Monday, March 30, 2015

Cut The Ego To Succeed

Wondering why you're not making progress in your life?

Chances are good you're getting in your own way. Whether we're talking about business, personal life or relationships you need to remember to be willing to work on yourself. Be fluid and changeable. Anything that doesn't evolve dies. Evolving means learning, growing and expanding.

As soon as you think you've got it all figured out, you stop the learning process. Once the learning stops, everything else comes crashing to a halt. And then you die. Seriously.

So how do you go about preventing that. First of all, get ride of that pesky ego that makes you overconfident.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Dating: 10 Things That Will Get You Catfished

There's a guy, we'll call Steve. Steve is single, has a decent job, and over all is a good person. He's been chatting online with a cute blonde girl we'll call Denise. Her profile has a picture of her wearing a sexy prom dress. And while the written part is pretty bare, she does say she's into sports, fishing and casual sex. Steve and Denise exchanged a few emails on the dating site and agree to meet. She emails him her appartment address with plans to chat over a beer one night and "see where it goes".

Steve shows up around 10 p.m. excited and nervous at her front door. The door opens and an interracial man who could pass for a fullback football player answers the door. At first Steve thinks he's a room mate, a visiting friend, maybe even a boyfriend. But no, it turns out Denise is really Dennis. And Dennis is wanting to "experiment" with other dudes.

So where did Steve go wrong? How did he end up getting tricked into a date with a man, who wasn't even the right nationality? The evidence was all there if only Steve had know what to look for and taken the proper procautionary steps.

1. Empty profiles are a huge red flag. "Denise's" profile was a dead give away that "she" was not all she seemed. She only had one undated photo and didn't put much effort or info in her profile. The person should talk a little about themselves. If they don't feel comfortable sharing even their most basic information, chances are really good they're a fake. People who have something to hide keep their profiles as bare as possible so they don't have to remember a bunch of lies and can make up their story on the fly taylored to whoever contacts them.

2. Photographic evidence is a must. Anytime there is only one picture you are running the risk of it being "borrowed". Could be from a friend's page, an old yearbook, some random website or an Express clothing catalogue. Pictures should have at least a year and it should look legit. Group shots where you aren't sure which person in the picture the profile belongs to or worse, no pictures at all- should be an automatic dispualification. Also, pictures are often "outdated", aka...really, really old. Or manipulative. Pictures taken from a high vantage point, only from the neck up or seriously cropped, should warn you off. If they offer to email you or text you photos... tell them to take a hike. These people are notoriously already married, are criminals or have shady intentions.

If they have multiple pictures, compare them to each other. Which ever picure shows them looking the fattest, baldest, oldest etc... assume it's the most recent. You're not dating the hotter, younger version of what they used to be in their glory days, you're getting the present date version which may not be exactly what you bargained for.

3. Ask for verification. Especialy with a poorly drafted profile, Steve didn't confirm Denise was who she said she was. Aside from Googling someone, most people have some form of social media that confirms they exist. And in the form they're claiming. They don't have to necessarily "add you", but they should have a site or two you can look at that will confirm the picture and name on their dating profile is a living person. Take advantage of that.

4. Do a voice check. Even if the person is able to provide you with a Facebook page, LinkedIn profile and a Youtube video of them doing the funky chicken dance at their cousin's wedding, make sure you have at least one 5 minute long phone conversation. This gives you a chance to test out their gender, possible age range, something of their personality and whether you'll have anything to say to each other. If you're leery of giving out your phone number to a stranger, get a Google number. That will afford you some privacy but still enable you to have that very valuable phone call.

5. Agree that it's a "meet", not a "date". Dates can be stressful, ripe with anticipation and expectation. They're also specific for hope and intent for some kind of future, even if it's just one sucessful night stand. Calling this a "meet" downgrades it to just saying hello in person. No pressure, no expectations and no comittments. It will take the pressure off and make it easier for you both to be yourselves and interaction naturally.

6. Agree to meet in public places only. I can't tell you how many problems and dangerous situations I've heard from online daters that would have been avoided if only the people had agreed to meet in a public location during business hours where other people (potential witnesses) are around. If you're not trying to spend money before you know if you like each other (meet for food or movies etc.), plenty of stores work as a great place to get some face time in the flesh. Book stores, special interest (sports, hobbies, etc.) shops, department stores, inside a mall... anywhere you can safely leave without causing a scene if the person is faking their idenity. I once met up with someone from online in the lumber section of Home Depot.

You have absolutely no protection or safety net if you meet at a home, hotel or secluded location. If you hit it off walking arounding talking in the running shoe store, you can always leave afterwards to go...wherever.

7. Keep your personal stuff safe. Cars, homes, purses, wallets, phones, keys. These are not just things we need to function in our daily lives, they're valuable sources of private information we don't want just anyone having access to. Meet someone inside a store, not in your car in the parking lot. I've heard of at least three incidents now where someone met in a parkinglot and their catfish was so bold as to get into their car, uninvited. If a person knows where you live or what your car and license plate are, they will be extremely difficult to get rid of should they turn out to be a physcopathic stalker. Stories abound of people being robbed, car jacked, etc. because they didn't properly check someone out before letting them into their private world too soon.  

Keep your personal items close by and when possible, keep them on your person.

8. Never make promises before you meet. The 2000's are the Brave New World of online hook ups. And while there are pros and cons of that, you must always, always put safety first. You can agree that you find each other attractive online and may be interested in getting to know them better, but you're opening yourself for a world of hurt, disapointment and danger if you agree to have a weekend fling or let someone move in rent free in exchange for regular sex, before you even know if they are who they say they are. Online chemistry, even phone chemistry doesn't always translate into in-person chemistry. And after all, if you're looking to have a real human interaction with them (maybe even a relationship) how you get along in person is the most important thing.

This is especially important of one or both of you are planning to travel to meet. Have a backup plan (somewhere to stay or a way to get home) in the event that your potential dream date turns into a nightmare.

9. Call them out for being a phony. Too many people are afraid to hurt someone's feelings if they meet and it turns out they fudged facts like 10 years from their age and 50 pounds from their gut on their profile. It's been my experience that the only people who meet and then imediately ask if their profile pictures look like them in person... do not in fact look like their profile pictures. At the very least, politely tell the person you're disapointed they're not who they said they were and that their lying prevented you from wanting to get to know them better. Honesty is the best policy. There are no online dating police. If people don't keep each other in line by stating the obvious, they're just going to turn around a catfish the next person without remorse. Do your part to keep people honest.

And finally...


Friday, February 27, 2015

Dating: When Attraction Becomes Dangerous

As a single female on the dating scene I've had my share of getting crude messages suggesting all sorts of debauchery and making some pretty strange offers. Most of the message senders are trying to be tantalizing. Most of them give up when they realize that I'm not interested. Then there are a few that don't seem to know when to stop. 

Sometimes when someone wants your attention badly enough, the best thing you can do is give them attention. I'm not suggesting though, that you give them the kind of attention they want. In this case, the best option might be giving some public notice about an online dating site user who has absolutely stepped across the line of minor annoyance to full blown creep.

This fun note was waiting for me at OkCupid last night. (click picture to enlarge)

At first, I didn't know who sent the chilling message.

"Rape" is not a word you should use with someone you've never met. Rape is not a joke or something you laugh off. It's a terrible act; one of selfishness, treachery and blatant intention to cause lasting physical, emotional and psychological harm.

Whether this comes from the late night musings of a sexual frustrated man or someone who would actually commit the crime if the opportunity permitted, it does not matter. The "lol" at the end of the message does nothing to lessen the clear message that this guy wants physical contact with me whether I want it or not.

I wouldn't have even been sure who sent this message (I did have my suspicious based upon the screen name though) since the user deleted their profile and there is no picture.

But this guy is just so arrogant that he actually contacted me a few hours later, on a different dating site using the exact same screen name. When I signed onto Plenty of Fish (POF) what a surprise I had to see the very same screen name with another message.

This time the messages was a lot less threatening, but still suggested physical intentions. I have no idea why he keeps bringing up his ancestry, but I suppose that and his stats on his profile will make him a lot easier to identify should this creep ever force himself on a woman.

His persistence in trying to get me to come to his house, drink alcohol and have sex with him was the topic of my last blog post. Apparently, my refusal to meet him or respond to his messages has done nothing to squash his intentions to harass me on not one, but now two dating sites.

Despite my public inquiry to readers of how I should react to this guy, I tried to choose the ethically high road and did nothing at all. I am starting to think that was a mistake.

Maybe it's time ALL female online dating site users got a better look at the guy who likes his sex partners either drunk or unwilling.

On paper he looks like a decent guy: Well dressed, nice home, good job, educated... But based upon the messages he sends women, especially the ones he doesn't expect to be traced back to, he's not a good person.We have certainly seen enough celebrities, sport icons, music legends and political leaders- people of high status, good breeding and having a lot to lose, make tremendously bad decisions and reveal themselves to be something akin to pond scum.

There are some who would suggest that this kind of thing is what makes online dating so very dangerous and unwise. But I would remind everyone, whether this guy has a dating profile or not, he is still out in the real world, meeting people in coffee shops, at work and in the grocery store.

Online dating sites might give him a greater reach to interact with women who might meet him not realizing he could have bad intentions, but not having a dating profile won't prevent everyone from meeting him at all.

And this is why common sense and going with your gut instincts are so very important with online dating as well as every life venture. It also helps to inform yourself about what to look out for and how to protect yourself.

Had I not gone with my first impression of this guy based upon years of studying people, and met him the first time he suggested it, this article about rape and online creeps might have had a very message.

Regardless of whether this guy intended his comment to be a "joke" or an inducement to get my attention, hopefully he'll learn to be more humble, less forceful and stop bothering women who don't want his attention.  

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Online Dating: Guy With Shortest Memory EVER

As my subscribed readers know, all 625 eh...9 of you, I don't pussy-foot around with people who need to get a bit of a reality check when it comes to stupid or unreasonable behavior in online dating. And man, do I have a doozy this time!

I really wish that I had saved the first half of the conversation. I really should have seen the signs and realized this was going to turn in to a blog.

So for his first message to me at 12:45 on a Tuesday night, this guy says:

Guy: Hey wanna join me tonight for some red wine, candlelight, romantic time on my beach condo oceanfront of chicks beach?

Me: Thanks, but it's late, I have to work in the morning and that doesn't seem like a smart way to meet. Besides, I don't drink alcohol. Ever. It's just not my thing. But thanks anyway.

Guy: (something to the effect of) You pretty girls think you are all the same. You play games on me. That is not the reason. Just be honest. Why can't you tell me the truth? I will show you a good time.  

So that is where this series of messages take off:

Notice that around 1:20 am I a gave up reasoning with this guy and went to bed. The next few messages he sends me are in the, count them...FOUR days following the messages where I told him repeatedly that I don't drink alcohol. Nor did I contact him first, or suggest that I was interested in him.

Seriously. This guy has enough ego for both people in a relationship. I don't know what he needs me for. He's plenty good at stroking his own ego. 

Could it really be that he thinks meeting someone for the first time at his house is the smartest and safest course of action?  For either of us? How does he know I won't show up with some guys and rob him at knife point?

Does he think that my saying "I don't drink" is code for "the offer isn't good enough but I really would drink if I were more attracted to you"??

Does he really think that meeting at 1 in the morning on a Tuesday night when I already said I have to work in a few hours is negotiable??  

I really don't know!

So how should I proceed? I've come up with a few possibilities..

1. Ignore/ block him. - Safest but most boring choice.

2. Continue to argue with him. - Most pointless option and definitely a waste of my time.

3. Punk him. Agree to meet him and then just never show. - He'll likely become even more bitter about female nature but maybe then he'd be mad enough to leave me alone!

So what do you think? What is the best way to deal with this guy who cannot remember from one 24 hour period to the next the only, single, definite thing I told him about myself.... that I NEVER drink alcohol!...

I'll consider any option at this point! I'd love to hear what you come up with!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Relationships: When Sexual Attraction Is Not Enough

It should come as no surprise that when to get involved with someone, that you will have to talk to each other sometimes. However it could be that by putting too much emphasis on looks, you're overlooking the importance of mental and emotional compatibility.

It's true that there needs to be physical attraction. And a healthy dose of it. But the magical thing we call "chemistry" in a relationship is comprised of an interesting combinations of interest, intrigue and familiarity, not just a desire to rip each others clothes off.

While people place their priority for that primal sexual urge on different levels, that alone will not make any relationship last any length of time worth counting.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The 10 Best Non-Traditional Christmas Songs

If you're tired of traditional Christmas music, here is a list of the best holiday music. They're inspiring and touching, without any of the Ho, ho, ho's or overt religious content.

#10. HOPE WAS BORN THIS NIGHT - Sidewalk Prophets

#9. MARY DID YOU KNOW - Pentatonix

#8. THE GHOSTS OF CHRISTMAS EVE - Trans Siberian Orchestra

#7. WINTERSONG - Sarah McLachlan

#6. GROWN UP CHRISTMAS LIST - Michael Bubble


#4. RIVER - Robert Downey Jr.



#1. SONG FOR A WINTER'S NIGHT - Sarah McLachlan (cover Gordon Lightfoot)