tell-your-friends-to-shut-the-hell-up

Tell Your Friends To Shut The Hell Up

I was wondering aloud on Twitter one day about whether or not online-dating singles would ever meet someone in person without chatting at least once on the phone with them. I got a lot of nevers, a few maybes and yeses, and one person who not only met someone with out talking first, but eventually married them! I’m pretty sure if you polled your friends, you’d come up with similarly contradictory stats. It makes one wonder if there is a Magic Formula for finding a date online, or if it’s just all a big digital crapshoot.

Your Friends Will Give You Contradictory Advice

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You can search online or ask your friends opinions and you will always get some, or a lot, of contradictory advice. Should a woman contact the men she finds appealing or just wait to see if they email her? Should you email only once before calling on the phone, or nor? Should you post one photo or several? Should you…? Should you….? Ask these questions of ten friends and you’ll get and you’ll get ten different answers. I know, at this point you’re thinking you should just shoot yourself!

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As someone who writes about online-dating, offers advice about dating online, and has co-authored a book about dating, I can tell you that it’s really not the crapshoot that it appears to be. I say this even after polling friends and followers about their online-dating process…and getting about three hundred different opinions in the process.

It’s YOUR Show…And No One Else’s

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Take the advice of friends and even us “experts” with the knowledge that many times what you’re hearing is what worked for THEM. Listen to them, but then spend some time thinking about which piece of advice will work for you.

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You know yourself better than anyone so, for example, if you’re the shy type you may want to email back and forth several times with someone before having a live conversation or before meeting them. If you’re the type who thrives on going for what you want then you’d want to be the person who sends the WINK, FLIRT or FIRST EMAIL.

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There are of course, certain pieces of advice that every single should follow, such as being honest about who you are and what you’re looking for. Safety advice should ALWAYS be heeded too. But after that…it’s your show and no one else’s.

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Dating, especially dating online, is a learning process. As you try different methods of navigating the online sites to find a date or a spouse you’ll eventually settle into the communication and dating style that suits you and your personality the best. THEN you can tell your friends to shut the hell up because you’ve figured out what works best for YOU.

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amy-webb

I Love You Amy Webb…You Hacked Online Dating!

I had to use this week’s post to share this TED video with you. After dating online for years and talking to singles about their successes, failures, funny escapades and scary encounters, I have finally found a personal online dating story from Amy Webb that has literally knocked my socks off.

I talk often about how we should all make online dating our own and find ways to navigate the system that work for who we are and what we’re looking for. Amy has done just that…to an entertaining and ultimately successful end. I love you Amy Web…you made my day!

Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating.

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Unplug That Computer! 3 Ways To Meet A Date In The Real World.

unplug-the-computerIf you’re like me you joined an online dating site or two because you were tired of the bar scene, or of well-meaning friends fixing you up with the “perfect person” (who almost always is NOT). And, again if you’re like me, you’ve found trying to meet a date online to be both a blessing and a curse.

It’s so easy to meet someone online, a few clicks of the mouse and and email or two and you’re on your way to a first date. Of course the reality is that there’s rarely a second date, and that’s the downside of online dating. I’ve got quite a few theories as to why this is so. Chief among those is that I think online dating becomes too much like a huge candy store where there’s just too much to pick from.

So this is why I’ve become more of a hybrid-dater, where I still look online but also get off the computer and explore meeting men in real life. The important thing to remember when venturing out in the world to meet someone is to seek out places and activities that will give you as much talking and interaction time as possible with as many people as possible. Here are 3 ways to open the door to meeting someone offline:

Never Turn Down An Invitation – You May Meet A Date.

Got an invite to a co-workers barbeque, or for cocktails with a group of friends, or your cousin’s child’s first birthday party, or ….anything? GO, especially if you won’t know anyone there. Social events are great places to chat with new people and absolutely perfect for finding out if you hit it off with a potential date whom you might meet there. Even if you’re shy, GO…plan some conversation starters for your self, ask your host to introduce you to the other guests. As the saying goes, “you’ve got to be in it to win it” and, even if you don’t meet your next relationship, you’ll at least have ramped up your social life and met new people!

