To Volley or Not

blog pix to volley

What does it mean when a match you are communicating with on a dating site or app doesn’t volley with you? You drive the conversation and end up wondering if the guy is uninterested, only mildly interested, deficient in communication skills, or simply narcissistic.

Have some of Analida’s Ethnic Spoon gluten-free Authentic Brazilian Cheese Bread while we explore this topic.

My dance card is filled with “bad volleying” experiences including Mr. M, a Tinder match from a few months ago. He opened with “Hey there” and let me ask all of the questions. I called him out when I got fed up with his one sided approach.  As expected, he unmatched me after I blew off some steam:

blox pix opener

And as it sometimes happens, I matched with Mr. M again on Tinder a couple of weeks ago. At first, I didn’t realize it was the same man. After you have been doing this awhile, you get profile overload syndrome and start to lose track of virtual encounters. However, a few texts in I realized I was dealing with Mr. M (he obviously forgot he unmatched me) and found our original conversation in my screenshot diary.

His opening for round 2 was similar to round 1 with an added creative bonus of “How is your day going?” At least he asked me something – even if it was formulaic. Perhaps I had an influence on his behavior. As our chatting progressed, he appeared interested and asked questions about me that related to the topics we were discussing. We were having fun and flirty banter!

When I suggested to Mr. M that one of our topics might warrant a verbal discussion, he sent his phone number. However, instead of a phone call, we continued via text. From what I could tell, he worked extraordinary hours. This might have broken our not yet realized deal. However, I wanted a chance for an in person meeting. That was not to be, however, since he suddenly stopped responding. You have heard this before.

I wondered if I had somehow offended him (always a danger when engaging in banter that can veer toward sarcasm). When I realized it had been 5 days since his last text, I unmatched him on Tinder. Of course Mr. M still had my number and he could have reached out and asked for an explanation. But he didn’t.

I then revisited all of our communications to reevaluate the flirtation and what may have been weirdness and not flirty banter. Case in point: When I asked him for his age and height, he sent me every conceivable measurement a tailor might need, extraneous details such as the fact that he had no piercings, and other unusual facts. Judge for yourself:

blox pix sizing detail

blog pix sizing detail 2

At first I thought this was weird, then I wondered if he was being funny. Now, I’ll never know. Yes, I may be too lenient…but I try to give people a chance.

In another “volley” situation, I initiated a conversation with a guy on Match; he wrote back but didn’t ask anything about me. Not wanting to waste time, I pointed out that sometimes it’s hard to tell after one online dating exchange whether someone is really interested in communicating or is just being polite (yes, I know – most people don’t bother responding if they’re not interested…but some do). He wrote back to say he was interested and hoped to meet in person at some point. He expanded on his profile…but he didn’t ask me anything.

I replied. He hasn’t responded though he’s been online (a very common and frustrating aspect to online dating). Men are online and read your message but don’t respond promptly or ever.) App-less April may come a month earlier for me since I am losing patience with the online dating business.  I’m not losing hope yet: I have a meet-cute IRL opportunity coming up.  Stay tuned for details.

What has been your experience with “matches” who don’t volley initially or ever? Are there some people who can carry on a conversation in person but lose this skill when online? Who else is ready for an early App-less April?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

The Top 10 Life Skills You Develop When Dating

blog pix Feb 25 2018

Do you sometimes think that the hours you spend on dating and related activities are a huge waste of time? This question assumes you haven’t met “the one,” which, of course, would justify your efforts. But if you feel more frustrated than fulfilled, it might be helpful to look at the dating process as a way to build key life skills.

Chow down on some fish tacos while I share the top 10 life skills you develop when living a dating lifestyle:

*Writing and editing. If you are serious about online dating and pay attention to the dating gurus, you will get lots of practice writing, editing, and rewriting your profile as you strive to freshen your bio and “about” sections. You’ll practice your “writing tight” skills, always valuable in the working world.

