February is all about spreading the love; in all kinds of ways. To help raise some money for The Greater Vancouver Food Bank, several staff members decided to take up the POF Food Challenge. For a nominal amount, staff members nominated on the chosen few to feast on a range of nice and not so nice items including pig’s ear, dehydrated black ant eggs, strawberries, vegemite, jungle trail mix, Tim Tams and one oven baked Tarantula. Thanks to our generous staff and their easy-going stomachs, we were able to raise over $200 for the food bank.
Before a time when the world was obsessed with flavor of the week apps and shiny new tech startups only to forget about them as quickly as you can swipe left, I got hired at an online dating site.
The year was 2010 and I had just turned 21 years old. The concept of dating online was more publicly uncomfortable then, although, almost 5 years later, the reaction remains more or less the same when people learn that I work for PlentyOfFish. Sometimes shock, often an involuntary facial twitch, always questions. Although the positioning of online dating in conversations is changing, one thing remains the same: we’re having the conversations. On the way to work, in the line at Starbucks, out for drinks with friends on Friday night, we’re having the conversations. So what is the big deal about online dating, and why can’t we stop talking about it?
Because We Still Don’t Know How It Works…But It Works
When we create these digital portraits for ourselves online, we’re navigating in a space we don’t really understand, but excites us nonetheless. This also makes us wary, though. We meet a jerk at a bar and we chalk it up to bad luck. We meet a jerk while we’re online dating, and it starts more of a conversation because we can’t make sense of the moving parts. The onus can be on cyberspace for bringing this loser to your inbox and not your own judgement. Still, most days I’d bet on the good judgment of matching algorithms and data scientists behind the scenes of a dating site over a great deal of my friends at the bar.
Even so, in the media you’re still more likely to hear about an online first date gone wrong than Harry and Sally (and thousands of people just like them every year) who met online and lived happily ever after, because those battle stories reassure us that there are still people out there who haven’t found anyone either! The thing is, Harry and Sally have told their friends, and their friends have told their friends, which results in a great deal of signups for us, and at least 1 in 5 marriages for those who are keeping track.
Because We’re Curious
Dating online means putting yourself out there – like really out there. Your hopes and dreams and wish list for an ideal partner is out there for your exes, coworkers and aunt Barbara to stumble across, and that can be scary at first. Maybe aunt Barbara actually met someone, and that pushed you over the edge, or maybe you heard that a celebrity is now considering joining a dating site after her latest breakup. Either way, you don’t want to be left behind.
So before you know it, you’re signing up too. And it’s strangely optimistic, to see those rows of hopeful faces smiling back at you, all of them single. So like a high school dance, you hang out on the outskirts for a while, maybe even until someone makes the first move and messages you. All of a sudden, our false modesty vanishes and the experience becomes more human than humiliating because you’re actually allowing yourself to have fun.
Because It’s Always Evolving
There was a time, so I’ve been told, when dating was not always this way. Despite this, I’m inclined to go the tough love route and tell you, sorry, but this is the way it’s going to be from now on. Technology has been seamlessly and irreversibly integrated into almost every nook and cranny of our existence, and the advancements in the online dating space are remarkable.
We’re obsessed with maximizing efficiency and tailoring all of our experiences to best fit our needs, but when it comes to our love lives, maybe we’re still more old-fashioned than we’re willing to admit. We routinely blog about deeply personal aspects of daily life, order our groceries, reserve a Car2Go, plan trips across the world and customize our own Nike sneakers, all online, but when it comes to dating online, we pretend it’s still just a little too out there.
But that’s OK! We’re still afraid that our stories won’t quite stack up when we’re recounting to our grandchildren that yes, “Grandma was checking her PlentyOfFish app on the commute to work and saw that Grandpa had selected her as a Favorite, and the rest is history.” We may not necessarily have the ancient family feuds or years spent oceans apart, but that’s only because life has changed. Dating has changed, and online dating will continue to evolve. But the hope and the intimacy and the love, that’s still the same. Besides, you have nothing to worry about, because in 10 years all the romantic comedies will be about online daters anyway.
Ugh. Time for yet another “Hallmark”, cookie-cutter Valentine’s Day… Overpriced and overbooked restaurants, unwelcome pressure to purchase the best gifts, and let’s face it… the in-your-face advertising that makes all the singles cringe. We’ve become so obsessed about celebrating love on this ONE day yet, isn’t love really about celebrating every day? And why do singles feel awful about their relationship status on V-Day?
Being single on Valentine’s Day isn’t something that you should feel ashamed about. Instead, use this day to celebrate your singledom! The way I see it is that this is a holiday where you can really take time to be grateful for your relationship status, reconnect with you, and show yourself some real love. So many of us wait around for the ‘right’ person to live our lives with… what if you were to start living your life for you instead?
One of the biggest relationship fails that I see often, is that people jump into them without first having a real relationship with themselves. This is the perfect formula for creating dependency issues within a relationship. When one partner can’t fill themselves up with love, they depend on the other partner to do so. That’s not what real love is about. Real love is building upon the love that each partner already has within themselves. This creates a stronger bond that will lead to a healthier relationship.
Don’t spend this Valentine’s Day feeling sorry for yourself. Take this day to reconnect to that love within you. Celebrate what it truly means to be single! Check out these awesome perks of being single on Valentine’s Day:
Invest in Yourself
No need to buy an overpriced gift for a partner that doesn’t exist Buy yourself a gift instead! Perhaps something that you’ve wanted for a while but didn’t want to indulge in… That new Tiffany’s necklace, or Nixxon watch. Why should you have to wait for someone to treat you? Now is that time to indulge! Go ahead… you’re worth it.
