Amy Andersen CEO

Love Line – Your next date is only a ride away!

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As children, we were told to study and practice as hard as we could to accomplish our goals. This is great advice to advance in school and work, but when it comes to love, it’s often serendipity instead of hard work that leads people to their significant others. People always say that they wouldn’t have met their husbands or wives if they hadn’t walked into that elevator, sat next to him or her on that bus, train or plane, or attended that party, conference, or fill-in-the-blank.

When I was a single, career-focused 20-something in San Francisco, I often wondered how I could increase my chances of meeting “the one” during my daily routine. I worked long hours and often only went out on the weekends, limiting the number of new people I encountered each week. Today, single men and women in San Francisco and other major cities can significantly increase their chance of meeting someone by simply sharing their commute with others using services like Uber Pool, Lyft Line and Chariot. My husband and I lived and worked only two blocks from each other, so we may have met one another earlier if we shared our daily commute to the office. Now that these services are available, why wait to meet your better half?

Forget speed dating – step into an Uber Pool, Lyft Line or Chariot, and take a chance on love! Here’s how to maximize your chances of meeting your next date on your next ride:

Uber Pool – Make sure that you have been paired with a member of the opposite sex. If not, cancel the ride and request a new one. Sit next to the person in the back seat instead of in the front seat next to the driver, and strike up a conversation! I rarely encounter someone who doesn’t want to chat, and everyone I have met is nice and interesting. I recently met a good-looking, accomplished British guy in an Uber Pool and set him up with a colleague of mine who I thought would be a perfect match for him, and they hit it off immediately! Even if the guy or girl next to you isn’t a match for you, consider setting them up with a friend.

Lyft Line – Lyft Line is great for meeting people since you actually see their picture before getting in the car, so if the picture doesn’t appeal to you, cancel and request a new one! Lyft Line also often picks up 3 people, which allows you to meet more people at once. Sit in the seat behind the driver so you have a good view of both of the other riders, and check their hands for wedding and engagement rings before asking them out. In general, Lyft Lines are more social and less expensive than Uber Pools, so pick the service that best suits your personality and budget. One Lyft Line passenger let me know that he asked a beautiful rider to be his date for a wedding the next day, and she agreed!

Chariot – Chariot now has 7 different routes to take you to and from work. You can meet new people and save money on your commute in their 15-passenger vans, and you will likely run into people more than once since you’re both commuting to and from the same stops. Put your cell phones and tablets away when waiting for your pickup and look around – are any handsome strangers also waiting for the same bus? When the bus arrives, quickly scan it for the best looking passenger, grab a seat next to them, and ask them a question. An easy option is to ask if the bus stops at your destination, gauge their interest based on their response, and take it from there! A woman I know landed her dream job after sitting next to her current boss on a Chariot ride, and she met her boyfriend during new hire orientation.

The next time you need to go somewhere, close your dating apps and fire up your Uber, Lyft or Chariot apps instead. While riding, smile, maintain a positive attitude, and don’t be shy. Numerous drivers let me know that riders exchange contact information all the time. On your next ride, you may meet your next date, business contact or friend!

Christine is a 30-year-old, Ivy League educated, East Coast transplant in San Francisco.  She believes that the meaning of life is to love and be loved, and she is passionate about volunteering, technology and yoga

Are You A Fan of the hit Bravo TV show Below Deck?! Join them as they set sail….

Dear Linx line readers,

I apologize by the lack of entries lately. This summer has been extremely busy with matchmaking and new clients from all parts of the country. It’s a very exciting time for Linx and in the next week, we will be sharing some of the new searches we are conducting for our newest members. Perhaps you’re a match for one or more of our newest members?

We’ve seen a HUGE demand for our services coming from incredible men of all ages. These guys are literally world class in every dimension of who they are and they’ve been enlisting the help of Linx right and left to help bring them many steps closer to finding their dream match. If you’re an unattached, brainy, attractive, physically fit, and vibrant woman, please submit your info here to potentially be considered for meeting one of these incredible men. With these guys, it is ALL ABOUT TIMING. In other words, this is “their time” to find love and the next woman they enter into an exclusive relationship with with most likely be “it” for the long haul. How exciting is that?

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Random topic, as you might imagine, I’m contacted all the time by producers wanting to do TV shows on Linx. I’ve turned down the reality offer dozens of times because it simply isn’t what Linx is all about and wouldn’t be a smart business decision for the brand- especially with the privacy and discretion of what is Linx. That said, I’ve been approached by the casting department for the hit Bravo TV show called Below Deck and have a cool opportunity for any of you readers who might see this as the opportunity of a lifetime.

Bravo is gearing up for “Below Deck Mediterranean,” and they are set to sail on the Mediterranean seas in September! This season is scheduled to air this fall, and being one of the first 3 charter groups onboard the yacht is an amazing opportunity to be a part of the marketing promos that Bravo has prior to the show’s airdate! For you Linx readers, this is actually a GREAT way to get primetime air time and promote your business, your brand, etc OR just grab 8 of your buddies, split the costs, and have a crazy wild time on the yacht.

