Beliefnet
Make Your Relationship Work

twitterIn Victorian times, flirting involved the careful choice of floral symbols and calling cards, and all flirting took place on well-chaperoned social occasions. Fortunately, for singles today, Twitter offers a perfectly low-pressure way to get to know your crush.

There’s no need for elaborate introductions anymore: following your crush on Twitter is easy and non-committal, and it enables you to get to know him in a casual, low-pressure way. If you see a reference to a game you play or a bar you like in his Twitter stream, it’s easy to jump in and respond. Casual comments on each other’s updates will indicate if there’s a spark.

Twitter’s response system also allows the ultimate no-risk way to see if you connect. There’s no etiquette gaffe in ignoring an uninteresting tweet or two, so you only need to respond when you’ve got something funny or relevant to say. Forced conversation — that first-date killer — doesn’t fit the Twitter communication style.

In a face-to-face conversation, we nod and respond to the other person’s remarks, even if the topic is deadly dull and we’d much rather be discussing something else. If the person across from you is talking about average rainfall statistics in North Dakota, it’s poor etiquette to ignore them or abruptly change the subject, no matter how bored you may feel. On Twitter, though, you can let those uninteresting comments just slide by without a response. No need to force a smile and a nod to every statement — just tweet something that does interest you, or wait until you see something you do feel like commenting on.

Twitter etiquette does encourage one to respond to a direct @ statement, but feel free to limit your response to just a cheery word or two. If you’re a bit unsure how to sum up your thoughts about the link he’s just shared or the question he’s just asked, let him know you’re looking forward to tweeting about it later.

You don’t have to pretend to be engaged as he live tweets the playoffs, but if you happen to be a Vikings fan too, you’ve just made another low-pressure connection.

Sometimes Twitter is bashed as idle chitchat, but what better way to get to know a special someone? Friendly chitchat, especially in the midst of your busy life, is a relaxed and easy way to see if you and your sweetie have a lot in common. Give it a try — make a Twitter connection, and then take your flirting offline!

woman-2937208_640Online dating can be a total bust – ridiculous e-mails from guys who aren’t your type, discovering that Oh, hey, men lie in their profiles – or it can be bliss. If you find someone you actually like and want to date exclusively, you might be ready to give up searching for love on the Internet once and for all. So … when is it time to delete your profile?

First, what does your online dating service offer as options? Can you hide your profile completely without actually deleting it? If you can simply become invisible, this is a great choice. The fact is, creating a good online dating profile takes a lot of time and effort. (“How many pets do I want?” “Um, what are my interests again?”) If no one can see it, it’s worth it to keep it. You won’t continue to get e-mails from suitors, and your significant other won’t get a phone call from his brother asking why you’re on the hunt. It’s great to be optimistic, but even if your new beau seems great, you never know when you’re going to find yourself suddenly single and desperately trying to remember your incredibly witty and sexy, “About me.”

If you met online, it’s much easier to have the “So we’re not going to keep searching” conversation. This is sort of like the “So are we going to be in a relationship on Facebook?” talk for the eHarmony crowd. You may both casually agree that you won’t continue to pay for the service when it expires in a few weeks, or you both may commit to removing your profiles completely. If you and your boyfriend are an online dating success story, you should both remove your profiles and stay logged out; as members, you can still see the last time the other was on. No good can come of that.

Sometimes though, you go on a few online dates and then meet the guy of your dreams at Starbucks! Funny how that seems to work out.

If the new guy knows about your profile, he may be the one to ask you to remove it. If you’re ready to be serious, you most definitely should. You were looking for love and were lucky enough to find it! Don’t be stubborn and don’t self-sabotage because you think something better is going to come along.

If he doesn’t know about your online dating history, you might want to remove it before anyone stumbles across it. It could cause major drama, even if you know you haven’t checked your “Winks” since you met him. Think about how you’d feel if the roles were reversed. And while the stigma of online dating is mostly gone, it might be something you wish to keep from him.

Although having the talk about removing your profile is good, there’s also no reason you can’t remove it pre-talk, as soon as you feel ready. Ask yourself a few questions.

  • Was I already thinking about giving up online dating?
  • Do I still think of myself as single?
  • Do I want to go out with anyone else?
  • How would I feel if this guy saw my profile?

If your answers are “No, no, no, and awful,” you can quietly take your profile down. You don’t have to make a big deal out of it; he may not even realize it’s happened. If and when the discussion does happen, you can just casually say you removed it a few weeks ago, “Because I was kind of over it.” It’s enough to let him know you’re into him, but not so intense that it will scare him off.

If you choose to remove it on your own, don’t make a big deal about it or throw it in his face. He may or may not be ready to do the same, but screaming, “I took myself off Match last week, why are you still on it??!” is not the way to find out. If you want to be exclusive, then grow up and have the talk.

If you are really hesitant to give up your profile, ask yourself why. 

If his Facebook pic is one of the two of you, and yours is one of you with a random shirtless guy at a Kid Rock concert … if you’re browsing “Casual Encounters” while he’s telling his mom about you … you might not be as ready for a commitment as you thought you were, or he might just not be the right guy for you.

