Posts Tagged Dating Ninja
If there’s one thing every Dating Ninja knows it’s that first impressions are everything in the world of online dating. That first email you send to someone on an online dating site can make or break your chances of getting a response. But with a little thought and little effort you can increase your chances of getting a response.
These are the DO’s and DON’T's for that first email:
- DO personalize the email and mention something from the person’s profile and tie it back to you. For example, I notice you like Green Day. Did you see them when they were in town last year? It was a fantastic show.
- DON’T start with, “Hi, how are you?” It’s an empty question with a one-word answer – “fine.”
- DO keep it short. Three to five sentences is about all you need in a first email.
- DON’T send the same email to every person you write to. It’s impersonal and lazy.
- DO check for spelling errors before you click Send.
- DON’T ask a question that is already answered in the person’s profile. It is a big red flag that you never actually read the person’s profile.
If you’re not the best with words and you don’t know where to start, use this formula:
- First sentence is about the person you’re writing to.
- Second sentence is about you.
- Third sentence is a question that gives the person a reason to respond.
Dear Dating Ninja,
I love the photo of you in front of the Trevi Fountain. I was in Rome in June, and threw a couple of coins in the Trevi myself. What was your favorite spot in Rome?
While the above email comments on a photo in the profile, an email that comments on something that you read in the person’s profile can increase your chances even more.
Dear Dating Ninja,
I see you have a passport story…me too. I learned that you should always know the expiration date of your passport! What’s your story?
The bottom line is be authentic and engaging. Good luck!
Finding love is something millions of people are willing to pay for, even in a recession. Online dating sites like Match.com and eHarmony have taken that fact to the bank, and with the recent success of Patti Stanger’s Millionaire Matchmaker TV show on Bravo, it’s no wonder that ordinary people all over the country have started hanging out a shingle proclaiming themselves to be matchmakers. So I wasn’t surprised a few weeks ago when a friend of mine told me she had recently been to one. However, I was surprised that said matchmaker was right in my own backyard in Lake Oswego, a small suburb of Portland, Oregon.
The only personal experience I have ever had with a “matchmaker” was the intake interview I had with a 20-something sales associate at It’s Just Lunch many years ago. I filled out a form, she briefly interviewed me, and then proceeded to set me up with dates over the next 12 months. Although she did set me up with some pretty interesting men, there was no real coaching or follow up after that initial intake interview. The only real advice she gave me was on what not to talk about on the first date: sex, religion, politics. She set me up and I was on my own.
Enter Jacqueline Nichols, personal matchmaker and proprietor of Intuitive Matchmaking in Lake Oswego. I was very curious about this local matchmaker so I sent her an email and arranged for a visit.
The Intuitive Matchmaking office is located in a small business building nestled in the middle of the First Addition neighborhood in Lake Oswego, and you’d never know it was there if you didn’t know exactly where to find it.
Her office space is intimate and colorful with little reminders of that love her clients are so desperately seeking. I notice a stack of brochures featuring photos of happy couples romping on the beach and the tagline “Find love. Enjoy love. Keep love” printed on the cover. Nichols takes a chair and I seat myself on – what else – but a love seat.
I ask the obvious question, why become a matchmaker?
The answer to that question lies in the name of her business, Intuitive Matchmaking. “I have been doing spiritual work for 25 years, and have been a sort of spiritual life coach for so many people through my Gratitude for Success business,” she explains. “Part of being a spiritual life coach is helping people find balance and joy in all aspects of their life including their relationships, so it was just a natural instinct to help my clients find love as well as success in other parts of their life.” It wasn’t until her clients started writing “matchmaking” in the memo on their checks that the light bulb really went on.
“I match people at the soul level,” she says. “That’s the difference. I pay attention to what chapter of your life you’re in right now and find you someone who’s in that same place.” A lot of her clients come into the service wondering why their relationships aren’t working out. “There’s a big difference between dating material and husband/wife material, and that’s where I can help.”
So what do you get when you hire a matchmaker like Nichols? Well that depends on how much you’re willing to pay. The Beginners membership to her service starts at $99, which gets you a personal consultation and a spot in her database, where you can search to your heart’s content. If you are an Elite member Nichols will proactively search her database for matches and possibly match you with “hidden clients” who are not public in her database. You also get a monthly consultation at this level.
