Dear Diary: So it did happen again!

Dear Diary

27th May 2018 23:23 

Just as well I am too stingy to part with my cash.  I now have incontrovertible proof that the man (or should I say men) I have been interacting with for the last 5 months is fake!

If you come across a Sigvard Aloisio Torvald then beware – even typing his name feels difficult and wrong as that name is so familiar to me.  This person also uses Looking4Vikingman as a username on dating websites and I came across him on Zoosk.  I know that he also has a profile on Naturalfriends.co.uk although he doesn’t have an image on that one.  He said that he came off Zoosk after we “met” but may actually simply have blocked me so that I could no longer see his profile.  The email he goes by is s.torvald@outlook.com.  He purported to be Norwegian living in Canada and relocating to the UK.  He uses Telegram instant messenger service with the user name @Sigggy and the mobile number he uses is +16 0422 77 488.  Unfortunately it is all too easy to disguise a number these days to look as though it is coming from any country of a scammer’s choosing.

I won’t share the profile pictures here as these are of a real person, and so far I have not found any evidence of multiple profiles using the images.  If you do come across a man with this name though, please do contact me and send me a picture.  I can let you know if it is the same man and also recommend that you do a google reverse image search.  Unfortunately for me, this did not throw up a concern early on when I did this but when I used it again today, I got a hit

Make no mistake, this is big business to these people and they keep going as they do make many millions out of it.  It is organised crime and very slick.

Early on, he even sent me a copy of his passport, which I found particularly strange.  I was already aware though, that a fake passport had been used in one of the #FakeThomas scams and so I was cautious about that.  Never completely trust pictures of identification documents that are sent to you.  The only foolproof is to see that person stood in front of you.

That is all I have to say on the matter, dear diary.  Suffice to say .. I’m off dating permanently!

Later, (maybe)

Carol xOxO

WOW …life goes on

Dear Diary 

Dear diary, I have deleted the image showing the name and picture of the man that I came to believe was fake.  In a moment of clarity ….ok well, I think I will keep that to myself.  I have no wish to cause him any harm.  I am not convinced he is a fake … if he is not, he is incredibly stupid.

4th May 2018

So it has been a struggle the last few days to come to terms with how things have played out with my would-be-distant-paramour.  I knew I had made a HUGE mistake, the problem was … I did not know whether that was in trusting him in the first place or not trusting him.  Not knowing was eating me up inside.

I sent him an email outlining exactly why I believed he fit the “profile”.  I suppose I did this because my heart did not want to believe it was true, and if I was wrong – I wanted him to understand why I was yet again accusing him.

The silence in response was deafening.  If there is one thing worse than not knowing, it is being ignored.  My problem is …if I don’t know 100%, then I have a tendency to pick at the scab to provoke a response.

This morning, I sent the above to him and then deleted the app that we had been exchanging messages on.  I had already deleted it, but as I was struggling with this – I reloaded it hoping to get some kind of acknowledgement from him.

This morning I did … although I no longer had the app, the message came via the browser on my phone.  The message exchange says it all.

IMAGE DELETED

 

In my earlier post I did not reveal his identity.  Even now, I am not entirely convinced that he is fake, and part of me wants to believe that he is saying it to enable me to move on.  Ha!  My critical friend on my shoulder is reminding me not to be such a fool.  I guess it is human nature to hold onto hope.

A last word for the person who took the time to comment on my last post – although I did not authorise it to be shown…. you are entitled to your opinion.  If sharing my story helps to warn other women then I choose to out the fakes.  I know who you are, because I recognise the name and email address.

You need to stop this obsession of catching fake profiles on dating sites.
You were conned. Get over it and get on with your life.

I suppose on one level it is hugely embarrassing to admit that I have been caught out again.  But then, all along I had my doubts – but I did not and will not let this stop me from looking for love.  It just won’t be with anyone that is not able to meet up quickly.

All that is left for me to say, is don’t give up on love.  Don’t let the fakes win.  And above all else, no matter how attached you become – if you haven’t met them – you cannot 100% trust them until you do.

Take care of yourselves, and be safe

Carol xoxo

 

 

Beware of the fakes out there .. particularly using this picture!

This man’s image is used hundreds if not thousands of times by scammers trying to dupe women.

 

The #Fightback continues. Fake profiles are reported multiple times, sometimes we are lucky and they are removed first time they are reported, but more typical we have to report them again and again.

Kwabena Thomas has been a busy boy – I have just sent alerts to 19 women interacting with this particular fake profile. This is staggering. I can understand if a woman is approached on a dating website, but unless these women are being approached in Facebook groups, they must be accepting random friend’s requests.

Ladies, if you get a request from someone that you do not know, particularly if they are located in a different country, and you have no (real life) Facebook friends in common – BEWARE! PARTICULARLY if they are using the images of this man (who is real, legit, and happily married).

To read more and see the 100s of fake profiles using this man’s pictures take a look at the website and blog I created to warn women:

www.fakedatingdotcom.net
www.fakedating.blog

Or join the Facebook group Fightback Fakedatingdotcom Staysafe Online Dating

#Fakeprofilies #Scammers #Facebook

Dear diary …

Sunday, 28th January 2018

It is a lovely (nearly) sunny Sunday morning, and all is good in my world.  Ok, so I am getting over a virus but my sore throat has now gone and my coughing isn’t so bad when I am up and about and moving around.

I’ve exchanged a few chatty messages with a couple of new guys – one that I really like, but who lives a tad far away.  No matter – we are going to try to meet up the next time he is within reasonable distance for business.  The other, just a short train ride away, but so far meh!

I have four dates under my belt now, or five if you count the second date with no. 3.  The Fourth one didn’t go so well – I mean, technically it was fine – but I couldn’t wait to get out of there.  I had nothing in common with this guy – at least, I have no way of knowing if I had anything in common with him as he quite literally dominated the conversation and talked nonstop  from the second he sat down to the moment I made my excuses to leave.  (When I say conversation, I am being generous – a conversation requires that both parties have a turn to speak).

Fifty minutes in, he thought to ask me a question.  I started to answer, but this was soon kicked into touch as he then went on to tell me his version of what I had just shared with him.  Thirty minutes into the coffee date and I couldn’t wait to get out of there, I was so bored.  I resolved to at least give it an hour, and in the event, it took 1.5 hours before he stopped talking long enough for me to say “I have to head off soon …..”.  He looked surprised at this; maybe he thought we were getting on like a house on fire – but then how would he know as he was only paying attention to himself and his relentless (boring) chatter.

Outside of the venue, he asked me which way I was walking, and so I hastily pointed in the opposite direction to they way he was facing (and where he had parked his car).  I thanked him for the coffee, and started to move away.  At this point, he leaned in to kiss me on the cheek – so he kinda missed, but his lips fleeting brushed my skin.  Awkward!