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This season the backdrop will be in the Cyclades in Greece – a famous group of islands in the Aegean Sea. Gorgeous sandy beaches, architecture in white and blue, traditional lifestyle, and barren landscapes are an ideal fit for the exclusive yachting world. With 12 action packed episodes of fun-filled drama, adventures, and high-end living, this tropical paradise will be nothing short of spectacular!

With 5-star service, gourmet meals catered to your every need, secluded beaches only accessible by private yachts, and all the water sports and island fun that you can imagine, Below Deck is the ultimate luxury vacation! Each charter group will have the chance to create their own unique itinerary. Of course, the “catch” is in applying to be considered as a charter guest, your voyage is filmed for the show. Not to worry too much though, as the majority of the “drama” actually happens below deck (hence the name) with the crew- not the charter guests.

Once you arrive, the activities you can choose from are boundless. From jet skiing to wine tasting to fishing for your evening dinner, everything you desire is right at your fingertips! For a discounted charter rate you can be a part of this phenomenal show that has become a fan favorite and household name on Bravo!

You will be escaping on a luxury yacht at least 155’ long, with spacious decks and a master suite. This mega yacht sleeps will sleep up to eight guests comfortably. In addition, guests will have access to all of the boat’s water toys, which may include waverunners, seabobs, paddleboards, kayaks, snorkel gear, water skis, wake boards, and assorted inflatable toys. All of these details will be confirmed once your charter group has been locked into a specific charter date!

The charters this season will be 3 days, 2 nights and the charter fee will be $40,000 or groups can go for 4 days, 3 nights and the charter fee will be $45,000. This charter fee covers round trip economy airfare to/from Greece for everybody in the group (we recommend keeping the number of guests between 4-6 people), accommodation the night before and the night after your charter, all food and beverages on the yacht, and a fully planned itinerary and all inclusive boat activities (beach picnics, snorkeling, water sports, boat toys, etc.) Additionally, the charter group is responsible for a cash gratuity, which is a 15 percent minimum, with most guests last season giving 20 percent and above because they were so happy with the service provided. mediterranean-beach-wallpaper.1024

Available Charter Dates (this does not include your travel days):

Charter 1: 3 days – departs September 9th– returns September 11th ($40K)

Charter 2: 3 days – departs September 13th – returns September 15th ($40K)

Charter 3: 3 days – departs September 18th– returns September 20th ($40K)

Charter 4: 3 days – departs September 22nd – returns September 24th ($40K)

Charter 5: 4 days – departs September 27th – returns September 30th ($45K)

Charter 6: 3 days – departs October 4th – returns October 6th ($40K)

Charter 7: 3 days – departs October 8th – returns October 10th ($40K)

Charter 8: 3 days – departs October 12th – returns October 14th ($40K)

Charter 9: 3 days – departs October 15th – returns October17th ($40K)

If you are interested in being considered CAST for this incredibly cool opportunity, please email me: amy@linxdating.com and I will put you in touch with the producers. Bon Voyage! XO

How Do I Let Him Know I Am NOT a Gold Digger?!?!?

I hate to use that phrase but it’s the big elephant in the room in the media regarding dating in Silicon Valley – and, unfortunately, we have to address it head-on because it has serious implications.  This is a somewhat nasty blog entry but it’s also a nasty problem.

As just one example, yesterday, I screened a female prospect for one of my male VIP clients, and she asked for my advice, as she’s met a couple of guys out there who clearly have a chip on their shoulders about this issue, assuming that all women are after for them for their money.

My first observation… let’s not be naive. As a relationship between two people grows, money will eventually become a practical consideration, and an important conversation to have, because it does affect lifestyle, planning, and all of the rest.

But… let’s not get ahead of ourselves.   It really should NOT be much of an issue at all in the early stages of dating.  You’re just getting comfortable, having fun, establishing chemistry and rapport, and all of the rest.   Frankly, you don’t know each other well enough to be broaching that subject and if money stuff is polluting things this soon, it’s almost certainly not the right person and you can cut bait if you are getting bad vibes.

Trust your intuition – if you are a well-intentioned woman dating a guy who has ANY emotional intelligence whatsoever, he will pick up on the fact that you are not only down to earth, but non-materialistic as well.  And if he doesn’t get it, well then…

That was the stock advice that I used to give to women on this topic.  And I still do believe it, for the the most part.

HOWEVER, let’s reverse roles, go a bit deeper and try to understand the guy’s point of view a bit.

Many of these dudes have had bad experiences with women who were with them for the wrong reasons – we all know women like that. The guys then build a bit of a calcified shell to protect themselves from being burned and that can be really unpleasant to deal with.

