July 25, 2011

Online dating - hers

"I recently got onto an online dating site. I saw a profile that seemed promising and it looks like he and I have a lot in common. I did not give any personal information at all. All we know about each other at this point is that we live about 45 minutes apart from each other. I sent a smile and a message and I hope that by doing that I am not coming on too strong or seeming creepy. What should I do to let him know I am interested but not desperate?"

This question represents many women’s dilemma. On one hand many women today feel comfortable taking initiative and approaching guys. On the other hand most women still want and feel a need to be pursued and courted into a relationship. So how does this work when it comes to online dating, where dating opportunities are offered to men and women in exactly the same way? 

My advice:

On-line dating is not like real life dating. In real life you meet someone and smile at him, and he can smile back and ask how you are, and you can develop a conversation, and he can then offer to meet with you again (take you out on a date). Everything happens spontaneously. You see body language, you exchange real words. You get to really feel if there is chemistry, interest, and potential.

Another important aspect of real life dating is that spontaneous interaction between guys and gals, happens the way it happens in nature, or in other words – in the most constructive way, that yields results. In nature a male and a female who like each other, who are attracted to each other, seek each other’s company. The male responds to a female who shows interest, and courts her. She in turn responds to his courtship moves, and encourages further interaction. As long as the principle of male-female energy is kept, there is a great chance for a natural sequence of events to follow where the guy courts the woman and she responds, then they start dating in order to get to know each other and build a relationship. For men and women, looking for a mate, the most effective way is to meet in real life, in spontaneous situations. But this is advice for another question -- where to meet (you can forward your dating question through my web site).

Modern life has somehow disrupted this fine balance between the genders, and brought upon a stalemate, where neither the woman nor the man know what they are expected to do. This is best expressed in communication through the Internet, on online dating web sites. Even if both profiles have photos, the sense of chemistry cannot be achieved until you meet face to face. People think they like each other, while all they like is who and what they think the other person is! So my advice to my clients is to always meet their match as soon as possible (obviously while keeping all the safe date rules).

Now you're asking if it's OK for the girl to initiate contact with the guy. And my answer is YES, but bearing in mind these guiding tips:

  • Sending a smile is good. It is equivalent to meeting a guy in real life, say at a party, and smiling at him. Would that feel desperate for you? Probably not. A smile is a wonderful way for a woman to signal to a guy that she is interested, and invite him to pursue. Or sometimes even only reviewing his profile is enough, since he gets to see who looks at his profile, and many guys will use it as an excuse to email you and say: “I saw you looked at my profile; I think we have some things in common, let’s chat”. So when you send a flirt/smile or check someone’s profile, it's an invite to pursue. This is important, because guys feel successful when they initiate a conversation and you respond positively. Success builds confidence. And women love a confident man. So you see, this strategy (which is really just the way males and females  interact in nature) works perfectly for both sexes.
  • Now if you send a message to the guy, it interferes with this process. In real life this would be like you actually going to the guy and starting the conversation. Would that feel comfortable for you to do? While some women could do it, you need to look at the end results – does it work? Taking the man’s role and leading the interaction will render him passive. Most often guys approached by women will wait for the woman to also initiate the date. This can work when a woman is inclined to be more aggressive, and the man more passive, but not when a woman actually enjoys being courted and pursued and/or wants to meet a man who takes initiative and action. Would you like a passive man in your life? If you do go ahead and write to the guy. But if you don’t, flirt with him to invite him to pursue you.  
  • If you send a message to the guy, how will you know he is interested in you, since you prevented him from expressing his interest in you as well as  his masculine side (important for both of you!)? And how will you know he has confidence, and personal authority (which most women are looking for in a mate)? Women need to know they are desired by their man, and men need to know they are perceived as men.
  • You have sent him a smile and a message so you already let him know you are interested. If he hasn't replied, you can't do anything anymore. Just accept it. There are many reasons why someone will not respond, from simple impoliteness not relating to your message at all (when there’s no interest), to not being able to reply (when he’s not a member – there are more non-paying members on any online dating service than paying members), to not liking your message (but again, a polite reply should be sent back in any case).  
  • The fact that he lives 45 min from you is a good reason to meet at least for the first time and check if there is chemistry, and it IS a good and practical consideration, but for this to happen, the guy needs to respond and offer to meet; it's not your job! Ideally, you smile to invite him, he sends you a message, you start talking, and then he initiates the date. If you smiled/flirted AND sent a message, you must stop there, and if he replies, you should let him initiate the date.

Unfortunately at this point you have exhausted your options, so just forget about him and check other profiles.  There are lots of profiles out there, and while you are a novice and are hoping to connect with someone just based on each other's profiles, most people on dating sites have lost that freshness and authenticity, and are busy looking for someone so special (that doesn't exist). They have now made the search itself their immediate task, and have become very superficial and nonchalant in their approach to dating online, getting further and further away from genuinely connecting with someone. 

