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(S)he Likes Me For Me – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 94)

followIt’s kind of scary to stare at a blank profile box, whether it’s on JDate, OkCupid, or J-Swipe, and imagine that in a minute, an hour, a day, or a week, your online dating profile will be “live,” isn’t it?  Even if you write for a living, when it comes to putting pen to paper about yourself (or fingers to keyboard or screen), that’s where things get a bit hairier.

Many people, when they sit down to write their profile, immediately think one thing: “I want to write what I think everyone will want to hear.  That way, I’m not limiting the pool at all.”  While at first glance, this may seem like a good strategy, I want to share why it’s not.

It’s, of course, nice to be liked, but you don’t want to lose yourself in the process of trying to fit into some arbitrary mold that you think others want to see.  Take for example the lines, “I’m just as comfortable in a little black dress and heels as I am in a t-shirt and flip flops,” or “I’m just as happy out on the town as I am at home with a movie and a glass of wine.”  Besides being really boring, do these lines actually tell us anything about the person writing them?  Nope.  They simply cover all the bases.  To me, they read, “I am trying to show you that I’m versatile so you don’t pass me by.”

While it may seem counterintuitive, I’ll come right out and say it: It’s okay to turn people off in your profile!  It’s more important to be the real you… not the version of yourself you think people want to see, and certainly not the version of yourself who attempts to appeal to everyone.  Just be yourself, quirks and all.  That way, you know when someone shows interest, it’s because he or she likes the actual things you said, not just that fact that you were being inclusive.

A sample profile for me on a dating app, where you want to keep things on the short side, might read something like this:

Things I love: Dogs (especially mine), Scotch and bourbon, “That’s what she said” jokes, puns, karaoke, grammar, silliness, board games, and push-ups (I’m a weirdo ;)).

It’s more than okay that I don’t run marathons, read War & Peace for giggles, or go from sweatpants to a ball gown in t-minus two minutes.  Instead, people will get a sense of the real me.  As another example, a client of mine recently wrote about her odd obsession with Post-its and Sharpies.  And you know what?  Men loved her uniqueness and confidence to share it!

I have a challenge for you: If you’re currently on an online dating site, and your profile contains one of the “all-inclusive” lines, change it into something that better represents who you really are.  And if you’re thinking about joining an online dating site, remember that it’s okay to share your interests in bird-watching, chess-playing, wine-making, and whatever else you do for fun.  Yes, you will probably turn some people off.  But you may also turn just exactly the right people on.

erika e-1405-4Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people navigate the world of online dating, and author of Love at First SiteWant to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

 

Erika E. is releasing her first book!

erika ettin-49253-3 NewResident GTJ dating blogger, who just celebrated her 3rd year of blogging for us, is now celebrating releasing her first book!

Her book, Love at First Site, gives “tips and tales for online dating success from a modern-day matchmaker.”

Join Erika (and bring a friend…or 10!) as she celebrates at the Book Release Party!

Here is the event on Facebook as well.

Kol HaKavod, Erika!

 

 

 

 

The Digital Age of Dating – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 88)

It’s no secret that times are a-changing.  The term “gluten free” is now featured on many menus around town, a flattering (or not-so-flattering) selfie is now the norm for picture-taking (my parents have just adopted this, and it’s honestly hilarious), and the dating game has been turned sideways and upside down.  I’m here to set the record straight on not only how things have changed in the dating world but also how some things should remain the same.

The Past The Present
Boy meets girl at a party.  Boy asks girl for number, and she writes it down for him.  Boy calls girl in three days and asks her out to dinner. Boy meets girl at a party.  Boy hands girl phone and tells her to put her number in it.  Boy then texts girl immediately so she has his number.  Boy maybe texts girl in the next few days to ask her out for a drink.

 

Comments on the past: It’s simple and straight-forward, but if the boy loses her number, then we have a problem on our hands.

Comments on the present: It’s certainly efficient, but it’s much less personal and endearing.

Erika’s recommendations: It’s more than okay to put someone’s number in your phone when you meet, but I don’t recommend contacting him or her immediately.  Wait until the next day, and follow up with a text saying, “It was great to meet you last night!  I’ll give you a ring tomorrow so we can set up some plans.”  And then actually call!

