Author Archives: letsgodating

Facebook 'relationships guy' courts Hollywood, media in new push

By Alexei Oreskovic

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Beyonce fans got a big surprise at midnight on December 13, when the pop star announced her new album from out of the blue.

Just as surprising was her decision to announce the album by posting a 15-second video on Instagram, the Facebook-owned online photo-and-video sharing service.

The exclusive announcement - virtually unheard of for a recording artist of that caliber - was a coup for Facebook, which has been upstaged by younger rival Twitter Inc as the go-to online forum for celebrities, sports and news.

Potentially billions of dollars in television advertising are at stake as consumers increasingly turn to social networks to stay abreast of the latest news and entertainment. Twitter and Facebook both are wooing advertisers with video ad platforms and trying to hold off mobile communications startups like WhatsApp and SnapChat, which have lured many younger users.

Leading the Facebook charge is Dan Rose, vice president of partnerships, acquisitions chief, and architect of some of the social network's key deals during his eight years there.

Rose maintains a low profile compared with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder, and Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, whose "Lean In" book on women in business was a cause celebre. A surfer, Rose has a reputation as calm, friendly but persistent at the 5,800-employee company.

Previously at, the 42-year-old Rose helped launch the Kindle reader and nail down deals with publishers.

When Facebook's stock was beaten down in the wake of its IPO in May 2012, Rose told an all-staff meeting that Amazon plowed through the turbulence of its early years by ignoring the "noise" around it and focusing on long term goals, a person who was present at the meeting said.

His approach has helped Rose find common ground in sometimes tricky relationships. He was instrumental in three years of talks to win Apple Inc permission in 2012 for Facebook to tap directly into iPhone features like pictures, as well as a 2006 advertising pact with Microsoft Corp which a year later made a seminal investment in the young company.

Now Rose is spearheading the efforts to broaden the Facebook conversation, dominated by talk of friends and family, by tying up with celebrities, news organizations and other "content" providers.

People "like to see stuff from their friends, that's where Facebook started and kind of where our origin is, but they also really like to see stuff from public voices," said Rose.

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Dan Rose, Facebook's head of corporate development …
Dan Rose, Facebook's head of corporate development and partnerships, walks into a meeting room a …

"When that type of stuff shows up in people's newsfeeds they like it, they click on it, they comment on it, they engage with it," Rose said in an interview.

In November, Rose and Facebook product chief Chris Cox hosted a lunch at the posh Soho House club in West Hollywood with representatives of various celebrities, including Madonna, rapper Pitbull and actor Channing Tatum.

In recent months, Rose's team has also made frequent visits to broadcasters and other media organizations, preaching the virtues of Facebook and discussing potential partnerships. Facebook may soon announce a series of tie-ups with a broadcaster around some popular television shows and sporting events, a source familiar with the matter said.

"There's a lot of disconnect between Hollywood and the Valley on many different fronts. He plays a really important role," said Guy Oseary, the manager for Madonna and band U2, who was at Soho House lunch.


Analysts say Facebook's efforts to recast itself as the virtual town square for public conversations about everything from yesterday's football game to breaking news will not be easy.

"Facebook is still the place where you see friends," said Ben Schachter of Macquarie Research. Changing consumers' online habits is tough, he added.

Some media and entertainment organizations, such as the ESPN television sports network, have nearly as many followers on Twitter as they do on Facebook, even though Facebook's total audience of 1.2 billion active members is five times Twitter's. CNN and CNBC have more followers on their Twitter accounts than on Facebook.

Twitter, known for 140-character messages, has created a system for broadcasters to show video clips and ads through tweets coordinated with what is being shown on TV. In September it struck a deal with the National Football League to show video highlights of games on Twitter.

Past efforts to nudge consumers into using Facebook's social network in different ways have fizzled, from movie rentals to online shops by big retailers.

Facebook said the movie rentals were an effort that the film studios initiated on their own, and noted that the current focus on public content is aimed at better supporting user behavior that's already occurring on its social network.

