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Dating Scams with Kezia Noble

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With more and more dating moving online, how do we separate real honest people from those who are misrepresenting themselves and the outright scammers? Our guest today is Kezia Noble. Kezia is a leading female dating and attraction expert for men and author of the bestselling book The Noble Art of Seducing Women. 

Kezia’s company helps clients learn conversation skills and ways to overcome anxiety in dating situations. Starting in 2009, she has since become a YouTube sensation. She and her team have helped over 100,000 men to overcome a multitude of sticking points and limiting beliefs, and open their eyes to the skills, techniques, insights, and secrets needed to be successful in dating. She joins us today to talk about red flags on dating apps and how you can protect yourself from potential scammers.

Show Notes:

  • [0:31] – Kezia is a Dating and Attraction Expert for men. She’s been in this field for a decade and runs worldwide workshops.
  • [1:10] – Kezia helps guys with their anxiety and builds confidence in being themselves when dating.
  • [2:30] – Chris and Kezia discuss the impact Coronavirus has had on dating. Kezia is in the UK and there are fewer restrictions there now so people are back on the dating scene.
  • [4:05] – Kezia shares the differences in men and women as targets on dating apps. It is easier to target men on dating apps than women.
  • [4:30] – If a man suddenly receives many messages from a woman who is outrageously beautiful, it could be a red flag.
  • [5:10] – Kezia doesn’t use online dating because of the ease people have in lying online.
  • [6:11] – Pay attention to the messages. Are they offering you everything you want to hear? Are they avoiding an in-person meeting?
  • [7:00] – Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by excessive attention and affection. This happens a lot with online dating.
  • [8:01] – When creating your profiles, you should be cautious when posting that you are looking for a serious relationship because it makes you appear vulnerable and more of a target for scammers.
  • [9:42] – Kezia creates a scenario of what she would do if she were a scammer and how some scammers can be very clever.
  • [11:28] – Chris shares a story about a previous guest who is a man in his 60’s who has seen his photo being used as a dating app scam.
  • [12:50] – If you have any inkling that someone you are messaging on a dating app is a scammer, Kezia recommends dropping a hint that you don’t have money and see what their reaction is.
  • [15:22] – Another trick is to reverse look-up a photo from a dating app. Download the person’s photo and search for it. If it shows up a lot as a stock photograph or shows up with a lot of different names, it is a red flag.
  • [16:09] – There have been situations of celebrities using dating apps and people don’t believe that they are actually who they say they are.
  • [17:27] – You should always be careful because people exaggerate online easily. This is also apparent on Instagram photos.
  • [19:06] – Even if you sit there and think that you won’t be scammed, if you are in a desperate situation, you’ll convince yourself to believe something.
  • [20:18] – The biggest red flag is when someone will never meet up in person with you.
  • [22:17] – One simple rule to live by is to never lend money to anyone you have never met.
  • [25:09] – Kezia is the type of person who is very vigilant and looks for signs of danger everywhere. This is mostly due to Kezia’s job to notice behaviors.
  • [26:17] – In Kezia’s experience, there are awful and dangerous people on dating apps, but they are in the minority. Kezia says that most people on dating apps are perfectly lovely people who are there for the right reasons.
  • [27:56] – Kezia personally does not use dating apps because she feels it is a time-waster. She shares how friends of hers are exhausted from dating and that’s not how it should be.
  • [30:01] – Chris and Kezia discuss how curated social media is, specifically Instagram. Kezia doesn’t want to waste the time posing and setting up photos that aren’t authentic.
  • [31:38] – Social media ten years ago was a fun platform to share photos, but now social media has changed into a curated and exaggerated pretense.
  • [33:10] – Kezia believes social media is toxic because people are constantly fighting to appear perfect.
  • [34:12] – Social media is highly linked to dating. It sets up these unrealistic expectations.
  • [35:03] – Kezia believes that people are even staying in unhappy marriages for social media purposes. Their online life is too important to them.
  • [38:04] – The biggest red flag is if the potential scammer avoids meeting you in person. People question this by thinking, “What if they really are too busy?” Kezia argues that if that is the reality, then your relationship with this person is also too busy to have a real relationship with you.
  • [39:54] – Kezia’s business helps clients learn conversation skills and learn how to look for the right person. Commonalities breed friendships but connections breed attraction.

Thanks for joining us on Easy Prey. Be sure to subscribe to our podcast on iTunes and leave a nice review. 

Transcript:

Can you tell our audience a little about who you are and what you do?

