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Dating Advice

(Dating Advice revised on 01/07/2023)

Online Dating

Online dating can be a rewarding and fulfilling way for single Ismailis to meet the right person. It’s essential to approach it with an open mind, throw away that long list of requirements, persist even when you are thinking of giving up and make sure you always act in a way that is safe for you.

By following these golden rules of online dating, you can increase your chances of finding the right person for you and make your online dating experience a success – which means getting you into that longed for relationship.

Rule 1: Profile Honesty

This is the one you really have to pay attention to. Why? Your dating profile is your online dating calling card, so it is essential that you make a good impression. Unlike in real life, you don’t have your charm, good looks, flirting or witty banter to show who you are. At nargisbai, we will approve all profiles initially and may from time to time give you feedback on your profile and suggest some things that you may wish to change.

Here are 10 things you can do to enhance your online dating profile:

1 Have at least one clear headshot – smiling!
2 At least one full body shot
3 Use a positive and upbeat tone in your profile. It is vital that you avoid any negativity, particularly a list of traits that you are not looking for in a partner.
4 Focus on the things you enjoy, describing the events, rather than just saying “I like having fun”
5 Share your hobbies and interests, particularly if they are quirky, unusual, niche or require particular effort.
6 Discuss your goals and aspirations for the future to give potential partners a sense of what you are working towards in life.
7 Sense of humour is often something that doesn’t come across well in profiles, but don’t be afraid to show it off if you think you are being original.
8 Some people advise at this point to share your values and beliefs, and sure, that could be helpful, but you still want to try to keep things light. This is the advert, not the product.
9 Highlight your unique qualities, what do you think makes you stand out from the crowd?
10 Be clear about what you are looking for in a relationship

Here are 7 things that you should not do in your online dating profile:

1 Old photos of you, where the person meeting you may struggle to identify you as the same person.
2 Photos that are heavily filtered
3 Be in a group shot where it is hard to identify which one is you
4 Entering the wrong age
5 Misrepresenting your qualifications, experience, or lifestyle
6 A long list of things you are not looking for in a partner is a big, negative no-no
7 A list of things you are looking for! Usually, the things you are looking for are just as much as a turn-off.

Rule 2: Give people a chance

A common theme with clients is that they have a rush to judge. And as we all know, love is not a list. Quite often, when we have been single for a while, it is easy to compile a huge list of requirements to ensure that, a bit like on a trip to our favourite restaurant, we get exactly what we want.

So, we start making lists of must-haves and deal breakers. And those deal breakers come in all shapes and sizes, such as which hobbies they can’t have, which jobs they won’t do. Before we even think of the must-haves, which are often equally long in length. Where is the space in all of this for values? For outlook and life goals? For genuine compatibility, caring and love, all things which are rarely found in a single person’s dating to-do list, even though they should be a priority.

Equally, not everyone has read our advice, so they might have horrendous pictures, and an off-putting personal bio. Don’t let that put you off! And when you do go on the date, how often do you turn someone down because you don’t like their jacket, or would prefer if someone wore higher heels or wore their hair down? And this is not about being judicious or careful in your selection. It is about putting barriers in your way that might mean you actually don’t meet someone who lives up to your expectations, the opposite of what you are hoping for and investing time in.

Focus on the things that matter most, like shared values and interests, and keep an open mind.

Rule 3: Take it slow* - *but only after you have met.

The time between connecting with someone on nargisbai for the first time and meeting up should be lightning fast. No pen-pals here. If the person you are “dating” says they can’t meet because they are traveling far away for work, but they move things quickly emotionally, despite not having met you physically, RUN. It is once you have met them that you should take things slow. Why? All the evidence shows, that by taking time to get to know each other, you are exponentially more likely to end up in a long-term relationship with that person.

By taking things slowly you are also ensuring you are aware of people who would seek to take advantage of you, financially, emotionally or physically. Don’t share personal information too quickly, besides the fact that it may prove unwise in the short run, in the longer run it is always better to leave a little… mystery. Not sharing too much personal information can help you avoid getting swept up in the excitement of a new potential relationship, before you really know the person.

Rule 4: Be safe

Online dating can be safe and enjoyable. However, you have to remember that, for now at least, you are dating a stranger.

If possible, arrange to meet in a location that is central to you both, it is good manners to do so, but also ensures you are both meeting on “neutral territory.” Pick a location with good transport links, especially later in the evening. Ensure you know where you are going, and more importantly how you will get home. Make sure a friend knows where you are going. Always meet in a public place that is accessible to both of you – never in each other’s homes and of course never in the street. It is also considered more than a little selfish to pick somewhere just because it is convenient for you.

