JBlog®

The Less You Know…

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Dating PSA: The less you know, the better.  In terms of prior knowledge of your online date, that is.

Online Stalking

Is not Googling your date the new abstinence?

Stop Googling your dates’ names before you meet them! I know we’re are all guilty of playing online detective to some degree. When you find out a fellow JDater’s first name, city, and profession, it’s usually not too hard to find this person’s LinkedIn or Facebook page (unless you are the equivalent of a David Cohen, ESQ in NYC).

The next thing you know, you have spent an hour in a trance-like state staring at the screen, reading up on this person’s entire career history, the names of his nieces and nephews, and every photo from the New Year’s Eve party he hosted in 2011.  Believe me, I totally understand how tempting it is to extensively research someone online before your first date! This behavior, however, presents several potential perils:

  1. Particularly in the early stage of a new relationship, having more details about someone increases the chance that you’ll find something objectionable about him or her. Say you’ve been exchanging a few messages with ‘Mike’ and agree to meet him for drinks. But, a Google search session reveals his online poker activity or his habit of instagramming three meals a day, or his photo album from his cousin’s Bar Mitzvah last year when he was 20 pounds heavier with a bad haircut. These kinds of things are no big deal, but if you are feeling neutral about Mike, this prior knowledge will color your perception and produce a negative attitude toward the date. Once you meet Mike and develop a mutual attraction with him, you probably won’t care as much that he used to be heavier or that he likes to play poker. If you know this information and haven’t even met him yet though, you may never learn that he has a great sense of humor and an infectious laugh.
  2. Another potential problem with over-researching your date is that you might forget what you are “supposed to know” about him or her. Have you ever wondered if she said she had two brothers in her profile… or if you just saw it on Facebook? If you act surprised to hear about her siblings, but she mentioned them in her profile or in a message, she’ll think you weren’t paying attention.  But, if you didn’t already discuss it, and you bring it up yourself, you’ll appear creepy!  This is basically a lose-lose situation, so avoid it by remembering only the information your date gives you – nothing extra.
  3. Third, even if Google reveals good things about your potential date, beware of falling into the “good on paper” trap – the opposite of the situation described above in #1. This situation happens when you expect someone to be a great match based on prior research, but he isn’t. The Internet might tell you that handsomedoc76 went to Princeton, grew up on your Grandma’s street, and was a counselor at your camp. If you can’t hold a conversation with him though, or you don’t share the same values, then you might need to let go of the Google image you conjured up that doesn’t actually exist.

In conclusion, Internet research can be dangerous to your dating life!  If you disregard someone because you find a picture of him with his three cats, you could be missing out on a great match. Conversely, if your date doesn’t live up to your high hopes, you could face disappointment. Step away from Google and go meet in person!


Friends with Ex-Boyfriends

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Hi Tamar,

I was with my ex-boyfriend for four years. Since breaking up, we’ve been able to remain good friends. In fact, I’m still friends with most of my exes and I thought guys would see this as a good thing – that I’m known as a good person and clearly don’t attract drama. But, when I mentioned hanging out with an ex to my most recent dates, the guys were not cool with it at all. One even straight-up asked if I was still having sex with an ex! (We are not.) Why do the guys have a problem with this? Is it their problem or mine?

-Friendly Femme

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Dear Friendly Femme

Theoretically, a man who is secure with himself, and your relationship with him, shouldn’t have a problem with you having a friendship with another man. It does become more complicated when you had a romantic relationship with that man in the past. Most men assume that a “guy-friend” – particularly one you had sex with in the past – is really only hanging around for (more) eventual sex. Being around an ex can make a new guy feel intimidated.

My advice is this: in order to find the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, you may need to put some distance between yourself and your exes. I personally don’t see a reason to be friends with every single one, but I do understand that you spent a good chunk of your life with someone and don’t want to lose that piece of your life. You need to ask yourself what an ex – or any friend for that matter – is contributing to your life? If you haven’t realized this yet, you will eventually: friendships are about quality, not quantity.

I suggest not mentioning your guy friends on a date, or the fact that those guy friends are exes. If things get serious and you begin introducing your new beau to your friends, then you will need to give a history ahead of time. But, you may also find you no longer want to be friends with an ex as things get more serious with someone else. Certain people from your past should stay in your past — even if the break-up was cordial and you get along now.


Dating Cues

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

There are lots of cues that help you navigate a date. By both knowing how to read these cues and knowing how to give these cues, you can hopefully determine the fate of a date.

If a date asks to meet for drinks/coffee/tea/juice, give it a fair shake — even though it’s not the commitment of a dinner. If you are interested in continuing getting to know each other after the cups are empty, and your date suggests ordering food or taking a walk, that means they are interested in you. If your date touches your arm, that means they are interested in you. If your date makes plans for a second date before the first date is even over, that means they are interested in you.

