alternatives to dating apps

Working with a Matchmaker | The Linx Difference

If you are stumbling upon this site and blog for the first time and unsure of what it is like to work with a professional matchmaker, look no further.

Let’s begin with that Linx Dating is. Linx is an offline boutique curated dating and social network located in the heart of Silicon Valley.  Founded by Amy Andersen in 2003, Linx has now been matching high caliber, relationship-minded Bay Area professionals for more than a decade.

A couple of general misconceptions stem around our demographic and that we just focus on matching wealthy older men and young women under 30 OR much older women with young men aka “cougar” dating.

Often prospects have read active searches on the Linx website and conclude because some of these select profiles describe representing young women that we must not work with women over 30. The reality is we represent many women of all ages from 20’s to 70’s.

We do know how the “cougar” concept happened and that was from being part of a feature story on Linx in Vanity Fair.  Linx is responsible for creating truly a social phenomenon in Silicon Valley at the iconic Rosewood Sand Hill Hotel and the legend continues years later. It seems like everyone has heard about the hotel and the dazzling Thursday night scene. It was all from one mixer Linx hosted at the hotel that the social scene EXPLODED with popularity and then truly became worldwide news after the VF story published.

Though our current focus remains on San Francisco and Silicon Valley, we represent eligible men and women across the U.S and around the world.  In fact, it is not uncommon for our clients to request that we conduct nationwide (and sometimes even global) searches as we help them in their quests to find true love. We represent a select handful of international VIP clients who reside across the Middle East, Europe, and Asia. These clientele include CEOs, founders, prominent public figures, financiers, and members of royal families.

Beyond being a matchmaking firm, Linx is also a robust network of highly educated Silicon Valley professionals.  If you are new to Silicon Valley or the Bay Area and would like to make connections in a given industry or sector, this is a great way to network and expand your connections. In fact, though dating is our specialty, some of our most unexpected success stories have come from countless platonic social and business connections that can trace their origins to the broader Linx network.

The Linx Difference

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Linx works exclusively with college-educated nonsmokers (in fact, roughly 75% of our clients have pursued graduate-level education) and we pride ourselves on meeting each and every member of the Linx network in person.  Our vetting process is significant, and all Linx clients complete at least one interview as well as significant “homework” as we get to know more about them, their goals, and what they hope to find in their next relationship.

There are no complex matching algorithms at Linx but there is a comprehensive proprietary database and a human brain (Amy Andersen) that has interviewed every single one of the thousands of people in the database. In the style of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Amy has a highly developed sense of pattern recognition and intuition around people and what potential matches will work and those which are less likely to succeed. We are also a very small team; our clients are not handed off to junior staff or assistants once we decide to work together.  Our approach to matchmaking is team-based, and remains so for the duration of our relationship.

Though Linx has been fortunate to receive regular inbound requests for interviews and other media coverage, we neither advertise nor retain a PR firm – we take tremendous pride in staying away from buying up expensive ads in glossy magazines and airline publications to market ourselves.  We simply do our jobs well, as the vast majority of new clients come to us through referrals from past and current clients.

Our clients also appreciate our discreet approach to matchmaking, and value the importance we place on their privacy.  Client confidentiality is a core value at Linx, and we take the unusual step of not maintaining a cloud-hosted database.  It may seem like an unnecessary measure to some of our clients, but it’s definitely a source of comfort for others.

Linx is also unusual in that our matchmaking process is done client-to-client.  We represent both men and women as clients, which is rare in an industry that tends to focus on men.  We find that the successful, well-educated men of Linx appreciate and value that women are equally committed to this process, and also financially invested; when both parties approach an introduction with equal gravity, they tend to have greater respect for each other, and are more open to the possibilities that can result.

7 Ways to Nurture Your New Relationship

 

iStock-541824336 copy.jpgOne of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the opportunity to share life’s joys with someone else. Unfortunately, so much of us are conditioned to seek the things—and the people—either out of our reach, or that might seem to satiate what we see as the current shortcomings in a current relationship. It is easy to start believing the grass is greener instead of investing in what we have. To save time, we want to know who “checks all the boxes”, and are quick to nix a future with anyone who might not follow the image we had in mind. For these reasons and so many more, we unintentionally jeopardize and sabotage our relationships.

