Are attractive people happier? Not so, studies show

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Although it might seem like beautiful and handsome people are happier than those not considered to meet the criteria, the reality is in fact quite different. According to studies, runway models and actors -- considered by many to be the fairest of us all -- actually tend to suffer from chronic low self-esteem and depression in spite of their good looks. Here are the four main reasons behind this startling truth.

 1. Different definitions of happiness

Our culture idolises and praises good looks more than any other attribute. On billboards, television, and across the internet we’re constantly being bombarded with images of thin, smiling, women and wealthy young men with washer-board abs, believing that they must be happy.

 As a result, this becomes our definition of what true happiness must be like. We end up believing that if we just lost weight and had a big enough paycheck, we’d be so much happier. Although it’s perfectly normal to define happiness this way when you lack and desire these things, those blessed with good looks have their own interpretation of success.

 Some may want to live a simple life away from the cameras but can't because they have public profiles to maintain, while others just want to settle down without being scrutinised for their simplest mistakes. If they can’t do this, they wind up feeling depressed and lonely.

 2. Low confidence levels

 Many successful celebrities depend on their looks to boost their confidence levels, while average-looking people tend to be happier because their confidence comes from something deep within.

 It short, happiness comes from being satisfied with what you have -- no matter how successful you are, you will never feel happy if you need outside gratification to feel comfortable with yourself.

 3. Comparisons, comparisons

 You'd be surprised to learn that most attractive people feel they aren’t beautiful enough because they compare themselves to their peers.

 The entertainment industry is very competitive, so celebrities will often try to outdo each other. Although competition is perfectly healthy for individual progress, it can be damaging if you see yourself as being at fault all the time.

 Celebrities will often go to great lengths to please their fans and look better than their peers. As a result, they become depressed and unhappy because they've done nothing to address their general well-being.

 4. The clock keeps ticking

 During a recent award acceptance speech, Nicole Kidman spoke out against a major trend in the entertainment industry: older female movie stars suffer tremendously from what is known as ageism, or prejudice based on their age.

 This explains why so many celebrities dedicate their early 30s to their career instead of settling down and having children (incidentally, egg cryopreservation is increasingly popular among young actresses), or undergo cosmetic procedures to maintain their youthful appearance.

 The attractive people we see in the media may seem to have everything, but they always have to maintain a certain image in order to remain relevant.

 Happiness is a choice

 Not all famous people are unhappy with their lives -- there are some who are quite content and comfortable with their fame. But remember -- being constantly preoccupied by what other people think of your appearance is bound to have an impact on your overall well-being.

 Conventional thinking has it that pursuing success will lead to happiness, but research indicates that it may be just the opposite. Happiness is a choice. The question is, are you willing to make it?

This is a guest post by Zoe Dobson of Zwivel

5 signs that your date isn't going well (and what to do it about it)

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It’s totally normal to turn up to a date with high hopes. This person could turn out to be The One, or at least The One To Have Some Fun With For A While. However, sometimes we can want things to turn out well so badly that it colours our perception of what’s really happening, and stops us seeing that, actually, the date isn’t going that great. Here are five subtle signs to look out for.

They’re not present

A first date should be phone-free, so if one or other of you is distracted by your phone, then you aren’t that interested in the other person. If they’re texting, looking at the football scores or even chatting up the waiter it’s best to recognise that it’s a non-starter and call it a night.

They won’t stop talking about their ex

This is a massive red flag. Not only isn’t it fun for you to act the agony aunt, it’s also a sign they aren’t over their ex and therefore not ready for a relationship. Equally, if you find yourself unable to not bring your ex up, you should have a careful think about if you’re ready to be dating.

They don’t let you get a word in edgeways

Whilst talking too much could be a sign of nerves, it could also point to them being more interested in themselves than you. If they show no interest in learning more about you, it’s wise to make your excuses and not go on a second date.

One or both of you is drinking way to quickly

It’s normal to neck a few drinks on a first date, as alcohol is a useful social lubricant. However, if it feels like you’re both necking the booze because you have nothing to say to each other, it’s not a good sign. Stop drinking and end the date before you end up confusing being squiffy for fancying each other.

You just aren’t feeling it

If your mind keeps wondering to what you might have for lunch tomorrow, you are clearly not felling a spark or a desire to get to know your date better. And that’s totally fine, as we don’t have chemistry with everyone we meet. Find a natural pause in conversation and tell them it’s time you went home.

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

A lovely message from a happy ex-MSFer

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"I have never been happier in my entire life"

The best part of our job is hearing from happy couples who met through mysinglefriend.com. Today we received an email from Sarah who told us a bit about her MSF experience...

'I just want to say how grateful I am to mysinglefriend. I married 'the one' yesterday after 18 amazing months together. 