The top level in her service is the Platinum tier. “I am basically your personal on-call matchmaker at this level,” she says. “The Platinum clients have access to me 24/7, and I will search outside my database for matches for them if I need to.” If you have to ask the price you probably can’t afford it.
Although there are no guarantees in the search for love, Nichols claims to have a very high success rate. “I can usually find a match for someone in one to three introductions,” she says. But don’t expect those introductions to all happen in the first week. “I know your time is valuable, and I will not make an introduction unless I know it would be worth your time.”
Her database of clients is small (about 500 people and growing) in comparison to the online dating institutions like Match.com or eHarmony, but consider the fact that Nichols has done her homework on your potential matches up front. “I have met or done a phone consultation with every single person in my service. And I do background checks on everyone as well. It’s all about quality not quantity.”
Although I have never claimed to be a matchmaker I have certainly become the go-to person in my circle of friends when it comes to questions about dating, especially online dating. So, I was extremely curious to hear Nichols’ perspective on the state of dating and courtship in today’s society.
“People don’t know how to date,” she says, and I couldn’t agree more. We both agree that people are very quick to judge someone on a first date, which means in the world of fast-food dating (like Match.com) there are very few second dates. And who’s quicker to judge on a first date? According to Nichols it’s women.
“Men seem to be more forgiving on a first date. If there’s no immediate chemistry they will usually give the woman a second chance just to see if there’s something there. Women on the other hand usually have a much longer check list in their head, and if he doesn’t have that one thing they walk away.”
Nichols says people need to slow down and be more patient, and just allow the other person to get to know you. She suggests to give it at least three dates before you throw in the towel, preferably five. And what’s the perfect first date venue? “Not a coffee date!” she says with a hint of frustration. “A coffee date just says, you’re not really that special, and I want to make sure I can get out of here fast if this date is a disaster.”
In her opinion a better choice would be happy hour (2-drink max), or a meeting at a bakery and then a walk, or just a glass of wine and appetizers somewhere. “You need one to two hours with nothing scheduled after the date, so you don’t feel like you’re constantly looking at your watch because you have to be somewhere else in an hour.”
According to Nichols the biggest mistake people make on a first date is being too full of themselves. “They sit there and talk about themselves the whole time, and never really even take the time to get to know the other person.” She says men and women are equally guilty of this.
My next question is a hotly-debated topic amongst my wide circle of friends.Why do so many older men only want to date younger women? I think I already know the answer to this question, but I want to hear what she has to say.
“I don’t get those men as my clients,” she says. “The successful men in my service are looking for a partner not an accessory. Successful older men who only date younger women are doing so because they think they’re a great catch, even if they’re not.”
And what about the older women? “A lot of them want to date their fantasy,” she says. “They want to date younger men because they are trying to recapture that feeling they had in college when they fell head over heels in love and everything was so fun and easy.They are trying to make up for all of those lost years.” She says a lot of women my age are in that category. “The hardest thing I have to do is tell those women to look in the mirror and be honest with what they see. You may feel younger than you are, but you don’t look like you’re 25.” Oh snap!
Nichols’ business currently focuses on the Portland/Vancouver Metro area, but she plans to expand her business in the near future to reach out to clients in Seattle and Medford. Wait, did you just say Medford? Isn’t the median age in Medford 75? Apparently retirees in their 60s and 70s are looking for love too, and Nichols aims to help them find it.
In the end her advice is pretty straight forward and simple. Stop watching the clock, stop focusing on the finish line and just enjoy the journey. And if you want to hire someone to ride that roller coaster with you hire a matchmaker.
You can find out more information about Jacqueline Nichols and Intuitive Matchmaking at IntuitiveMatchmaking.com.
Tell her the Dating Ninja sent you and receive 25% off one of her Beginners packages.
I’m a list person. I can’t live without lists and goals. They keep me organized and motivated. There are the boring To-Do type lists and then there are the B-HAG (Big Hairy Ass Goals) and Bucket lists.
I recently reviewed my B-HAG Bucket List and decided to make a few changes and additions, because I have actually checked off more than a few things in the past two years.
Kelly’s B-HAG Bucket List
- Run the Napa Marathon on March 6, 2011, and qualify for the Boston Marathon. I have to have a time of 4:05 in order to qualify. My time for Carlsbad was 4:15:10 so I think this is doable.
