Have you ever met someone you're romantically interested in, only to kick yourself later because you think you blew your chance? Or maybe you've come to the realization that the types of men you are attracting are way off from who you truly desire?
The biggest benefits of online dating are the ability to deliberately craft a great first impression (that can't be messed up by nerves) and to stretch yourself to date differently than you have in the past. You might be resistant to doing things differently, but remember, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Let's not do that.
If you are the .1% of the adult population who has never felt you've given off the wrong impression and you've got this dating thing all figure out, stop reading! Or maybe just pass this information on to a single friend.
As much talk as there is about online dating, I believe there are some great reasons to consider it that I don't normally hear discussed. If any of the below apply to you, I hope you will consider giving it a try with your particular issue in mind!
1. You're intimidating/unapproachable.
Let's leave aside for the moment how annoying it is to always be told you're intimidating, like you should have to dim your light to be approachable to men. Of course the right man for you will love your light and will want you to shine as brightly as possible.
However, if you're very talented, educated, successful and/or beautiful, interested parties might assume you're out of their league or that you have no need or time for a relationship and no shortage of A-list suitors. You can counter this thinking by having a profile where you clearly and unequivocally state your desire for a loving relationship.
The fact that you're on an online dating site to begin with sends a message that you want to be approached, but you can make that message even clearer by highlighting your relationship-ready qualities. Examples of these qualities are warmth, ability to nurture and compromise and desire to be affectionate and loving.
It's a lot easier for an interested man to deal with a powerful woman ignoring his email online than it is to cross a room to talk to you and risk being shot down. Because of this, men will reach out to you who might not otherwise feel welcome to do so.
2. You don't know how to flirt.
Flirting is a valuable skill, and for many people it is an underdeveloped one. It is crucial to learn how to let someone know you're interested in an engaging, enticing way.
Think about the times you've met a man, didn't initially look at him as a romantic prospect, but as he began to flirt with you, something shifted and you found yourself viewing him in a new light. It is human nature to feel more drawn to someone once you can feel their attraction to you. They feel more attracted, so you feel more attracted, so they feel more attracted, so you feel more attracted... You get the picture. We all want to feel desirable, and men are certainly no exception!
There are different ways to flirt, and not all are equally effective. Think of all the men who have gotten this so wrong when approaching you.
If you are a "playful" flirt, you might come across as indiscriminate and therefore not genuine. If you have a more reserved flirting style, it might be difficult for people to pick up on your "go" signals and think you're simply being polite or friendly.
The bottom line is, online you get to demonstrate your interest by sending an email, a "wink" or a "flirt." You can ramp up your flirting confidence by flirting in your written communications before you meet face-to-face. And best of all, by going on multiple dates, you get to practice. You're unlikely to magically figure out the best flirting style for you without lots of practice!
Not feeling butterflies over your date? That's great -- you won't be as nervous and you can still build your confidence in the process. Don't wait until the big game to see if you can play! Practice, practice, practice!
3. You think only one kind of man is attracted to you.
I hear this all the time: "Only __________ guys are interested in me, and I'm not interested in them," OR "Men don't like/approach me."
I promise you this: with a compelling online profile, including photos that showcase you at your best, men will approach you online. I don't care how old you are, what your ethnicity is or what your perceived body flaws may be. Men will approach you. And not just the same men, but a variety of men. Think men of a particular race aren't into you? You will discover you are wrong. You think only men under a certain age or over a certain age like you? You will find out there is a range of men who will want to meet you.
My clients are consistently (and pleasantly) surprised by the breadth of men who reach out to them online -- they are far more diverse than what they normally experience.
You very well might attract more of a certain "type" of person. Another benefit of online dating? You can keep tweaking your profile to make it most appealing to the men you most want to meet. And the ones you don't? You can just move on.
4. You think men don't want committed relationships.
I know that if you date enough unavailable men and are disappointed enough times, it can become really difficult to believe that there are men out there who desire the same level of commitment you do. It is time to unlearn that thinking.
One of my favorite aspects of online dating is the ability to read men's profiles and feel genuinely moved by the number of men who are clearly stating their desire for a committed, loving relationship.
Think only women use phrases like "soulmate," "kindred spirit," and "love of my life?" You would be surprised! For some inspiration, I recommend you start reading profiles (and not just the profiles of the men with the hottest photos) and you will begin to see that there are lots of great guys out there who aren't afraid to admit they want true love. They talk about romance, starting a family and sharing their lives with someone.
(PS: I recommend dating these guys, even if they have crappy photos!)
5. You date the same guy over and over.
There is a level of self-awareness and self-reflection that is necessary to break a dating pattern that no longer serves you. You might think you've identified your pattern because you date men who look the same, have the same profession, relationship history or interests.
To discover your true patterns, don't focus on the external characteristics that differentiate your past lovers from one another. One might have been tall, the other short, one a doctor and another a painter. Your dating patterns lie in the actual relationship between you.
Look deeper -- at how the relationship began, what the dynamic was between you and how it ultimately ended. Look for the commonalities to discover the patterns -- there is always a pattern! Once you have identified the trends, ask yourself honestly if those relationships are the kind you want in your life going forward.
If you discover that as it turns out, you have been dating the same guy over and over and he's not the guy you want in your future, here's your chance to course correct. Online dating gives you an opportunity to read men's own words and to connect with lots of men who aren't your type. Dating only "your type" hasn't worked out so well, remember?
A date is not a marriage proposal, and dating different kinds of men will start to reveal which values and characteristics are a rehash of your old patterns and which are different and hopefully improved!
I am not suggesting that the Internet is filled with nothing but virtuous, relationship-minded men. Of course that is not the case, but you can start addressing some of the challenges you have in connecting with men. If you get yourself ready to receive him, the right guy will appear. Being open to doing things differently is a crucial first step!
Let me know how it goes! Does any of the above apply to you? Can you see how connecting with lots of different men online can help you to address your particular challenge?
Comment below and hit me on Twitter @DearFranny!