Is your dating profile stalker bait?

Couple in love
"By the way..I secretly stop by your work and flash your coworkers. Hope you don't mind.."

If you haven’t seen me write it before, I think online dating is fantastic, and apparently many people would agree because a recent poll showed at least 40% percent of web users have tried online dating.  I think it’s so great because it gives us a quick way to search for someone we’d like to get to know, a nice (hopefully) pic or two, and a method of making initial contact.

However, some users of the online dating scene are making some HUGE mistakes that could easily make them prey for stalkers and other weirdos. Here are some common mistakes:

1.  Typing your name in the profile. “Hi, my name is Paula.”  Great, Paula, now any guy knows your first name and (because 90% of dating sites ask you to list your city) your location.  TIP: Leave that for the emails from interested users you’re also interested in.

2.  Using your email address as a username. “Missy234”  Wow, if a stalker added “@yahoo.com” or “@ google.com” after that, I’d be willing to guess he’ll pull up your email, your social networking page, and your linked in profile.  TIP: Be creative and don’t put your email address out there.  It may be easy to remember, but it’s also easy to find.

3.  Listing your workplace. “I work as a registered nurse at Regions.”  Any intelligent stalker can figure out how to search Regions employees on social networking sites.  All he has to do then is find your picture and he has your profile.  He could also use your workplace as a stalking grounds by coming to visit if he finds the exact place you work.  Creeeepy.  TIP: Leave this one for emails too, but hopefully after the first date.

4.  Listing your email, messaging screenname, or username of any other site. Hacking is relatively easy to do for computer savvy individuals.  By listing your email, you are giving access to phone numbers, addresses (past and present), job info, etc., and you’re leaving it out there for anyone to break into your sites and steal info or ruin your reputation.  TIP: Leave these off of your site and ONLY share with people you intend on getting to know.

5.  Posting photos of your home, workplace, or family. With the abundance of information out there, it’s relatively easy to cross-reference an address on the front of a home to find someone’s address.  It’s also easy to find workplaces/hangouts and co-workers, or family members.  Don’t hide your pictures, or post pictures in which you can’t be seen..most people looking at profiles won’t even click to check yours out of there aren’t clear and detailed pictures of who you are.  Just don’t put others at risk because you wanted to post a pic that you think makes your butt look smaller.   TIP: Take into account the people and places in your pictures.

Now, if you’re scared of the online dating scene, don’t be.  This could ideally happen on any social site from Facebook to Linked In.  It’s just another risk to living an online life.  Just follow the basic rules of being private until you get to know someone, and you’ll be better off. Good luck out there!

 

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Girls niiiight!

Created by Phil Scoville on June 25, 2005 Down...
"Honey, I gotta go. The girls and I are going out tonight. Gonna get druuunk and dance!"

Daisy wrote:

sean,

help me settle an argument here.  i am a newly married woman in her 30’s and am having trouble convincing my husband that spending three or four nights with my best girl friends is normal.  it’s not like we to group things all of the time (some nights i just see one or two of them), but we hang out, shop, etc.  he says that is not what a normal relationship should be because he feels that a normal couple should naturally see each other more often than they see their friends.  i’ve been friends with these women my whole life and they’re my lifeline to the rest of the world.  i think he’s just mad because they’re mostly single.  what do you think?

daisy

Daisy,

I think YOU’RE the crazy one here.  Your husband is totally right in his expectations.  I can see how important it can be to see your friends maybe once a week or once every other week, but you should see your spouse/partner more often than your friends.  Now, there will be a few exceptions here and there, but on a regular basis, a married person should expect to see their spouse more often than their friends because, as with any serious relationship, there comes a long list of responsibilities.  The first (and biggest responsibility) is making the relationship grow.  You’ll need time together and some life experiences to make that happen.  The second is household responsibilities.  Laundry, dishes, repairs, and things of that nature don’t do themselves.  The third is maintenance of the relationship.  Communication, togetherness, and things like that.

If you’re spending more time with your friends than your husband/wife (or even boyfriend/girlfriend), you’re not helping the marriage any.  A relationship is called a relationship for a reason.  You are relating to one another on many different levels at many different times.  As I said above, there WILL be a few exceptions (work, extracurricular sports, a birthday party, bachelor/bachelorette party, etc.,) but most of our time SHOULD be spent with your partner. If it’s not, you should be evaluating whether or not you should even be in a relationship.  What’s more important, a relationship or a friendship?  You CAN have both, but I think you’d be a fool to pick your friends over your husband.

Sean

Locked in the closet

Absolute darkness
Absolute.

Do you remember playing “locked in the closet” as a kid?  My friends, my brother and I were always doing thing like that to test each other and see how mentally sturdy we were.  One time we sat, shoulder deep in our still icy in-ground swimming pool just to see how long we could stay in.  The water was so cold it made your skin feel like it was on fire.

