18 September 2012

That Awkward Moment When You Want To Start Dating Again

Now that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week is finally behind us I can once again start to focus on the one person that really matters most - me. Ever since I came out at age fifteen I've only casually dated a few guys but none of them were officially my "boyfriend." But after all these years of being a strong and independent black woman, I think I'd like to venture out and potentially add someone of such significance to my life - provided they can keep up with my crazy antics. At the end of the day I am just a goof looking for his ball.

Like most of us however I am often too busy with my daily life, work, training, and constantly checking Facebook for new notifications to really go out there and meet that special guy who takes my breath away. Speaking of Facebook, I'm not interested in being that guy who changes his relationship status from "single" to "in a relationship" one day only to have it revert back to its original setting two weeks later - y'all know exactly what I'm talking about.

You can always do it the old-fashioned way by meeting someone through mutual friends or by some chance encounter at a concert, grocery store, or other location but, like many of us, you're probably just another social networking whore with a Facebook, Twitter, and okCupid account. I mean, sure, I'll probably tell my friends and family that we met at church or volunteering at the local homeless shelter but we both know it was really through our mutual friend, Adam... 4Adam. I'm not at all condemning meeting people online, as a matter of fact I'm supporting it - but how do we go about finding what we're actually looking for? The Internet is a very big place, after all.

First thing's first - choose a website, or a handful, that's right for you. There is a plethora of online social networking websites and, now with everyone and their mother owning a smart phone, applications to choose from but it's all about selecting the one that caters to your target audience. I'm not barring you from trying to find love on ManHunt (because anything is possible), but you may want to choose something a little more appropriate than a website whose name incites thoughts of shooting down your mate with a tranquilizer gun and dragging him or her back to your humble abode for... polite conversation.

Regardless of whichever website you choose it's always important to represent yourself well. Choosing a screen name like "pwrbtm87" with your profile content reading "I'm looking for a real connection and am open to dating but friends are cool, too" is a bit misleading. A screen name or user ID that conveys something about your personality, interests, or quirkiness is definitely the way to go. Be upfront about your expectations and what you're looking for in your profile. You are more likely to garner better conversations and people by stating what it is that you want out of the website.

I only really have three tips on how to go about creating and maintaining a dating profile but this last one is, more often than not, overlooked: don't be an asshole. I'm not necessarily saying that you need to respond to every one-liner and "hey, sup?" that you receive but when someone takes the time to write a decent message in response to your profile it's only polite to thank and send them off on their merry way. It's also in your best interest to be neither too picky or too aloof in your search. I'll be the first one to tell you, after my mother and Madonna, not to go for second best, baby, because you have to put your love to the test.

Jumping back into the dating world can be both exhilarating and daunting but it means you're taking an active role in shaping your relationship with new people, and for that I commend you. Just remember to be honest with both yourself and those with whom you converse and eventually meet.

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