Monday, February 25, 2008

Online Dating - Six Ways to Protect Your Privacy in Cyberspace

Online dating is becoming more and more mainstream, as people from all walks of life plug in and find their soul mate in cyberspace. Here are six tips to finding that special someone while still maintaining your privacy and safety online.

1. Avoid large, public chat rooms where anything can (and does!) take place. Some people frequent these areas just to see what they can get away with. Instead, focus on smaller, more targeted web sites or chat rooms that match your interests or lifestyle. There are many online dating sites that cater to specific hobbies and several offer free trial memberships.

2. When you find a chat room, dating site, or forum that matches your interest, introduce yourself with only as much information as you feel comfortable giving. Don’t plaster your phone number, address or any other personal information on the site. Wait until you meet someone with whom you truly “click” and have spoken to them for awhile. Common sense and that “gut feeling” are great indicators for when something just doesn’t seem quite right.

3. Participate in the forum or chat room regularly. Keep it “low-key” until you start forming friendships with the regular members there. Be honest, and be yourself – after all, being natural is what will endear you to a particular mate.

4. Keep your correspondence limited to e-mail and chat until you get to know the person well enough to feel comfortable sharing your phone number and talking for the first time. If you need a good ice-breaker, start off the chat by talking about the forum or chat room where you met and any special interests that brought you two together.

5. If you decide to meet each other in person, choose a neutral, public place. You may even choose a town or city that’s not the same as the one where you live. Restaurants, parks, theaters and other public places where people gather often are a good place to start. Alternately, you could choose to attend a special event in your area together, perhaps a concert, festival or fair. Either way, let friends or family know where you’re going and who you’re going with, as well as what time you’ll be returning so they’ll know how and where to reach you.

6. If you’re interested in a few online “matches” that come your way, consider setting up a post office box and a free e-mail account to share information with each other. That way, if you come to find that you really don’t “click” with this person, you won’t feel as if you’ve given any personal contact information away.

If you follow these six tips, chances are you’ll have a great time with your cyber date. Remember to be honest and be yourself! If you do, chances are that you’ll find that perfect special someone who enjoys you for who you are!

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Relationships Lacking Support are Doomed to Failure

One of the key components of a relationship is the support that two people provide for each other, yet it is typically one of the most overlooked aspects of choosing the perfect mate. A relationship that is built upon mutual support will overcome just about any obstacles that two individuals encounter along the way.

Support can take on many forms, but in the broadest sense, it is the willingness of two people in a relationship to lift and encourage each other to be the best that they can be. It is also the willingness for each of the individuals to be there for each other through both good and bad times.

Lack of support in a relationship can surface in many ways. It can be something as simple as a failure to be sympathetic when a mate has had a bad day at work, to the major support that is required when embarking on a new business endeavor or during life changing events.

Either way, if support is missing from a relationship in the early stages, chances are it will only get worse through the years. And at some point, it can escalate to the point of no return when much needed support is being sought after and no where to be found.

The reason support is so critical to a healthy relationship lies within the concepts of success and achievement. For two people to build a life together, it is critical for each of them to maintain their own identities while at the same time work together toward common goals and aspirations.

When considering the aspect of maintaining your own identity, it is perfectly normal that two people will not share identical interests in everything they do. One person may be an avid sports fan while the other doesn't know a racquet from a club -- and very well, may never care to learn.

This doesn't mean, however, that the sports challenged mate must forever remain unsupportive of their partner. To the contrary, this is a perfect opportunity to give your partner the freedom to retain their own interests while still being supportive.

If you cringe at the thought of sitting through a sporting event that makes no sense to you, take game day as your opportunity to pursue something that piques your interest. In doing so, you are not only furthering your own separate identities, you are also imposing no feelings of guilt when you each pursue your own interests. In essence, you are supporting each other through extending the freedom to pursue individual passions.

The other area where couples often falter is in matters that involve each working toward a common goal. While maintaining your own identity is critical, it is equally vital to utilize a balanced amount of time and energy in joint endeavors. These might be business matters, financial goals, home improvement projects, and any number of activities that require both individuals working together as a team.

When identifying and implementing plans for an activity that requires the talent and focus of both people, it is critical to identify ultimate goal, create a plan to achieve it, set a timeline for its completion and outline each person's role in the process.

By addressing these things, a clear picture will be formed of the expectations you will place upon each other and you will have given yourselves a means of measuring success. You will also be able to identify any areas of weakness that will enable you to assist each other along the way.

The couple that can effectively master these concepts will likely be the couple that will stand the test of time. No matter what the subject or the endeavor, these same principles will apply and are the key component for the successful outcome of any major joint endeavor.

The amount of support that is present in a relationship, or the lack thereof, will ultimately have a direct correlation to the success of that same relationship. You may recognize this fact in your own relationship or you may see it when you look around at the relationships of others.

Either way, when you become aware of the vital role that support plays in a relationship, it will forever change your approach. And thus, this discovery may ultimately be the turning point in your life that yields the success and achievement you are seeking.

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