I have never been happier in my entire life. After finding myself living alone for the first time at 38, fast forward a couple of years and I meet my 'husband' after my closest friend and his closest friend signed us up to mysinglefriend. He'd lived in my hometown the whole time and lived three minutes from where I worked,  and fate finally brought us together. 

This is just a thank you to Sarah Beeny for setting up a dating site that is for people just like me, who aren't sure about the idea of meeting someone online but understand that you can't rely on the traditions of old. Thank you again to all involved at my single friend from a traditionalist who never dreamt they would meet there perfect match via a website. The unique way that you ask friends to write about you is why I am now so happy.'

Huge congratulations to Sarah and her partner from all of us here at MSF

Are you looking to meet The One? Sign up tomysinglefriend.com now and get searching! 

7 first date conversation tips to get the ball rolling

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Even if you've usually got the poise and social skills of Meghan Markle, there's something about a first date that can either make you clam up completely or cause you to turn into an unstoppable chatterbox. An easy, natural conversation is the ideal, but what can you do if you're struck by nerves? Here are a tips that will help your conversation flow smoothly.

Admit you're nervous

Whilst it might seem like admitting you're nervous will make you look very uncool, the fact is that the other person is probably nervous too and talking about it will instantly give you some common ground and break the ice.

Ask questions

Open ended questions (i.e ones that invite more of an answer than 'yes' or 'no') give your date an opportunity to talk about themselves and make you look good because you're genuinely interested them. Keep it light though, they won't want to feel like they've been interrogated.

Don't tell lies

It's ever so tempting to fudge the truth a little to make yourself feel more impressive or accomplished, but if you get into a relationship the truth will eventually come out and you won't look good. 

Don't ask about their salary

Talking about work is fine, but don't press them on how much they earn, whether they own a property or what sort of car they drive. You'll just come across as a gold digger, which is not an attractive look.

Don't treat it as a therapy session

Be authentic and forthcoming, but don't fill them in on every tiny detail of your emotional history. Getting to know someone takes time and they don't need to see the dark, hidden corners of your mind just yet.

Don't talk about your ex

By all means mention previous relationships, but a first date is way to early for getting into the nitty gritty of your exes. If you still feel compelled to moan about them it might be worth asking yourself if it's too soon for you to be dating.

Keep it positive

Many people find it hard to talk about themselves without some level of self-deprecation. This is fine, and an appealing quality, but don't confuse it with low self-esteem. Talking yourself down won't encourage your date to find your attractive or fun to be around,.

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

 

 

5 online dating mistakes that you need to avoid

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There are some bad dating habits that can undermine your online dating experience

Getting yourself online and looking for dates is a proactive first step on the road to meeting someone wonderful. However, there are some bad dating habits that can undermine your online dating experience and make things trickier than they need to be. Here are some mistakes that you should be taking care to avoid whilst enjoying your search for that perfect someone.

Don't reject someone on the basis of photos alone

Photos are of course a crucial element of every dating profile. They show you how a person looks and also give you a good insight into their friends, family, hobbies and interests. However, you should fight the urge to select or reject people based on looks alone, because, whilst photos are useful, they can't show you what a person is actually like in real life. If you're rejecting lots of people based entirely on looks, you could be missing out on a genuine connection that can only be felt face-to-face.

Don't get bogged down in the details

If you obsess over the details it will take you a long time to go on a date, let alone meet The One. Likes and dislikes are important, but don't reject someone on the basis that they love Game of Thrones, whilst you think it's a load of old fantasy nonsense. Concentrate on the broad strokes: do they live in the same city as you? Do they look like a fun person? If they like watching TV and you like watching TV then that's enough for now: you can argue over what to watch at a later date.

Evaluate the tone of their profile

Rather than trying to read in between the lines of every profile, evaluate the tone as a whole. Do they seem well-adjusted? Pleasant? Friendly? Funny? Or can you detect a hint of negativity or bitterness in there? Do they seem sincere? The overall tone of a profile can convey an awful lot, so, once again, don't get too bogged down in the details. Also, if they mention their ex in their dating profile it's very possible they're not yet over them, so beware!

Don't get too attached based on the profile alone

No matter how amazing someone seems on paper (or screen), you won't be able to get a real idea of them until you actually meet them in the flesh. You learn so much more about someone when you're sitting opposite them: do they make eye contact, do they smile a lot, are they rude to the bar staff, are they constantly checking their phone? Don't get hung up on them in any way until you've actually met them, or you'll be in for a lot of disappointment.

Don't convince yourself you've met 'The One' after only two dates

If you badly want to find The One, it can be tempting to rush into a relationship quickly, only to find that, once you've got to know them, they aren't who you wanted them to be. Take things slowly so you can truly get to know them before leaping in with both feet. It takes time and patience to get to find out who someone really is, but it will be worth it in the end.

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

Six tips for taking your online relationship offline

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If you've been chatting with someone online and things have been going well, you've probably started thinking about meeting up IRL. However, it can be tricky to know when is the right time, and how to suggest it. If you've been fretting about how to take your potential romance off the internet and into the big wide world, here are some tips that will make it a little bit easier.

