Posts filed under 'Dating'

Yes really, take your mother’s advice!

As a dating and relationship enthusiast and expert, I have often pondered the age-old quandary of first date conversation. Not only is it important for the conversation to be appropriate, it is important that it can produce a positive outcome, like a second date!

 

Of course, I am not alone…Almost everyone has their own version of first date rules that they have read, heard, made up, or tried out. I have heard men say ridiculous things like, “Men have to keep the women talking about themselves the whole time.” And I have heard women say ridiculous things like “You have to make sure not to appear too independent.” In my experience, most rules like these actually prohibit you from getting to know each other better.

 

Let’s get serious. There is no one magic trick or recipe to make sure you ace a first date. There are way too many variables. The most important thing to remember in order to have the best date possible is to do what your mother always told you. Mind you manners and be polite. This does not just mean saying please and thank you. Although that is a good place to start. It means having polite conversation, an art that seems to be vanishing these days. As weird as it sounds, good manners will make you stand out in the modern dating arena.

 

Polite conversation means, first and foremost, absolutely no talking about the big three, sex, politics, or religion. I know these are important factors in knowing if you would want to cultivate a long-term relationship with someone, but they can wait until a few dates down the road. Just concentrate on enjoying each other’s company at first.

 

Some people will not agree with me on this one… But I highly recommend that you do not, touch, text, answer, or even look at your cell phone, especially if you are having dinner. This will immediately send the message that your mind is somewhere else. Also, it will put your date in the awkward place of trying to mind their own business while you are displaying your business in their face. Turn it off or leave it in the car if you have to.

 

Whatever your date asks you, do not engage in conversation about your ex. Why? Bad-mouthing people is never polite, so complaining about your ex is out.  If you adore and miss your ex, you are making your date uncomfortable, which is also impolite. It is best to just avoid any and all conversation about past relationships when you are first getting to know someone. No matter what you may think, they will judge you by your ex.

 

One last topic to avoid all together is one that seems should go without saying, but you wouldn’t believe how much I hear that this has come up on a first date… Mental illness or emotional problems are never ever appropriate to talk about on a first date. Can you believe I even have to say it?! Do not talk about your narcissistic mother, or your stint in rehab, your emotionally abusive ex, or the anti anxiety medication you have in your medicine cabinet. If you don’t understand why these are topics to avoid, please just trust me.

 

One final very important thing to keep in mind when you are on a first date, it is not just about you and what you want. While it is important for you to be figuring out if you would like to get to know the other person better, it is also important that you are thinking of them and if they are having a good time. Think about it, don’t you wish they were trying to make sure you are having a good time? Remember that other thing your mother always told you, the golden rule… Do I really have to say it?

March 13th, 2009

New dating lingo proposed for singles over 40

Are you single, over the age of 40, and dating? Do you feel silly calling someone you are dating your boyfriend, or girlfriend? You are not alone. When I hear those words, I picture blushing and giggly teenagers.  At this stage in your life, you are obviously men and women, not boys and girls. With the evolution of later life dating, why hasn’t the lingo caught up?

 I am proposing that singles unite and develop some new dating language. Using the words boy and girl to describe attached singles over forty seems to imply that they are less mature than their married counter-parts. While this may be true for a select few recent divorcees, people do not deserve this kind of stereotyping and persecution.  Singles take enough heat.

The Dating Partner

Many singles over 40 have a person (or people) with whom they casually go out with on a regular or semi regular basis. I think the term “dating partner” would work nicely to describe this type of relationship. A person who is your partner for dates and social functions, but not your exclusive significant other. This term could also be used to describe someone you have just started seeing, but it has not (yet?) evolved into anything serious.

 I actually can’t take credit for this one. I had a friend who used to use the term dating partner when she was “sowing her wild oats.” At first I chuckled, then I got used to it, then it made so much sense, I have been using it ever since! I have not been able to get it to catch on single handedly so I need your help!