Do Good…Volunteer

Do you have an organization or charity that’s dear to your heart? Don’t just donate money, donate your time as a volunteer. This is a great way to meet people who care about the same things you do. There are so many community groups and charities and ways to give back to the world. Do a little online research to find local groups and non-profit foundations that are looking for volunteers. In the U.S. http://www.volunteermatch.org/ is a website that can help you search out local non-profits.

Business Networking

Whether you work for an employer or for yourself, business networking is key to building your career or your small business. Networking events and opportunities abound and it’s smart to take advantage of them. Although you’re there for, and should concentrate on, building your business or work connections, don’t discount the possibility of meeting someone dateable! It’s a venue that allows for maximum interaction time and you’re most likely meeting people with whom you have things in common. You’re there for business first, but keep an eye open for single attendees who you hit it off with…you never know!

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Date Makeover – The Movie Date

guy-friendly-date-moviesI love the movies and a good movie date is always a hit with me. However, even that can get a bit stale when every week is basically the same date, just switch out the movie and that’s it. Although movies are always a fun option, the idea of a date is to enjoy the time you have with your boyfriend, girlfriend, fiance or spouse. If your dates have a routine feeling about them then your relationship can also start to feel a bit bland. Assuming you don’t have any deeper reasons for feeling “blah” in your relationship, then a quick way to perk things up a bit is to take your regular dates up a notch. Here are a few ways to add some creativity and fun to movie dates.

Start a Movie Blog

So, you and your partner are rabid movie fans who can see a movie every single day of the week? Turn it into a couples project by starting a movie blog. It’s easy and free to set up a blog and the two of you can post your thoughts, comments and reviews after every movie you see. Your posts don’t have to be long and can even include video, like trailer for the movie you’re discussing. If you’re both the creative types this can be a great way to add a new dimension to your movie dates and you’ll even find that you’ll be connecting with other movie buffs online too! 

Have a Mini Film Fest

Pick a series of movies to see. You may want to go beyond your usual fare to include movies you’d not normally see. Maybe some foreign, subtitled movies will be on your list. Add a few classic horror movies to your list, or adventure movies if you rarely go to see them. The idea is to try something different. Once you’ve seen all the movies on your list, rate them and give out your own “awards”. This is a great movie date plan for Academy Awards season. You can “handicap” the awards ceremony and maybe host an Oscar party for yourselves and some other couples.

Movies Under The Stars

Personally, I miss the Drive-In Movies. Just pull you car up to a giant screen, turn the speakers on and enjoy the flick…or each other. Create your own drive-in or outdoor movie night by projecting your favorite film onto your garage door or the back of your house. You could also just grab your portable DVD player, pitch a tent in the yard and cozy up inside with your date, some comfy quilts, pillows and wine. You could create an incredibly romantic experience or just pretend you’re kids again and have a “sleepover” in your backyard campsite. Just make sure that rain isn’t predicted or your evening may be a washout!

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Date Makeover: Dinner

date-makeover-dinnerIt’s easy to get into a dating rut, constantly turning to your “go to” activities, cafes, or restaurants for nights out with your partner. It can get real boring, real fast. Sometimes you just need a little date makeover to add an element of fun or excitement to an otherwise typical date night. Let’s look at an average dinner date and some ideas for kicking it up a notch.

The Before Date

You leave work on Friday evening, head home to shower and change and then it’s off to pick up your date. You head to the same little restaurant you go to every weekend. You’ve been there so often you know the menu by heart and the staff knows you by name. You and your date order the usual. You chat a bit about how your day’s went, finish up the meal and then head home to watch TV. You are both asleep by 10 pm.

