With 100 Million Fish In The Sea, Why Haven’t You Found Yours?

PlentyOfFish recently announced it has surpassed 100 million users worldwide – that’s enough people looking for dates to fill 2000 Yankee Stadiums. So with more of us online dating than ever before in this hyper-connected world of ours, why is it so easy to feel like a drop in the ocean?

Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to why exactly you haven’t yet found someone, but here are 3 reasons you may be feeling like the modern dating landscape is nothing but a lonely, desolate plain.

You’re spending too much time cultivating an image

Crafting our online avatars can take significant time and effort, yet what we’re left with when any sort of dating profile is completed is more of an idealized online ambassador than an accurate reflection of who we really are. While it’s completely natural to create a sort of parallel version of ourselves when we think it will make us more appealing, it’s really just distancing us from what should be a very social experience.

And I get it, we’re living in an Instagram world where the bar for adorable quotes and how we photograph ourselves has been set impossibly high. So instead of being 1 out of approximately 500 other men in your city who are hugging tigers in Thailand in their profile images, choose to upload the one at your family reunion last summer instead. Rather than being 1 out of approximately 100 million other single people who like “walks on the beach” and “going out for dinner”, choose to share a unique experience or an anecdote. Treat your online conversations the same way – don’t be so concerned with how you’re appearing online that the actual human interaction takes a backseat.

You’re thinking big…but too big

When you sign up to an online dating site, you’re being released into a terrifying new eco-system. Suddenly, you’re faced with what appears to be endless options to temporarily hold your attention, and it becomes difficult to choose just one person.

Although our prospective dates start out as perfect strangers, we’re already privy to details like their profession, education level, and whether or not they have a car or even want children – all before we speak a word to them. I mean, what if you agree to date a guy with a master’s degree and that same day a similar guy, but with a Ph.D., shows up in your Matches?

So although the process of dating (and elimination) has been effectively streamlined, we’re still left feeling a little dissatisfied with our choices. To combat this, we need to simplify.Try identifying just 5 realistic must-haves for a partner, and aim to arrange a date with those who appear to meet this criteria. This way, you’re able to stick to your core values while keeping an open mind.

You’re not taking risks

With more than 4 million logins every day and 30,000 messages being sent each minute on PlentyOfFish, it would appear that conversations are being started online. That said, establishing meaningful personal relationships takes courage, and that means engaging in your communities both online and offline. If you’re still sending the same copy/paste note to 10 people each time you login or simply waiting for people to message you all the time, you’ve arrived at Complacentville.

Online communication will never be as valuable or as real as an old fashioned, face-to-face conversation. Next time you’re using a dating app while commuting or standing in line for a coffee, I challenge you to look up, and start a conversation with someone. Of course, this does mean stepping out of your comfort zone, but I assure you, the investment in your real life social network will be worth it. At the very least, you’ll have a brand new anecdote for your dating profile about that time you struck up a conversation with that total weirdo on your way to work.

The 80% Rule For Relationships

Perfection is impossible, so stop expecting it from your relationships.

Expecting perfection can be problematic in life, particularly when it comes to romantic relationships. Whether you’re single and always looking for the perfect mate or in a relationship and expecting your partner to be everything you dreamed they would be, obsessing about the possibility of perfection can leave you perpetually unsatisfied and get in the way of your own happiness. That’s why, years ago, I developed a simple philosophy that I call the “80% Solution.”

When I start to feel dissatisfied with some dimension of a relationship, whether it’s at work, with a friend, or especially at home, I mentally list all of the strengths and weaknesses of that person. Then I compare my evaluation to my vision of perfection.

If the picture adds up to at least 80% of my ideal, then I will go with it and not spend a single second thinking about alternatives. If the “score” is between 60% and 79%, then I might start looking. Below 60%—it’s time to make a change . . . the sooner the better. Is your spouse or partner perfect? Not if you’ve lived with him or her for more than a few days. The proper question isn’t, “Is he or she perfect?” The useful question is: “Is he or she good enough, and are we compatible?” And if he or she is good enough, then I say magnify his or her positives and minimize their less important negatives. My wife Daveen and I are by no means perfect, but we have been together now for 35 years.

Despite the fact that I grew up with the idea that my “one and only” was somewhere out there, and that my only task was to find her, I now believe that in this world there are at least ten thousand women with whom I could be perfectly happy. But I have no idea where Daveen falls on the list of potential great wives. Is she number one? Unlikely. Number ten thousand? Unlikely. She is almost certainly somewhere in between the top and the bottom. I will never know Daveen’s exact ranking because it is impossible for me to meet, know, and compare each of those ten thousand possibilities. So I need to have a better method of deciding when I should stop looking for the perfect, and enthusiastically embrace the 80%.

Now in any relationship, it takes two to tango, so you need to apply the 80% Solution to yourself as well. Are you at or above 80% of your ideal for yourself? Think about it. You can’t very well eliminate yourself from your life, so if you’re not quite there yet, your task here is to bring your own score up to 80%. You can do this in two ways: lower your expectations or improve yourself. Either route has its own challenges, but if you do it, I’m confident that you’ll be much more satisfied with yourself, your relationships, and your life.

The 80% rule works. Granted, this method is entirely subjective, but what in your life isn’t? Your 80% might not be my 80%, but it is your 80% and that is what is important to you. Maybe you are more particular than I am and will only settle for a score of 90% (Good luck with that!). Maybe you’re more laid back than I am, and 70% is fine for you. No problem. Maybe you prefer a different score for different situations. Live it up, create your own matrix. The important point is to pick a standard, and live with it, or them.

What do you think of the 80% Solution? ALAN FOX is the author of The New York Times bestseller PEOPLE TOOLS: 54 Strategies for Building Relationships, Creating Joy, and Embracing Prosperity. Visit www.peopletoolsbook.com

The One That Almost Got Away: A PlentyOfFish Love Story

Every single day, happy couples who met on PlentyOfFish share their love stories with us. These success stories are always music to our ears here at the PlentyOfFish office. The love story of Kelly and Jake, however, is a very special one.

Kelly and Jake, a happy couple from Vancouver, British Columbia, met on PlentyOfFish two years ago. They went through some unique twists and turns to get to where they are today – you’ll never believe what Jake did for Kelly! Below is their exclusive interview with us:

Kelly, please tell us the story of how you met and fell in love with Jake!

Jake and I met two years ago, the night after I celebrated my 27th birthday. He was persistently asking to meet me in person for awhile (via POF messages) but I kept avoiding meeting him – for no particular reason. Finally on this lazy Sunday I agreed to go out for a late dinner. We had great conversation throughout dinner, which is important to me, but I didn’t feel that initial spark that some people say they get right away.

What is funny to look back on, is that I remember going to my friend’s house after our date and saying “nope, I’m not into him! He has a tattoo on his hand.” However, after that first date, Jake continued to pursue me and we hung out a lot during the following months. We formed a very strong friendship and connection. I was still on the fence about dating him because he has a son, and I wasn’t sure I was ready to get involved in that kind of a relationship or play that role at that point.

Over the next year, we kept it quite casual due to me not really being ready for anything too serious. At the end of 2012, I decided I was going to live abroad in Australia, solo. This was something I had always wanted to do, and had planned on doing before meeting Jake. Jake seemed happy for me and even helped me plan my trip, but he admits to me now how sad he was to see me go.

In January of 2013, it was time to say goodbye. Jake and I hugged and cried, and we said “I love you” to each other for the first time. It was extremely hard leaving him. Perhaps, in the midst of being distracted planning and getting ready for Australia, I was blind to the amazing relationship and bond we had formed over the last year.

While I was in Australia we kept in touch almost daily, but during the first 3 months I was mostly into sightseeing, meeting new people and just doing my own thing. However, I definitely missed him a lot.

On March 12, 2013, I received a knock on the door of where I was living in Melbourne, Australia.  I was in the middle of having an afternoon nap. I peeked through the blinds and all I saw was cargo shorts (I should have know by that very fact) I opened the door, rubbing my eyes, and I couldn’t believe my eyes that JAKE was standing there.

kelly1Needless to say, I was in complete shock! Jake had flown from Vancouver, Canada to Melbourne, Australia, to surprise me and knock on my door. He told me that I am the love of his life and that he had to tell me in person! I laugh now because I still can’t believe men like him actually exist! Really? A man doing something like that is practically unheard of in our generation. What makes his grand gesture even more romantic, is that he was only able to get away from work for four nights, but he still came all the way to Australia! That’s a 24 hour flight each way, so he knew he’d only get to spend two days with me – but he still thought it was worth it!

There was a mutual understanding that Jake wouldn’t be staying. Living abroad in Australia was something I wanted to solo, for myself. However as time passed, and after the shock of his surprise visit wore off, I missed him more and more and realized that he is the one I want. No new opportunities in Australia could compete with what my heart wanted: Jake.

In July 2013, he flew me to Bali and we got to spend 10 days on vacation together. That trip was the tipping point for me; I knew I had to come home from Australia earlier than planned, to be with Jake. He booked me a flight back to Vancouver for September 2013, we moved in together, and the rest is history!

Jake, what made Kelly stand out initially on POF? What made her stand out when you met?

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Kelly & Jake drinking “poo tea” together in Bali.

I thought she seemed like an honest down to earth woman, and she was super cute. When we met she was very bubbly and positive, and I am very attracted to that. She was very easy to relate to and talk to.

Kelly, what made Jake stand out initially on POF? What made him stand out when you met?

Jake kept messaging me on POF, pestering me to hang out, and when I finally did I loved our conversation. We had a lot in common. He seemed like a really solid, nice guy- with a great smile. Oh, and he was tall! I like really tall guys!

 Jake, how and when did you know that Kelly was someone who you definitely wanted to pursue?

 The closer it got to the time for Kelly to go to Australia, My feelings got stronger and stronger. When she was away in Australia, it really hit me that she was the one.

 Kelly, how and when did you know that Jake was someone who you definitely wanted to pursue? 

After Jake left Melbourne I started to have really strong feelings for him, and after Bali I knew he was the one I wanted to be with.

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Today, Kelly and Jake are still happily living together in Vancouver, British Columbia. Jake owns a sign, print and graphic design company called Liquid Grafix. Kelly, a very talented furniture refinisher, realized she had a lot of DIY tips and now runs her very own lifestyle blog A Shabby To Chic Life. Kelly also works as a web designer and social media manager for Jake’s company, Liquid Grafix.

5 Reasons Women Can’t Stand Passive Men

What do women want? If you don’t care, this article isn’t for you. However, when a real man meets a special lady, he will most certainly care about her, and what it takes to keep her interested. Some modern men may believe that chivalry and courting are old fashioned, unnecessary tactics of impressing the woman they desire, and have become passive in their pursuit.  The sexy and aggressive alpha-male has become a diamond in the rough, making way for the rise of the lazy man, and the Lazy Courtship. It happens because women let men get away with it. Low self-esteem causes some women to settle for less, or as some suggest, becoming the new men – aggressively going after what they want to make up for the aggressiveness men are lacking.

Gentlemen: Whether you are looking for a special lady or have found one, how is your passive demeanor going to show her how special she is to you, and keep her around? Here are 5 reasons why women can’t stand passive men:

1.      Women know that Men don’t Respect anything Easily Attained

It’s a catch-22. Many modern men don’t feel the need to put in effort when it comes to pursuing the woman they want. However, they also don’t respect a woman who’s easily attained. Even if a woman feels a connection with a man, and is willing to look past his frustratingly lazy courtship because she truly likes him for him – the man will wonder why his lazy courtship worked. He may even subconsciously lose interest because it was too easy. It’s a lose-lose situation. The win-win? Women need to have more self-respect and not settle for less than they deserve, while men could definitely step it up a little to show that they value how special their woman is.

2.      Women still want Men to take the Lead

It might seem old fashioned, but women are turned on by a man who takes the lead- or at least take notice of him. Women inherently love to be pursued. There’s no denying that women love a man who makes the plans, and makes statements instead of asking questions when the situation calls for it. Try a more direct and bold approach, instead of hanging back to gauge reaction. Try being forward by saying “Would you like to go out for a drink tonight around 7?” rather than the passive, “Hey, what are you up to?”

3.      Modern Women still Melt for Chivalry

Why is chivalry practically dead? Most likely because these days, a cute text message can be considered romantic, and even though women really appreciate cute texts, texting is easy – and lazy. It’s also a way for a man to effortlessly create the false intimacy needed in order to keep women on the hook and string them along. If their way of telling you they like you or miss you is via text message, and they’re not coming to see you, or calling you, or really proving it, this is the type of man who will probably break up with you via text message too. This man is winning! He gets to have you when he wants you, and all he had to do was move his thumbs for a few seconds. Real chivalry looks a lot different than this, and women still crave it. If a man cares about a woman, he should want her to be happy and want to be chivalrous. Chivalry is important in order for a woman to feel like she matters to her man, so guys, plan a cute date night every once in awhile!

4.      A Woman is a Reflection of her Man

When a woman is being treated well by her man, and her man is putting effort in to show her how special she is to him, it is reflected in this woman’s general aura. A woman who is being treated well by her man has a glow about her. She is happy, passionate, driven and ambitious. She is a reflection of her man.  If a woman has a man in her life who is lazy, passive, and doesn’t care enough or doesn’t think she is special enough to put in any real effort, this woman’s self-esteem and self-respect gets damaged.

5.      A Woman measures her Value to you in the amount of Effort you put forth

From a man’s perspective, he might think it’s awesome that his passive pursuit works. These men, however, are usually only hooking women with low self-esteem and low self-respect who don’t think they deserve much more than what they’re getting out of their man. I mentioned how texting is an example of a man’s lazy courtship as it can help create false intimacy. Real intimacy comes in different forms, and if a man doesn’t care about his woman that much, it will show in the minimal effort put forth – and a woman will realize she must not be that valuable to him. If she’s a good woman and worth it, some effort should be put forth on the man’s part. Go and see her if she’s sick instead of texting “feel better soon”, and call her on Wednesday to ask her out Saturday night instead of passively waiting until the weekend rolls around. Even small efforts like this can make a world of difference, so if you find a woman who is worth it, don’t hold back!

5 Spooktacular Halloween Dating Tips for Singles

Looking to scare up a date or two this Halloween? Let the sparks fly with your favorite ghosts, goblins and ghouls, as POF’s resident Dating Coach Sarah Gooding shares some tricks and treats to help you find a hair-raising sweetie this Halloween night!

1. Choose a Costume that Plays to your Personal Interests

Halloween only creeps up on us once a year, so it’s completely acceptable for even the most conservative of people to dress on the sexier side. So go ahead – dress as crazy and outrageous as you dare! Rather than sticking to the typical sexy costumes, (ie. sexy police officer, sexy nurse) try your hand at a costume that plays to your personal interests. For instance if you love NFL football, dress up as a cheerleader from your favorite team. If you love race cars, try your best imitation of your favorite race car driver. If you love entertainment and current events, go as new mom Snooki clutching her new baby, a blue-wigged Katy Perry, or a happy dancing PSY from Gangnam Style. Playing to your personal interests will show off your humour and act as an easy conversation starter at the costume party.

Little Red Riding Hood2. Cast a Spell with your Interactive Costume

Of course it’s easier than normal to break the ice on Halloween night, but why not make it a bit more fun by adding an interactive element! We recommend including aspects in your get-up that will make it easier to approach someone or get a conversation started – and that means less pressure on you, too! For instance, Kelly, a POF user from NYC went as a graffiti wall last Halloween. She wore all white, carried around a few markers, and asked others at the party to contribute their creativity to her blank canvas. This could be a fun, flirty way to exchange numbers with someone you’ve been chatting with. Another POF user named Samantha, dressed up as little red riding hood and handed out candies from her basket all night. “It was an easy way to approach someone and everyone loves an unexpected treat

3. Stay Away from Bulky Costumes or Too Much Makeup

Costumes that take up a lot of space (particularly those made from large cardboard appliance boxes), or require makeup from head to foot are difficult to maneuver in – especially if you’re at a crowded bar or house party. These costumes attract attention and can be a big hit at the beginning of the night, but by midnight your costume is usually on the floor, or haunting the personal space of anyone who happens to walk by. Other party goers will usually try to steer clear of costumes like these rather than attempt closeness. 

Halloween Mask4. Behold the Man in the Mask

With all of the wigs, makeup, and masks worn on Halloween night, it might be a little too easy to pass by people you can’t quite get a good look at. But beware – the unknown and mysterious are often the hidden gems! Don’t be shy to approach these people…you may just get a wicked surprise of your own when they reveal their true identity!

5. Go Easy on the Witch’s Brew

The 31st has the tendency to be a bit of a wild card, so it’s best not to add to its uncertainty by having too many drinks too early on. Besides, drinking too much makes it harder to meet people and make a good impression with someone new – try having a glass of water, or take a break and bob for apples in between drinks. Most importantly, the thought of our members making rotten decisions when it comes to a safe ride home gives us goosebumps, so make sure you have established a designated driver for your fright fest!