A lot of guys have a tough time, in social settings, picking the right girl.  “He” could be a good guy, but also be wildly attracted to someone, typically thinking with his ‘other’ brain.  But “she” could be precisely the type who quickly discovers he has deep pockets and is in it for the wrong reasons.

So… how can you tell if the guy is being an overly judgmental arrogant ass, or if he is really just a good guy who is a bit jaded with a protective shell, but who has a wonderful core?

Well, build trust and, over time, peel back your layers to be a little “raw” and even a bit vulnerable.  Allow him to see this more exposed side of you and hopefully he will feel comfortable opening up so that you all can get at what is causing him to feel this way, and then you go naturally on from there.

But understand that, by opening yourself up this way, you could get hurt.  That is always a risk when you are getting to know someone.   And so you MUST rely on every bit of emotional intelligence that you have.

Just the way some really good guys have a disturbing habit of being attracted to the wrong kind of women, some guys are also just general douche bags who lead with chauvinism and a strong materialistic overtone. They flaunt their wealth and peacock with their possessions to attract women and this has nothing to do with calcified shells to protect themselves.

This “shiny sports car” sort of guy typically ends up with the wrong women and keeps this pattern going through relationships, or sometimes even marriage after marriage. He does this to feel worthy, wanted, desirous, and like the big d**k in the room.

Those are the guys you obviously want to avoid.

So what do you do, net net?  I say don’t be scared to put yourself out there and to show your kind heart, should your intuition be telling you that you’ve found a good guy who happens to be somewhat impenetrable.  But you need to hone your asshole detector so that you don’t get your heart ripped to shreds by the coyotes who are looking for an easy dinner.

This Week at Linx

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As Memorial Day quickly becomes a distant memory, I hope you all had a tremendously relaxing and special holiday weekend. Perhaps some of you headed for the beach for days filled with BBQs, cold beer, sandy toes, and sun-kissed noses, while others of you hopped on a plane to see family or to hit some exotic destination. Or maybe it was good down time just chilling, while others packed in socializing, shopping, and fun brunches out with friends.

Every time I started to write a new blog entry over the weekend, I somehow get completely sidetracked by an urgent client email that required an immediate response, or a new match that I needed to make. Such are the realities of running a small niche business.

It’s been a whirlwind last few weeks at Linx as we have onboarded some truly exceptional new clients – interestingly, a heavier concentration of 45 + individuals in the last few weeks – all extremely successful in their own right, refreshingly down-to-earth, candid about what they seek in a match, and ready for love now! I look forward to doing some new blog entries in the coming weeks to announce a few of these key searches.

I have also been squeezing in some date coaching and even a wardrobe consultation, and I believe there are lessons for everyone in these sessions.

During this particular stretch, though I worked with my clients on a variety of techniques, we focused primarily on early stage dating. For one young woman in technology, I discussed the art of “Flirting 101.” My main lesson was that being too eager or overly sexy can lead a man to discount you as a potential mate and love interest, but not enough flirting can leave even the most intuitive guy confused and unclear about how to proceed. I find it very surprising that so many people see this as a black and white thing. It’s actually very gray. As a woman, you don’t have only two choices.   It’s all about subtlety – each individual has to build an awareness and confidence that allows her to almost unconsciously calibrate a situation and then react naturally in a way that smoothly and metaphorically telegraphs what she is feeling. I’m not saying this is easy. In fact, it is hardest for my clients that come from very analytical backgrounds. Tapping this art means being in touch with your softer, more emotional side and also getting experience across a wide range of interpersonal situations (whether it is at work, with friends, family, or ideally dating.)

For another client, I helped strategize about how to combat shyness. One of the hardest things about building dating confidence can be overcoming stranger anxiety…  you know, the stuff that sets in when we’re about 18 months old, and (for most of us) never really goes away?  The ultimate goal is to build enough confidence to approach strangers you find attractive AND to carry that undeniable confidence over into real life dating. I gave this client homework where her goal was to have small, simple interactions each day with people she does not find attractive, for example asking for the time, making chitchat while waiting in a grocery store line, etc. Seem counter-intuitive? Well, the stakes are low and it is a lot less pressure especially for an exercise like this that can be pretty nerve-wracking regardless of how “hot” or “not” someone is.   Start on the easier end of the spectrum, build up, and don’t immediately try to boil the ocean.

So I can sit here and preach all of this advice and speak in generalities… but I can just hear a reader saying, “that’s great but how do I actually DO this stuff and improve?”

Well, one option is to let me date coach you. LOL. And then you get a ton of individualized attention and narrowly tailored practice. Another client who is doing coaching work just sent in this feedback this morning, “all these efforts have been wonderful in putting my focus on the future, and rediscovering the happy person I am naturally. The coaching process has been very helpful to dig into what is real and make sure that my best self is visible.  It feels good to make an investment in myself.  I appreciate all your help.” It is always nice to receive emails like this where the effort and hard work clients are putting into this process are not only rewarding but they feel as if they are entering a new chapter in their lives with the gusto and confidence required.

