Searching for a Partner
The world has expanded so that searching for a potential partner can be done either in the physical world or in the online world.
Searching for a potential partner should be done places where people are meant to express their personality and behavior in a private context, not in a professional one. For the online world this means searching on dating websites and on various social network websites (like Facebook), and should generally be avoided on professional networks (like LinkedIn).
Professional networks have the disadvantage that all information (including the photographs) is selected for a professional context, so it doesn't accurately reflect the personality and behavior of the profile owner in a private context. On the other hand, dating websites and other social networks show people (only) in a private context.
It has been generally observed that people prefer mating with individuals with similar traits, like: place of birth, ethnicity, age, height, weight, intelligence, education, wealth, occupation, religion, political views. The similarities increase the chances of sharing behavior instead of arguing about it. This preference is called assortative mating.
Visible selection criteria, like gender, face type, body type, age and location quickly filter out most unwanted partners.
When you see someone who you find interesting, make direct eye contact and sustain the eye contact (even if temporarily interrupted), smile and be confident, bold and friendly.
One of the worst thing that can happen is that when you look at a person that you like, if that person looks at you, you immediately look away. This is particularly bad when a man does it because women instinctively interpret this as creepy / stalkish behavior.
If the other person looks long at you, or even turns his / her head to follow you, it's a good indication (but not certainty) of mutual interest.
If both of you look at each other for a significant amount of time, the lack of change, of action, will be interpreted as uninteresting, as boring, and the other person will most likely walk away.
People's reactions vary, so they may (be): completely ignoring you, ignoring you with a head turn meant as a reproach for your attention, glance quickly, stare at you, stare at you and gesture to show their confusion (or even anger) about your attention. Some people may even start to panic if you continuously look into their eyes for 3 seconds, and, like a mouse hypnotized by a cat's eyes, can't realize in that moment that they can simply look away and nothing bad would happen; it's a good idea to smile when looking at someone for a few seconds. Some people feel a stranger's attention like an attack. You will have to learn in time what people's reactions are most likely to mean.
Don't stare at a person in silence, like a surveillance videocamera. Smile and say something to him / her. People can easily think that those who stare at them in silence are creepy, even though, perhaps, they are just shy (and can't conjure enough courage to approach him / her).
Even a simple "Hi" can start a conversation, but be ready to say more than that. Saying "Hi" to a stranger may surprise and confuse them, so without further help from you they might not respond even if they are interested.
If he / she responds, next you should say what you want, for example, that you would like to know him / her.
If you are too far away to say anything, you could wave your hand, but getting close and saying something makes your intentions much clearer.
If you shake hands then do it firmly, but not forceful.
Keep your voice normal, don't modulate it in any way. Don't raise the volume of your voice. Don't allow your voice to switch to a high tone (which can make you sound like a child). Your voice should sound like speech, not poetry reading.
Stand straight (don't stoop).
Talk as if you are talking to a friend or to someone that you know for a long time.
Be confident. Emotions create a feedback loop, so what you feel will be felt by the other person. A fearful, shy or ashamed behavior, which lacks confidence and shows a fear of the unknown, a thinking that you might not deserve the other person, will make you stumble during conversations, will induce the same emotions in the other person, and will dramatically decrease your chances to get a date.
Say what you are looking for, but without putting pressure on the other person. It's likely that you would want to start with a conversation, so you could ask if it's possible to have a conversation, without obligations / strings attached, during a stroll. Say that you would like to know him / her. If he / she asks why, you could say that you like him / her. Don't leave room for confusion. Nobody can read minds and nobody should have to. It's you who have to communicate what you want, and discover what he / she wants, because you have taken the initiative.
If the other person appears undecided to accept your invitation to connect, you can try asking "Is there anything I can do that would make you accept? Maybe you have a question to which you would like to know the answer?" This lets you show your interest, but at the same time allows the other person complete choice, in other words, you're asking but not pushing for a "yes".
Most likely, your biggest fear is, even if you don't realize it, that you'll look awkward because you have nothing (interesting) to talk about. After all, what can you talk about with a stranger? This fear will make you stop talking, restrain your gestures / body language, look less confident, all of which amplify your fear, which in turn makes you even less confident, and immediately transfers to the other person.
If the other person appears timid, fearful, ashamed or just undecided, you'll have to take lead and control the conversation. Be prepared for this!
Don't rush to touch the other person. Wait to be familiar. If that person keeps a distance from you, don't touch him / her. You can try to get closer and closer to him / her. If he / she lets you do that and doesn't step back, you can try some gentle touches on his / her hands, and perhaps at the same time remark what you like about his / her hands (including fingers, palms, skin).
All conversations and interaction are meant to show the similarities and differences of personality and whether you're compatible, not whether one of you is better than the other.
Conversations, though time consuming, let people ask various questions which can open long, detailed and personalized conversations, with many related questions arising along the way.
Conversations can't evaluate someone's personality in an absolute way, can't say how people are, can't explain why people are the way they are, can't assign score points to personality traits or to individuals, can't categorize people and can't reference norms. There are no correct or wrong answers. There are no superior and inferior types of personalities.
Conversations can only help you compare your personality to that of another person, to see if there is a match between the two of you.
How should a conversation look like between compatible people? Balanced, because neither person is trying to dominate the other. The more one of the partners tries to dominate the other, the less happy their relationship will be. Arguing, criticism, negativity, (an air of) superiority, all erode and ultimately devastate a relationship.
Try to make most conversations fun. Let's say that someone asks you if during sex you would squeal like a dolphin. What is the correct way to answer? It's not "Yes", it's not "No", it's not with an angry tone, it's "I would, but first show me how the dolphin does it". Why? Because this answer can start a conversation, a funny one, and laughter is what you need to build a relationship, not indifference, sadness, fear or anger.
Avoid indetermination. If the other person asks you what you should do together, where you should go, avoid saying "I don't know" or "what / where you want". Find another answer, one that doesn't shift the responsibility from you back to him / her.
If the other person seems reticent, fearful or ashamed to discuss something, for example sex, tell them that you want to make them happy and satisfied. Use kind words to lead the other person to a mentally comfortable place. Shape the relationship, shape the future.
Do not enter in an argument with the other person. Do not judge the other person. Do not say and do not imply that the other person is wrong. Listen, then speak to share your view, but don't try to dominate the conversation.
Until you are sure that both your preferences match, avoid expressing extreme feelings, like saying or even implying that something is awful, disgusting, gross.
If the other person is trying to dominate you verbally, for example by raising their voice, ask what they are trying to achieve. They might be passionately explaining their point of view, but explain that you have your own and you have no intention of changing either yours or theirs.
If you're asking yourself how can you remember so many things, the answer is that you shouldn't. Instead, you should change your personality so that these things become a part of you. The goal is not for you to use these things to find a match and then return to your regular self, but to change so you can be like that every day.
When you start to talk for the first time, avoid generic questions like "How are you?" and generic statements like "The weather is nice today."
Always expand your questions with details, in particular when you're not face to face and you can't intervene with something else if you see that something doesn't work. For example, instead of "Let's meet" ask "It would feel so much better to meet face to face and have a real life conversation. What if we were to see each other over the weekend, for lunch?" Or instead of "Where would you like to go in vacation?" ask "You have only the time to pack some underwear and a toothbrush, where would you like to go in vacation?"
Ask questions that would make the other person talk about his / her personality. Try to steer the conversation toward large topics (that involve a lot of talking) and toward answers that induce emotions in the other person, that is, try to make them talk about what they like (to visit, watch, listen to, read, cook, do for hobbies, and so on).
Ask personal questions, but not intimate. Ask for his / her life story.
Try to make them smile. For example, while trying to talk to someone in a bar, you might ask "How was your night?" The other person might say "Lousy!" Are you discouraged at this point, thinking that you are being rejected? Try a funny comeback like "Till I came along, wouldn't you say?" (If you think that every second word you say is funny, note that it's likely the other person doesn't think the same.)
Questions like "Till I came along, wouldn't you say?" are more likely to lead to non-decisive answers like "Maybe" and "We'll see". Statements like "And then I came along" are less likely to produce such a result. Funny questions and statements can make the other person smile / laugh and become more willing to communicate.
Non-decisive answers are a form of teasing, and teasing is a part of a cat-and-mouse play among long-time friends and partners. In other words, the other person is not going to answer with "Okay, let's go have sex right now." There is a game involved, game that both must play because it's a form of mental foreplay.
If you want to have a long-term relationship, how should you approach a potential partner, especially how should men approach women? Why are women a special case? Because they are more fearful than men, so they need to be convinced of men's intentions.
Perhaps you, as a man, think that you know what you want from life, from women, you are confident and you believe that (some) women reject you because they don't like you, or don't find you interesting.
But the one thing that would make the best possible partners interested in you is how you will treat them, how you will make them happy, how you will satisfy their needs (of any nature, including sexual), and they can't know that about a stranger.
Do you know what makes your partner happy? Do you know what makes him / her squirm of pleasure? Do you know what makes him / her say "I want more of this"?
So, ask yourself how you will make a potential partner quickly understand that you want him / her to be happy and that you will do everything possible to do that. How will you tell him / her that? What will your words be? How will you show your passion for him / her, that you are really passionate about (being with) him / her and about his / her life and happiness?
He / she might ask you to clarify your how you intend to do these things, or he / she might be unable to voice such questions and you'll have to clarify them anyway.
So, how will you make your happy? You start by discovering his / her personality in order to understand what he / she wants and needs.
The topics below are mean to open a dialog between the partners. Each partner should state his / her preferences and give his / her opinions on the preferences of the other person.
Place of birth.
Job. What each does for work.
Desired type of relationship. Friendship, short-term dating, long-term dating, casual sex, long-term relationship which could lead to marriage?
Desired length of relationship. Days, months, years, forever? After several decades, do you still see yourself together with the same person?
What are you looking for in a relationship with a man / woman?
What attracts you to men / women?
Why are you interested in me?
How do you occupy your time?
Favorite books, movies, TV shows, music, art.
Played games. Sports / physical, boardgames, videogames?
Usage of online social media. Rarely, daily?
On what websites and apps do you spend most time online?
Eating style, weight control, walking versus going by car. Your favorite foods. Good restaurants. What do you like to eat / eat in the morning? What deserts do you like to eat?
Type of preferred humor. Teasing, sarcasm?
Clothes, dressing style. Formal, casual, sporty?
Alcohol, beer, coffee, smoking, narcotics.
Coffee or tea?
House or apartment?
Personal space in a relationship, frequency of contact.
What parts of this city you like most?
Do you like your name?
What do you usually do during a weekend?
Energy in the morning, after you wake up. Do you want to talk, or do you need some quiet time to go through the (morning) rituals?
How do you like to spend your evenings and nights?
Parties, loud music at home.
The perfect day. How would it be for you?
Travel, vacation locations, camping, separate vacations when not possible together. Where have you traveled? Where did you go during your last vacation? Where would you like to go during your next vacation? Would you go on a vacation without your partner? (If you don't know what to talk about, this is probably the best subject to start with because people usually share vacations, whereas people don't usually share hobbies. This topic can be about both vacations and business trips, anything which could be interesting for the other person.)
Pick a piece of art (like painting, photo, sculpture) that you would want to have in your home; try to find something out of the ordinary, maybe even controversial. Ask your potential partner what he / she thinks about the people who would have that piece of art in their homes. For example, what does a woman think about a man who has in his home a photo with a nude woman, or a photo with a wounded woman holding a sword? Does the man like women who are objectified, weak and hurt, or what does he like?
How would you design your home?
Expensive habits, priced in money but also in time spent engaged with them.
What makes you happy? What do you need to be happy?
The best moments of your life.
Remember a moment when you laughed so hard that tears inundated your eyes.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
What do you remember most vividly from your childhood?
Do you remember, perhaps from your childhood, a moment when you thought that magic was real, or when you thought that you were special and invincible?
As a child, what did you want to be when growing up?
As you grow older, would you like to keep your young body or mind?
Would you want to rule the world? If yes, what would you do as the absolute ruler?
If you could time travel at any time in history, what would you want to see?
How prepared would you be for an apocalypse? (Like vampires, zombies, asteroid, catastrophic weather, Sun burning out.)
The world is about to end. What do you do until the moment comes?
If you could find out the answer to any question, with "yes" or "no", what would the question be? You can ask several questions, about different subjects.
Ability or quality that you don't have but desire.
Have you ever had a strange crush, like a crush on a cartoon character, or on a much older person?
Who do you talk to the most? Yourself, parents, friends?
What do you feel most grateful to have in life?
What would you like to change in the way you grew up?
What is or was the biggest challenge or obstacle in your life?
Things about which you care in life, other than job and hobbies.
Goals in life and what you are doing to achieve them. What dreams do you have?
Do you have a long time dream which you have abandoned? Why did you abandon it?
If you would not have to work, what would you do?
Before talking to people, for example before a date, do you rehearse what you are going to say?
How would a TV reality show based on your life be like? Exciting, adventurous, lots of gossip, changing partners, or boring?
Heavy topics can create a tensed atmosphere, so, perhaps, they should be avoided during the first date. If at any time the conversation becomes heated, do not become combative, just change the topic. You can later consider if there is any point in continuing the relationship.
When is lying acceptable? When are white lies acceptable?
Are you annoyed by people who are: very logical, ordered or messy, who take hygiene very seriously or ignore it? How ordered or messy are you? What's your personal hygiene?
What annoys you the most in people, in life, in the world?
What do you hate most? (The answer doesn't need to be serious, this is a good opportunity to make fun of something bad in your life.)
What are your quirks?
What are you afraid of?
What should not be joked about?
Regrets. What do you most regret (not) doing in your life?
Share a frustrating or tormenting moment from your life.
Duration of last relationship and why it ended.
Astrology, superstition, religion. Do you think that astrology can predict the course of human relationships or of the future? Is religion a good thing for you?
Handling the negatives and mistakes of yourself and of others. Do you often reproach things to other people, like why they did or didn't do certain things?
Self control, delayed gratification. Are you usually aiming to get a (partial) result as quickly as possible, or are you waiting more time to get the best result possible?
Being right versus having a peaceful relationship.
Arguing, criticizing, raising your voice, talking from another room, passive aggressive behavior, talking others into submission.
Handling of refusal, rejection, denial, accepting "no" for an answer.
Do you think that your relationship should be about realistic expectations and friendship, or about love and magic?
Risk taking, both physical and financial. Do you like danger? / Are you attracted to dangerous situations?
House chores, cleaning, cooking, taking out the trash.
Privacy, both physical and online.
Respect for authority.
Charity work, donations, activism.
Political and environmental views, firearms.
Punishments for criminals. Merciful or vengeful?
Joint bank account.
What would I not guess about you?
Children. Do you ever want to have children? How many? Children from previous relationships. Adopting children (if it's not possible to conceive).
Discussing anything related to sex should, perhaps, be avoided during the first date, so that you don't appear to be interested only in sex. Some of these topics may be better discussed after a few dates.
Because some of the topics may be difficult to talk about, it may be useful to go through each of them in order, top to bottom, with each person alternatively starting to talk about the current topic; the person who starts with the first topic should be decided randomly.
Exhibitionism. How exhibitionist would you say you are? Do you use skimpy outfit to show off your body? Do you use a tiny swimsuit or a covering one?
Body hair preference. Hairy or shaved pubic area?
Faithfulness, monogamy, exclusivity during dating, exclusivity during marriage, touching (including pecking and kissing) with other people, jealousy.
With how many people do you want to have sex during your lifetime, and with how many have you already had sex? This isn't referring to what you fantasize about, but to the real world. Some possible answers: none, one, a few, less than 5, as many as possible.
What do you find erotic?
How would sex with you be.
Do you prefer to be active or sit still and let your partner work on you?
Submissive or dominant position / role.
Delicate or rough sex.
Noise during sex: as quiet as possible, heavy breathing, whimpers (short sounds), moans (long sounds), whispers, loud moans, talking.
During sex, the man has an orgasm, but the woman doesn't have hers. What should each of them do?
Should condoms be used at all times, for all kinds of sex? Is there a period after which you no longer want a condom between you and your partner?
Why do men like breasts? Hints: It's not because it reminds men of being breast-fed, since women went through the same experience yet they don't share the same interest for breasts. It's not because they are hidden, since there are other hidden body parts which don't present the same interest, like the armpits. Could it be because they are playful (large, soft and wobbly)?
What kind of sex is acceptable to you? Some possible answers: only genital sex, anything (not hurtful) with the partner, anything (not hurtful) with other people as well.
Is there some kind of sex that you find unacceptable? Why is it unacceptable? If you are not sure about some kind of sex, would you try it (a few times) before you decide?
How do you feel about semen?
Masturbation. Have you ever done it and how often? Would you do it in front of your partner, if asked? Is it fine if both you and your partner continue to masturbate (separately)?
Sexual toys: vibrators, dildos, others.
Pornography. Are you watching? Are you upset if your partner has watched before you met? Would you be upset if your partner would still watch even when in a relationship with you?
Do you like some kind of pain during sex? Physical (like slapping the buttocks, the face), psychological (like dirty talking, name calling).
What do you think about being restrained? What about being blindfolded?
How do you feel about your partner taking photos and videos of you during sex? Would it be acceptable (under what conditions)?
How was it when you've lost your virginity?
Online, photos are the by far the best way for people to see if they are interested in you. Your face should be visible in (some of) the photos. Your (clothed) body should be visible, head to toe, in (some of) the photos. Do not use photos of other people, else, when other people will see you, they'll think that you are deceitful.
It's preferable to have more photos in your online profile because you may look too good or too bad in a single photo. You might believe that if you appear better looking than you really are, is a good thing, but you should consider that in such a case many people could reject you later, and that could become more and more disappointing for you.
A portrait photo means that a person is fit in the frame / photo from the top of the head down to shoulders or chest.
By "good" it's understood something other than a photo like those taken inside (especially in a bathroom mirror) or self-taken from arm's length.
A good portrait photo is a photo where the face and the eyes are clearly visible, that is, they are not covered by sunglasses.
The photo can be taken either in portrait mode (with the narrow side of the camera / photo aligned horizontally with the ground) where nothing but the photographed person fits in the frame, or in landscape mode (with the wide side of the camera / photo aligned horizontally with the ground).
Have a friend take your portrait photo outside, in daylight. If the sun is bright, either position yourself to have it behind you, or move into a (lightly) shaded area; do this in order to void squinting and harsh shadows forming on your face. Have both the camera and yourself inside the shadowy area, not just yourself.
Have the camera 2...4 meters (7...14 feet) away from yourself. The (optical) zoom (/ focal length) has to be changed in order to fill the frame with your head and shoulders.
Avoid using a phone's camera because this will make certain facial features appear bigger than what people see at you, like the nose, cheeks and ears. The reason for this is that such cameras lack optical zooming capabilities.
Make sure that the camera confirms the focus on the face, preferably on an eye.
If the camera shows the hand-shake symbol (or a shutter speed smaller than 200), either manually increase the ISO or pop up the camera's flash. The environmental light should overwhelm the light coming from the flash; basically, the flash should only provide enough light to fill the shadows; avoid using a strong flash directly on the face.
A bit of psychology:
How should I form my first online message for someone I like?
When you like someone that you've met online, write him / her a message!
Talk about subjects that he / she has shared in his / her profile.
Show your interest for that person. Say that you are curious, that you've noticed something in his / her profile, that he / she has mentioned something interesting.
Make yourself unique by showing your personality. Ask what you want to know from the person that you're contacting. Don't just say "do you want to get to know each other?"
Ask clear questions whose responses matter to you. Offer the other person the possibility to jump into the conversation, don't wait for him / her to create a subject for a conversation.
Avoid an overly sexual attitude, and avoid talking about sex.
Avoid using extreme physical compliments (like "you are gorgeous") because they may be interpreted as a pick-up line rather than a honest compliment.
Avoid begging for attention or looking desperate in any way. Do not say "please contact me!"
The message should be relatively short, for example less than 1'000 characters.
Use proper grammar and avoid shortcuts (like "u" instead of "you").
Avoid sending a second message to someone who has not responded to your first message. If you do send a second message, do it after several weeks and say something like “You may have missed my previous message, so please let me try again...”
Don't ask the other person out in your first message.
How can I protect my online profile?
The people that you meet online are unknown to you, so it's better to be safe rather than sorry.
Your online profile must not display information which can be used to identify and track you in reality or over the Internet, like: real name, home address, income amount, real names of friends, phone numbers, email addresses, the names of your accounts from other online services. Stop talking to people who insist that you give them this kind of information about yourself.
Always search online the photos of the people that you are contacting. Save on your computer the photo that you want to search. Go to Google's image search feature and upload the saved image (to their servers); click the camera icon from the right side of the search bar, and then select the photo that you've previously saved. You will then get a search result with the web-pages where the photo was found. If the photo was found somewhere else on the Internet, use your common sense to see if it really belongs to the owner of the profile or to someone else, like a photo-model.
If someone seems trustworthy and worthwhile, you could create an email address with a random name (like "hapmbtegvy"), and use that email address to talk more privately with that person.
If you want to talk through instant messages, you should also create an account name with a random name.
Never send money to people who are not long-time, trustworthy friends.
Do not run computer programs which are sent to you by other people; these are typically in files which end with ".exe" or ".bat". Computer programs can be infected with malicious software which can send to others any information from your computer.
What should I do if I want to physically meet someone who I have met online?
Talk extensively before meeting in person.
Find out as much as possible about the personality of the person that you are talking to.
At some point, ask for the real name of that person.
Ask for clear photos of the face of that person.
Agree to meet only in a public place with many people around.
Tell to a friend where you are going and when you will return. Give to that friend the real name and the photos of the person that you are going to meet.
Do not agree to be picked up from your home by that person. Go to the meeting place (and return from there) on your own.
Do not let your drinks unsupervised. Drugs can be put into them while you are away.
Do not feel embarrassed by the precautions that you are taking. Some people may try to make you feel ashamed of your behavior / precautions, so that you lower your guard. If this happens, either proudly voice your desire / need to feel safe, or simply walk away.
Predators think that they are smart and can exploit your social behavior. Be smarter! It's better to appear uncool than end up being hurt.
For example, if someone asks you "But don't you trust me?" just look into their eyes, smile and say confidently "no", or if you prefer a milder way then say "not yet", or if you want to redirect the questioning to other person then ask "trust you with what?". If, after you answer, they show the slightest sign of verbal aggression, walk away.
Can I use LinkedIn to find a partner?
There are people on the Internet who have had success in getting either short-term or long-term dates on LinkedIn, and there are people who advise against looking for dates on LinkedIn because it's a professional community, not a romantic one. But the best part for using LinkedIn for finding a long-term partner is exactly that it's a professional community, so you can see what your potential partner has achieved in life, that is, you can see up front if he / she is a match for your success in life.
If you decide to approach someone on LinkedIn, avoid sending a generic "friend request" that would make the other person think that you are interested in a professional connection. You should send a direct message (inmail) where you explain your interest for a connection not related to the profession, like asking whether you can ask a personal question, and clearly state that if he / she is not interested then he / she should ignore your message. This allows the other person to have total freedom of choice about getting in contact with you, and knowledge that his / her choice to ignore you will be respected.
Contacting someone on LinkedIn requires you to have good communication skills so that you can write a captivating second message, as a response to the first message of your person of interest.