 

Strong relationships take work and self awareness. The strongest relationships are built on a firm foundation between two partners who share the same values. To nurture a new relationship or breathe some new life into the one you’re currently in, try the following:

 

  1. Foster dependability.

Can you count on your partner to do what he or she says they’ll do? Can you be relied upon in the same way? If you are unsure if your partner will have your back during the hard times, you might ask yourself, “what’s missing?” You or your partner might not be taking the relationship as seriously as it should be for long term viability.

 

Take your promises seriously and only say what you’re sure you can deliver. If for any reason you fall short, acknowledge your mistake. Try to anticipate your partner’s needs in advance, so you can practice dependability without expectations.

 

What it looks like: Knowing that his girlfriend had to get her oil changed, Paul offered to pick her up from the mechanic to spare her a long wait time. When he arrived to pick her up, he asked the mechanic about the flashing engine light and proceeded to fill her tires with air. Though his gesture was a simple one that took 15 minutes, his actions spoke volumes about his commitment and dependability.

 

  1. Honest communication.

Be honest with each other at all times — even if the consequences may somewhat hurt the other person. When your partner is communicating, listen with an open mind, without interruption, and notice the tone of their voice and facial expression. Not all conversation is verbalized; sometimes your partner will tell you everything you need to know without any words.

 

What it looks like: Annie knew it was ridiculous to feel jealous of her boyfriend’s attractive female coworker, so she kept this to herself. “Why bring drama into this? Obviously, they just work together,” she thought noting her own insecurity. When she learned that her boyfriend had an upcoming work trip with the attractive coworker, she started acting distant and passive aggressively. Finally, she fessed up. “I’m sorry to say, but I feel jealous and insecure.” When her boyfriend learned what was going on, he reassured Annie and suggested that she join for the next happy hour so she could meet all of his coworkers.

 

  1. Asking for emotional support.

Expressing vulnerability is the cornerstone of building an emotionally supportive and sound relationship. Talk to your partner about the things that scare you, that embarrass you, that challenge you. Talking about these uncomfortable things is not just an exercise in your communication skills, it is an opportunity to build trust.

 

  1. Fine tune the romantic intimacy.

As your communication skills improve and your relationship evolves, so will the way you express physical connection. If you refuse to communicate about what you want in the bedroom, be prepared to have a less than fulfilling love life. If you intend on staying in a monogamous relationship, give your partner a chance to satisfy your needs.

 

  1. Balance alone time with partnership.

The cure for trouble in a relationship is not always more face time. It’s important that both people feel they can take space when they need it and return to their partner without anger or resentment waiting at home. It’s important to honor the urges we have to be by ourselves, but realize the impact our absence can have on our partners. If you feel an urge to be alone, make it easier for yourself and your partner by letting him or her know in advance that you need some time. Some reassurance that your absence is not the result of anything he or she did will help a new partner understand your needs without confusion.

 

  1. Assess the way you fight.

In any serious relationship, disagreement is inevitable. Arguments will arise, and they may escalate into some heated conflict. If you find yourselves disagreeing often, ask yourself, “How am I contributing to this?” Sometimes the need to be right will stress the relationship in ways that are neither necessary or helpful. You will not be able to control your partner, but you can control the way you approach conflict.

 

What it looks like: A former client called crying after her boyfriend stormed out after an argument. “Every time we talk, I end up having to repeat myself, and finally I lost my mind and told him, “’You never listen to me and that’s why this relationship isn’t working.’” After calming down, the client realized that, when she lost her temper, she couldn’t acknowledge her boyfriend’s efforts to understand her. Instead of attacking his short comings, she started the conversation appreciating his efforts before moving into new ways they could improve the relationship together.

 

  1. Maintain your sense of self.

Do you lose yourself in a relationship? Establishing and maintaining your boundaries is necessary to keep your standards firm and your self respect intact. Letting a partner decide what you should and shouldn’t tolerate will lead to resentment from you and loss of respect from your partner. To compromise your personality to “fit” your relationship will ultimately ruin any chance at long-term sustainability.

 

These tips will help you nurture and build a strong, loving relationship, but they will only work their magic with consistent reinforcement. The effort and sacrifice will pay off, however, when you find yourself in a loving, sustainable relationship.

