While singles aspire to have a unique and memorable first date (after all, he or she could be ‘the one’), more often than not, someone you will meet on an online dating site or mobile dating app will ask you to get together for the default date of “drinks” or “coffee.”
While meeting someone at a happy hour, could advance to dinner, what do you do if you don’t drink alcohol? Should you fake it, or order a “mocktail?”
In polling over 8,000 online daters and analyzing over 100,000 messages, dating app Zoosk asked these questions and more for this Drinking Study.
Some of their findings show that singles are drinking big time on dates, with the majority, 72% consuming alcohol.
Since 1/3 of singles are non-drinkers, and it can help relax you if you’re nervous about a date, how does dating sans alcohol affect their dating lives?
No one should feel pressured at all on a first, date, but the Zoosk Drinking Study found that 10% of singles actually pretended to sip an alcoholic drink while on a date.
How do singles really feel about drinking on a date?
- A majority of singles (92%) order their first drink before their date arrives.
- A majority of singles (73%) believe meeting for drinks makes a good first date.
- Over half of singles (55%) think two (2) drinks should be the maximum on a date.
- Mentioning “sparkling wine” in your online dating profile or message increases your response rate by 29%.
All of this pressure to drink to feel more relaxed on date isn’t that necessary.
The study found that almost a third of non-drinkers find it more difficult to date when they didn’t drink, but it’s not all doom-and-gloom.
A majority of drinking singles (86%) say they’d date a non-drinker, and non-drinkers (81%) are open to dating those who drink alcohol.
What’s the solution?
If you feel the pressure to order a beverage, and you’re not interested in getting a buzz, try ordering kombucha, ginger ale, tonic and water, cranberry and soda, iced-tea, or an espresso.
Or, in the alternative, suggest a fun outing or daytime date that doesn’t include alcohol.
We’ve got plenty to choose from here.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may swipe or roam.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, and has been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades with her Irresistible Profiles programs.
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Summer starts this week, and at Cyber-Dating Expert HQ, we always see an uptick in new clients looking for love online.
Don’t just take our word for it, as our friends at Match have predicted that Sunday, July 8th will be 20% busier than Valentine’s Day based on 20+ years of data.
If you don’t experience fireworks with someone special on 4th of July, you’ll have an opportunity to find summer love BIG TIME a few days later, and we’re here to help you look your best.
RELATED: 5 HOT TIPS FOR SUMMER LOVE
What should you do to get ready for summer fun?
- Update your existing profile now to get ready with new photos wearing summer apparel.
- Include some of your favorite summer activities, such as beach barbecues, fly fishing, or hiking.
- Change your profile to include favorite date ideas, such as going to an outdoor concert, an amusement park, or riding a tandem bicycle.
- If you have a summer vacation booked, include how excited you are to travel to that destination.
- Include your favorite flavor of ice cream or frozen yogurt, as it’s a hint of where you should go on a date that extends into dessert.
RELATED: 10 ABSOLUTELY FUN SUMMER DATE IDEAS
There’s something magical about sunshine, beach or lake walks, and finding a summer romance that will last through all of the seasons.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may swipe or roam. xo
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert, and as an early adopter of Internet dating, has been coaching singles on finding love online for almost 25 years.
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Photo credit: Fotolia
Meet Melissa and Ross, who found love on Match.
When Melissa first came to me, she was nervous about hiring a dating coach, and just became single for the first time in 20 years. She was actually terrified of trying online dating for the first time.
We created her Irresistible Profile on Match, had a super-fun photo shoot, and went live her dating profile with the headline of “LA Farm Girl.”
Melissa loves animals, had lived on a ranch, and as a single mom of two teenage kids, needed to find someone who was devoted to his family like she was.
Ross, whose screen name was “Dog Lover” wrote to Melissa within a few days of her profile going live.
His first message said, “You are beautiful and too beautiful to be on Match.”
He asked, “Is that what you really look like?”
Melissa replied with, “I sure hope so. I just took the photos last week.”
Before she met Ross, Melissa went on three dates to build up her confidence and get out of her shell. “It felt a bit overwhelming,” she said.
As Melissa and Ross continued to chat, they both realized they had much more than pets and children in common. Both had coincidentally attended the University of Southern California (USC) at the same time, were both enrolled in the communications program, and lived two houses apart. It was hard to believe that they had never met while in college.
Then one day, Ross sent her a message on Match and asked, “Are you done meeting these weirdos and ready to give me a chance?”
Melissa felt a connection with him and started doing her due diligence to vet Ross to make sure he was the real deal. One of her friends told her that Ross was a terrific attorney. Another friend of hers said they had built Ross’s house, and that their children went to school together.
“Everyone said wonderful things about him,” says Melissa.
Because they knew so many people in common, she felt safe about having him pick her up for their first date.
By the time they met, Melissa said they both felt like they had known each other forever.
For their first date, Ross arrived with roses, wine, and they went to dinner, where they felt a warm connection right away. “He was a real gentleman,” says Melissa.
“I knew when I saw your picture and when I heard your voice from the first conversation, that you were ‘the one,'” says Ross.
They quickly introduced their kids to each other, met each other’s families, and now realize they are each other’s forever.
