Christie Hartman Interview – Find Love Online

“Find The Love of Your Life Online”
Jasbina Ahluwalia interviews Dr. Christie Hartman

 

Dr. Christie Hartman is an internationally recognized dating expert, behavioral scientist and author of five dating advice books. A recovering academic and closeted nerd, Christie has refocused her overactive, analytical mind on unraveling the scientific and psychological mysteries behind dating and attraction. Catering to both men and women, she deconstructs all that is baffling about dating and makes it easily digestible to singles.

Christie is the author of Changing Your Game: A Man’s Guide to Success with Women; standing out among a sea of pickup guides and seduction tomes, Changing Your Game offers intelligent and straightforward advice to men and shows them what it takes to succeed with women while still being themselves. To follow up Changing Your Game‘s success, Christie recently released Back In The Game: Succeeding With Women After a Divorce, a dating guide for men who want to shake off their divorces and find love again.

Christie also has three books for women: Find The Love of Your Life Online, a must-have guide for every woman navigating the dense jungles of online dating, shares the secrets to avoiding the online dating mistakes most women make. She also wrote the groundbreaking Dating the Divorced Man: Sort through the Baggage to Decide if He’s Right for You and It’s Not Him, It’s YOU: The Truth You May Not Want – But Need – To Hear, both of which are available in multiple languages.

Christie has appeared on national television, including the Today Show and Fox News Live, and has made appearances on local TV shows such as News2 Denver, the Everyday show, and Daybreak. She’s a frequent guest expert on the radio, has published articles for eHarmony, JDateThe Good Men ProjectYourTangoDenver Magazine, and Cupid’s Pulse, and has been quoted in articles for CNN, U.S. News, Match.comChicago Tribune, CosmopolitanMen’s HealthWomen’s HealthJezebel, Yahoo, and Marie Claire.

A graduate of the University of Colorado (CU), Christie earned her MA in Clinical Psychology, her PhD in Behavioral Genetics, and worked as a scientist at CU for 11 years. Living in Denver with her husband, Christie enjoys hiking and camping, and has a particular fondness for science fiction and natural health.

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

(00:47):  Hello everyone and welcome to Intersections Match’s Talk Radio, a monthly holistic lifestyle show focused on the continual evolution into the best versions of our authentic selves. This is Jasbina, your host. I’m the Founder of Intersections Match, the only national matchmaking and dating coaching company focused on Indian singles in America. As a dating coach and matchmaker, I’m a big believer in keeping all avenues of meeting people open.

My matchmaking clientele does include high-profile, extremely privacy-conscious, busy clients who just cannot or will not online date. Apart from that subgroup, however, I encourage all of our clients to keep the online dating avenues open in tandem with other search efforts. We even offer online dating coaching to clients to optimize their online dating efforts.

Today’s radio show discussion will be helpful to those of you out there who have tried, are trying or are thinking of trying online dating. I’m very excited to welcome psychologist, author and dating coach, Dr. Christie Hartman, to our show today. Christie is the author of four books, the most recent of which, Find The Love of Your Life Online, we will be discussing today.

Christie has appeared on national television including the Today Show and Fox News Live, has had numerous appearances on local TV shows and has made numerous radio appearances across the US and Canada. Christie has also been quoted in articles for CNN.com, Match.com, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health and Shape. Welcome, Christie.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(2:21): Hi. Thank you so much for having me, Jasbina.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(2:25): It’s a pleasure to have you on again. What led you to write, Find The Love of Your Life Online?

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(2:32): Even before I started writing dating books, but certainly since I’ve begun writing them, I’ve talked with so many people who dated online. Most of the time, when they talk about it, they’re frustrated. They say, “It’s not what I thought it was going to be,” or “I met the craziest guy,” or “I met the weirdest woman.” They find it incredibly frustrating.

I thought to myself, “We need a good manual on how to do this right.” I’ve also done a lot of searching. I’ve looked at a lot of profiles online myself. I do this in my spare time. I’ll get onto Match and look at people’s profiles. I think, “This could use improvement. That could use improvement.” I see regular mistakes that people are making that are hindering them from getting the results they want. I wanted to put that into a book to help people out.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(3:30): That’s wonderful. I think your book is really insightful. It points to what you term “the online trap.” It’s the challenging and difficult aspects of online dating. I’d love for you to share with our audience what you mean by “the online trap.”

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(3:51): I’m glad that you asked that. That is one of the fundamental themes in the book. The online trap is the tendency people have to be pickier online than they are when dating conventionally, or offline. They tend to be pickier. They look for their ideal rather than who they’re willing to date.

