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  Nowadays everything in life is about success, about having a successful career, living a successful life, doing your best, getting the best, and ultimately, giving your best. Now, when it comes to matters of the heart, the subject is ever more so sensitive. In the forever changing world of dating, how can you decide which way to go, to avoid heartbreak and  disappointments? Here are my 5 tips to avoid just that.   1.Get Your Ducks in the Row Make sure that you're ready to enter the battle field, especially if you haven't dated in a while. When we've just recently broken up, often times the first thing we do is to dive head first into dating, hoping that a new squeeze will help us forget the pain. Sometimes we're lucky and end up on a rebound, where we take more than we give and most likely we end up hurting someone else. But more often than not we end up making many many attempts to secure dates with many many people, attempts that typically lead nowhere. Why? Because our needy vibe is a red flag to people. Give yourself time to heal, be that 3 months, 6 months or more. Love yourself first.     2. Do Your Research Once you're ready, make sure you know which dating site is right for you. Whilst friends and acquaintances can recommend some, based on their experience, you're better off reading up on all that's important. Consumer review sites like ConsumersAdvocate.org are very helpful in this respect. Here I have a chat with Giancarlos Merced about the best dating sites and their specifics:   a. GIANCARLOS, WHAT WAS THE CHOSEN CRITERIA THAT YOU BASED YOUR SELECTION ON? Before we began our research, we decided on three factors that would help us determine what were the best sites for online dating: Match-making software, Features, and Memberships. For Match-making software, we looked beyond personality tests and instead studied their site algorithms that would quantify the sustainability of certain pairings based on comprehensive questionnaires. For features, we took into consideration sites that had fun experiences like virtual games and real-life meet-ups. Having a mobile version was also an important element along with premium options to enhance profiles and increase the chances of improved matchmaking. Finally, even though a lot of these sites had membership options, we gave more weight to sites that lowered your monthly fee the longer you used their service; i.e. one month subscription would set users back $40 per month but three month subscriptions would start at $25 per month.   b. HOW MANY PEOPLE WORKED ON THIS COMPLEX RESEARCH, AND HOW LONG DID IT TAKE? There were a total of five staff members assigned to this complex research. The team was composed of editors, and writers that had a keen interest in finding out the complexities of how online dating sites actually worked. We used more than twenty sources, vetted eleven companies, which took a total of more than two hundred hours of research to complete.   c. HOW DO YOU KEEP YOUR RESEARCH UP TO DATE WHAT WITH THE EVER CHANGING INDUSTRY? To keep our research with the most up to date information in the industry, our team assigns members to revisit our selected websites and verify if anything about their features or language had changed. We do this on a constant basis, or even seasonally, too. We also look up main keywords associated with our selected sites to check for relevant trending topics that our readers might find interesting to know about.   Giancarlos and his team from ConsumerAdvocate.org are doing a wonderful job so that we're not left to our own devices in the confusing world of online dating, but have a clear picture of what's available and what our options are.     3. Be as Honest as Possible in Your Profile Lying about your age and using outdated photos is counterproductive but it happens all the time, with both men and women. Use a combination of great and less than great recent photos, to show the real you. Photos are always deceiving, whether they show you at your best or worst. A combination of both can make the general picture more real. Regarding your age, a tiny bit of fibbing is all right. For example, if you just turned 40 and you put yourself down as 39 and 1/2 in order to fall into a certain category, that's more than acceptable.     4. Be Clear About Your Values The first thing we encounter when we start exchanging messages with a potential date is the sporadic and often unreliable pattern of communication. This should be a red flag from the get go. If dating is not high on their priority list, or meeting and knowing you does not seem to be a priority and they often quote work and personal life issues ( parents visiting, sister being ill, etc.) as their excuse then you're no more than an occasional pastime. Don't play along. Life is short and there are plenty of fish in the sea.     5. Don't Jump to Conclusions It's often the butterflies in the stomach that override any other feeling or clear judgement that can lead to our greatest disappointment.  Keep in mind that a date is just a date, it's not yet a relationship and it won't be for a good while or maybe never. Don't call your date your boyfriend or girlfriend straight away and don't talk about wanting kids on the first date, even if you feel an undeniable connection. Give things time. All in all, date on your own terms. Value yourself, value your time, your own being, be careful with early compromises and never forget to love and respect yourself first. Good luck.  ...