Sure. I basically teach guys how to increase their success rate with women. I’m a dating and attraction expert for men. I don’t help women, because, for me, that would be the blind leading the blind. However, I do feel that in a roundabout way, I do help women as a result of helping guys.

What do you do when you run out of things to talk about on a date?

I’ve been doing this for over a decade. I run workshops across the world, not currently now because of travel restrictions, but we do still hold courses in London and we have online training programs to help guys.

I help guys with their approach anxiety, confidence issues, any limiting beliefs that they have when it comes to dating and meeting women. I help them in their conversation skills to help them highlight their best self—their best authentic self. A lot of people find that during a conversation they stumble, they run out of things to say, and they can’t express themselves authentically as well. We have conversation skills, seduction techniques, body language, sexual escalation, and what we call follow-up games. That means once you’ve got a telephone number if you want to transition into a relationship, me and my team help guys with that also.

That’s great. I know there’s lots of us guys who need help. I’m fortunate that I have found an amazing wife and we’re very, very happy about that.

One of the lucky ones.

Yes. For 16 years, so far. It is a lot of fun.

Congratulations.

Thank you. You talk about travel restrictions. We’re obviously here in the—I would hesitate to say—the middle of coronavirus. I would hate for it to go on for another six or eight more months. We’re in the midst of coronavirus here, and I imagine that has significantly changed dating.

Yes. England’s slightly different. We don’t really have a lockdown anymore. People are basically going out, meeting each other. Bars are open. Nightclubs aren’t, but bars are open and parks. It’s been great weather.

During the severe part of the lockdown, which was here between March and May, I believe that those dating apps really tighten their grip around people. I think now, I’ve definitely seen a sort of mass exodus from those dating apps because people need human interactions now, I think, more than ever.

Definitely. To me, I much prefer in-person communication with people sitting down across the table. Being able to see them in person is so much more real and authentic than a camera, or a phone, or a text message.

Absolutely.

For a lot of people, online dating really is a reality for them. Whether they think it’s a shortcut or whether it’s just what’s common in their area. What I found with my other website is that I’ve run across a lot of people who have been victims of online dating scams, where it turns out that this person is totally made-up and was just using them to get money.

Yeah, I have heard of this.

I wonder, from your expertise, can we walk through the different types of people that you might find on an online dating profile? How to separate the real people from the people that are misrepresenting themselves to the outright scammers?

Well, it depends who is targeting who. If it’s a man being targeted or a woman being targeted, it’s slightly different. It’s much easier to target a man, you just have to have an incredibly beautiful picture.

I’m not saying men are one-dimensional or anything like that. I mean, if it is a guy and he’s suddenly getting messages from a woman who is physically extremely beautiful, it should be treated with caution.

I know beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I think we can all kind of recognize when somebody is universally very good-looking and they’ve got a look that’s going to really appeal to most people. I think that if it’s too good to be true, then it’s probably not true.

I don’t do online dating, not for that reason. Basically, I think everybody is lying to a certain extent on online dating. I think that it just gives the green light for us to just create an illusion of who we are. We put a few things online that represent who we really are. I mean, our photographs, don’t look like us anymore.

If you look at bios, full of colorful, funny little soundbites and you think, “Oh, I’m going to meet this really witty, interesting person who looks stunning.” Then, everyone just meets up. The first thing they feel is a complete letdown. Pretty hard to take it to a more positive note after that.

Going back to what you’re saying, that’s the first red flag. It’s do I usually get such stunningly beautiful people messaging me? If you’re that guy that gets that all the time, that’s different. If you don’t, that’s the first red flag.

What kind of messages are they? They just can’t give you everything that you want. They’re going to tell you everything that you want and never be able to meet you in person. Somehow, it just doesn’t happen. They’re giving you everything that you want to hear.

That’s one of the common themes that I hear from people. Within the first one or two interactions, whether it’s a man meeting a woman or a woman meeting a man, it’s, “I love you. You’re amazing. I’ve been waiting my entire life for you.”

To me, I think, “How did you get that out of six text messages? How could you possibly have built a relationship that deep and so intimate in a couple of emails?”

What they’re doing is something we teach called love bombing. It’s called when you love bomb someone. I know it’s changed but people are online dating for a reason, you just have to look at some of their bios. There’s someone saying, “Oh, I’m just looking for quick hookups.” That’s probably not your target. If it’s someone saying, “Look, I’m looking for a relationship,” that’s going to be the vulnerable person. I think when you’re in that state of saying, “I’m looking for a relationship,” you all are quite vulnerable. You’ll start to want to believe things that people tell you. I think we’ve all been there at some point—we’ve been in that place.