Facebook users posted 20 million comments and "likes" about the opening game of the National Football League season as the match unfolded.

On Thursday, Facebook took a page from Twitter and introduced a "Trending" feature, offering a personalized list of hot discussion topics.


To cozy up to the media and entertainment industry, Rose needs to demonstrate the benefits of its social network and its massive audience, something rival Twitter has proven adept at.

"I think of it kind of like nation-state relationships, for these larger companies and these larger partnerships, where you have diplomats and ambassadors," said Rose. "The goal of those people is to find areas of mutual shared interest."

In September, Facebook began providing broadcasters with reports detailing the conversations their shows generated on the social network. And it created special tools to help programs such as ABC's "Dancing with the Stars" incorporate public comments of Facebook users into their shows.

Rose has also turned the mergers and acquisitions team, which he runs, to the project. In December, Facebook acquired Sportstream, whose technology organizes comments that sports fans post on Facebook, making it easier for sports broadcasters to discover and use some of the real-time conversations.

Then there's Instagram, the photo and video-sharing service that Facebook acquired for roughly $700 million last year, and which is popular among movie stars, athletes and other public figures.

Rose's team, including his deputy for celebrity outreach Justin Osofsky, cultivated a relationship with Beyonce for months. When she proposed the album announcement on short notice, they leapt at the opportunity.

Beyonce declined to comment on the launch of the album, a secret until the Instagram video. It sold a record 1 million copies on Apple's iTunes store in six days.

(Editing by Edwin Chan, Peter Henderson and Grant McCool)

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As legal fight plays out, same-sex couples get OK to file joint tax returns in … – CNN

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As legal fight plays out, same-sex couples get OK to file joint tax returns in ...
(CNN) -- Utah's roller coaster few weeks regarding same-sex marriage has taken yet another sharp turn, with the state tax board announcing that legally married gay and lesbian couples -- even those wed in the brief period of limbo in Utah -- can file ...
Tax Complications For Same-Sex Couples In Utah (And Elsewhere)Forbes
Utah says married same-sex couples can file joint tax returnLos Angeles Times
Utah tax officials allow joint filing for married same-sex couplesSalt Lake Tribune
Fox News
all 1,483 news articles »

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10 Ways to build good relationships at school

By Sarah Zeines / ATCNA | Yahoo South Africa News – 

How can you help your children build healthy relationships at school? According to the US National Association of School Psychologists, communication is the key.

Creating active school relationships is especially important during elementary years and affects the long term learning ability of children as well as their ability to make friends. Here, a few tips on how to create the most positive academic environment possible for a child.
How to befriend teachers
1. Introduce yourself
Look for your child’s teacher(s) at the first family night of the school year. Introduce yourself and let school staff know how to reach you. Asking for a conference early in the can help establish good relationships as well as provide an opportunity to inform teachers of any specific concerns or problems that affect your child.
2. Take initiative
Ask if there are any activities you can do at home that could help your child improve the skills learned at school. These activities might range from reading to math games or spelling exercises. Make sure your child’s behaviour is in accordance with the school's expectations. If needs be, find out how the teacher deals with problems and how you might be able to reinforce adequate behaviour at home.
How to befriend the principal
1. Have face- to-face conversations as often as possible
The school principal has to deal with a lot of parents. In order to make durable contact with him or her, face-to-face communication is the most effective strategy. Go to school events and use them as opportunities to talk.
2. Avoid defensiveness
If a sensitive issue regarding your child comes up, be willing to collaborate, not attack or defend. Parents are naturally protective of their children and tend to become defensive when a complaint comes up. Assume that the school has the child's best interests in mind and let the principal know that you appreciate and recognise the efforts that are being made.
How to befriend other parents
1. Volunteer
This can take various forms, depending on your time and skills. In order to avoid distracting your child, it is best to help out in other classes. Volunteers are often needed to assist students with their homework. Field trips or PTA meetings are also opportunities to make contact with other parents.
2. Carpool
What better way is there to get to know other parents? By driving their kids to school and vice versa, not only are you doing them a favour, you are also doing yourself one. Furthermore, these types of exchanges can lead to solid friendships.
How to help your child make friends
1. Be a behavioural coach
Impulsive behaviour is bad for friendships. In order to help children develop better self-control, psychological studies suggest that parents talk about emotions in a sympathetic way. Kids whose feelings are mocked or reprimanded tend to have trouble controlling their reactions.
2. Control kids’ social lives
Supervising children without being suffocating is a positive way of helping them chooses their friends. By avoiding “bad influences” at a young age, children are more likely to succeed in their social lives.
How to help your child deal with bullies
1. Intervene
While encouraging children to be independent is an important part of raising them, intervention is essential when it comes to bullying. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends seeking help from the school’s staff or from a therapist in such cases.
2. Teach your child to be assertive
Tell your child to walk away from a bully without losing confidence and to ask for help from an adult. Encourage your child to stay with a group to minimise the likelihood of getting picked on.


