Posts Tagged love

How to Get a Response to That First Email

Writing QuillIf 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.

The Formula
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.

Example:

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?

HappyGuy1

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.
Example:

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?

HappyGuy1

The bottom line is be authentic and engaging. Good luck!

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Matchmaker, Matchmaker Make Me a Match

Jacqueline NicholsFinding 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.

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You can find out more information about Jacqueline Nichols and Intuitive Matchmaking at IntuitiveMatchmaking.com.

 

Check her out on Facebook at facebook/intuitivematchmaking and on Twitter @imatchmaking.

Tell her the Dating Ninja sent you and receive 25% off one of her Beginners packages.

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Kiss the Last Decade Goodbye

As I was sitting around the table at Starbucks this morning with my running buddies of 15 years, there was a common theme in the conversation. We were all more than happy to kiss the last decade goodbye.

When I look back at the last 10 years I realize that I have been through every major life crisis imaginable. I went through a divorce. I lost my mom. I had cancer not once but twice (I’m five years clear now, knock wood).  I had to short sale a house I owned in L.A. I had to take a business partner to court. I was underemployed, and then unemployed. I ended the decade with a very destructive relationship.

We all watched our 401k plans shrink by half.

But even with all of that adversity I still saw the glass as half full. Every time I wanted to have a pity party I thought about the people who were worse off than me. I had a roof over my head. I wasn’t sleeping in my car or under a bridge. I survived cancer.  In 2008 I won my court battle. And in 2009 I sold that house in L.A. and landed an awesome job. And in the Spring of this year I vowed to never again accept anything less than integrity, honesty and mutual respect in a relationship.

We all change over time, but I feel like I had a major life makeover. I truly believe that if you never know adversity and sorrow you can’t really appreciate joy.

May this decade bring us all an abundance of friends, family, love and joy. Happy new year everyone.

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Emotional Monogamy: is it Healthy?

A blog for Jim, who requested the topic of “Emotional Monogamy,” in my Blogging for Dollars (fundraising for Relay for Life) challenge.

When I was 10 years old my mom used to drive my sisters and I up to San Francisco to visit my grandparents. We often drove through the Haight & Ashbury area, and I would press my hands and nose against the car window with wide-eyed wonder and plead, “Please let me get out and walk with them! Please!”

It was 1972.

Then the ’80’s came and the hippies were replaced by Madonna wannabes.

I dressed the part: the torn shirts, wild hair, and dramatic eye makeup, but on the inside I was still thinking about those hippies on Haight & Ashbury. I identified with them and their free loving attitudes, and surmised I had been born 10 years too late.

1980-1984: I attended San Diego State University, the complete antithesis of Haight & Ashbury, and felt like a child looking through the plastic packaging at the land of Barbie and Ken.

When I graduated from college I moved back to the Bay Area and shared a house with three of my high school friends, and we created the closest thing to commune living as you can in the suburbs of sophisticated Saratoga, California. We not only shared a house, but we shared a common belief, that openly loving each other was the only way to live.

I have been married twice since that time in Saratoga, and both times I had no problem being sexually monogamous. However, I constantly struggled with the concept of emotional monogamy, that is, being restricted to only having a deep and meaningful emotional connection with one person at a time. It seemed so unnatural to me. But jealousy rears its ugly head when people are insecure.

I am an openly loving person, and my friendships run deep. I have intense emotional connections with my core group of friends, and I’m not about to give that up. I have an equal number of male and female friends, and each one of them satisfies something in my soul.

So, the real question for me is, is there someone out there who can meet all of my emotional needs? I doubt it. Problem is, that’s what we all expect from our partners. We expect that person to be our everything. It’s unrealistic.

We are a nation of posers if you ask me. Everyone’s trying to give the outward appearance of being monogamous, but statistics say that 80% of those claiming to be sexually and/or emotionally monogamous are actually sneaking around behind their partner’s backs. Why? Because monogamy is a choice not a natural predication.

It is hard to choose emotional monogamy with the Internet at your finger tips 24 hours a day. We exchange emails and text messages like handshakes. The line has been eternally blurred.

We all try so hard to fit into this pre-defined society we live in, and wonder why we fail. The world is changing my friend. Look around you. People are redefining relationships every day.

When I die I want my obituary to say, “She loved.”

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