Sunday, November 30, 2014

Is the Online You the same as the Offline You?

Recently I sat down with a potential client. Let’s call him Joe. He walked towards me with confidence and warmth. I was immediately smitten. I tend to “fall in love” with my clients. Joe was in his early 50’s, “good-looking enough”, wildly successful in the medical field and charismatic. He spent the majority of time talking about his journey into self-discovery, studying eastern religions and how important it was to give back. He wanted to meet someone who was like-minded and self-aware with a degree of warmth and authenticity.
I was so excited. I have tons of women like this. Of course I knew that she had to be attractive, too. Men are highly visual so I always assume they’re looking for someone attractive even though beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Joe left me with such a great feeling that I couldn’t wait to start working with him. Then something changed. As we got one step closer to matchmaking, he became very selective with what the girls should look like. The “very attractive, cool women” he said he was looking for turned into “someone with super model looks”. He sent me a few visual references of his super model “girlfriends”. This really threw me off. I started checking out his ‘online presence’ and was baffled to see pictures of Party Boy Joe surrounded by a bevy of models. Every. Single.Picture. That’s when I realized the online Joe was totally incongruent with the offline Joe. How was this down to earth, authentic, quasi-Buddhist man (who was a bit out of shape) turning into a demanding “super-models-only-please” type? It disturbed me enough to start my own empirical study. I checked out all of our clients’ online presence and found that 20% of them had incongruent impressions of who they really are. It bothered me that people feel the need to portray themselves in a fictitious manner. It wouldn’t be a big deal if the internet wasn’t such a dominant source of information from which we cull all of our information.
If I had Googled Joe before we met, I’m not sure I would have been so open and inclined to work with him because he portrayed an image that was the complete antithesis of a man looking for his wife. What’s more, if the type of woman he originally claimed he was seeking saw the ‘online Joe’, I’m willing to bet she would have had trepidations in meeting him.

Be careful. What you put online is permanent. People quickly judge what they see. Make sure the online you is in harmony with the offline you. The ‘cover of your book’ should reflect the real you because it may be the only first impression people allow you to make.

What's so interesting about YOUR life...?

In our business, we meet all kinds of upscale professional singles who are looking for love. When a new clients says “I love my life. I’ve designed the life I want. I’m surrounded by great people and do interesting things. I don’t need a man / woman to make me happy; I’m just looking for someone to enhance my life” we get really excited to work with them because they’re dream clients. They have lives that they enjoy and are serene and busy doing interesting, cool things. This makes them super attractive. Sure they’d like to meet the right person but they’re still having fun along the way. They got it right.
Too many people get it wrong. We meet a lot of people who expect their lives to blossom and flourish the moment they meet the right person. But that’s backwards, isn’t it? These people have good careers and are attractive enough but they don’t do much with their lives. When we talk about what they like to do on the weekends, they come up short. When asked what they do for fun, they stare blankly. Would you date yourself based on the lifestyle you’ve created? Granted, some careers are highly demanding where there’s little time for much else … but even that is a choice.

We refer to our services as “the dolce vita of dating” because ‘the sweet life’ needs to be balanced with the ‘work life’ especially in this culture. Your career should not be the only interest you have in life. Whenever I ask what people like to do, they’ll say things like “I used to play tennis a lot” or “I love going to art openings but I don’t do that kind of stuff alone” or they’ll name something they do once a year. The quality of our lives is determined by the small everyday things with which we fill it. You can really tell who a person is by what they choose to do on the weekends. Being on your computer or glued to the TV does not render an interesting life, let alone increase your chances of meeting somebody. You become interesting when you are an active participant of life.
Think about it. Are you more attracted to the person who leads an interesting, well-rounded life or the one who just catches up on their errands and likes to stay home and watch movies? There’s nothing wrong with the latter when you’re already in a relationship. But when you’re single and trying to put your best foot forward, you really need to explore who you are and cultivate the things that matter to you. Or spend time with your really interesting friends since the people with whom you associate often determine the type of person you become.
If you want to meet an interesting person, you need to be an interesting person.