*Researching and sleuthing. Whether you meet someone online or IRL, there is often a need to do a little research to ensure your safety and verify Mr. X’s identity and marital status. Over time, and particularly if you read this blog for tips, you will develop impressive research and sleuthing skills. You will soon be able to quickly determine such things as a guy’s relationship status, last name, and potentially his political party. I urge you not to over research – just find out enough to safely proceed.

*Technology skills. The more you use phones, apps, tablets, and laptops the more you increase your technology skills. Messaging, texting, loading photos and profiles – all add to your abilities to function in today’s world.

*Critical thinking. What do you want in a partner? What personality traits does your ideal partner have? What are your relationship deal breakers and makers? Deep reflection on these questions will improve your critical thinking skills.

*Resilience. Ghosted? Bread crumbed? Broken up? Endless swiping with no dates? All of these experiences build resilience – a valuable life skill.

*Listening to your gut. The longer you date, the more you will learn to trust your gut. It’s a helpful barometer of your feelings, the suitability of your partner, the safety of a situation, and the health of your relationship. Once you learn to trust your gut, you will rely on it for help with friendships, family relationships, and professional situations.

*Speaking and reading body language. With all of the people interaction you’re getting, you will become more adept at reading a guy’s body language. You can apply this skill to reading your boss, your co-worker, and your cousin.

*Developing your sense of humor. You’ll get lots of practice laughing hysterically at dating profiles and photos…from pictures taken in hospital beds (I kid you not) or depressing looking gym bathrooms to profiles written at the 3rd grade level. 

*Fitness. So you want to rock that LBD or LRD? In fact you just want to fit into anything “little.” If so, dating will encourage you to be your fittest self. Exercise is good for you – no matter what your motivation. A fit person can cope better with daily and dating stress.

*Multi-tasking. Swiping while having breakfast? Editing your profile in between taking Spanish quizzes on the Babbel app? Choosing a new photo while searching for a photo for a new blog post? All of these tasks build strength in multi-tasking, one of the most important skills – unless you believe it’s counterproductive to “being in the moment.”

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

When Standing Someone Up is Fair Play

blog pix Feb 18

As much as I hate the idea of standing someone up on a date, I wish I had “stood up” a recent Plenty of Fish (POF) match instead of cancelling our planned meeting. It would have been a fitting response to his subterfuge.

Curious about yet another example of #ShittyMaleBehavior? Join me in some spaghetti squash shrimp scampi while I recount this tale.

If you’re on POF, you know the drill. You scroll through the Meet Me feature and say yes or no to an individual based on photos and profile. Sometimes you want to meet someone who doesn’t return the desire and vice versa.

Mr. M and I had a mutual match. I almost didn’t say yes to him. His profile said he was in the area for a couple of years — on “loan” from his university while engaged in work in the DC area. I worried about the possible lack of long term potential but decided to go for it. My philosophy is to be open as much as possible. Anything can happen and someone’s plans can change for the right person.

I liked his profile, which mentioned he had been widowed for 3 years and missed having a companion.

I assumed Mr. M was likely relatively new to online dating. He sent a nice, personalized message to me through the site and asked if I was free this weekend to see if we had chemistry. I always like when a man suggests an in person meeting soon after matching.

I told him I was booked until Monday and we had a little back and forth on venue and time. His car was back in his home state and he relied on metro and Lyft or Uber for transportation. I didn’t like the idea of dating someone without a car. It puts a greater transport burden on me and dammit I like to be picked up when I’m comfortable sharing my home address with someone. Anyway, once again I decided to be open to a less than perfect situation and suggested a venue convenient to metro.

When we had a solid plan, I let Mr. M know that I like to exchange cell numbers after agreeing to meet someone. I didn’t share mine at that point since a major goal was to search his number to ensure my security and verify his identity.