If you don’t see those cues, but are interested and want to see if your date is as well, then you need to send the right cues. Suggest grabbing a meal or taking a walk. If your date makes an excuse, then chances are they are not interested and you have your answer.

Unless… if your date says they have something to do or somewhere to go… but says they want to make plans for another date… and then follow through by calling you to make those plans… then the excuse was probably legitimate and you should accept the next date, and also accept that your date is interested in you.

Remember, dating is a numbers game. Just because drinks don’t turn into dinner, or there’s no call the next day for another date, that doesn’t mean you should get yourself down over it. Most first dates will not turn into second dates, and that’s okay. If you are interested though and your date is sending the right cues, make sure you aren’t losing out on a date because you don’t know how to read them!


JData

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Way back in 2004, when I was a student at the University of Chicago studying Sociology of Religion, I got the crazy idea to use Jewish dating sites as a data set for social research. Not having access to the database, I could only search like any other end user, which naturally restricted what I’d be able to find. This was a thoroughly tedious process, and what I did manage to uncover was — in my opinion — trivial and pointless.

Since then dating sites have grown in their popularity and robustness, and “Big Data” is a field unto itself. Unsurprisingly, we now have the book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) by Christian Rudder, a founder of OkCupid who turned one of the world’s largest dating sites into a gold mine of social research. Rudder found some fascinating trends among Americans, not just in terms of dating approaches, but in terms of personal preferences and identities across geographical and racial lines.

Using this Big Data might even help some people with their approaches to dating, online or otherwise. Amy Webb describes in her TEDx video how she “hacked” JDate, taking meticulous records and using spreadsheets to spot trends in her own life. The knowledge of these patterns allowed Amy to better focus her energies and give her the maximum chance for success.

Obviously, this sort of thing isn’t for everyone. Many of us don’t have the time, patience, or inclination to start collecting random data, let alone trying to make sense and find the few metrics which actually do make a difference. However, even if opening up Excel gives you anxiety attacks, keep in mind we’ve all amassed some degree of data from our experiences. We meet people and hit it off with some more than others. We know the types of people we’re attracted to simply because we’ve been attracted to them. It’s not unreasonable to work “backwards” to figure out what’s really important to us. If you keep a journal, you even have a record of how you felt at that time, unbiased from the retrojections of however you’re feeling in the present.

It’s probably not a horrible idea to periodically check in with yourself for a dating-inventory. Hopefully, we have continued to mature over time and what might have “worked” for us five years ago might not be relevant to who we are today. The advantage of Big Data numbers is that they can often show us what we’d rather not see ourselves. On the other hand, it also means sometimes being honest and self-aware can be the best algorithm for finding what we need to know about ourselves.


Secret Admirer — HELP!

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Hi Tamar,

Can you give me some insight into the Secret Admirer situation on JDate? I’ve only been on the site for a week, but this game already has me so off-keel that I’ve started blocking everyone whose profile shows up in these things because of the likelihood that one of these people is playing games and wasting my time (I read a blog post by another JBlogger saying that when he gets these Secret Admirer messages he says yes to everyone, regardless of whether he’s interested in them, just to find out who’s interested in him — if that’s the case, I’d rather not ever show up in that person’s list of potential Secret Admirers, so I block my profile from showing up in their search feed).

Is there a way to step back from this nuclear option before I block everyone? Even if I didn’t block the guys, but just ignore the messages, I’m potentially turning away people who might actually make a good match, or at least a fun date.

HELP!

______________________________________________________________________________

Dear Strung-Out on Secret Admirer:

You’ve blocked everyone who selects you as a match on Secret Admirer? Oy vey! First you need to start with un-blocking everyone. You have no idea which guys were possibly playing “the game” and which weren’t… and now you’ve systematically eliminated all of them!

Do some people treat Secret Admirer like a game? Sure. But, why is that so bad? If you take it seriously, then what is there to lose? If you don’t want to think about who is possibly playing the game and who isn’t, then just wait and let any matches email you first. Try not to let a simple algorithm get the best of you. Dating is frustrating enough without complicating things that are supposed to make it easier!


On Gratitude

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Dating can be pretty emotionally draining. Let’s face it – regardless of your age or gender – there’s a good chance you’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions, from the high of a hopeful new prospect to the low of rejection. Or the excitement of receiving a new message… then the disappointment of realizing the person looks nothing like their picture! With so much emotional whiplash, it’s tough to remain grounded, calm, and hopeful.

CRTV-1418-300x250

“I am grateful for the sun, my dog, and coffee…”

 

To help focus on the positive and prevent freak-outs, I offer one suggestion (that I, myself, could really take to heart!): Practice gratitude.  To me, gratitude is more than just feeling grateful, although this is a big part of it. But, it also evokes qualities of humility, kindness, and empathy, which are generally attractive to everyone.  And it combats entitlement and unhappiness, which are definite turn-offs! Several studies have shown that practicing gratitude can improve emotional health, your mood, AND your relationships. So it really can’t hurt to try, can it?