Anyway, back to the closet.  We’d play locked in the closet when I was in the 4th grade.  It wasn’t a closet as much as it was a large storage room with no windows and just a door.  We would have to go in there and see how long it took for us to get freaked out.  No one was actually locked in, but being in the middle of a black room with nothing but space around you made you feel as if you were locked in space.  At first, it was terrifying just standing there.  With no sight, nothing around us, and virtually no contact (except feet on the floor), it felt like something would come from the darkness and take you away at a moment’s notice.  Every little sound was magnified and sounded scary.  We did this for weeks and the terror eventually subsided because we figured things out.  We figured out that not only was it the darkness that made us safe and brave, but when the lights came on, it was just a room.  A short while after that, we started playing hide and seek there in that dark basement and it became even more exciting.  Not only had we adapted to the darkness, but we learned to use it to our advantages when hiding..and especially when seeking.

By now, you’re probably wondering where I am going with this.  Relationships are sometimes scary.  If you’ve had a history of bad relationships, or parents that had a bad relationship, or have ever been hurt…entering into a good and healthy relationship can be one of the scariest things to go through, like standing alone in a dark room.  You don’t know where to go, where to look, what to be afraid of, or what to do, and the fear of losing the relationship can be as frightening as the fear of something coming after you in the dark.  Little things become big issues for no apparent reason, and can seem like big mountains, when in reality they are nothing more than minor issues.

We hold these fears close and use them as a shield to fend off the ones that love us (or that we love) because when we’re there in that relationship, the fear is the only immediate thing we have and everything else is the darkness of the unknown.  What if she stops loving me?  What if he leaves?  What does she really mean by that?  How can I make him happy for the rest of his life?  These are all unknowns and can be as scary to face as losing your ability to breathe.

If you turn on the lights, you’ll see that in reality, it’s just a relationship.  You can see everything clearly and you begin to realize that everything good in that relationship is something you have the power to affect and the power to control.  You can be more giving, you can be a better communicator.  You can love without consequence, you can let down your guard, and you can let people in.  Every fear you have is still there, but it’s up to you whether you go through the relationship being afraid of the dark or embracing it.  Face those fears and put them to bed.  The darkness holds freedom and happiness..it’s just up to you to find it.

By the way, I was listening to this song while writing this:  It’s “The Sky’s Gone Dim” by Johann Johannson and I think it’s perfect.  It starts with sadness and despair, but by the end is hopeful and resolute.

Working, but not.

The only "protective custody" availa...
I hope "D" drops the soap.

Katrisse wrote:

Hey Sean,

I met a wonderful man about 4 months ago and we’ve been dating seriously for two months.  We met on an online thing on which I stated I was looking for a man with a career and some goals.  “D” entered my life and was perfect.  He has a nice apartment, a nice car, and loved to take me out places and everything was wonderful until about 2 days ago when I found out “D” didn’t really have a job (he collects welfare by the way), he deals drugs.  He’d been busted and asked me to come get him from jail.  I bailed him out and was really pissed.  When we argued, he said that making money is a job “any way you look at it” but I disagree, I say if you’re not contributing to society (following laws, paying taxes, etc) and earning an honest living with a real job, you’re not working.  What should I do?

Katrisse

 

Katrisse,

I totally agree with you.  If you are making money by breaking laws (whether it’s illegal gambling, stealing, running or dealing drugs, or anything along those lines), you’re nothing more than a common criminal.  Making money isn’t a job.  Working is a job.  Nothing irks me more than someone taking advantage of a governmental loophole to collect benefits when they’re not working a real job or contributing to society in a meaningful manor.  My advice to you is to kick this guy to the curb and move on with life.  There is no good that will come from having a relationship with this man.  If it were me, I’d also find a way to report him for welfare fraud too if he’s making serious money.  If you go back to online dating, clarify that you want someone with a real career/job, nothing illegal.  It appears as if there are criminals looking for love as well.

Sean

I’ll take songs by Haddaway for 200$ please Alex..

Author: Bagande
Image via Wikipedia

Jocelyn wrote:

What is love?

Jocelyn

 

Jocelyn,

I’ve said multiple times that I don’t know what love is exactly, but what I can generally describe it as is a combination of friendship, trust, understanding, sexual attraction, and emotion.  Love cannot exist without all of these being present.  Let’s break that down:

1.  Friendship-In love, your partner should be a friend, plain and simple…because the ability to laugh, share intimate secrets about yourself, and the close bond you should have is essential.

2.  Trust- No trust, no love.  Relationships built on lies and misunderstanding only promote more lies and misunderstanding and the divide between those two people deepens.

3.  Understanding-  It’s a general word, I realize that, but it encompasses everything from compassion & knowledge of your partners wants and needs to your ability to read between those lines and seeing the message your partner is actually trying to convey.  This is a difficult part of love and the absence of this characteristic is often the cause of many breakups.  Call it what you will, I think it’s along the lines of partner E.S.P.  Understanding how your actions affect your partner’s and vice versa is a huge part of making love work.