Spend V-Day Doing Whatever it is That You Truly Want To Do
With no one else in the equation, you have the freedom to do whatever it is that you truly want to do! Spend your day watching old 80’s romance flicks, eating at your favorite restaurants, walking aimlessly around the city taking in the sights, or head to the theatre to watch the latest new release. It’s silly to think that we need someone to do these things with and by holding onto this attitude, you’ll never truly take that time to show yourself some love. So get out there and take yourself on a date!
Why do we obsess over looking good for others? Instead, look good for you! Treat yourself this Valentine’s Day with a manicure/pedicure combo, a spa treatment (or two), a new haircut/color/style, a rockin’ new outfit, sexy lingerie, or a fresh barbershop shave (for the guys out there). When you treat yourself, you’re showing the world that you’re worthy. Self-love is the best love… and it’s damn sexy.
Celebrate Your Choice
Being single isn’t a curse, it’s a choice. Take pride in that choice! You’re choosing not to settle by waiting for a partner that’s just right for you. Or perhaps you’re taking a much-needed break from the dating world to reconnect with yourself. Whatever it is, the ultimate reason behind your relationship status is that you chose it. Celebrate that choice!
Stop waiting around for someone to treat you the way you want to be treated. Stop waiting for a partner to do the things you want to do. Instead, celebrate your single status! Treat yourself the way you truly deserve to be treated and live your life for you. Self-love is sexy, and it shows the world that you are confident in your own skin.
This Valentine’s Day, take the time to show yourself some love.
Ruby Fremon is a Self-Love Coach determined to help others create positive life transformations through the power of self-love. From living a life of self-destruction to a life of love and positivity, Ruby has created those massive shifts by learning to harness the power of self-love.
Join Ruby for a very special pre-Valentine’s Day Google+ Hangout on Thursday February 12th! She’ll be discussing self-love, relationships, and will be answering all your questions live. RSVP here:
There’s no shortage of online dating advice from women for women out there, but ever wondered what the guys have to say? We found one to break down some of the biggest turnoffs on online dating profiles for us.
We all know that great images are crucial to attract the right people, but after a few minutes of browsing profiles, it’s obvious that most people don’t know what constitutes a great photograph. It’s easy to get lost in a sea of selfies. When it comes to choosing your main profile image (which goes front and centre) it pays to get a second opinion. Or even better – get a professional or a photographer friend to take a few good pics for you. This might seem like a lot of effort, but considering you’re looking for a life partner, doesn’t it make sense to invest a little more effort than just choosing a couple random pics on your iPhone? At the very least, make sure you’re not in a bathroom or standing in front of a dirty mirror in a messy room.
The importance of strong images should not be overlooked! below I have listed more turnoffs when it comes to images on online dating profiles:
- Your images feature your more attractive friend: This has been demonstrated in psychological studies; if you place something which is better side by side with something which is less appealing, the less appealing ‘thing’ will become much less appealing because of the rule of comparison (look in book for term). That may seem harsh, but I might ask for your friend’s number instead.
- Your image is taken at the club with 6 other people: Just like an image with a more attractive friend, a pic with a lot of other people in it can be distracting and will take attention away from the star of the show; it equates to visual noise. Crop away!
- Your images are blurry or distant: Does this really need to be explained? Men browsing your profile want to see what you actually look like, so don’t use pics where you are not visible for any reason. These days, it’s pretty likely that even the camera on your phone can take amazing photos, so put it to good use!
- Your images are old or inaccurate images: It’s dishonest to use photos that don’t represent you accurately. We’re all changing with the years; sometimes we gain weight, sometimes we lose it, and we all gain a few wrinkles over time. If you only have old photos then seriously consider getting a few fresh pics which accurately represent what you look like now.
When it comes to writing about yourself on your profile, remember that most guys have a short attention span and are not going to read your life story. Short, concise and readable will help ensure that the right guy for you will actually read what you’ve written and absorb the info. But more on that below.
Here are the most common pitfalls to avoid when creating your profile:
- You’re using insecure opening lines: An insecure opening line can make a less than ideal impression on everyone who reads it. A common one is, “I don’t know how to write this” or “I’m really bad at talking about myself.” These types of opening lines are not helping you find anyone, and I’m already bored. Start strong and never demean yourself and your abilities in your writing. Guys don’t want to know that you hate writing about yourself, they want to learn about that cool course you took, or that you love camping in the mountains.
- You’re writing novels: Nobody wants to read a profile that rivals a Harry Potter book. Think of your profile as a lengthy Facebook update and just write 2-3 paragraphs. It’s refreshing to see a concise profile which doesn’t contain a lot of unnecessary information (but also covers who you are, stuff you like to do, and what you’re looking for).
- You’re writing lies: I’ve gone on dates only to be extremely disappointed because there was some sort of misrepresentation of the facts presented. Many woman have also told me their stories of disappointment having been lied to by the men they were meeting. A great relationship starts with honesty – just be yourself!
- You’re writing angry or bitter stuff: I’ve seen some profiles with very attractive photos but ended up being extremely turned off by the rants that followed underneath. If you rant on your profile or talk about all of the things you don’t like or want you’re not going to attract the kind of guy you do want. Focus on the positive things you do like and leave the baggage behind.
What are your biggest turnoffs on online dating profiles? Let me know in the comments below!