Are you yawning yet? I am! I think the biggest downside to a date like this is that the boredom can seem like it’s seeping right into your overall relationship, and THAT is not a good thing. Let’s make a few adjustments to add some creativity to this date.

Date Makeover: Some Ideas

The Pot Luck Dinner Out

You and your date do a little research and find the names of local restaurants you’d like to try. Don’t tell one another what your choices are. Write your choices down on separate pieces of paper and put them in a jar. Once a week grab a paper out of the jar to find out what your dining venue will be. You may find some great new eateries this way, and just the fun of going to and “reviewing” a new place will add a little sparkle to your dinner conversation!

The Surprise Dinner

This is a great romantic date. Pick a new restaurant, make reservations and ONLY tell your date what the dress code is. When you pick your guy or gal up, bring flowers or some other romantic little gift…and a blindfold. While you drive to the restaurant, give your blindfolded date clues about where you are going. This is an awesome date to plan if your sweetie has a restaurant that they’ve just been dying to try out…what a great surprise this would be for them!

The Couple That Cooks Together…

The dinner date doesn’t always have to be out. Cooking at home can be great fun and really nice way to have some conversation time. Can’t cook? No problem, find a local cooking school, sometimes even large kitchen-ware or food stores offer classes, you and your date head to class instead of the pub. These classes end with everyone enjoying their meal. Some cooking schools with a large selection of hobby classes will even allow you to bring a bottle of wine with you to enjoy with your creations. Not only is this a really different and fun date but it’s a great way to meet some other couples and fellow foodies.

These are just a few suggestions for kicking up your dinner date a bit. You can elaborate on these dates or come up with some of your own. Either way, you’ll see an end to the boring dinner date.

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Date Makeover – The First Date

date-makeover-first-dateAh the first date, exciting and a bit nerve-wracking too. Where do you typically go for a first date? If you’re like most then I’d guess dinner, if you’ve met through friends or at a social or work gathering; or for a quick coffee date, if you met online. Both are nice ways to socialize and get to know a new person, but have you ever thought about trying a first date that’s just different enough to make it – and you – a whole lot more memorable?

Here are three first date ideas that are a bit off the usual course. Now, keep in mind you’ll need to have a conversation or two with your new friend to see what his or her likes, lifestyle and preferences are. Once you have that information you can craft a first date that sure to be fun and exciting and that’s always a good thing…especially if this person is someone you’re really into and wanting to impress.

Don’t Act Your Age

Pick a beautiful, sunny day and go to the playground. Talk and learn more about each other while seeing who can go the highest on the swing set. Have a race through the playground’s kid friendly obstacle course or try to make each other dizzy on the spinner. End your act-like-a-kid fun day with ice cream or a trip to a local candy store. I don’t know about you, but there’s something about playing like a kid that just makes me happy and relaxed….and isn’t that a great way to feel on a first date?

For Early Birds Only

So, you discovered that you and your new date are both early birds and usually up with the dawn? Make plans to meet just before the sun comes up at a scenic place to watch the sunrise together. Then head out to a local cafe that’s serving early morning brunch. A beautiful sunrise, Mimosa’s, Eggs Benedict, a perfectly romantic way to begin what could lead to a long and wonderful relationship.

Dare To Be Different

Is there something you’ve always wanted to try, but were never able to? I’ll bet there is, and I’ll bet your date has a list of new things they’d like to try. Before you plan your date, compare notes and come up with something new to do together. Maybe you and your new acquaintance have always wanted to take ballroom dancing lessons. Find a studio that’s offering an intro class and put your dancing shoes on! Do you both have a hankering to learn to cook something new? Local cooking stores offer demos and classes. Have you always wanted to try skydiving? Ride a horse? Take a sailing lesson? Starting your dating life together with something new and different for both of you will not only be an impressive first date, but you’ll now have a great memory to add to your sure-to-grow list of great times together.

Need more date ideas? The Man Plan™ is your go-to reference source, filled with date ideas for every occasion!