Searching for men ages 28-44 for our 33-year old Dr. bachelorette

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Announcing a new search for a young client. Our client is a half Swedish, half American woman who is intellectual and attractive. At 33-years old, she has a willowy 5’9” frame and long golden red hair that has never been touched by artificial dyes. She is beautiful, bright, friendly and very athletic.

She grew up in Woodside back in the day when it was just a redwood forest, pre-Silicon Valley boom. Athleticism has always been a huge part of her life and in high school and college she was an Academic All-American volleyball player. She headed East for undergrad, studying molecular biology and French literature at Harvard University.

Our bachelorette then moved to NYC at age 21 where she worked as a model and personal trainer before deciding to go to medical school at Columbia University. In medical school she became fascinated by neuroscience and decided to become a psychiatrist. She also found meaning and inspiration in working with people who struggle with mental health.

After graduating, she moved back to the Bay Area to complete her residency training at UCSF where she could be near her family. She is delighted to finally be done with all her training and beginning her dream job as a psychiatrist in a group private practice. In her free time, she likes outdoor yoga classes, hiking the hills of the Bay Area, running marathons and traveling to visit her family in Sweden and France. Most importantly, she loves spending as much time as possible with her family and friends.

Our bachelorette is best suited for men between the ages of 28 and 44, Caucasian or mixed race, and she is most attracted to men who are tall. She would like to find someone who lives primarily in San Francisco or the Bay Area. Her ideal partner is bright, authentic, and full of curiosity. He has high aspirations in his career as well as hopes of having a family.

If you or anyone you know might make a great match for our client, please email our founder Amy at: amy@linxdating.com

Harsh Truths: 6 Reasons Why Your Relationship Fell Apart

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Relationships end for a variety of reasons—some we can control, others we cannot. Before your next relationship, consider asking yourself if any of these issues are sabotaging your efforts at finding a deep, committed relationship.

 

  1. Your ex is STILL coming up

We all have a past, but when the past becomes the fodder of our present, you are creating a rift between you and your partner’s ability to connect. Talk of past relationships not only reveals that you’re not moving forward, it also jeopardizes your chances of a future. If you find yourself beginning sentences with “My ex and I…” or “When I dated X…” consider taking some time away from dating to understand why you’re still telling these stories.

 

  1. You couldn’t trust

It’s no surprise that trust is the crux of all healthy relationships; without the bond of trust, a couple will miss an opportunity to experience true intimacy. Aside from cheating, trust issues can also indicate jealousy, game playing, and possessiveness.

 

If relationships have ended because you couldn’t trust, ask yourself if it was because of actual events (i.e. your partner lied to you, broke promises, hacked into your phone) or if you are feeling unable to trust without cause (i.e. you feel jealous even though your partner has never strayed). Being able to differentiate feelings that stem from actual events versus unsubstantiated paranoia will help you uncover barriers to intimacy.

 

  1. You were Mr./Mrs. Right Now, not Mr./Mrs. Right

The relationship is guaranteed to fail if you find yourself on either side of this equation. Not all relationships are built to last—and that doesn’t make them any less important to our growth—but if you are looking for a life partner, meeting someone who is open to the same is crucial for long-term success.

 

If you are with someone until you land your dream job, move, lose weight, or meet someone better, you are wasting your time and your partner’s time. If your partner is not your priority, you aren’t ready for an enduring long-term relationship. If you’re wondering if you’re the top priority—you’re not.

 

  1. You harbor contempt

Dr. John Gottman, a leading expert on couples’ studies, concluded that the single, best predictor of divorce is contempt. Contempt, a toxic combo of anger, disgust and frustration, stems from a superiority complex. When we are unable to see our partner’s point of view because we believe they are less intelligent, sensitive, or competent than we are, we are making it impossible to communicate about the things that bother us.

 

In addition to contempt, there were three other closely related patterns of toxic communication: criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (shutting down, no eye contact, etc.)

  1. You were emotionally dependent

If you are unable to make yourself happy, you will always seek someone who can distract you from the uncomfortable feelings you have towards yourself. Not only is it unfair to expect your partner to keep you afloat, it’s dangerous to allow someone else to hold the keys to your happiness. Codependent people usually don’t keep high standards when it comes to how others treat them, so it’s more likely that they end up with a partner who doesn’t treat them well. There are many ways to heal from codependency, but they all start with a belief that you—and you alone—can make yourself happy.