Don't leave it too long

If you're feeling a bit nervous about going on a date with someone, it can be tempting to play it safe by continuing to hide behind your keyboard. However, the longer you exchange messages, the more this person is going to seem like a casual pen friend than a potential love interest. There's also the possibility that someone more proactive will ask them on a date and snap them up. Exchanging a few messages to feel things out is great, but once you've developed a bit of a rapport it's time to meet up face to face.

Offer alternative contact details

One simple way to start to move things offline is to offer your phone number. Chatting on the phone or texting generally feels more personal than on a dating site, so the offer of a date may come up more naturally this way. However, don't just exchange messaging online for texting instead of meeting up as you still won't have a solid idea of what they're like.

Save some stories for the actual date

If you share too much about yourself online, you could end up without much to  talk about when you actually meet up in real life, which is a sure fire way to crush any chemistry that might exist between you. There's nothing more alluring than a bit of mystery, so don't kill the intrigue by laying out your entire life story before they've even set eyes on you.

Be prepared to be disappointed

It's easy to idealise people before you meet them and imagine they are everything you've dreamed of and more, but remember that these thoughts have no basis in reality until you've actually met someone and got to know them a bit. Lower your expectations a little and be clear about who they really are and not who you want them to be. This is a good reason to take things offline fairly quickly, rather than spending ages chatting online and feeling no chemistry when you finally get to meet.

Don't put all your eggs in one basket

When dating online, the likelihood is that you won't meet your soulmate on the first date, so you need to give yourself plenty of options. If you spend ages talking to just one person, you're missing out on lots of other potential dates. Chatting to lots of different people and going on lots of dates will hugely enhance your chances of quickly meeting someone that you really click with.

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

What makes a great profile narrative?

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If you're serious about meeting someone online, a great profile narrative is crucial. Photos are also important, but people want to find out what you are like just as much as how you look. Your profile narrative is the best place to showcase you personality and tell people what you're looking for in a relationship. A generic profile that doesn't say much about who you really are is going to be easily overlooked, so you need to hook your potential date's attention with some details about what a wonderful person you are. Follow these tips to help you make the most of MSF.

Profile headline

Just like a newspaper headline, your profile headline should be brief, snappy and, hopefully, a bit witty. You can use it to explain a bit about yourself, tell people what you're looking for, or just catch someone's attention by making them laugh. 

Good examples:

'Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it. Let's do it, let's... communicate.'

'World traveller seeks first class companion'

Bad examples:

'I don't know what to write'

'.........' (Leaving it blank)

Why should people get to know you?

This is your opportunity to really sell yourself. Whilst you might feel reticent about blowing your own trumpet, there's no room for wallflowers when it comes to online dating. If you're struggling to describe yourself, imagine how your friends would describe you and write that down. If you can't imagine how they would describe you, ask them! 

Mention what you do for a living, but don't turn your profile into a CV as people will be none the wiser as to what you are actually like. Talk about your hobbies and interests, your passions and the things you would like to do in the future.

It's important to make clear at this stage what you're looking for. Obviously a blow-by-blow account of your dream wedding day is taking things too far, but if you're looking for a committed relationship now is the time to say, because it's helpful if everyone is on the same page from the start.

Describe your ideal match

What you don't want to write is a long list of characteristics, such as ideal job, looks, weight, education, salary and hobbies. It's a lot for anyone to live up to and can make you sound superficial and picky. Concentrate instead on values. If you want to meet someone who is ambitious, say you're looking for someone who is passionate about their job. If you're looking for someone who is buff, say you're looking for someone who values their health and takes care of themselves. Writing in this way allows someone to consider whether you have similar values that will make a great relationship, rather than feeling like they aren't ticking all your boxes.

Be positive!

A great rule of thumb for your profile narrative is to keep things upbeat. We've all had struggles in life and we all get grumpy, but don't show these qualities in your profile. Coming over as negative, snarky, bitter or angry is going to put potential dates off immediately. Keep it light and you're much more likely to attract someone.

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

 

Coping with rejection when online dating

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Rejection is part and parcel of online dating, but it definitely shouldn't put you off pursuing your dream of finding someone. Whether it's not getting a reply to your message or not getting a second date, you're bound to feel the sting at some point, so being able to cope and move on is vitally important. Here are a few tips that will stop it from holding you back.

Don't take it personally

This is the golden rule. Although it may feel very personal to be rejected at any stage of the dating process, it's crucial to remember that it's not about you. There could be a hundred reasons that someone doesn't reply to your message, and none of them are because you are somehow not worthy or attractive. Equally, if someone doesn't want a second date it will be because they don't feel a spark, which should have no bearing on your self worth. Someone who doesn't know you has no authority to judge you, so chalk it up to their loss and move on.

