Seeking Soulmates Online
Coach Evan Marc Katz’s Advice for Internet Dating
Natural Awakenings recently launched its own online dating site, which got us wondering… what does it take to find that ideal someone? We decided to call on dating coach Evan Marc Katz, author of I Can’t Believe I’m Buying This Book: A Commonsense Guide to Successful Internet Dating, for advice. Katz, who calls himself a personal trainer for love, coaches successful women in the art of successful dating. He says that while online dating simply makes sense in today’s world, it’s important to do it wisely.
Online dating is nearly the norm these days. What has changed?
It’s a perfect marriage of technology and opportunity. There are about 100 million singles in the United States, and everyone has a personal computer and a phone, which allows us to connect immediately with people we’d never meet in the course of our day-to-day life.
Think about a woman in her 40s that wants to date and lives in a suburb with kids, has a full-time job and whose friends are all married; it can be hard for someone like that to meet men. Online dating allows her to essentially create a love life from scratch.
The problem is that most people think they can just go online and succeed, without realizing that there’s an actual skill to it. You can’t just shop for a partner the way you can order up other things on the Internet.
Can you share some tips for singles just starting out?
I created an audio series called Finding the One Online, in which I share best practices and some key mistakes to avoid. For example, people sign up for online dating for a month and expect to fall in love in 30 days. That’s like being 50 pounds overweight, signing up for a one-month gym membership and quitting after only losing three pounds because you didn’t meet your goal.
The process of finding a good match is more like training for a marathon—you can’t log on and manifest a partner right away by talking to everyone on the site in a month’s time. That’s completely unrealistic, and yet it’s the number one reason people fail, because they expect too much too soon and don’t stick around long enough to learn how to use the system.
What are some best practices once you commit to the process?
Don’t write an online profile that’s full of adjectives, activities and clichés. Telling a story that illustrates who you are is much more enticing. Post a picture taken within the past year, have a clever user name and write initial emails that are funny and confident.
I like the idea of flirting with a potentially special someone online, moving from email to the phone and making plans for a real-life date over the course of about a week. That’s a good, organic process. My preference is to meet for drinks on a Saturday night, but it doesn’t have to be cocktails if that’s not your scene. I just like the romantic atmosphere of meeting for drinks because dinner dates tend to be too static and coffee dates are too casual.
The goal is not to meet tons of people as quickly as possible. The goal is to build up trust and rapport via email and phone communications, so that when you do go on a first date, it’s comfortable and actually feels like a second date. I encourage my clients to go on real dates, not interviews.
Many people make a list of qualities they desire in a partner. What do you think should top that list?
The things that sustain a marriage are kindness, consistency, compromise, laughter, shared values and trust. Those should be at the top of your list, instead of height, weight, age or income. The problem is that such qualities may not appear in someone’s online profile or even on the first date. Too many couples make decisions based on chemistry, and that can be a terrible predictor of success for a lasting romantic relationship.
Kim Childs is a writer and creativity coach in Boston. Visit KimChilds.com.