The Past The Present
SWM seeks SWF for long walks on the beach, strawberry daiquiris, and a lifetime of intellectual conversation. I like to laugh and have fun.  I’m just as comfortable in a tux as I am in jeans and flip flops.  Sometimes I love a night out on the town, but other times I’m just as happy on the couch with a movie.  My family and friends are very important to me.

 

Comments on the past: It’s simple and easy.  No picture = no expectations.  You have no idea who might respond, though, and it’s hard to weed through the muck.

Comments on the present: First of all, this profile is terrible!  I learned nothing about this person.  Besides that, though, in this day and age, online dating is here to stay, so you might as well use it… and use it well.

Erika’s recommendations: Use online dating, but make your profile and photos stand out from the crowd.  I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to laugh and have fun!  (If you don’t, well, I’m very sorry.  Hang out with me – I’ll make you laugh.)  For more profile tips, click here.

The Past The Present
If you wanted to know about someone, you asked your friends. If you want to know about someone, you Facebook stalk, Google, follow, and Instagram.

 

Comments on the past: Sometimes a little mystery is a good thing!  But it’s hard to know whether this person is who he says he is.

Comments on the present: TMI!  While a little online stalking… ahem… researching is good (and normal), some people take it too far.  No need to know the year your date had her wisdom teeth pulled out (2008 for me) or his mileage breakdown on the last six marathons he ran.  Leave something to talk about on the date!

Erika’s recommendations: It’s fine to do some due diligence.  Just don’t overdo it and start obsessing or making assumptions that you don’t know to be true.

What’s the point of dissecting how things have changed?  It’s to show that each time period has its merits.  I love that we live in the digital age, and as long as we use that to our advantage, then we can only benefit.  Happy dating!

erika ettin-49253-3 NewErika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

 

Catfish Isn’t Just What You Ate For Dinner – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 83)

fishWhen people hear the term “online dating,” they don’t always know what it means.  Here’s what it doesn’t mean:

  • Having a virtual girlfriend or boyfriend
  • Dating in your pajamas for the rest of eternity while eating a pint of Chunky Monkey
  • Sitting behind your computer and assuming that you just had a “hot date”

In many ways, “online dating” is a misnomer.  It could instead be called “online introductions” because the actual “dating” part should still be in person.  Period.

It’s easy to fall in love with someone’s online dating profile, isn’t it?  In fact, a client who lives in MD just told me this morning that she “really likes everything about” this guy in NY based on his JDate profile.  I reminded her that this person is not real until she’s had a face-to-face interaction with him.  It’s just words on a page and a picture until then.

People join online dating sites for many reasons: To find an activity partner, a friend, a date, a one-night stand, a long-term relationship, or marriage. All it takes is the click of a button to list what we’d like to find in our online dating adventure.  Curiously enough, “pen pal” is not an option.  Why?  Because people do not join online dating sites to simply email back and forth with no end in sight.  People are looking to form a real relationship, not an “e-lationship.”

It’s not too forward to ask someone out for a drink or coffee after one or two emails back and forth.  (And I generally recommend that the guy does the asking.)  If a woman responds to your email or reaches out to you on her own (which I strongly encourage women to do), she’s probably interested enough to meet in person.

Of course, some people don’t know when it’s appropriate to move from the email to the date and err on the side of caution (aka waiting too long), so in this case, I recommend saying something like, “I’m really enjoying these emails.  Should we meet for a drink next week?  I’m free Monday or Wednesday if either works for you.”  If they take the bait or suggest a different day, then that’s great!  If the answer is simply no (or there’s no answer), then it’s time to move on.  If someone is perpetually busy, either he or she is secretly the President of the Universe or is trying to get out of meeting in person for some reason.  Don’t dwell on it.  It wasn’t meant to be.

If meeting in person is not feasible for some reason (perhaps you don’t live close enough to meet in a timely fashion), then the best thing to do is to suggest that you Skype or FaceTime.  It takes just as long to dial someone’s number and chat for a few minutes as it does to sit down and email each other, so if someone declines this offer, that is a major red flag.

