Thursday, 2 October 2014

Online dating can be bad for your wealth

RSVP is a traditional dating agency, away from the world of internet dating websites, running members only singles events and selecting hand-picked one-to-one matches. One of the prerequisites of becoming a member is that one of our client advisors meets each prospective member before joining. We do this to ensure the safety of all our current members, as well as to make certain that everyone actually is who they say they are and genuinely interested in finding a partner.

But not all companies involved with dating can guarantee this crucial point. Online dating websites that allow anybody to register for free with just an email address have time and again proved to be an easy way for scammers to find vulnerable targets.

In August, four people appeared in Winchester Crown Court after being charged with conspiracy to defraud and money laundering. Two of them have since been convicted. This happened after an elaborate scam on the well-known dating website, where a profile of an attractive man was set up to entice women and then ask them for money after they had gained their trust. In a ploy distressingly similar to those Nigerian Prince Inheritance email scams, the group hooked vulnerable ladies by exploiting their emotions and as the BBC reported:
“Prosecutors said the men eventually started asking the women to pay money for legal fees in India to release £100m in inheritance they said they were owed.
Many of the women started handing over money ranging from £700 in one case to £174,000 in another case. A total of £220,000 was handed over by the women to the gang, the court heard.”
Everyone who has ever dated knows how nerve-wracking it can feel when you first begin dating. You have to put yourself out there, make yourself vulnerable under the expectant gaze of the opposite sex and then get to know someone all over again. It’s incredibly sad that some people have managed to con others when they’re in this frame of mind. It’s very brave to try to take up alternative dating routes when the traditional meet-someone-in-the-pub-or-the-office has not worked out, so the threat of criminals posing as charming singles who suddenly need to borrow a little money should make you a little wary but hopefully not put you off entirely.

Here at RSVP, we're obviously keen to point out the myriad advantages of traditional introduction agencies. But if you choose online dating, our top tips are:

  • If something seems too good to be true, it almost certainly is. So, beware.
  • Always tell someone where you are going, the name of the person you are meeting and when you expect to be back.
  • Be instantly on your guard if whoever you’re talking to starts asking for money under any circumstances.
  • Don't flaunt yourself or your wealth.
But if you really want to stay safe and hang on to your wealth, contact us at RSVP and find out more about how we keep you dating safely at RSVP.

To read more about the case, follow the links here and here. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

A sneak peak at RSVP's autumn singles events calendar

Here at RSVP singles club and dating agency, we have lots of exciting and
seasonal singles events coming up, to brighten up your diary while the days continue to get darker.

Following the success of our RSVP Exclusive Singles Events, even more exciting activities have been included in our new singles events calendar. These include a helicopter flying lesson, with hands-on flying! This is something to truly get the adrenaline pumping while you bond with your fellow members over your shared once-in-a-lifetime experience.

If you’d rather keep your feet on the ground but still prefer an adrenaline kick, step into the shoes of a secret agent in a covert spy mission. Like in the popular TV show Crystal Maze, you’ll face exciting mental and physical challenges – you never know what you’ll pick up!

With Christmas fast approaching, another RSVP Exclusive Singles Event that might tickle your fancy is our Cooking Master class. With tuition from two expert chefs, you can add to your own skill set just in time for cooking a sumptuous Christmas spread. It’s the sort of activity that is great fun but also might leave you with a talent that is sure to impress the opposite sex!

For the culture vultures, we have arranged an exclusive tour of the Pre-Raphaelite Collection at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and a tour of the majestic St Paul’s Cathedral in London. This is all alongside our usual great collection of singles dinners, Mix & Mingles and singles walks; there’s something coming up in the next three months for everyone.

And if you’re not already a member, join RSVP today so you don’t miss out on these fantastic singles events coming up this autumn.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Get your pulse racing.... in more ways than one!

At RSVP Singles Club and Dating Agency, we offer a plethora of singles events and new experiences. Alongside the many relaxing singles dinners, mix and mingles and singles walks, our event consultants make a point of including RSVP Exclusives every month that might shake up your routine and get your pulse racing. In the past, we have had our members plunging down rapids with white-water rafting, exploring the backstage of some of our capital’s most famous theatres and taking to the skies with a helicopter lesson. We run these events to give our members a chance to meet each other in various informal settings where there isn’t as much pressure as meeting one-to-one. But why do we throw in the slightly more unusual events? Why do we not just stick to dinners and drinks, like most other singles clubs?

