Update on Dating Sites and an Old School Breakup

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There are dating sites and apps that I like (tolerate may be a better word), ones I used to like but now can’t stand, and sites that never worked for me (so I don’t like them).

Let’s review while munching on pasta primavera with grilled veggies.

OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB) are now in my “can’t stand” category. The reason? They are both overrun with catfishers and scammers. These sites worked for me when I first used them. I even had one of my 3-month relationships with a guy I met on OkCupid. But over time I noticed an increase in members with false or stolen profiles. It got to the point where almost no one I matched with on OkCupid was genuine. I’m not sure why this site above all others contains so many scammers (at least in my dating pool). Perhaps the idea of a free dating venue appeals to guys with less than honorable intentions.

Free may also be the problem with Coffee Meets Bagel. I miss my daily bagel from CMB but more often than not that bagel was bad. It must be a common problem since a number of people find their way to this blog by searching for Coffee Meets Bagel scammers.

I deleted both OkCupid and Coffee Meets Bagel and now spend less time deleting dishonorable daters and more time on general whining about dating.

An abundance of catfishers is not the only reason to dislike a dating site or app. EHarmony was not my cup of tea, coffee, or glass of wine. After filling out the endless Meyers-Briggs-like questionnaire, I ended up with a pool of boring and geographically incompatible matches. And the inability to search for matches on my own felt very paternalistic (though Coffee Meets Bagel also prohibits searching of members’ profiles).

JDate is another site that never worked for me – and I tried it twice. I wasn’t attracted to anyone in my dating pool. It might be worth trying JDate again since new people are always joining dating sites.  Unless a site is poorly constructed, I will usually consider a second or third membership in a site.

Our Time is now on my “good” list after an unsuccessful first round 18 months ago. I classify a site as good if there are a reasonable number of appealing matches who reach out to me or respond to my outreach and I actually go on dates with some of them.

I like OurTime despite a recent “old school” breakup with a match — if you can call it a breakup after two dates. I’m still confused by it and that’s not atypical in the online dating world. You may never know the real reason why someone doesn’t want to see you again. In this case, at least the man gets points for phoning me to tell me he didn’t think we were a “fit.” The only reason he actually cited was the 1-hour geographic distance between our homes. I was surprised by the break-up – first of all because he had the decency to phone me but also since he appeared to be fairly smitten. Perhaps I’ll probe this interaction more in a future post…and after I have completed a wonderful online class on how to be a human lie detector.

My other go-to dating staples at the moment are Zoosk, Plenty of Fish, Match, and Bumble.

I’m less enthusiastic about Tinder, JSwipe, Hinge, and Fitness Singles but hold out hope that one of these venues might be worthwhile. The Clover app, on the other hand, is almost worthless as a source of reasonable matches and I’ll probably delete it soon.

You may think I’m on too many dating sites/apps. However, I look at online dating as a numbers game and the more times I present myself to eligible men, the more likely I’ll find Mr. Right. In the meantime, I’m also putting myself in “real life” situations and activities that not only interest me but also have the potential to expand my romantic horizons.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Dating Sites & Apps: The New Old and the New New

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Some days it’s hard not to be discouraged by online dating. It helps when the old dating sites and apps offer new tweaks to their services – or new products are launched.

Join me in some bone-building rainbow trout with garlicky yogurt and kale while I review the latest updates and inventions.

Match didn’t send me a heads up about their latest App improvement (not available on the computer version). I discovered this refinement accidentally when viewing a profile on my phone.

At the top of the screen, under my match’s picture, was an “activity meter” and message to “View MatchIQ.”

Match activity meter front page

When I clicked on it, I was presented with the percentage match of my target and the age of my competition. Sample: “You’re the same age as the girls he usually talks to.” I like having this information and it gives me incentive to proactively message someone.MATCH ACTIV meter you're same age

The next screen provides additional information on the matches your fellow responds to. See below.

Match activ meter interests of matches

I like this feature as well and I can imagine that if I really liked someone, I might update my profile to include additional interests (as long as they really are my interests).

The activity meter shows how active a match is:

Match how active is he

And how often he responds:

 

Match activ meter response level

The update also suggests ice-breakers (mostly lame: e.g., how do you feel about decaf coffee drinkers?) and tips and tricks to help you.

I’ll share an observation based on my viewing of one man’s activity meter. Mr. M is 60 years old and, according to his activity meter, talks to women in their early 60s. Yet, his profile says he is seeking women age 29 to 45. I don’t know if this means he’s happy to email “boomer age” women but will not consider meeting women in this age group. Perhaps I should write to him and see what happens. I share many of his interests and don’t need to revise my profile. Stay tuned for any worthwhile updates.

Tinder’s latest wrinkle is a feature called Tinder Social. Once you “unlock” Tinder Social, you’ll see Facebook friends who have also unlocked it and they will see you. You can then invite 1, 2, or 3 friends to go out. Your group will then appear as a choice when men are swiping in search of dates. One person from each “going out” group has to say yes to the other multi-person match. Then you can message each other and make plans.

When you unlock the feature, you will see groups even if you haven’t yet formed one yourself. I guess there’s no reason you couldn’t say “yes” to a group and then invite some other non-Tinder friends along.

