Searching for a Partner
It has been generally observed that people prefer mating with individuals with similar traits, like: place of birth, ethnicity, age, height, weight, intelligence, education, wealth, occupation, religion, political views. The similarities increase the chances of sharing behavior instead of arguing about it. This preference is called assortative mating.
Visible selection criteria, like gender, face type, body type, age and location quickly filter out most unwanted partners.
Physically meeting a potential partner
If you like someone, even if you've seen them for the first time, for just a few seconds, approach him / her.
Don't stare at him / her in silence. Smile and say something to him / her. People can easily think that those who stare at them in silence are creepy, even though, perhaps, they are just shy (and can't conjure enough courage to approach him / her).
When you meet someone for the first time, sustain the eye contact (even if temporarily interrupted), smile, be confident, bold and friendly.
Even a simple "Hi" can start a conversation, but be ready to say more than that. Saying "Hi" to a stranger may surprise and confuse them, so without further help from you they might not respond even if they are interested.
Make immediate, direct eye contact, but don't stare.
If you shake hands then do it firmly, but not forceful.
Keep your normal voice. Don't raise your voice. Don't allow your voice to switch to a high tone which can make you sound like a child.
Talk as if you are talking to a friend or to someone that you know for a long time.
Be confident. Emotions create a feedback loop, so what you feel will be felt by the other person. A fearful, shy or ashamed behavior, which lacks confidence and shows a fear of the unknown, a thinking that you might not deserve the other person, will make you stumble during conversations, will induce the same emotions in the other person, and will dramatically decrease your chances to get a second date.
Most likely, your biggest fear is, even if you don't realize it, that you'll look awkward because you have nothing (interesting) to talk about. After all, what can you talk about with a stranger? This fear will make you stop talking, restrain your gestures / body language, look less confident, all of which amplifies your fear.
Ask for his / her life story. Ask personal questions, but not intimate.
Don't rush to touch the other person. Wait to be familiar. If that person keeps a distance from you, don't touch him / her. You can try to get closer and closer to him / her. If he / she lets you do that and doesn't step back, you can try some gentle touches on his / her hands or shoulders, whichever is closer to your hands.
Conversations, though time consuming, let people ask various questions which can open long, detailed and personalized conversations, with many related questions arising along the way.
Conversations can't evaluate someone's personality in an absolute way, can't say how people are, can't explain why people are the way they are, can't assign score points to personality traits or to individuals, can't categorize people and can't reference norms. There are no correct or wrong answers. There are no superior and inferior types of personalities.
Conversations can only help you compare your personality to that of another person, to see if there is a match between the two of you.
How should a conversation look like between compatible people? Balanced, because neither person is trying to dominate the other. The more one of the partners tries to dominate the other, the less happy their relationship will be. Arguing, criticism, negativity, (an air of) superiority, all erode and ultimately devastate a relationship.
Try to make most conversations fun. Let's say that someone asks you if during sex you would squeal like a dolphin. What is the correct way to answer? It's not "Yes", it's not "No", it's not with an angry tone, it's "I would, but first show me how the dolphin does it". Why? Because this answer can start a conversation, a funny one, and laughter is what you need to build a relationship, not indifference, sadness, fear or anger.
If the other person seems reticent, fearful or ashamed to discuss something, for example sex, tell them that you don't want to hurt them, but rather want to make them happy and satisfied. Use kind words to lead the other person to a mentally comfortable place. Shape the relationship, shape the future.
Do not enter in an argument with the other person. Do not judge the other person. Do not say and do not imply that the other person is wrong. Listen, then speak to share your view, but don't try to dominate the conversation.
Until you are sure that both your preferences match, avoid expressing extreme feelings, like saying or even implying that something is awful, disgusting, gross.
If the other person is trying to dominate you verbally, for example by raising their voice, ask what they are trying to achieve. They might be passionately explaining their point of view, but explain that you have your own and you have no intention of changing either yours or theirs.