According to the website Succeed Socially, one of the best ways to meet people is to put yourself “somewhere where the situation breaks the ice for people and naturally gives them reasons to talk to each other.”
This is easier said than done normally, but this is where RSVP singles events come in. By providing a variety of interesting activities, including tours of art galleries, sailing and archery lessons, it allows you to partake in something new and entertaining, whilst not just breaking but shattering the ice! You can’t really avoid the possibility of small talk but when you are busy trying something new, then it also generates a positive conversation topic that both people can equally contribute to - and a shared experience to create an instant bond.
On top of this, The Wall Street Journal has reported on research that sharing a hobby with your partner is a good way to improve your marriage. This might seem obvious, that spending time with your partner might help your relationship flourish, but it is a simple yet effective thing to do. There are also scientifically positive effects that result from trying new things, as Wall Street Journal columnist Elizabeth Bernstein notes:
“New experiences also can activate the brain's reward system, flooding it with powerful neurochemicals related to pleasure and bonding—the same circuits triggered when a person first falls in love.”
So, joining RSVP Singles Club can get you meeting new people in challenging and intriguing environments. Plus, there's the added bonus that doing more things just makes you more interesting, especially to the opposite sex.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Is there such a thing as the perfect match?

At Dating Agency and Singles Club RSVP, our Gold and Platinum dating memberships memberships offer regular one-to-one matches. We do our best to ensure that the criteria of both parties are satisfied and we always seek an overlap of personality and interests. But sometimes, even when a match is perfect on paper, it doesn’t work face-to-face. The idea of “the perfect match” is universal and often the stated aim of those going dating, although “perfection” is so abstract and subjective that it is almost impossible to set a standard.

But what happens when you think you have found the perfect person for you? That normally leads to a 21st Century version of ‘Happy Ever After’, with a long-term relationship, cohabitation or marriage possibly on the cards. However, it has been found by research done by Professor Spike Lee of the University of Toronto that the idea of the “soul mate” can actually detract from the positivity of long-term relationships. In his study on long-term relationship success, he asked people in long-term relationships to take a quiz, where he split the participants into two different attitudes; those who see partnership as a “journey” and those that believe their relationships can be described as “perfect unity”. He found that those who attached perfection to their relationships were more likely to be dissatisfied when recalling past conflicts, but the individuals who took their lives more day-to-day were comparatively less dissatisfied.

If we are to take this at face value, it seems obvious not to focus on acquiring perfection. It may work well for couples in romantic comedies and novels but, unlike in fiction, the story doesn’t end when you tie the knot. Instead of searching for your soul mate, it’s much more beneficial to take each day (or date!) as it comes and savour the journey. It will have a positive effect on your relationship even after you ride off into the sunset.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Don't be fazed by first dates

When it comes to dating, navigating the minefield that are stereotypical attitudes can be tricky, even when you're dating with a dating agency like RSVP. It’s hard to know how to present yourself, especially for that crucial first impression, in the most positive light.

A new study, led by Gurit Birnbaum, of the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, has found that for men, being too charming on a first date can actually put women off. The research was designed to test the popular maxim that single people always look for someone who is “responsive to their needs". It was actually found that although this might be true for men, who tend to find attentive, open and friendly women more attractive, it is not the same in the reverse. According to the findings, women find more attentive men less attractive, preferring those who come across as less keen.

But how does this affect you?

As we can tell you here at dating agency RSVP, our members often come to us with expectations and requirements that differ for each individual. Everyone is different and so logically, what they are looking for in a partner is different too. Some ladies want a gentleman, some want a man with a brilliant sense of humour and some want someone for quiet walks with the dog on a Sunday morning. Some even want a combination of all three!

The initial telephone call, a key element of RSVP's matchmaking process, is very important for making that first impression. Having spoken to lots of our members, we have found that very often, a factor that decides whether or not the phone call is counted a success, is how interested and motivated the other person comes across over the phone. Regardless of gender, it can be very off-putting if the person you’re talking to doesn’t sound engaged. So the survey findings seem less applicable in these circumstances.

However, they might be relevant when it comes to meeting face-to-face for the first time. That first encounter can be equally significant. Even after a delightful telephone conversation, it can be a little awkward meeting someone new for the first time. I would be loath to advise that one should try and put the findings of the study into practice above being oneself, but it could be useful to think about before your next date.

