If you just must have a date by the 14th, stay safe!

Carrying on with our series on how to find a date online for Valentine’s Day, we start off today’s first of three articles – all short and sweet, but nonetheless equally valid – with a sort of: okay, if you must bit of advice.

If you are determined to find a date for Valentine’s Day, you’ve got to be sharpish about it. I’d even be as bold as to say, you’re best off ignoring all of the information about finding your perfect partner online for now and just have a quick fly around the free dating sites, as it’s so late in the day. I’d never normally recommend meeting up with someone you’ve only been talking to for so little time as a week and still don’t feel 100% about suggesting you do so now. But Valentine’s Day isn’t going to put itself back a good few weeks just because you’re not quite ready for it this year.

What I’d implore you to do, if you’ve got your heart set on meeting someone so soon after introducing yourself on whichever dating site it is you sign up to is try and do some background checking in the forums with the other members about the person who catches your eye. At this time of year, the forums should be flying with gossip, questions and member threads – if you’ve got a question, just ask it. If someone has an answer, they will get back to you; at this short notice, there are few other options open for cross-referencing any potential partner.

You’ll not have time to build up any sort of online relationship, so at least if you do manage to tie up your first date (firstly, very well done, you!) everything will be fresh when you meet them and you’ll be going in with a very open mind. For what you’re looking to achieve in the short term, this as good a way as any to really get into the swing of Internet dating, with no time to be held back by procrastination.

What I would strongly recommend for your lightning date is a facility here in the UK that runs in conjunction with the Post Office called Trusted Faces. It is the very first step in offering online dating security. It works very simply and I would urge you to get yourself across to their website, get registered and down to the local Post Office to complete your online passport. Look for someone else advertising theirs, swap tickets to double-check that your are both whom you claim to be and you’re good to go.

More coming up on when and how to pay for your membership

“J” reveals his “friend’s” lucky escape Chinese dating

[from “J”…]

We continue the tale of J’s “friend” – he must have been a very close “friend” due to the passion, somewhat toned down here, which punctuated the original fable, the moral of which is categorically: do not give your password to anyone you meet whilst online dating

Not long after “J” and his Chinese beau agreed to go steady in a purely cyberspace capacity, the Chinese lady gave J her password as a sign of trust that they were truly going exclusive (although they’d never met) and he felt pressured into doing the same.

To cut a long, long story short, he did, and it wasn’t long before “J” was being reproached via text and phone calls because of the comments he’d made and approaches he’d received from other members on the dating site before he’d entered into this serious online relationship. Then, much to his bemusement, further scoldings started coming from other Chinese ladies who he’d been speaking to before he’d gone exclusive.

It transpires that the quiet, demure Asian girl he’d started ‘seeing’ had turned into a fire-breathing dragon and was flaming all of his other contacts on the dating site. In order that he couldn’t get in touch with anyone else, said new Chinese dating partner overrode the password he’d given her in good faith with the devout intention of cutting him off from everyone else on the website.

Needless to say, it took a lot of sucking up to the webmaster and his contacts to get back in on the dating site, and that he pretty sharply ended the virtual relationship before his reputation went viral, but this does serve as a warning to the information you give out on dating sites about yourself. The simple summary is: don’t! Never give your credit card details, passwords or any other sensitive information that could be turned against you. What seems sweet one minute can turn sour very quickly if you don’t keep its sugar levels up.

“J” was lucky it was only his online dating persona that his Chinese girlfriend went about ruining. It could have been anyone behind that dating profile, lulling “J” in with flattery, pressurising him to part with information that he probably knew he shouldn’t. Paid dating sites store payment information, bank details – it’s just not worth the risk: keep your private information safe, at all times.

“J” reveals his “friend’s” experience Chinese dating

The following article (in two parts) is a lesson to anyone who ever gets tempted to share their personal information with someone they think they know on their dating site, but obviously not as well as they thought…

After dating women of the west, extending your catchment area to capture ladies from a little further to the East (well, the other side of the world, really), spending time on your dating site with women of Chinese origin can be an uplifting experience.

There is an element of a Chinese woman’s make up that is demure on the outside, but belies cunning intelligence beneath that gracious exterior. Self-possessed of dignity and charm, personality traits that cannot be taught beyond a certain age, it seems that there’s nothing they’ll not do to please you.

Not necessarily in a sexual way but everything about their demeanour aims to please to the extent that if they cause you offense, they will be beside themselves until you accept their most gracious and numerable apologies. Because of this inhibited nature, this will not come across in any dating site profile; you will only ever discover these hidden qualities by taking the time out to get to know the lady of Oriental persuasion in person.