Below, there are some conversation topics that you can use, but you should also think at what you want most in a partner, and write that down in order to later use it in conversations.
To start a conversation, read aloud a conversation topic and then start discussing, asking questions.
Place of birth.
Desired type of relationship. Friendship, short-term dating, long-term dating, casual sex, long-term relationship which will lead to marriage?
Desired length of relationship. Days, months, years, forever? After several decades, do you still see yourself together with the same person, either married or simply together?
Job. What do you do for work / money?
Favorite books, movies, TV shows, music, art.
Played games. Sports / physical, boardgames, videogames?
Usage of online social media. Rarely, daily?
On what websites and apps do you spend most time?
Eating style, weight control, walking versus going by car. Your favorite foods. Good restaurants.
Type of preferred humor. Teasing, sarcasm?
Clothes, dressing style. Formal, casual, sporty?
Alcohol, beer, coffee, smoking, narcotics.
Coffee or tea?
House or apartment?
Personal space in a relationship, frequency of contact.
What parts of this city you like most?
Do you like your name?
What do you usually do during a weekend?
Energy in the morning, after you wake up. Do you want to talk, or do you need some quiet time to go through the (morning) rituals?
How do you like to spend your evenings and nights?
Parties, loud music at home.
The perfect day. How would it be for you?
Travel, vacation locations, camping, separate vacations when not possible together. Where have you traveled? Where did you go during your last vacation? Where would you like to go during your next vacation?
How would you design your home?
Expensive habits, priced in money but also in time spent engaged with them.
The best moments of your life.
Remember a moment when you laughed so hard that tears inundated your eyes.
What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?
What do you remember most vividly from your childhood?
Do you remember, perhaps from your childhood, a moment when you thought that magic was real, or when you thought that you were special and invincible?
As a child, what did you want to be when growing up?
As you grow older, would you like to keep your young body or mind?
Would you want to rule the world? If yes, what would you do as the absolute ruler?
If you could time travel at any time in history, what would you want to see?
How prepared would you be for an apocalypse: vampires, zombies, asteroid, catastrophic weather, Sun burning out?
A huge asteroid is going to hit Earth in two days, destroying it. What do you do until the moment comes?
If you could find out the answer to any question, with "yes" or "no", what would the question be? You can ask several questions, about different subjects.
Ability or quality that you don't have but desire.
Have you ever had a strange crush, like a crush on a cartoon character, or on a much older person?
Who do you talk to the most? Yourself, parents, friends?
What do you feel most grateful to have in life?
What would you like to change in the way you grew up?
What is or was the biggest challenge or obstacle in your life?
Things about which you care in life, other than job and hobbies.
Goals in life and what you are doing to achieve them. What dreams do you have?
Do you have a long time dream which you have abandoned? Why did you abandon it?
If you would not have to work, what would you do?
Before talking to people, for example before a date, do you rehearse what you are going to say?
How would a TV reality show based on your life be like? Exciting, adventurous, lots of gossip, changing partners, or boring?
Pick a piece of art (like painting, photo, sculpture) that you would want to have in your home; try to find something out of the ordinary, maybe even controversial. Ask your potential partner what he / she thinks about the people who would have that piece of art in their homes. For example, what does a woman think about a man who has in his home a photo with a nude woman, or a photo with a wounded woman holding a sword? Does the man like women who are objectified, weak and hurt, or what does he like? In fact, the answer isn't meant to identify and expose the man's personality, but the woman's. Why? Because the woman's answer represents the way she thinks, not the way the man thinks. The man's personality will be later exposed through conversation.
Would you go on a vacation without your partner?
Heavy topics can create a tensed atmosphere, so, perhaps, they should be avoided during the first date. If at any time the conversation becomes heated, do not become combative, just change the topic. You can later consider logically if there is any point in continuing the relationship.
Are you annoyed by people who are: very logical, very ordered, messy, who take hygiene very seriously?
What annoys you the most in people, in life, in the world?
