This is part 5 of a six-part series on tips for online dating. Go here for the rest of the series.
Finding a match online that has the potential to result in a serious relationship can be a daunting task for many people — before you even consider the stigma sometimes still associated with online dating. Many people eschew this style of meeting people after years of navigating page after swipe after bad date after face palm. These discouraged folks are usually truly looking for a serious relationship. And, believe it or not, many of them are male.
One of the most common themes I observe in males who are looking for a serious relationship through online dating is a lack of emotional intelligence (EI). Online, just as in-vivo, a lack of EI becomes apparent through one’s insecurities and ultimately dishonesty.
In this six-part series I share — and explain!— reasonable, rational tips to help men (seeking women) succeed at online dating. Take note that many of these tips can be used for anyone—straight, LGBT, male or female. The advice here relies heavily on honesty, boundary setting, effective communication skills, and realistic expectations. Blaming “everyone else” for not being good enough in the dating world (and in other applications of life), doesn’t help change results—instead, turn inward and do a self-check up on communication style.
Present your strengths, not your insecurities.
If you’ve had disastrous relationships in the past and you feel hopeless about finding the one, your gut instinct may be to go all-in once you come across someone who shows great potential for a serious relationship. However, it’s then quite possible that your insecurities about finding the one could become apparent and then potentially cause the person you’re dating to run.
There’s nothing wrong with having past relationships that didn’t work out. View them as learning experiences. You may want to make a list of how you present your strengths and how you present your insecurities. The ability to learn from the demise of a past relationship can help teach you how to express appreciation and gratitude for yourself and others. These are strengths that leave insecurities in the dust and help bring out your true self. As your emotional intelligence continues to improve, the person sitting across from you may just say “yes” to that second drink and you can both begin to build your ‘nest.’
Impression vs. Connection
Think about the difference between presenting yourself to impress the other person and presenting yourself to connect with the other person. Take note of what your go-to stories or topics of conversation have been on previous dates. For example, do you find yourself spewing out past accomplishments? Do you find it easier to talk about your possessions or about topics like life plans, goals, or the life transitions you’ve overcome?
I’m not suggesting you open Pandora’s Box on Date One, but vaguely brushing on these connecting topics and deflecting the focus away from seeking validation will kickstart the trust-building whether you’re on Date Number One or Date Number Eight.
Looking for a partner with the intention of long-term relationship growth may be bound to more success if the conversations brought up are meant to connect with the person rather than impress. Tinder is a great place to “impress” your matches, considering Tinder is great for quick and easy hook-ups. If you’re reading this series, though, and used to be into the quick hookups, shine some awareness on this tip as a key transitioning tool. This may be one of the most common aspects of dating that men I’ve spoken with don’t pay attention to when they decide it’s time to look for something serious.
Be sure to also ask your date connecting questions and to practice active listening — meaning, listen to learn and understand your date, not to compete with your date. If you experience some social anxiety, you’ll start to notice how much better your conversation will flow by asking connecting questions. Of course you’re going to be talking about yourself on a date, just gauge how often you’re hearing your own voice say things you already know about yourself versus actually learning and connecting with your date.
Check back tomorrow as we continue to dive deep into tips for online dating.
- Part 1: Building a Better Profile
- Part 2: Setting Boundaries
- Part 3: Making Contact
- Part 4: Picking the Perfect Location
- Part 5: Presentation
- Part 6: Follow Up
Marc Fernandez provides therapy to individual, couples, and families at North Brooklyn MFT in New York City. Additionally, Marc is co-founder of a health and wellness blog called www.theHumanBluPrint.com, aimed to help people self-educate on how to be the best version of themselves. Give North Brooklyn MFT a call at (718) 785-9718 if you think learning how to “turn inward” may be something you’re interested in. Read more about Marc.