Remember, sending a flirt is enough. Leave him space to pursue, or else you come across as too aggressive. Guys look for feminine qualities in women, which means they look for the smile, but not for a concrete move. Guys want to be the pursuers, they want to show you their masculine traits, so you will desire them, and if you make the first move on their behalf you leave them no choice but to remain passive (although some guys will respond simply because they may be flattered that you have initiated, or they don’t mind getting out on dates if there's no work for them). 

One last remark: make sure your profile represents you in the best way possible, as this is where you leave your First Impression. Many people don't get replies simply because their profiles do not attract the opposite gender. This can be corrected!

Copyright 2011 The Single Option. All Rights Reserved

July 24, 2011

She likes me but doesn't want a boyfriend

So I've been after this girl who is like the sweetest girl ever but I'm kind of shy and I don't know how to make a move. She is also shy so I don't want to do anything that will make her feel uncomfortable. We have been to a couple movies together but just with a group of friends. I felt like I was stuck so I asked one of her close friends to find out if she liked me and what her thoughts were. I found out that she does really like me :) but does not want a boyfriend because she’s too young. I would be willing to wait but I do want us to be sort of dating or at least something more than normal friends... How do I play this one out??

My advice:

If the information you received is accurate, this girl needs to be respected for her decision to postpone dating until she's a little older. However the main reason why people abstain from dating is fear. People fear getting hurt emotionally; they fear the unknown (especially when they're young and inexperienced); they fear being stigmatized;  they fear commitment; they fear intimacy; they fear losing independence; and there are other fears that could make a person suspend dating.

It doesn't make sense to wait for her, since you hardly know her. It makes more sense to talk to her directly and ask her out. You want to hear the answer from her; you don't want to rely on what her girlfriend said.

Most younger guys today are shy or, shall we be more accurate, insecure. This insecurity expressed in shyness results from the strong position young women take today: they're independent, knowledgeable, confident, and they take initiative! Plus, when they're very young, like your friend -- they don't need guys (in the way guys need girls) so they're happy with the company of their girlfriends.

I'd like you to stop thinking that you might be making her (or any other girl) uncomfortable if you approach her and reveal your intentions to her. It may only be uncomfortable for her if she’s not ready for it, or not interested in you. Most young (and not so young) men use this argument as an excuse to avoid approaching a woman because they fear rejection. But rejection is part of life. We try new things and sometimes they don't work well the first time around. But if we really want something we will be motivated to try one more time and one more time, and at the end we will succeed. Most guys are afraid of rejection, but most guys also take the risk here and there, because there is no other way to get what you want if you don't ask for it.

Moreover, women (and girls) consider guys who take a risk – attractive, so just by approaching her, expressing your romantic interest in her, and asking her out, you show some of the qualities that she is looking for in a romantic partner. Women really like when they are pursued romantically UNLESS they are not interested in you. Many women will say they don't want a boyfriend right now, or they are just out of a relationship and taking a break or they may be back with their ex-boyfriend, or they just want to be friends for now, or even that they are too busy... But know this: when a woman is interested – given time (and some courtship) she will reciprocate.

If you want to know whether there is a chance to have some kind of relationship that is more than friendship, you will have to find out directly from her. First ask her out. You can say something like: "how about you and I meet sometime without the group?" and watch her reaction. If she seems hesitating, say: "I'd really like to get to know you better". If she says she is too young for dating, ask her if you could be friends for now. Women need time because with time they have a chance to get to know you, and when they get to know you they start building trust in you, and when they have trust in you they will let you get closer to them, both emotionally and physically. But you must show your romantic interest right from the start!

The only time it's OK to be friends first when you like someone is when you have first expressed your romantic interest in them. And even then, as you are getting closer as friends, the onus is on you to, every now and then, remind her, in various ways, of your romantic intentions. If you stop doing that, it will be much harder for you to later turn the relationship from only friends into lovers.  Thinking, like many guys do, that becoming her friend will eventually somehow lead to her falling into your arms and passionately revealing she had always wanted to be with someone like you -- is detached from reality. Nothing will happen if YOU don't lead to it. 

You don't need to declare your romantic intentions (this seldom works) but there are fine ways to let her know, through body gestures, flirting, and using certain words in your conversation. When you do that, you can also see how she responds and you can then better evaluate your prospects for success.

Copyright 2011 The Single Option. All Rights Reserved

July 15, 2011

Friends or Lovers? Part 2

To better understand this question please read Part 1 first.

A few days later I was contacted again and here is what I was asked:

“Are you saying that if she doesn't share my feelings I should stop talking to her? I don't know if I can do that, because first and foremost, she is my best friend. I don't know if I can just walk away from her.” 

My advice:
It all depends on you. If you are able (REALLY) to forget about your romantic aspirations, and see her just as a friend, without secretly hoping that she will change her mind one day, then of course you can be friends with her. But for most people when they truly decide to emotionally detach from someone with whom things don't work -- often distancing themselves for a while from that person is a good strategy.

I am worried that you will not move on with your life, just sticking around the girl in case it ends between her and the boyfriend. If you however started seeing another girl and your “best friend” is with her boyfriend, then I know it would be easier for you to keep your friendship going. But you would realize then that your emotional attachment shifts to your new romantic subject, and you may not desire to keep in close touch with your friend as you do now. Right now you have become so attached to your friend that it seems like a horrible idea to you to take a break from her, as if she was your lover.