A cheaper option to Linx coaching, and I know this may sound corny, is to watch emotional movies (they could, but need not be, romantic comedies) or to read a classic romantic novel, even if you aren’t getting a lot of practice in the real world. My husband uses, to great effect, literature and movies in his Stanford courses on entrepreneurship and leadership because those topics have so much to do with people and even fictional material like movies or books allow a whole class to experience the same people and situations with their diverse real life lenses and to have a productive discussion about all of it. I believe the same thing applies in improving in your artistic dating skills.

On a lighter note, I also did a quick wardrobe consult for one client this week. This 30-year old entrepreneur needed some nice dress shirts, a sport coat, and some pants that were alternatives to jeans. He mentioned that he had a gift certificate to Nordstrom so I headed over there and spent a hour pulling a few select items for him with the help of one of their personal shoppers. I think my client will be pleased with my picks – classic yet with a youthful modern twist- Hugo Boss, AG pants, J Brand pants, and a few dress shirts too.

Beyond all of the coaching this week, we also have screenings for new prospective clients, a couple of new client interviews, and… drumroll… a Dutch media company visiting Linx this week, flying out from the Netherlands to meet with me. Germany has always had a love affair with Linx and Silicon Valley but perhaps the Dutch are catching the virus as well. They will first interview me, and then (this is the best part) set up one of my young male clients with the host of the show – a gorgeous 24-year old who apparently is edgy, vocal, and hip! This will all air in August in a short documentary.

Have a spectacular weekend ahead!

When Harry Met Sally

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As a professional matchmaker, I experience more than my fair share of moments of serendipity, coincidence, and bizarre irony. If only I could share the details of all the crazy stories and situations from the last 12 years of running Linx Dating…

Today, I watched a very interesting situation unfold from within my network, and see a great opportunity to illustrate two very important points about dating.

The story goes like this. A former female client of mine (let’s call her “Sally”) moved last year from the Bay Area to Boston for grad school. I had worked closely with her when she lived here and had actually matched to her someone with whom she had had a significant relationship. She arrived in Boston, single, and has been dating there with mixed success. Though I am not regularly in touch with clients who have moved, I do keep them on my radar, in my database, and in my mind, should a tailor-made opportunity arise.

Separately, my husband has a friend who recently referred a prospective male client to me who is based in Boston (let’s call him “Harry”). After corresponding with the candidate, we both realized quickly that I am probably not the best day-to-day matchmaker for him, given his plan to stay in Boston. However, I offered to do whatever I could for him with my limited Boston network, including introducing him to friends who might have tips about being single in Boston.

It then occurred to me that “Harry” and “Sally” could be a great match and beyond this should no romantic connection transpire, “Sally” could help strategize about ways to date intelligently in Boston.

I immediately reached out to “Sally” to see if she was still single – delighted to hear from me, she said that she, in fact, was still single and would be open to an introduction. I provided a very high-level overview of the potential match – basic biographical information, age, etc. She almost immediately interrupted me and said, “this guy’s name isn’t ‘Harry’, is it?” I said, “well, yes, it is Harry… wow… you know him?” She went on to say that she had had a first date with “Harry” months and months ago, had been interested and attracted to him, but had never heard from him again, then figuring that he had no further interest in her. She asked me to find out from him if she had done “something wrong” that had subsequently “turned him off.” I agreed to ping him to conjure up any intel I could.

I turned around and reached out to “Harry” and asked if he remembered “Sally,” explaining that apparently they already knew each other. “Harry” immediately remembered their date, described “Sally” to a tee, and said he had been interested in her, but had not followed up because he thought that she had no romantic interest in him. I couldn’t believe what I was reading right before my eyes!

After a few emails back and forth, both “Harry” and “Sally” were game to pick up the pieces where they left off. I proceeded then to “broker” a new meeting so that “Harry” could meet “Sally” again and now we’ll see what happens.

What lessons are here for those of you who are single and looking?

  1. COMMUNICATION, SIGNALS, AND GAMES

I live this every day through my clients. Most of you probably know that there is a whole school of dating thought out there around strategic game playing, veiled communication, pickup artist stuff, etc. At the end of the day, no one wants to be bored and find complete predictability in their romantic dating – and it can be very hard to be transparent, vulnerable or open about your feelings early on in dating because you put yourself at risk to be hurt, and you also might worry that revealing too much too soon could either scare off the other person, or make them feel it is too “easy” and not enough of a challenge.

I won’t deny that there can be truth to all of that. But you have to follow your instincts – if you are out with someone and you honestly believe that there is something there, you don’t have to let it ALL hang out, but give the other person a bone. Show them SOMETHING. Whether it’s a flirtatious comment, touch, look, or whatever… or maybe you just say something if you are comfortable. If you don’t, you run the risk of being in a situation that “Harry” and “Sally” were in. And you might never have known what could have been.   So be aware of how you are coming across, and if you are “feeling it”, don’t get too cute or play it too cool or you just might miss out on something special.