Most importantly, if you feel uncomfortable, let a friend or the person at the bar/restaurant know. Never feel obligated to stay just because someone might make you feel guilty for wanting to leave, especially then. Trust your instincts. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and easy though it is to say, it is always better to err on the side of caution, particularly when meeting someone for the first time.

Suffer from First Date Nerves? Here is How to Handle Them!

One of the worst things about dating, which can prevent the date from even happening in the first place, is nerves. For some lucky people, the adrenalin rush of meeting a potential new partner gives them a spring in their step and a twinkle in their eye. They breeze into the room, full of smiles, and go on to have a fun, exciting first date. For the rest of us – and we are in the majority here – the nerves on a first date can overpower us, preventing us from being ourselves and making us behave strangely: introverts can try too hard to be amusing and may blurt out odd things in an attempt to impress as they try to avoid being thought of as boring. Extroverts can end up interrogating their date, unaware that they are doing so, as they desperately attempt to ascertain whether the person they’ve met could be someone they can spend the rest of their lives with. Often men, in their well-meaning attempt to behave confidently and in-control, can end up coming across as arrogant and aloof. Sometimes confidently attractive women can play down their obvious appeal in the effort to be taken seriously, but end up appearing cold.

Prior to the date, people often build up the anticipation of the date so much that they needlessly stress about messing things up and losing a potential life partner. What to wear and how to speak or whether to kiss them hello, shake their hand, or smile politely, completely takes over and can become so mixed up in our minds that we panic, shake, worry and nearly cancel the date before it even happens.

There are some basic things we can all do to help ourselves:


Getting there: Make life easy for yourself by preparing for the date beforehand. Double-check the time you’re meeting, remind yourself of the location, work out how you’re getting there, how far it is from the tube/bus stop/station, and how long it will take to get there with ease. Add 5-10 minutes onto your journey so you will arrive slightly early, so you feel calm and have set a leisurely pace for the evening from the start.

Plan this a few hours before the date so you’re not flying out of the door and flustered. Obviously, no-one can help it if the tube breaks down or the traffic is heavy, so check out the route, check the traffic, the weather, and the location in advance.

Getting ready: Plan what you’re going to wear the night before your date so that if your favourite dress is in the wash or your smartest jacket needs to be dry-cleaned, you have the time to sort it out. Realising you’ve left your best-looking shirt at work while you’re in the middle of getting ready for your date is only going to add to any jitters you may be feeling.

Feel good about yourself and your outfit – ladies, you may find that getting your hair blow dried prior to the date is a wonderful way to relax and to feel instantly fantastic. For men, a little extra time spent on grooming will never be time wasted. At nargisbai we always encourage our clients to dress to impress, but stumbling about in brand new killer heels that you haven’t yet walked in isn’t advised. Wear clothes that you know you look good in and that you’ve already tried and tested on the world before now, so you’re not fiddling with a zip or worrying about your attire throughout the date.

Get a good night’s sleep the night before the date and, before you go to bed, do things that you know help you relax, so that when you wake up on the morning of your date, you are refreshed, energetic and at your best. Looking or feeling tired can also accidentally mean that you come across as disinterested, which might be the opposite of how you’re actually feeling, so make the necessary preparations to create an alert and present state of mind.

Get real: While it is true that people have known that they have met ‘the one’ on a first date, manage your expectations and thereby your nerves also. Do not set yourself up for disappointment by expecting a love-at-first-sight bolt of lightning on the first date, nor pressurise yourself that you have to be perfect because you think you will be meeting a perfect partner. Keep your mind open, and your expectations realistic, before your date, which will allow the magic to start to happen. Your own high expectations of yourself, your companion and the date itself often shut out any actual possibility of them ever being met. We encourage our clients to meet at least twice. We know from experience that love is something that grows and develops, and is usually not felt in a first meeting.

On the First Date

Be genuine: Your date is going to be as nervous as you, so here is a little secret: focus on making them feel comfortable and relaxed, and you will also become relaxed! Remember that showing interest in your companion is a key part of successful dating, so to make a good and genuine impression, put your energy into finding out a little about your date, with the goal being to just spend some time with this fellow human and seeing how things go. Ask gentle questions that show you are interested in them and listen, properly listen, to their answers.

Be well-mannered: Rather than getting distracted by thinking about whether the date is going well, continuing to employ good manners throughout the date can mask a multitude of hidden insecurities and worries. Keep your mobile phone on silent in your bag or pocket and not on the table. Do not answer any calls, texts or emails unless they really are emergencies. If you have to check your phone from time to time, do it when your date has gone to the bathroom, or when you do.