Congratulations to Melissa and Ross, our online dating success couple, who proves that the big world-wide-web can make you feel like you’re at home when the right one comes along.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and an award-winning dating coach. She’s the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert and has been helping singles find love online for over 20 years with her Irresistible Profiles programs.
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In a study over over 100,000 dating profiles conducted by online dating site Zoosk, they found the majority (91%) of singles really do care about the environment, with 58% who said dating someone who cares about being eco-friendly an attractive quality. We feel the same and you hope you do too.
In the Zoosk Earth Day study, they asked 5,100 singles about their love for the environment, along with ecological attitudes about those they’d be interested in dating.
Nix the Trash on Earth Day and Every Day
When it comes to trash, if you’re one who litters, you probably won’t get a second date.
The study showed that 74% find littering a deal-breaker, with 81% finding littering an annoying habit. So if you see garbage on the ground, it’s wise to pick it up and toss it away properly, as the survey revealed that 59% of singles say picking up litter is sexy.
Zoosk provided a list of eco-friendly words to add to your online dating profile to get a greater response.
The most popular words to start using now to generate a response on your dating profile include: reuse, organic, environment, farmers market, nature, earth, tree, forest, outdoors, hippie, plant, and wildlife.
Favorite Green Date Ideas
Thinking about suggesting an environmental-friendly date?
The most popular green date ideas that online daters like include: going to the beach, going on a picnic, stargazing, visiting a local farmers market, or going on a hike.
So it’s time to fill your date cards with those who care about our beautiful earth, as 78% of singles responded that they’d like to date someone who cares about the environment and 51% prefer to date someone who’s energy efficient.
Wishing you much love and joy on this Earth Day.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Mobile Dating Expert. She was an early adopter of Internet and mobile dating and has been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades with her Irresistible Profiles dating programs.
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Quote of the Day
Let’s Get Social!
Sign up for the FREE Weekly Flirt for dating advice delivered to your inbox and find out how our Irresistible Profiles will help you find your dream date.
We’re getting ready for 2017 and many of you are so done with 2016. It was a bumpy road for relationships, life, love, politics, loss of musical geniuses, and more.
For those who have the tradition of making New Year’s resolutions, here’s some wise dating advice to add to your list.
Before you say, “bah humbug,” if your holiday was filled with Aunt Sally asking about your relationship status, or your friends changing theirs to the point that you slammed your computer shut and deleted all mobile dating apps, now’s the time, before New Year’s for singles who dreaded the holiday and are ready for a new beginning. So along with the new diet and gym membership, joining a dating site and hiring a dating coach has become a BIG priority. In fact, the phone is ringing off the hook and we are getting booked solid the first week of the new year for new Internet dating profiles, so get ready for the ride!
Match Predicts Dating Sunday on January 8th
Our friends at Match have told us that they predict Dating Sunday to be held on Sunday, January 8th, where it’s expected to be the BUSIEST day of the year for new online dating signups at 8:49pm/ET.
During this time, Match reports they plan to see a 42% spike in new singles coming to the site to meet someone. Dating Sunday falls within Match’s Peak Season, which is going on RIGHT NOW and spans from December 26th to February 14th, where they expect to see these enormous numbers:
- More than 50 million messages sent
- 5 million new photos being uploaded
- 1 million dates taking place
PlentyofFish Predict Dating Sunday to be on January 1st
Our friends over at PlentyOfFish tell us that their busiest day of the year will be a week earlier on Sunday, January 1st. POF expects signups expected to reach an extraordinary 110,546, a 48% increase above the average daily rate in 2016.
Yes indeed, everyone will be looking for love in 2017.
POF’s stats illustrate a changing dating landscape, with more singles than ever trying online dating for the first time. 2016 saw 18,176,325 first-time PlentyOfFish signups, and over half a billion conversations between members (600,325,016, to be exact).
Signups on PlentyOfFish will peak at 2pm PST on Sunday, January 1, 2017
Sunday, January 8th, will be the second busiest for PlentyOfFish, with an expected 103,910 signups
Projected PlentyOfFish signups for January 2017 are expected to exceed 2.5 million
So how do you jump on the digital love bandwagon?
Our Irresistible Profiles Coaching programs come in a variety of levels, from Going Steady, a profile critique to Totally in Love, with a brand new profile and 30 days of unlimited text/email support, to our VIP Digital Matchmaker plan for the most serious of singles, which includes a new profile and 10 private coaching sessions.
So get out of fear mode, stop ghosting, stop swiping without meeting IRL, and come to the digital party with all the tools you need for a happy and loving 2017.
Make it your New Year’s resolution to live your life with authenticity –Online, offline, and where ever you may swipe or roam.
If you need some help in getting started with your online dating profile, contact us and we’ll help you create that IRRESISTIBLE Profile to help you stand out among the millions of online daters.
Julie Spira is a dating coach and author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com and sign up for the FREE Weekly Flirt newsletter, where you’ll also be able to download for free the 7 Secrets to Finding Love Online.
Wishing you much love and joy in 2017.
Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and Instagram for Dating Advice
P.S. We are SO EXCITED to be a finalist for Best Dating Coach in the iDate Awards. Please vote for us to win at idateawards.com so we can come home with a trophy to be proud of.
What do you learn from joining 21 online dating sites? This in-depth study of a list of the top online dating profile words used by single daters in major cities in the U.S. was a huge project to take on.