  1. THE POWER OF TRUE NETWORKS

Networking is a brutally abused term. It conjures up images of cheesy salespeople exchanging business cards over a superficial exchange of pleasantries and promises to follow up on whatever they might have been discussing.

But true networking is a long-term investment and I am reminded, on almost a daily basis, how hard anyone, whose career is based heavily on networks, has to work to expand, maintain, and nurture the network.   And I believe you have to build your network with TLC over time, with no regard as to how it might benefit you or anyone else in the future. In other words, it is often a selfless labor of love where you must enjoy the journey and know that it will bear fruit in the most unexpected ways.

The most successful real estate agents work hard over years and years to build meaningful relationships that result in repeat business and high-yield referrals. Moreover, they skillfully mine their specialized markets as arbitrageurs of even the smallest tidbits of information. And, in the process, they have hundreds of prospective deals that never happened, thousands of tidbits of advice they gave that netted them no money, and countless moments of frustration. But all of that work nets them a great reputation and plenty of wonderful deals to secure their business.

Linx Dating, in many ways, is no different. Had I not spend the last 12 years building my network this way, I would never have been in the position to allow my brain and my database to lead me to (unknowingly) reconnect “Harry” and “Sally.”

Everything else aside, it is the power of the Linx Network, that sets us apart in the matchmaking world.

Linx Featured on The Tim Ferriss Experiment

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You all know Tim Ferriss– the best selling author (amongst a sea of other ventures of his) of The Four-Hour Workweek…well just this week he finally got the digital rights to his TV show, The Tim Ferriss Experiment.

Linx is thrilled to be part of it and had a ton of fun filming with him. Think of the show as Mythbusters meets Jason Bourne- pretty cool. It was filmed and edited by the Emmy award-winning team behind Anthony Bourdain (Zero Point Zero).

In each episode of The Tim Ferriss Experiment (#TFX), he partners with the world’s best teachers (Laird Hamilton, Stewart Copeland, Neil Strauss, Tim O’Neil, yours truly.), who train him and give him the skills to master a certain topic. Linx is featured in Episode 14 called “The Dating Game.”

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In this episode, he deconstructs the process of dating by making the qualitative, quantitative. Over the next five days, he takes the arduous goal of finding a date and makes it measurable by test driving three VERY different approaching to finding his match: a) hacking through the world of online dating with Samy Kamkar b) working the art of pick-up with Neil Strauss and c) high caliber, high stakes offline matchmaking with Linx Dating.

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I spent an afternoon with Tim (a day after I got back from Hong Kong no less…no jet lag at all lol) and grilled him about his type of girl. One of my favorite parts was when he told me how important a females rib cage is…no joke…you gotta watch for yourself to see why! Of course I did a LOT of prep work ahead of filming to get an idea of “his type” and then work on a real actual match. I figured out THE perfect girl for Tim- brains meets beauty meets super down-to-earth…and most importantly (in my opinion) a total firecracker! A match to keep a guy like Tim (who runs at 600 horsepower) on his toes- and then some!

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After filming at my office, Tim hosted a cocktail party at Bourbon and Branch in San Francisco where he used his three dating methods to invite at least three women. My pick for him, Emily, was a great sport and even danced with Tim at the cocktail party. In the end, which of the three methods worked best? Online which tends to be very high volume and potentially low yield, or the art of pick-up which is medium volume and medium yield, or matchmaking which is low volume, high yield. Tim said, it’s not a question of which method is better, instead…it’s a question of which method is better for you. It all depends on where you’re at in your life, how much time you have, how much money you have, you chose the right tool for the job. And that’s a wrap.

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With Neil Strauss author of the New York Times bestseller The Game

Breaking up is hard to do

Written by: Marilyn Nagel in collaboration with Linx Dating

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Yes, it may sound familiar because it was a song that Neil Sedaka released way back in 1972 that has had staying power, probably due, at least in part, to its title and very real subject matter that resonate with so many people.

When you start dating someone, the last thing you are thinking about is breaking it off. But when you know that it just isn’t the right relationship, you need to gracefully and tactfully end it – the question is… how to do it in the most respectful way possible?

Don’t Have Dessert First

If you know you are going to end it, don’t have sex first, then break up. It sends a very mixed signal since sex is something enjoyable for both parties and is an indicator of intimacy, not breaking up. Women feel closer to a man after sex… so, when a man breaks up with her after sex (and/or sex then a night spent together), it feels like he took advantage of the fun part, and that shows a lack of respect for her as a person. For women, breaking up after sex makes her seem like she wanted to give him one last treat and that does not show particularly strong character, either. Of course, breakup sex between two mutually informed parties is one thing, but bad juju otherwise.

