You think you’re ready for love? Dating, what a quagmire! Over the years I’ve watched various psychometrically based programs emerge on the Internet and I’ve tried my share of online dating; some with interesting results and some disastrous ones as well. Your online date might be the man of your dreams, or he might be the man of another woman’s nightmare out catting around on her! So where do you go from here?
My sensibility tells me that people on the Internet are like all people. You can just as easily get hurt by a shyster in your place of worship or the local country club as you can on the Internet. You simply have to apply the same rules of propriety in all places. The danger for you on the Internet is that you have the sensation of anonymity, and you may reveal more about yourself than you would at Ms. Pittypat’s Afternoon Tea. Just keep the rule that if you wouldn’t tell Ms. Pittypat, you ought to keep personal information – personal.
Different dating sites are designed around different romantic and social goals. Sites like Match.com, Yahoo Personals, and various cultural and lifestyle based Friend Finder sites are geared more towards casual dating and long term relationships. Sites like Chemistry.com and eHarmony seek to match partners based on compatibility with the specific end goal being marital or committed.
Although the eHarmony algorithm matches individuals based on personal traits, all online dating sites have a basic social networking profile that you are required to fill out to share your general likes and dislikes with potential romantic partners. A few tips; write your essay in a word processing program first and do a spelling and grammar check before you post it. Make sure your pictures are the same shape they will be displayed in. You can download Paint.Net or GIMP which are free open source photo editing programs. If you don’t have an office suite, try OpenOffice.org, an open source word processing (spreadsheet, database, and presentation) software suite that is free. Make sure that your pictures clearly show your face, and that one of them shows a full length picture. Present your best side of course. Perhaps display yourself in both dressy and casual ways, or participating in your favorite hobby.
You may be miserably shaking your head back and forth at the screen right now thinking it’s all well and good for me to tell you what tools to use to write your personality profile but what in the world do you say? Well, first of all, this is not a job interview so don’t talk about your work. YOU are NOT your work. Secondly, don’t say what you like to do DESCRIBE what you like to do and what it’s like to be in your company. What was your greatest “aha!” moment? Where did you go for vacation? What did you read that sparked a fire in your soul? How do you express affection? What do you really believe about love? What was the funniest moment of your life? The most embarrassing? The sexiest? The greatest gift given or received?
Your pictures should be recent. You do not want your date to think that you are the grandfather of the man she thought she was having coffee with. If your picture has more hair than you do, put it in an album, not eHarmony or any other online dating site. If you are ambivalent about dating someone, don’t bother them. Calling for 27 months and having three coffee dates does not a successful romance make; never mind the Pulitzer Prize winning short stories or poetry you inspired. If you aren’t interested, politely say so and move on. If one of your dates offers to prove his claim to a gargantuan phallys right then and there, call your best girlfriend with the Russian accent and have her say “Next!” to inspire you not to give up, there’s a decent date out there somewhere. She’s really good at that and the way she will laugh at THAT story is worth the humiliation of telling it.
But seriously, dating IS serious business. After all the psycho-babble is over, none of us really like to be alone. We all wish that we had that special one person that shared our view of the world, or better yet, created a better world with us. It sort of begs the question of maybe using one of the more “serious’ online dating sites will serve you better in your quest for your one true love?
Of all the dating sites available eHarmony touts that their psychometric test produces 29 points of compatibility that can be matched to create the greatest potential for a marital partner. While this may be true, their business practices may make it difficult to take advantage of their superior matching system. eHarmony provides its psychometric test for “free” to potential members and hopes that you will sign up for their upper tier $59.95 a month membership (most other sites charge $19.95 to $36.00 for similar services.) Purchasing multiple months can bring savings and occasionally you can find online coupons that will reduce the expense as well.
Once you’ve finished taking your test you are matched with other people, both members and non-members alike. Two non- members may be matched to seduce both people to join the service. But, if one takes the incentive and the other does not, then no communication is possible between the two. It’s conceivable that your opportunity for your one true love could be thwarted by this somewhat deceptive marketing practice. You could argue that it isn’t appropriate to match people with potential members without advising them that the party isn’t a member of eHarmony’s network. On the other hand, if you can find the love of your life for a combined $120, what’s to whine about? eHarmony and fate combined can make everything possible, nu?
In my personal experience with eHarmony I’ve had a number of matches but of perhaps 150 matches in the last three years I have only communicated with a hand full of people. Reasons for rejection abound, but the absolutely funniest one was from Warren in Atlanta. I am almost six feet tall, and Warren was about 5’6”. The reason he gave for not pursuing our perfect match, despite living in the same city was that “the distance between us is too great.” I absolutely howled with laughter on the other end of the monitor. I imagine we would laugh together over many things, but that six inch gap between us may as well be 14,000 miles. Unfortunately, I couldn’t retort “We’re all the same height lying down Darling.”
It’s easy to reject, it’s easy to imagine that the person you’re communicating with is someone much better than they actually are. What you learn the most about in this process is not another person. You learn more about yourself than you might imagine, and you come to realize the things that you want in another person much more acutely. You come to realize who you are now, and who you aspire to be through the process of preparing a profile about yourself and taking the myriad of tests available on all of these sites. You discover too the impediments that you have constructed in your life to prevent yourself from connecting to others. eHarmony or no eHarmony, I hope you learn how to become your best self and how to overcome the reasons you have for being alone in the first place, as it was after all, a choice.
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