Tongue-tied and twisted? Plan your date outside the box

There are occasions when the effortless speech that flows freely from fingers on dating sites deserts even the most seasoned singles when it comes to dating in real life. A few changes in thought concepts and a bit of indirect practise could bring you to life on that first date when otherwise, for all the world, you look like you’re waiting for the ventriloquist’s hand to work its magic.

If you don’t have a lot of success dating it may not be down to all of the things you beat yourself up about after the event. Being sociable is a skill that only gets honed with practise. If you’ve met another single on your dating site and you know you ‘don’t get out much’, do something about it. Look to see what your friends are up to, get down to the café or bar just to get used to being in a social environment and participate.

People who spend a lot of time online dating and don’t have a great deal of success on their first date tend to read a lot about how to make dating a success (Et voilà – bon soir!). My guess is that, next to the laptop is a note book with about 200 bullet points that you believe you need to get through on your first date, if you’ve taken all of the online advice to heart.

Yes, the first date is about finding out about your potential partner but it is not an inquisition. Don’t forget, they want to find out about you, too. Don’t feel like you’re putting them under pressure – you’ll not only have them leaving for the exit, but that (hopefully) school ma’am inquisitor is not who you really are, is it? Get a general overview of what you want to find out, get the deal-breakers out of the way (date two is pointless, otherwise) and then just let the rest of it flow.

When the time does come around for you to impart a little of who you are, don’t be shy! Honesty is the best policy and if there’s stuff you like doing, let your partner know about it. But not heavy, personal information. That will have to wait until the relationship can support it and will have your partner making excuses if you lay it down too thickly on the first date. And that definitely includes exes!

Whilst you’ve been reading about other’s successes dating, you will no doubt have taken in several accounts of singles who have been remarkably proficient and go on first dates time and again, just because they love doing it. Whatever you do, do not start trying to measure up to those standards. Flirtatious people attract that lifestyle and it comes naturally to them. It comes back to what you want from the date, no one else.

Plan ahead, too. Choose an activity and location that’s a little off-beat. Off beat, not off the beaten track! Yes, make it quirky, that will be an ice breaker in itself. But stay close to where you’re familiar for the first few dates until you’re sure your partner’s trustworthy and, for safety’s sake, don’t invite them home for the same reasons until you’re absolutely sure of their integrity. Now, go get ’em, tiger. And let your heart do the talking!

Don’t let your guard down online dating

We pick up from whence we left off with “Steps to avoid being scammed dating online” with a few keen tips from one observer @ BBB, then I’ll relate to you exactly the type of communication you may get on your dating site when you first sign up.

Initially the messages will be from someone who seems kind, loving and genuinely wants to build up a long term relationship, but those promises of love ever after will soon turn to tales of woe or golden opportunities – all designed as levers to get you to send your money to them, which will go straight into the bank account of an organised gang of swindlers who prey on ‘green’ dating site members, usually in Nigeria or other parts of North Africa.

If you are determined to send someone money because you’re absolutely certain that their cry for help is genuine, insist on a face-to-face meeting directly. As with anyone you meet for the first few times on dating sites, always make that in a very public place, in broad daylight and somewhere you can get home easily without relying on them to ‘see you home’. If they’re who they say they are and their plight is real, they will turn up. If they use distance as an excuse, offer to buy their travel tickets for them and you can send them on. Never give them the money to make their own arrangements to come see you.

And if they still get around you that way (they are very plausible and persuasive and know exactly where your heart strings lie and can exert pressure that would have them high-ranking in The Spanish Inquisition) never choose a wire service to send the cash. Wire transfers are almost totally untraceable and offer you no cover whatsoever if (when) your mystery date doesn’t show. At least with a credit card, you have insurance up to a point, though whether being duped on a dating site is covered, I very much doubt. It is this simple: never give money to someone you’ve met on a dating site!

And this last one goes without saying for any walk of life, but you’d be surprised at what information people are persuaded to relinquish about themselves when their guard is down. Bank account numbers, passwords, national insurance numbers, addresses – keep them to yourself. You’ve heard the stories about identity theft, right?

Even if you think giving the password to your dating site is an innocuous act, trained hackers can access all sorts of information about you even if they have just one way in. For ease, people tend to adopt a ‘one password fits all‘ mentality; with the amount of separate accounts users of the Internet sign up for, it’s only a matter of time before they find the one that leads to your bank account or credit card. It’s called personal information for a reason.

Guys, I’m all out of time for my tale of being approached by a scammer – first article tomorrow, promise. Stay safe and be lucky in love. x