I’m ready for a relationship, and we meet people and you can feel you’re quite vulnerable. You’re placing all your chips on this. I would be careful about saying, “I’m looking for a meaningful relationship,” or something like that on online dating apps. That, for them, is, “That person’s vulnerable. That person probably hasn’t been in a relationship for a bit. Or if they have, they’ve just come out of a really bad relationship.”

When you acknowledge you are interested in a relationship, you are being vulnerable.

What do we all want to hear when we’re feeling down? We want someone to tell us that we’re amazing. That’s what they’re doing. These cases that you’ve given an example of is that they’re love-bombing the person and they’re overwhelming them with just a beautiful feeling. Like getting the likes. Maybe this person’s not getting the likes on their Facebook pictures or anything. Then, suddenly this person’s going, “Wow, you’re incredible.”

Yeah. It’s people who are finding what they want to find in a relationship. If they’re looking for a long-term relationship, they’re going to see everything through that lens of, “Could this person be that long-term relationship?”

Yes, yes. You have to be careful. If you are putting out that you are looking for a relationship, you’re probably going to be a much, much higher target than someone saying, “I’m looking for hookups,” unfortunately.

Would you see the same sort of thing with age discrepancies as well? Let’s say you’re the target and you’re older. Those that are trying to scam you might be on the younger side. Do you think it would actually, in some cases, flip at least for women with an older man who maybe was more established?

It’s a hard one. I’ll tell you what, if I was a scammer, let’s say I was a scam artist, I would presume that the person I’m scamming is the super brain. I would use a picture that actually probably wasn’t so beautiful. It was kind of pretty, nothing outrageously sexy. I would be someone in my mid-30s. If it was an older man, I’ll say, “Look, I like older guys, that’s my thing.” I wouldn’t be looking like jailbait or something because it might be too obvious.

This is why you’ve got to be very careful because so many scammers are really, really clever. Let’s just be visual here. Any young, handsome man will talk to older women and pictures of young, beautiful women talking to older men. You can get someone that’s very, very, clever.

“You know what? I don’t think that they’ll fall for that so I’m going to be a little bit more their age.” From what I’ve heard, the real professional scam artists are older men with actual women who are about middle age. I think middle-aged women think, “An older man would never scam me.”

You always read in articles about, “Oh, you know. She fell in love with a handsome man on her Turkish or Greek holiday.” It sounds insane, and it’s something everyone laughs about it and goes, “Oh, yeah, one of those stories.”

I think that when they meet an older guy, they think he’s a lovely older guy. He’s such a gentleman. He would never treat me like this. That’s what I’ve heard. The really clever ones are the older guys. They’re in their 60s.

Just because he’s older and seems to be a gentleman- doesn’t mean it’s not a scam.

Yeah, I had interviewed someone, Jeffrey Hayzlett. He is a nice, distinguished-looking gentleman. He’s got silver in his hair. He’s a good-looking guy. He’s married and has grandkids. There’s a ring of scammers that have been using his photo for years and scamming women out of money. Once a week, he gets a call from someone who says, “My mom thinks you’re in love with her. I know it’s not you. I know it’s a scam. Can you call her and tell her that it’s not you?”

Oh, wow. What’s his name? I have to Google him.

Jeffrey Hayzlett.

Jeffrey Hayzlett. I’m doing that right now on this interview. Jeffrey Hayzlett. I’m going to have a look at him. Hayzlett, I found him. Oh, I see. Yes, that’s what I mean. Yes, he looks successful. Confident. Yeah, he’s not overly done like James Bond or something.

Correct. It’s not overdone. It’s not over-dramatized. He’s a good-looking older gentleman.

Then, the best way to protect yourself from what you are looking for is to maybe keep it to yourself. It’s a very difficult one.

Yeah. You want to express what you’re looking for but you don’t want that information used to take advantage of you.

Let’s think about things that you can do to prevent that from happening. What I would personally drop-in, if I did online dating, about the fourth or fifth message, if I had any sort of inkling that this could be a scam, or I just wanted to make sure anyhow, even if there was no signs, I would just say something like, “I’m sorry, I’ve had a bit of a bad day. I’ve got so many bills right now coming out my ears and I’m overdrawn. Maybe we’ll talk tomorrow.” Just like something casual like that. Like, “I’ve got so many bills, and I can’t pay them right now. Let me call you tomorrow when I’m a bit more chilled out.”