During the most common first date scenarios, such as drinks and/or dinner, it can be quite intense, having to sustain a conversation while putting on your best game face. This is why it can be quite good to experiment with different types of first dates, perhaps a little more unusual and therefore likely to generate conversation about the activity itself and take a bit of the pressure off the two of you. RSVP's superb singles events provide a brilliant distraction from the sometimes awkward 'getting to know you' phase - how about motor racing, abseiling and taking part in a game of Airsoft? Of course, adrenaline activities might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but sometimes it can be good to go out of your comfort zone; you’d definitely have something to talk about afterwards!

For more information about the study, have a look at this article by Sarah Knapton, The Daily Telegraph’s Science Correspondent.

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Be careful what you post on social apps

In the last few years, hooking into the dating scene has become increasingly easy; you can "meet" potential partners without leaving home. This means that privacy is a real issue and one that you need to take very seriously. It's why many people prefer to use a traditional dating agency like RSVP
But even the best dating agency and singles club cannot help you maintain your privacy if you are not careful about what you are posting on the internet.

If you have weak privacy settings on Facebook, everything that you have ever posted can be seen by potential / new partners and kill off a relationship before it starts. Remember:
  •  Don't post anything you do not want a potential partner (or new friend) to see.
  •  Avoid comments that can be interpreted as bigoted.
  •  Remove or un-tag unfavourable pictures and be careful of your album privacy settings
  •  Keep an eye on what is posted on your wall and remove anything distasteful that your friends have posted.
Also, run a periodic audit on your privacy settings to make sure you're revealing what you're happy to reveal. Bear in mind that Facebook makes changes to privacy settings from time to time, so keep up to speed with these.

You also need to be aware of the ability for your images to be geo-tagged which means that a geographical id has been added to photos, videos, websites and SMS messages. Smartphones and some digital cameras automatically capture this information. Using particular tools and programs, a person determined to find out information for their own purposes can follow you around, virtually.

Whilst Whatsapp has pretty good privacy settings (but bear in mind this may change now it has been bought by Facebook), people can find images and postings and then message you if they have your phone number. Your Whatsapp picture may define you, so make sure you choose that image carefully.

Again, just remember to check your privacy settings if using Instagram. For example, the Photo Maps app will show all your geo-tagged pictures on a map - making it very easy to find where you have been and with whom.

Twitter is a very casual way to find someone and see what they are following or tweeting. Many random people follow each other but remember it just isn't as private as Facebook or Whatsapp. Anything you post on Twitter can be easily shared around the world. Even David Cameron was caught out when it was discovered he was accidentally following an escort agency.

The key message here is to be conscious about what you are sharing online and far-sighted about the effect of that sharing on relationships in the future. In today's easy-come easy-go world, it doesn't take much to put off a potential partner, so keep your social media cards close to your chest.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

What is chemistry and can I influence it?

So much of our feedback from members after dates, here at Dating Agency and Singles Club RSVP, is that the introduction we provided was great, but there was just no chemistry.  And this got me thinking about whether or not there was anything that you could do to help give chemistry a nudge when out on a date.

So, first of all, what do we mean when we talk about the chemistry between people? Well, I believe it goes further than just instant physical attraction. I think there needs to be an emotional and intellectual connection with the person you are with. And this means the brain needs to be making the connection so you get that feeling of ecstasy and bliss when you meet someone you like.

When we are in a pleasurable state, our brains release dopamine, the pleasure chemical. Linking dopamine to pleasure is a simplistic summary of what happens, but we do know that when dopamine is around we get a feeling of happiness, bliss and sometimes addiction. So strong is the effect of dopamine that, even one dopamine "high" will cause the brain to increase our desire for more and therefore react positively to repeat the same experience. That's got to be a good thing if you want a second date!