Stay positive

You'll handle rejection better if you can stay positive. If someone didn't message you back, don't get gloomy about why. Maybe they've started seeing someone, maybe they're really busy, or maybe they aren't the type of you want to get in a relationship with if they can't even be bothered to respond. Remaining upbeat will stop any perceived knock backs from ruining your dating experience.

Don't give up

Although there are a very few lucky people who meet the perfect person on their first ever date, the vast majority of people send loads of messages and go on loads of dates before they meet someone they like. You have to put some time in, so if you let an initial rejection put you off, then you'll never get to meet all those people who could turn out to be The One. Plus, the more dates you go on, the easier it will be to move on from the ones that don't work. 

Use it to get some empathy for the people you turn down

Online dating isn't a one way street so there will be times when you don't want to reply to someone's message or go on a second date. Use your own experiences of being rejected to gain some compassion for the people you inevitably have to turn down. Figure out a nice 'thanks, but no thanks' message to send and think about assertive but not unpleasant ways you can say no to seeing someone again.

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

Success story: Tara and Mark

               Tara and Mark on their wedding day

             Tara and Mark on their wedding day

We're very pleased to introduce you to our latest success story, Tara and Mark! This fabulous pair got in touch to let us know all about how they met on mysinglefriend, a story that involves everything from a beautiful wedding in New Zealand to lawnmowers!

"I was very pragmatic about starting online dating. My son was 3 years old and we had not long been in the UK when I went online. I am a very social, outgoing person but circumstances prevented me from meeting potential partners the way I had previously - at work, through sport and via my three New Zealand-based brothers. Online dating was for me a way of striking up conversations from my living room. In my eyes it was just a matter of getting on with it.

"Mark postponed our first two dates, the first for a work dinner, the second due to illness. I told him ‘three strikes and you’re out’, which would have been a pity as he made me laugh. We ended up meeting on a week where Mark was Mr Thursday and I also had dates with a Mr Tuesday and a Mr Friday. We joked at the wedding that Mark became Mr Sunday Lunch and he’s now Mr Everyday.

"Our wedding was on a Vineyard in New Zealand near where I grew up, 8 years after we met (having both been married before we didn’t rush). My son gave me away to the man that had proved his love and commitment to us. 

"As to our plans for the future….continuing to support each other in our endeavours and help ‘our’ son get through his fast approaching teenage years. We’re a sporty family with Mark being an avid golfer, myself competing at dressage and our son being good at almost everything at which he turns his hand. We both run our own businesses and Mark would like to sell his soon and stop. When I met him he’d moved to a flat due to his divorce and on our first date he said he never wanted to own a lawnmower again. It nearly put me off as I had plans for land in my future. Now we live on 15 acres and Mark’s got a tractor, ride-on and three heavy-duty lawnmowers. He says he’d just like to stop work and play with the machinery all day. Proof that you never know where MSF will take you!"

Proof, indeed! Many congratulations and best wishes for the future to Tara and Mark from all of us here at MSF! If you're still on the lookout for your perfect person, sign up to mysinglefriend.com now and get searching!

Should I make the first move online?

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The more people you contact, the more dates you'll get

One of the questions our fabulous admin team at mysinglefriend,com get asked the most is 'Should I make the first move when it comes to sending someone a message?'. For example, if someone adds you as a favourite, is it OK to immediately send them a message or should you wait to receive one first? In short, what's the etiquette? Read on for some tips on easily navigating the world of online dating.

Should I message first?

Yes! Whilst many of us have retained some old fashioned notions around not making the first move, you have to grab every chance you get to make people notice you. If someone you like the look of adds you as a favourite but doesn't message you, take the initiative and message them, as they have clearly made an expression of interest. And, even if someone hasn't favourited you, don't be afraid to send messages anyway. The more people you contact, the more dates you will get.

How long should I wait for a reply? Should I follow up with another message?

People have different expectations when it comes to how quickly they should reply to messages, and they might not match up with yours. If you bombard someone with messages asking why they haven't replied, it's highly likely to put them off, so resist this impulse. Give them a couple of days, then send them a quick reminder. If they still don't reply, move on to someone else.

How quickly should I reply?

As quickly as you like! Any 'rules' about leaving it a certain amount of time should be completely discarded as you're here to meet someone, not to play games. If someone took the trouble to message you they'll want a reply, so don't fret about putting them off by being too keen.

Should I ignore messages from people I'm not interested in?

No. Whilst it may seem pointless to engage in conversation with people you don't want to meet up with, it's just good manners to send a quick 'Thanks, but no thanks' message. Everyone likes to be noticed, even if they don't get the result they want, so do people the courtesy of replying and it makes everyone's life that little bit better. 

Looking for love? Join mysinglefriend now!

Can online dating lead to love?