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Four Fall Date Ideas

four-fall-date-ideasThe days are getting longer, the air chillier, and everyone is preparing for their winter hibernation. Well…not everyone, some of us are excited about all the fall dates we can now have with our darling significant-others! Fall is the perfect time for creative dates and the weather is still beautiful enough to allow for some great outdoor events. Here are four fall date ideas to get you started:

Gastro-Pub Hopping

Featuring a combination of craft beers and gourmet pub food, these charming bistros have been growing in popularity and are popping up all over.  If you and your date are foodies, beer gourmets or, best yet, a combination of the two, then this is the date for you. Take a break from the ever-chilling air and cozy up to a home brew and some gastronomic treats to nibble on. If there are a few of these pubs in your area then have a pub-hop day. Sample a few places and then have some fun with your honey by sharing your critiques of the day’s food and drink.

Fall Color Tour

Autumn is a glorious time of year when you live far enough North to enjoy the changing colors of the leaves. Spend a day on a lazy drive with your date enjoying the blazing colors of the fall foliage. This is a versatile date too, it can be very low budget if you pack a lunch and stop for a woodland picnic on your drive. If budget permits and you want to pull out all the stops, find a quaint Bed & Breakfast on your route. Spend the night and make a full weekend out of it…VERY romantic!

Apples, Cider, Wine and Kisses

Early Fall is the perfect time to go apple picking. Many fruit farms open their gates to the public in the fall and for a few dollars you can fill a bushel with fresh apples…and maybe find a private spot in the orchard for a little one-on-one kissing time. Check online for orchard/winery combinations and you can do a wine tasting as part of your date. This is a really fun double-date too as there’s plenty to do at most public orchards in the fall, some of them even have a café and live music on sunny days.

Go To The Beach

Yes, the beach. Keep in mind that this is an Indian summer date. When you find it’s an unseasonably warm early fall day, surprise your date with an impromptu drive to the beach. The water will still be warm, the summer crowds will be long gone and you can lounge in the sand without having to worry about someone tripping over you. Does your beach have a Boardwalk or a summer amusement pier? If it does, it will still be open in the early fall, so you can extend your date after you’ve had enough of the water.

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Top 5 Ways To Change Your Look

top-5-ways-to-change-your-lookChange is OK. I don’t know about you, but sometimes life gets too routine and I get in a rut and I resist all change. That is bad. Thankfully, I have friends and family who encourage change and stepping outside my comfort zone. So, change your look and then go on a great date.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Change

Changing your look does not have to be drastic. You can make changes that are subtle but make you feel good. No, you don’t have to change your preppy style to punk and dye your hair pink … unless you want to. One time, I got my hair colored. The colorist made a mistake and my hair went from strawberry blond to a deep maroon red. OMG. I was horrified. I was going out that evening and wanted to look good. I had friends meeting me in NYC and it was too late to cancel, so I had to go to the event. On top of that, my car would not start coming out of the hair salon. I called my mother and asked her to pick me up. I said, “My hair came out a little too red. Just look for the dark red maroon girl on the corner.” My mom laughed. I guess she thought I was joking. She realized I was not when she passed me and did not recognize me. She picked me up and my mother, who was quite honest, looked shocked exclaiming, “what the hell happened to you?” I told her I would have to wait a day or two to get my hair fixed. She said, “well, you’re not going out looking like that tonight are you?” I said, “I have to. Everyone is on their way in.” She nodded her head and said with funny sarcasm as only my mom could, “well, you got a lot of guts.”

Change is good…Keep life dynamic and enjoy it.

It’s OK To Push The Boundaries Of Your Comfort Zone!

I went to my event and my friends … and several guys LOVED my new hair. I was shocked. I was so outside my comfort zone, I was very uncomfortable. But, the reaction was quite opposite to that of my mother. The lesson I learned is that you can always change things back and whether it is a big or little change – just go for it! See how you feel and what kind of reaction you get.

