- What do I have to do to get a date?
- All my friends are getting married and having kids, and leaving me behind.
- I’m never going to get married at this point.
These are only some of the Facebook status updates I’ve read within the past few weeks. Word to the wise — posting these types of updates is not going to help you find a date. Your friends will be sympathetic, but probably won’t want to set you up given your current state of self-despair mode. Nobody likes a pity party. Keep your dirty laundry off your social media profiles; simply vent to your close friends instead and then move on. You will find someone, but dating is a state of mind and you need to keep it positive in public.
Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez’s on again/off again/on again/off again relationship has the celebrity gossip mills buzzing. Post break-up Bieber was seen with a Victoria’s Secret model, then he picked up Gomez from the airport, the two reportedly spent the weekend together and paparazzi caught them leaving a restaurant after 10 minutes where his car was seen leaving her house, returning to her house, and leaving her house again. Due to Twitter and TMZ, we have a play-by-play of their every move as these two young people are trying to figure out their relationship troubles. Sucks for them. Luckily, you are not Bieber or Gomez. And you do not need your love life played out for the world to see.
That means not posting or Tweeting your every fleeting thought, post-date synopses, feelings on being single/dating/desperate/breaking up/making up and so on. There is no need to broadcast your every meal, movement, sleeping pattern, or outfit. Don’t air your dirty laundry in public and save the drama for your mama. Literally, ask your mom for relationship advice before posting your equivalent of the Bieber and Gomez drama on your Facebook page.
And here’s why (if you actually need rationalization): say you’re in a relationship, you break up and post all about it on Facebook. Then you decide to get back together, but now everyone knows your business and you’re going to have to answer lots of questions, including people doubting if you should reconcile. It’s none of their business, right? So don’t make it theirs.
“Getting To Know You” is not just a catchy Rodgers and Hammerstein song from “The King and I,” it’s also what people do on first dates. But I’m here to tell you NOT to do that. I mean, of course, get to know your date, but don’t try to get to know ALL about them on the first date. Leave something for date two, and three, and date sixteen. And once you’ve been on a great date, don’t try to research every possible detail you can. When a date is going well it’s exciting to both want to continue talking all night until the sun comes up, but try to refrain. This is what happens: you go on a date, drink a little, hit if off, drink some more, keep talking and flirting, drink a little more, start yawning but keep talking, start sharing things you may not have shared on a first date had you not been drinking, yawning and letting down your guard, finally go home and sleep a few hours before waking up to realize that you shared things that now make you feel totally vulnerable and you can’t take it back. So when your date (hopefully) calls you’re not sure whether to feel embarrassed or not or if the intent behind the call is still one looking for a relationship with you or not. Confusing right? Well, these are the things that go through our minds after we’ve shared too much too soon. So reel it in and keep the mystery alive.
You should (must?) be honest in your profile, but there is such a thing as being TOO honest. If you are truly just a few pounds overweight, just select “athletic build” or “average” and leave it at that. You do not need to address your weight (ie. I just gained 10 lbs because I had a broken foot, I’m usually much thinner), let your photos speak for themselves. If you are a Democrat, you don’t need to discuss in your profile why you would never in a million years date someone who voted for Romney. It may be true, but it’s TMI. If you are 3 credits short of a Master’s degree but haven’t finished yet because of work/health/etc then you make the decision of whether to put BA or MA for what level of education you have, but no one needs to hear the details. Frankly, until someone gets to know you, they don’t care. All that detail does is make someone think that you are high maintenance, dramatic, and just too much to deal with.
Remember KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) if you want a kiss!
In your August 23rd column entitled “What’s TMI?” you advocate withholding information – such as being divorced – from one’s profile or introductory email, as it is “too much information” (TMI) and you seem to suggest waiting until you’re already making plans to meet to mention it for the first time.
While I think I understand your rationale and agree that it is unnecessary to ‘tell all’ at the outset, it nonetheless smacks distinctly of being dishonest, or at least less than candid – which is hardly the right way to kick off a potential relationship. I’m specifically speaking to divorce. Can you clarify?
Dear TMI Clarify,
I appreciate your response. I’m not telling anyone to lie. In fact, people who lie in their JDate profiles abhor me because they’re going to be found out eventually. In the specific letter you are referring to, the woman was recovering from a major surgery and in that specific case I didn’t feel it was necessary for her to use her “About Me” paragraph to talk about it, though I did advise her to tell her dates on the phone prior to meeting.
As for divorcees: If you’re divorced, separated or widowed, you most definitely need to be honest and check the appropriate box. My advice is simply not to get into all the gory details about your previous marriage — or even about previous relationships if you’ve never been married — in your “About Me” paragraph until after having been on a few dates. And as I said in “What’s TMI?” this rule goes for anything pertaining to drama in your life. For those previously married you should absolutely not lie as it is a part of your life and forever will be. But spending two hours talking about your divorce and how the children are handling it is simply not romantic nor does it allow your date to get to know YOU. I hope I’ve cleared things up!
I have been on JDate for a few months. More than 100 men have viewed my profile. I am communicative and don’t hesitate to reach out. I don’t usually have self confidence issues, am optimistic and funny but no one responds to me. Many of those men seemed like serious, interesting people who I’d love to meet just for coffee. I do not mind being on my own, but I desire companionship and connections with other people. My father suggested it’s because I am healing from a spinal problem. I have so much to offer the right person, but I won’t be dishonest. Could people possibly be rejecting me because I can’t do cartwheels right now? The lack of response is disheartening, but also baffling. I tell myself I am only looking for one, but it doesn’t change the fact that no one responds to me. Any advice?
Dear What’s TMI?
I give you credit for making such an effort while recovering from a spinal injury. That said, I don’t think mentioning that injury is necessary in an introductory email and especially not in your profile — this includes not having photos showing your injury. You’re not lying; this information is simply none of their business at this point. To put it blunt — these guys are basically strangers right now. A disability, a divorce, or depression, or anything that could be seen as negative or as “baggage,” is TMI — too much information. My advice would be to not mention your injury and recovery until you are making plans to meet. The first date will probably take place at the typical bar, restaurant or coffee shop, so simply mention you’ll be arriving in a brace or using a walker or what-have-you and briefly explain why and offer to tell the whole story on the date. Do not mention your injury before then. Any emails you send to men on JDate should be casual, upbeat, and short and sweet. Mentioning this and explaining your recovery from a spinal injury is anything but those three things and it unfortunately doesn’t surprise me that you haven’t received a response. I bet with your new approach, you will! Good luck on your recovery and on finding love!