I think that would be a great way to filter out anyone that’s looking for money.

Yeah, because they’re like okay, this person doesn’t have it. I’m going to move on.

You’ll see their reaction after. Do they carry on talking to you? Probably not a scam artist. That could be a way. The thing is, you’re kind of thinking, “I don’t want to say that to someone in case they’re not. Then, I’ve just said that.” You’ve got to find a way where it’s kind of cute.

You can maybe say something like, “I have been without my car for a couple of days because I haven’t been paid this week yet and I have to pay the garage to get it back out.” I don’t know, something like that. Something just so flippant, a throwaway comment. It’s just one of those things that you just talk about—“I’ve got to go walk the dog now.” Something like that.

Make it more of a frustration point as opposed to a life situation like, “Gosh, don’t you just hate it when the mechanic quotes you $400 and it turns out to be $800? This is just going to blow my budget.”

Put the smiley emoji laughing thing with the tears. The person says, “This person might be broke, but look how happy they are.”

You’d hope a real person would empathize and be like, “Gosh, I’ve been there.” Then, the scammer is going to go, “Gee, they’re tight on their finances. Let me move on to someone else.”

Exactly. I think that’s good prevention, a good way of preventing it.

When it comes to the photos, watch out for those really, really good photos.

I say that. Yeah. Like I said, some of them can be very clever now. That’s the thing.

Well, there’s one alternative with the photos. You can always grab a photo, save it to your desktop, and then do a Google search on the photo.

Yes. It’s a special thing you got on Google. It’s called Google Flip or something like that.

Yeah, something like that. I forget the name of it.

You just upload the picture and it will show how many times it’s come up on the Internet.

The funny thing is, I’m not dating, but I do that when people request to connect with me on LinkedIn. When it comes back with 16 different names with that photo, I’m like, “Okay, you’re not a real person on LinkedIn. I don’t want to give you access to my network.” The same thing applies in online dating. If that comes back to a different name or it’s a stock photograph, you’ve got a guarantee right there that it’s not a real person. 

I’ve heard of celebrities—real, legitimate celebrities—who have used dating apps. Anyone that they try to connect with on the dating app just immediately assumes it’s a joke or it’s a scam.

Yeah. That happened to Sharon Stone. I think she was removed from it.

Yes, I think that was the exact article I was reading.

That’s a good move. They said, “Sorry, but you’re using someone else’s photograph.” She said, “No, I am the real Sharon Stone.” They were like, “Haha.” She had to prove to them. It’s so funny.

Once in a while, it could really be that famous person. Majority of the time, it’s not going to be a famous person.

Sadly not.

We talked about that overly expressive, effusive, “Oh, I love you.” What are some of the contextual signs that you should be aware of in the conversations that happen?

Remember, I teach men how to attract women. This is something that I really want to help your listeners with. This is the first time I’ve answered these kinds of questions. I think I’m doing pretty well so far.

I think you are.

Thank you, thank you. Forgive me if sometimes I pause because I just really want to think about the answer. Like I said, you’ve got to be careful here because there’s a lot of lying going on online anyhow. People, they do exaggerate. Even people that don’t want your money or anything, they just want to impress you. They start exaggerating their lifestyle massively.

To give you an idea, a lot of people I know use Instagram as an extension of their dating profile. People look at their Instagram and they sort of take it from there. I know people on Instagram, who I know privately, who haven’t got a penny to their name. If you looked at their Instagram, you’d think that they were a millionaire. That’s because whatever money they have, it gets spent on one holiday to get that one shot. Or, they go on first-class trips. It’s just such a waste of money.

They rented the Maserati just for the photoshoot?

Yeah. They kept the ticket on the rented car keys. Some, actually, online so-called gurus—I’m not going to mention any names—I won’t get you or myself into trouble—but very, very, well-known ones that teach you how to be a millionaire in five minutes have actually made that mistake. They said, “This is my car,” and kept the tag on.

How embarrassing.

Yeah. You know something that’s interesting—even though there’s been endless videos and blogs pointing out this one point—just go look at his evidence. People don’t want to believe it. That’s what you’ve got to be careful with. Even if you sit there and think, “You know, intellectually, yes, I wouldn’t be scammed by this person.” If you are in a desperate situation, you’ll believe it. Whether you’re looking for love or you’re looking to get rich because you’ve got bills to pay, you will believe it. You will try and convince yourself to ignore all those red flags. You’ve got to be quite vigilant here.