So, I suppose 3 out of 4 is not bad.  Three guys were lovely dates and I enjoyed spending time with them.  Ok, so the first two I did want to take further – but never-the-less, I am glad I met them.  Number 3, I enjoyed a second date with, and would be happy to continue dating and exploring.  So far so good, but I remain ‘window shopping’.

One date at a time?

It was during an interesting conversation with distance-chatty-guy last nigh that I coined the term ‘window shopping’.  The message exchange reinforced my view that ‘dating’ means different things to different people.  It was during this conversation that I coined the term ‘window shopping’.  He knew from our conversation that I had been on two date with No. 3, and he had responded to let him know if and when No. 3 bites the dust.

 

 

Now I thought that ‘dating’ meant that you could legitimately meet up with more than one guy; that there is no commitment made to an exclusive relationship until you both decide that is what you want to move onto.

 

It was also endearing to learn that men find dating anxiety-inducing too.

Men find dating nerve-wracking too

Although, it has to be said that dating no longer holds any fear for me.  As I said to distance-chatty-guy, I have my ‘armour’.  This is a little black dress that I feel good in when I wear. I dress it up or down depending on whether I am meeting for coffee for for an evening drink.  I would not ordinarily wear this dress during the day, but it looks good with a gorgeous scarf that my sister gave me for Christmas – and hey, we all need a confidence boost to get over those first date nerves.

Well, time for me to get on with my day – and get cracking on finding date number 5!

Later,

Carol xOxO

 

 

Dear diary…

25th January 2018

Oh .. on checking the date for my diary, I am reminded that it is my late mother’s birthday!  So happy birthday, mum, I hope you are celebrating ‘wherever’ you are.

So, it has been a while since my last post.  I am happy to report that I have enjoyed 4 real live dates, (two with the same man) and I have another to look forward tomorrow.  It seems as though I have benefitted from the typical ‘January Sales’, as prior to Christmas there wasn’t really very much happening!

Here’s my recipe for surviving that first date!

  1. Arrange to meet quickly; don’t overcook the introduction
  2. Choose comfortable but smart clothes; so you can focus on the cooking rather than fidgeting with your hemline/neckline
  3. Choose a familiar venue; so you don’t have to worry about the ingredients
  4. Don’t drink too much; you don’t want the dish to spoil through over cooking
  5. Always know how you are going to get home; you don’t want to end up with ‘food poisoning’ due to poor planning
  6. Always send a polite thank you text – even if you don’t plan to see your date again; good manners cost nothing and karma influences the overall banquet

I measure success by a) whether I enjoyed myself and b) whether they ask to see me again.  It does not matter whether I don’t want to see them again, as the goal has been achieved.  I am not expecting Mr Perfect to fall into my lap right now  – but I can honestly say that each of the three men that I have met up with have been very nice, and I enjoyed their company.  I certainly don’t start my date hoping “this is the one”.  I look forward to getting to know the person, and seeing if there is a spark.  No great expectations means no great disappointments.

The hardest part is breaking the no-date-yet syndrome

Now that I have enjoyed a number of successful dates, it feels so easy.  Each of the men that I have met, I have agreed to meet quickly; this meant that there was no fear.  I wasn’t fretting about whether I looked good enough, whether I was slim enough or whether I would have anything interesting to say.  Why?  Because I wasn’t over invested before I met them.

The nice guy that I had been chatting to since before Christmas, and whom I “ditched” once it became clear he didn’t seem prepared to take a chance because of the distance; now that smarted – because I had allowed myself to become a little invested in him.  Although a little sad, as I would have loved to meet him for real – I soon got over it.

Just the beginning of the story

One thing that has become clear to me, is that when you get to my age, although lots of men want a significant relationship, they are unsure (or sometimes very sure) about wanting (or not, as the case may be) a full on relationship.  The guy that I have seen twice, although separated for a number of years, is only just finalising his divorce.  He said to me:

I don’t really know what I want.  I want a significant relationship, but I don’t want to live with someone.

Seems to me he verbalised clearly what he wants.  Perhaps he felt he needed to qualify that with “I don’t really know what I want” in an attempt to manage any expectations of his date.  Or maybe, it is simply true.  My response was:

I don’t know what I want either, but I do know what I don’t want.

That may seem a contradictory statement, but it makes sense in my own head.  What do I mean when I say this?  If I had to put it into words (which of course, I do seeing as I am referencing it in my blog), it would be that I am clear on what I don’t want but that I am open to options in terms of what I do want.  Is that any clearer?  No?  Ok, let me put it this way:

  1. I would never date a married man
  2. I would never date a man because of what he has
  3. I don’t want a man to “take care of me”, if I found one that was caring and supportive, that is different and very welcome
  4. I would not date a man that I did not find attractive, just to have someone to hang out with

What does dating mean to you?

I pose this question, as within a few minutes of meeting, one of my dates and I had a debate about what “dating” actually is.  Whereas I consider that dating is a social relationship where there is a potential for romance, but where you are not (yet) exclusive, he thought dating was rather an American perspective, and for him it was “going for a drink”.

Does this difference in terminology matter?  I suppose it might if the two people concerned wanted different things.  Some people really do go into this with the idea that the only thing they are looking for is a life mate.

For me, if I find someone that I consider to be so special that I want to commit to them – then that is a bonus.  However, I do not plan to remain a romance free zone just because I haven’t found “Mr-Right-For-Me”.

Late to the party

What is interesting for me, is that this is the first time ever in my life that I have ever actually ‘dated‘.  In my younger years, once you started meeting up with a guy, you pretty much were “courting” and in a relationship.  When I got with my ex, it was pretty instantaneous.  Perhaps that was because we had a history (we were together in our late teens/early 20s)?  I can’t really be sure on that as I don’t have a lot of experience to go on.

So for now, I am really enjoying my new found dating status.  In the past few weeks, I have learned a lot.  Although my dating guru counselled me to stick to one hour for the first date, so far they have been: 2 hours, 3 hours and 6 hours (yes really!).  I feel confident enough to not have to put a time framework around a date, as, if I felt really uncomfortable, I would simply say my goodbyes and leave.

I have discovered though, that I prefer a daytime coffee date for a first meeting.  If the interaction is going well, I am happy to extend that to a drink.  I also now know that for an evening date, I need to be disciplined and not go beyond 3 drinks.  Not just because I don’t want a hangover the next day, but also because you don’t know your date tipsy, and even the nicest guy can become a little louche under the influence.  Although the image in my head was the latter half of the date – I gave him a pass (after all, he had forewarned me that he sticks to ale for a reason!); and so we enjoyed a second date last night.

So, dear diary.  All is well in my world.  (Except for a raging sore throat – the pitfalls of venturing out and about!).

I would love to hear your dating stories – why not drop me a comment or an email?