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Wayne Brady Calls Rumors He's Dating TLC's Chilli 'Pretty Cool'

TV personality Wayne Brady speaks onstage at The 40th Annual People's Choice Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live, Jan. 8, 2014 in Los Angeles. Kevin Winter/Getty Images Wayne Brady said hearing rumors that he was dating TLC's Chilli is "just part ...

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Mother City magic

It seems former president Nelson Mandela's charm is still working for Cape Town, which clinched the top spot on the New York Times list of 52 Places to Go in 2014 just a month after his death. Cape Town landed the podium position in the face of strong...

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Mobile Technology Makes Online Dating The New Normal

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VH1's Winning Strategies In Mobile And Social Engagement Katheryn ThayerKatheryn Thayer Forbes Staff
Shazam's Big Data Predictions On Your 2014 Playlist Katheryn ThayerKatheryn Thayer Forbes Staff

online datingOnline dating is more common, and less stigmatized, than ever before. 11% of American adults now use online dating sites–up from just 3% in 2008. 4 out of 10 adults who are “single and looking for a partner” are looking online. But why the fast rise of this new dating trend? With mobile technology, online dating has become a social–and surprisingly public–activity.

Original online dating sites like eHarmony and relied on solitary users privately filling out personal profiles. But the creators of those sites noticed behavior shifts towards the mobile web. IAC/InterActiveCorp, owner of and OkCupid, funded the creation of Tinder, seeing that the mobile, social web was on the rise. It might have been hard for the company to imagine how much that app would change young people’s perception of online dating. The mobile app draws basic Facebook information (name, age, interests and a few photos) into a platform that allows users to swipe left if they are interested in someone and right if they are not. When two people swipe right, they’re a ‘match’ and can chat.

With the portability of smartphones and tablets, any online activity can become a social activity. And Tinder did. It’s common for groups of friends to sit around “playing Tinder” together, showing each other pictures and messages. Online dating is not a private, semi-embarrassing activity anymore. It’s now part of how we spend time with friends and entertain ourselves at parties. My friends send me screenshots of their Tinder chats and I hear guys talking about Tinder dates on the M15. The online dating service is becoming part of our offline lives.

Which is why it was particularly interesting when Amanda Hess posed this question on Slate last week: why don’t single sitcom characters date online? Pew reports that 42% of Americans know an online dater – so why don’t we see it represented more in media? To be fair, watching someone Google, Tweet, or do most other normal online activities wouldn’t blow ratings through the roof either, but online dating is becoming a substantial part of our offline social lives.

Well, this spring, Bravo is launching “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male,” a show that follows men in their search for love and/or action online.

Shari Levine, Senior Vice President of Current Production/Original Programming, explains that the rational behind creating this show, in line with Pew’s findings, is the fast-rising number of online daters: “Online dating has become extremely mainstream now and whether or not you are on an online dating site, someone in your inner circle is active on one. Now more than ever, we felt this would resonate with our viewers and that people would find the male perspective intriguing.”