Mr. M sent his number and said he was excited to meet me. A straight Google search turned up nothing. However, searching his phone number in the Facebook search box pulled his profile up. All the basic details in his profile were confirmed. But there were recent photos of him with a woman and comments from friends implied they were in a relationship. When I went to the woman’s profile, I saw photos of the lovely Valentine’s Day bouquet Mr. M gave her. There was lots of evidence of their relationship, including her comment that she’s so lucky to have the love of Mr. M.

Insert random swear words – all will work. My disappointment was matched by my compassion for this lovely, accomplished woman who did not know what her partner was up to some 600 miles away.

Here’s what I wrote to Mr. M:

I’m going to have to cancel our meeting. It appears you are in a relationship. Most women who are online will “research” a potential date to ensure safety (as much as possible) and avoid someone who misrepresents their status. Perhaps you are in an open relationship and if that is the case you should state it in your profile.

On reflection, this was too nice of a message. And it was later when I was recounting the story to my son that I realized I should have let Mr. M make the hour trek on 2 subway lines to meet me tomorrow night, although I would not have shown up.

After I saw that Mr. M read my message, I blocked him. All traces of Mr. M are now gone except for the screen shots I took of his profile. They live on in the cloud with all of the other misbehaving men in my photo gallery.

Cue It’s Only a Paper Moon, Bill Charlap — Live at the Village Vanguard. It’s a good soundtrack for a disappointing post Valentine’s Day non-date.

Takeaway messages for my reader daters: Type someone’s cell number into Facebook to check them out. Consider standing up a guy who has behaved badly. He deserves it.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Your Online Self

blog pix online self

I was in the middle of reading Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (With the help of 50,000 Strangers) when a section on the online persona spoke to me.

Sit a spell while having a bowl of this curried lentil, tomato, and coconut soup and let’s discuss.

If you have carried on a long virtual conversation with someone you haven’t met – whether via a dating site, Facebook, or another social media avenue – you will likely recognize the disconnect that can happen if you meet that person in real life.

As Daniel Jones, the author of Love Illuminated and editor of the New York Times’ Modern Love column, explains it, a lot of people have one voice in writing and another voice in person. The problem with the author persona, writes Jones, “is that this persona is just a part of us, not all of us. And in some ways it may actually be the opposite of who we are in person.”

Similarly, think of the people who post so much on Facebook or Instagram that you think they are ALWAYS partying, out with friends, embarked on some kind of adventure. In reality, they may lead a quieter life.

You can be a more confident, assertive, flirty person online but that may not carry over to your “real life” self. And, says Jones in his book, “…the deeper we get with someone in an online-only relationship, the more we get tricked into believing our online persona is the real us.”

I would add that over time we also develop a greater belief that the other person is the real him or her.   Even a phone persona, although closer to someone’s true self, is not exactly the same as a real life flesh and blood person with body language.

Jones’ description reminds me of the times I carried on long and wonderful virtual exchanges. I was so disappointed to find that the witty, flirty man I’d exchanged dozens of messages with was in fact a figment of both of our imaginations.

Lesson learned. Now I don’t let written communication go on very long. I want to see if there’s chemistry and what the real life person is like. Also, meeting someone fairly soon after connecting online protects me from a tendency to jump too fast. With very little to go on, I can build a whole construct about a person and our possible relationship (if I was younger, I’d fantasize about the children we would have).

I will order up a caveat about the whole persona thing. Sometimes, people can manifest a similar personality both in writing and in real life. They can be charming virtually and when you’re sitting across from them at dinner.

If you find one of these, enjoy your good fortune.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Crazy and Not so Crazy Dating Trends in 2018

blogpix emoji

Catfishing, ghosting, breadcrumbing, benching, zombieing, cushioning, cuffing, uncuffing. AARGH! Are you tired of buzzwords for dating trends? It’s the same old shitty dating behavior with new terms that factor in the use of online dating sites and apps.

It’s time for some fresh words that capture the more idiosyncratic behavior one can find in today’s crazy dating world.

