5 Online Dating Tips That Will Help You In Real Life
by Gina Stewart
As an Expert Online Dater, I discovered that being great in online dating has “in-person” parallels. Meaning, tricks I use to help online daters get the most of their experiences can also be used to help meet someone special in real life. That’s what I am going to teach you today… my online tricks that to parlay into your personal life.
Every relationship both online and IRL (in real life) starts with a communication. It can be verbal or nonverbal but some signal is made to another party. Here is how you open yourself up to receiving signals and giving the right ones back so you can start communicating.
1. Fake It Till You Make It:
If you’re shy, putting yourself out there is rough. Whether it’s talking about yourself in a dating profile or doing a singles event, it is uncomfortable to throw yourself into the arena where you can meet other singles. One of the things you can do when feeling particularly nervous about being social is putting on the posture that, for a moment, you’re not you.
If you’re shy about talking about yourself in your online profile– pretend for a few minutes that you’re the type of person that thinks it’s no big deal. Psyche yourself up–whether it’s to sign up for something or just pushing send on an email, it will get you through. Act like you think this confident person would act.
When I would first get up to give a seminar or speech, I would literally play act like I’m a very comfortable speaker. In actuality I’m nervous, but my audience didn’t know it.
2. Approachability is Key
Do you seem nice? One thing I help daters with their profile is seeming nice and friendly and ultimately, approachable. When your online behavior makes you seem welcoming to receiving messages, you get many more messages. Lace your profile with positive words, not negative.
The same thing happens IRL. If you seem closed off to people approaching you, people won’t approach. Practice positivity. If smiling is not your natural state, practice smiling eyes. Practice un-crossed arms. Practice assuming good. Practice being friendly.
3. Chang Your Habits with Baby Steps
One thing I always teach my online dating clients is that if you’re not getting the dating results you want, you have to change. Change your picture, change what you write about yourself, change your email techniques.
Well the same thing is in real life. On a personal note, I identified an important theme in my life and it was that things I was afraid of doing were really just things that were new to me. I had to change and realized the only way to truly get over a fear is to face it. It doesn’t just go away, you have to do the exact thing you’re afraid of. But you can start small and then you just continue to practice, practice, practice.
As a shy girl that didn’t like most stranger interaction, I negotiated with myself to start with a baby step. I’d tell myself, I’m going to make eye contact with one person today. And I would do it. The next time was two people and I’d keep at it.
Once that got easy, and it always does, I took another step. I’d then tell myself, I’m going to smile at one person. Just one. But again kept challenging myself to elevate it.
The more times you do something it becomes completely comfortable.
I moved on to making conversation. It wasn’t deep or meaningful, I’d just make a comment on something happening around. In the grocery line, “Oh I love Life cereal too.” Or “I always mess up when I try to do self check out.”
Now? I tell you now that I can pretty much talk to anyone fairly comfortably. People are just people. Plain and simple. You’re just as good as any of them. The same bones, flesh, hair. When you think that way, you relax. If you see everyone as your equal, you fear no one.
By the way you should do these exercises with people regardless of your romantic interest in them. You don’t start off an interest in running by entering the Olympics. Being able to talk to anyone means that when you do talk to a someone interesting, you’ve got the practice under your belt.
I made up this word but I love it. I often coach people that they need to put things in their online profile that make it easy for someone to strike up a conversation. Your real life person can do this exact thing. The way to do this is to outwardly show things that are unique or interesting to you. Stick out from the norm in some way.
Watch what you wear. Sometimes I wear a t-shirt with Michael Jackson’s face on it. It’s not exactly high fashion– it’s a joke. But I discovered more importantly, it’s a conversation starter. Seemingly everyone has something to say about Michael Jackson and when you wear his face, people talk to you about him.
Take this cue in your own way. Break out the unusual jewelry. Go somewhere in your team uniform. Paint your fingernails all different colors. Don your college alumni sweater. I know you think I’m crazy but it gives people something to talk to you about and that’s the hardest part of getting hit-on, minus liquid courage.
NOTE: You don’t need to go crazy, attraction is still a factor, so don’t make conversationability more important than looking attractive. But do give them something to strike up a conversation with you about.
5. Engage As A Friend
You need to learn how to make conversations. Since every relationship, both online and IRL starts with a conversation, this is a skill you need to practice. The good news is that you can practice on everyone. If you feel silly or out of place, just be honest, “Bear with me, this is my first time, what should I do if I want to ___?” It humanizes you and makes people want to help you.
People are often afraid to talk to others because they don’t have anything to say. That was my problem until I discovered this online dating secret: the key to starting and maintaining conversations is the ability to come up with questions. And when you ask questions, you don’t have to talk about yourself. It’s awesome. You seem social but you don’t have the pressure of having to talk. Practice asking questions and more importantly, practice taking an interest in what people have to say.
And if you don’t understand what someone is saying, ask them. Most people like to explain things. If someone says they are a hematologist, I politely ask what that means. If they have their own social skills, they will politely explain that they are a doctor who studies blood. Then I can ask what the most common problems are that they see in their job. This allows the conversation to keep going and I also learn things. If they’re rude about it, forget them and move on.
What do you find is the easiest and hardest part of meeting someone? Are any of these points things you could work on?