Later

Carol xOxO

 

Stay safe online series #4: it is not just the love fakes we have to watch out for

“Love is all around us … everywhere you go…”

It has been an interesting few days.  I have enjoyed a couple of dates – both were successful in as much as both expressed an interest in seeing me again (a confidence boost I can tell you).  I also got drawn back in to all things fake when approached by someone concerned about her friend who had updated her #Facebook status to say that she was “in a relationship” with a profile that we both know to be fake.  This because, the profile is using #CaptainThomas ‘s images.

After a lengthy discussion, I agreed to send a message to the lady in question with links to my website, blog and Facebook page.  I did not get a response, however, a quick check showed a status change, back from “in a relationship …..” to “widowed”.  I do hope that this lady is able to reach out to her friends to support her, as I am sure she is feeling rather lost and bewildered.

What is love and what does it mean to YOU?

 

After some harsh words (on my part) I asked the man in question what he wanted.  He replied with this – no words, no bullshit.  They say a picture can paint a thousands words… well this “sticker” image cut right through to the core of what we are both looking for.

 

 

After a few days of not being in contact, I was sent this image this morning.  This from a man who simply wants to be part of my life.  Again, no words, but a very simple message.

 

Who knows what the future holds for any of us – all I know is that sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and just jump off that safe bridge, and trust that whatever you find at the bottom – you can handle it; good, bad or indifferent.

 

Not everyone in the world is a stand up person

On checking my email, this morning, I was reminded that the cheats, fakes and scammers aren’t just in the dating world.

This is what I received:

I am dying – please adopt my child and I will give you all my money!

 

I have a “business” deal for you!

It is a while since I have received emails like this – but I guess that is because the spam filter on my business email is not as well defined as my gmail accounts.  It is a salutary reminder that fakery is all around us – and we can’t take it personally.  We haven’t been targeted or singled out.  Many of these attempts are random – in the hopes that they will hook in one or two that will take the bait.

2018 – a year of new beginnings

Many of us start off a new year full of hope: that things will go our way, we will get slimmer, drink less, be more assertive, get richer, find a better job …..find love!

Let me share with you, dear reader, something I wholeheartedly believe.  That the exquisiteness that is life is in the journey.  The destination is never guaranteed – just enjoy the journey along the way!  If you do that – the destination becomes somewhat irrelevant.

Later,

Carol xOxO

 

Dear diary …

10th January 2018 (13:27)

Well dear diary, it has been a while since I posted to you.  I decided to forego all things social media during the Christmas/New Year holidays and wasn’t sure whether I would come back to all the fakery or leave it well and truly behind me.

Unfortunately, that is easier said than done, as I continue to receive messages from people who are either being duped by, or know someone who is being duped by fake-Thomases.  Not only that, I continue to find many fake profiles approaching me on the various dating websites that I use.

Sadly, I also have to report that I may have been conversing with yet another fake for the past three weeks.  More on that later.

On an upbeat note, I am happy to share that I have no less than 4 dates lined up this week!  Yes – you read that correctly – I have managed to break free from my dateless status.  The first is this afternoon, and I have been primping and preening.  Unfortunately, I should have read the label of the product that I bought onboard during my recent cruise – thinking that I was using a dead sea facial mask, the stinging alerted me to the fact that I might have got it wrong!

I am horrified to say that I now have a very angry red patch down the centre of my face!  I’m hoping that my priming base and foundation can cover it!  I can’t cancel as I promise I wouldn’t – as this one has been a long time coming and I have been decidedly flaky about it.  All of the others were arranged within a short time of chatting and certainly on the first day.  Best way – keep it short and sweet.  Time to make a decision whether to pursue after the initial meeting.

So, what of the other potential paramours I blogged about?

Well, I am sad to reveal that I have come to the conclusion that Dishy-guy was indeed a fake, even though he IM’d me a copy of his passport (who does that?) and updated pictures from his supposed ski-break over the New Year.  I wanted to believe that he was real and that he was indeed moving to the UK in April.  I never really settled in my mind that he wasn’t fake – and yesterday I just had to make a decision and call his bluff.  I am not entirely sure I am right – but hey – if he is a regular, stand up guy he will understand where I am coming from and call me when he actually moves.  Won’t be holding my breath on that one!  I will blog more about that later, as it is quite interesting the tiny nuggets that kept me from trusting him.

Although the last communication from him has me thinking I have made a terrible mistake!

10th January 2018 (22:44)

Just returned home from my very first date! Yes folks … I actually had one.  It was pleasant enough and I certainly enjoyed myself.  It made up somewhat for the disappointment earlier in the day when I turned up for what should have been my first date during the afternoon, only to discover on arriving that he had got mixed up and thought we were meeting tomorrow!

He called me and apologised profusely – and we had a long chat on the phone – our first actual conversation as all our communications have been via text and voicemails.  This is the one that I have been exchanging texts with for a few months now – and the one who is 15 years younger than me.  He persuaded me not to give up on him, and although I had to refuse his invitation to meet tomorrow (I already have a date planned, and after today I decided two dates in one day is too much!) I look forward to meeting him soon.

I have a further two dates this week – one definitely confirmed and the other I need to check on as we have not spoken since.   So WOW, yes – 4 dates in 4 days!

So with the exception of the younger guy, all the other dates were made within a short time of exchanging messages.  No messing – straight in there.  I really do think this is the way to go.

I am sad to report that the one that I really liked has gone by the bye.  He lived a bit further away, and although I was willing to give the distance thing a try (only 3 hours down the motorway), it seems he was not.  I know he had been unwell, but it felt as though he was cooling on me.  I kept telling myself to let it go – but then he initiated contact again – and so encouraged by my dating guru (the only friend I discuss my sorry tales of woe with) I decided to be bold and ask to meet.

To make it seem casual, I messaged him to say that I was visiting family an hour from him, and hoped that we could meet up.  I kept checking WhatsApp to see if he had picked up the message – and eventually he did. I did not get an answer though, and although I thought that a little strange, I wondered if he was giving it some thought.

Now – I have no issue with ANY of the men that I am conversing with logging into whichever dating site they use. After all – I still do – it is the nature of the game.  But when at 10pm I saw that he was logged into the dating site that we had started communicating on and had STILL not responded, I got pretty pissed off.  More-so with myself as I had allowed myself to start to bond with him by the nature of our conversations and the length of time we had been chatting.

Needless to say, I hurried off a message to say that I got the message and wished him well.  I didn’t wait around for a reply and cleared all our messages from WhatsApp (of which there were many), blocking him in the process.  I also unmatched with him on the dating site.

I was a little sad, as I really liked this guy.  When I also ditched the Viking I was even sadder.  Moreso it felt, then when I discovered Fake-Thomas was not real.  (or maybe with the passage of time I have forgotten how upset I was initially).