4.  Sexual attraction-  No one is perfect and your ability to see that and understand that (see what I did there..tying it back to another trait??) will determine how long your sexual attraction lasts on some level.  Without attraction, it’s just friendship.  Intimacy is just as important as any other trait on this list because everyone wants to feel important in a relationship, but they also want to feel desired.

5.  Emotion is the last trait-  When I speak of emotion, I tie it into the “understanding” aspect of things because it deals with many different concepts at one time.  The first part is controlling your own emotions and learning the intricacies of your partner’s emotions.  If you do something that always upsets your partner, you aren’t understanding his/her needs.  If every little thing becomes a BIG deal to you and you are always picking at your partner, they’ll eventually cut off their emotional ties to you.  Emotion is like a rubber band ball in complexity with each band being a different part of the emotional spectrum.  It’s your job to keep that ball rolling and find a way to deconstruct that ball and reconstruct it over and over again.  Every action you take in life affects someone else emotionally, so knowing that your partner is 9or eventually will be) closer to you than anyone else, you need to consider their emotions first..even before your own.  There is no room for selfishness in a relationship.

So there you have it.  It may not be as concrete as you’d hoped Jocelyn, but I hope it gives you some understanding as to what I feel love is.  I think it will ring true for many people.

 

Sean

Dogs

Cougar / Puma / Mountain Lion / Panther (Puma ...
Keep this as a pet and you'll never see a pit bull in your area again.

America,

After careful deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that I am not a fan of dogs, nor will I ever be.  That is not to say that I have singled out any pet as being the absolute worst, but dogs are definitely not even in my top 5 favorites.  Let me give a brief explanation on my reasoning:

Dogs are needy.  Now, I know you dog owners with no kids would say that kids are needy too (perhaps even needier), and I’d agree, but kids offer a return on the investment.  If we invest our time and resources into turning them into responsible, well-educated adults, we can assure ourselves that we’ll eventually get some kickback for turning them from a eating/pooping machine into a responsible adult.  With dogs, we invest our time and resources in turning them from a eating/pooping machine of a puppy into an adult dog who craps outside and will still eat whatever they want.  No ROI there.

Dogs smell.  Holy Lord do they smell.  Even if washed with the greatest “cherries jubilee” stink removing shampoo, you are guaranteed to have a dog that smells like ball sweat a day or two after the shampoo job.  Don’t even get me started on the breath.

Dogs can be dangerous.  Here’s where the dog owners say there are “no dangerous dogs, only owners that don’t raise them well”, or “that banning certain breeds is a burden on law officials”.    I call BS on both of those.  For the first one, it’s like saying parents make all adults who they are (so the f-ed up kid who has great parents still can blame his parents).  Wrong…it’s influence, and in this case it’s hundreds or thousands of years of breeding for a purpose.  You can’t just turn that around in a decade.  For the second one, it’s like arguing that laws are ineffective because some people will break them and it’s a burden for law officials to punish them.  If there is a historical evidence of danger, it should be regulated to the fullest extent to be made safe.  It’s the same reason we can’t keep mountain lions, bears, or things of that nature as pets in a city.  Some animals just aren’t safe pets.

Dogs shed.  I know cats do too..hell, I’ve even dated women that shed more than a dog, but it’s just one more thing to deal with when dressing up.  If you go through three or more of those lint rollers a month, you know exactly what I’m talking about. There is also nothing worse than getting into a car and having dog hair blow around the inside of the car like snow in a snow globe.

Anyway, this is just a friendly rant.  If I am friends with you and you have a dog, take no offense to this, as it is just my personal preference to not be a dog fan.  That also DOESN’T mean I don’t like YOUR dog, it just means I’ll never own one myself.  Just don’t let him eat anything of mine..or poop in my shoes while I sleep.

 

 

 

MSG (the food thing..not a message)

Doritos
I can't imagine these without MSG.

Arock wrote:

I was looking at your previous posts and you seem to know what you’re talking about with food nutrition.  What about MSG?  I know some foods have it, and some don’t, but wasn’t it illegal or something in the 80’s?  I just remember a bunch of stuff saying NO MSG on it.

Arock

 

Arock,

From what I can see, it was never illegal, but after a few studies were done in the 80’s that tried to show it caused cholesterol problems (all salts can cause high cholesterol if consumed regularly), many food producers would label their product as MSG FREE.  However, the FDA now requires food producers to remove that label from the product if there is a high level of ANY glutamate in the product.  Despite the common myth about it being a completely artificial product, MSG (sodium glutamate or monosodium glutamate) is derived from a NATURALLY OCCURRING non-essential amino acid.  It’s in a bunch of foods ranging from Doritos to some meat-jerky snacks to Chinese food and is mainly added as a flavor enhancer.

There are articles stating that MSG can worsen asthma, add to breathing problems, and even cause weight gain, but there are no studies that have been done (and then repeated) that can show any such link..unlike HFCS studies that have shown time and time again that an issue exists with HFCS.  Therefore, I am personally okay with consuming this product, in moderation of course.

Sean