Whether demystifying the world of online dating or connecting the dots between two political icons, H. Michael Bastien writes with insight into how people act and react to each other in his book The Common Sense Clicker: Guide to Online Dating. Bastien’s background in psychology and information systems finds a niche in the electronic dating scene. In his latest release, Yes We Can: Obama and Clinton Walk the Talk (How Communication and Performance Win Elections), this insight is brought to bear on the political communications strengths of both Presidents Obama and Clinton. When not writing, Bastien consults with Internet companies to help them build better websites. He’s advised in the development of several online dating sites, and he was active in President Obama’s first presidential campaign.
ARROW: If you were writing your own online dating profile, what would it say?
HMB: I was born in Canada and I’m told I first learned to read and count in French. My family moved to the U.S. when I was child and I attended high school, college and graduate school in the Washington, D.C. area. I consider myself happily single, but open to a relationship. I’m at the point in my life when I’m ready to jump back into online dating myself. I’m a writer and Internet development consultant. My interests include music, astronomy, tennis and politics. I also enjoy photography and cooking. My favorite European country is Spain. I’d have to say Jamaica is my favorite Caribbean island. I love visiting Seattle with its seafood cuisine.
ARROW: Tell us what in your background prompted you to write these books.
HMB: I have an undergraduate degree in psychology and a masters in information systems. Both subjects came in handy when I wrote The Common Sense Clicker: Guide to Online Dating, my first published work. Since then I also co-authored Yes We Can: Obama and Clinton Walk the Talk with my father and stepmother, both political scientists.
ARROW: Let’s start with The Common Sense Clicker: Guide to Online Dating. What makes your book different from other books out there on the subject?
HMB: My book looks at other aspects important to successful online dating that I didn’t think were adequately covered in the other books I’ve read. For example, my book helps guide people in developing a common etiquette for online dating. There need to be common ways of interacting when dating online to avoid confusion and misunderstandings. If you don’t know the rules, you can wreck a great thing before it starts or not catch on to something wonderful.
ARROW: Do men or women have it easier when it comes to online dating?
HMB: No gender has a monopoly on hard luck or good luck when it comes to online dating. Men and women have different issues but need to remember that we are all in this together.
ARROW: What are some of the biggest mistakes men make when dating online?
HMB: Often men try to customize themselves and their online profiles to be what they think women want. What you need to do instead is be honest about what you like, what you look like and what you are looking for in a potential mate. When you aren’t honest about yourself and what you want in a relationship, you find that after one or two weeks into a relationship you and the other person are not a good match.
ARROW: What are some of the biggest mistakes women make when dating online?
HMB: The biggest mistake women make is not uploading complete and accurate pictures of what they look like. Dating begins with physical attraction. Never assume that your full body is not attractive. Upload the real you and let nature take its course.
ARROW: What can people do to date safely online?
HMB: When making your first online contact, there really is a progression for sharing information. Start with your name and real email address, but I advise never ask for a phone number or give your phone number in the first couple of emails. When it comes to the first date and your first face-to-face contact, meet in a public place and never share personal information like your home or work addresses. If you visit my website www.TheCommonSenseClicker.com you can read some of my other recommendations under Dating Tips.
ARROW: Earlier this month many people experienced Valentine’s Day alone. Can you offer some suggestions to someone hoping to be in a happy, healthy relationship by next Valentine’s Day?
HMB: Treat dating like the serious endeavor it is. Get online, fill out your dating profile…FULLY and upload a lot of pictures of yourself. Of course, read The Common Sense Clicker and put those guidelines into practice. Devote the same amount of time to online dating as you do to your friends. Rely more on your personal tastes and desires and give less emphasis to what friends or others may think.
ARROW: How about suggestions for those just hoping to be happily and healthily dating this time next year?
HMB: Be open to meeting new types of people when dating online. Spend more time searching online than you do at a bar or nightclub. Minute for minute, dating online is a much better use of your time than getting drunk at a bar.
ARROW: If you have one message that readers can take away from your guide to online dating, what would it be?
HMB: Be yourself…that means showing the full, real you in pictures and in profile descriptions.
ARROW: You are also the co-author of Yes We Can: Obama and Clinton
Walk the Talk (How Communication and Performance Win Elections). Tell us a little about this book.
HMB: I’ve always been interested in politics. Obama and Clinton are two men that I admire. Interestingly enough, they have quite a few similarities…more than many people think. Whether you are a Republican, Democrat or independent, presidential history is important to us all. Understanding the people who rule our country is an essential part of fulfilling our duty as citizens of a democracy.
The Common Sense Clicker: Guide to Online Dating is available from Amazon’s Kindle Store, OmniLit, Barnes and Noble’s NOOK Store, MyRomanceStory.com and the iBookstore. Also available in paperback from Amazon.com.
Yes We Can: Obama and Clinton Walk the Talk (How Communication and Performance Win Elections) is available from Amazon’s Kindle Store and will be available soon from the iBookstore.
Listen to Bastien discuss The Common Sense Clicker: Guide to Online Dating at www.TheCommonSenseClicker.com.