A Private Place and in Person

Don’t break up over email, text, Facebook message, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other impersonal digital excuse. If you have been seeing one another for awhile (more then 3 dates) best to break up in person at a place that is easy to leave, and if one of you feels emotional, no one will be embarrassed. This probably should not be in someone’s home (and certainly not in the home of the person breaking it off because it makes it awkward to ask the other person to leave) but it could be at a park, or a booth at a restaurant/bar/coffee shop that is not one of your neighborhood hangouts. Ideally, meet there so you both have transportation home and you don’t have to be together afterwards in what can be a silent (or worse) car ride together.

Avoid Blame

Most importantly your goal is to break things off honestly but without assigning specific blame. Avoid using the cliché “it’s me, not you” while you are trying to take some responsibility – it is so non-specific and over-used that it is almost patronizing even if you mean it honestly. You can also end up getting a lot of push back and fall into the trap of highlighting and debating the specifics you don’t like about the person – and that means blaming them. The fewer details you provide (this is not a performance review, they will not be improving or changing based on your feedback), the better, because what does not work for you may be exactly the right thing for the next person.

The Exceptions: If the person did something very specific i.e. cheat on you, berate you in public, lie to you, scream at you, force something you don’t like sexually, then give the specifics of your example and let them know that it is just unacceptable.

Breaking up is rejection – if after only 3 dates, or after 6 months, rejection brings up all the other rejections we have felt in our lives so best to stay away from specifics. Any particular shortcomings that you highlight will be relived over and over again and cause greater hurt then you want. You can say something like, “I can’t even tell you anything specific because there is nothing, I just know that I don’t want to move our relationship forward and feel it is only fair to break things off now before we go any further.” And then stick to your guns and try not to let it devolve into a deposition.

Apologize

It is good to say you are sorry that things did not work out and then wish the person well. If you have been dating for awhile, you can apologize that you did not let them know sooner and share that you had some wonderful times with them. You can say, “I’m so sorry, I did not want to hurt you and know that I am at this moment doing that” or “I am not an expert at this, and apologize for hurting you in any way, I am so sorry.” Then let the person retain their dignity, wish them well, get the check and get going.

Let’s Be Friends

Really? Be careful with that. Many people think they have to throw it out there that “I hope we can remain friends” and some even suggest getting together to do some shared activity. This is another mixed signal – I like you but not enough for a relationship, and that can be hurtful. I can tell you from years of coaching men and women, that if it doesn’t work out as a couple, it’s probably best to take a break and make it clean and cordial. If you both love biking, golf, or any shared activity, you may run into each other and want to be friendly but best to let some time pass and regroup with existing friends.

Preparation

Take some time, before you meet up, to think about the conversation, anticipate reactions, and to “put some meat on the bones” of what you might say, exactly. Maybe even develop some good graceful “sound bites” that include responses to potentially awkward moments. If you are really nervous, get a friend to role play with you. Think about it – if you were a manager and had to fire someone (a truly awful thing to have to do, in most cases), you would practice, right?

Tell me a story…

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One of the questions Amy and I often get at Linx is that of when – and how – to bring up certain sensitive long-term relationship topics with someone you’re seeing.  If you’ve met someone through Linx, it’s likely we can provide you with those answers directly.  For example, we actually know how our members feel about having (more) children, how they feel about potentially relocating from the Bay area, what their ideal timelines for marriage and parenthood could look like, etc.  But if you’ve met someone on your own, found someone online or at work, or got set up by friends, the likelihood that you can get answers to any (or even one) of those questions is actually pretty slim.

When looking for dates, some of our clients tend to really focus on the timelines they have in mind for these milestones in their own lives, and are only interested in pursuing matches whose personal forecasts align with theirs.  While I can see how that might make sense initially, it can actually work against you in the end.  You can lose a lot of time looking for a man or woman who wants to share the same schedule you do; personal schedules can actually shift quite a bit as people get into relationships, learn what is important to their significant other, and realize what it might be like to be engaged, married, or even a parent with this particular person in their lives.  We can be deeply affected – and motivated – by the hopes and desires of the people we love.  We can change.

The lives we plan for ourselves as single people are the lives that make the most sense to us given the information we have at hand, but when the guy or girl of our dreams gets replaced by the man or woman who shares our vision for the future, sometimes our plans change radically.  Just this week, I met with a 31-year-old woman who said she wasn’t sure about having children.  But as we talked more, it became clear that really, what she didn’t want to do was make plans for her future that she thought should be made with someone else.  After all, whose kids would she be having?  Where and how would they be raised?  And what would they look like?  As a single woman, she could only have half of the answers, and so she was waiting until she had more information before making a decision; her Mr. Right can come in lots of different forms, so when she meets a man with whom she has incredible chemistry and the right kind of connection, the two of them can work out the answers together.

But what if you really do want a very specific kind of future?  And you really are only looking for a man or woman who shares certain values and goals?  How do you find out if a stranger is on the same page… or at least reading from the same chapter?  How do you ask those questions without seeming crazy, presumptive, or rude?

