Amy Andersen Date coach

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

The Dog Park Ain’t Just for Dogs

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A few cities may rival San Francisco as the most dog friendly metropolitan area in the US, but we still think we dote on our dogs more so here in the Bay Area than anywhere else. And why wouldn’t we?! We have some of the most scenic dog parks in North America! For example, what offers a more incredible panoramic vista than a view from the Bernal Heights off leash dog park?

Bernal Heights, as just one example, is not only a great place for some dog-dog and dog-human bonding. Believe it or not, this 35-acre off leash park is a great place for some human-human bonding. It draws an eclectic crowd of dog lovers because it offers spectacular visuals of the Golden Gate Bridge, downtown San Francisco, and the hills of the East Bay and more.
Quite frankly, your dog can never get enough exercise and dog experts tell us that regular trips to the dog park can help strengthen your relationship with your canine family members. But we’re people experts here at Linx, and we are convinced a dog park is also a great venue for meeting a significant other or to bring a date. Make it a double date with your dogs and kill two birds with one stone.

If you don’t yet have a dog, it might be worth the investment.  We suggest you go rescue a dog and help reduce the overpopulation of pets. Organizations like the SPCA or the Humane Society are wonderful resources if you want to learn more about pet adoption! It’s a great service to companion animals and it might just help you find a human companion. My husband and I adopted the most loving pup in 2012 from the Fresno SPCA. We drove nearly 3 hours to get him and instantly fell in love! It was heartbreaking walking through the SPCA with the hundreds of animals of all ages and breeds looking for that special family to take them home.

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Actual photo of our pup Marshall in the SPCA FB advertising used to market this litter of the “7 Dwarfs” that were dumped on the side of the road in Fresno. All the girls had been adopted when we got to the Fresno SPCA and 3 boys remained. Lucky us Marshall was there waiting for us! 🙂

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Marshall as a little 3 month old pup- doesn’t he look like a rabbit?!

Your prospects for meeting a mate via the dog park couldn’t be greater than they are in the Bay Area. It is also a great place to introduce your dog to your date, if you’ve already met someone. You’ll quickly learn a lot about your new potential love interest in seeing how he/she interacts with furry friends and responds to them. You might quickly have your answer as to keeper or time to keep looking!

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When Marsh was little and fit into a bag as a pup, I used to carry him all around town. Here we are in Carmel. Talk about an ice breaker. Everyone wanted to know what breed he was. We still make people guess when asked what breed he is. It’s a great conversation starter and something you can do to when you adopt a pet. 😉

If novel social situations can be at all uncomfortable, and they are for everybody in some context or another, we encourage people to go places and do things that take the focus off of you. A dog park offers just that, even for people with the most well-behaved dogs. When you are with your furry family member you have something obvious and easy to talk about. Your dog may not just be the love of your life, he or she is also a great conversation piece and ice breaker.

Nothing is more true than the notion of meeting someone who falls for your puppy, right? It is a scene played out in countless films and that is probably because it works. If you elected to visit Lafayette Park you might even encounter some local luminaries with their pooches. It is a haven for the well heeled crowd avec chien.

Fort Funston offers some pretty fabulous off leash dog park recreation as well. You may have to compete with people on horseback or bicycles, but the view is absolutely stunning.

Other great locations include close to Corona Heights Natural Area is Corona Heights Dog Play Area near the Randall museum. It’s pretty rustic, but your dog is guaranteed to love it.
Mountain Lake Park on the southern border of the Presidio has a dog designated site. It is a dog walker’s delight and comes highly regarded by those in the profession as a great place to exercise dogs. Its also a wildlife haven with active natural resource restoration programs ongoing.

For a list a great dog parks, check out this article from Rover.com

Finally, the San Francisco Recreation and Park Commission has designated several dog play areas. Here’s a comprehensive list.

Geek is Chic: Guys Get Your Glasses On

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Think of Bono, Karl Lagerfeld, Spike Lee and Elton John. These gents are iconic, and so are their spectacles. In fact, you probably wouldn’t recognize them without their signature frames.  Glasses have become extensions of their faces, if not their personas.

The frames of the rich and famous are not only synonymous with the people wearing them, they have become fashion fixtures embedded in popular culture. The stylish eye wear of celebrities are often so iconic in their own right, they transcend time and continue to set fashion trends. Some may simply be fashion accessories but, regardless of their purpose, they have become part of our culture. You don’t have to be a fashionista to sport some trendsetting glasses.