- And speaking of Napa, I still want to take a balloon ride over the vineyards whilst sipping champagne.
- Run the Boston Marathon in 2012 for my 50th birthday.
- Finish the first draft of my “Confessions of a Dating Ninja” book by the end of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) November, 2010.
- Build a house with the Habitat for Humanity team.
- Attend Burning Man.
- Stay at a game reserve in Africa.
- Visit the penguins in Antarctica (the only continent I haven’t been to).
- Make a difference every day.
The list has changed quite a bit over the years. It’s gotten quite a bit shorter as well, because I’ve lived a lot of life. It’s time to dream some new dreams and fill it up again. What’s on your list?
I am a registered member of a dating site called OKCupid. One of the unique features of the site is you can write Journal entries, which I occasionally do. I posted the entry below a few days ago and I couldn’t believe how defensive some of the guys got. It was like I had personally attacked their masculinity with my simple tips on how to choose the right main profile photo.
Here’s the post:
Okay guys, listen up. I’m going to let you in on a couple of secrets about what goes through the mind of a woman when she looks at your profile and decides whether or not to read it or click the dreaded Hide button.
You have less than five seconds to catch our interest. This is the order in which most woman I know would notice things in your profile:
1. The first thing we look at is your MAIN photo.
2. The second thing is your screen name. Screen names like “PatheticLonelyGuy” and “Just4Sex” say a lot about who you are, how you feel about yourself, and what you’re looking for.
3. The three adjectives.
4. The first sentence in your profile (if we get that far).
Lesson 1: The Profile Picture
This is all about that very first picture we see. The rest of the photos shouldn’t follow all of these suggestions.
These are the DOs for your MAIN profile photo:
1. Headshot that clearly shows you from the shoulders up.
2. Smiling please. No one wants to date a sour puss.
3. Face the camera. No profiles.
4. Make sure the shot is in focus.
5. Recent photo.
6. Look directly into the camera. I realize I violated this with my original profile shot I had up, but there are exceptions to every rule.
These are the DON’Ts:
1. No hats. We want to see your hair or your chrome dome, as the case may be.
2. No sunglasses. We don’t trust you if we can’t see your eyes. How would you feel if you met a woman for a date and she never took off her sunglasses? Would you trust her.
3. Shot of you from far far away. Save that for the second or third photo.
4. No dead animals land or sea. A shot of you in a fishing hat and sunglasses holding up a dead fish does absolutely nothing to ignite the passions in a woman.
5. No photos of yourself in the bathroom. I take self shots a lot, but you’ll never see a bathroom mirror, shower stall or toilet in the background!
To be cont’d…
I recently had an experience where I met someone online and then a few days later did some cyber sleuthing only to find out the person was not who they really said they were. I felt a little violated, you know like someone had hacked into my OS and planted a Trojan virus. And this is someone I met only once for coffee!
This experience got me thinking, why can’t I run my dating life like I run my servers (computers) at work?
Opening Ports of Communication
A port on a computer is a communication channel that allows devices to talk to each on the same piece of hardware without interfering with each other. Think of it as a phone number. If you publicize that port number anyone can call it. Don’t publicize your port number unless you’re ready to communicate!
Install Anti-Virus Software
I would never open up a server at work to the outside world without first installing some sort of anti-virus software to protect it. You’ve all heard of computer viruses, those nasty little programs that hackers and spammers secretly install on your poor unsuspecting computer. In the IT world there are anti-virus software programs like McAfee, Norton and Semantic for that.
The anti-virus software in the dating world is called your gut instinct. Just like Norton your gut will raise all kinds of red flags when it senses danger. Would you ignore Norton if it popped up a message that said some malicious piece of code was trying to gain access to your computer? I think not. You would click that Quarantine or Delete button without a second thought.
So, the next time you’re on a date, and that anti-virus gut instinct software starts popping up messages, don’t ignore them! Hit that Delete button and run!