My advice?  Meet offline as soon as you can.  If you like each other, you’ll be glad you didn’t waste all that time emailing.  And if you don’t, you can move on and also be glad you didn’t waste all that time emailing.  Win-win!  Don’t be the next story on Catfish: The TV Show.

erika ettin-49381 Cropped (1)Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

Tips for Dating Bliss in 2014 – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 81)

snow heartTime sure does fly, doesn’t it?  It’s a new year, and with that comes a new outlook, maybe some new clothes, and, of course, some new people on all of the online dating sites.  (And don’t forget about all of the new single people after the turkey drop and holiday season break-ups.)

As we enter a new year of dating, with first dates abounding, it’s important to remember some helpful tips for achieving dating bliss in 2014:

1. Remain optimistic and happy.

Have you ever been on a date where your date walks in, and he or she just looks miserable?  Or maybe you were the one on your fourth JDate in a week, and you’re just jaded by the whole process.  That aura of negativity really sucks the life out of a date.  If you’re not ready to be dating, say after a break-up, that’s A-ok.  But when you are ready, it’s best to go in with a smile.

2. Focus on the big picture, not the small stuff.

Your date tells you that he’s into some obscure indie band that you heard once and hated.  Is your potential relationship doomed?  Of course not, but sadly, a lot of people take tastes and hobbies more into account than what’s really important – values.  I’d rather know whether someone is close to his family than whether he reads only historical fiction.  It’s obviously nice to have hobbies in common (though I’m glad no one I ever dated played Mahjong like I do!), but in the end, small differences in tastes likely don’t amount to the demise of a relationship.

3. Ask questions.

No one wants to go on a date where one person is talking the entire time.  In order to encourage a healthy back-and-forth, the best thing you can do is to ask your date some questions.  (Hopefully he or she will do the same in return and not take that as a cue to ramble on for an hour straight!)  The questions that have the most luck require more than a simple one-word answer.  You want to get the person thinking.  For example, rather than asking, “What do you do?” (perhaps the most boring question in the book), you could ask, “What made you decide to get into medicine?” or “How do you enjoy your job as a pediatrician?  I imagine it must be very rewarding.”  The first question allows your date to simply say, “I’m a doctor,” but the other two require a bit of introspection, leading to a more thoughtful conversation… and perhaps a second date.

4. Have confidence.

A little confidence goes a long way.  Be decisive, be proud of who you are, have the courage of your convictions, and tell someone how you feel.  These pointers can carry over into other aspects of life as well.  Sometimes you have to talk the talk and walk the walk of confidence for a while, but eventually it’ll catch up to you.

So go out there and have some fun in 2014, and remember these pointers to give your dating life a boost.  Happy New Year!

erika ettin-49334smallErika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

 

DC Winter Date Ideas That Won’t Break the Bank – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 80)

i-give-you-my-heart-winter-wallpaperCatch Erika tonight at Adas Israel! Finding Your Beshert… Online Dating with founder of “A Little Nudge,” Erika Ettin

We’re in the thick of the holiday season.  There are Christmas trees adorning pretty much every office building in town, too many excuses to eat that extra slice of cake at the holiday party (dark chocolate is healthy, right?), and threats of snow that finally came to fruition this past weekend.

But the holiday season also brings with it a strain on our wallets.  We took advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals (I was way too excited about the 50% off at Wet Seal that I got!), and now we’ll likely do the same with the day-after-Christmas sales.  How about all the presents we have to get for our co-workers, family, and friends?  And then there are these prix fixe menus at many restaurants on major holidays.  And don’t forget all the gas money you’ll be spending if you’re driving out of town and the exorbitant flight prices at this time of year.

My goal here is certainly not to get you depressed.  It’s instead to share some cost-effective (and often free!) date ideas in the DC area that won’t break the bank this holiday season.

For the Dorothy Hamill or Brian Boitano types:
Take your date ice skating.  There are more ice skating rinks in the area than you would have guessed, including the ones at the Sculpture Garden, the Georgetown Waterfront, Pentagon City, Navy Yard, and Shaw, which I believe is opening later this month.  More information can be found here: http://redtri.com/ice-skating-rinks-in-dc/.

