You should also think about what you're looking for:
- Friendship and whatever else
- A mate
- A date
- A discreet nooner
- A prom escort
These lists are only the beginning of sorting through who you are and what you want, and writing a personal ad is a cool shortcut. In writing your practice ad, allow yourself to be honest and creative (not with the facts, with your thoughts) and specific, as well as flexible. This exercise should be fun and really helpful.
The major distinction between a real personal ad and this exercise is that real ads are limited in number of words and just focus on the tip of the iceberg. Without these restrictions, you can look well below the water level.
Know what you want
One of the quickest ways to make sure that what you're advertising for and what you want are the same is to dummy up a personal ad. A personal ad can tell you very quickly if what you want and how you're advertising are out of whack. If you're looking for someone with whom to settle down, for example, then looks should be less important to you than stability, sincerity, and fertility. If you love to travel, you shouldn't be trolling for a homebody. Look at what you said you wanted in your mate (your fantasy) and what you said about yourself (your reality). What you're looking for is compatible or complementary traits. If in the About Me section, for example, you listed that you want stability and commitment but you listed adventurous risk-taker in the About Him/Her section of the ad, you have some work to do in order to get these two lists compatible.
In determining if the lists are compatible, look for overlap in words or ideas. If you see "fun-loving" in your list, you probably want to see "fun-loving" — or a concept like it — in the fantasy date's list, too; be careful if your fantasy date's list includes "down to earth and serious." You may be saying to yourself, "Hey look, I'm only talking about a date." But going off in a direction that makes no sense — why date someone of another faith if you would never allow yourself to fall in love with that person or marry out of the faith? Why date someone who smokes if you hate smoking? — unless you simply want a diversion, which is expensive in terms of time and energy and emotion. Of course, if you want to do that, it's fine. Just make sure that you make your intentions clear up front to all parties concerned, including yourself.
Excerpted from Dating For Dummies™, published by Wiley Publishing Inc.
For more information on "Dating For Dummies®", or other books, visit Dummies.com.