However, I have recently come across one lad, who calls himself J who had whose friend had a problem whilst he was on a Chinese dating site. For the purpose of this tale of woe, we will call the victim “J”, okay with you?

After spending some time on a Chinese dating site, presumably having had little success elsewhere, reading between the lines, “J” could not believe the amount of positive responses he was getting from a whole hare-em of Asian lovelies. He was so enamoured by one of the single Chinese ladies to whom he was spending a fair amount of his online dating time that, after she implored him to go exclusive on the dating site (you can sort of see a flaw coming there, can’t you? Anyway…), he agreed. [read more]

Break up, not down

There is a saying that has been banded around the business world for over a decade – “…don’t sweat the small stuff – and it’s all small stuff”.

The signature line of the late Richard Carlson has no less meaning in the world of online dating – especially when it comes to breaking up with someone who you’ve met through a dating site.

Whether you have decided to take your relationship offline or its peak has been an elevated form of communication via your laptop or mobile, splitting up with someone is never easy. Even when you have no sense of feeling left for your partner, human nature takes over and a sense of guilt can have you procrastinating, even re-considering, when you know deep down it’s time to call it a day.

Well, don’t. With every relationship, whether it remains in the domain of the dating site or you have taken it a stage or two further, you have to stay true to yourself above all. Honesty is the best policy – I know it’s a cliche, but as soon as you accept that fact, the rest becomes small stuff.

What is at the heart of the break-up?

There can be a multitude of reasons why you want to call time on a relationship, but those can be filtered back to one of the three C’s – change, commitment or compatibility.

At the heart of any of those sentiments is the need for honesty. You can beat about the bush all you like but your partner not only deserves but will also appreciate (eventually) you being straight up with them and citing the reasons why you feel the need to move on.

Change, for the better

There’s change, and there’s compromise. It’s important to enter any relationship with your eyes wide open and, if you make promises, stick to them.

Do your homework before you enter into any relationship – if your potential partner has expectations, or you do, be sure that they’re practical and achievable. Do not be surprised if the relationship fails if the parameters for change are unreasonable from the outset.

Commitment may take a little time

Do not expect commitment immediately, especially if you’re dating someone who has been around the block before.

Your partner will want to build up trust before giving themselves over to you completely; forsaking all others is one of the biggest sacrifices one person can give to another.

Compatibility matters

Dating site profiles are all well and good but, let’s face it, there’s a propensity, even an expectation, to exaggerate details about yourself so you must expect other members to be less than 100% truthful about theirs.

Read between the lines in their answers to your prompts and ask the questions that matter to you, not what you think is expected of you, to get the best results from online dating.

Breaking up is the end of the road and is difficult for both parties. Nothing in life is guaranteed, but the more groundwork you put in beforehand could possibly delay the inevitable indefinitely.

Does your dating profile bite?

Dating survey provides profile hints you can’t ig-gnaw

What do you consider to be your best feature? And how do you portray that to the masses viewing your dating site profile?

Eagerly awaited survey results from one of the leading global dating sites have now been published revealing what over 30,000 of its members regard as key aspects, and timewasters, when it comes to getting your dating profile ‘just so’.

It can be agonising, getting your profile to mirror you in a way that appeals to would be online dating partners, especially if it’s the first time you’ve had a craic at it. You’ve accepted the invitation to ‘browse your matches for free’, drank in every word dripping from the glitzy, well crafted profiles that, to borrow a one-liner from Sid Waddell (get well, soon, son!), have your “eyes bulging like the belly of a hungry chaffinch” and now you have to spin a piece of artistry to entice them to start, at the very least, discourse in an online relationship.

So what do you include, leave out and, let’s face it, make up to get that snowboarding buff young fellow from Newquay to even acknowledge that you exist, tucked up in the North of England nearby the afore-mentioned legend of darts commentary?

The results are in from the dating site community, and, in no particular order, are as follows:
A great profile picture is not as important as you may think, which vindicates the information in our earlier article ‘Pretty as your picture’ from earlier in the week, with only 4 out of 10 men stating that it’s the first thing they look for and 5 out of 10 women saying the same.

What is true of your chosen portfolio portrait again may not be so obvious to the layman.  For men, the most off-putting aspect of a lady’s dating site profile picture was one that looked as if it had been taken in a studio, specifically for the purpose of heading up their profile. Not only does such a photo look contrived, but it does not let any real personality shine through.

The women’s biggest chagrin was bad teeth, with 4 out of 10 citing that as their biggest turn off.  And both sexes agree that using a photo that has obviously had an ex chopped out of it is a definite no-no!

Location was another key factor when considering initiating an online relationship. For the thirty-somethings and above, approximately 8 out of 10 both male and female dating site members ruled out travelling over any great distance to build an off-screen relationship.

