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Karin Anderson and Beth Roberts on Dating Online
Karin Anderson and Beth Roberts know a thing or two about online dating, to say the least. They are Los Angeles-based, online dating coaches and founders of Finding Your Mate Online!, an online coaching service, as well as authors of Finding Your Mate Online: No Fear, No Embarrassment, Just Love! The duo also both met their Mr. Rights online. They share their refreshing, insightful and upbeat approach to dating online.
How can you increase your chances of finding Mr. or Ms. Right among so many online dating profiles?
Anderson: Whether you post your own ad on a dating web site or look through the ads posted by others, you’ll want to make sure you carefully review and screen before responding or reaching out to anyone. We created the Secret Screener, a helpful tool that allows our clients simply and easily to increase their chances of finding the right one. It helps you compose your first email in a subtle way to get answers to the top-five questions—your deal breakers—before you spend more time on a potential match. This isn’t the time to think about minor details like hair color or type of car. Focus on hot-button issues such as whether someone is divorced, whether they have or want kids; whether they’re religious, and if so, what religion; how they handle their finances; or their level of education.
We also recommend attaching a recent photo of yourself to your Secret Screener email, showing you doing an activity that you’re passionate about, and requesting a similar photo back. In addition to getting more information about your potential mate, this will ensure you have at least one recent photo to review. Don’t worry about coming up with something clever to say each time you send a first email. With the Secret Screener, it‘s fine to use the same basic reply, provided you tweak it as necessary.
How can people visualize success during the first 30 days of online dating?
Roberts: People always ask us, “how’d you find such great men online?” To be honest, the reason we had such success meeting great mates right in our own backyards was because of our wish lists. For beginning online daters, the first assignment we give is to create three wish lists:
Wish List #1: About the Ads
Go to an online dating site—most will give you either a free introductory period or a limited free search of ads on their site. Spend some time checking them out. Don’t limit yourself either to the women’s ads or the men’s ads—visit both. Look at and take notes on key words, tone, pictures and key phrases that you think are representative of what you’d like to put in your own ad.
Wish List #2: About Me
After you take some time thinking about how you want your ad to sound, you need to think about what you want your ad to say. From your About-the-Ads Wish List you’ve got the tone, some key words, some idea of what you like and what you don’t like… Now, think about what best describes you and what do you have to offer?
Wish List #3: About My Future Mate
In addition to examining your past patterns and what you have to offer to someone else, you need to think about what you want someone to offer you. This requires you to spend some time thinking about what you want, what’s worked in the past, what has failed in the past and what you want in the future.
Wish lists help you prepare to create your ad and make you focus so that you provide honest answers about what you are looking for in a mate and—just as important—about what you have to offer to a partner.
Safety is a big concern for many online daters. How can they be safe about meeting prospective matches?
Roberts: Follow these five safety tips:
- Listen to your instincts. Never go out with someone if something just doesn’t seem right. Through several weeks of emails, you should be able to verify at least their work phone number. If those emails create doubt or suspicion, take control. Don’t be too embarrassed to do what you know is right—simply reply via email that you’ve changed your mind about meeting and delete future emails and/or block that person’s email address from future contact. A simple email reply will do: “Thanks, but I don’t think we’re a match after all. Good luck with your search.”
- Keep your personal info—phone number, screen name, etc., private. Until you’ve gotten to know them better you’ll want to make sure you maintain some form of anonymity. If you call from your home and/or cell phone, make sure your number is blocked and refuses all blocked calls. Test it out with a friend. Some web sites allow you to make calls through their service, or you can even talk via your computer with services like Skype so you never have to reveal your phone number.
- Always meet in a public place. You already knew this one, right? It’s the age-old advice. If you’re meeting a stranger, meet in a public place. It’s just common sense to meet somewhere where other people will be. Don’t ever agree to go to an isolated location on your first date, or beyond, until you really know and can trust them. It’s easy enough to say something like: “I do love hiking but I’d be more comfortable meeting our first time for a latte at a coffee shop.”
- Arrange your own transportation. This is another favorite safety measure that’s been around for a long time. We’ve all seen the videos—never accept a ride from a stranger—no matter how charming the emails have been. And again, no sense revealing where you live until you’re sure you’re ready to share that information. Whether you drive your own car or take public transportation or a friend drops you off, take your own transportation to and from the date. Here’s a handy excuse: “Yes, it would make more sense to take one car. But I promised to drop off some files to a co-worker afterwards and they’re expecting me. Maybe next time.”
- Let your date know that you’re safety-conscious. Don’t be shy about letting your date know that you’re taking precautions. Your date should appreciate your common sense. If not, then perhaps he or she is not for you. Always let your date know that you’ve told someone where you are and who you’re with: “Danny, I left our names and the number of this restaurant with my [sister/assistant/office] in case of an emergency, so I can be polite and turn my cell phone off.”
What are the best ways to keep things in perspective during the first 30 days of dating online?
Roberts: Approach online dating the same way you would approach searching for a new job. Think back to your last job search. First you thought about what kind of job you were looking for, then you thought about what experience you had that made you a qualified candidate for that job. You targeted specific employers, and either created a resume or updated your existing resume to make yourself most attractive to those potential employers. You showed your resume to friends and asked their opinions or suggestions. Then you sent out your job applications, and followed up with phone calls while you waited to hear back. If you got rejections, you took a beat, sat down, and went through the whole process again until you got that job offer for your perfect job. That’s exactly the way to approach online dating. Take it seriously, work hard at it and persevere. Remember, all good things are worth waiting for.
How can people keep from getting discouraged if they don’t quickly find success with online dating?
Anderson: When you find yourself getting discouraged, take a breath. You may choose to step back for a day, a month or a year but you’ll come back to your original task with a new outlook. After a horrible break-up, I decided to “take a break” from all dating at age 36 and spend a year on self-improvement and just having fun. You should feel no pressure to find a mate. At age 37, I discovered online dating and knew it was exactly what I was looking for.
What is the belief you personally go to during times of change?
Anderson: My father taught me “the successful people are willing to do what the unsuccessful are unwilling to do.” That phrase constantly pops into my head as an entrepreneur, landlord, adventurer and successful online dater.
Roberts: Change will change. Sometimes change can be very exciting, and sometimes it pushes me out of my comfort zone. I force myself to see past the immediate and try to get perspective. With that balance, I can either make other decisions to institute more change for whatever is currently not working, or enjoy the moment when it is.
The best thing about change is...
Anderson: …viewing it through the rear-view mirror. When I look back at my life, my greatest achievements—meeting my husband, embarking on my sailing adventures, following my career passions, etc.—involved a lot of uncomfortable and unsettling change. Change requires minor discomfort for maximum pleasure.
Roberts: …it provides opportunities you might otherwise not have. My father changed jobs several times as I was growing up—he was promoted, he was transferred and even downsized. I found that having lived through so much change when I was younger taught me to appreciate, and look forward to change and the opportunities and learning it brings.
What is the best change you have ever made?
Anderson: Without a doubt, creating a plan to find love rather than waiting around for it to find me.
Roberts: I agree with Karin. More than nine years ago I had just turned 40. I worked hard establishing my new career in entertainment. (I’d been a New York real-estate attorney right out of law school.) I no longer went to clubs or bars to meet men. My friends were all married and their single male friends had been heavily picked over. As I watched my dating opportunities become virtually nonexistent, I embraced change, and went online to find my mate. That decision to be proactive changed my life. My husband, Warren, and I will celebrate our seventh wedding anniversary on New Year’s Day.
For more information on Karin Anderson and Beth Roberts, visit www.findingyourmateonline.com.