Creators of the show posit males who date online have a significantly different set of objectives than their female counterparts, and are betting it will make for some great television. Levine says, “Generally speaking, women who participate in online dating are looking for a long-term relationship, where the men we encountered were not necessarily looking for “Mrs. Right,” but rather a “Mrs. Right Now.”   Or, maybe these men secretly want love and just don’t want to admit it!  The show certainly captures an insider’s perspective of the male psyche and how they approach dating in the digital age.”

It’s possible the show will reveal men and women have more in common than expected. The site that has done the most to normalize very casual online dating–Tinder–finds females sign up in near-equal proportions to men and reject about the same proportion (70%) of potential matches as men do. Ann Friedman pulls these statistics up to make a case for how female-friendly the app is, also noting that its design allows users to indicate mutual interest before either party can initiate an interaction. The upcoming Bravo show will serve as a test–and likely an affirmation–that online daters are not so different than offline daters, and that men and women can be equally earnest or scummy. Either way, it will be a televised sign of just how common online dating has become. “Online Dating Rituals of the American Male” premieres on Sunday, March 9at 10p.m. ET/PT.

Follow @KATontap on Twitter

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The Key to Success? Relationships.

If you ask 10 entrepreneurs to tell you the key to business success, you're likely to get 10 different answers. I'm sure one would say product innovation, and while that's definitely a significant factor, it's not the right answer. And, yes, there is a right answer.  

The key to business success is winning and keeping customers. And the key to winning and keeping customers is, and has always been, relationships. The world's greatest business experts - Peter Drucker, Mark McCormack, Regis McKenna and others - have all said the same thing in one way or another.

Unfortunately, you, my friends, have all been sold a bill of goods. You've been told that spending your time building your personal brand, growing your social media network, improving your productivity, identifying and enhancing your strengths, and engaging your employees, among other things, will make you successful. They won't.

Related: How Great Entrepreneurs Got Started

No matter what you do for a living or aspire to become, none of those fads du jour will have a material impact on how things turn out for you or your business. But building real relationships with real people in the real world will. Not convinced? Here's why relationships are the key to business success:

Your most important asset is your network - not your virtual network, your real one. Every successful executive and entrepreneur will tell you, their most important asset is their network, and they don't mean social network. They mean people they actually know and work with in real time because they're the ones that actually get things done. One real relationship in the real world is worth more than 10,000 social media links, likes or followers.

Sales transactions are between two real human beings. Even with ecommerce, most sales transactions are still between two human beings. Think about it. Every significant B2C and B2B transaction involves a buyer and a seller, not to mention all the channel development and pre- and post-sales support. And the best product doesn't necessarily win. Buyer behavior is mostly subjective and relationships are a big factor. In a service business, they're the biggest factor, hands down.

When opportunity knocks, it's always a person knocking ... and answering. As much as we like to fantasize about opportunities just falling in our laps, the truth is, that never happens. Of the thousands of career and business opportunities I've been involved with over the past 30 years, every single one involved a real relationship. Every job, every piece of advice, every business deal, every vendor relationship - there's that word - every single one.  

Related: 9 Ways to Make Gobs of Money -- Seriously

So what does all this mean? It means there's a good chance you're wasting precious time, even years of peak earning potential, focusing on the wrong things to build your career and grow your business. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Ten years into my engineering management career, I thought I had everything going for me. I was young, I was smart, and I worked hard, but it was all about the job, the product. And you know what? I wasn't really going anywhere. Until one day, some guy changed my life by talking me into making the transition to sales and marketing.

It took a while to learn the skills that would ultimately make me a senior executive in the high-tech industry and then, a successful management consultant, but I can attribute everything good that happened to me over the next 20 years to that fateful day and the relationships I've built since.