For the Padma Lakshmi or Tom Sietsema types:
One food-centric idea that one of my clients recently did with her new boyfriend (yay) was to go to the supermarket with only $20 in an attempt to make the best gourmet meal on a budget.  (They did a surprisingly good job!)  You could also enjoy a winter drink to keep you warm, like the salted caramel hot chocolate at Co Co. Sala in Chinatown.  Even better, if you’re a bourbon drinker like I am, they have a drink called the Wild Winter that has bourbon and spiked apple cider in it.  Yum.  (Maybe it’s a little more expensive, but I think it’s worth it.)  Poste also has a special winter cocktail menu that you can ask for at the bar.  Or, if you’re feeling like Derek Brown, one of DC’s best mixologists, then you can attempt to make some of these winter cocktail recipes together.  Even if they don’t come out as planned, at least you’ll have fun making them… or you’ll be too drunk to notice.

For the Angelina Jolie or George Clooney types:
No, I’m not telling you to write and direct your own screenplay!  I’m talking about volunteering together.  Many organizations have volunteer activities in the winter to help people in need, such as throwing holiday parties, wrapping gifts, or packing meals.  The DC JCC is a great place to start.  You can show each other your caring side.

For the Bill Nye or Bob Ross types:
We are so lucky to live in a place where so many museums are free.  Explore the planets at the Air & Space Museum, walk through the live butterfly room at the Museum of Natural History, or check out some work by the photographer Charles Marville at the National Gallery of Art.  (The National Gallery has a surprisingly nice food court, too.)  To make it even more exciting, you could design your own scavenger hunt before heading to the museum and then do it together.  I even found an app that thinks of the challenges for you!

For the Steve Urkel or Ben Stein types:
Go to Board Room or Thomas Foolery and get to know each other over a game of Don’t Break the Ice (remember that one?) or Battleship.  Go to Continental in Rosslyn and play a game of pool or their giant version of Connect Four.  Challenge each other to a game of ping pong at Comet in Van Ness.  Attend a trivia night to show off your Jeopardy-esque prowess.

For the Shaun White or Indiana Jones types:
While I’m not necessarily one to spend too much time out in the cold, I know there there are people who are, so I want to make sure we cover all of our bases.  You could take a walk along the Mall to see the monuments all lit up, go hiking in Great Falls, walk to a dog park and pet some of the pups, or take a ride out to Gravelly Point Park, bring a blanket and a picnic lunch, and watch the planes take off and land.  While you don’t necessarily have to spend any time outside for this one, take a drive (or a walk) through different neighborhoods to find the best, worst, and gaudiest Christmas lights/decorations.  Don’t forget to take pictures!

Just because you can’t bask in the sun at a Nats game or sit on the roof of El Centro, it doesn’t mean you can’t go out and have fun with your date… winter style.  Plus, who doesn’t like a pair of tall boots, right?  Enjoy… and button up.

erika ettin-49334smallErika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

 

Let’s Make a Thanksgivukkah Miracle – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 79)

UntitledWhat happens when you mix turkey with latkes, bellies full of grandma’s kugel (or is that only a Thanksgiving tradition at my house?) with eight crazy nights, and the Pilgrims with the Maccabees?  Why, Thanksgivukkah, of course!  As I learned from the tiebreaker question at Sixth & I’s trivia night last week, this union of the two holidays, where the first day of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving coincide, won’t happen again until the year 79811!!  (However, if you count an overlap as the first night of Hanukkah with Thanksgiving, then it will actually happen in the years 2070 and 2165.  I definitely hope I get to celebrate with both pumpkin pie and jelly-filled doughnuts when I’m 89 years old… assuming I still have some teeth left.)

In the spirit of both holidays, I’d like to share eight reasons we should be thankful this year, as it relates to dating:

1. Online dating exists.

Do you think the Pilgrims in 1621 had a way to meet people across the field, let alone across the world?  Their best place to flirt was likely over the ear of corn they were growing, not on their couch in their jammies using some new-fangled technology we like to call the Interwebs.