Here are a few things you can do to increase your chances of attraction:
  • Remember how you hate going out to the gym, but once you have exercised you feel pretty good? Well, that's down to dopamine. So, why go for a walk or a bike ride for you first date? Or you could go on one of our fantastic adrenaline singles events or singles activities.
  • Scientists tell us that we need tyrosine to convert L-dopa into dopamine in the brain. One of the best natural sources for this is chocolate - so you can see that the Milk Tray man was correct - bringing chocolates along as a gift on your date has got to be a good idea! And there is evidence to show that when dopamine is released it dilates the pupils which replicates the effect of love and lust. Bananas, dairy goods and avocados also have the same affect - so maybe you want to make sure they are on the menu if you are going out for dinner!
  • When we laugh, the brain is stimulated and dopamine is released - creating that sense of euphoria. Furthermore, a recent study revealed that women have evolved to appreciate humour and to appreciate a man who can make them laugh. So now we know that women really do find funny men more attractive — so what are you waiting for? Make them laugh!
  • Ditch the phone when you are on a date! I've said before that just the presence of your mobile phone can have a negative effect on the connection and the quality of our conversations. What we also know is that we can get a high from just the sound of a text coming onto your phone which has been caused by dopamine and the addictive nature it can have on the brain. What this can mean, when out on a date, is that you get more pleasure from the interaction with your phone, than you do with your date, and this masks the real feelings of attractions you might otherwise have.
So, when there is so much riding on making the right first impression, don't leave things to chance. Make sure you do everything you can to make a great first impression.

If you want some more help or advice on dating have a look at the RSVP web site or at out other dating blog posts.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The odds are good but the goods are odd!

Dating agency RSVP receive enquiries from single men and women of all ages on a daily basis. When we talk to these people, there is one common reason why they have decided to contact us; the frustrations experienced through online dating! Surveys suggest that at least half of daters on-line admit to lying and I have read some that claim it can be as high as eighty per cent.  All I know for sure is that I have been told some strange and scary stories at interview by prospective members about their experiences of using online sites. The most common story we come across is that people end up not being who they say they are, false profile pictures and other identity issues. This quite obviously creates both trust and safety issues initially and also for future dates.

The most common things I have heard that people lie about on-line include for men:

Height (they claim to be taller than they are);
Physique (for rugby build read few extra pounds);
Age (usually younger);
Amount of hair;
Interests and hobbies

And women admit to lying about:

Weight (just losing a few extra pounds);
Age (usually younger);
Interests and hobbies

Whilst the Internet allows us the freedom to represent ourselves in a way we wish people would see us or the way we wish we could actually be, unless you are happy living in cyber space indefinitely, your lies will find you out when you meet in the flesh. And at that point there date is starting on a lie, which can leave a nasty taste.

One of the main differences between choosing RSVP over an online agency is that we always meet every member before joining and this seems to be a very import reason in deciding to join. It means that we have met all of our clients face to face and have checked out their real date of birth and talked to them about what things they do in their spare time.

Furthermore, we get feedback after our members have been on dates with our members, so it helps us to build an even more accurate picture of what people are really like and what they are looking for.  All this means that we can select matches for our members based on what we really know about our members rather than what people like to think about themselves.

Even better, you can come along to our RSVP events and meet the members face to face at our hosted social functions.  That way you can meet potential matches in a natural setting, enjoying a meal or a walk, or other activity. Have a look at a sample calendar to see the types of events on offer.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

We have moved!

Apologies for the lack of recent posts. We've been busy preparing to move and then moving our Head Office to new premises on the Oakham Enterprise Park. This is the former Ashwell Prison site and RSVP has taken part of what was formerly the medical centre, where prisoners were greeted on arrival.

Our accommodation now better suits our needs. We have a staff room with microwave, dishwasher and relaxation area; this is ideal for staff working in the evening who can enjoy a hot meal in their tea time break.

We've undertaken a fair amount of refurbishment to bring the standard of accommodation up to a decent level; see before and after pics below:
Main office before
Main office now
Main office before
Main office now
Staff room before

Staff room now
Yes, those are bars you can see on the windows. Some occupiers have opted to remove them, but we decided to leave them where they were. You don't notice them after a while - and the insurance people will love them!

We've also taken the opportunity to install a new VOIP phone system, which has some very neat features, like being able to dial from the PC, voicemail to email and the ability to plug a phone in remotely and make and receive calls as if you're in the office. All inbound calls and outbound calls to landlines are routed via the internet. We've also invested in enhanced internal networking to make all this possible.

There have been a few teething problems which have resulted in some days without telephony - so apologies if you called on one of those days. But hopefully we're more or less there now.

Telephone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged. So if you're calling and looking to join RSVP, please call 01572 774884; if you're already an RSVP member, use 01572 774882; if you're calling about RSVP singles events, you'll need 01572 774881. That'll make sure your call ends up with the right person.

If you need to come and see us - please make an appointment first - details of how to find RSVP are on the RSVP website.