Online Dating Doesn't Have to Suck
Feel Like a Muse (even if your guy isn't a poet)
Online dating can be a great way to find the right partner. It's just one of the tools, but so many people struggle because they don't know how to utilize it properly if they are looking for love.
In this interview, Jerica Jack, love coach, gives us some great tips on how to avoid overwhelm and frustration with online dating.
Dalila: Hi everybody, I just want to tell you how excited I am to have Jerica, how do you call yourself Jerica? Would you tell us?
Jerica: I say I'm a dating and love coach for women and I help women find the good men, choose the right one and start their forever relationship off right.Dalila: I'm so excited because today we are going to talk about online dating. So many women are struggling with dating in general, and so many people in general are so tired of online dating specifically. So would you tell us a little bit more about what are some of the mistakes that women make when it comes to online dating?
The Right Mindset for Online Dating
Jerica: Well, I think the main thing, there's a bunch of things and we'll probably hit on most, if not all of them, but the main thing is the mindset that you want to go into it with, which is that online dating is just a tool.
I think like subconsciously, we tend to think like it's almost like a matchmaker, like these are supposed to be men that, like somebody up there thought I would be good with. And that's really not what online dating is. It's only an opportunity to put you in front of men. That's it.
If you don't want to do online dating, you can go to singles events, you can go to meet up groups. You can go anywhere where there're men around your age and hopefully single or you can use online dating.
But just like if you go to a party, that doesn't mean you're going to connect with the people at a party or at a singles event or a speed dating event. Exactly the same thing with online dating. It's just a tool. And so if you can use the tool with specific strategies, and that's probably what we'll get into as well, it'll help. But it's not some magical potion, fairy dust unicorn situation.
Dalila: Yeah, it's just another way basically to meet people. And it's almost like a numbers game because when I think of dating, it's a tool and people kind of conflate it with a relationship. They think that dating is a relationship. So that's why they get fried.
One person said, "Online dating doesn't work until it does until you meet somebody, and then it works."
So it's what I tell to my clients is to put it on the back burner and just engage when you feel like it. Don't put all your eggs in that basket. As you said, there are so many other ways to meet people, maybe better ways, depending on where you are geographically. And sometimes you may have to extend with online dating. It's like a supplement.
How to Avoid Burnout when Dating Online-It's All About Coffee
Jerica: Exactly. Well, I can I can get more specific about some of the other mistakes that I think that are made. But you kind of already mentioned like this whole idea of burnout, and that's very, very common with online dating. That's the main problem with online dating is just like you get burnt out with it.
And I think there's a couple of reasons for that. And one of the reasons is that you waste a lot of time, you spend a lot of time doing all this messaging, doing all the swiping, doing all of this stuff.
So that leads you to feel burnout out because you spent all this time doing this and it doesn't go very far.
And then the other reason is the emotional kind of roller coaster that goes along with it. Like you see somebody so excited and then you maybe don't match with them or you do match with them, but then it doesn't work out or you start chatting and that becomes a thing.
So that's why one of my very first strategy tips that I'm going to give you, which is a little bit controversial, I think. But it's really it goes back to what I said to keep in mind of what is online dating for it's to get you in front of men. Right!?
So the idea is to meet them as soon as possible in the messaging back and forth. You don't waste time that way and you don't get emotionally attached. So I kind of view online dating and this is how I used it myself as well, is how can I get coffee dates with men just to meet different men?
I'm just going to talk to them and I'm going to be curious, just like I would be at a party. I wouldn't be expecting necessarily too much. Instead, I would be interested and hopeful. I would be open to something happening if I met somebody at a party or some kind of singles dance or something.
But I wouldn't have this heavy expectation. So it's kind of the same thing with these coffee dates. It would be about how can I get some coffee dates?
And so moving it from matching with him a couple texts back and forth and then go to the coffee date as soon as possible so that you can eliminate them. He's not going to work. He was a nice guy or maybe he wasn't a nice guy or he was boring or whatever it is. But you don't keep going with this time investment, and you don't get your emotions invested in it.