Join me in some roasted mushroom and vermouth risotto while I share the latest dating trends for 2018:

Emojiing: Excessive use of emojis in messages.

I’ve been guilty of this one. I deliberately stopped myself from using emojis in every message and now limit my use of these drawings to a maximum of 1 per text.

Bitmojiing: A variant in which the dater only uses bitmojis to communicate.

Mymamaing: A relationship in which the dater parents the other person excessively.

Example: Are you sure you want to order that dish? It’s so high in fat!

Truthing: Extreme truth behavior. No white lies in your dating profile or any conversation. Photos have bad lighting to highlight real flaws. In response to questions, you only respond with true answers even if it hurts you or your partner.

Example: You are attractive but look older than your dating photos.

Trumping: His dating profile is curiously silent about politics. However, on a first phone call, he discusses Trump at length. On a first date (you agree to this against your better judgment), he extols the virtues of his favorite president. You’ve been Trumped. There is no second date.

Meetupping: Joining meet-ups for the sole purpose of making romantic connections. Wait, that’s already happening and it could work.

Nomeetupping: In this trend, individuals have no intention of ever meeting their matches in real life. Pretending to want to date is a game for them.

Golfing: A man who obsesses about golf in his dating profile and during conversations. Deal breaker noted in his profile: A woman who doesn’t play golf. First date is golfing or getting a drink at a golf range while watching golf on a large screen TV. His wardrobe on first date: golf shirt, of course.

Neversleeping: An individual is ALWAYS online. You might pop in at any time of day or night to check your messages and you will find that this person is online.

Notreallysingle: He may be divorced from his wife but because of commitments to his young children, he cancels dates, is late to dates or, if you’re in a relationship with him, he has little time for you. He’s a good dad but misrepresented his availability. Tip: Consider age of a guy’s children when deciding if he would be a good fit for you.

iPhoneying: Your partner cannot detach from his or her phone. On all of your dates, the phone is that annoying third wheel—even when you’re in the bedroom.

#ConfusedAboutMeToo: Difficulty in distinguishing between sexual misconduct and harassment in the workplace and welcome and consensual sexual behavior in non-workplace dating situations. Both parties in a potential relationship agree to sign a notarized contract allowing the first kiss with subsequent contracts for additional moves.

Have you observed any other dating trends? Let me know!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

Does Online Dating Conversation Track with Real Life Talk?

blog pix jan 21 2018

Have you noticed the different trajectories of conversation with online matches? With some men, you might have instant flirting and witty banter. With others, the written conversation is methodical, as far from flirty banter as one could get.

I’m wondering if online conversation always tracks to what you experience when (if) you meet in real life.

Sit yourself down for some slow roasted salmon in parchment paper while we explore this topic.

I’m in a fairly methodical exchange right now. Do you remember Mr. K of “piña colada song” fame? Well, a week later, we haven’t progressed that far in our conversation. Summary: A little discussion about the song, favorite vacation spots, Mr. K’s bike ride with coffee and breakfast afterward (yes, indeed), and our respective music playlists.

The problem? I seem to be driving this conversation (think the call and response of the blues but no reciprocal call). I’m asking most of the questions. I decided to address this issue with Mr. K and give him an easy out. I didn’t want to waste my time and energy on something that seemed to be going nowhere.

Here’s our exchange  when I asked him what’s on his music playlist but he didn’t ask me what’s on mine. To my surprise, he wanted to stay in the game.

exchange with Mr K

Unfortunately, we’ve been emailing more than .5 minute. Mr. K gets a little slack because of working crazy hours as a government contractor and he acknowledged that’s the reason for a recent delayed response. However I have limited tolerance for a man my age who works like crazy and cannot balance work and a life.

Work aside; stay tuned for whether Mr. K and I actually meet and what our real life conversation might be like. I’m not too hopeful that we’ll have instant conversational chemistry but it’s not impossible either, since he appears to have a sense of humor.