Which reminds me of a time, long ago. I was working at home and had just gotten off the phone and looked up to find my wife standing in the doorway. She looked at me in a sort of circumspect way and said, "Aren't you supposed to be working?"

"I am working," I replied.

"No you're not," she said, "You're just BS-ing."

I said, "That's right. That's my job."

Back then, she didn't get it, but now she does. It's just like watching grass grow. You can't see anything happening but one day you wake up to a beautiful lawn. Building relationships and a successful business career is just like that. Call it a leap of faith or delayed gratification if you want. All I know is, it works.

Related: How to Stop Being Your Own Worst Enemy

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5 Ways to Clinch the Third Date

[unable to retrieve full-text content]But the next step might not be what you think. So instead of the oh-so-cliché Friday night dinner, suggest one of these five third-date ideas. Sure, they all start in the afternoon—but don’t be surprised if they end the next morning. 1. Head to an ...

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Toshiba Extends TCxGravity through Global Partner Relationships


Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, the global market share leader in point of sale technology, today announced expanded relationships with business partners to provide implementation services and extend significant capabilities such as store mobility clienteling functionality. As a result, Toshiba and their partners have greatly expanded their ability to deliver retailers a unique omni-channel shopping experience for their customers via the Toshiba TCxGravity point of commerce solution.

Several business partners, including Tolt Solutions (formerly Kyrus Solutions, Booth 3365) will feature TCxGravity demonstrations in their booths at the NRF Big Show in New York City, January 12-13. Additional relationships with Cognizant, Expicient, Infosys, and Oxford Consulting Group validate TCxGravity’s entry on the global stage with many of the leading systems integrators in retail.

The expanded business relationships allow Toshiba to provide retail stores with access to a growing set of applications while extending joint go-to-market and implementation capabilities globally. Enabling partners and retail stores to develop specific applications in an open ecosystem provides flexibility for unique applications ranging from personalization to customer relationship management. A broad range of companies from large enterprise to mid-size businesses will benefit from the ability to develop, integrate and scale new applications with ease.

“In addition to our strong partnership as IBM Premier Business Partner for Smarter Commerce where we have created deep TCxGravity expertise, we’re thrilled to be expanding our global reach to work closely with innovative and collaborative companies such as Tolt Solutions and others,” said Leo Suarez, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Strategy, Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions. “This is really about creating a partner ecosystem that is committed to tackling the most dynamic shift in retail today, true omni-channel retailing.

"Toshiba’s innovative and flexible architecture with TCxGravity provides the most advanced omni-channel solution for our retailers. TCxGravity is a true enabler for Tolt Solutions to deliver value-added services by leveraging our partnership, systems integration and mobile expertise and capabilities ,” said Aaron Hagler, Vice President, Solutions Delivery, Tolt Solutions.

For more details on Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions, visit

About Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions

Toshiba Global Commerce Solutions is retail’s first choice for integrated in-store solutions and is the global market share leader in retail store technology. With a global team of dedicated business partners, we deliver innovative commerce solutions that transform checkout, provide seamless consumer interactions and optimize retail operations that are changing the retail landscape. To learn more, visit

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How to get over your fear of online dating

It wasn’t an easy decision. I spent about a month hemming and hawing over whether I should or not (“How can you write about all things dating and not seriously include dating online?” one friend asked), badgering my clique for their own experiences with places like and OkCupid. The responses were more or less the same: just give it a try—and if you hate it, stop.

But as I've mentioned in previous posts, I’ve got this not-so-secret chip on my shoulder about the merits of meeting a mate within the confines of a URL—even though I’m fully aware that cruising the Web for romance has become about as socially acceptable as ordering a coffee at Starbucks. That fear was laced with curiosity, though; and there are only so many times you can ask someone what they’d think if you, too, tried online dating before their eye rolls turn to a death stare.

You get my point—and, if you’re anything like me and have been straddling a fence between giving it a go and idling at yellow, you might appreciate my tips below on how to make the signup process less painful. (Plus, window shopping for men at your leisure. That’s pretty awesome, no?)