And that's what causes this roller coaster. That's what causes burnout. So that's one thing, one way to avoid it.
Don't Assume You Are in a Relationship
Dalila: And it exactly ties up with what I'm saying. You conflate it's already with a relationship. And you said you spend so much time going back and forth, and you invest your emotions.
I see one of the big mistakes that women make, especially if you have anxious attachment style, is that you are the one who feels like, "How do I propel this relationship? How do I make sure that he will like me," instead of just going out there and meeting people.
You shouldn't wonder, "Oh, this is my potential future husband." It's more about, "Oh, who is this guy? Let me meet him. Let me see who he is. What is he about?" It's more like friendship level. That's my take. What do you think about it?
Jerica: Well, what I really like about what you just said and what I advise to my clients is to be open and curious. So not attached, but just very open, just like exactly what you were saying.
Just kind of wondering, like, "Oh, I wonder what he's all about, then I wonder what kind of place we might go to. What is this coffee shop going to be like tonight? It's not so hyper- focused. That's what causes this emotional attachment, like you said, that causes all this anxiety.
And like you said, like the woman wanting to propel things forward and move things forward. And what I would advise is more like sprinkling seeds.
So you're kind of like trying to meet lots of different men and then you're waiting to see partly who you want to move towards, but also who's coming towards you. And that part of the process should be really slow.
You can meet as many men as you can in a short period of time. You can do that part fast if you want to, but the getting-to-know part should just be slow and open and curious. And that's where all the fun is. That's where the flirty, sexy fun is like, what's the rush?
Dalila: God, I love that Jerica. I love that, "sprinkling the seeds." That is such a beautiful analogy. I will use that and give you credit when I talk about that. But it's such a great analogy. You mentioned that you should not spend too much time online, but one of my readers asked, how do you weed out people that you shouldn't meet?
Don't Have Your Funnel Upside-Down
Jerica: So I've kind of talked about it a little bit already.
But when I was doing this, and this is the same thing I recommend for my clients. The main thing I was doing when I started messaging is consider if I would be willing to go on a coffee date with him? And that's it. So the bar was actually pretty low for that. "Would I be willing to meet him?" Because I'm only talking about like ten messages back and forth or even less, four or five messages back and forth.
I used to kind of laugh about it and say, like, can you write in a full sentence? Did he not say anything offensive? Then I'm willing to meet him for coffee. I mean, that could be 20 minutes.
And the great thing about 2020 with everybody knows Zoom now you can just do a video date. And so it's a very low barrier. Ten messages then to a video date I think is very reasonable. And then if you kind of click on video, then you can move it, move it forward from there.
But so yeah that was my criteria was, can you write in complete sentences. And before that even I didn't have very many like red flag items, because here's a here's another big principle that I think a lot of women make mistakes with, both in online dating and just in dating in general.
It's their what I call it, their funnel is upside down. So you want to have a funnel where you have tons of men on top. That's the seeds that you've sprinkled.
And then you have few or that you actually meet up with fewer that you go on one or two dates with. And then at the end, of course, there is one beautiful flower that's grown from those seeds.
But a lot of women are so picky in the beginning, they're weeding out everyone. And again, this leads back to that same thing we were already talking about being too attached too soon because they've only allowed one person to pass all their criteria.
They're thinking, can I be in a long term relationship with this person? And so if you think about it logically, that's a pretty crazy question to be asking.
If you're just looking at some of these pictures, we all mostly those pictures with a bit of text, we all know that's pretty superficial level. And if you're frustrated by online dating, that's one of the things you're frustrated by.
So stop trying to use pictures to decide if you want to be in a relationship with someone. Look at their pictures to decide if you're willing to go on a date, one, one coffee date, or just one video date. Like I said, it could even be even be less commitment than a coffee date.
How to Weed Out Those That Are Not Right When Dating Online
Dalila: That's great, and it goes along with what I talk about when it comes to anxious attachment style. By slowing down this process, by having that funnel, the way you describe, you can pause and think, "How do I feel in his company? How do I feel when he texts me or doesn't text me?"