Try to enjoy it: Maybe this is the one for you, or maybe it isn’t, but try to enjoy the conversation, and the evening regardless – you never know what a first date may eventually lead to.

How to get and enjoy a first date that leads to a second date that leads to…….. a relationship….

Your only decision to make after a first date is whether you want a second date – that’s it nothing more and nothing less! Above all, keep it light! Have fun – and remember it’s only a date! Meet . Majaa . Match

The following are some tips.

1 To kick start your hunt, go for volume to get into ‘dating mode’ and create a dating ripple effect. The more practice you have the easier it gets to be relaxed and flirtatious – but don’t be a serial dater!

2 Make things happen. If you were looking for a job or a house, you’d go to experts to help you find it, whereas in affairs of the heart, we tend to sit back and wait for things to happen. Don’t. Go to singles events, use internet dating eg., but avoid the usual clichés when describing yourself.

3 The first phone call. Keep it short – long conversations beforehand use up that vital small-talk you’ll need to ice break when you meet. Don’t expect too much from your first call with each other. You might have caught them at a bad time, and people are often nervous in this call.

4 Setting up a first date. Never say ‘would you like to go on a date sometime?’ Make a specific request regarding a date at least a week ahead, and offer an alternative so there is a choice. For a first date suggest a mid-week day, not a Friday or Saturday (except lunch). Don’t go to a film, concert or even restaurant on your first date since you can’t expect to get to know anyone in silence! Choose a quiet venue Eg. 5th floor bar at Waterstone’s in Piccadilly or a quiet bar in Kensington. It is ok to choose a place with an atmosphere but too much ambient noise could potentially make the date stressful, there is nothing worse than having to ask your date to repeat themselves.

5 Keep the first date short – it will make you both look forward to the second one. We recommend meeting for 90 minutes no more on a first date. The old adage “always leave them wanting more” is never truer here. You will still be looking forward to discovering more about each other next time. With long dates you are likely to either run out of steam, leading to odd conversations and the sharing of far too much intimate information.

6 Arrange your own transport to and from the date. Take your date’s contact numbers in case of last-minute problems.

7 Get into ‘flirt’ mode by recalling a time when you felt fantastic and imagine the feeling. We are all born great flirts (babies are brilliant at it!) and when you feel flirtatious, it’s infectious. Observe the body language of good flirts and emulate them – fake it till you feel it!

8 One of the biggest saboteurs of first dates is your voice message. Breathe and smile before leaving your outgoing message – it makes you sound much warmer. Update your voicemail, or even better, switch it off. If you are running late, you might get a call so, do you have a happy, positive message on your voicemail? You really don’t want a dreary message putting your date on a strange footing.

9 Be punctual. Chaps, please remember that it is much more embarrassing for a woman to wait alone.

10 Remedy for nerves – Nervous on a date? Here’s how to zap nerves: simply own up to them. Your date probably feels nervous too and you can both laugh about it, which diffuses the tension. Vulnerability is always an attractive trait.

11 Manners matter. Old fashioned as some people think they are, charm and manners always win the day. Even in these days of equality most women prefer a man to open doors, help them on with their coat. The old custom of men walking on the outside of the pavement is still surprisingly much appreciated by some! It will show you are considerate and respectful. It is always a cardinal sin for a date to talk with their mouth full!

12 Presentation. Freshly laundered and great smelling men and ladies are very attractive! If you let yourself down in the way you present yourself, your date will be history. Women put a lot of effort into how they look, and a surprising number of men don’t. Unsightly nails and mossy teeth seem to be the culprits in men, followed by scruffy/stale clothes, especially shoes. Both men and women should pay attention to posture – alpha males and fabulous amazonian women don’t stoop. Think tall.

13 Create rapport:

  • By mirroring your date’s positive body language, also their voice tone and pacing. Watch their body language, to see how they are reacting to you. ‘Mirror’ their body language and the tone and pacing of their voice. It’s a huge compliment and creates a good rapport. Are they looking interested or bored? Is their body facing sideways or directly at you? Arms folded? Eyes engaging with yours or looking away? Positive signs: they are facing you, feet pointed towards you, smiling, sideways glances, prolonged eye contact, raised eyebrows, note any flirting gestures such as “preening”, touching hair, throat or clothing for ladies and upright posture, pulling in tummy, hair primping, adjusting tie, touching objects, crossing/uncrossing legs for men. One signal on its own is not enough – look for a cluster of body language signals.

  • Be seductive by being aware of your own body too, so relax and make good eye contact and smile – a real smile floods your face. Don’t overdo it though – it looks needy. Hold your gaze a millisecond longer. Don’t look over their shoulder. Sit tall, don’t fold your arms. Ask a friend about how your smile and gestures come across – you may be in for a shock!

  • Use their name. It’s flattering. But don’t overdo it… Say your date’s name from time to time in conversation – simple, and it can have an electric effect. Like the ringing of a bell, the sound of your name being said is one of the sweetest sounds a person can hear. Just make sure to ask in advance to ensure you are pronouncing it correctly!

  • Offer compliments but never overtly sexual or risqué. What kind of compliments? Do you like the venue they picked, the suit, dress or outfit they have on? Say so! Don’t go too over the top, but a kind, friendly, genuine compliment goes a long way to making your date feeling comfortable and warm in your presence.

  • Be curious - Seductive people (listen up, guys) are generally very curious. But they don’t interrogate. This isn’t an interview. They typically ask what their date feels or thinks – not just factual or yes/no questions. Why is their work so satisfying? What do they feel about the art exhibition or play they saw? What do they think about the actions of a particular public figure or celebrity?

  • Listen and talk - Check out whether you are taking up more or less than 50% of talking time – men please take special notice here! Do more proactive listening – repackaging and paraphrasing back to your date to get them to elaborate: ‘so you’re keen on scuba – tell me more’, ‘so you enjoy cooking – what sort of food? There is lots of evidence that men talk too much about themselves on first dates – the result: the woman feels bored and the man thinks she had a fascinating time!

  • Ensure your conversation is up to date. Do your homework: read or listen to the news, current affairs, be up to speed with what is happening globally. Why? It makes you a more interesting date, and there is nothing worse than being caught out not knowing about what is going on with world events. If you are really clueless, make it beguiling and tell your date how much you would love to hear more about their perspective on the topic.

  • Give people a chance. Don’t write dates off just because they don’t provide all the ticks on your shopping list. Most people end up marrying someone who didn’t fit our preconceptions and very often possessed less than 60% of the attributes we were seeking. First dates can be misleading because of the psychological pressures on the occasion. It’s just a date! Neither of you are intending to marry anyone – just yet. This is not about deciding if they would get on with your friends, or you would or wouldn’t like their parents. This is also not a time to assess chemistry, which is no predictor of a successful relationship. Unlike popular belief, you do not need chemistry on a first date to go on a second. Because of the expectations and tensions surrounding first dates it’s often difficult to relax and be flirtatious. If you are feeling intense or not flirting, your date is less likely to flirt and you will not find them so attractive. They might be the right person for you and it could just be the wrong time. If you are not sure, or it is a yes, then you should definitely arrange to meet again.
  • 14 To split the bill or not? OK this may be a controversial statement to make but here goes, “Men know they should pay on a first date.” Should you go Dutch? Judge the moment and do what feels right without putting her under pressure. The woman should offer to pay her share and then give in gracefully if the man tries to pay.

    15 The end of the date. You should try to second-date at least half the time. Chemistry can take a while to develop, and you should both be part of this decision. If, however, you really don’t ever want to see him / her again, be nice and be honest and make it clear you’re seeing lots of people. Don’t rush off in embarrassment or promise to phone when you know you won’t! This one requires no more explanation. It is just rude. You don’t want to meet again? – thank your date, wish them well. Don’t say “we must do this again sometime” even though it is code for I won’t see you again, there is no point keeping up someone’s hopes.

    16 After the date. Confirm you enjoyed the date. Gentlemen, ask your date to confirm they got home safely, it is both chivalrous and stylish. Both men and Women, please do send a text or whatsapp after a great date saying how much you enjoyed it. Don’t overdo it however as seeming too keen is a big turn off. If they message you following the date asking to meet again, and you 100% definitely do not wish to do so, then be polite. Thank them for a lovely evening, tell them they were a lovely date, and you know they will find the right person for them, but that you know that person is not you. Be polite and caring, no matter how the date went, they too are just looking for love.

    Getting back into “the dating game”

    It’s a matter of fact these days that many people are looking for love at different stages of their lives. This can be when they are younger and have never been married and are looking to find someone to share their life with. It can also be later in life either through bereavement, divorce or that they are now looking to find someone to share their life with, having enjoyed the single life for longer.

    At nargisbai we believe that wherever you are in your life, you deserve to find love and companionship either for the first time or again.

    If you are looking for love again or are older, it can certainly be pretty daunting taking that first step back into “the dating game.” Maybe you haven’t dated for many years or perhaps you’ve been so wrapped up in your children and circumstances that you feel you’ve lost yourself a little or you are just scared.

    Make an effort to take some “me time”, gals have a pampering day, guys take some WhatsApp out to relax and have time to think. Visualise how life would be with a great partner and if you feel ready (or even almost ready), it’s time to put your doubts aside and go for it.

    Honesty is the best policy. Our advice is always to be upfront about your circumstances, are you widowed, divorced, do you have children? Yes, it may put some people off but you come as a wonderful package now and waiting for the right time to introduce these facts isn’t fair on your potential partner.

    If they find the truth about your circumstances off-putting at the beginning, this is very unlikely to change and you’ll both end up feeling resentful of the time invested in a relationship that was never going to go anywhere.

    Timing is everything. When to introduce a potential partner to your family and situation is a tricky one and where you will have to rely on your own good judgement, as there is no right or wrong answer. Our best advice is to wait long enough, but not too long. On one hand, long enough that you think the relationship has potential for longevity, as introducing a string of short-term partners is unsettling especially for children who tend to form emotional bonds and struggle to understand if that person is suddenly no longer around. However, waiting too long is also not being honest and finding out that mum/dad haven’t been truthful (even if with their best interests at heart) about where they have been/who they’ve been with can cause friction, particularly if they are old enough to understand. Plus, you’ll want to make sure there’s a good “fit” between everyone involved and that your new partner sees you as a parent and playing that role, in addition to being a partner.

    Dealing with Emotions - So things have been going well with your new partner and you’ve decided the time is right to introduce this great man or lady that has come into your life. You are full of hope for the future and have high hopes that they will grow to love your darling children and family as you do. But wait, your children have transformed into monsters, what’s going on?

    Probably a mixture of emotions. Younger children who aren’t used to sharing their mummy or daddy could be feeling insecure about their position as the number one in your life, or even a little jealous.

    Older children may feel that their absent parent is being replaced and therefore feel resentful. All of these emotions are only natural and good communication and plenty of reassurance is the key. You may feel that you are walking a bit of a tightrope at this stage in balancing the needs of your new partner, the needs of your children and of course, what is best for you as both an adult with adult needs and a parent. But stick with it, you all have so much potential future happiness to gain and a better future starts with taking a first step into the unknown.

    Some more ways to find and keep a date:

    The more dates you go on, just for practice, the easier it gets to find compatible people and become more attractive to them. One new date a year and it’s a big deal if it doesn’t work out. A dozen new dates and you’ll have learned lots, become more relaxed and attractive, and you will find it easier to give out flirt signals. One date leads to another, directly or indirectly. It might be with a friend of the person you have dated, later on it might even be with the same person because you are feeling more confident and therefore radiate more attractiveness, it might be because you have just got to enjoy the adventure of dating and discovering new people or you’ve created a new circle of single, available friends through dating.

    So go for volume. We don’t mean that you should become a serial dater – just more adventurous. So, how do you do this?

    Use your friends - Tele market your friends and explain you want them to find you a date, not Mr or Ms 100% just 60%. Very few people utilise this obvious networking resource for finding dates. You also need to get your friends to act as discreet ambassadors for you. Tell your married friends you are looking for a relationship. You never know – they know all sorts of fascinating people other than you. Your married friends tend to have great dinner parties and are good catalysts for introducing their single friends.

    Activities – casual and organised. You may / may not meet your date but it will give you interesting things to talk about and new people to meet.

    Be happy in yourself - It’s amazing how important being happy in yourself is. Anxiety, stress, lack of social confidence or an underlying unhappiness all affect the signals you are giving out. You can’t change overnight. Associating with happy people helps a lot. Focus on things that make you happy – a song, a joke, a friendship – you can make a lot of difference to how you come across.

    Get feedback from your very closest friends - ask your friends about improvements you can make on the way you look, the way you come across. Be careful whose advice you ask. The people who know you best will often be able to make small practical suggestions. It won’t be one big thing but many small things eg smile, make eye contact, talk less about your work, talk less! etc

    Take the initiative - You could also follow up that mutual sidelong glance with a subtle approach, a conversation in the lift, on the tube, in an art gallery, in a café. Real love often develops out of banal situations.

    Hang out with positive, happy people if this is how you want to be yourself. Don’t spend your time with friends who are cynical about dating and relationships – it rubs off.

    Look at your habits and make small changes – Do you always sit in the same place, do you talk to the same people, do you follow the same routine, be aware of what you are doing and challenge yourself to talk to and smile at one different person everyday – on the train, at the shop, in khane, at the gym. Get into the habit of being an open, approachable person. Start noticing the knock-on effects of this and how it makes you feel.

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