By Julie Ferman, Legendary Matchmaker & Dating Guru.

Are you hoping that your online dating adventure will “net” you a keeper? You’re not just fooling around – you are really looking to find and attract and enter into a relationship with one special person? Excellent. Here’s your short, punchy guide for how to set yourself up for success.

  1. Tell The Truth. Let no fib or untruth sneak onto your profile page. Have a trusted friend review what you’ve written and invite that person to help you embellish, slash and reword what you’re choosing to share about yourself.
  2. About Those Photos… You simply MUST have current, clear, high quality photos on your profile. A sharp, smiling face shot and the ESSENTIAL full body shot – THIS YEAR’s version of you. Skip the shirtless selfie in the bathroom mirror, lose the shot with 6 other bridesmaids, ditch that sunglasses and cap shot. Toss the photo with your ex blurred out. Seriously, folks… if you want to have second dates, you’ll want to have as few surprises as possible on the first date. Next time you spend any quality time in the mirror to look nice for an event – take THAT opportunity to have a friend shoot a bunch of photos, to capture a great one for your profile.
  3. Spin Positively. Let nothing negative fly off your fingertips. Frame everything you say in a positive light. Rather than saying “No couch potatoes” … say that you’re a good fit for someone who enjoys regular workouts and a healthy diet.
  4. Look For What’s Right. It’s OK to have a long wish list. But the key is to get VERY clear with yourself about what really matters most. Whittle your oh-so-long list of Ideal Mate Qualifiers down to Your Top Five. These are the qualities, characteristics and attributes that you would be unhappy without. You’d rather be alone for the rest of your life than choose a partner who wasn’t made up of these five elements. Hint: Height and hair don’t usually make it to the top five… When reading profiles (Yes, dismiss fewer based solely on the photos) look for your Top Five Critical Criteria. Resist the temptation to veto someone for not having item number 7 or 17 on your list. THIS will change everything for you. I promise.
  5. Say Yes. When in doubt, when a candidate is knocking on your door, if this person appears to have your coveted Top Five Critical Criteria, practice saying Yes. Remember – the way you’ve been doing dating hasn’t yet delivered the intended result.  Right? The nature of blind spots is that we simply can’t see our own. The great likelihood is that you’ve been dismissing, vetoing, and discarding plenty of potential candidates for what really are silly and superficial reasons. The ones that jump out at you as being the most delicious and desirable – well, guess what? EVERYONE notices that one, and so that “IT person” gets lots of attention. The best catch in the room is usually NOT the best looking, the tallest, the most charming or the wealthiest. Trust me on this. Look for the gems hidden just below the surface. Look just a little bit deeper than you have been. You don’t want to be overlooked for a minor flaw, or for not being the brightest star in the sky, do you? So don’t make that mistake when you’re trolling online profiles.
  6. Have The Courage To Be Vulnerable. Yes, it takes guts to put yourself at risk, to reach out, to say Yes, to call or to answer when the phone rings for you. How to bust through that fear is to focus on bringing a smile to this person’s face. It’s just an email. It’s just a text message. It’s just one date. Do dating one moment at a time, and if your intention is simply to contribute to this person, to brighten this person’s day and to lift spirits with each communication and each encounter, you simply can’t fail. In other words, make dating less about you and more about contributing to these other souls along your journey, one touch at a time. 
  7. Be Present.  Give the person in front of you (on your iPhone or in person) the gift of your presence. Resist the temptation to compare this person to a former love or to the fictitious ideal mate that you have lodged in your mind. Give this person the benefit of a fresh, open-minded perspective. Just as you want to be considered.  Do unto others…. When asked about anything sensitive regarding your past, share a positive 30-second response.  Don’t go down dark tunnels, and if your date is falling into that trap, rescue the conversation by offering a positive spin and bring the focus back to the present.
  8. Have The Courage To Initiate. If the right ones aren’t knocking on your door, see what happens when you reach out. Save your Favorites and send one thoughtful, concise, playful email every day.
  9. Be Smart.  Catch the creeps.  There are predators out there. Count on it. Keep private your last name, residential and work addresses. And use an email address that doesn’t reveal your last name. Be smart. Take your time before inviting someone into your home. Keep your pants on – hold off on sex until you are both ready to focus exclusively on each other and until you know that you share the same purpose for dating.
  10. Practice Kindness. Express appreciation. Say “Thank you.” Be kind to each other. Be honest with each other. When it’s not a fit, wish each other well and burn no bridges. As a wise grandmother once said, “Always be nice. And don’t turn down a date with anyone – you never know who his friends might be…”

By Julie Ferman, Legendary Matchmaker & Dating Guru.