What about the guys I have met in person? Has an exciting online conversation always been duplicated in person? Absolutely not. I recall one very flirty and fun exchange with a radio broadcaster. Sadly, when we met I felt zero attraction. Without chemistry, flirty banter is impossible.

If a guy goes right to the invite, we don’t have much of a written exchange. In some ways, this seems more “real” as if you met a man at a party and didn’t have the experience of exchanging emails or texts beforehand. In a “real life meeting” scenario, chemistry, personality, and perhaps luck determine a good conversation.

The opposite side of that is the guy who never goes for the invite – despite decent written exchanges. I had a recent online encounter with Mr. S who forgot that we had exchanged messages awhile back before he stopped responding. He reached out anew and we carried on for several days before he dropped out once again. No great loss since I did some sleuthing and found that his pictures were quite old and so was he.

I’m trying to think of a situation where the online or phone conversation was lackluster but the in person chatting was good or great. There was a musician and music teacher who didn’t wow with me witty written banter but in person he had some fascinating stories. It was interesting but not a two-way exchange.

And now, totally unrelated to actual conversation, I’ll leave you with an award winning (for narcissism) Tinder opening. Because women are feeling angry and fed up with men lately, I hope you get a vicarious satisfaction from my response to Mr. Narcissism.

Tinder blog pix jan 21

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Update your Profile: It’s Dating Sunday

blog pix 2 dating sunday

It’s Dating Sunday – the busiest dating day of the year, according to Match.com. And after a barrage of news articles and announcements about this holy day, I decided it’s time to rework my profile.

Let’s warm up with some perfect potato soup while we discuss.

Even if you’re a writer by trade, composing a dating profile can be difficult. It’s hard to know how potential matches will perceive your version of yourself. That’s one of the reasons frequent updates and rewrites are a good idea. A new version just might resonate with The One. And even good profiles and good photos start to look stale after awhile – particularly to the online regulars you keep seeing.

When revising your profile, there are certain principles to keep in mind. I’ve covered these in previous posts.

Every writer needs an editor: People tend to gloss over their own mistakes and it’s hard to be objective when you have birthed a baby profile. You wrote it so it must be lovable.

Distance can help keep you objective. I don’t mean you should read your profile from across the room but give it a few days or at least a few hours to reread and see if anything strikes you as off. It’s likely that a profile written a year ago will make you cringe. When I rewrote my last profile (sadly almost a year ago), I thought it was my best effort yet.

But when I reread it yesterday, I was more critical of what I once thought was charming prose. My red pencil was itching to strike out whole sections. I may have been influenced by a chapter on dating profiles in a compelling, hysterically funny, and painfully true memoir by Stella Grey (pseudonym) called Mid-Life Ex-Wife: A Diary of Divorce, Online Dating, and Second Chances .

Grey’s chapter, Trying to Write the Right Profile, offers readers a look at her original profile with comments written after she reread it months later. When I read this chapter, I realized that my latest and best profile with many activities and interests described might be overwhelming for some men. Not that I want to hide my uniqueness or interests – but sometimes less is more.

This brings me to my latest profile epiphany: Approach dating profile rewrites the same way travel writers tell you to pack for a holiday. Pack your suitcase and then take out at least half of the clothes. So write or rewrite your profile and then cut it down by 50 percent – or 70 percent if you’re prolific.

Another tip: A recent Zoosk analysis found daters who mention being a vegetarian or vegan get more messages than other members. So I added pesco-vegetarianism back to my profile, after previously deleting it an effort to refresh.

As I’m writing this post, I get a message from Match about Dating Sunday.

blog pix dating sunday

It can take several hours or more for a dating site to review your updated profile and make it publicly visible, so don’t waste any time. You want to be “fresh” for the peak dating moment at 8:55 p.m. Eastern. Good luck to us all.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

 

 

Random Rants, Observations, and Questions

woman screaming blog pix

This year, I’m not in a mood to write a sarcastic singles holiday letter but I feel a need to vent, observe, and comment on the current dating scene.