To date, I have been presented with several groups of friends – some mixed sex and some mixed ages. This reminds me of group dates in high school. Perhaps Tinder management hopes Tinder Social will help to change public perception of the app as a hook-up vehicle. As the Tinder blog says, ”Often your best nights are when you’re hanging with friends, someone makes an unexpected connection with someone in another crew. Maybe you spark a romantic connection. Maybe you make new friends. Either way a good night out with your friends becomes something better.”

Coffeemeetsbagel has a new ladies choice way of operating. Women used to receive a “bagel” at noon (provided the CMB gods found you a bagel). You and your bagel then indicated whether you liked each other. If there was a mutual like, you were “connected” and could chat. With ladies choice, women are presented with bagels who already liked them. So, there’s no waiting and wondering. CMB wrote me about the new feature: “This is #LadiesChoice. You’ll only see a curated list of Bagels who already liked you. No more endless swiping. No more dating games. You have the final say on who gets to start a conversation with you.”   Highly doubtful this will be the end of dating games. On a positive note, CMB is morphing into a Bumble-like app where it’s up to women to initiate the conversation.

And now for something completely new: Lovenotes and Bernie A.I.

Lovenotes matches you with people who share similar music preferences and vocal characteristics. As a music lover, I like the idea of a music-themed dating app. I’m on Tastebuds but it’s not just for dating and hasn’t brought me much luck.

Love notes

I decided to sign up for Lovenotes since this blog encourages me to be an early adopter. Like many of the dating apps, Lovenotes draws your basic public information and photos from Facebook. I was asked to pick a song that best describes me and to select 5 other “favorite” songs. My next task was to record several voice notes with my phone. In addition to recording some random phrases, there is a free choice recording. I found the recording process easy technically but otherwise challenging. I felt like I sounded forced and stupid but it’s an awkward situation. Fortunately, you can delete and re-record ad infinitum.

You also write a very short bio and set the usual age and distance filters. Once all this is done, Lovenotes provides a “science-y” algorithm based on musical preferences and vocal characteristics. When you get your matches, it’s up to you to say yes or no. If someone likes you back, then there’s a “connection” and you can start talking.

I’ve been on Lovenotes 24 hours and received one match who is 32 years old. That’s likely a function of the app being new with few members in my age category.

Lovenotes, like Bernie A.I. (see next), is proud of its science base and for the edification of its users, the website offers links to 19 studies on various aspects of voice, music, and attraction.

Bernie A.I. for artificial intelligence is still in a public beta testing mode. Billed by its developers as “your personal matchmaking assistant,” Bernie learns your type and does the work for you. It finds your matches on dating sites and apps you belong to, swipes for you, and even messages your matches with customizable introductions that you write. Once you sign up through Facebook, you make 60 yes/no choices to photos to teach Bernie who you find attractive. There’s also an anti-spam feature, per the Bernie A.I. website, that detects spammers and automatically reports them.

I didn’t sign up for Bernie A.I. yet. I have to think about whether I want big brother Bernie sending introductions for me (even if they’re based on what I write). I know some dating coaches do this but where does the farming out end? I’m certainly not going to farm out the cuddling.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Serendipity, Tiny Things, and Facebook

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I’m a big believer in serendipity — something good like a meet-cute happening by chance. It comes with the hopeless romantic territory of my mind. I love every movie that explores the issue of serendipity, including its namesake film.

Serendipity relates to my theory of tiny things making big differences. Am I confusing you? Eat something before you faint and all will become clear.

Here’s what got me thinking about this issue. In my quest to say yes to fun and to “get out there,” I recently went to a jazz concert with a gal pal. We learned about this concert from a DC jazz events newsletter.

After the concert, we approached the newsletter writer (let’s call him Mr. B) and had a nice chat. He introduced us to the singer and star of the show. Mr. B’s love of the genre makes him a one-man jazz PR machine and he seems to know everyone connected with music in the DC metropolitan area.

When it was time to leave, Mr. B suggested I friend him on Facebook.   (No, he’s married; this is not where I’m going with this.)

It’s time to think of Facebook in a new way. Many dating apps such as Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel use Facebook friends and the connections of Facebook friends as the fodder for your potential matches. These Facebook connections make up a good number of the guys or gals you will be asked to swipe or select.

A new Facebook friend becomes not only a social media connection but also the possible entrée to the love of your life. When I was married and later when I was newly single, I didn’t devote much time or energy to Facebook. Now, not only do I care about this blog’s Facebook page but I also care about my personal Facebook page. The reasons are two-fold – to stay in touch with real life and potential real life friends AND to open the door to more matches.

After I got home from the concert, I sent a friend request to Mr. B. He accepted a couple of hours later. The next day, when I went on Tinder, Bumble, and Coffee Meets Bagel, I was pleased to see a bigger than usual crop of matches (many with a connection to Mr. B.)

I matched on Tinder with the head of a high school music program. We haven’t messaged each other yet…but that’s par for the course.

The key take away from this post is that a new Facebook friend can indirectly –through dating apps — open up your dating possibilities. Facebook can also be a direct link to love. You may have heard about people who have connected on Facebook and found new or renewed romance.

No, Mark Zuckerberg did not pay me to write this blog post. But if you are on Facebook-based dating apps, be more proactive about acquiring new Facebook friends (reach out to your real life friends) – even if you never post updates or look at your newsfeed. It’s a tiny thing but it could make a big difference in your dating life.

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Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia