Amy Andersen Date coach

Are You Choosing to be Thankful?

By: Linx staff member, Michael Norman Quiz-Thanksgiving-Style-Header1

With the holidays just around the corner, this can be a great time to meet someone new, but it can also be an incredibly lonely time for those of us who aren’t surrounded by close friends and family.  As an unattached only child whose parents don’t live nearby, I was acutely aware of this kind of isolation just a few Christmases ago; I had very recently had a rather nasty surgery and both of my parents were sick, so it wasn’t wise for us to spend the holiday together.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a boyfriend of significant other during the holiday season, so that part I could handle – but being away from my parents was tough.

I thought I was going to spend the day alone (almost literally) licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself until a good friend invited me to join her, her roommate, and one of her co-workers for an impromptu Christmas dinner.  While it certainly wasn’t the same as spending the day with my parents (which I’ve done three dozen times or so) it definitely proved to be one of the most memorable holiday dinners of my life.  (When an investment banking lesbian, a three-hundred-pound gay man on painkillers, a newly out gay lawyer who secretly wants to be a caterer, and a straight black project manager who was a collegiate swimmer consume 7 bottles of wine in 6 hours while talking about their families and their sex lives, it’s bound to be memorable.)  I learned a lot of things I never expected to learn that evening, and one of the most important is that being alone is often a choice.  Just because I wasn’t able to follow a family tradition, I assumed I had to spend a holiday alone.  I wasn’t allowing myself to consider other options, to embrace other types of family, to invest in other types of relationships, or even to invest in myself.

This year I expect to spend the holiday with my parents – just as I’ve done for years – but should that plan be somehow interrupted, I know that I’ll consider alternatives.  And I would enjoy those alternatives.  So even if you’re separated from your family – whether by distance or something harder to overcome – or if you’re new to your current hometown and don’t have an established social network, there’s no reason to spend the holidays alone.  In fact, if you take the initiative to invite new people into your world on a day when they would otherwise feel alone and possibly dejected, you might be incredibly surprised by the warmth and intensity of the connection that could result.

Here are some ideas for getting through the holiday season in good cheer, and maybe even building some relationships (romantic or otherwise) along the way.animated-thanksgiving-desktop-backgrounds-wide-photos-hd-wallpapers-free-thanksgiving-desktop-wallpapers-backgrounds

Host a “Misfit” Thanksgiving…

If you don’t already have plans for the holiday, ask around in your circle of friends or even post to Facebook; you’ll probably find that you’re not alone.  If you’re not a great cook, you have plenty of options that could still make you a great host or hostess.  Plenty of restaurants and grocers (like Draeger’s and Whole Foods) offer complete or a la carte solutions for Thanksgiving dinner.  You may find that one or more of your guests is a great home chef, so give them the opportunity to bring dishes (or just encourage them to bring wine or desserts) and fill your home with new friends and holiday cheer.  Speaking from personal experience, this can be a truly wonderful way to spend a holiday, and can be much more intimate and fulfilling than you might expect.

Take Yourself Out to Dinner…

If spending the day alone is inevitable, and you know you know that staying inside all day isn’t good for you, make a reservation for yourself at one of the many, many SF restaurants that will be serving dinner this Thanksgiving.  Some of the restaurants promising to give you reasons to be thankful this year include Michael Mina, Epic Roasthouse, Campton Place, and One Market, so odds are that you’ll be experiencing plain pilgrim fare taken to an entirely new level.  You might also want to stop into a great bar or lounge for an after dinner drink and some great conversation; you won’t be the only person spending the day without family, and you definitely won’t be the only person open to connecting with someone new.

Lend a Helping Hand…

For some people, volunteering on Thanksgiving is a tradition unto itself, and the Bay area is full of opportunities for helping out.  At Linx, we always think that volunteering is a great way to meet someone (who doesn’t like dating a man or woman with a heart of gold?) and the single person you’d meet volunteering on Thanksgiving will be just as impressed with you as you are with her or him.  Even if scoring a date isn’t the first thing on your mind that day, it’s not a bad consolation prize for being a good citizen. 😉  Good sources for finding volunteer opportunities include Glide Memorial, Hands On Bay Area, and Little Brothers.  You could also contact your local church or food bank or even a retirement center for more ideas; lots of people would love company this holiday season, and not all of them have the option of leaving their homes.People-volunteering-at-so-012

Relax and Reflect…

There’s nothing wrong with just taking the day to yourself and doing nothing at all.  You don’t have to leave the house.  You don’t have to eat turkey.  You certainly don’t have to eat pumpkin pie.  You could stay in, do laundry, sort piles of receipts, and downshift from everything going on in your life.  You could take the day to really think about your life, and examine all of the reasons you have to be thankful.  It would be very easy to focus on being alone, and to fixate on what you consider the missing pieces in your life, but it’s so much more valuable to take an inventory of what’s right in your world.  Most of us are drawn to positive, optimistic people, and the best way to be positive is to really be aware of the gifts in your life; you probably have many.  And you probably know what most of them are.  Don’t be afraid to make a list, and check it twice.  Christmas, after all, is just around the corner. 😉

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.

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.

Last Week in Perspective

This past week, we completed two intense and inspiring days of individual interviews at our Spring casting in Palo Alto. Meeting after meeting, we met exceptional women and men of all ages coming out to see if they have what it takes to meet some of our current VIP clients. 49_191_popup-1I always learn so much from these candidates. One funny woman shared enthusiastically the Shanghainese tradition of gifting 18 hams to the matchmaker who has successfully matched you. Being Shanghainese, she said “Marry me off and you’ll have 18 hams coming your way! I hope you like ham.”

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So, what are these high caliber, successful single professionals saying? A lot! Here are a few nuggets of wisdom from our meetings we’d like to share with you:

I’ve been on a ton of dates, the men only seem to be interested in their own time table and agenda.

The well for getting set up from friends is shrinking by the minute!

I feel like I need to stop doing online dating. I don’t want to become jaded. I need to take a break, breathe, and get a fresh perspective.

I love flirting! I try to make eye contact in my everyday life and never look at my cell phone as a crutch when walking down the street.  Make eye contact, you just never know.

I am a modern woman who appreciates traditional values. But that means monogamy and a partnership. A relationship where it is one man and one woman. Not multiple partners.

The girl I was really into just did nothing all day and her life revolved around mine. It is so important to have a match who has her own thing going on. She would wait for me to come home, like a puppy dog, and just glum on. It was stifling. She had no life outside of mine.

People need to stop being hot and cold in relationships. Finding someone who is emotionally predictable is important. I hate always feeling like I am walking on eggshells.

It is a gift to put a woman at ease when dating. I love a man who is a gentleman and kindhearted.

My mother recently said just find any husband. As long as he has a pulse, the whole family will be delighted!  😉

Busiest January Ever!

It’s only January 15th and we are swamped! Love all of you writing us and clients coming in to renew and catch up with us as well. Today we had a meeting with a gorgeous 50-something woman, followed up a catch up with a 50-something VIP gentleman who is super sexy and successful (if you are a 30-40 gorgeous gal, ping me ASAP…this guy wants marriage and babies!), and a lovely interview with a charming and sophisticated 28-year old East Coast bred female who is preppy and smart!  Lots of calls today with clients and matchmaking too.San Mateo-20130115-00762 copy

Lovely fresh flowers at our office this week…..

Tomorrow we have interviews with two gentleman, one who is an accomplished scientist in the Valley and beyond cerebral (early 40’s) and another who is a late 40’s very good looking (slightly shy) venture capitalist.  I love LOVE love my job!

I just ran into two separate couples that I set up over the weekend too. One was at a dinner locally with my hubbie. I did a double take and saw one of our younger Linx couples (both mid 20’s) sitting together with his mother at dinner in the booth next to us. So cute! He introduced me to his mother after their dinner. This couple is so fabulous and living together! Both their VERY FIRST introduction through Linx. Talk about success. The next day, I ran into another Linx couple (both are in their 60’s). He was her first match and she was his second introduction. They were seeing a film together (Life of Pi…a major mist see but be prepared for a serious tear jerker) and I had never seen her so happy before! At peace, radiant, happy, and looking healthy. To find that elusive chemistry….San Mateo-20130115-00763

I‘ve also gotten good feedback from clients about matches they (at first) were a little skeptical about. Maybe from a different look, career, or age. Being open-minded and having a malleable mind and approach is KEY to successful matchmaking. Too restrictive, unrealistic, or close-minded simply doesn’t work for us at Linx. You must let go of the list and trust in this unique ultra-personalized process of matchmaking to see the success you desire. Sometimes matches do not work out after a few dates or months. That is life. Nothing is predicable yet in being open, you substantially increase your odds of meeting that incredible match to call your future husband or wife! IMG-20130114-00759My project is almost finished. A cozy new “passionate” nook in my study. Walls are done. Now waiting to get some art work for my mom to complete the look. 

 

 

Ask Linx Anything!

Dear faithful readers,

Although I don’t know most of you personally,  I am thankful that you are reading the blog and hopefully enjoying the random things I post here from Linx HQ. I’d like to get to know all of you better and thus encourage you to comment on any of the entries. Don’t be shy!  And, yes, you can do this anonymously.  I’m going to start a new “ask anything” part of the Linx website where you can submit dating and relationship questions to my inbox and I will answer on the blog, keeping your identity totally and completely anonymous.  So go for it!

Q: ” Amy when is it appropriate to sleep with the guy I am really into?”

A: Although it can be very tempting with hormones firing in all directions, resist that temptation until you are exclusive! If you are serious about love and getting to the goal of marriage in the near future, absolutely wait until you are in an exclusive relationship. 

Our featured song is Enrique Iglesias Tonight I’m Lovin’ You. 

Women make it too easy for guys right and left by having sex  without any sort of commitment. I was horrified, when I was dating in San Francisco, at how casual guys were about sex. “Stay over tonight,” he would say. “Huh?” was my response followed by a “not ’til we are exclusive.”

Guess what? The serious good guys will RESPECT your wishes, beg, and drool like hungry pups waiting for their dinner and the WRONG ones will drive you home that night (thus rejected) saying “ciao bella.”  After he drops you off at home (or hails you a cab or worse yet, you get yourself a cab) chances are he will never call or ask you out again.  Let’s face it, in many ways, you did reject his sexual advance. On the other hand, sister, you are putting your values and needs first, not his testosterone.  

For him, there are so many other girls willing to go downtown and do the horizontal mambo that you can focus on finding the right guy. 

Girls Pack Your Bags for Sun Valley!

This past weekend my husband and I headed to Central Idaho for a nice long weekend of horseback riding, sunbathing and …..

After a few days of r&r in the incredibly scenic and magnificent weather of Sun Valley, my natural matchmaking instincts surfaced and I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of really good looking older men. (Think Ralph Lauren look alikes- tan skin, active, healthy, avid skiers, and silver hair). If I were a single woman in my 30, 40, or 50’s…I would buy a one way ticket to Sun Valley, Idaho! It is loaded with affluent, good looking, sporty men who are ALL SINGLE and searching. Real cowboys! Men on horses! Men wearing wranglers!

Curious about the local dating scene, I began chatting it up with a few locals at the Pioneer saloon and one eligible gentleman shared that women “should not commit to any man till they are last least 39 1/2 years because men are by nature  still trying to find themselves. Men don’t know their shit till after 40. Men in their 30s are trying to find themselves professionally. Ladies are different.”

A lot of the men I encountered have been married 1-3 times before and choose Sun Valley to be one with nature, enjoy a very down to earth group of locals, and the active lifestyle.

If you visit during the Allen & Co week, you will rub elbows with a lot of movers and shakers if you are lucky enough. A lot of the locals head out for that week to get outta dodge away from the hustle and bustle.

Our featured song for this entry is Tim McGraw and Faith Hill It’s Your Love 

So, grab your best girlfriend and head to Sun Valley for a long weekend. I’d play it real low key as these guys are no dummies. They can spot a woman who is after them for the wrong reasons or simply someone who is too eager. I chatted with my new Sun Valley buddies about this! Stay in town, go horseback riding, eat at the Pioneer, listen to live music, admire the thriving art scene, check out the Ketchum Grill, grab coffee at Java for low-key or Tully’s for more of a scene…..mingle and meet some really great locals who like you are searching for that perfect match.

Sun Valley, Idaho – The best baked potatoes money can buy! Good shopping! Limitless outdoor activities! (skiing, horseback riding, cycling, golfing)  Gorgeous mountains! The downside is a long drive from Boise airport to Sun Valley. The upside is countless new connections to really down-to-earth, good people…and possibly finding love!

Attention Silicon Valley Geeks

One of my favorite, quirky geek films in the 80’s by John Hughes is Weird Science where two high school, dateless geeks use their computer skills to create “the perfect woman” 

 
A lot of us obsessed over this movie but fast forward Linx has become a sort of step back in time allowing cerebral types with callused computer fingers spin out their perfect Kelly La Broc woman. 

In reminiscing about this movie I am reminded of the wonderful pool of guys that come to Linx searching for that “perfect woman.”

These men have just been nose to the grindstone, focused on their academics and career and are ready for love. They come to Linx in search of their life partner but aren’t so sure where to get started and sometimes they just need a bit of date coaching to learn to strengthen their hunter and alpha male qualities.

In the movie the boys create an insanely stunning woman of their dreams who also has magical powers which she uses to carefully steer the normally shy teens in directions where they are forced to be in-charge under pressure.  

I like to think of Linx as this female character in the film in that sense – where instead of magically providing a car, fake IDs and heading to a Blue’s club for some  Bourbon shots, we take the guys exactly as they are and help them own their qualities, polishing them up with excellent sound bytes. We might even go as far as wardrobe consultation, mock dates, and throwing them in simulated environments where we role play.  
 

We pride ourselves in representing such a quality pool of “geeks” because these are the men women are demanding! Women want men who are hard working, passionate about what they do, successful and quirky in their own special way, attentive and honest – the best thing about these men is that all these traits is what women find uber sexy and many of these men don’t even know it!

If you are one of these guys who maybe is shy and wonders what the heck women are thinking half the time, write us. We represent hundreds of good guys like you and can help you land the perfect Weird Science girl of your dreams. Dating is a skill and we are masters of helping our clients learn techniques to achieve your personal goals of finding true love.