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Perception Is Reality: How Men See Women Online

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When it comes to writing articles online about dating and relationships, you often find the author (I do this as well) taking the position that seems to look from the inside out. Meaning, he or she writes from the perspective that the reader can relate to, and the subject of the article is often the outside world, the state of dating culture, the opposite sex, or what have you.

But what is equally as important yet far less discussed, is the importance of not only finding the right person – but being the right person to attract the partner you want.

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Without fail, even if I write 100 articles discussing how men can improve and one article discussing how women can improve – the “sexist” remarks come out and people often say “well, that goes for men, too.” So let’s please refrain from stating the painfully obvious, I am writing on this topic for a reason.

I have a friend who I used to see in the city a lot when he and I were both in different phases in our lives. We would go out often and enjoy ourselves. In our early 20’s, that was just the whole point really. Speaking for myself, I wasn’t interested in a relationship at the time nor was I emotionally mature enough to really appreciate the type of woman I would want to commit myself to, so I simply stayed single.

But I reconnected with him lately and he was telling me about a disconnect that he often sees these days. Women (or girls, if you’d like), who spend much of their free time not only out partying – but plastering their escapades all over Facebook and other social media websites. Now, that’s all well and good. We’ve all been there, we’ve all gone through those phases, and frankly you can do whatever the hell you want and nobody has the right to tell you any differently. You only get one life, so you might as well enjoy it.

But, here is the issue. These same women are then posting online about how horrible the men of their generation(s) are and how there are “no good guys” left in the world. Now, my mother always told me not to judge a book by its cover but a quick scroll through the types of “men” these women are spending their time with can tell you a pretty clear story. Let’s just say I wouldn’t trust them to take care of a houseplant for a week, let alone a woman’s heart.

But in the digital age, the people you meet in person aren’t the only ones who matter. The image we portray on social media is equally, if not more important. This same friend of mine told me that he was seeing someone recently but her Facebook was full of photos from all-nighters multiple weeks in a row, so he decided to end it.

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Why? Because that’s not the type of woman that a mature, well established man can picture himself in a serious relationship with.

She may be an amazing person. She may be loving and caring. She may just not be ready for a serious relationship yet, as we weren’t at one time either. A lot of times people just haven’t grown out of that phase, but you’ve got to understand the impact of the image you’re portraying if that’s the phase you are in.

To complain about lack of good men while slathering your social media presence with drunk photos and finding yourself tagged in club pictures grinding up on a new guy every time Monday rolls around, is like trying to climb Mount Everest when all you’ve got on is a bathing suit.

You’re going to need to change your approach if you expect to have any success.

Is this fair? No, probably not. During my “party days” I was often judged for being a type of person that I wasn’t. But, this is the world we live in. We quickly make assumptions about people after a few clicks through some photos or an About Me section. We can very easily subconsciously say “yes” or “no” to wanting to get to know someone before we even really know anything about them.

But as the adage goes: Perception is reality. How others perceive us is often how they decide we are, and the likelihood of that perception changing is low, considering they probably won’t track you down to, you know, talk to you and just make sure if they’re right.

First impressions matter in today’s culture more than ever, because your first impression is not to one person when you shake their hand. It is to thousands of people online when you upload a photo on Instagram or post a blanket complaint about how “all men suck” on Twitter. You are a brand, whether you like it or not – and how you portray yourself is profoundly important. Not just for relationships, but professionally as well.

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Some people will read this and say that they don’t care what anyone else thinks. Why should I censor myself just so people will “approve” of me? Why should it matter how other people view you if you know the truth about yourself? You want to post half-naked selfies every day and you would still be the perfect wife. What’s the big deal?

If you are happy with how your life is and feel as though what you portray to the world is in line with what your inner values are, then by all means, don’t change a thing. But we have to understand the widespread epidemic of many other people who your congruence does not apply to.

These people are putting across an image that is out of line with what they say they want. They say they want a mature, well-established gentleman who will treat them with respect – but then they portray themselves as a party girl who cannot be taken seriously. This will only lead to extended dissatisfaction in life – trust me.

I’ve been there. I changed my approach when it wasn’t working. I learned about the importance of perception whether I cared what people thought or not. To attract class, we must portray class. To attract maturity, we must work to not only look mature, but to be mature. Like attracts like.

I put away the bathing suit when I wanted to climb Everest, and my life is better because of it.

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2 Comments

  1. rlcarterrn on December 28, 2014 at 9:32 am

    Yes, yes, yes!! Thank you so much for writing & sharing this. I know that it takes a lot of courage to post something like this because there are definitely plenty of people who won’t want to hear it (because people rarely like the truth when it hurts). I see this phenomenon all the time & it drives me crazy. As you said, like attracts like. And if we aren’t getting the results we want, we need to first examine our own image & approach.

  2. Little Freckled One on December 29, 2014 at 3:01 pm

    I agree with this. It is also something to think about when you date someone and you wonder why they’re the wrong person for you. If you meet someone while you were a drunken mess, it’s most likely that the person you met is interested in THAT person, the party girl. I always laugh when my sweet, homebody girlfriends go out and meet some crazy party boy and wonder why he won’t stay home with her. People will assume you are the way you are from what you portray in public / social media.

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