Blogging is a fairly new concept to me. Dating however is not: I've been doing it for 8 years. Does this make me a pro at dating? Probably not. It does give me some funny stories and a bit of an insight into the way dating works (or doesn't work sometimes). Like everyone else in the social media generation, I'm still scrabbling around in the dark searching for a guy who is mad enough to date me for long enough that he's my boyfriend. That was a mouthful *deep sigh*.
When people ask me about my blog, An Education in Dating ( www.aneducationindating.com ), they tend to lead on and ask me for advice about dating. A lot of my friends are also struggling in the world of Tinder; Bumble; Plenty of Fish; Speed Dating; swiping left, right, up, down; meeting guys in bars who ask for your number but don't actually really want to ever see you again; and so on and so forth. Naturally, as a friend, I give them the best advice I can. Normally I tell them to get rid of the guy because he sounds no good (Sorry to the male readers: I know you're not all bad). Other times I tell them to just take a deep breath and take things as they come. Don't rush anything. As soon as you start rushing into anything, somebody panics and things go completely boobs up (or the synonym we all know I wanted to use).
I guess this comes in two parts because as well as dating advice, some readers ask me for advice about blogging... I'll get to the actual advice part in a bit.
Blogging for me began as a therapeutic way to make sense of my dating horror stories. On the flip side it was also a way for my friends to have some funny stories to read if they ever got bored on their commute to work. Slowly, people on Facebook began to share my stories and more and more people read the blog. I started receiving messages from people online, both men and women, some I knew and some I didn't. Every message was something that made me smile. Each and every person who messaged me thanked me for writing so honestly. Their messages were filled with their own personal stories. All these people related to me. The little Facebook unread messages all contained hope that none of us are alone out there in our own personal struggles with finding 'the one' or even just a one for now. In amongst these positive thank yous, keep on truckings and you'll find someone were messages from a few of the me I have written about. This was the scary part! I knew that I was still friends with some of them on social media, so it would be only a matter of time before their curiosity got the better of them and they read the stories online. All of the frogs (well they didn't end up being Princes did they?) who took the time to send me messages wrote to me using words I never expected. None were angry with me. None were upset. Every one of the ones who contacted me wrote to congratulate me on the success of the blog. Some wrote to say they enjoyed reading it. Others wrote to say thank you for writing it because it showed them the errors in their ways. What did they all have in common? Words of encouragement to keep going and, more importantly, apologies. The blog ended up not only being therapeutic for me to write or for others to read, but also for the men included in my past to look for forgiveness. I was happy to oblige and find closure for some of my stories.
So now for the advice part. My advice for dating? I'm afraid I can't help you there. I'm still searching for somebody and I don't think there really are any good pieces of advice. Some people might be really good at the art of dating. I am not one of those people but I'll carry on being me until someone else thinks that actually I'm alright as I am.
My advice for blogging? If you want to write anything that, like me, is personal then you have to be open. You have to give a little bit of yourself to your readers every time you write something new. Don't be too honest that you start offending people or telling them your entire life story. Nobody wants to read you waffling. But give enough of yourself that they learn about you. A reader will be engaged and continue reading if they feel they can relate to you or your content.
I suppose in two words I probably could give you my best piece of advice for both dating and blogging... Be honest.