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'Can online dating lead to love?' is the big question that absolutely everyone asks themselves when they sign up to a dating website. The short answer is: yes. The slightly longer answer is: yes, but you have to put some effort in. Whilst some people are lucky enough to meet The One on the first date they go on from MSF, for most people it takes a bit of time. However, with a bit of dedication and a willingness not to give up, online dating can definitely lead to love. Here are a few tips that will help you to meet the person of your dreams.

Complete your online dating profile fully

People won't want to date you if they don't know anything about you, and a half finished profile makes it look like you don't really care about going on dates. If you really want to find love, you need to fill out every tiny detail about who you are and who you're looking for, plus, given that this is mysinglefriend, you need to get a friend to write something about you.

Get some good photos

Quality photos make or break a dating profile, so if you don't have any, or the ones you have aren't very good, you'll be missing out on dates. We've written a whole post about why you need to use great quality pictures which you can read here.

Be proactive

Whilst it would be lovely if Mr or Ms Right somehow managed to seek you out without you lifting a finger, it highly unlikely that it will happen. If you stand shyly by like a wallflower at a the high school dance in Grease, no one is going to see you, so you have to get yourself out there and noticed like Cha Cha DiGregorio (but less horrible to Sandy, please). Seek out people you'd like to meet and engage them in conversation.

Be consistent

Being proactive is one thing, but you must also be consistent. If you get all excited at the beginning and send loads of messages and then don't login for two weeks you'll miss out on replying to people who will already have moved on to dating other people. Login for a few minutes every day to keep things ticking over.

Keep things fresh

If you've been on the site for a few weeks (and that's perfectly normal!) change things up a bit to keep your profile fresh. Adding some different pictures and making some tweaks to your profile often tempts people who might not have got in contact the first time round. 

Go forth and meet people IRL

This is the clincher. It's scary to go out and meet people in real life, but you definitely won't find love if things remain forever online. You can't really tell if there's a spark until you meet someone in the flesh, so it's crucial that you get out there and meet them. Plus, the more you do it, the more your confidence grows, and the more attractive you will be. 

Looking for love? Join mysinglefriend now!

How to date in hot weather

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very hot weather can make dating stressful

Now, don't get us wrong: we love the summer. Longer days, lighter evenings and warmer weather are a tonic for everybody, and can lead to some fantastic dating opportunities. However, as anyone who has ever turned up to a date in the sweltering heat with a bright red face and some embarrassing sweat patches can confirm, very hot weather can make dating stressful. Here are some tips to keep you looking and feeling cool, even when it's boiling outside.

Patterns are your friend

No matter how liberally you apply that Lynx Africa or Mum roll on, you're still going to sweat when it's hot. The trick is to make sure those under arm damp patches can't be seen. To do this we recommend choosing a pattern that will hide any unsightly patches, such as plaid, gingham or check.

Choose your fabric carefully

Obviously you aren't going to stepping out in a wooly jumper, but there are other fabrics, such as nylon, viscose and polyester that cause you to sweat (and pong!) more. Stick with light, natural fibres such as pure cotton and linen to keep your body temperature down.

Don't be tempted to go sockless

Of course you want to show off your well-turned ankles in sunny weather, but wearing shoes without socks leads to sweat and unpleasant smells (not so sexy if you end up back at their place and your trainers stink out their house). Wear trainer socks or footlets.

Set off 10 minutes early

If you have to rush, you'll end up pink, sweaty and frazzled before the date has even started. Giving yourself a bit of extra time will allow you to go slowly and keep your cool.

Sit in the shade

We're not very used to hot weather in the UK and it can be tempting to sit in the full glare of the sun because we don't know when we'll get the chance again. However, if you do this for more than ten minutes you could end up with sun burn or sun stroke before you know it. Sitting in a shady spot will make your date less likely to end with a trip to casualty.

Apply lots of sun cream!

Because it's important. Plus, if you're a couple of dates in, you can get your hands on your date by offering to apply it to those hard to reach places!

Looking for a hot date? Join mysinglefriend now!

Yet another MSF success story!

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We're always happy to hear about an MSF success story, and we received a lovely message from a happy couple via Twitter. These guys didn't provide their names (we know some people like to remain anonymous!), but that doesn't detract from what sounds like a wonderful romance...

'Hello! It was about 10 years ago but we met on MSF - he was my 2nd date. We clearly clicked and he proposed on top of the Empire State Building 6 months later and we got married in 2009. Now 2 girls aged 3 and 6 and haven’t looked back. In fact one of his best friends also was on MSF and met his now wife a few years ago too. He is god father to my youngest! So thanks MSF!'

Our pleasure! If you'd like to let us know about your MSF success story (anonymously or otherwise!) drop us a line at blog@mysinglefriend.com. We'd love to hear from you! And if you're still on the lookout for your perfect person, sign up to mysinglefriend.com now and get searching!

 

Featured Profile: Lauren

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"I'm very easy going, nothing really fazes me..."