Another difference between the age-ranges was chat-up lines. If you’re targeting a potential partner who’s eligible for club 18-30, then 3 out of 10 of them will appreciate a classic, like ‘If I said you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?’, whereas anyone who’s been around a little longer will not be impressed if that’s your opening line.

So, in summary, guys, make sure you get those choppers checked regularly; gals, look natural to attract more suitors.

For the more mature dating crowd, drop the punch line and keep it local; for the younger singles looking for love online, a cheesy chat up line will have them coming from far and wide!

Happy hunting, folks – keep it real!

NYPD? DYP App polices dating prospects for you

With countless new dating sites eternally hitting the internet, it’s no surprise that security is a growing concern. The real worry, especially with many free dating site ventures that rely purely on advertising or sponsorship for revenue, is that countless new sign-ups are being allowed to register with appropriate scrutiny.

Following on from the beta launch of the tru.ly app in the US, which double-checks new singles dating site registrations against governmental records, there is yet another security-conscious app, this time which can check a potential date’s criminal records.

Available for both iPhones and Android devices, the new instantly-downloadable application, called the ‘Docket in Your Pocket’ is currently available only in Pennsylvania.  However, it may well catch on quickly across the internet dating global community.

For a one-time price of $2.99, once installed the app searches through over 32 million court records, stretching back to the start of this millenium. Few crimes are exempt, which is good news for the dating community at large. If a potential date has commited a jaywalking offence, that may even be considered an ice-breaker after striking up your online relationship.

However, if the crime is as serious as robbery, or even rape, for the sake of $2.99, this application could be one of the best investmants for the online dating community in a long while. And it may be worth getting now, as the cost to keep the records up-to-date as it deletes older records to make way for the latest week’s new ones is running at around $600. This may mean that for future downloads, a subscription may be required in order to make it profitable for the creator.

Matt Haindfield, who developed the application affectionately christened the ‘DYP’, did so after drawing up blanks for every platform available to mobile devices for researching criminal records.

Mr Haindfield, a lawyer from Iowa, was looking into the dubious criminal past of a witness but could find nothing whatsoever available; subsequently, he has no qualms about the legitimacy or moral debate about the records which many online dating services could eventually endorse.

It is Mr Haindfield’s reasoning that, as these records are held by the state, ownership transfers to the public, because people’s taxes fund that state.

The one concern that has been raised, however, is the possible impact this device can have on existing relationships, on- or off-line, or in the workplace. It is quite possible to see how, ‘for a laugh’, a group of workmates or friends could put their names through this app. If one of the group has a record that they have worked hard to leave in the past, it may lead to them being ostracised for something that is irrelevant to the person they are now.

But, for the purposes of online dating, it is nothing but a plus – prevention, as they say, is better thn cure.

A free date for your diary?

Very rarely, these days, do we get offered a little something for nothing, especially on the internet. So, when we encounter a free dating site, we are guarded before we even begin perusing potential partners, keenly awaiting us behind possibly dubious profiles.

Okay, that’s maybe harsh.

To paraphrase even more cliches in the love-seekers handbook, there are exceptions to every online dating rule and you will find the odd diamond or two in the rough.

However, singles dating sites that do not charge a membership or sign-up fee are reliant upon sponsorship and advertising fees alone for their revenue. With a site-owner who has a knack for web-design, this may not be immediately noticeable, front-of-house.

Where you may notice a difference to paid membership sites, however, is in a lack of real-time admin or long-term support. This could range from individual requests being answered to the potentially more dangerous ommission of site-owners corroborating its members dating profiles.

Another important factor to keep in mind, when deciding where to start looking for love on line, is the type of relationship you’re expecting to find. Should you be looking for serious, long-term commitment, perhaps free dating sites aren’t the best place to start.

From the female point of view, if your prospective dating material is unprepared or unable to pay for the priviledge of meeting you, that in itself may raise questions about his calibre, attitude or financial standing. From the male prospective, what self-respecting woman wouldn’t dip into her purse to attract a higher class of gent than the fellow outlined above?

The exception to the rule is if you are completely new to website matchmaking services; in which case, free personals chat-rooms and forums are great places to get the hang of online dating and to get the low-down of the service you’re using.

And again, if you’re only after a casual online relationship, then free sites should suffice. More recently, they have become one of the more fashionable ways to get to know the opposite sex.

In all seriousness, though, if you do arrange to meet up with a member of a free dating site, and you have the slightest suspicion about their online credentials, do suggest that the first few dates are supervised or in close proximation to your regular stomping grounds. If there is nothing malicious about the intentions of your date, they will raise no objections, whatsoever.

Good luck – I hope your diamond doesn’t have too many rough edges!