Tomorrow’s date is with Tommy-2-houses, as my guru has so kindly nicknamed him.  He is quite a bit older than me but I like the look of him (although he has admitted the picture is a little out of date) and when he called me we got on like a house on fire and the conversation flowed for over an hour.

I am not expecting it to develop into anything – but I am proud of the fact that I am going out of my comfort zone a little.  After all – nothing much was happening with the approach I was taking and so why not?  I may even be surprised and find that I fancy him after all!

Well, that is all for tonight folks.

Carol xOxO

 

 

Dear diary …

12th December 2017 14:00

Oh dear!  I think I might have just blown it with someone rather dishy:-(

My fakedar is so sensitive that I am no longer giving people a chance.  This profile, a really cute guy, messaged me.  I was about to make a joke about him being too cute to be a genuine profile when I saw the detail in his message.  I mean …. it was long.  Of course, my initial response to him confused him somewhat and he asked me to explain.  I tried to keep it light and briefly told him that I had recently been duped, and so I was ultra cautious online, and there were things about his profile that were red flags to me.

Firstly, he claims to be Scandinavian, living in Canada, and moving to the UK in the spring of 2018.  Ok, so that would take care of any grammatical issues.

Secondly, was the very long message he sent to me. Regular guys don’t do this – they say hi, or you’re gorgeous …. or maybe even something a little rude.  They do not send chapter and verse as an introduction.

But then I took a look at his profile – and boy, that was very long and detailed too.  As I read it though, it slowly dawned on me that maybe on this occasion I had got it wrong!  The things he wrote about were very specific and he talked about his siblings, about his job, and about his plans.

Maybe it is time to take a break from online

It seems, dear diary, that I can no longer discern between a real profile and a fake one.  Not surprising really that my fakedar is hypersensitive – I mean, I am coming across up to 5 fake profiles every day.

The realisation that I can no longer trust my own judgement brought me to tears.  Only for a few seconds but nonetheless, as hot tears prickled my cheeks, I resolved that I was just going to leave it alone.

I am not finding what I am looking for – and I have been full-on participating.  Checking out profiles, clicking and swiping – giving guys a second look when I don’t get that gut feeling that yeah, I would like to get to know them better at first glance.

Cancelled guy doesn’t seem to be speaking to me anymore, although he said he understood my reasons for cancelling.  (No, I didn’t tell him about my hangover, but gave a more acceptable – and actually truthful scenario as the reason for my backing out).  He hasn’t picked up my last two messages – and who can blame him?  I know he works through the day and maybe he just didn’t get to them – but hey – I’ve binned guys for being flaky too.

Is there ever any point to compromise?

Of course, there is nice guy – and we chat a lot.  I’m not sure though – that there is enough of a spark between us to take it any further. We had agreed to meet, although a date and time has not been set in stone.  He’s not the pushy type – but hey – it would be good to know he isn’t just going through the motions.

And then there is cute guy.  I actually quite like cute guy, and he is pushing to meet.  Everyday, he tries to persuade me to let him come over.  Trouble is, dear diary, we want different things.  At the outset of this period of online-dating-dalliance, I was very clear in my own mind what I did and didn’t want.  So why am I even considering changing the rules to suit a man that although cute, I don’t actually know?   Ok, so yes, he does message me every day.  Yes, he would travel the 35 or so miles at the drop of a hat if I agreed to see him.  As I have mentioned before, there is a 15 year age gap.  Had I met this guy in a bar, and he asked me out – I am sure I would give it a try.

I think though, that when you haven’t met, it is so much harder to know whether the spark is there or not. Photographs are all well and good, but you need to see the crinkle around their eyes, the upturned mouth as they smile – and more importantly, you need to be drawn to them in such a way that is simply just not possible unless you meet in the skin.

So, dear diary, why don’t I just meet him?  Well, I had agreed to meet him next week – but then he texted me yesterday asking if he could pop in.  I mean, pop in?  You do that when you are around the corner – not when you are 35+ miles away.  I suppose the answer to that is that I don’t want to have to deal with the disappointment if the spark is not there.

Crazy I know …. the truth is – that we have shared a little too much for it to just be an “oh let’s meet and see if we like each other” deal.  I like him. I actually like him.  He insists that he really likes me too.  I’m not so convinced.  I think he enjoys the banter and likes the fact that I am not easily phased if he tries to become a little risque.  After all, we are both adults – and I am more than capable of taking him down a peg or two if needed.  Which I have – and do!

Ok, so I was a bit naughty this morning and let him think that he could come over – and when he was all “wow” about it … I countered that I hadn’t finished my sentence.  He didn’t reply after that.  I don’t blame him really … I mean … he can’t make it any plainer.  But then, I can’t make it any plainer either what my deal is.  He agrees to it and then he tries to change the plan.

So, dear diary, I am not convinced that I will meet him.  Maybe then, I should let him off the hook that he seems to be dangling from.  I’m not one to be a spoilsport – but yes, I can be a bit of a tease if I have a mind to be.  Between the two of us, I rather think it is I who is playing games.

A second bite at the cherry?

Well, the rather dishy guy who I accused of being fake has messaged me again. I have decided to interact with him but just be cautious – as I always am.  I mean, nothing ventured nothing gained right?  And if he does turn out to be fake, it can only hurt me if I fall for it.  That, dear diary, is not something I will let happen again.

Oh, and Captain Lindegaard is back on Facebook.  Albeit he has shared that he is keeping his profile private.  I don’t blame him.  There is a gang of men misappropriating his identity and his images.  It incenses me that Facebook, where the majority of the fake profiles are – do nothing to tackle this issue.

I’m also getting a little weary of some of the more persistent messages that I receive on my Facebook page.  I mean, seriously, all contributions to the cause are to be applauded – but please, don’t give me a hard time about who I am – anyone who wants to know who I am can check me out by following the links to my websites or my blog!

That dear diary, is all I have to say for now …. as my fingers and toes are cold and I need to go switch the heating on!

Later

Carol xOxO

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Image of Captain Thomas Lindegaard.

As ever, images of Captain Thomas Lindegaard are used with his kind permission.  Copyright remains with him and these should not be used for any reason without his explicit consent.

If you are approached on any site from a profile using images of this man (Captain Thomas Lindegaard), please be aware that there is a Tsunami of fake profiles out there using his images.

Dear diary …

10th December, 2017 @ 09:47

Well, dear diary, I have pretty much lost the past two days.  Newcastle on Thursday didn’t happen which was a huge disappointment as I had been looking forward to it.  Instead, my girlfriend and I headed off into town for a few drinks.  My protestations that I wasn’t going to have too much went out the window; one sip of the gorgeousness that is the Margarita cocktail at Macy’s was enough to tip me over into – well, I’m not quite sure what but I have no idea why I hammered it so much that night.