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Pop Chart Lab, Inc. in Brooklyn, New York produces an eye chart of famous eye wear. So if you are out shopping for a cosmetic touch, you can first test the look of some famous frames, including Benjamin Franklin’s bifocals, Elvis’s sunglasses, Maverick’s aviators and even MC Hammer’s oversized glasses.

It is always interesting to us that so many people seek elective corrective eye surgery only to later adorn glasses for cosmetic purposes.  But the data speaks for itself and it says frames are “in” with or without anything in them, literally. LeBron James has popularized eye wear sans lenses at press conferences. And curators at the London College of Fashion, where the exhibit Framed received much acclaim, asserted in recent years that overt design has replaced a trend of minimalism when it comes to eye wear.

But you need to pay attention and stay current as it seems minimalism is back for the Fall of 2015 along with some audacious rims. Sleek seems to be chic with retro-90’s and 60’s looks designs making their way into fashion publications, but so too are bold, thick frames from the 70’s.

Three years ago Harris interactive conducted an online survey on behalf of the new eye wear retailer Ditto.com. They found that 87% of women find glasses on men to be sexy and 91% of women found that sunglasses on men were sexy.  Indeed, everyone looks (fill in your favorite adjective) -> hotter/sexier/bolder/mysterious/polished/hip/cool/trendy in sunglasses.

BUT, before you head out to the nearest retailer, heed some of our advice on what frames to consider and what to ignore. Not all spectacles are spectacular. And just because you think Will Smith’s sunglasses look great on him in Men in Black, it does NOT mean they will look great on you. They don’t have to fit your face, but they do have to fit your look. If you are bold enough they can even MAKE your look. 

If you can’t figure out what to consider buying, you can’t go wrong with the classic black rim glasses. They are simple, yet sophisticated and are perfect for just about every occasion. But if you aren’t looking for something safe, but really slick and avant-garde, we’d be remiss if we failed to introduce you to Tom Ford’s Hugh Polarized Square Wayfarer Sunglasses

Beyond those glasses, we also love Tom Ford’s Marko Aviator Polarized Sunglasses. If you’re thinking you want to mix up your look this Fall and try a new optical look think Oliver Peoples. Our top Oliver Peoples Optical frames include: Jack Huston RX, Executive I, and Calidor.

New VIP search for a world-class LA based gentleman…

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We are thrilled to be representing a world-class gentleman, in search of the love of his life, who is handsome and distinguished, is 75-years old, but has the looks and energy of a man in his 50’s.

Most people never have the fortune to cross paths with someone so intriguing.

He is the CEO of a company that remains at the very top of its industry, and believes that founding this company decades ago was the best professional decision of his life.

He is in excellent physical shape and spends a significant amount of time piloting his plane and engaging in world champion gliding competition. Though he enjoys a cosmopolitan, cultured lifestyle, he also devotes a good portion of his free time to focusing on those aforementioned heart-pounding types of adventures. This pursuit in high performance aviation derives from his passion for science and adventure.

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He resides in the coastal area of Los Angeles and spends his mornings running before heading to work.

He is, of course, extremely intelligent and having an intellectual conversation over a delicious meal is his idea of the perfect evening. The list of restaurants he frequents is lengthy. He also loves good entertainment and will likely have tickets to the major companies’ season performances.

It’s not easy to find someone so ambitious who can balance business and pleasure so well- our bachelor maintains a flexible schedule that very intentionally keeps his weeknights and weekends open for an active social life.  As such, though our bachelor is very content with his life, he is looking to find someone with whom he can share affection and those adventures that are so close to his heart.

At his core, our bachelor is a sophisticated, assertive and take-charge gentleman, but these traits are well complimented by his easy-going attitude and flexible nature- he is faithful, giving, and chivalrous and is hoping to meet a woman who appreciates, and takes interest in, all that he has to offer.

At the very bare minimum, you will be on the edge of your seat listening to his incredible stories.

His ideal match would be Caucasian or of European heritage, maximum 5’6”, petite or slender, very attractive, and someone cerebral who enjoys spending her evenings socializing, entertaining, dining out or attending the opera. Ideally she is based in Los Angeles like our bachelor.

In a nutshell, she is pretty, petite, social, and not shy about her inner nerd! If you or anyone you know might make a great fit for our VIP, please contact Amy at: amy@linxdating.com. There are ZERO FEES for this.

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