As seen on Fandate November 20.
Originally I created this content for the fellas because it was the only frame of reference I had, but I think it also has value for the ladies because we might need to go into our search for a partner with more of an open mind.
Why do we think finding a partner is so important anyway? The short answer: because it is.
The long answer can be summed up by the findings of the Harvard Grant Study. In case you aren't familiar with it, the subjects were 268 Harvard graduate men whose lives were followed from 1972-2004. The Cliffs Notes version of the findings include:
- The key to Happiness is Love.
- Meaningful Relationships Matter.
- More Money + More Power does not equal Happiness.
So basically we are letting history repeat itself while we all struggle to reinvent the wheel. We grow up thinking that success means we can take care of ourselves and not need our parents to support us anymore. We go to college and get a degree thinking it will guarantee us a career, which it doesn't. Then we spend the healthiest, most capable years of our lives climbing a ladder trying to get to the top. While we are climbing the ladder we sacrifice the very things that make us happy and we justify climbing the ladder so that at the top we can sit back and enjoy more of the things that make us happy. What I learned from the Harvard Grant Study is that none of the stuff I have been chasing really matters. Only 2 things really matter: 1. Do I have a purpose? 2. Do I have someone to share my life experiences with?
Let's look at it from another perspective. In my nursing career, I have had the privilege of being the person who sits with people as they take their last breaths and leave this world. I have been able to sit with families and help them celebrate a life of someone they love, cry with them and laugh with them. I have seen tragedies that take a life before it has been lived and most people would think that means something bad happened to someone young, but I am here to tell you now that a life can be taken before it has been fully lived at any age. The one thing that people say they wish they had more of at the end of their life is not money, fame, respect, but instead it is time. To take that thought a step further, I think it means time spent doing things that were meaningful to them with people who they love.
If we are going to spend our time like we mean it, then we need to start doing it now. Your time is valuable.
So, when I was called upon to help create a user experience on a meetup app designed to connect people with common interests I was excited to dive deeper into how people are creating meaningful relationships using apps. The app developer wanted to use the tag line "not another dating app". So I set out to figure out what that meant and here is what I found:
- Creating a dating profile is a lot like creating a brand. It is your personal brand, which if you have read my blog post on personal branding you will understand what I am talking about In case you haven't seen it, your brand is the way other people experience you. The biggest thing I saw when I was looking through profiles was that there was a BIG mismatch between the way I was experiencing these men and the way they actually are. I am only making assumptions about who they are because if I asked them, then I would probably come across as a crazy person, but I like to try to see the best in people.
- Your Profile Picture Is Your Storefront, do you really want it to say: "No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem"? Let's think about this from a marketing standpoint: If your profile picture is you topless then you are giving away the milk for free and nobody is going to want to buy the cow. Similarly if you are in sales and you want to sell a product, would you put every single detail about the product in your ad so that nobody ever has any questions? So if you don't want a relationship then by all means have your topless storefront out there for the world to see, but if you are just trying to let the ladies know that fitness is important to you then I think there are more creative ways to tell us. The other things I saw in a lot of pictures were: other women cropped out of pictures (if it is impossible to completely crop out all of her then pick a different picture) and you and a bunch of people (we can't tell which guy is you, but it looks like your friends are a lot of fun).
- There are so many fish in the sea we can't even tell if there is any water. I don't know how it is for men, but for women the market is saturated, so how do you stand out? For me this is like finding the right hashtags to attract your ideal client on social media platforms. If you use the hashtags that have over a million posts then your post is going to get lost and you aren't really going to be seen. You want to be a little bit more specific so you can target your post more directly at the type of person you are looking for. I'm going to share a little personal research with you: everyone likes traveling, watching sports, working out, and hanging out with friends. Just saying... So find something that makes you stand out. If you really love to travel then instead of saying, "I like to travel" say something like "My next big trip is to Iceland to see the Aurora Borealis" or "My Top 3 Bucket List trips are:___________".
- Focus on what you DO want, not what you DON'T want. If you list all of the things you don't want then you are telling us all of the things that didn't work in your last relationship and you are also saying that if you ever meet anyone else who has any of the qualities she had then it isn't going to work. When you focus on what you don't want you actually attract more of what you don't want into your life. It also attracts more negativity to think in terms of what you don't want. So it's time to start thinking about what you DO want. When you say you want someone who is honest, what exactly does that mean? Be specific about what you want. You don't have to put it out there on your profile, but if you are thinking about it and you write it down somewhere where you can see it then you will attract more of that into your world. Think I'm kidding? Do you remember the last time you got a new car? Maybe it wasn't a brand new car, but it was new to you. After you got it, did you start noticing that a lot more people had the same car as you? They didn't all go out and buy that car just because you did, you're just thinking about it more because it's new to you. So seriously, write it down.
- The Way You Say It, Matters. Be positive and be sure of yourself. You are an awesome person and you have a lot to offer a partner. When you are answering these pre-printed questions in these app profiles or writing out a brief description about yourself, do not put yourself down. Do not say things like "I might" or "maybe" or "I'm kind of" or "I know this isn't original, but...". Don't minimize who you are or what you have to say. Be real and be yourself so that you can attract the person who gets you. What other people think of you is none of your business. The only thing that matters is what you think of yourself. So if you think that the most influential people in your life are your parents and you think that everyone else wrote the same thing, then own it and forget what everyone else is doing.
- Send a Unique Message to Grab Her Attention. If she says that she likes to laugh or is looking for a guy with a sense of humor, chances are that you will get her to talk to you if you tell her a joke. If you can't think of any jokes then look through her profile and find something that the two of you have in common and talk about that. If you both went to the same college and there is something that only the two of you would know about having gone there then bring that up. If share the same hobbies then ask her about that. Whatever you do, always end with a question. People are naturally more likely to respond when the last message ends in a question mark. Here are things you shouldn't say:
- "Hey! How's it going?"
- "Hi Beautiful!"
- "How was your weekend?"
- Be Picky! I know I have talked about how in sales and in business it is a numbers game. We make our list of 100 leads and we are lucky if 10% of those people talk to us and then maybe 20% of those people will buy our product. Dating is a numbers game in a different way. We date people and we learn something new about ourselves or we learn more about what we are looking for. So the more we date, the more we learn. That does not mean reach out to 100 random people hoping that 10% will respond to your messages. You deserve more than that and your time is more valuable than that. If you are taking the time to write personal messages to these people then you don't have time to send messages to every single person. On the other hand, if you are sending everyone "Hey! How are you?", it looks like you are spamming hundreds of people and your copy & paste game is super strong.
Having said all of this, I am not an expert and I did not intend for this message to be received in a negative way by any means. In the dating world, men and women are speaking different languages but I think we all have a similar goal. Once we are clear on what our intentions are, then hopefully we can all attract more people with similar intentions even if we mess up our marketing.