Online dating is just like auditioning. The casting director sifts through a sea of electronically submitted photos, one strikes a chord of interest, and then—with any luck on the part of the actor—an audition is set. Just like online dating, it's rare the actor gets an audition, and even more rare that he gets the lands the gig.
I have dated and auditioned excessively. With both dating and auditioning, a decision is made the minute you walk in the room. All you can do is either confirm that decision or fight an uphill battle trying to prove otherwise which rarely results in success. The moment I meet a date, I know whether it’s going to be a good or bad experience. I’m rarely surprised. I can try to convince myself that something more is there, but I am eventually forced to see that my first impression was right.
Speed dating seems to make a lot more sense than online dating, by cutting straight to the audition room and not getting weeded out in the photo and resume process. We are instinctive creatures. We have a fight or flight instinct. We sense weakness and strength in others and our attraction (or lack thereof) is immediate. You see someone on an elevator and you smile or you don’t smile. Believe it or not, in that split second you have made a decision about that person. You don’t take your time throughout the elevator ride to decide if you like the person, if they seem friendly to you, and then consciously decide whether you should smile. You just go with it.
Image consultant Sam Christensen who works with both actors and business professionals says “an image is the public reflection of who we privately are. It’s what everybody knows about us anyway.” He feels this decision is made instantly, just like in the elevator. As part of his process, Christensen employs a technique whereby complete strangers are given a long list of adjectives to describe a person (or subject) whom they observe from a cross the room. They have no interaction with the subject. They do not hear the person speak. They merely watch the subject sit or stand, and within a few minutes they check off as many qualities as they feel apply to this person. This process is repeated by several hundred observers, in different locations on different days with the subject wearing different clothes, hairstyles, and makeup. The results (which do not by the way vary much with changes to one’s looks) are then whittled down to roughly four to six core qualities that each observer noted about the subject, and these become in a manner of speaking the person’s “essences.“
It’s important to know what you instantly convey to other people. “When somebody says I know what you see. I know what my flaws are, what my strengths are, what attracts you, what repels you, I know what amuses you, I know these things and I will share them with you. I’ll use my gifts to reach in where you are, that’s incredibly powerful,” says the former casting director who teaches people how other’s view them. Why has Christensen been teaching this process for over 20 years? Because it works—because this is what we do every day, all day long as we bump into people in the course of our daily lives. We make instant, subconsciously informed decisions about who other people are by the energy they project to us without even speaking.
Think about the relationships in your life—your friends, your co-workers, your business partners, your lovers. If you can remember your first encounter with any of these people, it is likely that you felt an instant connection. From there your relationship either stabilized or grew, but it was your first impression that drew you to them and likely still resonates with how you perceive them.
Dating services and online dating sites fall short, because they don’t take people’s “images” into consideration. They focus on the wants, likes, and interests of their clients and not the energy they project to the world. So even if a client has the same likes as another, they may not be attracted to each other’s essences. And without attraction where are you? I can tell you where you aren’t—in bed with each other on the first date, or even going on a second date.
With online dating sites, we’re restricted in trying to read a person’s essences in a person’s online photo and dating profile. If you live in Hollywood, you probably have an idea of how many actors never get a chance to audition because they have an unimpressive resume or a lousy headshot.
There is no need for dinner dates, lunch dates, or even coffee dates. Knowing if we connect with someone doesn’t take that long. We just need to bump into people and let those first impressions impact us. Take it to the streets people. Get off your computers and get out into the world and your odds of finding someone with a favorable image will increase exponentially. Going out—even to a movie alone or to dinner alone—is a whole lot more fun than sitting in front of your computer.