single caveat: Yes, you should tell them you like them, but not constantly. Nobody likes to be smothered or chased constantly. I see this a lot with both guys and girls who get very excited by the person they have just met and they then proceed to constantly text them, call them, and see them day after day after day. He told me,"Girls are like shadows, the more you chase them, the more they run away. The more you run away, the longer they chase you." If you discover someone who you want to be with really badly, don't frighten them away by being fanatical. If they like you too, there's no need to chase them. Yes, you should actively attempt to establish a date, but there's no reason to go on dates each and every night of the week. Allow the relationship to have some breathing room. A good way to judge if a relationship is going well is if you find yourself missing the other person and vice versa. There is a great deal of truth in the saying,"absence makes the heart grow fonder," and now there's even scientific proof for it as well. In several studies, anthropologists have discovered that lots of primates invest more effort into a relationships if the people in that relationship have been forced apart. What is interesting is that researchers in the Aalto University in Finland have recently confirmed that the same is true in humans. By data mining mobile phone records and comparing telephone patterns and length, the researchers at the university found that humans may also invest more effort into relationships when there is a probability of that relationship weakening. I tried applying this research to relationship in a relatively straightforward way and, to my surprise, it worked very
well. It turns out that by simply allowing for some time to elapse between dates, paradoxically, makes the relationship strengthen rather than weaken. My cadence for relationship that I found worked fairly well was the following: Date 1 -- Day 0 Date 2 -- 7 days after Date 1 Date 3 -- 14 days after Date 2 Date 4 -- variable This arrangement meant that I would spread out the first 3 dates across a one month period. This allowed for sufficient time for the relationship to grow and helped me make sure I did not suffocate my dates, which was especially helpful when I was really into them. Takeaways and Next Steps As I mentioned at the start of this post, these dating strategies helped me tremendously, but based on your context, your culture, and your comfort, your procedure may need to be different than the one above. The important takeaway here is to pull back the emotions that come out of dating. In fact, because dating is such an emotional activity (similar to job hunting), it's vital to have a system in place that will assist you navigate the ups and downs. By engaging in online dating you're getting on a rollercoaster of emotions and, like on a real rollercoaster, it would be foolish to just hop on and continue. Making sure you have that lap belt secured and that you have been on a few less intense rides can allow you to enjoy the ride a good deal more. As we frequently discuss about the podcast, when you let go of expectations and only create your target just having fun with other human beings, online dating becomes something to look forward to rather than something to dread. Similar to the help of world-class investors, you need to diversify your portfolio and decrease your risk of catastrophic failure. A way of doing this is by going on dates which aren't just sit-down dinners, so that regardless of how your relationship partner behaves, at least you'll have a good time doing something fun. And, to minimize the risk, you should build both an outreach and dating sequence so you decrease the cognitive load of having to think of new dates constantly. Find a few activities you like doing and then match the dates into these activities. This is also a great way to filter out people that aren't compatible with you in the first place, which will save you time and money in the long term. Naturally, regardless of how well I did all the above things, I still had my share of terrible dates. The girl who used me as a meal program being just one of many. Dating is a rollercoaster that will scare you, challenge you, and sometimes make you wish you had never gotten on. But remember, once you're feeling down and enjoy giving up on love altogether: "You are not as bad as they say you are, you're also not as good as you think you are." Take each date as an opportunity to improve yourself. If you constantly work on your own, improving your conversations, your dates, and your connection with other people, that investment will pay off far beyond online
dating. If you enjoyed this post, I'd super love if you hit the green hand clap button below to ensure that more folks can discover it. And, if you have any more questions about relationship, listen to our podcast where you can submit your own dating questions and we'll answer them on the show.