Take Assessments Of Your Life and Style

Change is good. Don’t fear change. Keep life dynamic and enjoy it. The worst that happens is … you don’t like the change and go back to what you had or change it again.

Here are 5 ways you can change your look:

  1. Try a new hairstyle! Or, get a new color for your hair!
  2. Fashion a “new look” with your clothes. Go to a local or specialized department store and seek out a stylist who can introduce you to something new.
  3. Try a new a makeup scheme. Go to a makeup artist at a department store and try new colors and application style.
  4. Instead of wearing glasses – get tinted contacts.
  5. Walk with confidence. How you present yourself in your walk, hand movements and body language speaks volumes. Beware that how you carry yourself presents how you want to be perceived.

Be A Confident You

Change is not easy but it can be what you need to get you to where you need to be in life, love and career! So, stop worrying and go for a change!

opposites-attract

Opposites Attract – Truth Or Myth?

opposites-attractI have to be honest, I think the theory that opposites attract is a hoax. Diversity is great. Being opposite is great … when you are friends and can have time away from each other. But, when I go on a date I want to know that we are in sync.  And many times, this is not with a person who is my opposite.

How Opposite Is Opposite

If your core values are aligned but say your habits or interests are opposite, then that is different than being completely opposite. I am a night owl and have dated men who are morning people. Is that opposite? Yes. Is it so opposite that you can’t find a way to work around it and compromise? No.  I have dated men who have completely opposite views to me about religion, life values and raising a family and when I am looking at taking a life long path with someone, it is important that we have a common foundation and agreement on key elements.

Sure, we don’t want to date a clone of ourselves. OK, so maybe a few narcissists we know do! But, having differences are important and necessary to keep growing and learning together. This only helps keep the relationship fresh. Being diverse is OK. You can remain an individual while at the same time, share in being a couple.

Share In Your Partners Interests

Not sure you like fishing? It’s OK. If your man loves then what does it cost you to try it? Nothing. The worst that happens is that it is not for you but at least you get alone time with your guy … and a few fish. But, you may love it and find it is something you can bond together over. And bonding is a good thing. I dated someone who was a stamp collector. Was that exciting to me? No. I did go to some stamp shows and had fun and tried to learn and wound up enjoying myself. It made me happy that he was happy that I was open to at least seeing what his interest was about!

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Love Online…How Many Dating Sites Should You Join?

how-many-dating-sites-are-you-onYou want to date or get married so you have decided to look for love online. Good for you!  But, for full exposure, you wonder if it best to try more than one site. Yes, it would be! Now comes the big question, “how many dating sites should you join?” It’s a great question and something you should look at strategically.

Be Strategic About Finding Love Online

I strongly recommend going on a paid site. It filters out a lot of the cheap people, those who can’t afford it and many times, married men. If money is a bit tight, then try a site that is free and another that is a paid membership. Think about your objectives and who you want to meet. Do you have any special interests that are really important to you? If you do, there is a probably a dating site out there for you.

Go Popular And Special Interest

Some online dating sites have a lot of members and are well established in their reputation. For example, www.match.com and www.eharmony.com and www.zoosk.com and www.jdate.com and www.singleswarehouse.co.uk . They draw a very diverse group of people. So, join one of them for good exposure. I will caution you; sometimes people on these sites are serial daters and once they meet someone no matter how great they are, will move onto the next person. Be prepared to deal with many with that mentality.

Definitely try a niche site that more closely aligns with an interest or value. For example, do you love dogs? Adventure? Working out & fitness? Into your religion? Republican or Democrat? Whatever your interest, there is a dating site that will try to bring together singles with that interest.

Don’t Forget To Get Out And Meet People

Online dating is great. But, don’t forget to get out from behind the computer screen and meet people. Join a club, charity, church, political organization, hiking club, cooking class or sign up for a meetup.com outing. Having more than one venue to meet someone increases your exposure and your chances of meeting someone!