We see a lot of profiles here at mysinglefriend.com and each one is as unique and special as the next. Sometimes, though, there is one that stands out from the crowd and deserves to be shared more widely. This week we'd like to introduce you to the lovely Lauren, who loves Pilates, travel, friends and family.

About Lauren...

"I'm very easy going, nothing really fazes me. I'm a Pilates teacher and love my job. I'm fortunate enough to have the most incredible son a great family and friends. I travel lots on my own, with friends and family and with work sometimes. I like my life but would like to share it with someone."

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About her ideal match...

"I don't have a physical type but do like men with an adventurous spirit. Someone who's happy to try new things, travel and loves life. Equally happy at home or out."

If you fancy getting in touch with Lauren and going on an adventure, take a look at her profile and drop her a line. And if you fancy being a Featured Profile yourself, get in touch at blog@mysinglefriend.com - we'd love to hear from you!

Visit mysinglefriend.com and sign up now.

6 online dating tips for complete beginners

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Online dating is so ubiquitous now that everyone has heard of it, but that doesn't mean that everyone has tried it: there are plenty of beginners out there! Whether you've just come out of a long relationship or simply haven't got round to trying it yet, dipping your toe into the online dating pool can feel a bit scary at first. However, if you bear in mind that everyone was a beginner once, and follow our handy tips, you'll soon be using mysinglefriend.com like an absolute expert. 

Tip 1: Be prepared to put some time in

Though it does sometimes happen, it's unlikely that you'll meet the boy or girl of your dreams on your first date. It takes time to fill out your profile, choose pictures and chat with others, and then it takes more time to meet up with people and figure out which ones you want to see again. However, the more time you put in, the more benefit you'll get out, so don't be afraid to roll up your sleeves and get to it.

Tip 2: Get a wingman on board

Mysinglefriend is all about getting your mates involved, and we guarantee that having a cheerleader will make the experience much more fun. Get them to write your profile (or check what you've written and make sure you're not selling yourself short). help you choose some pictures and then search through the site for potential hotties.

Tip 3: Post a selection of good pictures

Research has shown that we tend to be bad at choosing pictures that show us off in our best light. Whilst you may think that super pouty selfie makes you look all seductive and mysterious, your mate will probably think that you look a bit grumpy and not demonstrating your sparkling personality. Listen to their advice and post a selection of pictures that show the real you.

Tip 4: Cast your net widely

If you get bogged down in the details of trying to find exactly who you think you're looking for (e.g brown hair, over 6 foot, green eyes, is fanatical about Emmerdale), you're going to narrow down your options instantly. Being open minded about meeting all sorts of different people gives you much more opportunity to meet someone lovely, even if they don't fit your tick list. In fact, we recommend chucking away your tick list: we know couples who would never had met if they had stuck so rigidly to their imagined perfect date! 

Tip 5: Don't be shy about taking things offline

Thought the idea of meeting up with a stranger in real life can feel intimidating, it's important to remember that it's the whole reason you've started online dating in the first place! Once you've had a bit of a chat online, suggest meeting up IRL so you can see if you really click when you aren't both hidden behind a keyboard. The first time you meet someone will be nerve wracking, but, like everything in life, the more you do it, the easier it will get.

Tip 6: Relax and enjoy!

The most important thing to remember is that online dating should be fun! It sometimes requires a thick skin, as not every date will be perfect, but as soon as you learn to chalk those up to experience (and enjoy telling it as a funny anecdote), you'll have no problems. See it as a fun hobby, rather than a stressful chore, and you'll soon be having a ball!

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

5 simple ways to get a reply to your first message

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Once you've got your dating profile online and honed to absolute perfection, it's time to start sending messages. This is the tricky bit and it's easy to feel disheartened if you're sending out messages but not getting many replies. However, there are a few simple tricks that you can employ to hook the interest of potential dates and make sure they reply, without coming on too strong or resorting to silly pick up lines. Here's how...

1. Make your subject line more interesting than "Hi"

If the person you've messaged has got an inbox stuffed with messages that start 'Hi', 'Hello' or 'Hey', you won't stand out from the crowd if you do exactly the same. Spend a little time thinking up a witty one-liner or something else that will catch their eye. Another great tip is to refer it back to something in their profile, which leads us neatly on to...

2. Make it clear that you've read their profile

Mentioning something you've read in their profile shows that a) you're showing a genuine interest in them and b) you aren't just copying and pasting the same message to everyone. Copying and pasting a message to loads of people is the dating equivalent of throwing mud at a wall and seeing what sticks, which isn't a position your potential date will want to be in. Make your message personal and people will be much more likely to reply.

3. Tell them about yourself

Yes, they can find out about you from your profile, but telling them a bit about yourself will grab their interest and make them more likely to visit your profile than one of those hideously banal messages that goes something like 'Hey, how are you?' Whilst you might be the most fascinating creature to ever walk the earth, they'll only know if you tell them, so get some details in there before they click away to a more interesting message.