For example, a woman who is of average height, perhaps 5’5”, might really like tall men. She decides, “I’m going to go after tall men online. I’m going to go after men over six feet tall because I think they’re sexy.” What she doesn’t realize is that she’s probably more than willing to date men of pretty much any height, her height or above. She’s basically narrowing herself to only about 15% of men, most of whom other women are trying to date. She’s kind of shooting herself in the foot.

We do this because, online, they give you all of those options. You can choose them all. What kind of eye color do you want? What hair color do you want? What age do you want to date? It’s very tempting to write, “This is what I ideally want,” instead of writing, “What am I open to?”

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[More from Jasbina] —> [INTERVIEW] Christie Hartman Interview – Find Love Online

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

(5:16): I love that. You’re not custom ordering something from a catalog. I would love to quote directly from your book. There are some great quotes in your book that I’d like to share with our listeners. Then I’d love to have you expand a little bit on that.

Quoting directly, “Stubbornly requiring men to be a certain height or to make a certain income does not mean you have high standards. Instead, it means you have low standards. You put surface traits, which do not predict marital happiness, far ahead of substantive traits that do predict marital happiness.” I thought this was a great quote. I wanted to share it directly, unblemished with our listeners. Tell me about that.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(6:11): As a matchmaker, I’m sure you deal with this a lot. Sometimes we can get very attached to certain ideals we have about the partner that we want to spend our lives with. We have certain fantasies. We imagine them to look a certain way, to act a certain way or to make a certain income. I don’t believe that there’s anything wrong with that. I think it’s perfectly okay to have ideals or fantasies.

In reality, often we can’t always get everything we want. We have to focus on what’s most important. Often, if you’re looking for something long term, a relationship or marriage, you want the traits that are going to make you happy down the road. The truth is, as much as a woman may love tall men or get excited about alpha males, those traits do not have any correlation to being happy over the long term.

Being online makes it so much easier to go after those things. When you’re online, it’s hard to look for, “Is great with kids,” or “Gets along well with people,” or “Has a great work ethic.” Those are harder things to see in people. You have to get to know people before you know that they have those traits. Online, it’s very easy to see if someone is good-looking or if they’re tall.

I tell women that so many people are so afraid of settling. When I tell them to be open-minded, they think I’m encouraging them to settle. I’m really not. Settling is being with someone who doesn’t do it for you. It’s being with someone who is clearly not right for you. Being open-minded to a variety of people isn’t settling at all. It’s just letting go of your ideals and being open-minded to other possibilities.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(8:03): I think that’s great. It’s being selective about the right things. The right thing can be different for different people. There is no “one right thing.” You need to be very deliberate about what the right things are. I agree with that.

Your book makes a number of recommendations. I know that this topic comes up a lot for people, especially because of the algorithms and the nature of online dating. People have cut-offs. Your book makes a good number of recommendations on the topic of age range. I’d love if you would share one of those recommendations with our listeners with respect to age range. We have male and female audience members. Pick a gender and pick one of the recommendations that you make.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(9:00): When it comes to age range, both men and women tend to make it narrower than it needs to be. Online, men in particular tend to only seek out women who are younger than they are. This is an oddity because most men are willing to date someone older. I tell men, “Broaden your age range to search for women who are a few years older than you as well as younger than you. This will greatly increase the odds of finding someone who is right for you.”

It’s the same with women. Women tend to have narrower age ranges. Some of them want younger. Some of them want older. Some of them want right around their age. I tell women, “Greatly expand your age range to what you can conceive of dating. A man who is 10 years older or younger may not be your ideal but there are exceptions to the rule. Be open-minded. Make your age range as broad as possible while still being realistic about who is right for you to date.”

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(10:11): That’s excellent. Don’t get too focused on the number itself. Bring in more people to be able to understand if they could be someone you’d be interested in. Your book categorizes criteria to be strict, cautious and relaxed about. You have these three buckets. I think you do it in a very helpful way. Let’s take those three buckets, strict about, cautious about and relaxed about. Please name one thing you encourage them to be strict about, one thing you encourage them to be cautious about and one thing to be more relaxed about so that our listeners get a flavor of your guidelines.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(11:06): There is not a lot of criteria to be strict about up front. Down the road, maybe yes. Up front, I think people should be very strict about whether or not the person they’re dating wants to have children. Sometimes it’s very easy to ignore that online. If you are looking for marriage and children, you don’t want to date someone who isn’t looking for that. That’s something that people overlook often. Sometimes they won’t say it.

Most of the time online, people will say, “Yes, I definitely want kids,” or more kids if they already have some. They might say, “I’m not so sure,” or “Definitely not.” If you want kids, you want to date someone who says, “Someday I want them,” or “Yes, I definitely want them. Then you skip all the others. Likewise, if you do not want kids, you don’t want to date people who do. That’s just never going to work.