1. Expect some initial discomfort

I was 4, maybe 5, when my mother enrolled me in swimming lessons. When it came time for my first test—swimming the length of an Olympic-sized pool sans floatation device—I was fine, even great, until I reached halfway and realized my toes no longer touched the bottom of the pool. “I can’t make it!” I yelled out, expecting my instructor to toss a lifebuoy for me to grab onto. Instead, I was told that I could make it, and that I had to keep going. So, I did what any logical child would do: I yelled that I was drowning. Which, you know, I wasn’t.

My point is that it’s going to feel strange at first—you could also think of it in terms of yoga, and having to work with your body to ease into difficult poses—and you might feel tempted to throw it in the bag when the “What the hell am I doing with my life?” feeling lingers a few days after creating a profile and oh my God, it's public. But you’re going to be okay. (And for the record, I did reach the deep end of the pool—and wanted to swim the lap again as soon as I hit my mark.)

2. Announce from on high that you’re dating online

Imagine you wanted to quit smoking. First of all—good for you. Second, some argue that it’s easier to be held accountable to goals when you share them with your inner tribe. Which is why when I created my account, I told the very girlfriends who’d encouraged me to sign up for it in the first place. One friend offered to guide me through creating my profile; another sat with me over brunch and helped me pick out photos to upload. Most have checked in to ensure I’m enjoying myself, and that I’m doing what I’m supposed to be, like replying to messages from men who pique my interest and, um, not shutting down my account. Let your friends support you, people. If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes a lot of hand-holding to convince an adult woman to stop being a wuss.

3. Expect, also, the “ex” factor

You know that feeling when you see someone you used to date while you’re out and your stomach drops, and you run and hide behind a wall instead of saying hi because you’re mature for your age? I obviously never do that, but yes, it can happen online, too. I came across several men from my not-so-distant past (one of whom knocked three years off of his age—ahem!—and added two inches to his height, and another who boasted a rather voracious, er, appetite) on one of the sites I was considering joining. I mentioned these findings to a friend, who sympathized, and acknowledged that the best way to approach the situation is to not acknowledge it at all.

Moving along.

4. The subway manifesto

Admittedly, one of my fears upfront was the thought of having someone from a dating website recognize me in real life while doing everyday things, like grocery shopping and riding the T. Which seems rather ridiculous, since wouldn’t one, in theory, want to recognize their prospective date (lest he or she be of the type who shares outdated and/or Photoshopped images that don’t represent his or her true self)? You’ve got me there.

But, hey: we’re living in a social media world. Strangers have recognized me IRL based on my photos here and on Twitter; though their motives are usually flattering, it is kind of strange. Much like my swimming pool anecdote, you’ll just have to get over it. You’re not drowning.

5. Have fun with it

Just try, okay?

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Readers' most hated online dating cliches

By Clare Spencer BBC News Magazine

Woman looks shocked at what's on the computer

January is a boom month for online dating, but certain irksome recurring phrases might put off potential mates.

A Magazine article listing 20 cliches people write on their profiles attracted a huge response from readers.

Here are a few of the most unpopular expressions.

"Looking to make friends"

Olive from Boston says it's always funny to see people say they are "looking to make friends" on a dating website: "If you were looking to make friends then a club or interest group website would suffice." To go on a dating site for the same purpose "seems odd".

Joe from Harrow agrees friendship is not what dating sites are for. This phrase always prompts him to ask: "Does this person really know what they want?"

Of course, it could just be an attempt to appear coy. But Teresa Bentley from Horsham warns this could backfire: "If you're an adult and you haven't got any friends by now, then that suggests personality flaws."

"Hello, is it me you're looking for?"
lionel richie, mid-1980s

Craig Smith from Glasgow has just got to let you know how much he dislikes this line from the Lionel Richie hit.

"It's one of the most repeated straplines/headline descriptions for a female profile that I have come across, and that really bugs me now," he says.

"It's been done to death so that I am now put off whenever I see it."