The first of many!

The evening was pleasant enough, as it always is with my friend – we had a bit of a deep and meaningful (as much as you can when fuelled by alcohol) about something that is going on in our lives, and then it was to home – after Cheesy Chips from the not-so-dodgy-kebab-shop nearby.

Well that, my dear diary, was a HUGE mistake.  I won’t gross you out with the details, but suffice to say I was regretting the decision to have quite so many cocktails for two days

Yes, you read that right – TWO WHOLE DAYS lost to the queasiness and hungoverness that was me for the next 48 hours.  I had to kiss goodbye to my coffee date in a nearby city and I pretty much spent the next two days recovering in bed.

Never again, I lamented – we’ve heard that before, responded the rather cute guy that was the only joy amongst the detritus that was me over those few days.  Of course, the joy was at a safe text-only-distance. I could banter to my heart’s content with him without having to get out of bed to clean off the remnants of Thurday night’s makeup.  Yes, dear diary – I was THAT bad.

Is there a reason for my over the top drunkeness?

Hmmm …. good question. I reflected on what went wrong.  After all, I have always enjoyed a good drink but it has been many years since I got into the kind of state that I was in Thursday.  I clearly can’t be trusted around Margarita’s anymore – so they are well and truly off the menu!

Ok, so the past few weeks have actually been a lot of fun in as much as I have enjoyed writing, and I have enjoyed being focused on a project – the #FakeProfileFightback campaign.  I have played to the humour of my woes of dating as a middle aged woman, and I have continued to report fake profiles when I have come across them – yesterday, I reported no less than FIVE fake profiles on Match.com.  I also came across a fake profile on Tinder – but simply unmatched as the only proof I had was the fact that he was 3.5k miles away, and the rather inane message.  It went like this:

What a beautiful smile you have on your face no doubt, if someone can see through the heart your heart must be as beautiful as the smile on your face.

Uggh.  I guess one of the saddest things that has come out of my dupee-status is that it is now near impossible for anyone to say anything nice to me.  Yes sure, I believe I am a good soul, and what you see is what you get.  That said, this guy does not know me from Adam, and that is not the typical first message one would receive.

Indeed, first messages are a really good indicator of whether the profile is fake.  Too much detail.  Poor English.  Good English but the misuse of s on the end of words – essentially rendering the word plural where it does not make sense to use a plural word. I could go on; let’s leave that one there for now and get back to my original question.

What is going on with me?

 

The answer to that is I am not really sure.  Now that the frantic writing and posting has slowed down, I guess I am actually feeling quite disappointed that, despite spending a considerable amount of money on paid memberships to dating sites, I have yet to have one date.  Ok – so I did have a date Friday that I had to cancel – that though, was not from a paid for site.

I also had the opportunity to meet up with cute guy, but to be honest, although I like him and I enjoy the banter between us – it is clear we want different things.  I protest that I am happy just to have a little fun meeting people without any expectations – but to be honest my heart is not really in it if at the outset the object of my interest is not looking for at least the potential of a relationship.

Ok, so I do believe that cute guy is actually much nicer than he lets on and is hiding behind his stated objective.  He is though, 15 years younger than me – and whereas he has made absolutely no mention of my age, and professes to really like my pictures (which are all very recent), I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment.

There is another side to how I feel, though, one that I am a little reluctant to share.  I miss the Captain.  Crazy isn’t it?  I’m not really sure whether I miss Fake-Thomas or the small interaction I had with Real-Thomas.  Whatever pragmatism that came over me when I finally found out that Thomas Falconer was a dupe, it can’t be denied that for nearly 3 weeks I had developed a bond with this guy.

I always knew that I was determined to enjoy the journey no matter how things ended up.  Sure, none of it was real – but the emotions and the feelings were, triggered as they were by my over active amygdala.

Where did it all go wrong?

My whole adult life, I have only had THREE serious relationships.  Two of those were with the same man.  You can read about that one and the resultant fallout here:  Lost love.

I do recall proclaiming at 16 that I would never marry.  It was not that I did not want to marry, I just hadn’t had the best example of a happy marriage growing up – and it put me off.  I’m not going to turn this post into a debate about childhood angst, although that is something I will return to later with my professional hat on.

I recall my father saying to me in my 30s that my best years were behind me – and I really should think about settling down.  Sure, I had flings and crushes, but nothing ever lasted very long.  I did fall very much in love – or so I thought – with Paul, in the year that my father died.

I had been single for quite a while, having ended my relationship with the second serious guy (after ending my first serious relationship to have the chance to go out with him.)

We met on a night out, and it was one of those connections, that for me, was instant.  Initially we spent a lot of time together, and although I was a bit closed off from sharing my emotions, I felt exceptionally happy that I had found this guy, and believed he was THE ONE.  Then he dropped a bombshell.

Life can be so cruel

Here was a guy that I was madly in love with, albeit I had not shared with him how I felt.  One weekend, when he was staying with me, we were lazing around when he suddenly seemed quiet and serious.  I joked:

“It feels as though you are about to say you can’t see me anymore”.

Instinctive though I am, I really did not believe what I was saying – or maybe I just didn’t want to. When he confirmed to me that was indeed what he was saying, the bottom fell out of my heart.

He asked that he could stay for the remainder of the weekend, so that we could enjoy our last time together. Really?  I mean really?  He had just broken my heart – and yet he wanted me to play nice.  In somewhat of a daze, I agreed to go to a park with him.  There he tried to entice me to play some kind of bizarre game – I don’t quite recall it, but I remember it reflected how different he was from other guys I had met.

So, to the evening, when it was time for him to leave.

I was so upset I could hardly speak.  He went upstairs to gather his things, and when he returned, he found me on the telephone (no mobile phones in those days, dear diary), confirming an arrangement to meet.  He asked me who I was arranging to meet, and I lied to him.  I made out that I was meeting another man – I wanted to prick through to his heart in the hopes that he would come to his senses and take back what he had told me earlier in the day.

Instead, he simply closed his eyes, and I saw the tears roll down his cheeks.

Why?  Why are you doing this when you so clearly care for me as much as I do you?

Of course, these words, screeching though they were, were in my head, and not a sound passed my lips.

I could not look at him, let alone speak to him as he left.  As soon as the door was closed, I dissolved into tears.  Life, at this point, dear diary, felt so unfair.

I had thought to follow him, but I didn’t see the point, as his mind was made up.  Although in a subsequent telephone conversation he had said to me he kept turning around on his way to the train station, hoping that I had come after him.

The bravest thing anyone of us can do when life is tough is – LIVE

I know that he thought he was doing the right thing, and I know that life had felt very tough for him over the last year.  What he hadn’t shared with me in the short time I had known him was that he had applied to join the army.  He did not want what was happening with me to derail that – as he believed that joining the army was the only way to salvage what he believed to be the remnants of his disintegrated life.