2. We have options.

We live in a time when, for most of us, the choice of the person we date and/or marry is ours and ours alone.  Of course, parents have some influence in this decision, as do friends, but you ultimately get to choose the person who makes you the happiest.  Arranged marriages were the norm worldwide until the 18th century.  I’m just glad we live in this day and age.

3. Interracial and interfaith couples are becoming more widely accepted.

A study published earlier this month by Kevin Lewis, a UC San Diego sociologist, suggests that racial barriers to romance are not as insurmountable as we might suppose.  He did his research by analyzing the patterns of 126,134 OKCupid users in a two-and-a-half month period.  He found that, while people often still mainly reach out to others of their own racial background, they are, however, more likely to return a cross-race email than previous research would have led to us to expect.  And, once they have replied to a suitor from a different race, people are then themselves more likely to cross racial lines and initiate interracial contact in the future.  Baby steps…

4. There is more gender equality, especially with online dating.

While I am still a proponent of chivalry when it comes to opening doors and paying on a first date, I also strongly encourage women to reach out first online with an email if someone strikes their fancy.  And, if someone is trying to have an e-lationship, then I also recommend that women suggest meeting in person.  This is the better option to dropping communication completely simply because no one knows the appropriate time to ask for that cocktail or coffee.

Now, we gaze at the Shamash!

5. Dating apps exist.

This is similar to #1 above, but this time, all you have to do is click, send a few texts, and then meet.  Easy as pumpkin pie!

6. There are events galore for meeting people.

Between the aforementioned trivia night, Shabbat services, community service events, and, of course, the infamous GTJ happy hours, there are so many places to meet people for networking, making friends, and dating.

7. DC is a young city.

In 2010, which was the most recent comprehensive age demographic data I could find for DC, the population of people aged 25-34 was 17.1%.  While this number may not sound high on its own, it’s the highest percentage of all age demographics.  For the entire US that year, people aged 25-34 represented 13.4% of the entire population.  Obviously not everyone in this group is single, but at least the odds of meeting someone in that age range are slightly higher… unless Hugh Hefner is your type.

8. DC is fun!

My next article will consist of fun and cheap winter date ideas.  Just for a tease, you could show off your triple Salchow at the new Shaw Ice Skating Rink, go to the Museum of American History and impress your date with your knowledge that it was the Battle of Baltimore that inspired Francis Scott Key’s lyrics to our National Anthem, or indulge in a salted caramel hot chocolate at Co Co. Sala.  Calories don’t count if it’s below 40 degrees out.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday, and please remember the miracle that is Thanksgivukkah… one drumstick, doughnut, and date at a time.

erika ettin-49334smallErika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

 

 

 

You Get What You Allow – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 76)

deleteAs a dating coach, I hear complaints like this from my clients and my friends (mostly the female ones) all the time:

– “He won’t pick up the phone to call me.  I am so sick of texting!”
– “Ugh – he only contacts me once a week.  What’s up with that?”
– “Why can’t he ask me before Friday if I’m free this weekend??  My schedule fills up by mid-week.”

All of these are, of course, are valid concerns.  But what’s not valid is not saying anything about them to the person you’re dating.  As much as we want them to be, people are not mind readers.  Even if we think we’re being as clear as a freshly washed glass door (I use this as an example because I walked into one last week – oops), we often dance around things that bother us until the other person figures it out… and they usually don’t.  This leads to the demise of many a relationship when often simply talking it through would resolve the problem.

Let’s take the first example: texting.  In our generation, the default is to text.  Running late?  Send a text.  Curious to know what someone’s up to later?  Send a text.  Ask someone out on a second date?  You guessed it.  Most people will send a text.  Now, I pose this question: If this overuse of texting bothers you, what do you do about it?  Too often, the answer is nothing.  If you allow the texting to go on by answering all the time and not mentioning that you would prefer a phone call, your date/partner assumes that it’s ok.  Remember, no one reads minds.  Even today, a 54-year-old female client called me to ask what to do about a guy from Match.com who has been texting her since asking for her phone number.  She said, “Ugh – he must be lazy!  Should I just ignore him?”  My response was, “Write him back saying, ‘Why don’t you give me a ring, and we’ll schedule a time to meet?’”