"Looking for my knight in shining armour"
Knight in shining armour

Sean from Aberdeen argues that this is "not only outdated in modern day life but also a much-misunderstood myth".

He asks: "Are these really the guys a modern woman wants? Did Sir Lancelot ever do the washing up? Or hoovering?"

He urges women to ditch this stereotype and seek out "caring" men.

It's not just Sean who feels this way. Those seeking such a boyfriend are living in "fantasy land", says someone who calls himself Sir Steven Mountjoy from Wolverhampton.

"No baggage, please!"

This is both the most unrealistic and frequently-repeated phrase Melissa from London says she has seen on online dating wish lists.

"The human being with no baggage does not exist, so presumably the people who write this aren't actually ready to date anyone, or else they are signing up for perpetual disappointment when all their dates turn out to be real people who have had real lives," she says. "What we should be looking for is someone whose baggage is compatible with our own baggage."

Cathy Bartholomew from Portsmouth agrees: "Most men, it seems, won't consider a woman with anything more than an overnight case.

"Depending on your definition, this likely to be unachievable in my age group (early 50s) unless you've been in a coma for half a century."

"I don't bite, unless you ask me to"

It makes Gemma Webster from Oldbury cringe. She worked for an internet dating agency for three years approving profiles.

"It's amazing that six years later people are still using the same phrases," she says.

Its variant "I don't bite, hard ;-)" is a particular bugbear of Adam from Manchester. "This one makes my skin crawl!" he says.

"If you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best"

The complete quote by Marilyn Monroe is: "I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best." Watson Brown from Aberdeen complains that too many women "feel compelled to regurgitate" it.

It's so widely used that it has lost all meaning, complains Leo from London. He urges online daters: "Be yourself not someone else. Particularly not someone who died before you were born."

Ben Joyce from London doesn't approve, either: "If in your one free text field you can't say something about yourself without resorting to quotations then it doesn't bode well for first date conversation."

"I don't take life too seriously"
man with feet up on table and holes in socks

Joe from Harrow says that someone who posts this is effectively telling would-be partners: "I want someone as directionless as me."

Claire from London suspects men who advertise they are looking for someone like this mean that they will treat you poorly and "you can't get annoyed, because you're not meant to take yourself too seriously".

Ady Miles from Wednesbury just doesn't think it is possible. "Can you ever take life too seriously? We all want someone who's fun, but aren't we all being serious about looking for someone special?"

"I work hard, play hard"

This is the most irritating and off-putting phrase for Kalvin Chapman from Manchester. He states on his profile that if you have used it that you are unlikely to get along with him. "What an absolutely ludicrous thing to say. It also smacks of the 1980s more than anything," he says.

"My children are everything to me"

Chris in Staffordshire, who is also a parent, complains that this just goes without saying. "You don't need to spell it out," he says.

"It smacks of 'My children are everything, so you are competing for second place... Oh, sorry... The cat, I forgot the cat... So you are in for a shout of being my third priority - along with my car - so woo me!'. Way to make someone feel special!"

"I'm bubbly"
Bubbly woman

Damien from London says "bubbly" is the single most annoying word anyone can use to describe themselves on a dating site. "What does that even mean?"

Dean from Rugby has an idea.

He offers a translation: "'I'm bubbly and fun' - I'm loud and have a laugh like a foghorn."

Follow @BBCNewsMagazine on Twitter and on Facebook

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Relationships in 2014: Ours Is A Society That Could Use A Hug

Relationships in 2014: Ours Is A Society That Could Use A Hug

By Robert E. Hall


“She would be better off to start smoking again because the interaction with other smokers in the designated break area would do her more good than the smoking would do her harm.” -Doctor to the son of an 85 year-old resident at an Alzheimer facility.    