The Companion

And what about people who are in exclusive long term relationships, but are not planning a wedding? In your teens or twenties, even early thirties, you would have considered this person your boyfriend or girlfriend. Consider the alternatives. “Lady friend” is a nice term for men to use, but it sounds very casual, and it doesn’t go both ways. “man friend” sounds ridiculous. In this instance I think the word “companion” works perfectly. You could say male companion or female companion if you’d prefer. This one has been around for a long time, but it is too far under the radar. Let’s bring it out and use it proudly!

Mature Words for Mature People

 Those of you dating while in your wiser years have different priorities than when you were young and foolish. You have learned from your mistakes and are much more sure of yourself this time around. You are well established and know what kind of people you enjoy being around. Your hormones have calmed down and your taste has become more refined. You don’t want a boyfriend or girlfriend to giggle and dream about. You want a compatible dating partner, or a companion to spend time with.

These words won’t effortlessly roll off your tongue from the beginning, but I promise if you give it a valiant effort, it will become easy and it will make so much more sense. And next time you have to go up to your boss to get time off to do something with your significant other’s family, you won’t have to sheepishly use the words boyfriend or girlfriend.

August 22nd, 2008

Are you making a big dating mistake?

Let’s face it. Everyone commits dating blunders. Nerves and anxiety often make singles behave differently than normal on a first date. Everyone has felt that anxious pang of embarrassment…  “Oh no! “ Why did I say that? “ Why did I order such a messy entrée?” Or,“Why didn’t I get that new outfit?” Many of what you might consider dating mistakes or blunders are often far from critical. Avoiding certain mistakes, however, can be very important to the success of your dating and ultimately finding a companion.   

The “Wish list”

 Almost all single people have that idea of the perfect companion in their minds. A wish list with all of the characteristics and personality traits they desire in a partner. Many singles make an actual list, whether for their own reasons, or because they have joined a service, such as Table for Two.  This can be a very helpful tool, if not taken too far or too literally. Sometimes people get a little carried away, describing the perfect person and expecting them to fall into their lap, (or even to exist at all.) Unfortunately, finding a companion is not as easy as picking out a new cell phone, where you get to choose all of the features you want. Phones are designed to be what consumers want them to be.  People, on the other hand, are just themselves.

 Don’t let your list hold you back 

 Wish lists are great, mainly in a more broad sense, whether you have joined a service or not. Do be honest and thorough with them, but also be flexible. Use them to find the kind of person you want, with a similar lifestyle, and values, and to help avoid incompatibility.  In a service such as Table for Two, where professional matchmakers are at work on your behalf, or even dating on your own, loosening up your wish list could end up being a great thing. You might meet someone with a personality trait or lifestyle choice that you find charming or endearing, but never knew you did. One you never thought of to put on your wish list! Making sure a potential companion fits “big picture” things on your list, such as, honest, hardworking, balanced, or open-minded is obviously necessary to find compatibility. Knowing yourself and what is important to you is a good thing when dating. However holding a potential companion up to the scrutiny of fitting 100% of criteria on your wish list is pretty unrealistic. In other words, holding out for someone who has everything on your wish list could be holding you back. 

A better way to judge your first date

 The way to get the most out of dating is to open your mind. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t picture your future with someone on or before a first date. You don’t know them well enough to do this accurately and the conclusions you draw may discount someone that could potentially be a great companion for you.  Focus instead on getting to know that person. You may just find that you are enjoying yourself with someone that you never imagined you would date. It is important to share core values, but don’t ask yourself questions like…   “Are they similar to others I have dated?”  “Do we do all of the same activities?” Or; “ How many characteristics on my wish list do they fit?”  Instead, ask yourself questions such as… “Are they intriguing to me?” “ Am I enjoying their company?“ Is the conversation interesting and stimulating?”  If you answer yes to these questions you are having a successful first date. A successful first date does not mean you can immediately picture long-term compatibility. It just means you are going on a second date. If you fall in love and a long-term relationship does develop, the small details tend to seem much less important and have a way of working themselves out. 