In Business Insider, writer Dana Varinsky details the research from artist, composer, professor of digital media and now a well-versed online dater R. Luke Dubois to highlight the top dating profile words in ten cities. Varinsky downloaded 19 million dating profiles, so we know he didn’t go on a dating frenzy, but the results of his research are a digital eye-opener.
So if you’re planning on changing your zip code, check this article out.
Varinsky downloaded dating profiles and created graphs of the following cities:
- Los Angeles, CA – Lingerie, Booty, Spanking, Screenwriter
- Washington, DC – Paraguay, Estonia, Kashmiri, Political, Journalist, Socially
- Boston, MA – People, Drinks, Laugh, Sox
- New York, NY – Now, Taxi, Photography, Brunch, Hipsters, Urbane, DJ,
- Houston, TX – Rich
- San Francisco, CA – Bisexual, Homosexual, Lesbian, Queer, Robot, Digitized
- Detroit, MI – Automotive, Machine, GM, Graduating, Companionship, Dope
- Anchorage, AK – Outdoorsy, Nippy, Berries, Corsair
- Jackson, MS – Conservative, Cornbread, Baptist
- Chicago, IL – Companionate, Gravitated
According to Business Insider, Dubois used 10 computers and took three months to compile his data in a project called, “A More Perfect Union.” In essence, he created his own online dating version of singles based using keywords from profiles instead of the cities in the U.S. Census report.
While some of these might not surprise you, others might just make you want to change your zip code.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating and Mobile Dating Expert. She was an early adopter of Internet dating and has been coaching singles on finding love online for two decades. Julie’s the author of the bestseller The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online and creates Irresistible Profiles for singles on the dating scene.
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If you missed our live stream on The Tomorrow Show with Kevin Undergaro on AfterBuzz TV, we tackled the subject of how difficult it can be while dating, using mobile dating apps, and finding a meaningful relationship.
In this segment, we were joined by several single daters with stories that will have you ROTFL.
I chimed in on what the daters were doing wrong and critiqued some online and mobile dating profiles.
Without further digital ado, and before swiping left or swiping right on Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, or more, watch our segment below for lessons and laughter of #TinderTales.
The dating segment starts at 1:07 below.
Spoiler alert: The best story was saved for last.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating and Mobile Dating Expert. She was an early adopter of Internet dating and has been coaching singles on finding love online for over 2 decades. Julie’s Swiping Right program helps singles make the most of their Tinder profiles, regardless of their dating goals.
Match tells us things will be heating up this summer online, specifically on June 27th, the busiest day of the summer. They asked me to write a post for their blog with some tips to freshen up your online dating profile for summer.
As someone who’s been creating dating profiles for two decades, I can tell you that neglecting to refresh your profile and keeping it stagnant might result in an empty date card. Ouch. It’s summer and you should be having fun, right?
Since you switch your wardrobes for the summer season (out with the wool and in with the white), let’s do the same with a digital facelift for your online dating and mobile dating profile photos.
Men and women are visual creatures by nature, it’s just a fact of life! The first thing we see about anyone is their face, so profiles without even one photo will be passed over in a digital moment.
- What’s the number? Besides your main profile photo, you should have a handful of other pictures that depict you in different settings and showcase your personality. In my opinion, five is the magic number of photos to upload to your profile. Four to six is perfect. Anymore, post them on social media instead. Any less, and someone will wonder what you’re hiding.
- Grab a BFF and Have a Photo Party. Don’t like taking pictures of yourself or find it impossible to decide on the best pictures of you? One fun and easy way to snap more pictures of yourself is to grab a best friend and either a digital camera or high quality smartphone camera. Then, put on a your own fashion show by shopping in your closet and picking out 3-5 great outfits that make you feel your best!
- Use Social Media Photos. Another tip is to head over to your Facebook profile and grab your best, smiling/happy pictures to add to your dating profile. Make sure to caption the photos with the location and date the photo was taken so members will know they’re recent.
4. Wear red! For the ladies, you should ditch the little black dress so you don’t look like every other profile photo. Research from the University of Rochester has shown that photos of women wearing red get more views and more dates than any other color. Red is the color of love and passion, so it’s a no-brainer!
5. Ditch the selfies. We are dating in a selfie-crazed world, so it’s more than normal for your Instagram feed to be loaded with fun selfies. However, for your dating profile, selfies don’t always make you look your best or most social. Have someone you trust to hold your phone when you have the urge to take a selfie for dating profile purposes.
6. Look to the left. Studies have shown that when you look to your left, your best emotions will shine. However, if you’re looking to the right in your favorite photo, that’s no problem! Just use some photo editing software or a simple photo editing app to reverse the image to get a left side-facing photo.
7. Wear summery outfits. Find something fun, colorful, and summer-like to wear in your profile shots. A well-fitted t-shirt and jeans works well for the guys, whereas ladies do best in a flirty sundress. To speak more to the season, take down the snow skiing shots and replace them with photos that show summer-based activities, like water skiing or lounging by the pool. That said, try to avoid posting any sort of swimsuit picture — you don’t want to show too much too soon.
To read the full post with more tips, check Match.com’s blog here!
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam.
Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the CEO of Cyber-Dating Expert and as an early adopter of online dating, has been coaching singles on finding love online for over two decades. Julie ranks as the most influential person in “dating” and “online dating” in social media. Follow her @JulieSpira on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook and sign up for the free Weekly Flirt newsletter for dating advice.
