Would you take online dating advice from a couple who failed at it?
With two divorces each to their names, Michelle Y. Talbert of Washington, D.C., and Ricardo Kingsbury of Maryland met online this year - a week before Valentines. Come Easter, their heated up romance was over, leaving us with a guide to online dating - "Don’t Do What We Did! A Conversation About Online Dating with an Ex-Not-Quite Couple Who Met on the Internet" - a book they wrote together. The two months they were together seems to have been just enough for them to date, fail and write a book on their online dating journey.
Ebony Magazine caught up with them and did an interview. Below are a few of their responses I picked up from the interview that contain issues you and I struggle with when it comes to online dating and what we can learn from this pair that failed miserably...
ON HOW MUCH TO REVEAL ON YOUR PROFILE:
Your perfect partner could be online right now...
What are you looking for?
Ricardo: I don’t think you should reveal too much in your profile, but just enough to make someone want to get to know you better. Even after first contact, you shouldn’t reveal everything via online communication. Too much information too soon can hurt the possibility of letting the person get to know you before you give [him or her] all of the ins and outs of your life story. Things should unfold honestly but naturally.
Michelle: There’s the opportunity to share a bit about yourself in your profile summary or bio. It’s important to understand that the communication is unilateral and doesn’t provide for tone, such as a dry sense of humor or sarcasm, so it’s important to show your personality but be mindful that your words are open to interpretation. I think it’s best to keep the profile information to a minimum and then interact with people on a case-by-case basis, sharing information mutually, conversationally.
TO USE OR NOT TO USE A PICTURE?
Ricardo: Unless you have something to hide, why wouldn’t you want to use your picture? Typically, if I don’t see a picture, I think that person is married, has something to hide or is otherwise involved.
Michelle: Like I said earlier, if people are seeing your picture, it’s because they’re online, too! I’ve met people who have top-secret clearances and use their pictures, and others who don’t. I’ve had people say that if I message them, they will send me a picture. My profile blocks people who don’t have pictures. I just feel that if you can’t put your picture up on the site, then I’m not the person for you. I do believe that most people who don’t have pictures up are likely married or have interacted (typically with an adverse consequence) with people on the site and they are hiding.
Michelle: As women, especially, we must be serious about our personal safety. I learned that sharing your cell number can permit someone to find out your full name, and in some cases, home address. Also, when meeting someone, make sure that you have a “safety.” Someone who knows the name, license plate and/or phone number and e-mail address of the person you’re meeting. I also think you should remember that your profile pictures can draw people to you for the wrong reason—such as putting up pictures of your possessions, jewelry, home, vehicles and even overtly sexy pictures, if you’re not seeking a hook up.
WHY THEY FAILED
Ricardo/Michelle: Neither of us was totally honest with each other about what we were looking for online. Ricardo said he wanted to have a relationship and Michelle said she didn’t, but over time our roles reversed. In each case, we didn’t set the expectations appropriately because we weren’t honest or in tune with what we really wanted.
WHAT THEY LEARNED
Ricardo: From my online dating experience, I have learned that honesty is the best policy. And it may sound cliché, but it really makes the dating experience easier and more fulfilling for both parties.
Michelle: It is key that you determine what you’re looking for before you log in, and if what you’re looking for changes, let the person or people with whom you’re involved know. Additionally, don’t be inflexible. You may be surprised if you’re willing to be open to possibilities something amazing can happen—and it may not be romance!
Well, the advice they have given seems to be very practical and there are a few things I have picked up – especially on safety. Would love to see what more they have in their book.
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