Look at where the conversation is going. I think a lot of times these scams, what they do is they talk about how successful they are and how much money they have but it’s money they can’t get access to. It’s money and property. It’s asset money, they’re cash-poor. Their cash flow’s bad but it’s fine. They’ve got assets.

Maybe you look at that picture and go, “He’s got that lovely speedboat. He’s got a lovely car. He’s got a lovely pool.” You kind of think, “Oh, fine. This guy’s really got his stuff together.” If it’s kind of like, “Yes, I’ve got this, I’ve got that,” and it’s not actually money. Then you start talking about cash flows, that’s quite dangerous.

I think another one is not meeting up with you. I think that’s a really big one. You should say, “Let’s meet up. I’m free this day.” “I can’t do it.” “Why are you talking to me then?”

Yeah. That’s one that I hear in these conversations with people is that they say he’s traveling out of the country, or, “Oh, gosh, something happened and his business needs him to fly out of town all of a sudden.” There are always these semi-plausible excuses of why it falls through.

Well, in the age of travel restrictions, it’s going to be pretty hard.

Another thing that you can do is maybe get them to send a photograph with your name on it.

They’re holding up your name to send you a photograph.

It’s the infamous proof-of-life. Prove to me that you’re really the person in the picture by doing something that I tell you to do, or tell you to take a picture of that only you could do.

Yeah, that’s another thing you can do. If they say, “Why?” Just say, “Look, it’s just a requirement I have. If you don’t like it, jog off.” I know it sounds harsh but if I really liked someone and they asked me to do that, I really thought that there could be something here, I think I’ll just do it. I think, “Okay, this person might have been conned at some point and someone hurt them.” I think that’s something that’s probably getting more and more common now. People are asking for evidence. Evidence of life, as you said. I would lookout for those.

I think the big one is if someone didn’t want to meet me, that would be my big one. That would really, really raise the alarm.

Yeah. To me, that’s always the red flag. You’re expressing love for me, but we’ve never met in person. There’s just a disconnect, at least for me personally. There’s this disconnect of how could you really, truly, be in love with me? We’ve never really met.

Don’t give money to someone you’ve never met.

I also think you should just have one simple rule to live by, which is never lend anyone money that you’ve never met. I’m not even extending this to don’t lend someone money that you’ve only known for a week. I’m saying if you have never met them, don’t lend them a single penny. Don’t give them any bank details. Zero. Nothing.

That is amazingly good advice. It doesn’t matter the situation, it doesn’t matter if their kid is going to the hospital. It’s like, “I feel so sorry for you, but all my money’s tied up for the next two weeks.”

Yeah. I think we’ve actually got quite a few good ones there. You can use the “I’m broke” one, you can use the “show me a photograph” one. What was the third one we just said?

That was like, “Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t have any money.” Or, “I’m not going to give you any money.” “I don’t have any money until next week.”

Don’t give them any money. That’s it.

It’s funny, I remember talking to this woman who was scammed out of a substantial amount of money. The scammers built this relationship that went on for months. It wasn’t three emails into it or three text messages into it. It was like, “Hey, I need some money.” It was six months into it that the person asked for money. It was a massive amount of money. Her entire life savings mortgaged her house, gave the money, and the scammer disappeared.

She came to me saying, “I’m pretty sure it was a scam, but I just want to make sure the person is okay.”

Oh, so she fell in love with him. That’s different, isn’t it?

I just felt so bad for her. This person who took the money could not care at all about her. Yet, she is more concerned about, “Is this person okay?” than, “How am I going to get food next week?”

My god, yeah. It’s so awful, isn’t it, when someone with a good heart is taken advantage of?

That’s why I do this podcast. That’s why I’m passionate about that because I’ve talked to so many people who’ve been through these sorts of things. I think there’s a certain amount of common sense I’d like to say, any time anyone asks you for money, just hang up the phone. I think when emotions get involved, it gets so difficult.

Yeah, I know. I have to say I am somebody who just has that kind of mind. I am very vigilant about things. I scan for danger. I’m one of those people. I’m just a scanner. I even walk down a road and I’m looking into any possible danger.

For me, it’s just common sense. That’s why I’ve got to be careful. When we kind of joke and I just don’t lend the money, it’s because maybe I am one of those people that’s super vigilant about stuff and has a trust issue. There are some people who, yeah, they’re lonely, they’re on their own. They want to love. They actually want to love. I want to be loved. I want to love someone else. You would just ignore all the red flags.