As a radio show guest on “Hacked” with Charles Tendell, we spoke about how to create an Irresistible Online Dating Profile as well as signs of a “Catfish.”
Listen here or read full transcript below.
Charles Tendell: We’ve got a pretty good show coming up, we’re going to be talking to online dating expert Julie Spira about how you can do dating online better.
CT: Are you dating online? Are you sure you’re doing it right? Are you having trouble finding Mr. or Mrs. Right online, or are you finding weird people and you’re not really sure if the person behind the keyboard is who they say they are? Coming up here in a few minutes will be Julie Spira from CyberDatingExpert.com. Julie is an internationally best-selling author and the go-to person for online dating and mobile advice. She’s been seen in things like Glamour, ABC News, CBS, and Fox, and on and on. Even Wired, which is my favorite magazine, which leads me to our question of the day brought to you by, are you dating online and what are you most afraid of with dating online? Julie, are you on the show?
JS: I am, it’s good to be here.
CT: Thank you! So Julie, how did you end up as the dating expert?
JS: That’s a great question. Really, what happened was I an early adopter of the internet and a technology executive, so I turned out to be a very early adopter of online dating. This means I started way back in the dial-up days, so my entry to online dating actually happened over 20 years ago. And once I mastered the art of how to create an irresistible online dating profile, I started coaching other singles how to maneuver their way from dial-up to digital, and now to the mobile, dating world.
CT: I’m curious – and I know my wife is probably listening to this, so this isn’t for my personal advice – but I’ve got a friend who needs some online dating advice. So how do you go about finding the irresistible profile?
JS: Well, first of all, I don’t know your friend, but everybody’s looking for something different. There are some people that come to me for coaching looking for a serious long term relationship or marriage and children, and there are other people that are getting out there for the very first time and they just want to go on a lot of dates. So there’s not really a one size fits all dating formula or a one size fits all dating site. It really depends on what someone’s, or your friend’s, dating goals are.
CT: And again, it IS one of my friends. My wife is probably listening, so I’m not trying to be an online dater myself. I did have some interesting experiences back in the day when I was dating online. Some of the scarier things that you run into out there. I didn’t have any success, I met my wife at a business luncheon and that was the best way to do that. Back in my day when I was dating, online dating just seemed kinda scary to me.
JS: Well, when I wrote the book, The Perils of Cyber Dating, a lot of people thought it was going to be this scary, scary story. Most of the stories were actually funny, there were some that certainly were perilous where people did not represent themselves accurately, and we’re not talking about height and weight and age and things that people just tend to lie about online, but we’re talking about careers, martial status, and things of that sort.
CT: As an ethical hacker, I do see a lot of the online personas and people that wanna give the best version of themselves and sometimes it happens to be the version that only exists in their head.
JS: That’s true. And of course, we do hope for truth-in-advertising and it’s my goal to empower singles to be honest and tell the truth, because these days they’re going to check your Facebook page to see if you have friends in common and to see if your photos look recognizable, so that when you go on that date with that person, you’ll be sitting across from somebody that you recognize and there won’t be another frown on your face and a big disappointment.
CT: That’s what everybody’s hoping for. So let’s go back to your background. You started 20 years ago, you’ve got about 20 years in the online dating world. What’s been your craziest experience? What is it that you’ve learned over your years?
JS: Well first of all, I think you’ve really got to have a great sense of humor about it, and you need to go on every date thinking that you could possibly be making a new friend and even a business acquaintance, or if you’re lucky, maybe you could find someone you could fall in love with. So my recommendation is always to cast a very wide net and to laugh off the stories that are ridiculous. I have a story where a gentleman took me out to lunch and told me all about his colonoscopy from that week, including every inch of detail from the preparation and how many times he’d gone to the bathroom. There was nothing sexy or romantic about that lunch and, of course, there was never a second date.
CT: Wow, I’ve heard about people bringing a lot to the table and being honest and honest on the first date, but that sounds like a bad way to have a date.
CT: We’re talking to Julie Spira from CyberDatingExpert.com. Welcome back, Julie.
JS: Hi Charles.
CT: So we we’re talking about your scary moments and about this guy who was telling you about his colonoscopy at lunch.
JS: It’s something that was worth a laugh, but there were situations where I met a lot of really great people. People that I’m still friends with, people that I actually helped find their spouses, so it isn’t all perilous, but there was a married man who pretended to be single and was proposing marriage all across the country, just because it was good for his ego. And of course there was a wife involved and eventually he would disappear and show up in another city. I’m not saying this is the norm, I’m saying that if it does happen, please don’t let it jade you completely and dissuade you from giving online dating a chance because, at this point, we’ve got 20% of people who are in marriages or committed relationships, according to the most recent PEW internet research study, who have met their significant other or spouses online.
CT: As an ethical hacker, I’ve been in cybersecurity and computers for about 20 years now, and one thing people always ask me is how do you know who’s on the other side of the keyboard and should I be worried that that person is really presenting themselves in the best light?