  Guest blog written by: Jason Lee Professional Dating Site Reviewer Our Best Online Dating Sites   What’s the very first thing you look at when you’re browsing through online dating matches? Their hobbies? Their profession? Nope. If we’re all being honest, the first thing that we always look at is someone’s pictures. We have to know if they’re a cutie with a booty or someone who scares little children and incites panic with only a glare. While this may seem shallow, it’s the reality of the world we live in and our nature as humans. We can get over dating someone who likes knitting or works a dirty job, but we’d be hard-pressed to be able to date someone who we weren’t attracted to. This is why no matter how “not shallow” we are, we always look at the photos first. You probably knew that already, but here’s what you may not have realized. If you’re doing this and we’re doing this, and all of our readers are doing this, then it means that everyone who is looking at your profile is doing this too. This means that your online dating photos are your first and possibly only chance to make a good impression on a potential match. So, are your online dating photos up to par? Well, it only takes a few minutes of poking around any dating site to see that everyone (including you) needs some help. As a professional at writing online dating site reviews, I spend hours every day on multiple sites and…how do I put this gently…you should read this post at least twice. To help you increase your online dating success, I’ve compiled the top five mistakes that I see with online dating photos. If you’re committing one of these cardinal sins, you’re hurting your chances of finding that special someone.   Your Photographer Should be Fired     If your dating photos look like they were taken with a potato for a camera, you’ve got issues. The first word that pops into a new matches head should not be “blurry.” When your photos are clear, it accomplishes a few things. First, it allows matches to get a better idea of what you look like. This means they’ll be able to make a more accurate judgement of whether they are attracted to you or not. If you’re blurring your photos on purpose to hide what you look like, you’re just setting yourself up for an awkward (and probably short) first date. We’ll leave that issue for another discussion, though. Second, clear photos instill trust. If your pictures look like they’re hiding something, your potential match is going to think that you’re hiding something too. Invest the time to take a clear photo or get the help of a professional. Hint Hint.   You're Not Telling Anything About You     Online dating profiles might seem like they’re packed full of information at first glance, but in reality, they’re relatively short. You have to convey who you are, how you operate, and what’s important to you in a relatively short amount of space. If you aren’t using your online dating photos to do this for you, you’re making a mistake. Do you like rock climbing? Show people with a photo! Like being outside? Don’t make all of your pictures be of you in front of a white wall in your living room. You don’t have to go crazy with this tip, but you should be aware of it. Plenty of your pictures can be “boring” but make sure that at least a few of them show that you’re more than just a face and a white wall.   You're Compromising Your Security   If there is one blunder on this list that baffles me (and scares me) the most, it’s this one. You need to be aware of what you are showing in your pictures as well as what is in the background. I wish I were making this next story up, but it’s true. Over the years, I’ve been an avid online dater, and this is the single story that sticks out the most. I had to message a girl one day because she had taken a picture of herself at work in front of her computer. Harmless, right? Well, she apparently did not realize that she had left her log-in information and her password for her work files on a sticky note attached to her computer where anyone looking at her profile could see them clear as day. You HAVE to take some time and make sure that you aren’t releasing sensitive information in your photos. Make sure you don’t have phone numbers, the address on your house, street signs that show where you live, computer passwords, your work badge/ID, or anything else that has sensitive information that you don’t want everyone on the internet to see. Nurses…you’re the biggest culprits with your hospital ID badges or your branded scrubs. If you’re trying to get creepy guys or gals to show up at your work uninvited, that’s a great first step.   You're not Bringing Your A-Game   How much effort do you put into taking pictures when you’re selling your car? You probably spend hours getting the car cleaned, vacuumed, and into the perfect lighting for its photo shoot. How much time and effort did you spend to take your online dating photos? Just grabbed a few from Facebook? Snapped a quick selfie with your webcam? Finding someone to spend the rest of your life with should be a lot more important than how quickly you sell your car. You should be feeling pretty silly now if you’re not bringing your A-Game to the table with your pictures. Online dating is a straightforward process. The more effort you put in, the more you should hope to get in return. If you bring your C-Game, expect mediocre results. If you bring your A-Game, you can expect to get what you’re looking for.   You're Not Putting in Any Effort   Does this mistake seem eerily similar to the last one? That’s because it is. It’s THAT important that we’re going to hammer it home again. Not only do you need to bring your best with your photos, but you need to put in effort continually. Been a few months since you started online dating? Take the time to take some new photos. Not getting the results you want? It’s time to add some new photos. When you don’t put in any effort, it not only won’t pique the interest of any matches, but it’s going to convey that you’re lazy and you really aren’t serious about the process. If you want people to think you’re flaky regardless of whether you are or not, disregard this tip.   Putting It All Together   Remember, online dating is supposed to be fun and not feel like a chore. That being said, doing things the right way will help to ensure you have a much better experience. It’s kind of like Halloween. It’s a night that’s supposed to be all fun and no work. However, the more work that you put into your costume before the night, the bigger splash you’re going to make and the more fun you’re going to have. There’s nothing wrong with approaching fun things with a degree of effort and seriousness. If you’re not sure if you’re doing things the right way, I’m going to make a suggestion. Get in touch with the awesome people here at Brand You Max and let them help. If we were talking about something silly like finding a new rug for your bathroom, I would say just wing it. But we’re talking about finding someone who may have a lasting impact on the rest of your life. If that’s not worth a little bit of seriousness and some help from an expert, we have different priorities. ...