Of course, it didn’t end there.  There were telephone conversations, and tears and tantrums. Ok, so I admit, the tantrum was from me not him.

On one particular evening, I was screaming like a banshee down the phone at him.  So concerned was he that he asked a friend (the guy he was with when we met) to drive him over from his town to mine.  Knowing that he would come, I put on a great show of hauling a case downstairs and filling it with clothes.

When he arrived, he checked I was okay, took in the case, and asked me where I was going.  I rather haughtily informed him that I was moving to London (I had lived in the south previously for 7 years, so it wasn’t that ridiculous a statement, dear diary).

I don’t recall what he said to me, but I do remember that he left. My little ploy had not worked.  He hadn’t changed his mind, and we were still broken up.

Oh well (I thought), I’m already packed – so I might as well move to London after all!

And that, dear diary, is how I came to move back down south!

Second time round was not so good

I might have lived in the south for 7 years quite happily three years previously, but when I returned – living and working in London – I hated it.

I hated that it took me so long to get to work, I hated my job, I hated sharing a house with people I didn’t know, and I hated being away from him.  Of course, even if I had stayed in my home town, I would have still been away from him.

Within six months, I was so depressed that I just had to come home.  One morning, as I sat drying my very long hair, I just could not face the commute into Victoria Street where I worked.  Instead, I gathered my belongings together and booked a cab.  As the driver took me to Kings Cross we chatted.  He said to me, wisely, there are other jobs and other places to live.  My mind was made up – I was going home.

So I arrived back at my house, which fortunately I had not rented out this time, and dumped my belongings.  I then walked the short distance to my parents house and let myself in.  As I greeted my father, he said:

Hello, what are you doing here?

My response:

I got depressed so I came home.

His response:

Fair enough, put the kettle on will you?

And that, dear diary, was the extent of that conversation.

Over the next few weeks I did the round of the employment agencies, and secured myself a temping PA role at a major pharmaceutical company about 20 miles away.  I was due to start work on the Monday, and I was just keeping my head low.  I had not washed my hair or bathed for some days, and I certainly wasn’t expecting any visitors.

Life can throw up the most amazing surprises

I recall it was 10pm when I heard a knock at the door.  Who on earth could that be?  I wasn’t expecting anyone, and I certainly wasn’t going to open the door with greasy hair and clothes that could do with being in the wash pile rather than on me.

I resolutely ignored the knocking – but it continued, and continued – whoever this was had no intention of leaving without seeing me.  So, I dragged myself up from where I lay on the settee – and as I approached the door – I quite simply stopped in my tracks.

Even through the frosted glass windows of the door, I recognised that frame.  I would know it anywhere.  Why?  Because, dear diary, I had been in love with him since the day I met him!

For a few seconds I was frozen.  What!??  How could I open the door to him looking (and probably smelling) as though I hadn’t washed in weeks??

Of course, I did.  And there he stood – that stupid cheeky grin on his face, and holding a bottle of red wine.  I think I said something along the lines of “what are you doing here”. I don’t remember the response, but of course, I let him through the door.

That he turned up at my doorstep was simply bewildering.  After all – how did he know that I had returned from London?  Ok, so he may not have quite believed me when I proclaimed I was moving to London – but we had spoken on the telephone and he knew that I was actually living there.  To this day, I still do not know how he knew I was back home.  After all, it had only been a few weeks since I returned.  Of course, he could have telephoned my aunt (where I was first staying) as that is where I called him from. Or perhaps he didn’t really believe that I had moved to London!  Who knows.  As I say, I never did find out.

The twitching of the eye and the stumbling words

Yes, dear diary, that was me.  As I sat on one settee, and he on the other – I quite simply was twitching of the eye, and stumbling over my words.  I was also repeating myself, which he teased me about. I was also throwing cushions at him.

Somehow, we ended up on the same settee.  I tried to push him away from me as I was soooo embarrassed about my greasy hair.  It was very long at the time, and although it definitely needed a good wash, it did hang rather nicely!  So, it may have looked nice, but it certainly did not smell nice and I did not want him getting too close to me.

He laughed at this, as he recalled how I had always had a thing about how clean my hair was.  It wasn’t long though, dear diary, before I was in his arms and tasting the sweet kisses of the man I had not stopped loving in the time we had been apart.

I pushed him out of the door, ignoring his pleadings to be allowed to stay the night. No – I will see you in the morning as arranged, I told him resolutely.

That night I hardly slept, and the next morning I took special care to make sure my hair was squeaky clean and I looked as good as I could.  The frizzon of excitement as he drove up the next morning made me dizzy with anticipation.  As he fussed around me in the car, making sure I was comfortable, I really didn’t know what to think.

He drove us to the lake district and we had a lovely day.  We ate a nice lunch, we played some pool, and then later still he teased me for proclaiming what a wonderful view the mountains made.  He had a prior arrangement with friends, and so had to get back to meet with them in the early evening.

When we arrived back, and as I gathered my things – he asked if he could come over after he had met with his friends.  I hurriedly told him that I didn’t think that was a good idea as I flounced out of the car.  I telephoned my girlfriends and arranged to go out with them that evening.  I had half expected him to turn up (as he had done on other occasions), but he did not.

As I lay alone in my bed, I reflected on why I had given him the cold shoulder.  Why I hadn’t encouraged him to come over once he had met with his friends.  I suppose the answer to that one is that I couldn’t cope with him turning up like that.  I had  been in a very low mood – and I guess I simply pushed him away.  Did I want to get back with him?  Hell yes!  I had since the day he broke it off with me.

So as the day progressed … I hovered anxiously near the phone.  Wanting to call him (as I knew he would be staying with his mother and step-father) but not daring to.  It took me THREE hours to pluck up the courage to call.

His mother answered the phone, and although we had never met, she knew enough about me to know who I was.  I had just missed him – he had quite simply just left a few minutes before to return to his army base. Hang on, she beseeched – and she hightailed after him and brought him back to the house to speak to me.

To say he was surprised to hear from me was an understatement.  The best I could do was mumble:

Don’t be a stranger.

To this he responded that he thought I didn’t want to have anything to do with him. I don’t really recall what I said to him, but the next thing out of his mouth was this:

Do you love me?

What!!!??

I had never once told him how I felt about him – and I wasn’t about to now.  All I could utter was some profanity which had him roaring with laughter (he knew I wasn’t really one for using bad language).

So, dear diary, we said our goodbyes. Again!

Unexpected tragedy

Some months later, we discovered that my father had terminal cancer.  This had come as quite a shock, as he had not complained of feeling ill.  He had though, returned early from Portugal where he was looking for a suitable place for he and my mother to winter.