JS: Those are good questions and a lot of people are watching the TV show ‘Catfish’ and they’re so afraid they’re going to be ‘catfished’ by somebody. The point to dating online is to get to meet someone to see if you have enough in common to take the relationship from online to on the phone, and if you feel good on the phone, then set a date up on the calendar to meet in person. But if somebody is hesitant to meet you in person and they only want to be a digital pen pal and they keep promising you everything you can imagine, that they’ve never felt this way about anyone before and this is it and they love you, but they won’t meet with you, there’s usually a reason why. Never open your wallet to anyone asking for money, even if they say I love you in a text message, and if somebody’s from out of town, schedule a Skype or a FaceTime date. It’s time to actually go live and have that fun and flirty Skype or FaceTime date to make sure the person you’re talking to is exactly who they say they are.
CT: That’s perfect. Everybody assumes that when they go to their favorite online dating website and put up their profile and talk to these people that they go very quickly from being an electronic pen pal and emailing back and forth to “I’m in love with this person.” To me, that seems pretty risky.
JS: It is, but I see it happening a lot. It happens if somebody has just suffered from a heartbreak, break up of a relationship, the death or loss of a spouse, or a divorce, where people become more vulnerable. The need to love and be loved is so huge that if somebody mirrors everything that you say you’re looking for, you feel like “oh my, this person really gets me. They’re exactly what I’m looking for,” when, in fact, they’re just mirroring your profile. So, it’s great to feel flattered, but be very wary if somebody says “I love you” in a text message if they’ve never met you.
CT: That would terrify me, and I know I haven’t been in the online dating scene in a long time. I was – and I don’t even know how to say it, if involved is the right statement or not – involved, as a hacker, in the huge Ashley Madison breach. I don’t even know if you can call that online dating site, per se…
JS: It’s an adulterous website, so it’s a site for cheaters.
CT: Yeah, I don’t really think it falls into the same category, but there not the only ones. PlentyOfFish has been out there and I deal a lot in cyber breaches. I deal a lot in people’s personal data getting exposed and all of that other information, so what do you say to the people who might have been caught in one of those breaches? If their favorite dating site actually got hit and their personal profile or data got leaked onto the internet?
JS: Well first of all, as you know since you’re an expert in this, you know better than I do that the ordinary, everyday person can’t access that information. It’s very sophisticated data in the data dump. But the people from Ashley Madison, there were a lot of people whose names and emails were on that list and women went on and were putting their husband’s emails or their neighbors emails, and just because someone’s email is on the list doesn’t mean that they’ve actually used the site and that they’ve actually taken their clothes off. Tony Blair’s email was on the Ashley Madison hack and it’s likely that he was the one who entered it and they weren’t double opted in, which means that just because they put in the email and maybe they were curious because of the advertisements doesn’t necessarily mean that they were communicating with anyone and actually went out with them and cheated on their spouse.
CT: That makes sense. It’s assumable that not everyone that was in the breach or had that kind of access were actually in that list. Now that makes sense. It would be funny to have people like Barack Obama on Ashley Madison, but it’s a good way of thinking that it might not actually be there. As far as the dating websites, what are some do’s and don’ts for a dating website?
JS: First of all I would say authenticity is everything, so please post recent photos. With my dating coaching clients, we go on photo shoots, and I always feel that women should wear red or maybe something bright pink because guys are scanning through all of these thumbnails and their biggest complaint to me is that everyone’s profile looks the same. I’m a big fan of wearing red because red is the color of love, it’s the color of passion, it’s also the color of the stop sign and there have been research studies from the University of Rochester that shows men actually respond quickly and more often to women wearing red in their profiles. So ladies, dump and ditch that little black dress.
CT: My wife gets on me because I like to do all of my business logos in red on my business cards and everything else, and she says “You always go for red” and it’s because I respond to red.
JS: It’s a power color. And guys, don’t wear a white t-shirt or black t-shirt. Guys look great in blue. I feel like what you’re wearing can really make you stand out whether you’re on a mobile dating app and people are swiping or whether you’re on a dating site. Now, the difference between the sites and the apps, most of the apps use your first name but the sites allow you to come up with a catchy screen name. So if you’re on Match.com or you’re on PlentyOfFish or OKCupid, come up with a fun and flirty screen name that looks unique, that makes you different from everyone else. Julie12345 is sorta boring, so my screen name was “pianobaby” because I play the piano and I have a baby grand. So people ask me questions. Why is your name pianobaby? Do you play in an orchestra? What’s your favorite song? If you happen to love tennis, or hiking, or skiing, make sure you put that somewhere in your profile title because it really allows you to start to engage with someone else.
CT: That’s a good conversation starter there. So you mentioned people use apps to swipe through and the pictures and women wearing the red dress, but I’ve always heard when you see someone who’s got a professional picture on one of these sits, you should be a little worried.
JS: If that’s the only picture, because a dating site is not the same as a LinkedIn profile. It’s a business look and it’s okay to have a business shot in your profile as long as you also have casual shots. You definitely must have a full length body shot whether you’re a man or a woman, and it really has nothing to do with what you weight, it’s more about what are you you’re hiding by not showing a full length body shot. So take an activity shot, as I mentioned before, skiing or something fun, or out in your garden or playing golf. If those are your passions, show your potential date what you’re doing on the weekends and what you could be doing with them, should you decide to go on a date together.
CT: That makes sense, it’s like a big billboard. You brought up LinkedIn, so LinkedIn is out there to get people attracted to your professional characteristics. Should people kinda sorta with a social twist to it, be taking a professional-ish approach to their dating profile?