As far as criteria to be flexible about, there are things like politics or how much a person works out. If you are really staunchly conservative, you’re probably not going to get along well with someone who is very liberal. If you’re middle-of-the-road, I wouldn’t put too much stock in that. Sometimes you might find that you agree on certain issues once you get to know each other.

There is how much someone works out. Someone could say that they work out five times a week. One person might be out there riding 100 miles. The other person might just be walking their dog. Maybe that’s going to work and maybe it’s not. I tell people to be flexible.

Finally, there are a couple of things to not worry about. These are things like hair and eye color. Your ideal might be dark hair and dark eyes. The truth is that there is always an exception to that rule. Definitely ignore any of those physical criteria. You just never know what the right person is going to look like.

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Jasbina Ahluwalia

(13:17): Okay. Your book discusses numerous do’s and don’ts of posting pictures online. I would love for you to share one of those with our listeners. You can share one do and one don’t in terms of your recommendations on pictures.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(13:45): A picture is important mostly because it’s the very first thing someone sees. It’s also the gateway to get them to read your profile. They’re probably not going to read your profile if they don’t find your picture at least somewhat interesting because they’re looking at thousands of other pictures. I tell people to get a quality photo. It has to be quality and it has to be recent. It has to be within the last year or so.

Any time before that, we change, even subtly over the years. It should be quality. No red eye. No crappy lighting. You want it to be a decent photo. I’m not a believer in professional photos, like the one of the front of my website. That does look like me but it’s a professional me. It doesn’t look like I look every day. You never want to disappoint someone by using a too beautiful photo. You want to make it look good but realistic.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(14:47): That’s interesting. I actually do recommend that our clients get professional pictures. I think we would agree on this part. I think the fundamental thing is that you want to look as you would look when you meet the person. It’s not like you go get a professional picture and you look entirely different from what you will present when you meet the person. That is not well serving.

It all depends on how you do it. At the end of the day, I agree that you want to post something that no one will be surprised when they meet you. That is the ultimate goal. You want it to be high quality. I think that sometimes we forget that any time someone is online, they are likely to be sent additional people from the online site. You are being compared to so many others. Have yours stand out for being an authentic, quality picture. It can go a long way.

Your book has a great number of useful tips regarding profiles. People do read them. They are important. Will you share one of your tips with our listeners about the profiles?

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(16:11): Probably my best tip for a good profile is to avoid being generic. I read these profiles. So many of them say things like, “I love to travel. I love going out and having a great meal. I love spending time with friends and family.” There is nothing wrong with those but they really don’t tell anyone about you as a human being. A lot of people like those things.

I tell people, “Tell us where specifically you’ve traveled.” Give us cities and countries. Where would you like to travel? Where is the number one place on your list that you’d like to travel to next? What foods specifically do you like? What do you cook at home? What meals are you really good at? What’s your absolute favorite ice cream flavor? What specific books have you read? What are your favorite all-time movies?

That helps people get a picture of what you’re like. It also gives them something to talk to you about. When a man emails a woman, he can say, “You love Argo also. That’s my favorite movie this year. It was great. Ben Affleck is a great director.” It’s a great way to start a conversation. Definitely be as specific and interesting as possible.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(17:25): Like you said, it makes it easier for someone to engage you and keep a conversation going. What do you think of women initiating contact with men online? What are your thoughts on that?

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(17:38): I am all for it. I don’t know why women don’t do that more. The truth is that when a woman gets online, men will email her. What if those men aren’t her type? What if she’s not finding what she’s looking for? Sometimes it’s nice to be able to search for yourself and find a few men that you have things in common with who fit your criteria and you fit theirs.

Why not shoot them an email and say, “Hey, I liked your profile. Let me know if you’d like to chat?” There is nothing wrong with that. In this day and age, I think it’s a perfectly legitimate thing to do. If you’re old-fashioned and you don’t like to make the first move, it’s okay. He can still do the asking out. When you’re online, you’re not going out yet. You’re seeing if there is even a reason to meet this person. You’re starting a conversation.

There’s nothing wrong with a woman starting a conversation. I know a lot of women who have done this and they’ve had great success with it. You can just pick a few men and email them. Men love to get emails from women. They get online and are tired of emailing women and not getting responses. They think, “Oh, someone emailed me. Sweet. Let’s see what this woman is all about.”

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(18:57): I agree with you. It’s a much more empowered way of going about this. Your book has a whole chapter on analyzing a man’s profile. You have a whole chapter devoted to that. Please share one of your points for our listeners in how one goes about analyzing a man’s profile.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(19:22): You can’t tell that much about a person from a profile but you can at least get a little bit of a picture. Sometimes you can find out if there are certain red flags that you should avoid. I tell people to forgive if the other person’s profile is a little generic or boring. Look for anything that is negative.