Although I was in shock at this news, I went into some kind of “sensible” automaton mode.  The one person I did want to share this news with though, was Paul.  So I rang his barracks and asked them to pass a message on.  When he called me later, it turned out that soldiers with guns had pulled him off an exercise so that he could return to barracks and call me.  Oh, that was a tad embarrassing.

As time went on, the surgeons stabilised my father enough for him to return home.  He lasted only three weeks.

He died at 3am with his family around him.  Not I though, I was in the next room – I couldn’t bring myself to be there as his breathing was so laboured, and the stark contrast with the silences as his breathing gradually slowed was too much to bare.

At 9am, I called the barracks, and asked that they could let Paul know that my father had passed away; I also asked them not to interrupt if he was in the middle of something.

Within a very short time, the phone rang and it was him.  His CO had offered him the use of the phone in his office, but he had said that he wanted to take the call in private.

We talked, and he asked me to visit him.  I responded that it really wasn’t possible for me to do that as I needed to be with my family, and so he arranged to get leave and came up that weekend to stay with me.

My father knew about Paul, and now and then he would ask me about him. In his hospital bed, he asked me if I had spoken with him, and I told him that I had.  He replied “everything will turn out ok then”.  My brother said to me later, he just wanted to know that you would be alright.

So, dear diary, it was a very strange weekend for me.  My father had just died, but I felt a sense of happiness at having the man I loved beside me.

Rather trepidatiously, I asked him what this meant for us.  I will never, to this day, understand why he told me that we were together again.

My happiness was short lived.  He did call me a couple of times although unfortunately I was out with friends.  I will never know why he did this – but he quite simply stopped calling.  No explanation – nothing.

The pain I felt was indescribable.  Here I was, recently bereaved, and the focus should have been on my father.  Instead, I was hurting over a man who had quite simply dumped me again.

That dear diary, was not the last time I heard from him again.  But it was the last time I ever saw him.

A few months later I collapsed at work with stress.  I took some time off, and my sister and her husband took me to a nearby camping ground with their caravan and their dog.  I spent a few days there but cut it short when the weather turned bad.

What I could not know, dear diary, as I reflected on how weird it would be if Paul was nearby – was that – he actually was.

I had dialled into my voicemail at home – and there was this bizarre beagle howl.  This could only be one person.  The beagle thing and the howl was a joke between us.  When I returned home the phone rang.  It was him.  We spoke for a while – and then he said something to me that made me see red.

I left him in no uncertain terms what I thought of him – and I never heard from him again.  Oh, except that one Christmas there was again a frantic knock at the door at 10pm.  In those days, there wasn’t really anyone that I knew who would call at that hour.

This time, dear diary, I did not answer it.

I think it took about 10 years for me to get over what had happened, and to stop secretly hoping that our paths would cross again.  Now, as a woman in her mature years – I can see it for what it was.  At the time, it felt as though I had lost THE ONE.

Sadly, and I am not entirely sure why – I’ve kept men at arms length  Okay well, maybe I do know why.

You will see, if you read my lost love post, that I did have another chance of happiness that came in October 2011.  I reunited with my first serious boyfriend.  We had been engaged, but grew apart.  Or at least, I grew apart from him.  The second time around, I ended it again three months after he moved to South Africa.

So, to get back to my original question – what is wrong with me?

I think there is a small amount of sadness that I thought I had found someone special in Fake-Thomas.  I mean, if I hadn’t been affected by what happened then I wouldn’t be human, right?

I won’t dwell on it though – I have experienced much worse in my life.  After all, it is not what goes wrong that counts – it is how you deal with it.

I am dear diary, proud of the lemonade that I made from life’s lemons on this occasion.

Later

Carol xOxO

Website     Facebook page      Twitter  @BeYourBestSelf2 / Twitter @FakeDatingRebel   Social Media Groups

Image of Captain Thomas Lindegaard.

As ever, images of Captain Thomas Lindegaard are used with his kind permission.  Copyright remains with him and these should not be used for any reason without his explicit consent.

If you are approached on any site from a profile using images of this man (Captain Thomas Lindegaard), please be aware that there is a Tsunami of fake profiles out there using his images.

Dear diary …

6th December 2017, 08:40

Well, dear diary, it was my birthday yesterday.  So I took the day off from all things social media, save for Mr Facebook where birthday greetings were popping up.  It is nice to get those messages, particularly when you live alone. The dog doesn’t much care whether it is my birthday and so I keep telling him, “hey, it’s my birthday, come give mamma a cuddle”. Sure he cuddled me – but not because it was my birthday.

Received this from a dog walking acquaintance – pretty and rather nice sentiment.

I had high expectations, dear diary, for this birthday. There would be loving attention from my new paramour, and we would have finalised our arrangements to meet and celebrate our birthdays which were weeks apart.  Oh wait – none of that was real.  That’s right, dear diary, I was consigned to spending the day ALONE, yet again.  Sad?  Well, not really.  Let me explain why.

On Monday evening I had dinner with good friends.  Fairly new friends, but friends like I never had before.  Ok, so actually, that is not quite true – I did have one (still do but never see her these days as we don’t live close by and she is always super busy) but I haven’t had friends that do so much for me and welcome me into their home so regularly – and live just the other side of the park!  I found it a little too full on initially, however, this woman – although she continues to infuriate me now and again when she crosses my boundaries (yep, still have those), she is good to me and good for me.

I like her husband too – so it makes for amiable get-togethers.  In fact, the only dissension is that our pooches can be quite rowdy together.  Here they are when they were less so .. (damn, I can’t get Dillon to look at the camera!).

Dillon and his best pal Spot

The morning was an excruciatingly early start, as I had signed up and paid to go to a business network meeting.  This was being held at a new local restaurant – and I quite wrongly assumed it was an evening function.  I was not best pleased when I realised, but at least I did – and wasn’t a no-show, turning up expectantly in the evening; and being disappointed!

I had the option of going to a Match.com singles night that was being held in Leeds, but decided that it was a bit too far away and that a singles night did not justify the expense of the train and a hotel.

So I spent the day quietly, reading my birthday messages and drinking cocktails.  Slurp.  I bought some delicious cheese from the local shop and had one of those lazy days that are a luxury.

At teatime, I decided that I would treat myself to a banquet of chinese food via Just Eat.  I received a text notification at 18:05 to say my food was on its way.  I was still waiting over half an hour later, and as I abhor poor customer service, this put me in a bit of a whingey mood.  I was convinced the food would arrive cold, and having taken a closer look at the reviews, was also convinced that it would not taste good.

Several phone calls and IM chats later, my food arrived 50 minutes after the text notification.  The appetisers were indeed lukewarm, however, the remainder of the meal was hot.  It was just a shame that I was unable to recognise the shredded cucumber and veg that was meant to accompany my duck pancakes – I found them later.