JS: I think you do need to take a professional approach to it, as far as the approach. You need to be fun and flirty and casual within the body of your content and your photos, but if you don’t take online dating seriously then you might not be able to meet somebody really special who’s out there looking for you. With coaching clients, this is what I say. They say “It’s so much work, Julie. Do I really have to do all that work?” I say if you were out of work and out of a job and you went on three bad interviews and you didn’t get the job and it wasn’t a fit, would you stop looking for a job? No, you would keep looking until you got it right and you found the perfect match, and that’s how I feel about online dating. If you have that irresistible online dating profile, and you’re logging on at morning and you’re logging on at night, respond to people promptly like you would if somebody wanted to set up on a job interview for your dream job. You need to make the effort and if it feels like a job, the results could be a lot greater than with your job that might last a year or two. You might find someone to spend the rest of your life with.
CT: That’s a different angle. A professional job interview, the worst case that’s going to happen is no, you didn’t get the job. Isn’t it, the worst case scenario, just look at Craigslist and all of these other places where people meet people and they go and put out all this energy and do all of these other wonderful things, meeting people online and this person could potentially be in your life for much longer than one conversation or one date, couldn’t they?
JS: That’s what we hope. I always say to people the squeaky wheel gets the digital love deal. And when you look at some of the mobile apps like Bumble, which is a new mobile app, they require once you’re matched the women to message within 24 hours or that match disappears forever. Now they’ve just added the feature where men don’t have an open-ended time to respond. They’ve got to respond to the woman’s message within 24 hours. What that does is it really forces you to take a look at the profile and see if you think there’s enough in common to start that conversation and meet offline.
CT: That also makes sense. That one sounds pretty cool. We’re about to go break, but the dating app where matches disappear sounds like a way to vet people who are on the up and up, but what about the ones who do respond?
JS: Well the responses really need to come from both parties and one of the complaints I hear is “I swiped right, wrote back, and never heard anything back” and that’s just because online dating and mobile dating are numbers games. There are 40-50 million people dating online, it IS a numbers game and you need to play to win. At the end of the day, don’t get discouraged if one out of ten people respond to you. You would rather have someone that has things in common with you to you can build a relationship with.
CT: Today we are talking to Julie Spira, the Cyber Dating Expert, and we’re getting into that area where everyone seems a little paranoid but everyone’s got an idea about how they should be doing online dating. Julie, before the break we were talking about different apps and different ways and people filling their profile and they should take a professional kind of approach to their profile. Is there an extent to the level of professional that should be there?
JS: Well it’s interesting because that PEW study I was telling you about says 22% of people actually hire someone to actually write their profiles for them because they don’t know how to describe themselves online. Here are some of my tips for people out there if you’re trying to do this on your own. If you’re working on a traditional online dating profile, keep the word count to about 100 to 125 words, avoid really lengthy profiles because no one’s going to read past the first couple sentences and there should be enough in there to keep them intrigued to read more. I also suggest asking a question in your profile. Talk about what your life would be like together in a positive, upbeat style and then ask a question such as “What about you?” or “Where’s your favorite travel destination?” “What’s on your bucket list?” because if somebody sees a question, they basically think “oh I must answer that question” and they give somebody an icebreaker on how to contact you when they really are at a loss for words.
CT: I just got a text message from a listener and the question is, should people spread their profiles around, like LinkedIn is just one place, but some people are on LinkedIn and Klout, but should people go on PlentyOfFish and all these other dating sites? Should they be on multiple ones?
JS: The answer is yes. The average person is on 2 to 3, and even 4 dating sites and apps. For traditional dating sites such as Match, PlentyOfFish, or OKCupid, make sure you download the mobile apps so you have the push notifications coming in case you do hear from that person you’re interested in, so you can put a date on the calendar. You never know which site you’re going to meet someone on, and if you see someone and you recognize them from another site, don’t call them out on it and say “hey I’ve seen you on two other sites” well, he knows it, you know it, she knows it. There’s no reason to bring it up. But you don’t know which site you’re actually going to enjoy using because the interfaces are so very different. So join multiple sites and eventually you’ll hone it down to one or two that you are the most comfortable with.
CT: So it’s all about your personal preference and results that you’re getting. I’ve got another question through text message, what is the kind of information that you should be sharing or asking in that first contact email?
JS: In the first email, remember, you’re just striking up a conversation to see if you would even like to get on the phone. If you have great phone chemistry, then schedule a date. So please don’t make it feel like it’s an interrogation, a deposition, or a job interview, because that’s how people feel. The phone will ring or a text will come in, “Where are you from and what do you do? What kind of car do you drive?” We may want to know what car you drive, but we’ll see it eventually when you show up at the restaurant and drive up in your car. So don’t ask questions related to where someone lives and what kind of money they make. We can figure out the lifestyle based upon the hobbies and activities that you do. Keep it light and friendly, and have a list of questions in case you get stumped.
My default place has always been, “who’s the most important relative in your life and why?” “What’s the favorite travel spot you’ve ever been to and would you go back?” – similar questions like that to just keep it light and easy and breezy because the first date is like a pre-date. At the end of the first date, you have to decide if you want to put a second date on the calendar. And don’t wait, don’t play games – get out the calendar and schedule that second date.