So your emotions will tell you who should be worthy of you investing more of your efforts. So if you allow yourself to experience a company of more people, you can make the right choices.
This is how I should be treated. I love that. And then give yourself a chance to change what I call it a procedural tendency, neurological, procedural tendency to just go like a moth after light for this one particular type of guy.
How to Set Your Profile Up for Success in Online Dating
Dalila: Now, tell me, how should a woman set her profile? Can you tell us a little bit more about details, about pictures and all of that?
Jerica: Yes, definitely. OK, so this is really interesting because men and women, of course, look at things differently and they use online dating differently.
Pictures for Your Online Dating Profile
So this can be triggering or difficult for women to hear. But we already know that men are very visual.
And so some women get upset by this. But really, they're choosing mostly based on pictures.
But instead of being offended by that and like wanting to hide ourselves, I would just say, put your pictures out there. Don't you want to know even before the coffee date if he's attracted to you? You don't even want to go on a coffee date with him if he's not attracted to you. There's just no point.
So definitely start with the pictures and you want a nice, clear head shot that's close without sunglasses or a hat on so he can clearly see what your face looks like.
Obviously, an attractive picture, like we can all spruce ourselves up or not so much. Also, add a full body shot so he can see what your full body looks like. I would say about four to five pictures total, and I would recommend that they all be by yourself. Sometimes people put friends in there and that causes problems or maybe even their kids in there. And I don't recommend that.
I would just put yourself in the pictures, one full headshot, one full body shop, maybe doing some different activities that make you stand out.
So let's get to the rest of the profile then. Those are the pictures, but those are the most important thing. Definitely, spend the most time there.
Written Part of Your Dating Profile
The other thing is about the written part. So again, this can be really irritating for us as women because we often think the written part is much more important.
But I actually advise against it and I like the dating sites that have very, very little written.
Again, you're not looking at this to decide if he's your long-term-relationship man. You're looking to see, "Will I go on a coffee date with him?" So you actually don't want to be reading this goes back to the time wasting the time suck.
That's why I really like the sites that have very, very little amount of text. But in that text, the thing that I would recommend is to somehow stand out, be somehow original or different and not boring and just "I like gardening and hiking and the beach." Everybody likes those things.
And the other thing really to avoid is saying what you don't want in the profile. That's just a turnoff for anyone. For example, don't say something like, don't be a sports lover. Even if he's not a sports lover, it's kind of a just a turn off.
Dalila: Great! Those are some great tips. They totally make sense.
Paint a Picture of Him in Your Life
Jerica: Those are really the biggest ones. Following are the next level if you want your profiles to really stand out. And this is not always the easiest to do. Ask yourself: did you create a space that he can see himself in?
So, for example, if you say, "I like walking my dog, gardening, and reading. If he doesn't like taking long walks or gardening, which is probably a lower chance of that, then he's not necessarily going to see himself in that picture. One of the things that I recommend is you could write a short story and it says, "You ............, you take me to.........
So you're planting that idea in a way in his brain, "Here's where you would fit with me. Here's the kind of things I would like to do with you." And it shows him there's a place for him there.
Dalila: Oh, I love that. That's beautiful. It's giving him a picture of what the life with you could be.
Online Dating Safety Tips
Dalila: Now, how can women ensure personal safety when it comes to online dating? There is online safety, and there's a lot of catfishing and also when it comes to meeting in person.
Jerica: You should consider a lot of different things.
One is just that something that we always have to deal with as women. So that's things like telling other people where you're going when you're meeting somebody for coffee. First of all, always pick something close to you. Pick a place that you know, the place, maybe you even know some of the people that hang out there, so it's very much like on your turf. So that's one idea as far as before you meet.
Here's another reason why I really advocate this like ten messages then meet up thing, because these online scammers are not going to want to meet you if they're trying to just get your money. They're trying to draw it out. They're trying to create this emotional bond and then ask for your money. So they're not going to want to meet you. So that's another reason why that strategy eliminates that problem.
And then the other thing I would advise is not to give out your personal information.So for me, when I was online dating, because my name is Jerica. It's an uncommon name. And I knew that by knowing my location, my name, also my profession, they would immediately be able to find me, find my address, and everything else. So I used a different name. And then usually, just like on the coffee date or the first date, I would tell them, because by that time I felt comfortable because it goes by my feelings.
I also had a Google Voice phone number, and I wouldn't recommend FaceTime calls. There's different ways where you can do more of an anonymous video call so that he can't find out what your phone number is or all that good stuff because he can find you. So stay safe!
Dalila: I've seen so many examples. Many of my readers contacted me and explained how they were victims of catfishing.
There are people in relationships for a year or two years. There are people who got engaged with people overseas. The perpetrators usually tell some kind of story such as they are US military overseas or something like that. And suddenly there's some issue with their finances. They need the money from you so they can come and see you as soon as possible.
Jerica: It's so widely spread. If you hear any story, anything similar to that cut off contact. I just posted on Instagram, actually, this little meme or like a little quote basically saying, like a little reminder, if you're online dating, you're not actually dating someone if you haven't met them.
Because, again, I've had so many people messaged me about of "this guy that I'm dating" and then I'll start talking to them and I'm like, "but you've never met him?" And they're like, "Yeah, but we've been dating for a while." I'm like, "you're not dating, you're not dating." This is a pen pal.
So I actually can tell a little story. This might have happened to me, but because of this kind of system that I made, I cut it off. I don't know for sure if this is who he was, but this was the guy who said he was on an Alaska ship, working on the ship.
And so he was going to be out of the area for three months. And I just said, "Oh, OK, that's great. Just contact me when you get to the area." And he tried to continue connecting with me, but I just didn't respond. And so, again, I was very clear from the beginning. I'm not interested in the long distance relationship.
I think it is it is just suspicious. I'm not looking for a pen pal. I'm not looking for a long distance relationship.
So eliminate... eliminate. Back to that question about how do you eliminate if they don't want to meet with you face to face or they say they can't meet with you face to face, red flag.
Dating During COVID
Dalila: Great information, Jerica. Thank you so much. I wanted to ask you one more question about Covid. We can't avoid that topic. And obviously everybody needs to follow their rules and regulations, wherever they are in the world. What are some basic tips that you can give us in terms of Covid and dating and safety?
Jerica: Well, I think if you're talking covid and online dating, there's actually some advantages to dating right now. I think there's more people online dating because you can't (at least in my area, and it depends on where you are), but you can't really go to singles events. There aren't really dances, parties, or meetup groups meeting up. So it leaves online dating as the way to meet people. And you can easily go, like we talked about already, from messaging to video dates.
Once you feel comfortable, then you can move forward. And just like we would before Covid, before you swap germ's with anyone in any way, you wait until you feel safe. You can talk about that with him. So if you're going to go on a walk, maybe as your first date, then you can talk about beforehand. Determine questions such as, do you want to wear masks, are you comfortable not wearing masks, exactly what do you want to do there.
But I think there are some advantages. People are going a little bit slower and there are more people online.
So it's a tool that can be used to find love, and I think if you use some of these strategies that we talked about, it can kind of lesen some of the some of the yuck that so many people associate with it. But a lot of it is going into it with the right mindset.
Dalila: Well, thank you so much, Jerica, this was amazing contribution to my audience. I just wanted to ask you, where can people find you?
Jerica: Well, one of my favorite places to hang out is where we met Dalila, on Instagram. And I am @CoachJerrica there and also on my website, which is lovecoachjerica.com. I do have a little freebie for your viewers. That is Start your Forever Relationship off Right. I break down how to handle early phases of dating.
Dalila: Awesome. Thank you so much. Well, it's been a pleasure and I've just enjoyed so much.
Jerica: I've really just had so much fun interacting with you on Instagram, and it's just been a pleasure. And I can't wait to meet you someday in person.
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