For the next example, someone only contacting you once a week, again, it’s ok to say something like, “I think it would be fun to talk a couple of times a week.”  You can even throw a joke in there with something like, “I think it would be fun to talk (and maybe even see each other) a couple of times a week, you know, so I don’t forget what you look like. ;)”  And for the issue about last-minute planning, it’s more than ok to say to someone that you tend to plan ahead.

In life, many people end up being passive-aggressive or unclear when trying to get a message across.  The act of having a real, honest conversation about something that’s bothering you is a lost art, but it’s the foundation of a good relationship.  Rather than having little things, like the frustration with texting, add up until you can’t take it anymore, instead, you can ask yourself, “Have I mentioned that I would prefer a call sometimes?  Do I answer every text as if it’s no problem?”  If the answers are no and yes, respectively, then before you break up (likely via text, given the circumstances), have a conversation about your different communication styles, and try to find a middle ground.  Remember that you get what you allow, so by allowing the “problem” to go on, you’re sending the message that it’s not a problem at all.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.

Textiquette – Part II – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 75)

iphone-loveIn December of 2011, I gave some advice about texting and dating.  We thought texting was popular then, but now it’s the sole form of communication for many people, especially in our generation.  In many ways, texts are great.  They can be fun, flirty, and fast.  When dating, though, there is a definite line that needs to be drawn between the cute text and the annoying text, and, as the person writing the text, it’s sometimes hard to tell the difference.

Let’s break up the rules into the different stages of a relationship:

– Before the first date
– After the first date
– Early on in an exclusive relationship

Before the First Date

For better or worse, the days of calling a woman and asking her out are slowly becoming a thing of the past.  (If you are one of the men who still calls, then I have a lot of respect for you.)  A phone call is still the best method to ask a woman out if you’ve met her in person already or a friend is fixing you up.  If you met online, though, I recommend just scheduling the date over e-mail, sans the call.

Texting, of course, has its advantages: Rejection seems less painful, you can do it anytime and anywhere (even from the comfort of your own bed… or toilet), and it doesn’t take as much courage to ask someone out.  If you should decide that you’re not going to buck up and make the call, then the text should be clear, concise, and most importantly, nice.  In addition, it’s best to confirm (generally done by the guy) a day before the date.  Something like, “Really looking forward to seeing you tomorrow at 7” should do the trick.  Your date will be thrilled to see that you’re on the ball.

Texting is also great if you’re running late, can’t find parking, or can’t find your date for some reason.  (Let’s just hope it’s not because the profile pictures were from five years ago!)

What not to do at this stage: Cancel via text on the day of the date.  If you have your date’s phone number, please have the courtesy to call.  This goes for both men and women.

After the First Date

My favorite use of the text after the first date is the “thank you” text, for both men and women.  If you had a good time and want to see this person again, send a text saying thanks.  It can be flirty, funny, or just plain sweet.  Especially for women, if a guy paid for the date (and on the first date, he should), he’ll appreciate another thank you, either over text or e-mail.  Assuming your date also had a great time, it’ll put a smile on his or her face to see your name pop up on the phone.

How soon do you follow up after a date, though?  The advent of modern technology – texting, Gchat, and e-mail – has completely compressed the “three-day rule.”  When it comes down to it, if you like someone, it’s so easy to get in touch.  By waiting the antiquated three days, it’s assumed that you’re probably just not that into the other person.

What not to do at this stage: Have a long, detailed conversation over text.  (It’s just too much.)  Also, please don’t use pet names over text yet.  You just met!

Early on in an Exclusive Relationship

In the early stages of a relationship, texting can be the most fun!  Here are a few examples:

– A middle of the day flirt: “Just thinking about how great you looked last night.”
– Good morning/Good night: “Good morning, Sunshine!”
– One random, funny thing that happened: “You won’t believe what happened at the supermarket today… I saw a woman eat an entire frozen pizza before she even got in line!”  (Yes, I saw this once.  Yes, it was ridiculous.  And yes, she did pay for it.)