Perspective on chemistry 

The word chemistry gets thrown around a lot in the world of singles and dating. Everyone seems to have an opinion about it. The most common misconception about chemistry is that it is always instant. Singles are always looking for that “spark” that turns into a fiery passion. Remember this, a fire can start out warm and smoldering and grow into a blazing inferno, just as a giant explosion can quickly dwindle out. Chemistry can grow, and initial sparks can fizzle out. Don’t judge the success of your first date purely on that initial spark. If you found the other person interesting and enjoyed yourself, go on the second and third date, to see if the chemistry grows or fizzles.  Talk to your happily coupled and married friends. (They are out there) Ask them if their partner fits all the criteria that was on their single “wish list.” Most of them will agree that they just fit the big picture.

1 comment July 28th, 2008

50+ Dating Scene

More than 25 million baby boomers are single, according to recent studies. But if you’re 50+ and new to the dating scene – or simply tired of meeting the wrong types of people – it’s not always easy to find potential mates who fit your needs.

Some baby boomers try local pickup joints, which are typically filled with 20-somethings who seem like they’re speaking another language. And even the most dedicated 50+ single can get overwhelmed by the pumping music, the pierced noses and lips, and the sheer number of young people who pour into these clubs like lemmings to a cliff.

Others may check online dating services, like eHarmony.com. Although the pool of possible candidates is much larger, the impersonal service and almost non-existent screening process means you could easily end up on a date with someone who claims to be the Frank Sinatra type but instead resembles Archie Bunker.

For baby boomer singles, finding a potential mate can be like searching for a decent TV show. You have to sift through a lot of dirt before you find a gem. Fortunately, there are a few options that can help you filter out the trash and find your perfect match:

Get a commitment-free first impression!

A relative newcomer to the dating scene, speed dating services allow you to meet with a selection of potential mates for a short period of time. At a speed dating session, the women sit at individual stations in a room. At the sound of a bell, each man pairs up with a woman for a few minutes–usually about five. When the bell rings again, the men rotate seats and spend five minutes with another woman. This continues until all the men have met all the women. At the end of the session, you decide if you’re interested in any of your “speed dates.” If you choose a person who’s also expressed an interest in you, the service will help you connect. Many speed dating sessions are narrowed into categories, so you can find one for single baby boomers, older professionals or even retirees.

Find it: Check your local yellow pages for speed dating services.

Have a shared interest before you even meet!

You’re a dog person, and she owns nine cats. Or you prefer sushi and the opera, and he wants fried chicken and monster truck shows. Meet someone through an online dating service or a blind date “setup,” and you could be halfway through dinner before you discover that your lifestyles are too divergent for any real relationship success. But wouldn’t it be great if you knew you had a common interest before you went on a date? According to researchers, almost one-third of baby boomers participate in volunteer work. If you choose a charity or cause that you find personally fulfilling–whether it’s walking dogs at your local animal shelter or building houses for Habitat for Humanity–you’re likely to connect with fellow singles who share the same passions and values.

Find it: Search for volunteer opportunities at VolunteerMatch.org

Find a match that’s hand-picked for you!

A matchmaking service offers personalized consultations to learn about you and your lifestyle, so you’re not just a number or another face in the crowd. Then the service chooses your potential date based on your personal profile, which helps ensure that you find someone who suits your personality. The professionals do all the pre-date screening, so you won’t have to waste your time on countless first dates that end before dessert! Instead, you’ll get a hand-picked match that fits your preferences. The best matchmaking services include coaching, too, so newcomers to the dating scene don’t need to worry about fumbling through a date. You’ll be prepped and ready to dive into the world of singles. And since the service is tailored to your needs, it’s easier to find a gem–no need to sift through the dirt!

Find it: Visit TableFor2.com for Minnesota’s premier matching service.

As a professional matchmaker, I’ve found that the majority of baby boomer singles want to join the dating scene without hanging out in seedy pickup joints or wading through pages of online dating profiles. By narrowing your search to people who already fit certain criteria, you’re likely to find a perfect match with fewer hassles and less wasted time.

1 comment February 3rd, 2008