A secret to happiness for you and your friends?

While walking inside the bookstore at Bay and Bloor in search of a new book to read this Saturday evening, I happened to walk over one of my favourite classics, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”  As I opened to a random page, I was turned to one policy that really significantly improved my happiness and quality of life since I first opened the book.  The policy?

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Find Love at U of T

Over the summer, I got involved with a project called Love at U of T. It’s an online dating service just for U of T students (and alumni), created by U of T students as a fun project.

The dating service does not attempt to be revolutionary in any way; it’s pretty much just like any other dating service, except you know that all of the users are from U of T. Our goal is to make our school not only more romantic but also friendly (you can use the service to find friends).

We first launched on clubs day (September 10th) and had mixed reactions. Some people didn’t believe that this was real, some were embarrassed to take our flyer, and some even gave the flyer back after realizing what it was. There seems to be a negative stigma attached to people who use online dating, but I personally don’t see anything wrong with it, especially when you are swamped with assignments and tests.

Everyday you are surrounded by thousands of students, many of them just like you who have similar interests as you. Ironically, people have a hard time meeting each other because they are too busy to stop and talk. Our hope is that we can help fix this for even a handful of people, so try it now and find your love.

p.s. If you are a computer geek who wants to read about the development process, click here.

iDate: A Personal Account of My Venture into Online Dating… Part 6 – The Finale, Epilogue, and Ending Notes

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Original cover art by the talented Jenn Guo

This is the final part of a 6 part series about my personal experience with online dating. Click here to see other parts to this series.

So here we are at the big finale. I had set out to give online dating a test drive for one month. My time was almost up (this was in June, and I was leaving for Japan in July).

Let’s take a quick review. The bad: frustration at the difficulty of getting responses from girls. The good: the hilarious light-saber story, the fun of being an attention getting girl online, and of course, the prospect of a real life date. Things were looking more good than bad. However, let me warn you that the ending is rather anti-climactic.

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iDate: A Personal Account of My Venture into Online Dating… Part 5 – Playing for the Other Team

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Original cover art by the talented Jenn Guo

This is part 5 of a 6 part series about my personal experience with online dating. Click here to see other parts to this series. Stay tuned for more!

So despairing at my success rate (or rather failure rate) with online dating, I decided to get some help. Now, I didn’t really expect a CD to reveal the “Tao” of online dating to me. I mean, how could it? Would I suddenly transcend the laws of attraction and have girls messaging me lustily, telling me that they want and need me, more than Michael Jackson needs a good nose job… even more than Lindsay Lohan wants crack cocaine? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

But you know, the claims of these dating guides are always like “Read this guide, and you’ll be able to pick up girls faster than you can find the normalized eigen-vectors of a 2×2 matrix!”… or something to that effect. Anyway, I tried to keep an open mind as I opened up this CD guide to online dating.

Well, I must admit, there’s one aspect of the CD that was very impressive: it was really comprehensive. It covered everything from making an online profile, to how to send messages, to making a phone call, to setting up a date… with not just audio instructions, but videos as well! Wow, with this, I bet even my 5 year old cousin could have tried to pick up girls online. But the thing is, none of the content was really extraordinary. From the sample profile to the sample messages, I didn’t think any of it was that great. If anything, the profile, messages, and advice all came off as a little contrived and uninspired.

There was one suggestion, however, that caught my attention. It suggested I create a fake female profile. This way, I would able to find out exactly what it feels like to be a girl on online dating.

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iDate: A Personal Account of My Venture into Online Dating… Part 4 – Stories from Lavalife

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Original cover art by the talented Jenn Guo

This is part 4 of a 6 part series about my personal experience with online dating. Click here to see other parts to this series. Stay tuned for more!

H&M are the model couple. They’re a ridiculously cute and yes, almost envy-inducing, because that’s just how great they are together. H has infinite indie rock boy charm and though I’ve only met M a few times, she’s super nice and bakes tasty things. They met on Lavalife, chatted online, went on a first date together and have been dating ever since.

But you’re probably pondering… “if they’re so great, did they really need to go online to look for a date?” Good question.

Paraphrasing my friend H: “It makes sense if you think about it. People spend $30 and a night at a bar in hopes of meeting someone. Compared to that, online dating is a pretty good alternative, especially for those who are a little shy.”

I talked to H about his online dating experience, and he said it was much the same as mine: lots of messages sent, not so many replies. “Just keep at it and give it a chance,” encouraged H. Mind you, H is much better looking than I am. He’s got way cool hair plus well, you just can’t compete with indie rock boy charms. (M if you’re reading this, don’t worry, I’m not trying to steal him.)

I was also curious about M’s online dating experience. What’s online dating like from the female perspective? Turns out it’s quite a different story! The following is an excerpt from our MSN conversation.

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iDate: A Personal Account of My Venture into Online Dating… Part 3 – A Test of Faith

idate3.jpg
Original cover art by the talented Jenn Guo

This is part 3 of a 6 part series about my personal experience with online dating. Click here to see other parts to this series. Stay tuned for more!

I have to admit, signing up for an account and browsing the profiles for the first time was pretty exciting. It was like… how can I make a comparison? Let’s see, it was like I just discovered a bunch of new blogs, some of which were really cool, and some of the bloggers were hot, and there was the potential of hooking up with them! (Seriously, blog readers, don’t you wish you could hook up with all the interesting & hot bloggers out there? You know where to find me. 😉 )

Well, that was the feeling at first anyway.

But after a few days, it felt like… let’s find an appropriate simile. It felt like it was elementary school all over again, and we’re picking teams for the next game during recess, and I’m the last to get picked…. again. Except, instead of one team getting stuck with me, the meanies decide they should just play without me, and I’m left to cry silently by the wall while trying to hide my gushing river of tears. That’s exactly what it felt like.

No replies. After putting my heart and soul into those witty, brief, and charmingly written messages, I received nothing! Not even a “No thanks!” It was like sending messages into the void. Honestly, I think if I had built a radio transceiver out of toothpaste, pre-chewed gum, and a paperclip, MacGyver style, and tried to contact possible extra-terrestrial life forms in Alpha Centauri to get a date, I might have gotten more replies.

What’s the problem? Was I going at it all wrong?

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iDate: A Personal Account of My Venture into Online Dating… Part 2 – The Truth About Online Dating

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Original cover art by the talented Jenn Guo

This is part 2 of a 6 part series about my personal experience with online dating. Click here to see other parts to this series. Stay tuned for more!

When I started this online dating adventure, I ran the idea over with a few of my friends and got a mix of reactions.

There was “Oh, I think this will be a very interesting scientific experiment. You should try to separate the variables and see how each one affects the success rate. For example, change your profile picture around or alter your height and tally the ratio of messages sent to messages received.” (Did I tell you all my friends are engineers?)

Of course, there was also “Ugh, I don’t know man… think about it: how many hot, intelligent, attractive, non-serial-killer chicks do you know who are single? Do you think they need to resort to online dating to find a date? You’re going to meet lots of ugly chick and freaks.” (Yeah, thanks a lot dude. Let’s see, if I did know a ton of hot, intelligent, attractive, non-serial-killer chicks who are single, we wouldn’t be having this unfortunate conversation right now. I’d be on a date.)

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