Great Advice on Internet Dating from DW

June 8, 2016 at 5.45am by in Dating advice

A few weeks ago, DW wrote to us and thanked us for the exceptional service he experienced during his recent trip to Ukraine (refer Thank You From DW May 29 2016). Following his return home, DW has written about his experience and advice with internet dating and what worked best for him. He has asked to share this with all members so that they can share the same success and enjoyment that he has achieved.

We thank DW for taking the time to share this advice and hope that it helps members to find their love much more quickly.

internet dating

Dating a person online does have some differences compared to dating in real life. These differences become even more pronounced when both of you are from different countries and cultures. In my own journey, I learned a few things that I hope may be of some benefit to others.

Letters: the do’s and don’ts

Consider the following two questions that reveal a person’s character and personality:

⁃ What is your most favourite place in your city?
⁃ What did you learn (about yourself) from your past relationship?

The first question can be answered quite readily and with ease – whilst the latter requires considerable thought and introspection. The first can be a great ice-breaker in a real-life meeting, but the latter may cause a person to feel confronted, under the spotlight and may evoke a knee-jerk response that does not truly reflect the reality about themselves….

Letters, are a great way to ask character-revealing questions in a non-confrontational way:

• A person can take time to think, reflect, gather their thoughts, and respond when they feel ready.
• The foundation built about the discovery of each others character will serve as a valuable stepping stone to feel at ease when you meet that person on video or even in real-life.
• Furthermore, it serves as a cost-effective way to find someone who has a set of values and learnings in life that resonate with your own.

Letters do not always have to consist of thought-provoking questions – it can still be kept light-hearted but provide insight towards the other person’s character, and simultaneously reveal something about yours:
⁃ What are some of your favourite movies? What was your favourite scene in that movie? Why?
⁃ Here is a famous painting, piece of music, landscape, building that I like – what do you think of it?
⁃ Here is a picture of my favourite vacation spot – do you have a favourite place that you like visiting?

A classic mistake is when people use letters (and pictures) to form impressions about a person’s appearance or persona. Here’s why:

• A person’s written persona may be significantly different from their behaviour in social situations. People can be uninhibited about expressing themselves in writing, but introverted in social situations
• We all subconsciously exchange the best photographs of ourselves, where the lighting, smile, pose was captured just perfectly. A picture will never capture a person’s voice, etiquette, table manners. spontaneous response, and so many other facets that form their overall personality.
• Letters only project ONE FACET of a person’s personality The prolonged use of letters can lead to a situation where one or both parties use what they know in
letters, to make assumptions about OTHER FACETS of a person’s personality – which can eventually lead to a huge disappointment if these expectations are not matched in reality.

For this reason, it is important to have a video chat……

Video Chats – why and how to use them effectively

Why video chats, and not a real-life meeting immediately?

A video chat sits somewhere between a real-life meeting and a letter. it gives you some aspects of a real-life meeting to you without the huge financial risk of flights, hotels and interpreter fees. It also is a great stepping stone to overcome the anticipation and tension of a real-life meeting. Due to the relatively low cost compared to a real-life meeting, video chats also serve as a useful check-point to validate whether your desire to meeting each other in real life.

It is important to keep the following points about video chats in mind:

• Some ladies find having a video conversation for the first time with the presence of an interpreter a bit unnerving. It may take 2-3 such chats for a lady to get used to this new experience and be more relaxed. She might need some time to adjust how she interacts with you – e.g. to look at the camera when speaking (and not the interpreter)
• A timed conversation may feel like speed-dating. You both may feel under pressure to simply exchange questions and answers – rather than relax and settle into the conversation. If you schedule a longer duration (1 hour or so), this may help both of you to have a conversations that ‘flows’ more smoothly.
• It may sometimes feel a bit difficult to ‘switch-off’ from what you were doing, and be relaxed and ready to have a live conversation. Your lady may feel this same way too…. so if the first video chat does not go as smoothly as you thought it would – don’t give up just yet. Be patient and give it another chance.