My message out there to the people is to listen to our advice. I’ve got to be careful here because I don’t want people to lose hope. I don’t want people to become jaded and go, “Oh, bitter. Like I can’t trust anyone now.”

There are awful people out there. Luckily, they’re a tiny minority, those awful people. Most people on dating apps are perfectly normal, perfectly lovely, looking for love. My point was just don’t get bitter about it. Be vigilant but not bitter.

Look, I’m vigilant, but I’m not bitter about anything because I don’t think I’d let myself get in that position in the first place. Prevention is better than the cure, as you say.

Yes. I wonder if some of these are because of your occupation. You’re just always looking at how people behave, why they do it. Not in an accusatory way, but why are they doing this that way? Was it effective? Do you think part of it is that you’re just aware of how people interact?

Yeah, massively. What I do is all about social dynamics—people’s eye contact, people’s body language. That’s what I’m teaching on a micro level with some of my clients.

I can tell when someone’s lying to me. I can tell when someone is exaggerating something to me. I can tell when someone’s getting bored of me. Even for a microsecond, if I’m losing their interest, I can tell. I’m quite good with this.

Again, that’s one-on-one when it comes to that story, that’s face to face. When it comes to online, it is a lot harder. I have a general rule of thumb, which is if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Again, it’s going to sound quite bitter to people. I consider myself quite a positive person. I’m not overly positive but I’m fairly positive. I would put myself out there.

If I liked the idea of online dating, I would do it. The only reason I don’t like it is because I think it’s a time-waster. People think it’s a shortcut to meeting people but it’s certainly not. Everybody I know that’s on those dating apps has said to me that they’re exhausted from dating. I’m like, “Hold on. Dating is amazing.”

Even when I’m in a relationship, I always say you know what I miss? Dating. I loved my boyfriend, at the time. It’s not that. It’s just that feeling of when you get excited and you’re getting ready for the date. That’s because I always had a face-to-face preview. I knew if the person was a bit off, a bit strange with facial expressions, or whatever it was. I got a general vibe. I said that’s real potential there. It’s all going to go okay based on that.

Whereas with online dating, when getting such an inaccurate representation of the person we’re talking to, every single time someone goes on a date, it’s like oh.

It’s difficult because so much of social media is so curated. Yes, it may be a legitimate photo, but did it take them 16 photos to get that one?

People misrepresent themselves online.

I remember I had a vendor who sent me this really nice gift basket of beers from around the world. My wife and I were like, “Hey, let’s be nice. Let’s take a photo, post it on social media and thank them.” We must have spent an hour trying to arrange these things, getting the camera angle right, the lighting just right. People do this on social media for themselves. I’m like, “This is exhausting,” but it’s so curated.

I know. My Instagram—everyone says to me because my YouTube videos have received like 75 million views—when they look at my Instagram, they’re like, “You’ve only got three and a half thousand followers.” I said, “It’s because I’ve chosen to not invest in my Instagram.” They’re like, “It’s going to cost you money.” I’m like, “Yeah, but time is so valuable.”

When you’re working at something like a skill or something like that, that’s different. Even reading because you’re really getting something from that. Even some films. I don’t mind putting time into that if it’s going to inspire you.

For Instagram, you’re sitting there, literally for an hour sometimes, doing a post. That? For what? For likes? No. I made a decision. I update it now and again. It’s like a picture every two or three weeks and that’s it. That’s all you’re getting, folks.

Yeah, I’m the same way. I don’t want to invest the time and effort that it takes to live a curated life.

I know. It’s amazing how many people seem to have the time to do that. That’s what I don’t get. When you look at some of their pictures, you think god, that must’ve taken a full day when you’re meant to be at work.

Well, that is their job, isn’t it?

Fine, sure. I think we are living in this very strange non-reality reality. We’re still trying to navigate it.

Social media is what? I think it’s 10 years old, but it became more insidious about five years ago. I think if you look at social media 10 years ago—remember Facebook—we used to put up a roll of our camera. We just put all these pictures up. No filter. I don’t remember using filters. I just remember sometimes not showing the pictures that were particularly bad.

I remember we used to put holiday snaps. You just upload about 30 snaps and everyone will have a good laugh. I was thinking that wasn’t insidious. That was people just going, “Oh, look at me. Isn’t this funny. I missed you, blah, blah, blah.” Suddenly, it became that one-shot holiday. I was like, “When did it become that?” Insidious, as I said.