Meet Julie at for free coaching on video – visit her profile at for more information.

Headphones, Aboodi Shabi, Goaly Blog

Ever wonder why coaching — whether for business, career or life — is so effective for so many people? U.K. leadership developer and coach trainer Aboodi Shabi joins us today to talk about why listening is such a crucial part of the relationships between coach and client.

Are They Mad?

Towards the end of her life, my mother, who grew up and lived in Baghdad until she was in her late thirties, developed Alzheimer’s and started to forget herself during her conversations. Whenever we spoke on the phone, or when we met, she would ask me what I did for a living, and I would try to explain.

“She would look at me with a slightly astonished expression on her face, and say “They pay you? To talk to them? Are they mad?”

It’s never been especially easy for me to quickly sum up just what it is that I do, but explaining coaching to someone whose English wasn’t fluent and who couldn’t remember anything anyway, was especially trying.

Occasionally, however, she would get it.

And then, she would look at me with a slightly astonished expression on her face, and say “They pay you? To talk to them? Are they mad?”

A Solution to Every Problem?

The story about my mother and I is one I often tell, and it points to something at the heart of why I do what I do. We live in an increasingly rational culture, one that believes, in its rationalist way, that there is a solution to every problem.

“If self-help books work, how come we need more than one?”

This has penetrated our culture in ways I couldn’t have imagined as a child. Go to any bookshop, and you’ll find rows of shelves devoted to “self-help” books; look on the internet and you’ll find advice on how to deal with any problem you can imagine, and some you can’t.

And yet, despite the mass availability of good advice, information on how to deal with our problems, workshops on how to make money, find or maintain relationships, live powerfully, etc, we are still seeking something.

Rationality, Aboodi Shabi, Goaly Blog

Something else that I often say is that “If self-help books worked, how come we need more than one?”. It’s not that the information out there is bad or that the courses offered aren’t any good, but it seems there is something missing. Something that people will, despite my mother’s protestations, pay for and which they value.

The Answer: Listen + Listen + Listen

That something, I think, is listening. Sounds simple, but it’s almost as if the more solutions there are out there, the harder it is to simply be listened to.

When we talk to our friends or our colleagues about our challenges what we often get is advice – “Read this book,” or, “Do this course.” Or, worse, we sometimes get told we should “Just deal with it,” or “Get over it.”

“We don’t really get listened to. We get information and advice.”

In other words, we don’t really get listened to – we get “fixed”, or “told what to do”, but we don’t get listened to in the sense of being legitimised in our own experience. We don’t get seen, we don’t get witnessed and we don’t get that connection. We get information and advice instead.

For the Dogs?

Those of you who have dogs will know that, if you throw a stick for a dog when you are out walking with it, the dog will run after the stick, bring it back to you and drop it at your feet for you to throw it again. The dog doesn’t simply want the stick; it wants the connection, the relationship.

Information and advice are a bit like the stick. It’s not that we don’t need advice or solutions to our problems – of course we do – but often  what’s needed in addition to these things is simple listening.

Dog, Aboodi Shabi, Goaly Blog

In fact, I’d say listening is something that’s so vital and so rare.

Sometimes we miss the obviousness of simply giving someone the gift of listening. I know, from my own experience as a coach and also from the experiences of the coaches I have trained and worked with, that often the coachee will say that, in coaching (and also in counseling), they have been able to speak of things they have never spoken about before. The simple act of being able to speak those things was sufficient.

In the excellent book, “A General Theory of Love” , the writers Amini, Lewis and Lannon argue that one of the main benefits of counselling (for which you could also read “coaching”) is the connection between the counselor and the client – the limbic connection between them is the healing, not the content.

To Be Heard, To Be Seen

In summary, I think we can say that the human soul longs for, perhaps more than anything else, the chance to express itself and be heard or seen. It doesn’t need to be fixed, told what to do next or given a solution. It simply longs to be witnessed.

“The human soul longs to express itself and be heard or seen. It doesn’t need to be fixed. It simply longs to be witnessed.”

This need has been around since ancient times. Writer Joseph Campbell used to talk about “sacred space” – a space where people would gather to speak of their important matters and where the act of speaking would in itself be transformative.

I think it’s that space that people are seeking – the space where they can hear themselves and be witnessed. And, for that, no, I don’t think they are mad to pay.

© Aboodi Shabi – 2015 -