To have a healthy "best friends" relationship with your friend here is what I advise:

A. Understand she is not yours, and will never be, and therefore have no expectations whatsoever that something will happen between the two of you some day. This understanding is really crucial to implement B. With this understanding you may at first feel hurt, angry, and sad. But you will get over these feelings as they are normal stages in healing. You can't be in a healthy relationship with her as friends, until you internalize that romantically you lost her, and accept it.

B. Start seeing other girls. Look for another romantic interest AFTER you went through the stages described above. And when you feel better, and motivated, look around, and see which girl attracts you. Look for someone available, not someone who is in a relationship. Exclude immediately those in a relationship, or emotionally unavailable for any reason. You can find out when a person is available emotionally when they reciprocate with you. In all your relationships you want to have reciprocation.

Also, you need to acknowledge the nature of her behaviour. Her actions seem to be manipulative. She knows you're interested in her but she still lets you develop expectations despite the fact she has a boyfriend. This is absolutely wrong on her side. Why would you want to be friends with someone so manipulative? As I mentioned in my previous reply -- she could also be just very confused, and confusing you too in the process, in which case friendship with her is not a great idea. Always seek as friends people with positive basic qualities.

One last thing, there’s no good alternative for a direct, honest conversation. If you consider yourselves best friends, you would surely be able to have an open and sincere conversation. You need to talk to her and clear things out between the two of you. She should tell you very clearly that she has no romantic interest in you. You need to hear it from her, clearly said. Then truly accept it, with all the grief it will cause you. Only then can you be real best friends.

You will be making a grave mistake if you don't make an effort to see where you really are. I want to see you moving forward, not stuck in the rut. 

Copyright 2011 The Single Option. All Rights Reserved

July 11, 2011

Friends or Lovers? Part 1

I hear this all the time. He finds her attractive but she only wants to be friends. What to do.

Here is a question a man asked me, that reflects this dilemma.

"For a long time I have been quite taken with this girl. We've known each other for almost four years and are pretty much best friends. We did try dating once briefly but she thought it felt weird and broke it off. We stayed close, and then things started getting confusing. She had a surgery that she was kinda freaked about. For emotional support I decided to go with her, and she seemed very touched by this and after the surgery we started holding hands.

Things were pretty normal for a while after that, and we were just friends again. Then, a couple months later, we went to a concert out of town, and my brother joined us, and that's when things got really confusing. Remember the hand holding? Well during our road trip there was a lot of that. We also would cuddle and hold each other. We slept in the same bed cuddling as we did so. When we met my grandma and my aunt at a restaurant before the concert, we held hands under the table so they wouldn't see. She would sometimes caress my arm or rest her head on my shoulder. The crazy part is she has a boyfriend and it seems their relationship is getting serious since they're moving in together. But while we were together she rarely mentioned him and I'm sure had he been around, we wouldn't have gotten so lovey-dovey with each other. When people ask, she insists that we are just friends, but the signals I'm getting from her tell a different story and I don't know what to think anymore. How would you interpret these signals? Are they "just friends" signals? Am I only seeing what I want to see here? ".

My advice:

No, of course these signals are not "just friends" signals, and you are very right to be confused. So it is high time for some clarity.

The fact that you had to hide holding hands from your family clearly shows that something is wrong here. If it was right, you would be doing it in the open. You are hiding something. Or rather she is hiding something, or someone – you! It seems like she wants to keep both of you: you as the eternal loving buddy (with best friends there are hardly any conflicts), and the boyfriend, who obviously for her has some advantage over you, but perhaps does not have some of the qualities she likes in you. I'm also sure that she wouldn't want her boyfriend to see her holding hands with you! Which means she knows this is not right.

You are emotionally involved with a woman who in the worst case scenario is playing with you, or in the best case scenario is simply very confused and unrealistic about her relationships with men.You may be in love with a girl who ignores your feelings -- to get what she wants. And if she doesn't do it intentionally, she is just too confused to be a good partner.

Best is if you talk to her, put the cards on the table, and assertively but calmly explain to her that you did some thinking about the whole situation, and that you know for sure that a man and a woman do not hold hands and sleep in the same bed "as friends". You need to make it clear to her, by saying it, that you are interested in her romantically, and if she is not equally interested in you, then you'd rather stop pretending you have a romantic thing going on. Ask her directly if she has romantic feelings for you. If she says "yes" she then needs to choose between you and the bf. If she says "no", then it's the official signal to move away from this awkward "relationship", and start moving forward, and in another direction, and mostly to start investing in YOU. There are many girls out there who will appreciate the kind of devotion you can offer a woman. There is no reason for you to feel happy with leftovers.

I'd like to see you shifting your romantic interest to someone who is available for you emotionally, someone who wants to be with you, who considers you the man in her life. You hoping that things will turn around did not yield any results so far. So your best strategy is to stay away from this girl, regain clarity, and look elsewhere for romantic love.

Copyright 2011 The Single Option. All Rights Reserved