CT: So what about personal information in that first message? Do you want to keep it surface level? I would assume you wouldn’t tell them the story of your life in the first message.
JS: No, nobody wants to hear about the drama. So make sure in the communication you’re not talking about the person who broke your heart or the person who stopped paying spousal support payments and how much it costs you to send your kids to college, because the person’s just going to think that you’re just looking for financial security. And whether you are or you’re not, you don’t want to put that out as your initial contact. I would keep it really light and ask “how was your day?” I would never say “how long have you been on this site?” and stop comparing bad date stories! People do that on first dates and they communicate on how bad the app is and how bad their dating stories are. Nobody wants to hear anything negative. If you have a funny story, you can share it, but the point is to get to know the other person and whether you’d actually like to go on a date with them.
CT: We’re talking to Julie Spira the Cyber Dating Expert. Now Julie, that first email where you say don’t share old stories or history or lead people to believe you’re just kind of looking for a paycheck, and you don’t want to give out too much information, but as far as private information, address, phone number, things like that, when should someone give that out?
JS: Well it certainly shouldn’t be before a first date because you should always meet in a public place and subscribe to the buddy system. Have a friend that knows who you’re going on a date with, what their screen name is, whatever particular website or mobile app you met them on, and if you’ve been texting them you can even let them know their phone number, just for safety purposes. And meet them in a public place because if the date goes south for any reason, you certainly don’t want them showing up at work or your doorstep at home.
CT: Should you protect your personal information? Like, me being who I am and you being who you are, people can google us and find out information about us…
JS: And they do. Here’s the thing – everyone is going to google their date, some people are going to take it a step further and do a background search, but that’s typically after going on a couple of dates, not a first date. But they will check LinkedIn and Facebook to see if you have friends in common and they might ask some mutual friends – “Can you tell me your thoughts on Charles?” or “What do you think about Julie?” That’s just the way people are with dating these days because there’s so much information out there, we can’t help ourselves. My rule of thumb is, you can google and you can look, don’t get obsessed about it, but don’t bring it up on the date and say “Oh I googled you and saw that you were in a hot air balloon one day.” You don’t want someone to know that someone has googled 10 pages of entries about you.
CT: That’s scary. I can imagine sitting across the table from someone…
JS: You would feel like they’re a stalker. We want to feel safe when we’re on a date, and both men and women need to feel safe. People are more ultra-sensitive about the safety issue so it’s really up to the other person to help you feel safe. That means exposing exactly who they are and not prying too much information about your personal data. Nobody needs to know about why your marriage ended. Later on, if your relationship moves forward, of course you’re going to share things that didn’t work in your marriage if you want to have a happier marriage next time around.
CT: That’s all solid advice. I’ve seen horror stories on Craigslist and all these other places, and in my professional opinion, what most people come to me about is the “I met so and so online, we exchanged a bunch of information, and then they turned kind of crazy and they’ve got my Skype name, my email address, my phone number, what do I do?” So you’re saying after the second, maybe the third date is when you’d give them the additional information?
JS: You also want to protect your children if you’re a parent, you don’t want to exploit them in your dating profiles and it’s best to say something like “I’m a proud parent, I have two teenage kids aged 12 and 14” and leave it at that. This way they’ll know that you have a schedule that does include parenting.
CT: I’ve seen things where people have gone out and they’ve gotten a throwaway phone or they’ve gotten a google voice number or some other alternate form of communication they can control and turn off or on with this particular individual so they feel more secure, and to me, that’s always been a good way to go.
CT: Coming back, we’re talking to Julie Spira, the Cyber Dating Expert, about things you should do online to protect yourself and how to do online dating right.
JS: We want you to do it right, that’s absolutely true.
CT: I’ve gotten messages from all over the place of people asking different questions and it usually comes back to personal information. What is it that I’ve got? How can I protect myself and stay safe and still accomplish my goal of meeting Mr. or Mrs. Right?
JS: Safety is really huge. We talked earlier about meeting in a public place, letting a friend know where you’re going, who you’re going with, don’t accept late night calls or go back to someone’s house. I also recommend you talk through google voice. I always recommend having a google voice phone number just for dating, just for the early days. And your google voice phone number can be forwarded to your cell phone. This way, if somebody does bother you, you can easily block them. You can block people’s phone numbers anyway through your iphone or wireless carrier.
Also, come up with an email address just for dating that’s different from your work address so that no one ever has access to your dating account. You can get free email accounts with gmail, aol, and there are a lot of ways to get free email accounts. If somebody bothers you, or if you feel uncomfortable for any reason when you’re on a date, just walk out. You owe that person nothing. And if somebody is harassing you online, the dating sites take this very, very seriously. Report that profile and let them know that somebody is acting inappropriately, whether they’ve acted inappropriately sexually or asked for money, report those profiles to the dating site. They want to know.
CT: That’s interesting because in my world, people use anonymity behind a lot of different things. So what they typically do on websites where it allows you to create a username, they create also a fake email, a google voice number, they put all of that stuff together, so even if you report it do these websites have a way to catch these people?
JS: They will block the profile. And if there’s anything that looks more serious, then obviously that will be bumped up to the proper security people with the dating sites. They have certain software in place that can address certain IP addresses for different countries that might look like it might be a scamming type of email. Again, if you’re on a dating site and somebody asks you to move offline to an email address and not communicate right away on the dating site, that’s a red flag as well. You should always communicate on the dating website in a protected environment until you feel comfortable going offline and meeting that person.