 

  1. You stopped appreciating your partner

A lack of appreciation comes in many forms. Perhaps you’ve stopped making an effort—to make fun plans, to keep up your appearance, to remind your partner how special they are. Taking someone for granted is a quick way to kill the romance and up the apathy.

 

When someone is asking what is best for “us”, compromise ensues. If you stop appreciating your partner’s efforts, it’s easy to stop asking “What is best for us?” and replacing it with “What is best for me?”

 

Of course not all reasons our relationships end are because we are at fault. Without the right timing, otherwise compatible people won’t be able to connect for reasons outside of their control. Age, seemingly just a number, will start to matter if he’s 28 finishing grad school and she’s 34 looking forward to starting a family. Life situations can also affect our chances of connection. If he’s ready to move things forward while she’s healing post divorce, the couple will not be able to connect on the same level. Situations can change, broken hearts can heal, and different phases can pass, but if the timing is going to be ‘off’ for more than a few months, it is better to make a clean break and revisit at another time.

 

Searching for single women 26-35 for our 31-year old bachelor

Our client is a masculine, stoic, and happy Caucasian 31-year-old, who stands 6’0” with an athletic physique and charming dimples. A distinguishable physical feature about our bachelor is his impressive wavy golden beard, thick golden dark blond hair, and moustache.

Professionally, he’s had a long career at a tech company working as a staff engineer. While he’s quite at home in “nerd” culture, he can easily shift with ease and genuine interest in places of high culture, like the theatre and art museums, and in places of no human culture at all, like the High Sierra backcountry!

Our client is very well educated from a top college focused on engineering and although young, feels balanced and successful in his career to find a life-long relationship and marriage.

Our client’s best suited match is between the ages of 26-35 years old. Her look might best be described as a little punk or alternative. She might have soft, feminine curves or be slender or athletic in her physique. Any ethnicity is welcome.

Friends would describe her as smart, inquisitive, down-to-earth, independent, and generally a happy girl. She desires an intellectual equal to share adventures with, including eventually the adventure of starting a family. Ideally she is based in Silicon Valley or the South Bay.

If you or anyone you know might make a great match for our young bachelor, please email Amy at: amy@linxdating.com

Small Talk to Real Talk: 5 Ways to Get Him to Open Up

 

iStock-516655374 copy.jpgIf you are dating a strong and silent type, a shy guy, or someone with a more reserved personality, the conversation aspect of the date might not flow as smoothly as the underlying chemistry.

 

To draw him out if his shell and get the conversation flowing, try these five tips:

 

Tip #1: Assume a ‘listener’ stance

 

Square up, make eye contact, and maintain open body language. Make sure your phone is off the table. Being fully present is the clearest invitation that you’re ready to listen. Once the conversation starts flowing, pivot to active listening. Nodding, smiling, summarizing, and asking questions are the best ways to show that you’re interested.

 

Tip #2: Set the example

 

If you’re looking for someone to let their guard down, you should be ready to go first. Mutual disclosure is the foundation for real intimacy—and it can start as early as the first date. Encourage him to trust you and share more about himself by openly discussing yourself. The more comfortable you are revealing your shortcomings or not so stellar moments, the more comfortable he’ll feel doing the same.

 

Tip #3: Come ready with questions that are easy to answer—and ask them the right way.

 

To make preliminary conversations easier on both of you, ask questions about non-controversial, easy topics. Your best bets? Think food, movies, and music. Everyone has an opinion on each of these, and you’ll find that these topics are great spring boards into other topics.

 

THIS WORKS:

You: Glad we’re trying this new Italian place. What kinds of food do you like?

Date: I try to keep it healthy and stick to organic produce exclusively.

You: Have you tried any of the grocery delivery apps?

 

The conversation is naturally pivoting away from food and could move in a variety of directions. You’re giving him a chance to talk about cooking, shopping, using technology, startups, etc.

 

With your questions, be mindful about your bias which could make your date feel uncomfortable sharing an unfiltered perspective.

 

TOO MUCH BIAS :

You: Just had great wine in Napa. What is your favorite winery?

Date: I don’t drink.