The celebrations don’t end there though – I’m off to a nearby city Thursday with a girlfriend and I am sure we will have one or two cocktails to mark my birthday.

A momentary moment of sadness

So a full tum and a few more cocktails restored my humour.  I did, however, experience a momentary moment of intense sadness.  This birthday was supposed to be so different.  It was meant to be spent full of anticipation of meeting the guy that I believed would be so important in my life going forward.

I shook this off, and, having finished the cava that was the base for my cocktails, poured myself a rather stiff gin and tonic which was part of the very generous birthday gift that newbie-friend gave me the night before.

I am not one to wallow.  At least, not anymore.  I used to believe in a good wallow – a visit though, rather than a long stay.  Not so much these days.  I tend to reflect and then move on – distracting myself with something positive. Much as I did when I started my website and blog to work through  my feelings at been duped.

So what is next for me?

I will continue to blog about my dating woes, as long as it pleases me to do so.  I have now paid up to Zoosk, as although this is one that I had not rated, it came highly recommended in an article I was reading.  So far, I have had some interesting conversations, but I haven’t come across anyone that I want to have a real live date with yet.
As for Match.com – I noticed that cute guy had viewed my profile again.  So, I excitedly (ok, well, half excitedly) sent him a THIRD message, simply saying Boo!  Ok, so I have no idea why this guy winked at me, viewed me multiple times, and has not responded to my messages.  Either he is a fake profile designed to make the site look busy, or he is super shy.  I quite like shy men – but like my dogs, I don’t want one so shy that they won’t engage.
It is unusual for me to send two messages let alone three when I don’t get a response.  There was something about cute guy though, that made me want to get to know him better.  Oh well, another one bites the dust.
The business network meeting that I went to was good, although I thought a little expensive for breakfast (nice though it was) and a small gathering.  In fact, the organiser shared that until the lunch time the day before, there were only two people signed up to attend.  One of them was me – and the other was actually a friend of mine.
As it turned out, there were some good contacts there that invited me to meet for a coffee, and so I look forward to that next week. Who knows, some collaboration may come of it, but I also know that to want to work with me …. you have to meet me.  I’m one of those people that either draws you in or I don’t – and if you are hanging on my every word in a face to face, then it is a good bet that you value what I am saying. One size does not fit all, and it is the relationship (or potential relationship) that you buy into.

Captain McDreamy is no more

The other thing that I did yesterday was cut my ties with Captain McDreamy.  It was time to let him go.  I no longer follow him on Twitter or Instagram, and I no longer fight his battle by hunting down fake profiles using his images and identity.  That after all, is his problem, dear diary.
I will though, continue to out any fake profiles that I come across, whether they contain his image or others.  It is a sad reflection that every couple of days at least, I am approached by someone who is a fake.  If I suspect as much, I simply ask them what they would say if I told them that I had been duped and that I am now ultra cautious.  They soon disappear, I can tell you.

Getting back to the day job

It has been fun blogging about my dating woes, and I think that it is important to keep the message going, as there are women out there who do still fall for these dupes.  I will do so now, more from a professional point of view – as an add on if you will, to my professional endeavours.  I will continue to share parts of my WhatsApp Romance as I think it would be useful to share the messages that actually hooked me in.  Also, the ones where there were ever so slight red flags.  So imperceptible that I dismissed them –  not out of hand, as I did consider whether they were evidence of fakery, but hey – there were plausible explanations for his hair being slightly longer in one video than the other.
Attending the business networking meeting reminded me what I am good at, and fired up my enthusiasm to get cracking.  I had taken a sort of sabbatical in the last year or so as I dealt with a health issue.  That is now under control, and I have no excuse for not getting back to the work I love.  I had lapsed my professional website domain, but on arriving home purchased a new one.  So I now have three to keep me occupied!  Each a different aspect of my professional life.

Would that we see ourselves as others do

I have been chatting a lot via IM to a real life friend who lives out of town.  She recently asked me for help with a particular thing in her life, and the conversation progressed to – actually – what is the root of any issue that may be present.  (I am after all, a coach, right?).  I took, the opportunity, though, as part of my endeavour to have her see herself through the eyes of another to ask her what my top three strengths were.  She came up with this:
1.  Good communicator
2.  Excellent skills at writing engaging prose
3.  Good at reading people

This is nothing that I don’t already know about myself, but even for confident peeps like me, it is gratifying to have that recognition.

I then asked her what her top three strengths were.  At first, as I knew she would, she struggled and resorted to self-deprecation.  She did though, come up with three – however, they were more about what she does than who she is.  It is clear that my lovely friend, though outwardly confident and bolshy, is lacking in self esteem.
Now I do believe that self esteem is fluid.  I know there are times when my own can diminish somewhat.  That said, this is less often, and even in very low times where I experience clinical depression – my self esteem remains reasonably intact.   This is a welcome change, and reveals to me that what is happening to me is burn out of some kind that has affected both my mood and my thinking, which does become skewed – as it does for all people who experience depressive episodes.
Self esteem, though, is the core root to a lot of ills.  We live in such a fast paced society these days where we are bombarded with images of perfection. For me – also somewhat of a perfectionist (but less so these days, I would hope), one of the most revealing and welcome reflections from studying for my masters, was that I learned to do “just enough” to pass.  At the time I had been away from work for 3 years (all with a mortgage and no means of support other than a student loan), I had THREE part time jobs.  I did not have the time, therefore, to procrastinate over every piece of work.
During my under grad degree – I worked my ass off – not because I was a perfectionist so much, but because I thought I NEEDED to work that hard to just scrape a pass.  As it happens, I came out with a First Class degree.  My third year, though, was less frantic than peers.  The first three months of my first year I played a little more than I worked, so used was I to having to be constrained to an office 9-5.  It was a curious sense of freedom to be able to pop into the student union at 11am if I wanted to and have a pint!
After the first semester though, I knuckled down. My second year, I worked equally hard, learning my craft.  I had, after all, been away from formal education for over 20 years.  This meant, that by my third year, I was so relaxed that I sailed through it, the words of one of my lecturers ringing in my head after I had asked the question: all you need to do to achieve a good degree is work 9-5.  Ok, so he did not mean 9-5 literally; what he meant was, that you did not have to work every hour god sent.

My plans for 2018

So, dear diary, my plans for 2018 are pretty much formed without having given it much thought.  I will work towards furthering my professional aspirations, and continue to grow my coaching practice.

Oh, and I also have a visit to Canada to look forward to.  When a friend moved out there 3 years ago I promised I would visit.  It is time to keep that promise.

Well, dear diary, that is all I have time for.  Time to get back to some household chores, as they have been rather neglected of late.  Then to re-conceive my professional website and get that up and running.

As ever, if anything I have written about here resonates with you, please do comment, like and share.

Later,

Carol xOxO

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