What do you hate most? (The answer doesn't need to be serious, this is a good opportunity to make fun of something bad in your life.)
What are your quirks?
What are you afraid of?
What should not be joked about?
Regrets. What do you most regret (not) doing in your life?
Share a frustrating or tormenting moment from your life.
Duration of last relationship and why it ended.
Astrology, superstition, religion. Do you think that astrology can predict the course of human relationships or of the future? Is religion a good thing for you?
Handling the negatives and mistakes of yourself and of others. Do you often reproach things to other people, like why they did or didn't do certain things?
Being right versus having a peaceful relationship.
Arguing, criticizing, raising your voice, talking from another room, passive aggressive behavior, talking others into submission.
Handling of refusal, rejection, denial, accepting "no" for an answer.
Do you think that your relationship should be about realistic expectations and friendship, or about love and magic?
Risk taking, both physical and financial. Do you like danger? / Are you attracted to dangerous situations?
House chores, cleaning, cooking, taking out the trash.
Privacy, both physical and online.
Respect for authority.
Charity work, donations, activism.
Political and environmental views, firearms.
Punishments for criminals. Merciful or vengeful?
Joint bank account.
What would I not guess about you?
The first date is just exploratory, but if a second date is scheduled then there is mutual interest, so more intimate conversations can be had.
Discussing anything related to sex and children should, perhaps, be avoided during the first date, so that you don't appear to be interested only in sex or in starting a family too quickly.
Faithfulness, monogamy, exclusivity during dating (= before marriage), touching (including pecking and kissing) with other people, jealousy.
With how many people do you want to have sex (or you have had sex with) during your lifetime? This isn't referring to what you fantasize about, but to the real world. Some possible answers: none, one, a few (say, less than 5), quite a few, as many as possible.
Who should finish first? If the man finishes before the woman, what should he do next?
Condoms, sexual preferences, sexual toys, pornography. What do you find erotic? Do you think that sex should be restricted only to genital sex?
Exhibitionism. Do you use a tiny swimsuit or a covering one?
Body hair preference. Hairy or shaved pubic area?
Body type preference.
Why do men like breasts? Hints: It's not because it reminds men of being breast-fed, since women went through the same experience yet they don't share the same interest in breasts. It's not because they are hidden, since there are other hidden body parts which don't present the same interest, like the armpits. It's because they are related to human reproduction (offsprings must use them) and are therefore part of the human sexual behavior, like the genital organs are, because they are present on women but not on men, and because they are large, soft and wobbly, that is, they are playful.
How was it when you've lost your virginity?
Children. Do you ever want to have children? How many?
Children from previous relationships.
Adopting children (if it's not possible to conceive).
Online, photos are the fastest way for people to see if they are interested in you. Your face should be visible in (some of) the photos. Do not use photos of other people, else, when other people will see you, they'll think that you are deceitful.
It's preferable to have more photos in your online profile because you may look too good or too bad in a single photo. You might believe that if you appear better looking than you really are, is a good thing, but you should consider that in such a case many people could reject you later, and that could become more and more disappointing for you.
A portrait photo means that a person is fit in the frame / photo from the top of the head down to shoulders or chest.
By "good" it's understood something other than a photo like those taken inside (especially in a bathroom mirror) or self-taken from arm's length.
A good portrait photo is a photo where the face and the eyes are clearly visible, that is, they are not covered by sunglasses.
The photo can be taken either in portrait mode (with the narrow side of the camera / photo aligned horizontally with the ground) where nothing but the photographed person fits in the frame, or in landscape mode (with the wide side of the camera / photo aligned horizontally with the ground).
Have a friend take your portrait photo outside, in daylight. If the sun is bright, either position yourself to have it behind you, or move into a (lightly) shaded area; do this in order to void squinting and harsh shadows forming on your face. Have both the camera and yourself inside the shadowy area, not just yourself.
Have the camera 2...4 meters (7...14 feet) away from yourself. The (optical) zoom (/ focal length) has to be changed in order to fill the frame with your head and shoulders.