4. Ask a question

Asking a question in a message is like offering them a hook to hang their answer on. It opens up the conversation immediately and makes it easy for them to reply. Bonus points if the question refers back to their profile, because you're killing two birds with one stone. If they say they like cooking, ask them what their favourite meal is. If they like the cinema, ask what's the best movie they've seen lately. It's a simple strategy, but super effective.

5. Ask them out on a date

We make this suggestion with the caveat of '...if you feel comfortable with that'. If you like to spend a little time getting to know someone through messaging, then stick to that, but if you're happy to meet up with people straight away (keeping our safety tips in mind, obvs), go for it! It shows a level of commitment to your online dating adventure and is certain to grab their attention in amongst all the 'Hey, how you doing?' messages. Be brave, be bold and get dates.

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

7 tips for a safe online dating experience

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If you take care of yourself, everything will run smoothly

There are often articles in the news about people being duped by internet scammers, so some level of wariness when it comes to your online interactions is always a good idea - safety first, safety second! as the saying goes. However, as with all areas of life, if you take care of yourself and are aware of any potential problems, everything will run smoothly. Here are a few tips that will help you have a fun, enjoyable and, above all, safe dating experience.

Don't share too much online

Of course you'll have to do a bit of initial messaging, but we recommend keeping it to the messaging system within MSF and swap numbers when you've actually met. Don't respond to requests for sexy pics or information about where you work or live; if someone is genuinely interested in a relationship, all of that stuff can wait.

Don't be afraid to say no

Even if you've shared lots of messages with someone, you have no obligation to meet them IRL if you don't want to: you're allowed to change your mind at any point. Don't worry about offending someone and don't allow yourself to feel uncomfortable simply to save their feelings.

Arrange to meet in a public place

This is online dating safety 101, but it's always worth repeating. It's easy to build up a quick rapport online and feel like you've got the measure of someone, but there is no escaping the fact that they are a stranger. Meet in a public place where you can easily leave should you wish to.

Tell someone where you're going

Another basic, but also easy to forget. Tell a friend where and when you're meeting, basic details about your date (name, phone number) and what time you expect to be home. Check in with your mate during the date (not too much, obvs, no one wants a date who is glued to their phone the whole time) and send them a text asking them to call if you need a reason to escape.

If you need to drive somewhere, drive yourself

If you have to drive to the place you're meeting your date, don't allow them to come and pick you up. Having your own transport puts you in control of when you leave, plus it's just basic common sense not to get into a car with a stranger. It also gives you a handy reason to...

Stay sober!

We know that a little bit of dutch courage goes a long way if you're nervous about your date, but we're putting the emphasis here heavily on the little (and none at all if you're driving!). Alcohol creates bad judgement, which could lead to anything from making a tit of yourself by talking endlessly about your ex to going home with someone who you don't know. If you accidentally get drunk, excuse yourself and call a cab.

If you're getting bad vibes, act on them

Bad vibes can be hard to pin down, but if you're feeling uncomfortable in any way, don't be afraid to leave the date. Make this easy for yourself by arranging to meet for a coffee or a drink - something that could reasonably be over inside an hour - rather than agreeing to a three course meal followed by dancing. Your safety comes first, so don't worry about potentially offending someone if you feel the need to get away. 

Looking for a delightful date? Join mysinglefriend now!

 

How to get your date off to a great start

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So, you've aced the initial online messaging side of things and have bagged yourself a hot date. Now it's time to meet in real life where you can't hide behind your keyboard or ask your mates for help constructing pithy, flirty one-liners. It's down to you to make a great first impression and get that date off to a flying start. But don't worry, this doesn't mean you need to be as impressive and charming as a Beyonce/Tom Hiddleston hybrid. Just follow these few simple tips and you'll be having a fabulous time before you've even realised it.

Make an effort with your appearance (but not so much that you feel weird)

It's important that you look good, but 'making an effort with your appearance' shouldn't be confused with 'dressing up like you're going to the 6th form leaver's ball'. If you're the type of person who wears a sharp suit or fancy dress every day of the week then that is what you should stick with, but if you spend most of your time in jeans and a plaid shirt, then getting super dressed up is only going to make you feel uncomfortable. Choose an outfit that looks tidy but helps you feel like you, as being relaxed will make the best impression of all.

Be on time

This is basic stuff, but being late is the ultimate in making your date feel like you just don't care enough. Of course, you could be beset by all sorts of disasters on your way to meet them, from a delayed train to a 'What the hell am I wearing?!' freak out, but build these possibilities into your schedule and leave a nice big buffer of time to absorb any disasters. It's much better to be way too early than rudely late.

Doing an activity can really break the ice

When we say activity, we're not suggesting you spend your first date learning how to knit tea cosies (though why the heck not?!), but it is worth considering whether having something to do might be helpful.. If you're used to a first date scenario that involves staring at a stranger across a table and panic-drinking yourselves into oblivion, you might like to try something a little different. Meeting in a museum or art gallery, for example, gives you something to look at and talk about apart from each other, which can ease the pressure of a first meeting.