You: —

 

Understandably, a question that can be answered with a yes or no isn’t going to have the legs that an open ended question would, but the real problem here is that there’s too much pressure to answer the question a certain way. This nuance, however slight, can make conversation that much harder for both of you.

 

Tip #4: Choose the right activity

 

De-pressurize any first date by picking something more active than the traditional coffee or cocktails focused date. Take a walk through a nearby park, browse the shops on the same street, or try a museum exhibit. Walking can make talking easier, especially when you’re walking around things or places to talk about.

 

If you’d like to get more creative, try a new experience together. Giving yourselves a new skill to learn or an event to attend will alleviate a lot of pressure to make constant conversation.

 

Tip #5: Ask for help

 

Asking for a little favor will encourage your date to invest just a little bit more emotion into you and the date experience. Try asking for something small like, “Could you double check that the restaurant has veggie options?” Or, “Can you tell me where I should take my parents when they visit? I need a list. ” As we mentioned before, the Benjamin Franklin Effect—a principle that explains why a person who has performed a favor for someone is more likely to do another favor for that person—is a good way to establish connection early on.

 

Remember, relationships unfold at their own pace. It’s natural to want more information about the person who interests us, but never at the sake of their discomfort. Do your best not to take your date’s lack of openness personally; their desire and ability to communicate is part of who they are and not a reflection of your conversational skills.

 

If you desire date coaching to help get you ready for summer, contact our founder Amy at: amy@linxdating.com  Amy can give you some simple skills to help you succeed in love!

 

Pheromones and Attraction

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Have you ever found someone completely irresistible, but you’re not sure why? Some scientists argue that we might be picking up on someone’s genetic compatibility with our sense of smell.

When we smell something, tiny odor molecules bind to receptor cells that travel directly to the brain for processing. Smell—unlike the other senses—is analyzed almost instantly. This rapid analysis is the reason why smelling something familiar can trigger an emotional response instantly, and sometimes these responses can be quite powerful. Think of the last time you smelled chocolate chip cookies. Did you feel a cozy, comfortable feeling? What about popcorn? Did you find yourself in an upbeat, casual mood?

If smells can solicit hefty emotional responses, can they trigger us to have romantic feelings?

Scientists still debate the answer, but they all can agree that the discussion starts with pheromones.

Pheromones describe the special cocktail of chemicals that our body releases that may influence the way people behave towards us. These chemicals—when smelled—are known to stimulate the hypothalamus, a part of the brain known to regulate sexual behavior, mood, and hormones.

To figure out how sensitive we are to pheromones, Swiss zoologist Claus Wedekind conducted “The Sweaty T-shirt Experiment.” He instructed 44 different men to wear the same t-shirt two consecutive nights. After collecting the t-shirts, he asked 49 different women to sniff each t-shirt and rate the odor for intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness.

Results showed that the women preferred the odors from men whose DNA was most different from their own. Because choosing a mate with a similar genetic makeup can cause a host of genetic complications for an offspring, the women’s choices show that they have an ability to analyze and gravitate towards men who guarantee greater reproductive success. In other words, women preferred sexual experiences with men who smelled a certain way.

Pheromones also solicit responses based on sexual preferences, not biological sex. In another study conducted by Dr. Ivanka Savic and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, a group of men—some straight, some gay—and women were asked to rate attractiveness to two different pheromones. Both the gay men and women responded strongly to the male pheromone, whereas the heterosexual males preferred the female pheromone almost exclusively.

Despite the science, there is no real way to determine the true effect of pheromones; There are simply too many mitigating factors. For example, it’s impossible to confirm the real reason we gravitate towards certain people we find attractive. It could be the scent they carry, but it also could be related to personality, confidence, appearance, or status.

If pheromones can influence sexual responses, is it possible to recreate certain smells to make yourself more sexually desirable?

Unfortunately, pheromones are an elusive mix of natural chemicals, impossible to replicate in a lab. To date, scientists (and fragrance companies) have not been able to get to the heart of what exactly makes up pheromones, how they are created, or how to emulate them. Some companies tout “love potions”, but these are most likely gentle, pleasant fragrances.

Pheromones could be influencing attraction, but it’s more likely a combination of factors with pheromones playing some small role. Visual cues, body language, and the quintessential “chemistry” of how your personalities mesh all play into your perception of a potential romantic encounter.