How to Write a Great Dating Profile

Here are three tips for writing a stellar dating profile:

Step 1: Be Specific

Great profiles include details that appeal to the five senses and connect to matches emotionally.

Step 2: Be Positive

Everyone has strengths and weaknesses. Your dating profile is the first impression that the future love-of-your-life will see. Highlight the things that make you sweet, kind, and adorable, and let those pesky flaw reveal themselves around date five or six (after you've accrued some positive feelings). 

Step 3: Be Unique

No one sets out to meet someone average or ordinary, they set out to meet someone special. Your job is to highlight what makes you a great catch. 

Here are examples of the three tips in action:

Step 1: Be Specific

DELETE: I like to cook. 

REPLACE WITH: Whipping up blueberry pancakes and cheesy omelets with fresh squeezed orange juice is the best way to start a Sunday morning.
 

Step 2: Be positive

DELETE: My friends joke that I’m a nomad because I’m never in one place very long. I travel a lot for work, and when I’m not working, I travel for pleasure. That’s been a problem in the past, because my exes felt like I was never around. I need someone who will understand my need for independence, and let me do my own thing.

REPLACE WITH: Have you ever seen a girl at the airport carrying a half dozen Guatemalan bags, a mug full of matte, and a big smile on her face? That’s me. The customs officers have trouble finding a blank page to stamp in my passport. I love seeing places off the beaten path, experiencing other cultures, and learning new skills like how to ride a motorbike, dive off a waterfall, or cook with rich local spices. Most recently, I volunteered in Kenya, and backpacked through Prague. But as much as I like to move around, I would love to come home to the right guy.
 

Step 3: Be unique

DELETE: I’m your average nice guy. I like to joke around and I’m often sarcastic. I’m always trying new things, and have more hobbies than I know what to do with. I haven’t always lived in Cleveland, but I can imagine staying here a while.

REPLACE WITH: I enjoy trying new things from building furniture, to dining at new restaurants on E. 4th St. My great passion is film, I love everything from big blockbusters to foreign and independent cinema. I grew up in Michigan and found my way to Cleveland to study engineering, where I completed my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. After eight years, it finally feels like home. I’m really involved in the community here, and volunteering at the bike co-op is a regular thing for me. I’m looking to meet someone who shares some of my interests and will challenge me to develop new ones.

That’s it! You now have the foundation to write a standout dating profile. If you want a professional review of your profile, contact us to schedule a coaching appointment

How to enjoy single life

Q: I hate to admit it, but I’ve started calling my exes and reconnecting with them because I am so lonely. When I come home from work, my house feels empty. I work on projects, and I have hobbies – but it feels flat improving my home, cooking, and watching movies all alone. Most of my friends have coupled off, and I have lost my friend support network. I don’t want to jump into a relationship unless it is with the right person, but I’m going crazy spending so much time by myself.
- Is Single and Happy an Oxymoron?

A: Being single and happy can be a trick in a culture that is obsessed with couples. It’s hard to avoid the not-so-subtle message that coupledom is a measure of success. Every time you turn on the radio you hear love songs, and even the billboard on your drive to work features a diamond ring. The pressure to find “the one” can feel overwhelming. But don’t worry. It gets better.

Take a deep breath and follow these five steps to a new, happy you.

1) Get perspective. The fact is, being in a relationship has its ups and downs like everything else in life. Your life will not miraculously transform into a glossy Hollywood movie the second you fall in love or get married. There will still be beautiful days, and dreary days.

2) Live your life right now. Don’t wait for that special person to appear on the scene. He or she will arrive one day, but you can’t sit around waiting. How attractive will that seem if you are all bummed out and sitting on the sidelines? Take charge of your life and complete all the milestones that you hoped to accomplish by this stage. If you dreamed of traveling across the country with your partner, convince a friend to be your road trip buddy and start the adventure. Maybe you have been waiting to get a dog until you have a comfortable home life with your partner. Guess what? Single people can have dogs! Get your fluffy, scruffy pup and be happy. Whatever it is that you have been putting on the back burner for “one day”, bring it to the forefront and make it happen.

3) Connect with your support system. Your friends and family can be the best support system in the world if you let them. Even if your friends are married, they still need quality time with people other than their spouses. Plan weekly or monthly outings with each group of friends, and stick to your plans. Ask your friends to invite their friends who you haven’t yet met, and your social circle will quickly grow. You might just meet your match when you’re not even looking.

4) Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise, and dress to impress. You will feel better, and you will attract attention from potential matches. Treat yourself to homemade meals, and dinners out with friends. Get an extravagant haircut if you can afford it. Have you always wanted to take music lessons? Do it. Why are you waiting for someone else to spoil you? You can spoil yourself right now, no partner needed.

5) Give yourself credit. Accept that what you are doing is hard. Like it or not, you live in a society that prizes romantic relationships over being single. Couples have a sense of stability and direction that can be envy-inducing. As a single person, you can feel stuck in limbo, unsure about where your life will ultimately lead. Your single years can be challenging, but they are also a very special time in your life. You have more flexibility and more freedom than you will ever have again. Unless you want to remain single (and some people do), you will one day look back on this time with nostalgia. Summon the courage to believe that, like all things in life, this era will end.

Instead of pining for all the relationships that could have been, spend this time indulging in the pleasures of being single. Focus on your passions, go out on dates, travel, learn a foreign language, do whatever it is that makes you feel fulfilled. Take pride in your solo accomplishments. You will find love when the time is right. 

Is he a player?

Q: I need a little dating advice. I had a first date on Thursday night. We met for drinks at a very romantic bar that he picked in neutral territory (in between our apartments). He was nice, smart, funny, open-minded… and very, very smooth. Too smooth. But, I was having fun, and I liked the attention, so I ended up staying at the bar over three hours with him. He was a little too comfortable talking about sex right away, but I mostly deflected and changed the subject. We did get a little cozy and kissed a few times by the end of the evening, and he asked me to go out with him this Saturday. I, obviously, said yes.

The thing is, I can’t tell if he is a player. If he is, he still might be a great guy and a good friend… but not ripe for boy friend material. I am attracted to him and fairly certain that date two will end up back at his apartment – although dinner is in semi-neutral territory again. If he is a player, then it really doesn’t matter if I sleep with him too soon because it is ultimately going to end anyway. But, if he is not a player… am I being too cavalier since I would obviously like the opportunity to get to know him better?
- Is He A Player

A: Here’s what you’re saying. You want to sleep with him if he is a player. You also want to sleep with him if he is not a player – but in that case, you might want to date him too. Fair enough.

Let’s break it down. If he is a player – he’s craving a chase. If he’s not a player – he’ll still enjoy the chase. Either way, making him wait will make him more invested.

Date two is too soon to give it up. Some making out in public is hot, going back to his place makes the chase too easy. Make him work a bit. Build his desire. Get him excited, and make sure he knows that you are hard to get and highly desired.

Let him know through your attitude that you are confident with your sexuality. You are not playing games. You are waiting because you haven’t sized him up yet. He needs to prove himself. You’re interested, intrigued even, but not yet won over.

Does this make sense?

It should be fun, playful, and sexy. Let him win points. Let him woo you.

If he’s not around for date three, then yes, he is a total player and just wants a random hook-up, (ie. not boy friend material). If he is around, consider whether you are interested in him as a potential boy friend. If you are, maybe fool around a bit, but don’t give it all up just yet. Strengthen your bond. Tease him. Tantalize him. By the time you finally seal the deal, he’ll be totally into you and completely excited by the anticipation, (i.e. the sex will be amazing).

The case for high standards

One of the issues I come across most often in my coaching practice is settling. That is, dating someone who isn’t quite “good enough” but who you date because you don’t think you can do any better. I see this most often with men, but women do it too. Here’s why it’s a bad idea, and why you deserve your perfect match.

You have probably heard of people being rated by numbers. A gorgeous model is a 10, and a bottom-of-the-barrel ugly is a 1. But the thing to remember is that these numbers are subjective. Your 6 is someone else’s 10, and your 10 is someone else’s 6.

The same is true of your number. One person might see you as a 4 and someone else might see you as a 9 or 10. You owe it to yourself to avoid dating the people who diminish your value, and to only give your heart to the people who admire and cherish you.

Few of us grow up believing that we need to have low standards. Something happens in our adolescence or early adulthood that wounds our egos and diminishes our self-confidence. We experience some form of rejection, and don’t want to get hurt again. It feels safer to date someone beneath us, someone who will be grateful to date us. But there’s a problem with this logic. Just because we perceive our partners as being lower status does not mean that they see themselves that way. A “low-status” mate is not more likely to stick around than a high-status partner.

Here’s why.

If you treat your partner like a 6, he or she will have very little incentive to stay. (If your partner does, it’s a sign of low self-esteem, and that’s not good, either.) When you’re kicked to the curb, you tell yourself, “I can’t even keep a 6, I better lower my standards to a 4.”