In this New Year, ours is a society that could use a hug. After all, when smoking is a prescription for better health – it is hard to deny the importance of relationships. By any objective measure, the most compelling priority for this New Year is human relationships.  According to an AARP survey, more than one third of adults over 45 report being chronically lonely, up 65 percent in the past decade.  Loneliness now carries the same mortality risk as smoking and twice that of obesity. Our whole concept of relationships is changing and not just for the older crowd.  Catherine Steiner-Adair, author of The Big Disconnect, laments this is "the first generation to grow up in a culture where being sexually intimate is understood to be disconnected from the context of a relationship." So much for the relational term, “making love.” Replaced by the insistently mechanical “hook-up.”        

Not only are we more alone but we are more separated by our distrust.  According to the General Social Survey data just released, only a third of us say “Most people can be trusted” compared to half in1972. Similarly Gallup reports that 70 percent of workers are disengaged at work.  

Distrusted, disengaged, lonely – it is what you would expect from a society increasingly going it alone. We keep finding new ways to bypass human interaction, communicating and transacting more by email, text, and tweets. On-line sales Cyber Monday – following Thanksgiving – were up 36 percent while in-person retail shopping was down 2.9 percent.  We increasingly take our information and transactions a la carte – hold the personal interactions.

Studies jar us with how important relationships are to our health, wealth and happiness. We are all in the relationship business and by any standard, business is not good – ours is a relationship recession if not depression.   

Relationship is our single richest source of value.  According to Gallup, engaged customers yield businesses a premium of 23 percent in revenue growth and profits while disengaged customers suffer a 13 percent discount. Matt Lieberman’s new book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect, reports that economists correlating financial and happiness data found that seeing a friend most days has the same impact on our happiness as earning a $100,000 more each year and simply seeing your neighbors on a regular basis is like getting $60,000. Volunteering at least once a month is like moving from a yearly income of $20,000 to $75,000.  Conversely, getting a divorce is like suffering a $90,000 per year decrease in salary.  

It makes sense.  Research has shown that never being married reduces wealth by 75 percent and being married and then divorced reduces wealth by 73 percent compared to the continuously married.  Building and retaining productive relationships yields a higher and more predictable ROI (return on investment) than most any business or personal initiative.  

And “giving” relationships are even more powerful. The University of Chicago’s General Social Survey shows charitable givers are 43 percent likelier to say they are “very happy” than nongivers. Nongivers are 3.5 times more likely than givers to say they are “not happy at all.”

Yet our attitudes and behavior trend counter to this relationship reality.  The American Freshman survey reports that in 1965 college freshman said that “starting a family” and “helping others” were more important life goals than being “very well off financially.”  By the 1980s the priority had reversed and in 2012, freshmen prioritizing “being very well-off financially” reached a record high of 81 percent. Lieberman concludes:  “The more individuals endorse materialism as a positive life value, the less happy they are with their lives.” Our relationship with money seems similar to our relationship with dieting – the more we talk about it and glamorize thinness, the fatter we as a nation become.

If health, wealth and happiness are not enough – how about being better looking?   Dutch and British researchers report that women found men who were purported to give money to the poor more attractive – and the more they gave the more attractive they became.

We have not intended relationships atrophy. It has been the unintended consequence of advancements like technology where new-found control and convenience enables relational laziness and neglect. Relationships are the engine of health, wealth and happiness. Their absence disables. As Mother Teresa famously said, “The world’s great disease is not poverty, it is loneliness.”

Relationships necessitate sustained intention.  Among family, friends, colleagues, customers, neighbors, and in faith, who are your “go to” relationships – that warrant renewed and sustained initiative in 2014?   Where will you target relationship turnaround: replace neglect with attention, electronic messages with face-to-face interaction, denial with caring confrontation, costly avoidance with relational investment?  The cashier’s tee-shirt at the Potbelly Sandwich shop near me captured the urgency of our relational interdependence:  “Get in here before we both starve.”

Robert Hall is a noted author, consultant, and speaker on relationships. He is the author of This Land of Strangers: The Relationship Crisis That Imperils Home, Work, Politics and Faith.

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