In the beginning of a relationship, there are hormones flying, butterflies dancing, and the possibility of a true connection.  What’s not to love?  A good text can only heighten the excitement.

What not to do at this stage: Break up with someone via text.  (This is such a no-no, although for Sex and the City fans, I suppose it’s better than a Post-it.)

When you finally make it to long-term relationship territory (yay!), don’t let these cute texts fall to the wayside.  Make sure between texting about who is picking up the dry cleaning and what you’re making for dinner, you throw in a sweet “thinking about you” text now and then.  It’ll go a long way.

Happy dating in the world of technology!

Every Bad Date is a Good Story – GTJ Dating Series with Erika E. (No. 69)

ushiWhen online dating, some dates are less, well, desirable than others.  We all know the importance of being accurate in your photos and presenting yourself well, but sometimes these bad dates can’t be helped.  At least you can regale your friends with your stories later!  As for me, I would say that my best worst date/good story combo is below:

Déjà vu

I was what you’d call an early adopter of online dating.  I started doing JDate in college when I was home in Cherry Hill, NJ for the summer, well before it was free of the stigmas associated with it.  I remember my parents being terrified.  “What?  Who are you going out with?  From a website?  Is that safe?”  (Years later, by the way, my parents begged me to let them pay for me to be on JDate.  It’s amazing what a few years can do.)  Anyway, in that first venture into the murky waters of online dating, I met Gary.  We went out for sushi.  (I didn’t know at the time that dinner was a terrible idea for a first online date.)  He seemed nice enough, albeit totally nerdy.  Now, I’m a nerd in my own right (Boy, do I love a good spreadsheet and a rousing game of Scrabble!), but he had a huge cell phone on his belt buckle well before cell phones were universally used.  And to this day, no one should wear one on his pants.  Ever.  That said, the conversation was fine.  He ate one sushi roll.  What man only eats only one sushi roll!?  Now, I know I’m petite, but I can eat at least two or three rolls!  And so, that was the first, and I thought last, date with Gary.

Fast forward six years.  I lived in DC, was working at Fannie Mae at the time (my former career), and was going to business school at night, so there wasn’t much time for going out and meeting people.  Once again, I decided to join JDate for the 6.37th time, and I wrote to a guy who seemed nice.  He wrote back, and we started having a great, witty conversation.  He noticed that I loved musical theater.  Did I even say that in my profile?  He seemed attentive and interested in the fact that I used to live in Cherry Hill.  So, we decided to meet.

Given that I was in school at night, the only night I had free was Saturday.  Strike one for me.  Then, he asked me out for dinner, sushi nonetheless.  Strike two for me.  We met at the Metro, and he seemed nice enough, albeit totally nerdy.  He had a bomber jacket on that definitely went out of style somewhere in the late ’80s.  But I could look past that.  We got to the restaurant, and just as we were about to sit down, he looked at me and said, “I have something I have to tell you.”  You just met me – what could you possibly have to tell me!?  He continued, “I think we went on a date six years ago.”  Things went downhill from there.  Not only did he recognize me from my pictures, but he didn’t tell me because he knew I didn’t like him the first time around!  He had traded the cell phone for the jacket, but everything else was the same, down to the sushi.  And how did he know I loved musical theater?  Because he remembered from the first date that I did community theater with his cousin.  He had even e-mailed her to confirm that it was me!  This time, you know what I did?  I ordered three sushi rolls!  That’ll stick it to him!  I’m eating all the spicy crunchy tuna I want!  By 8:30, I was done.  I got in a cab, told the driver the whole story, and was in my jammies by 9.

So next time you’re on that bad date, remember that you might be telling the story for years to come.

Feel free to share your worst date/best stories in the comments for the rest of GTJ-land.

Erika Ettin is the Founder of A Little Nudge, where she helps people stand out from the online dating crowd and have a rewarding experience. An archive of all of Erika’s columns is also available.  Want to connect with Erika?  Join her newsletter for updates and tips.