Avoid using a phone's camera because this will make certain facial features appear bigger than what people see at you, like the nose, cheeks and ears. The reason for this is that such cameras lack optical zooming capabilities.
Make sure that the camera confirms the focus on the face, preferably on an eye.
If the camera shows the hand-shake symbol (or a shutter speed smaller than 200), either manually increase the ISO or pop up the camera's flash. The environmental light should overwhelm the light coming from the flash; basically, the flash should only provide enough light to fill the shadows; avoid using a strong flash directly on the face.
A bit of psychology:
How should I form my first online message for someone I like?
When you like someone that you've met online, write him / her a message!
Talk about subjects that he / she has shared in his / her profile.
Show your interest for that person. Say that you are curious, that you've noticed something in his / her profile, that he / she has mentioned something interesting.
Make yourself unique by showing your personality. Ask what you want to know from the person that you're contacting. Don't just say "do you want to get to know each other?"
Ask clear questions whose responses matter to you. Offer the other person the possibility to jump into the conversation, don't wait for him / her to create a subject for a conversation.
Avoid an overly sexual attitude, and avoid talking about sex.
Avoid using extreme physical compliments (like "you are gorgeous") because they may be interpreted as a pick-up line rather than a honest compliment.
Avoid begging for attention or looking desperate in any way. Do not say "please contact me!"
The message should be relatively short, for example less than 1'000 characters.
Use proper grammar and avoid shortcuts (like "u" instead of "you").
Avoid sending a second message to someone who has not responded to your first message. If you do send a second message, do it after several weeks and say something like “You may have missed my previous message, so please let me try again...”
Don't ask the other person out in your first message.
How can I protect my online profile?
The people that you meet online are unknown to you, so it's better to be safe rather than sorry.
Your online profile must not display information which can be used to identify and track you in reality or over the Internet, like: real name, home address, income amount, real names of friends, phone numbers, email addresses, the names of your accounts from other online services. Stop talking to people who insist that you give them this kind of information about yourself.
Always search online the photos of the people that you are contacting. Save on your computer the photo that you want to search. Go to Google's image search feature and upload the saved image (to their servers); click the camera icon from the right side of the search bar, and then select the photo that you've previously saved. You will then get a search result with the web-pages where the photo was found. If the photo was found somewhere else on the Internet, use your common sense to see if it really belongs to the owner of the profile or to someone else, like a photo-model.
If someone seems trustworthy and worthwhile, you could create an email address with a random name (like "hapmbtegvy"), and use that email address to talk more privately with that person.
If you want to talk through instant messages, you should also create an account name with a random name.
Never send money to people who are not long-time, trustworthy friends.
Do not run computer programs which are sent to you by other people; these are typically in files which end with ".exe" or ".bat". Computer programs can be infected with malicious software which can send to others any information from your computer.
What should I do if I want to physically meet someone who I have met online?
Talk extensively before meeting in person.
Find out as much as possible about the personality of the person that you are talking to.
At some point, ask for the real name of that person.
Ask for clear photos of the face of that person.
Agree to meet only in a public place with many people around.
Tell to a friend where you are going and when you will return. Give to that friend the real name and the photos of the person that you are going to meet.
Do not agree to be picked up from your home by that person. Go to the meeting place (and return from there) on your own.
Do not let your drinks unsupervised. Drugs can be put into them while you are away.
Do not feel embarrassed by the precautions that you are taking. Some people may try to make you feel ashamed of your behavior / precautions, so that you lower your guard. If this happens, either proudly voice your desire / need to feel safe, or simply walk away.
Predators think that they are smart and can exploit your social behavior. Be smarter! It's better to appear uncool than end up being hurt.
For example, if someone asks you "But don't you trust me?" just look into their eyes, smile and say confidently "no", or if you prefer a milder way then say "not yet", or if you want to redirect the questioning to other person then ask "trust you with what?". If, after you answer, they show the slightest sign of verbal aggression, walk away.