Wrong.

That’s false logic. You would be much better off shooting for an 8, 9, or 10 next time, because you will treat this new prospect with love, respect, and admiration, and that will hold interest.

Now, let’s clarify what it means to be a 10. Before you go prancing off into La La Land and chasing A-list movie stars, let’s make sure that your “high standard” is your deepest, most real desire. Are a fit waistline, firm skin, and an expensive car the traits that elevate someone in your book? Are they the qualities that will bring you meaningful, profound, satisfaction for 50 years to come? Probably not. So, let’s take a moment to figure out what a 10 really looks like for you.

Start by identifying the qualities that you really want and that you honestly value. Create a list of 10 to 20 items that absolutely make you swoon, the ones that you wouldn’t want to live without. This list will be different for everyone. Most likely, your list will include qualities such as intelligence, emotional stability, honesty and loyalty. It might even include physical characteristics such as body type or hair color. Are creativity, athleticism, sense of humor and spiritual/religious beliefs on your list? What about lifestyle, status, and education? Determine the most important qualities that you look for in a mate and write them down.

Now, you have a succinct list of the qualities that you want. If you did it right, it’s not a superficial list of features that turn you on. Rather, it’s a genuine list of characteristics that make a person compatible with you, a really good fit. If you meet someone who is “okay”, but who doesn’t quite meet your standards, don’t get involved. Really. You don’t have to settle. You know that expression, “There are plenty of fish in the sea?” Well, it’s actually true. Throw your “okay” fish back in the water, and keep rowing until a superstar swims your way.

Love is a serious business. It’s fun and silly and romantic. But it’s also serious, especially when you are thinking about creating a life with someone. You want to make sure that your better half lives up to the title. Settling leads to disappointment and regret. Hold out for that astonishing person who will make your heart pitter-patter, who will understand how you feel through thick and thin, and who will be your best friend. That person is out there and they are looking for you. If you have the skills to play the game, and the good judgment to sort out the mediocre from the golden, you can win yourself a 9 or 10.

I'm falling in love with my guy friend

Q: I’m falling in love with my guy friend. We always spend time together and talk about personal things, but I don’t know if he sees me as anything more than a friend. What can I do to find out if there’s a future for us? I don’t want to ruin our friendship. Please help.
- Hoping for More

A: You’ve fallen for your guy friend and you want to know how to proceed. You know he’s crazy about you – at least as a friend – and you’re aching to find out if there’s potential for romance. Here are three ways to find out if the feelings are mutual without risking your pride or your friendship.

1. Help him see you as a woman

At the moment you’re his gal pal, and that’s not who you want to be. You want to be seductive, alluring, and incredibly sexy. In short, you want him to want you. Since the two of you did not have instant chemistry, you will need to put effort into developing and nurturing this attraction. This will be a process, and it will require patience.

Are you ready?

To begin, you want to look beautiful and smell wonderful every time you see him. If you usually hang out with him in sweatpants, this is your chance to show him your feminine side. Try to look as put together as you would for a first date: think a fitted dress, perfume and light make-up. The trick is to transition into your new look without making him think that you’re trying to impress him. If he compliments you, simply smile, thank him, and move on.

Another way you can help your guy friend see you as an eligible, single woman is by telling him about the other guys who are interested in you. Men are naturally jealous creatures. They want the cave woman that the other cave men have their eyes on. You can increase your perceived value and sex appeal by letting him know that you are highly sought after. The next time a man hits on you, mention it to your guy friend. He’ll get the picture that you’re hot stuff, and that if he doesn’t snatch you up another guy will.

2. Flirt with him

Flirting is the best way to gauge his interest. To see if he’s open to the possibility of romance, find ways to touch him in conversation. The trick is to make the physical interactions quick and casual. We’re not talking about long, meaningful embraces. (That will come later.) Right now, it’s all about your hand brushing against his, or a quick hug to say hello. He shouldn’t be able to tell if you’re flirting with him or just being friendly.

If he moves closer to you or flirts back, that’s definitely a good sign that he is attracted to you. If he looks alarmed or pulls away, it means that he’s not ready (and may never be ready) for anything beyond friendship.

Here’s how to test the waters:

  • The next time he changes his appearance (new haircut, new clothing item), compliment him and see how to responds.
  • Give him a quick hug the next time you see him. Does he pull away immediately or hold on? Does he light up when he sees you?
  • Touch his arm when you’re talking about something funny and watch for his response. Does he ever find reasons to touch you in conversation?
  • Give him your full attention when he talks – no texting or changing the subject. Watch his body language for cues. Is he holding eye contact with you or is he distracted and checking his phone? If his pupils are dilated and he seems engaged with, there’s a chance he’s interested.
  • Ask for his help solving a problem or fixing something. Most people love giving advice and working on projects. If he agrees to help, it will give you a chance to spend more time together.

3. Don’t do anything that could turn him off

Chances are, if you’ve been close friends for a while, he’s seen you in your grungy tee-shirts, smelled your breath after eating garlic pizza, and heard you whine about your exes. All that stops now. As a rule of thumb, if you wouldn’t do it on a hot first date, don’t do it around your guy. If you’re serious about catching his interest, you have to start treating him like a man, and not like a buddy.

After you are involved in a stable, long term relationship, you can reintegrate your grungy tee-shirts into your wardrobe. But right now, you’re a woman on a mission. Your goal is to show him that you are a better candidate than all of the other women he could be dating.

Once he is able to see you as more than a friend, he’ll start to wonder what it would be like to kiss you. Then, the ball’s in your court. He will pursue you, and the really beautiful part is that he’ll think the pursuit was his idea.

Of course, if you don’t want to go to the effort of reading his signals and building attraction, you could just tell him how you feel. This is a riskier approach, but it can work. A friend of mine told her guy friend that she loved him and that she thought they would be perfect together. He brushed her off and said he didn’t think they were a good match. She was devastated, but kept her cool, and they stayed close friends. After two years of dating other people, he came to her and told her that she had been right from the beginning. They started dating, and very soon after, he proposed to her. They are now one of the happiest married couples you will ever meet. Of course, if she had played the game differently and worked to catch his attention, they might have started dating two years sooner.

Whatever approach you use, you will soon know how your guy friend feels about you. If he reciprocates your feelings, you will find yourself at the start of an incredibly meaningful and exciting relationship. What could be better than dating your best friend? But if you don’t get the answer you hoped for, accept his response and hold your head high. Don’t say anything that you might regret later. Take some time for yourself. Go out with your girl friends. Meet a new man and fall in love. You can return to the friendship when you’re ready.

Where can I meet single men?

Q: I’m starting to wonder if I am ever going to meet the right guy. I hear stories about couples meeting at restaurants or airports, but this sort of thing never happens to me.
- Where Are All The Single Men?

A: Great question! Single men are out there and they want to meet you. 

For the record, you are not alone in your frustration. The 2008 Harris Interactive Poll revealed that single women actually go out more frequently than single men. Modern men watch an average of 45 minutes more television each day than single women and spend 20 minutes longer online. So where are the single guys? They are inside their homes staring at screens. That makes online dating seem like good bet.

The dating sites Match.com and OkCupid are popular choices, and the dating app Tinder is increasing in popularity. 

Fortunately, men can occasionally be found in places other than their homes, work, and the gym. 

The key is to spend time in places that appeal to the type of man you want to meet. Think about your ideal match, and imagine how he would spend his leisure time. 

To meet a man who is athletic: 
Seek out co-ed sports leagues for kickball, volleyball, or bowling, martial arts classes, running clubs, bike groups, urban scavenger hunts, and events at sports bars and stadiums. 

To meet a man who is artistic:
Spend time at art openings, theatre benefits, museums, and coffee houses. If you're feeling creative, you can join a team for the 48 Hour Film Festival (or just attend the screening).

To meet a man who is intellectual:
Check out lecture series sponsored by local libraries and universities, book launches, and wine tastings. Attending a Tedx Event is also a great way to connect with men who share your intellectual curiosity.

To meet a man who is politically-engaged or an idealist: 
Try volunteering for a campaign or getting involved in a community project like cleaning a river, or building houses with Habitat for Humanity. You can find all kinds of local volunteer opportunities that match your interests on Meetup’s Volunteer Site. Many cities even have volunteer groups specifically for singles.

To meet a man who shares your values and lifestyle:
Tap into your existing social networks by attending parties, weddings, and alumni events. Ask your friends to set you up on blind dates with their single friends. 

If you are more introverted, it can feel nerve-wracking to dive into a new social scene. Allow yourself to ease into the new environment by observing your surroundings. Then, when you see someone of interest, be bold and strike up a conversation. 

It's true that you can meet eligible men almost anywhere, if you have the right attitude and the right approach. The next time you are in a public place, take a good look around, and don't be afraid to introduce yourself.