Let’s chow down on some one pot kale and quinoa pilaf while indulging in an end of the year wrap up.

*Is it sad that I recognize the screen names of some of the online guys that I frequently pass by on my way to bigger, better matches? When one of the “passed overs” sends me a message, a wink, or favorites me I don’t even need to open up the dating site. I already know who it is. They and I have been online too long.

*I realize that when a dating site sends you a match based on who you have previously interacted with, it’s really their version of computer “cookies:”

Hey, Nadia, we saw you browsing and you put OneHotGuy in your cart but didn’t check out. It’s not too late but perhaps you’d like AbsLikeSteel instead. Click through to his profile. 

*What is the motivation behind a guy’s frequent expressions of interest without following up? So many of them send “canned” dating site generated comments but never write a personal email.

I used to think it was a guy’s way of bookmarking me or testing me to see if I was interested. But these types of interactions never go anywhere and I continue to wonder what motivates these men.

*How can catfishers and identity thieves be so stupid? I can identify them with one eye closed…a professional photo of a very attractive man dressed to the 10s and an uncommonly spelled name, e.g., Micheal.

*How do you gracefully stop communicating with a guy after you ask him to post or send an additional picture and the one he sends confirms your suspicions that you could not stand to kiss him. I find that a lot of guys have one poor quality headshot (or half a headshot) and no full body pictures. Some ignore my request for more photos or make a silly excuse why they can’t send any. Others send a bad selfie or an obviously old photo, which gives me enough info to know there is no attraction.

The last time a guy sent me a selfie I waited a couple of days and said I had met someone and wanted to see where it would go but the real reason is that I had zero attraction to the guy. Is there a better explanation that is also kind?

*I hate Zoosk’s Carousel feature in which you scroll through photos of men. The problem? No profile or basic information is visible. All you get is a photo and the guy’s age. Inevitably most of the matches that result don’t work. A typical match might be a smoker who lives 300 miles away and is separated – hitting three of my deal-breakers. I know guys on Tinder and Bumble don’t always have profiles but some of them do and sometimes you’ll at least see a location, where a guy works, and where he went to school.

OurTime has a feature similar to Carousel but it allows you to see a man’s profile before deciding if you want to meet.

*What if you ended a first date by rating the person and sharing that assessment — like what you do at the end of a Lyft ride?

Here’s what the dating sites and apps could add to the phone interface:

On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your date’s

*Attentiveness and engagement

*Profile accuracy

*Cleanliness/grooming/manners

*Chemistry with you

Would you go out with this person again?

You and your date answer the questions and you immediately see each other’s responses. No awkward wondering, does he/she like me?

*When a guy says he’s a simple man, is he saying he’s unsophisticated, foolish or mentally impaired or does he mean he’s able to find happiness in the smaller things in life. Hard to know. So many of the men I encounter appear to fit the first definition.

*I have noticed that guys who appreciate antiques, old cars, 70s music, etc. tend to not be so picky about dating a woman of a certain age. One could say they like the classics.

Do any of these resonate with you? What are your rants, observations, and questions?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Failure to Proofread and other Assorted Men’s Dating Profile Mistakes

blog pix main nov 26

Suffering from the post holiday, ate too much, relatives are gone and feeling lonely blues? Perhaps you need a laugh. There’s a wealth of comedy material available in men’s dating profiles and messages.

Join me in some raw carrot sticks (no recipe today, we have over indulged)…while I share some winners from my files, annotated of course.

A conundrum: Would a non-Jew be keeping kosher? Just saying…

Nov 26 4

I hadn’t really thought of Belgiun (sic) chocolates as one of my dating requirements…perhaps I need to rethink my criteria.