I think that’s been only in the last five, six years. We’re still trying to navigate that—what’s real, what’s not real. Do I stack up against those fabulous, shiny, looking people?

To me, that’s the sucker punch of social media. We only see people at their best.

I know. At their absolute best.

It’s not even the real best. It’s an exaggerated best. We don’t see them on the floor eating a tub of ice cream because they had a bad date. That doesn’t happen.

No, I know. I think there are some people on social media who are trying to combat that. They’re trying to put all sorts of pictures up saying, “This is the real me.” Which still look quite good, actually, but they’re trying. Then, they immediately go back to just being perfect. I think it’s very toxic. Very, very, toxic.

I can tell you now that my life is not fabulous and shiny. I don’t think I’m one of those people that you say had a fabulous, shiny life. But you say it’s pretty good.

Basically, I’m divorced now, but when I got married, it was a real knockout wedding. I had a huge diamond ring. It was huge. I didn’t want to put up a picture of that ring—not once—because I sat there and thought, “I’ll show my friends. They were at the wedding. Here, look at my ring.” You have a right to show off an engagement ring. That’s your right. I was thinking if I put it on social media, how many people out there can’t even afford to pay the rent that week? For me, it’s offensive to do that. I think that’s offensive, so I didn’t do it.

I think if we just thought, “Hold on, there are people out there. How is that going to make them feel?”

Stop trying to impress people.

Yeah. Just take that second to think about it before you post something. We’re digressing, aren’t we?

To me, that’s the great part of these conversations, because these things are so related. I think what happens on social media really is involved in dating life, because it sets such an unrealistic expectation. Even if you’re not dating that person on social media, you’re seeing somebody else’s curated dating life where it’s, “We went skydiving, or we went to a dinner in Paris.” You’re seeing all this incredible stuff. What you don’t see is the fact that they were fighting the entire plane flight.

I know. I know this is really out there, what I’m going to say—really, really out there. I think some people are even staying in unhappy marriages for social media purposes. That’s what I think.

I’m perfectly comfortable saying that that’s the reality. I don’t think I’m stretching to say that. It’s because people, their online life has some particular value to them, and they’re trying to maintain that image. The image is more important than the reality to them.

Yeah, I do sense this. It’s really, really sad. Yeah, it’s keeping marriages together but not in the correct way.

You hope the person at some point can work through whatever it is that’s going on, that it’s not just, “This is just a sham marriage and we’re going to keep playing this game until one of us gets fed up or one of us dies.” Gosh, that’s no way to live a life.

No, I know. It’s quite frightening when you start going down that rabbit hole. It’s really quite frightening. Just so much of it is now fake. Just like some crazy stuff, like people make announcements on Instagram. It’s like big announcements about these famous people, like the royal family thing. What on earth is going on? I think Instagram is the worst one out there.

I think TikTok is really bad. It’s called TikTok because it wastes time. You waste the time. Tick-tock, tick-tock.

I always said, “Will there be something worse than Instagram that comes along?” Everyone said, “No, nothing can possibly be worse than Instagram.” Guess what? TikTok came. I was like, “Oh, my God. That’s the worst thing that we could never imagine.” I don’t know if you’ve ever seen it, but it’s hideous.

I went on holiday recently. I just saw that it’s mainly young women or teenage girls. It’s just endlessly them doing dance routines on the beach. I was like, “Oh, my God. You’re just doing that the whole time, editing it, and doing it again and again?” What’s the payoff? Likes? It’s not even money. You’re not even getting paid for it. You’re just getting likes, and likes are meaningless.

Likes are for people that you don’t know, that have no value, and that isn’t going to encourage you when you’re having a bad day.

Likes don’t pay the bills.

No. It really sounds like we keep coming back to this point of real, in-person, authentic interaction with people. If the person is avoiding that, that’s the big red flag.

If the person is avoiding?

If we’re meeting someone online and they’re trying to avoid coming to meet you, or whether it’s excuses or finances or whatever the reason, that’s the red flag.

It’s a big one. If any of your listeners are thinking, “What if he genuinely couldn’t meet up? What if he’s not a scam and he just couldn’t meet up? He’s too busy.” I’m like, “Do you want that kind of relationship? If he’s too busy to meet you now and he’s just got a busy lifestyle, then you’ve got to be prepared that that’s going to be your reality—somebody that’s not going to be there much.”