Believe it or not, one of the worst things you can do in this situation is be direct.  Asking someone a very specific question like “Do you want to be engaged in the next year?” or “Do you see yourself having kids with me before you’re 40?” can be a really excellent way to kill an otherwise budding romance.  Amy recommends that people try to suss out someone else’s views on big picture issues in the first 4-6 dates; you definitely want to make sure there’s a shared sense of chemistry before you start talking about bigger issues, but you also want to make sure you have common goals before you make a big investment, so get clarity after you establish a connection but before you discuss exclusivity.  After all, why take yourself off the market if the potential isn’t there for this relationship to make a significant run?

It turns out the best way to find out if the man or woman you’re dating shares your goals and values is by giving examples and sharing stories.  So if you’re checking for long term compatibility, here are some easy steps to draw him or her out in conversation, and get a real feel for how they think about relationships, and what they might want their next great one to look like.

1.     Start at home.  Hopefully, your parents or siblings have healthy relationships you can discuss with your date.  Talk about the things that you find enviable and admirable in those relationships.   Be positive and focus on what you’d like to emulate in your own future and household.  Stay away from timelines in this conversation, and even avoid talking about kids.  You really just want to get a sense of whether or not the two of you understand love and commitment in a similar way.  Parental relationships give you a sense of someone’s long view of relationships, and will also give you insight into what they fear.  Pay attention to words like “boredom, frustration, isolation, monotony,” and “codependence.”  Some people really do mean it as a joke.  Some people really do not.  You can usually tell the difference.

2.     Talk about your friends and colleagues.  If you want to discuss timelines for relationships and engagements, you hopefully have a set of friends and colleagues who provide models for this.  Sometimes those models will be ideal.  And sometimes they will not, which can be just as useful.  Don’t be afraid to talk about a relationship that you find flawed or even unappealing. (We all know that couple who’s dated for more than ten years but still isn’t engaged, right?)  Your date might not agree, and that’s good for you to know early.  The great thing is that you’ll be talking about big issues, but you’ll also be talking about other people, so you can take in all of his or her thoughts and judgments, but you don’t have to take all of it personally.  Don’t be afraid to suggest alternatives you think could work.  Don’t be shy asking about why he or she might feel a certain way, and if anything could make him or her feel differently about an issue, and be sure to get your date talking about the relationships of the people in his or her life, too.

3.     Talk about the kids in your life.  These may be nieces and nephews.  These may be the kids of co-workers.  These could even be much younger siblings, in theory.  But feel free to talk about the kids in your world, and how you connect with them.  If there is a childcare model represented in that set of children that makes the most sense to you – and you want to be a parent – focus on it and see if your date gives you any thoughts or feedback on what he or she might one day want.  And ask about the kids in his or her life.  This is a really important thing to do even if you do not want children; either way, make it clear to your date that you have thought about this issue, you do have exposure and experience with kids, and you do have clarity on what role they could play in your future.  Hopefully he or she will be able to let you know what role kids might (or might not) play in theirs.

Staggered over a couple of dates, these conversations will tell you a lot about what someone else wants out of life.  Schedules change all the time in relationships, but goals and values tend to be static, so make sure that you and your match align in the ways that are truly important.  So often, we think that we can get people to change over time; the real truth is that time changes us, and it doesn’t give us a lot of choice in how that happens.

In a perfect world, we’d all find someone who’s in exactly the same life stage that we are – ready for all of the same things to come to us at the same speed.  But that could be awfully boring. 😉  We don’t really need someone ready to follow our timetable.  We don’t really need someone who’s on the same page, reading from the same script, expecting the same fairytale.   What we really need is someone who’s looking in the same direction, who’ll hold our hand through every unexpected twist and turn, and who’s determined that – in the end – we’ll both end up side by side, and in the same place. In remembering this, we are confident you will get closer and closer to finding the right match.

Invite-only luxury womenswear launch party & runway show October 28th

dE ROSAIRO FW14 Launch Invite

WHAT: dE ROSAIRO Launch Party + Style Lab + Runway show

DATE: Tuesday, October 28th

TIME: 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM

LOCATION: Hotel Zetta (55 5th St, San Francisco, CA 94103)

HOW TO RSVP? stylelab@dEROSAIRO.com

PARKING: Street or valet

If you’re looking for a fun evening filled with fashion, cocktails, and a reason to meet and mingle with a fashion forward crowd, consider this your VIP invite. We caught wind of this exclusive party and wanted to tell readers of the Linx blog about it. This is a launch party and style lab where guests can shop the exclusive collection.

dE ROSAIRO is a luxury womenswear clothing brand made in New York, and headquartered in San Francisco. The CEO and Creative Director, Nishika de Rosairo, is an ex-Silicon Valley / Fortune 500 strategic advisor who left it all behind to pursue a childhood dream. The brand is currently selling in specialty boutiques on the East Coast, and officially launching in San Francisco on Tuesday, October 28th at the boutique and edgy Hotel Zetta. Its an invite-only list, however she would love to see some of you all there, and so if you’re interested in attending, please rsvp and mention that you heard about the event through the Linx blog.

