Imagine trying to date again after a failed relationship, and having no idea who you are any more. No idea what your “brand” is. Dating is just like seeking a new job, or starting a new business. Your brand will have an impact on the partners and tribe you attract.
In the beginning you started a relationship, and within that there was compromise, and sacrifice. Your hobbies and interests may have changed slightly, or you may have had less time for some of the activities you used to enjoy.
Who you are, started to change.
It is a common joke that many people drift away from their friends as they lose themselves in the passion and excitement of a new love. Time passes and you may get engaged, married, and have children. Before you know it you are no longer the young, gig going, life of the party, optimistic, dreamer.
People’s perception of you changed.
You became a couple. Or perhaps a parent. You lost your identity, put others needs before your own, self care stopped being a priority, and a decade passed.
Suddenly you are single again. The things that made you interesting, the attributes that made you attractive, are no longer what they were.
So just who are you?
Manage Your Reputation
Branding is a mix of your identity and your perception. Your reputation will also feed in to that perception of you. Were you unfaithful, cruel, with a tendency to go on social media rants about how awful your ex is?
You might want to reel that behaviour in and start some damage control.
Word of mouth is incredibly powerful, and people talk. A low-key 360 degree survey might help. You can start by asking your friends how they think you acted and what your reputation during the course of that relationship, and the end of it, was.
If you are feeling brave, you could also ask mutual friends, and even your exes friends. What about co-workers or even your manager? Do they perceive you as a good dating prospect?
The worst part of dating apps is how people become products, but that’s the way it is, so think about the Amazon reviews you would get if that was the reality.
Just like with Amazon, you might need to do some customer service. Do you need to apologise to anyone? Maybe a card to your ex thanking them, and regretting that things didn’t work out.
Whether you realise it or not, during the course of that relationship you were building a reputation. A reputation that directly influences people’s perception of you.
Breathe, and think about who you were being. No matter how badly you or your ex acted, that relationship is over. You need to be the you that is ready for the future.
Define Your Identity
This is the start of a new adventure. It is exciting, and like any new heroic quest you need to define your origin story.
In the age of social media you cannot hide where you came from, so own it. How did you get to where you are? Why did your relationship end? What did you learn? You won’t have much space in the dating app to fully explore it, but a simple “divorced amicably last year, with two teenage boys that live with their mum”, is a great starting point.
This can lead in to what you value and what you are looking for in another person. “I value honesty and appreciating the small things in life, and seek someone that is carefree and curious”. You could talk about religion, being vegetarian, political affiliations, and more.
A problem people make is trying to attract EVERYONE. Stop this. It is better to be alone that have the wrong partner, so don’t waste time with people that eat meat or smoke, if that’s a deal breaker for you. A key one is how you feel about children. Do you want them, or want more? These are questions you need to know the answer to.
Manage Your Perception
On the dating app this is how you are going to communicate your identity. How are you going to get your brand personality across? What kind of energy or emotion do you want people to pick up on when looking at your profile?
Going back to that reputation survey, you could ask some close friends to give you three words that describe you. Do they fit? You can then choose photos that support this. Are you “active, funny, optimistic”, or “warm, kind, trustworthy”?
You could even use pop culture short cuts. Are you a Hufflepuff or a Slytherin?
This should not just be on the dating app though. This impacts all of your social media accounts and your google search results. What kind of content have you posted on Facebook or Linkedin? Just like you had a clear out of your actual home, you need to redecorate your digital hangouts too.
Are they a true reflection of who you are now?
For bonus points you could even identify a brand enemy. What do you stand for or against? It is easy to get scared again because this will drive some potential dates away. This is a good thing. If you are anti fox hunting, and you have not expressed that anywhere, don’t be surprised if a fox hunter asks you out.
You are a unique and interesting person, but you need to do the work to clarify who that person is, and be honest in communicating that online. Many people lie about at least one thing on their profile, so the more you can do to build trust, the greater the success you will have.
Relationships end, businesses close down, people are made redundant. In the modern world it can seem that we are having to “start over” more frequently then every before.
This can be in our personal life, or our professional life, and social media is often causing those lines to blur. So think about who you are being, who you want to be, and how you are being perceived, and then go and get that job, start that business, or woo that new partner.