Someone may write negative things like, “Don’t email me if you’re a drama queen,” or “Don’t email me if you’re a jerk,” or “I don’t want any drama,” or “I don’t like winks, only emails.” If they get really demanding or if they’re negative, run away. You can also tell a lot about a man by what he talks about in his profile.

If he mentions 10 different interests but talks mostly about his dogs, you know he’s a dog lover. A guy might own dogs but never mention them in his profile. Maybe he has dogs but his life doesn’t revolve around them. You can tell a lot about a person by what they do talk about and what they choose to elaborate on in their profiles.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(20:37): Your book contains a whole chapter discussing emailing. First, you’re reaching out or responding. Then you’re emailing. There is a whole chapter discussing emailing while you’re dating online. It would be great if you could share one of your guidelines for our listeners in terms of the most effective way to go about emailing online before meeting.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(21:05): Emailing can be kind of nerve-wracking. If you’re a guy, emailing lots of women and not getting a response can be very frustrating. I tell people to streamline the process. Keep your emails simple and short but specific. If you’re interested in someone, you can say, “Hi. I noticed in your profile that you mentioned you love the movie Tommy Boy.”

Tommy Boy is a really silly comedy with Chris Farley and David Spade. You can say, “I absolutely love silly comedies. Also, let me know if you’d like to chat. Sincerely…” You can add your name or your handle. That’s it. It doesn’t have to be long. It doesn’t have to be complicated but it should be polite. It should be personalized.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(21:56): I think that’s great. I don’t know what you think about this. I also suggest that our clients ask a question in that email. It’s about what you said before in terms of engaging conversation. The whole point is to make it easy for the other person to come back and say something to you. You want to keep it concise. Consider asking a question and inviting a response to continue that conversation.

Here is a quote from your book that I wanted to share with our listeners. “Many women miss out on potential Mr. Rights by expecting chemistry to develop on the meet-and-greet.” I think that’s a very insightful comment. Can you expand on that a little bit?

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(22:51): I’m really glad you brought that up. That’s a huge issue in online dating for women. It’s not as much for men. Often, they feel at least a little bit of chemistry just by seeing a woman’s picture. Sometimes that’s all it takes for a man. Sometimes women may like a picture but they may not feel chemistry yet until they get to know a guy a little bit. She can go on a meet-and-greet and think, “I don’t feel chemistry,” and then give up on him. I think that’s a shame. If she likes him and he’s a cool guy, if she gives it another date or two, then she’ll know for sure if she feels chemistry or not. It takes longer. You can’t look at someone’s online profile, meet them briefly for coffee and expect chemistry to develop that quickly.

It often takes a lot longer. I know that it does for me. It does for a lot of other women. A lot of women who are happily married say, “I liked him when I first met him but I really wasn’t attracted right away. I was after I got to know him a little bit.” I tell women, “Give it a couple of dates before you nix him. Don’t expect chemistry right away.”

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(24:02): Absolutely. Sometimes it’s black or white with people. It’s yes or no. Certainly, if they are someone that you are completely un-attracted to, that’s okay. Somewhere between that and head-over-heels bowled over, there is a middle ground there.

It sounds like you’re saying, if it’s in the middle ground, give it a little time and interaction. It will increase, decrease or stay the same. Why miss out on the chance of it increasing? Give it a little time. I think that’s very wise.

I really appreciate you sharing your insights with us, Christie. They’ve been very interesting. I find them very insightful. Is there any last thought or take-home message that you’d like to leave our listeners with?

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(25:00): Yes. If you’re online dating, give yourself a break. It can be challenging. It can be difficult. It can be foreign if you’re not used to it. You have to change your expectations and realize that online dating is a whole different ballgame. Go in with an adventurous attitude. Don’t worry if you meet a bunch of wrong people. It’s all part of the experience. Be open-minded. You never know who you’re going to meet.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(25:31): I love that. Thank you so much, Christie. It’s been a pleasure having you on.

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(25:36): Thank you so much for having me. It’s been great.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(25:40): In case you joined us late or would like to share this show with people in your life, I’d like to remind you that today’s show will be archived and available as a podcast on Intersections Match’s website, which is www.IntersectionsMatch.com.

Christie, is there a website if people would like to learn more about your book or check out more about you? Can you share a website with our listeners?

 

Dr. Christie Hartman

(26:08): I am at ChristieHartman.com. I do have a blog filled with free advice. Come join us. Tell us your experiences or ask a question. Maybe we’ll answer it for you. That’s where you can find me.

 

Jasbina Ahluwalia

(26:24): Thank you, Christie. I appreciate you hanging out with us. Make sure to join us for next month’s show. Take care, everyone.

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What do you think?

What are some of your experiences meeting folks online? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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