Yeah. Obviously, things do happen. Cars break down, life happens. When it’s, “Oh, gosh. I can’t be there tonight, but can we reschedule for next week?” Okay, you’re on thin ice. One more strike and you’re out. If the person shows up, then you know they’re a real person. In two weeks from then, it’s like, “This other thing just happened.” It’s like, “Okay, no.”

Yeah, give them three. Give them three strikes back. That’s generous.

Yeah, that’s reasonable. A real scammer is going to go through those real fast.

Yes, 100%. Also, it is a good way to filter out people that are there who just want to stay online. They want that online kind of relationship. I would also say, you don’t want to get involved with someone that just is never going to meet up, even if it’s not for reasons such as scamming you.

Yes. It’s hard to live a life with the person where they’re going to stay in their home and never come out.

Exactly. Exactly.

I like that. That works at both ends of the spectrum. You want to meet the person in real life. If they’re a real person and they don’t want to meet you, that’s another red flag.

Yeah, exactly, it’s a good way to look at it.

Once a person has figured out, “I like this person; they seem to like me. Let’s go meet in real life.” They do meet in real life. How can you and your services help them?

How can we help them? We teach people, as I said at the beginning, how to have really good conversations with somebody, how to have interesting conversations. A lot of people will say to me that the big, big issue is the dead ends in the conversation.

Another one is a lot of people make the mistake of looking for commonalities. I always say commonalities breed friendships but connections breed attraction. Rather than getting caught up thinking, “Does she like the same sport as I do? Does she like to go on holiday? Does she like this kind of food?” Don’t worry about that. You’re not going to fall in love with someone because you both love football or you both love dogs. It’s a nice thing but it’s not the attraction trigger.

I show people how to connect. You can talk about something you have nothing in common about but you can find out what is the motive behind that, what’s the feeling. Just get into the person’s head a little bit more. Asking questions and giving responses—that’s very important. That is going to encourage investments.

I’ll just give one example here. A lot of the time the person will say, “Where are you from?” You’ll say, “I’m from London.” They go, “I’ve never been to London. What’s it like?”

Most people just give a really generic answer, you know: “It’s a big city. It’s quite busy. We’ve got many shops, we’ve got nice parks.” And it’s generic.

If you just said—this is a line, actually. I’m going to give a line, but it’s not a line that tells a lie. You just say, “It’s the best place to live and it’s the worst place to live.” Or, “It can be the best or the worst place to live.” You can say that about any city. You’re not lying. Every city in the world has the best thing about it and the worst thing that you hate. Just that simple line is enough for the person to say, “Tell me more.” Because it’s kind of like conversational clickbait.

It’s almost “Oh, so what do you not like about London then?”

Exactly. You don’t put the other person in a coma.

I’m very big on soundbites and little turns of phrases that break the monotony. It just breaks the autopilot mode and just gets the other person invested a little bit more. I use something called unapologetic honesty. It’s very powerful. If you just say something—let’s say you’re vulnerable about something. If you say, “I’m really vulnerable,” and you do it in that vulnerable way, it’s kind of like overkill. It’s like, “Oh, my God. This person wants pity and they want me to help them.”

If you just say, “Look, I just came out of a relationship and it broke my heart.” For instance, something like that, which is quite vulnerable in itself because you’re saying it in such an unapologetic and open way. This is who I am. People see the strength of that rather than the vulnerable thing that you’re sharing with them. Does that make sense?

Yes, it’s kind of like it really sucks that my car broke down but I’m glad there’s Uber, or am I totally off base? I mean, that’s not vulnerable, I suppose.

No, that’s a positive person.

That’s kind of like when life gives you lemons, make lemonade, or whatever. No, I didn’t mean that. I meant how we talk, our body language, and the way we say things is sometimes more important than what we’re saying.

Okay, I get that. That, I understand. That makes sense to me.

It’s a non-verbal dialogue, you could say. Almost.

Yeah. The way the person carries themselves. The way they look away or look down or something like that.

Yes, exactly. The conversations will also help people who get stuck in the friend zone, and that can happen a lot. People got a really good date to go, “Oh, what a lovely time. It’s just like nothing escalated. I didn’t know if it was a good time to kiss her. I didn’t know if maybe she wanted to be kissed.” We teach them indicators of interest, how to also show your intent, how to show that you’re interested in a way that’s not going to make it go, “Oh, my God.”

We show how to give compliments. We also show as I said before, how to follow up. For instance, the date went okay, it didn’t really escalate anywhere, and how to build from that. Again, this is what you said came in—turn lemons into lemonade. That was a good segue.

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