CT: Wow. You said, before we went to the break, that you should let your friends know where you’re going and that you’re meeting up with this person and give them that profile information. What about if you have a friend at where you’re meeting this person? Should your friend be there? Maybe it’s a Friday night, they’re going out anyway. Should you have a friend there to keep an eye on you?
JS: Well, I believe in honesty. If you are scheduling a friend to be there or you know a friend will be there, I think you need to let your date know “by the way, I have a girlfriend that happened to make plans to be at the same place tonight, she may come over and say hello.” But if somebody feels that they’re being spied on, you’ll make them feel uncomfortable on the first date and you might not make it to the second date.
CT: Yeah, I see how that could be a little creepy and it’s one of those things where you wanna trust someone but you wanna verify, but it’s kinda six in one hand, half dozen in the other. You’ve got this person that you met, if you feel obligated to bring somebody else to meet them, isn’t that a red flag? Just say “yeah I’ve had a bad experience.”
JS: Some people like going on group dates and there are apps specifically for that, for double dating a Grouper. When Hilary Duff went on Tinder, her first Tinder date she brought a handful of her girlfriends. So some people like going on group dates, usually it’s the younger singles that like going on group dates, in their twenties. But say “by the way, I’m a very cautious dater. I can’t want to meet you, but I’d like to bring a couple friends and can we just hang out instead?” Then you run the risk of not really developing a relationship, but just hanging out. One of the questions a lot of people ask me is “Julie, I’m not really sure about my relationship status, am I dating this guy or are we hanging out?” You need to be clear about what your relationship goals are pretty early on. So if you feel comfortable bringing a posse of friends, you should tell the person about it before you show up on the date and see what kind of reaction they will get.
CT: What about dating apps like Tinder? What’s your opinion on those?
JS: I think that any kind of dating app that allows you to meet more people more quickly and the opportunity to determine what you’re looking for is a good thing. The problem that we have with Tinder and a lot of the other dating apps is that there are a lot of people who are afraid it’s just a hookup app and that people are looking for casual relationships or casual sex. There will always be people looking for casual relationships or casual sex, and that goes back to the early days of Craigslist. And there will always be people looking for a serious relationship and wanting something more – a committed relationship or marriage. So I think you need to be very specific in your profile – if you’re looking for something casual or a hookup, say so. If you’re looking for something more serious, say “Swipe left if you’re looking to hook up.” But be very specific on what your dating goals are and don’t select someone based upon their photos only. Read those profiles. Because one day I saw someone who really liked someone’s profile by the photos and they swiped right and it turned out he was married, and right in the profile it said “polygamous relationship.” If someone had read that, they would not have swiped right unless that was something they were looking for. So read their bios, and let’s hope for truth in advertising.
CT: It looks like we’ve got a caller on the line – Lucas from North Carolina.
Lucas: Julie, I was wondering, when a woman is browsing through profiles and they all seem the same, are there any key words or phrases that pop out and catch a woman’s attention and say “oh wow this guy is different and unique?”
JS: First of all, you should always use key words of things you like to do and that you’re passionate about. A lot of women like to search for profiles of men who say they’re looking for long term or a committed relationship, or say that they’re financially stable. Those are key words that women look for, but at the end of the day, she’s going to see your picture first and you need to look very happy and very approachable and put in things that really make you tick so it can really resonate with exactly what she’s looking for.
CT: Thanks for calling in. Julie, you brought up a good point, you do SEO for your websites and you do SEO for everything else, but you wanna actually load key words into your profile?
JS: Yes, you do. And you don’t want to load them artificially into your profile because grammar and punctuation are really important. Women do not like to look at a little “i” with a dot when it’s supposed to be a capital I. You need to be very clean and clear and have great punctuation, but there are certain key words that will pop out. If a woman loves yoga and he really loves yoga, guys will go for a woman who has it in her catchy screen name or in her bio because they can visualize that she takes very good care of her body. And they like yoga as well, so maybe they could potentially go on a yoga date. If skiing is important to you, I have some clients that will only date other skiers. Put that in your profile because people may be searching for skiers within a certain distance from where they live and if you have that in there, you’re going to show up in a search.
CT: We’ve covered what to put in your profile, what not to put in your profile, how to kind of protect your privacy online, use the buddy system – is there any kind of silver bullet? Say you have a bad date, what’s the most effective way, other than reporting this person, to end it? How do you get out of it? How do you tell that person on the other side “yeah this isn’t working out?”
JS: If you’re on a date with somebody and you don’t feel that there’s any chemistry please have good manners. I’ve seen too many people walk out on dates, spill wine in someone’s face that they didn’t look like their photos – they know they don’t look like their photos – cut the date short. Say “I really enjoyed meeting you, but I don’t think we have enough in common to take this any further and to get more serious, and I wish you the best of luck with your search.” Just be kind and pleasant about it because they might have a friend they can introduce you to. Why should you leave on a bad note?
CT: Well Julie, I appreciate it and I loved having you on the show. Any other tips?
JS: My best advice to you is to try online dating and even if you don’t have success right away, keep on dating. The more dates you go on, the better dater you become.
Wishing you much love and joy in cyberspace, or wherever you may roam .xo
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