Because ultimately, you should know when it’s time to remove it for good, and be excited that you feel that way. There comes a point in every serious relationship when you realize you have no desire to be with anyone else for a very long time. It could be when he’s down on one knee, but it will probably be when you look across the table and fall in love with the way he eats his waffles. You’ll realize you found what you were searching for and that you haven’t been truly “available” for a long time. When that happens, it’s time to send a virtual message to the men of the world and click “Delete.”

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It must be the time of year. Everybody I know is depressed right now. Okay, not everybody, but it seems that way. I’m also getting more questions about depression from my readers, lately.

Depression and anxiety, unfortunately, seems to be a way of life these days and is serious business. We dismiss it by saying, “Oh, I’m just in a funk right now” or “It’s just stress.” That could be true, but when I read that 80% of depressed people never seek treatment, I’m hesitant to believe some of you. If you think you might be depressed, I urge you to address it. You don’t have to suffer; depression is treatable. Read about the disease. Talk to a friend. Seek help from a professional therapist.

Here are some facts about depression that I hope will convince you to take action.

Depression is the most pervasive type of mental illness in the United States. One in four of us will suffer from it in our lifetime. More than 40 million suffer in a given year.

Depression has numerous causes. Among the most frequent are past abuse (physical, sexual, emotional), death or loss, chronic or major illness, and a family history of depression.

Women are twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Researchers suspect that estrogen can alter the activity of neurotransmitters that contribute to depression. However…

Women are more likely than men to seek treatment for depression. Men more often turn to alcohol or drugs.

It’s called self-medicating. Almost one third of people with substance abuse problems also suffer from depression.

Self-medicating can make depression worse. For example, long-term use of marijuana leads to changes in dopamine production and has been implicated in the onset of depressive symptoms.

Men and women experience depression differently. Women exhibit more classic symptoms: sadness, oversleeping and overeating. Men tend to be angry, irritable and sometimes abusive.

Depression can shorten your life. A recent study published in the British Medical Journal found that even people with very mild mental illness have shortened life spans compared to the overall population.

Suicide is one way. As many as 15% of people with depression take their own lives every year.

Heart attacks are another. Sufferers of depression are more likely to have a heart attack than those who are not depressed.

Depression puts moms and babies at risk. A depressed woman is more likely to give birth prematurely.

Depression = anger? Psychiatry pioneer Sigmund Freud theorized that depression is a form of anger turned against oneself.

Suffer the children. Depression may occur in as many as 1 in 33 children and 1 in 8 teenagers in the United States. Once a child or teenager has an episode of depression, he has a greater chance of experiencing more depression in the next five years.

 

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Quite frequently, my blog queue of questions involves random inquiries into whether its possible to tell if a particular suitor is interested. Most of the time these questions come from the ovaried lot, but every so often, ye of testes pontificate similarly. While grand, sweeping gestures are what most of us love to see as they don’t leave much room for misinterpretation, there are always subtle ways that you can tell if you’ve got somebody straight trippin’, boo.

  1. They actually want to know if you’ve made it home safely upon departure

I’ve come to realize that after you’ve spent time with somebody and its time to part ways, if nobody cares to know that you’ve made it home safely, then you are nobody’s Adam’s rib. Word to Tyrese. When you care about people you care about their safety and no place is safer than home. If somebody’s got some interest in you, you better believe that if you leave at midnight, a “yo, text me when you get home” is coming. And you should do it too. It’s sweet and a subtle way to know that your boothang is checkin’ for your mixes.

  1. Random tiny gifts

I’m not talking iPads. I mean the small things that indicate that they listen to you. You randomly throw out that you like a certain album but don’t own it for whatever reason and while they’re out in some place where they can get it, they pick it up for you, well, they’re interested. In what? Who knows, but there’s something there that made them think of you while they were doing them. All you do is win, win, win no matter what.

  1. They find odd reasons to touch you

I’m not talking about about grabassing, but more like, “hey, I like your fingernail color” and he grabs your hand to look at it more closely. Or “you need to clean your fingernails” and your boobed manicure afficionado decides she needs to hold your hands to inspect them thoroughly. It’s the little things. Ask India.Arie. Hell, she has a period between her name. You know she’s interested.

  1. Texting like a mad (wo)man

I realize that anytime all you get from your love interest are text messages, you may be inclined to think that they’re not feeling your feelings. However, if you get random, “howdy!” text messages in the middle of the day that means they’re thinking about you AND they actively did something about it. If I’m not interested in you, not only would I not think about you, I’d definitely NOT send you a text after NOT thinking about you. <—-See what I did there?

  1. They engage you in random flights of fantasy

Anybody who has an interest in you tends to find you…interesting. Deep. What that means is that they’ll engage even the most random and asinine of your ideas and play along. Which means that you have somebody who is open to figuring out where your mind can and will go. Which means that people who aren’t interested in you tend to shut you down fairly quickly or just plain ole don’t care about your imagination. Which means that these people are evil. Don’t marry them.

Yep, those are some subtle ways to determine if your boothang things that you could be their boothang as well.