 

Here are 3 simple ways to show gratitude:

  1. As Jews, prayer is a major way we can show appreciation. Speak to G-d in whatever language you prefer, from anywhere in the world.  Or go to a synagogue – I’m sure someone saying kaddish would love to have you help make a minyan.  It really doesn’t matter if you know how to daven or not – the point is to pause and appreciate the food on your plate, or the clothes on your back, or the fact that you woke up this morning!
  2. Gain perspective. You might be going through a rough patch, but notice what happens if you start to see the glass as half empty, not half full. Are you feeling jealous or jaded?  Try focusing on really appreciating your friends.  Lacking good friends? Be grateful you have a job. Don’t have a job? Appreciate your good health. In poor health?  Be grateful for being alive! No matter what’s going on, things could be worse.
  3. Appreciate others. Tell someone why you are grateful for his or her friendship. Give your date a specific compliment that’s not about her looks. Let your new boyfriend know specific reasons why you’re grateful for his company.  This might win you some new friends, but it will make you feel good about yourself, too.

 

If I were to read this post after just getting dumped, I’d probably roll my eyes and dump a bowl of ice cream on my head because it’s really hard to feel grateful when you’re in a bad mood.  But, that’s exactly the time when you need the benefits of gratitude the most.  If you practice gratitude all the time, it will become second nature and you’ll be able to more easily apply these strategies when you’re feeling down and out.  And no matter what you’re feeling, consistently expressing gratitude will help you to stay positive in the dating process, gain some perspective, and exude a positive, open vibe.


How Honest Should I Be in My Profile?

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Monday Makeover,Online Dating,Single Life

Hi Tamar,

I wanted to know if you could look at my profile and tell me how to improve it? Or if you see any issues. I really toned it down regarding my interests in green living/organic food and would love your opinion!

-Green Guy

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Hi Green Guy,

After reading your profile it seems that you eliminated nearly all mentions of green living and organic food, and if that is important to you then you need to make that clear. Someone who doesn’t care about their carbon footprint and prefers junk food is not going to be a good match for you and you need to make that clear so you don’t waste either of your time. You don’t have to go into it too much, simply mention in you ‘About Me’ that you are passionate about those two things and would love to meet someone else who is as well.

While you’re at it, here’s a few more tips:

  • Add more photos! You only have three — and just the first one shows your face clearly, yet your head is covered and it’s in black and white. Add more pictures of your face! Have a confidant help you out, or email me some options for my feedback!
  • Add what you do for a living (you don’t need to add your income level though). By skipping this question your profile comes off as kind of sketchy.
  • Tighten your age range. You are 32, you should not be open to dating both 18 and 35-year-olds. 24-35 would be a good age range for you.
  • Read over your ‘In My Own Words’ answers and correct any grammar and formatting issues. Prospects can get lost trying to read sentences that don’t flow and it can give off the impression that you are not educated or are inarticulate. The tip here is to go back and proofread your paragraphs after the JDate approves them; sometimes changes happen during that process. You should also have someone else proofread your paragraphs to make sure you didn’t skim over anything.

Happy JDating!


Hand in Hand

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

As my own nail polish chipped away this afternoon and I hid them embarrassed in the checkout line of the supermarket, it makes me think about what if I was single and had a date tonight? Well, if I couldn’t make it to the neighborhood salon for a manicure, or at the very least a polish change, then I would make sure to remove the remnants of the color I had left and go out bare fingered. In fact, I would make it a priority because unkempt hands are seen as a reflection of you — your health, your home, and your life.

This does not only apply to women, men too need to take care of their hands. Make sure your nails aren’t ragged and that you don’t have jagged cuticles. Just like men, women see well-kept hands as a sign that you take care of yourself and that you are put together.

Now, I need to log off and go find my nail polish remover!


An Introvert’s Approach to Jewish Dating

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Rabbi,Relationships,Single Life

I’m going to get personal for this post, not because I think anyone really cares about my personal life, but because I don’t think my story is all that unique and maybe someone out there can find something useful.


Dating as Equals

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

Do you need to respect what a prospect does for a living in order to be with them? Does someone need to be at your same level career-wise for a relationship to work? Would you date someone in the service industry or retail industry if you’re a corporate attorney? What about someone who is a freelancer? Would you date a woman who dreams of becoming a stay-at-home mom?

In theory, none of these sound like an issue, but money is one of the top sources of distress in relationships… and when there is an income disparity, problems can arise. Unless, of course, you have respect. Do you respect your mate for working 40+ hours a week, even if they aren’t making as much as you or working at a job as high-powered as yours? Would you respect your mate and see them as an equal for staying home to take care of the kids and “not working?”

In the end, it really has nothing to do with how you spend your day or how much you earn, but if you have mutual respect and appreciation for each person’s contribution to the relationship as a whole.