How much of yourself should you reveal on a dating app?
It’s always tempting on a dating profile to show a “cleaned up” version of who we really are: safe, pedestrian, polished; and hide the quirky, the nerdy hobbies, the bits that make us a little weird to some.
And to some degree, that’s a good thing.
Yet when I look at own behaviour on Tinder, I also know: I get excited whenever I see someone who shares my nerdy side.
Ok, at first it starts with: “Am I into their look?”
But it quickly becomes: “And what else?”
Do they share my abiding love for Studio Ghibli films and Japanese anime, movie soundtracks, or the brilliance of Bill Murray, The Office, and Arrested Development? Suddenly now I’m doing a spit-take and wondering what kind of fantasy woman my brain is writing for me in this reverie I must have drifted off to in the middle of my working day.
There is always an irresistible urge to conform when writing our own profile.
I don’t know about you, but I’m already exhausted by the avalanche of motivational quotes online right now.
Advice everywhere. Everyone talking. It’s kind of numbing.
But I think there are some very manageable ways we can feel a little better right now, and release the pressure of the unrealistic expectations many of us are putting on ourselves in what is already a very difficult time. I explain them in the video…
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I recently received an email from a listener of our podcast that was such a great question that I couldn’t resist writing some thoughts about it, because I think this is one of THE problems in modern dating: i.e. people trying to play it too cool.
So here it is!
Question from a reader:
What constitutes chasing? Ie. Is telling someone you would love to hang out again after a date or that you like them in general desperate? Or equivalent to chasing? It’s hard to gauge sometimes if you want to have honest communication but common advice is that guys should always initiate and dictate the pace of a relationship.
“Desperate” is a subjective term.
If after a date I send a text saying “had so much fun!” or “would love to hang out again!”, and it gets a cold reception, then I just got some useful info.
The info is: this isn’t someone I need in my life.
“But what if my enthusiasm turned them off?” you may reply.
Here’s the key question: Will a guy who is mesmerised by your beauty, fascinated by your company, and generally finds himself thinking about you all night after your first date be put off by you saying: “Would love to hang out again!”?
People are generally turned off by unwarranted affection.
This would happen if you only had one or two dates but your messages implied he is the greatest person you’ve ever met and you can’t imagine why he would ever find interest in a lowly creature like you. If this happens, then yes, he will think: this sounds desperate. And intense. She doesn’t even know me. I’m scared.
But you knew that already.
What people often want to know is: if i play it cooler, like, ICE COLD, will he be more attracted to me than if I tell him I had a wonderful time?
This is where filters come into play.
In every friendship, conversation, and romantic relationship we have, we are always applying filters.
And if we decide to be ICE COLD. i.e. no text, no follow-up, no response, no anything after a date, one of two things tends to happen:
(1) people assume we just aren’t very interested (especially people with high self-esteem)
(2) we attract people who love hot and cold game-playing (who then lose interest later when we finally show them attention and things get too “boring”)
That’s why applying the ICE COLD filter tends to backfire so often. It’s a bad filter for attracting the kind of people who are best for the healthy long-term relationship.
I’m not afraid of rejection. I don’t care if someone had a mediocre time in my company and doesn’t feel a spark. I’d rather know that instantly and get on with finding someone who IS into what I’m selling sooner rather than later.
Which brings me to the point: I want to be upfront if I had a good time. Because I ONLY want someone who feels exactly the same.
Your biggest filter in dating should be: I want someone who is never in doubt that they want to see me again.
This is the ultimate filter for healthy, happy, mutual relationships where you avoid all the BS that most people put up with who “love the chase”.
And what if you meet someone who says they “love the chase”? Run (careful though, they might chase you!). These are the people that really are desperate. Desperate for validation, attention, the desire to fill an endless void that will only see them jumping from relationship to relationship like lily pads as they look for another fix. They will cause you nothing but anxiety, confusion, and will lower your self-esteem as they play their hot and cold games with you.
Your goal is not to attract everyone. It is to attract the right people.
I remember someone I matched with on Tinder several years ago who showed me exactly what I don’t want. We added each other on Whatsapp. She would send me messages at the most random moments and then go radio silence when I responded. She was aloof and laconic in her messages, as though she were waiting to be entertained.
We somehow ended up arranging a date (I had convinced myself she might be better in person). She proceeded to flake. I text to confirm on the morning of the date to check we were still on, and her reply simply said “But it’s cold out today!”. No explanation. No apology. Apparently that was her idea of cancelling. I deleted her number.
A 21-year-old more insecure version of me would have seen this as some sign: I’m not attractive enough. I should have had a better technique to keep her interested. If only I knew the right thing to say. Maybe I should try again
The real question I should have asked: Why the hell would you stoop to the level of giving more energy from your precious life to someone that flakey and indifferent?
The answer: you shouldn’t.
What about the final part of your question? Should guys always initiate?
There’s a piece of advice gets thrown around as if it’s some evolutionary law: men only want to pursue.
That isn’t my experience. Nor that of many of the great guys I know. Like most men, I am happy to pursue and accept this role when the situation calls for it. After all, men who never pursue tend to have a very poor success rate in dating. But if there isn’t mutual excitement thrown back my way, I get bored. If I never receive a spontaneous text, a cute message, a phone call, a suggestion for a date, a compliment, I feel I’m in a one-sided situation. And again, I apply my filter: I don’t want the kind of person who doesn’t show excitement for me. Neither should you.
To put it simply: indifference is vastly overrated.
Again, this depends what you want. I know what I want. I want enthusiasm. I want someone who tells me they’re excited to see me this weekend if we’ve been on a couple of dates and things are going well. I want to be top of their list of “people I really love spending time with”.
This crisis is impacting people all over the world to varying degrees. And with how rapidly it is evolving, I have wanted to hold off on wading in with my opinions until I really felt I had something to say.
There is a silver lining I talk about in today’s special message…
Please share this video with anyone you know who needs it.
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I keep hearing from people who say, “I had such high hopes for 2020! This was going to be MY year! What the F**K happened?”
Well, to put bluntly: shit hit the fan.
Every 50 years or so in human history, you can almost set your watch by the arrival of a completely unforeseen “black swan” that completely puts paid to any grand plans we may have had in the near-term future.
I won’t make predictions of what the future holds for the economy or getting back to normal. There are simply too many unknowns at this point.
But what we do know 100% is that the entire year will be defined by a string of letters and numbers none of us had ever heard of a few months ago: COVID-19.
As for what that means for love…well, here I will indulge on imagining some possible outcomes:
As I was about to write this piece, I instinctively reached for my shoes. I would normally walk to grab a coffee from my local before starting. I promptly remembered it’s closed for the next 2 weeks.
It’s particularly strange, this global crisis. Not just because most – if not all of us – have no way of relating to it from any other period in our lives, but because we don’t actually know when it will end. That’s just weird.
I live in Los Angeles, where everything has pretty much shut down. I won’t pretend this means wholesale changes to my entire routine. It doesn’t. I’m a homebody. I work from home. I regularly refuse invitations to go out – so it would be pretty childish of me to mourn the loss of these events now – and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t mildly excited by having a cosmological excuse for staying in my underpants all day.
I currently get to say no to things with complete impunity whilst taking zero responsibility for being the recluse that I sort of am anyway. I can hear the quiet war cry from my introverted brothers and sisters already: “This is it brothers and sisters! We’ve trained for this! This is our time!”
My normal routines that take place outside the house mostly involve driving to Jiu jitsu, running to the gym, and walking to coffee. The occasional visit to the movies. This may not sound like a lot, but they are still my routines. And when our routines get taken from us, we get a bit, well, strange. We find ourselves doing laps around the house, looking out of windows for a bit longer than normal, investigating drawers and cupboards we haven’t had the time nor the boredom to look inside for a very long time (so that’s where I left that iPhone charger).
And then we realize it’s only day 2, and we’ve been told we have at least 2 more weeks like this. Maybe more. Likely more. That’s when we begin to extrapolate just how weird we might get by the end of the month.
I also appreciate how extraordinarily hard this must all be for people who are finding themselves adjusting to working from home for the first time (or no longer working, as the case may be), many of whom have children who are also ‘working’ from home for the first time.
The great irony of all this unexpected time we are finding ourselves with, is that it seems disproportionately difficult to concentrate for long enough to get anything done with it. Some of this is simply our coming to terms with how badly our phone addictions have eroded our ability to focus for longer than 5 minutes. We are functioning novelty-addicts.
But there’s also the low level anxiety many are feeling right now. We are scared, and completely in the dark as to when this will end. We feed our fears by being glued to a news cycle that looks more like a post-apocalyptic movie everyday. Is that an empty WholeFoods I see on CNN or did I accidentally switch the channel to The Walking Dead? I’m really not sure.
Not to mention the ‘high’-level anxiety that so many people are experiencing from the imminent loss of jobs, worrying about their parents, providing for their children (who are now swinging from the rafters) and even from having a family member or friend suffering with the virus.
The loneliness compounds it. We turn to social media for connection, but ah, there it is again, the news. Or at the very least, our friends opinions about the news. These factors combined are a winning combination for wasting time, and ignoring the very actions that might help us feel better in this situation.
It’s as if some ingenious little procrastination demon tried to think of the most vile combination he possibly could: “Ok my little cherub…you been complaining all this time you haven’t had enough time for the things you really want to do…well here…have as much time as you want. When will it end? Who knows! Will you get horribly sick at some point along the way? Maybe! So you better not get too close to anyone. Good luuuuuuck.”
It’s a horrible feeling to have something you’ve been telling yourself you wish you had the time for, only to find you now have oodles of time but the wrong state of mind to do it.
Then there’s these inspirational Instagram quotes going around politely reminding us what the brilliant people that preceded us did in their isolated time. Did you know that Isaac Newton invented Calculus while he was forced to stay home during the Great Plague of London? Well? Did you?
But we must remember, Sir Isaac didn’t face the challenges we face. Take me for example. I’ve been distracted by at least 5 hilarious memes just in the last two hours. He never knew such struggle. And if there is a modern day Isaac Newton, I have a feeling he or she is the one creating all these memes. I mean some of them really are brilliant. Didn’t you ever stop to wonder what genius is making them?
We may not be about to do anything as ground breaking as inventing calculus. At least I’m not. But we may want to consider the possibility that there is an alternative to spending several weeks merely forwarding the funniest corona-memes to our friends. Or panicking.
And before you think I’m preaching, I’m not. This is really a letter to myself. While my self-development peers have been posting about controlling your focus and sticking to your positive habits, I just spent the entire weekend eating chocolate, cheeseburgers, and binge-watching the amazon series Hunters. Everyone has their process.
And yet if, like me, you’d like to adapt to occasionally using this time for something meaningful – in spite of yourself – I have an idea brewing that I’ll tell you about later today.
(That’s a corona cliffhanger right there.)
Love you all
P.S. Speaking of brewing, my tea tutorial is a must watch for anyone with way too much time on their hands. And for everyone who saw it, stop looking for the deeper meaning. It’s about tea.
P.P.S. Leave me a comment below, I’d love to hear from you.
One of the worst things about breaking up isn’t just losing someone. It’s the terrifying thought: what if I never find someone who makes me feel the same?
What if he is totally irreplaceable??
He has a masters degree and he’s good in bed? He loves to spend time with family and he owns a successful company? He’s a brilliant artist and he keeps his apartment tidy, does the dishes, and knows how to cook?
Important Note: While I do believe – and have seen proof – that the advice and programs I provide can help you improve your love life , please understand that not everyone will experience the exact same results. To get the best results, you must use the advice I give you. Every person is an individual and every situation is unique so no single piece of advice will work for everyone at every time.
But I can tell you that if you read the advice and continually apply it in your life, your chances of success increase dramatically.
And I’m here to help you every step of the way. Let’s get started!