Nov 26 6

A different type of sugar-themed profile (sigh):

Nov 26 7

Love that he has a dog named Fred but I wonder about a guy who kicks up his “heals” and is in the hostility business…

Nov 26 8a

I guess I wouldn’t need my passport if I ended up with this man:

Nov 26 9

We won’t be meeting so no need to worry about crime….

nov 26 1

Huh?

Nov 26 woman like simple

I blame myself for this response. I asked him about the bad boy reference in his profile:

Nov 26 2

Tweet me your funny or eyebrow-raising profile examples!

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Vetting and Evaluating an Online Match before and after you Meet

blox pix nov 12 2017

The next time you’re shopping in the online man store and maybe trying one on for size, you may have questions beyond whether the guy’s a good fit. Is he who he says he is? Is he a player? Is he losing interest or just not that into you? Is he a keeper? There are things you can do and signs to watch for to help you navigate the dating journey.

Help yourself to some pasta with olive oil, garlic, and parsley while I share my top 10 tips to vet or evaluate a man:

*Do a basic photo check. On a PC or laptop: save the guy’s profile photos and then do a Google image or Tineye search. On a phone: screen shot the photos (as many as possible) and then use an image search app such as Veracity or do a Google image search similar to the way you would do it on a computer. For detailed instructions, see: how to perform a reverse image search.

If the guy doesn’t have a photo, move on. There’s a reason he doesn’t have one.

*Be wary of perfect photos. If the photos remind you of a cover model on GQ, don’t even waste your time searching. These pix are likely “borrowed” from a website or Facebook profile.

*Search the guy’s phone number. Do a Google search or type the number into the search box on Facebook and LinkedIn. I’ve had great success with the Facebook/LinkedIn number search – even if the guy’s number is “hidden.”

An important aside: You should only give a guy your real cell number, if you’re convinced he’s legit and not a risk. Otherwise, get a Google voice number (free as opposed to a burner number). I usually wait to meet someone before sharing my primary cell number.

*Search the guy’s email address. Try the same search tactics recommended for phone numbers. All sorts of things will turn up. I’ve pulled up a guy’s TripAdvisor reviews, Amazon reviews, listing in a society membership directory, and his profile on a sex site.

*Know the signs of a catfisher. He is often widowed* (e.g., a tragic car accident killed his wife and child), an engineer in the oil or energy industry, works for the UN in some capacity, indicates English is his second language so as not to throw you off should you actually talk on the phone.

*Of course not all widows are catfishers but it appears to be the marital status of choice for those fabricating a profile.

If the guy doesn’t have a profile, move on. There’s a reason he doesn’t have a profile.

*Know the behavior red flags. His dating site messages or texts are sporadic; he answers questions you ask but doesn’t ask anything – or very little – about you; he views you frequently or favorites you but doesn’t communicate; he’s always – and I mean always – online; he doesn’t advance the e-mail conversation and doesn’t suggest talking on the phone or meeting.

*Be aware of a sudden shift in communication patterns. If you have been on a date or two or three and suddenly his good morning texts have stopped, it may not be long before he ghosts you or tells/texts you that it’s just not working out. One guy suddenly stopped his daily texting and then called to tell me that I wasn’t a good match because I lived so far away that he had to use a “pricey” EasyPass. Insert laugh/cry emoji.

*Observe negative behaviors on a date. He monopolizes the conversation, looks at every woman who walks into the bar/café/coffee shop, glances at his phone constantly, all of the above.

*Observe and enjoy positive behaviors on a date. He seems genuinely interested in you, listens to what you say and responds, maintains good eye contact, his body language says he likes you (hand or arm touching, feet pointed toward you), notes that he doesn’t want the date to end/mentions seeing you again.

*Observe and enjoy positive signs that the relationship is advancing. He frequently calls/texts you just to check in or to plan your next get together, he shares more about himself, he mentions doing things in the future, you inevitably spend weekends together, you start to meet each other’s friends.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia