Anybody can find a date. If you have a computer, you’ve got a date. You know how it works: sign up, write a profile and the highway to passion is yours. Once set up, the system should work like a charm. Someone should respond and viola, you’ve got a date. In the real world we blow it!

Dan and Linda exchanged meaningless e-mail chatter forever, but learned nothing about each other. Dan doesn’t know that Linda is his mother’s age. Linda has no clue that Dan lives with his girlfriend. We exhaust our energy by e-mailing people whom we would never introduce to our parents.

Misrepresentation on the Internet is big. Janice, a fitness enthusiast, was excited about her e-mail exchange with Rob, who seemed to share her interests. They wrote about mountain biking and golfing. Janice never asked when he last engaged in these activities. When they met, it was obvious that he was not fit. He was a happy couch potato, who wanted to impress Janice. What a waste of time.

In face-to-face dates, we goof up as we quickly size up our date. That silly tie with comic characters he is wearing, 10 strikes against him. We are done! The magic chemistry didn’t happen. We never find out that Mr. Comic Tie runs a successful business, is a great person with loyal family relations. He has the character we are looking for, but we couldn’t get past that silly tie. We are not fit to date. We are ill equipped to manage dates and to ask pertinent questions. In spite of abundant dating advice, most never move beyond the facade.

What type of dater are you? If you are a recreational dater, you are playing the field. It feels good to be wanted and even better to choose. You dated so many, but even if you like someone, you can’t move ahead. Someone better might come along. Why should you settle for Jack, if you can meet Joe tomorrow? If you are a mission dater you are serious and discriminating. You should easily bypass those who don’t qualify no matter how gorgeous.  Yet, the opposite is the case. Even serious daters are distracted by superficial attributes and end up with the wrong person.

Most singles are decent human beings, yet we don’t give each other a chance, dismissing people in a snap. The most vital attribute for a healthy relationship is character. Just ask someone who is happily married.  Today, we skip over character and go for the superficial stuff.  And that has to change! If you are serious, you mean business. You are tired of wasting your time and ready to change, right? Bottom line: nothing will change until you change. Put in another way: everything changes when you do.

4 important changes you can make right now:

1. BE TRUTHFUL in your profile. This is huge. When you mingle in the singles market, you paint your best picture. Putting your best foot forward doesn’t mean inflating your image. There is only one of you. No need to create a
second identity.

My client showed me his profile. I am not kidding, but the person in front of me was not the same. He told me that his 3 children live with him, but in his profile he claimed to have no children He quoted his body type as athletic, yet he was severely overweight. He is not a bad person, just misrepresented. The key to compatibility is being real, instead of pretending. This may not guarantee huge interest, but if you are serious about quality, not quantity, a true profile will attract someone who is also truthful.

2 DIG DEEPER in your email exchange. Ask questions about their lives, values, hobbies and interests. Rephrase questions in subsequent e-mails and compare answers. Go back to their profile and look for discrepancies. To verify age, ask when they graduated. To find out if they really like hiking, ask where they hike. They could be hiking in the National Geographic only. Check employment, what do they do during a workday? Do they enjoy their work? The only thing you risk by asking is that your new friend will drop “out of the loop.” That may be a good thing.

3 BRING UP ISSUES that are important. If family means a lot, talk about it. If you love traveling, raise this topic. It may be politics or social issues. Start talking about it. If a healthy lifestyle is important, address it. No point in involving yourself with someone who has no interest in that. Whatever your values or interests are, use the e-mail exchange to clarify. Read between the lines. This practice will help you to determine compatibility early in the game. Shared values are important for long-term commitment. Don’t make the mistake so many singles make. They use e-mail to impress each other and end up with little real information.

4 REMEMBER why you are seeking someone. If you want to increase your circle of friends, by all means have fun. But if you are searching for love, dig deeper. Talk about what matters. Ask the questions that are important. Don’t let the sheer number of singles distract you from the character you really seek. Keep in mind: most singles are vulnerable, with a desire to be loved just like you. Be smart, trust your gut instinct and cut to the chase!

© 2009 Allie Ochs is a speaker, relationship coach and author of: Are You Fit To Love?  Her book has received the honorable mention at the USA 2004 Best Book Awards.  She has appeared on TV, Radio and is published in numerous magazines and newsletters.  To order her book or take the Fit 2 Love! Test visit her website. e For Fr
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