Are You… Available?

It goes without saying that everyone who choses to meet with the Linx team has expressed interest in finding a relationship, but that doesn’t mean everyone is actually prepared to be in one.  In fact, figuring out whether or not someone is ready for a relationship can be quite complicated.  And it’s interesting to see the ways in which we all get stuck in places and patterns that keep us from moving forward with our lives.

We often talk about helping people break free from their current dating inertia; for some clients, that involves helping them learn how to date for the very first time; for others, it involves reintroducing them to the dating world after divorce; and for an unfortunate few, it can mean helping them meet incredibly trustworthy, loyal individuals after an experience with infidelity.  These are all, obviously, very big stumbling blocks when it comes to getting into a relationship and they take a lot of work to overcome.  But smaller obstacles can be just as detrimental when it comes to letting another person into your life, and we it comes to find love, many of us are more guilty of standing in our own way than we realize.

Lately, Amy and I have seen a pattern of more and more first(!) dates not even happening because of poor communication and scheduling conflicts.  This is incredibly disheartening for us because we put so much work into each match behind the scenes.  But beyond that, it’s a huge missed opportunity for everyone involved.  And it’s often the result of unreasonable expectations, inflexibility, or not being honest about the amount of time you have to pursue a relationship.

It’s sometimes the case that people honestly do not realize how busy and overcommitted they are until presented with the option of an introduction.  If these are temporary social or charitable engagements that will clear from your schedule in some reasonable amount of time as you get to know someone, don’t sweat it; most of us actually find it attractive when some has a full and active life, and even look forward to eventually being part of it.  Be upfront about your commitments – give your date a roadmap to let him or her know how quickly those obligations might clear, and dating should pretty easily fall into place from there.

If, on the other hand, you find that you really can’t plan to get together because you constantly work late, are always traveling, are on call, or don’t know your schedule, this may not be the time for you to be dating.  And you should admit that.  If work is controlling your life, don’t expect a potential date to let it control his or her life, too.  This may not be your fault, but it’s also not fair to the person attempting to date you.  Let them go for now.  With some luck, he or she will circle back when timing is better on both sides.  But if you press forward when you really don’t have the availability to build a relationship, you’ll just end up engendering hard feelings and frustration.  No one wants that.

If, however, you can’t seem to find the time to meet because you’ll only have a first date on weekends (but don’t have any free time for the next three of them), can’t go out on Thursdays (because you have your fav yoga class on Friday mornings), don’t like Monday dates (because you’re too tired after work), refuse to have a weekend breakfast date because they aren’t romantic (even though you’ll only meet on weekends and don’t have any free weekend evening for the next month) then you may be standing in your own way.  And that is your fault.
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It is really, really important to be open and honest about what you need when you start dating someone.  But it is equally important to not be totally rigid and difficult when it comes to the things you want.  You need to be home by 10pm if it’s a weeknight?  Fine.  You need to meet in the city or in Silicon Valley because you don’t have a car or don’t have a ton or time?  Perfectly understandable.  You only want Saturday night first dates scheduled six weeks in advance with regular phone calls and texts beforehand, and you expect your date to be patient, excited, and agreeable because this is what works best for your social/exercise/shopping/travel calendar?  Absolutely not.  When you’re that limiting and specific with your date, you’re not just telling him or her that you’re busy – you’re telling your date that you expect to dictate all of the terms of your relationship, and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that message.  Ever.

Being flexible isn’t just about dating someone who doesn’t look like the actor you fantasize about or the crush you had in college; it’s about stepping out of the box of your life and realizing that your future is going to look exactly like your present unless you start to make different choices.  Amy hates asking the question “Are you single?” because it’s both too vague and too specific at the same time.  She always prefers to ask people “Are you available?” because it’s important to know if they’re unattached, interested in finding commitment, and willing to do the work it takes to get there.  It’s like asking “Are you single? Are you looking for love?” and “Are you willing to invest in another person in order to find it?” all at the same time.  It’s important to be flexible in a lot of ways when you start dating someone, and that includes being flexible with your time, your attitude, your tastes, and your expectations.  In fact, flexibility is the difference between being single and being available — it’s a measure of how open you are to being surprised, and how willing you are to take a chance on trying to make something work.  It also happens to be attractive. 😉

So what about you?  Are you flexible or are you rigid?  Are you open or are you closed?  Are you just single and expecting a stranger to walk into your life, compliantly play by your rules, and make sure that you live happily ever after?  Or are you available – ready, willing, and able to meet someone else in the middle, prepared to no longer be the obstacle that stands in the way of your own success, and open to finding out what it’s like to let someone else co-star in your personal pursuit of happiness?  The question is yours to answer, but don’t forget that it’s an answer you’re constantly sharing with the world.