There are a few things you can do to make video chats more effective:

• Ensure good ambient lighting is present – position your webcam in way that, you are looking directly into the camera when you speak. If you are looking in a different direction, it may subconsciously create a feeling of avoidance and disconnect between the two of you.
• Schedule a longer duration than 30 minutes for the video chat – this will allow both of you to relax and not feel any time-pressure to say a lot of things to make each minute count. Remember, you both are not professional actors who can “be in character” on cue. • Do encourage the use of the agency’s facilities (for the lady) for a video chat.
• Agencies have much better network connectivity and equipment setup to make the chat go without any audio/video transmission issues
• There will be an interpreter to translate anything (accurately) should the lady not understand something spoken
• Many issues around the accuracy of automatic text translations can be avoided by the presence of human interpreter at the agency. Plus it will actually make your conversation go much faster and you will derive more value per each minute you pay for….
• Lastly, there is also one BIG reason to use the agency’s facilities…..
It will make your lady comfortable with the (unfamiliar) experience of having a human interpreter present with her when you both meet in real life
• See more about this in the ‘Real Life Meeting’ section below

Real-life meetings – common mistakes and how to avoid them

• After the initial greeting:

The biggest problem that real-life meetings pose is awkward silences….. Once you meet, and exchange pleasantries and compliments about each other… discuss how your day went… soon start to realise that you may running low on things to talk about and keep the conversation lively and engaged. You may fall into the trap of looking at menus to avoid eye contact, or even worse…. ask questions to which the answers are ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

The best way to be prepared for this is to ask your lady to bring a small photo album of her life with her. This is a great conversation starter, as you can learn so much about her life, friends, places she has been, highlights of her life – which will give you an abundant supply of questions to ask, and will pave the way for a more interesting conversation for both of you.

• Minimise eye contact with your interpreter:

Sometimes couples end up spending more time looking at the interpreter than each other. And over time, the interpreter gradually becomes the focal point of your visual and auditory senses. This will lead to a feeling of disconnectedness between the two of you.

Instead, turn your head slightly (but not completely) in the direction of your interpreter when you want to communicate something, or when you are receiving a reply. Keep your eyes focused on your lady. Done properly, your lady will also follow your cue and you both will have a more direct feeling of communication while maintaining a respectful acknowledgement of the interpreter’s presence

Explain/Thank your interpreter at the end of the meeting.

• Seating arrangements

It is tempting to sit on the same side of the table with your lady – as it feels more intimate. But, is it really? Think about the previous point – if the interpreter is on the opposite side of the table, how much time will both of you spend looking at each other? You will be looking directly at your interpreter when asking a question, and listening to the response from your lady as well…. And your lady will be doing the same…. and your interpreter will gradually become the focal point for both of you.

For the initial meeting, sit opposite each other – or 90 degrees to each other such that you are still able to maintain eye contact and not have to turn your head too far from each other to hear/speak to the interpreter. As your familiarity with each other grows, you will be able to define your own technique that works best for you …. it will come with time. What’s most important is that, during the initial meeting your interpreter does not become a distraction to give each other your focus and attention. Keep this point in mind, and develop your own approach that works best for you and your lady.

• Revisiting video chats….

Remember the advice mentioned in video chats? This was (probably) the first time you experienced having a date with the presence of a third person. Well, if it feels unusual, well, it felt unusual to your lady too. Imagine having a real-life meeting where you both did not know how to deal with a third person who is privy to your personal exchanges of pleasantries…. If this is your lady’s first experience – the presence of an interpreter will make it feel too daunting. Imagine spending money on flights, hotels, transfers and the experience falling short of what you wanted it to be, because both of you were unprepared for this ‘odd’ dating experience…

• Video chats are a great way to gently get accustomed to this rather unique ‘dating’ experience. This is another reason why you should try and schedule a video chat where the lady will be using the agency’s facilities. You both will gradually get used to this experience, and have one less obstacle standing in your way of having a truly wonderful real-date in life!

• After your first video chat – you both could exchange letters discussing how the video chat experience went for both of you. You could leisurely discuss ideas and suggestions with each other to make your next video chat (with the presence of an interpreter) feel more direct and personal (looking at the camera, making eye contact, not looking at the interpreter). With each successive chat, you both will already have a refined technique that will apply really well for your real-life meeting…….

By now, you probably will have noticed that, letters, video chats, real-life meetings have a common thread that weave them together. One medium does not entirely displace the other – they all serve as necessary stepping stones to make your communication and understanding between each other deep and meaningful in many ways. Members often misuse these mediums for the wrong purposes, without knowing how to derive the maximum benefit of each – and most importantly, understand the strengths and limitations of each.

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