My production servers at work are locked down tighter than Alcatraz in the 60’s, unless you’re a really good swimmer/hacker. I employ something called whitelisting, which means you can’t talk to my servers unless I know who you are. This is a difficult concept to apply in the dating world, but it can be done. Before you decide to meet that person on Match.com for a cup of coffee talk to all of your friends who have been active in the online dating world. Ask them if they have come across this person before. The dating pool is small. The likelihood is that someone you know has already met this person for a date, and can give you some very valuable feedback. Positive Feedback=Whitelisting. Proceed with coffee date.
In the Microsoft world you can blacklist a website by adding it to your hosts file. The hosts file is like a guest list that meaty bouncer outside the coolest club in town has on his clipboard. Not the V.I.P. list, but the OTHER list. You know, the one that lists all the people who have been kicked out of the club at one time or another, and are banned for life. That my friends is the blacklist, and you need one.
While whitelisting is the “known good” list, blacklisting is the “known bad” list. When you log on to Match.com and come across people you work with, add them to your blacklist. Just block them. You know you’ll never date them, and do you really want them perusing your dating profile while they’re deciding whether or not to promote you? And furthermore, blacklist the people you met on Match.com three years ago. The second or third time is not the charm.
Security Certification Process
Many of the clients I work with on a daily basis require my company and my servers to pass a rigorous security clearance. The process involves a lengthy verbal interrogation and a cyber scan of my servers from the outside world to see what they can see. In a word, they are trying to find out that I am safe to communicate with, and that I am who I say I am.
Thanks to the World Wide Web this concept maps very well to the dating world. Most people give you enough information in their dating profile and their initial communications for you to find out more than you ever wanted to know about that person. If all you have is a first name and a city, you may be hard pressed to find any useful information unless the first name is really unique. However, if you have a first name, a city and an occupation you may be in luck. Plug that information into our good friend Google and you’re off and running. You can often find the very pictures they have posted on their dating profile on their business website, which allows you to verify who they are.
If you have an email address or a first and last name and a city, I suggest you get familiar with a site called pipl.com, which takes the information you input and then crawls the Web for you. Pipl.com provides a comprehensive list of all references to that individual anywhere on the Web.
For the serious cyber sleuth I recommend a service called BeenVerified.com, which will give you a 7-day trial if you really need to do a deep dive on someone. This service provides past addresses, name changes, MARITAL STATUS, and criminal records. Don’t ask if you don’t want to know.
Proceed with Caution
People are not as black and white as computers, so even if you employ all of the above methods as you navigate the murky waters of the online dating world, you still need to proceed with caution. Think like an IT manager:
- Don’t open a port of communication unless you’re ready for that person to start calling you and texting you. You can always close a port on a computer when you want to stop communicating. In the dating world it’s called blocking his/her phone number!
- Don’t whitelist someone until you really know them. Whitelisting someone gives them access to things that no one else has access to.
- Do your due diligence, and if you find some compromising information on someone ask them about it before judging them. Not all computer programs are flawless, and not everyone who looks like a criminal online is actually a criminal today.
Go forth young grasshopper, and apply these Dating Ninja skills the next time you decide to try online dating.
Originally published on MySpace on April 26, 2009
Cheers: to Jeff M. of CitySpeek.com for giving me the VIP pass to the Widmer Brothers 25th Anniversary party.
Cheers: to Jeff E. for being my date to the Widmer party, and being a
good sport when it turned out to be like a giant frat party.
Cheers: to Jeff E. for taking me to a Blazers game!
Cheers: to Chris “Birdman” Anderson of the Denver Nuggets, who stopped to talk to me in downtown Portland.
Cheers: to Karen M. for staying late and helping me clean up after the Wine and Chocolate party.
Jeers: to the people who said they were coming to the Wine and Chocolate party but then didn’t show up.
Cheers: to Andrew B. for taking me to Coffee Time for hot chocolate
before the Comedy Sportz workshop last week. I will forever refer to that place
as Crazy Time, because of the strange people hanging out there.
Jeers: to the Swine Flu. Please don’t come to Oregon!
Jeers: to the cancer that recently took the life of KINK’s Les Sarnoff.
Cheers: to Michael for taking me to the KINK benefit concert at the
Aladdin last week. Paulo Nutini, Serena Ryder, and one other band.
Great evening of music.
Jeers: to the guy two rows in front of me at the Paulo Nutini concert
who was holding up his BlackBerry and checking email at eye level.
Might as well have had a flashlight shining in my eyes. The guy in
front of me finally said something.