Be inquisitive

If you're nervous, asking your date questions about themselves helps to take the spotlight off you and will enable you to relax and warm up a bit. It is also an attractive trait, as no one wants to spend an evening (or, indeed, the rest of their life) with someone who talks about themselves incessantly and shows no interest in others. Being inquisitive about the other person is another incredibly basic tip, but it's surprising how many people think the purpose of a date is to sell themselves rather than find out about someone else.

Focus on having a good time now, not on your desired outcome

If you arrive to your date with your head full of dreams about how this person could be The One that you marry, start a family and fulfil your dreams of opening an organic avocado farm in New Zealand with, you're going to have a less successful date then if you just turn up hoping to have a bit of laugh for a couple of hours. We all have ideas about how we'd like our lives to pan out, but if you immediately project them onto everyone you meet, you're giving them an awful lot to live up to, which just isn't fair. Concentrate on just having a nice time on your first date, rather than hoping for it to be the beginning of your elaborately constructed happy-ever-after fantasy.

Looking for a few first dates? Join mysinglefriend now!

Why you shouldn't sweat the small stuff

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When we stop obsessing about the little things, our pool of dates immediately gets much bigger 

When you embark upon your online dating adventure, it's very easy to get so caught up in the tiny details about other people that you can end up letting some cracking potential dates slip through the net. One couple who met through MSF and are now getting married probably wouldn't have met up at all if they had paid close attention to the small print. Caroline told us that she hadn't looked in much detail about Sid's profile and the night before they met up he sent her a message asking if she had realised he was about about five inches shorter than her. Caroline told us: "In my mind I thought 'Sh**********t' but I wrote back saying 'Of course I knew, it's fine'. 

"We met at Covent Garden tube station, looked at each other and didn't speak for what felt like a few minutes. We later told each other that Sid was thinking 'F**k, she's tall' and I was thinking 'F**k, he's short'. After we'd stared at each other in shock for a while we decided to go for lunch. We chatted non-stop and had so much in common that the height thing just wasn't important!"

Height seems to be of particular importance to women, with research showing that men who are 6ft and over are 33% more likely to be contacted than men of average height (5ft 7). However, we all get hung up on the details and people of both sexes will easily dismiss others based on being a couple of inches too tall, a tiny bit chubby, having the wrong hair colour or living half a mile outside of their preferred area. If we are prepared to be a bit more open minded and stop obsessing about little things, the pool of potential dates will immediately grow much bigger and the likelihood of meeting someone lovely increases.

Caroline and Sid are proof that letting go of our ideas of what someone we fancy 'should' look like can result in a happy-ever-after story, so stop sweating the small stuff and start dating lots more great people.

Fancy a date? Join mysinglefriend.com now!

Success story: Liz and Andy

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We'd like to wish a huge congratulations to our latest success story, the wonderful Andy and Liz! The happy couple got in touch recently to let us know all about their new relationship.

"I knew that online dating worked, and now I can say so from experience," says Liz. "I only went on one date, though, and I wonder whether I have missed out on having some of those funny stories to tell, or whether I would have cringed and ditched the whole idea after one or two tries. . I would definitely recommend it to others with a caution to have an open mind and not judge people just on their photos or profiles. What are their emails like? What questions are they asking you and how are they responding to yours? And people can appear very different when you meet them face to face.

"Since we both lived in the same town we met somewhere local and low-key. I was late (this was beginning to be a theme) and he was waiting. As I approached and he turned to greet me, my heart leaped! He was so charming looking. This was it! My first date and its already better than I expected. We hit it off and chatted and laughed over dinner. Then I challenged him to a game of pool at my local - he didn’t let me win - I didn’t want that kind of treatment from an accomplished snooker player - but I think he went easy on me! The date was lovely and he was such a gentleman.

"MSF is the only site I tried and I chose it because (a) some of my friends found love on it and (b) because it meant I didn’t have to write my own profile and blow my own trumpet. Having others do it for me was a bit of an emotional experience - is what they think I’m like? Are these my best characteristics and my funniest stories? It was very interesting but I confess I made them change it a few times so I didn’t sound like a drunken loon! And of course you can write your own profile and respond to theirs so it’s very flexible. I love that your friends can also search the site for you. That could be quite fun and, if nothing else, you can get a second opinion on some potentials!

"Andy and I are looking at moving in together and seeing what happens from there. We’re looking forward to some great holidays and getting involved in each other’s hobbies. We’ve had so much fun together so far and I never imagined I could meet someone so decent online - why wasn’t he snapped up already? Same reason as me, I guess - he hadn’t met the right One."

We're so happy that we helped Liz and Andy both find The One! If you're still on the lookout for your perfect person, sign up to mysinglefriend.com now and get searching!