best dating advice

It’s 2021…Ladies Make Your Move

I met Jon Birger seven years ago, over lunch in Palo Alto.

A Fortune Magazine writer working on his first book Date-onomics, Jon wanted to talk about Bay Area dating — specifically how the region’s rather unique oversupply of educated men impacted people’s love lives.

Published in 2015, Date-onomics argued that shifting sex ratios among the college educated are behind the rise of the hookup culture and the decline in marriage rates. In nearly every other part of the country, it’s the college-educated women who are in oversupply. Nationally, one-third more women than men have graduated college since 2000.

This might not matter so much if we were more open-minded about whom we date and marry. Thing is, college grads still like to date other college grads, and this preference leads to lopsided sex ratios in the dating pool. And lopsided sex ratios give the scarcer sex the upper hand.

For Jon, San Francisco and Santa Clara County were the exceptions that proved the rule. The Bay Area is the one well-populated region of the country where educated men outnumber educated women. Yes, we’ve still got our share of playboys. But generally speaking, the Bay Area boasts some of the highest marriage rates and lowest divorce rates in the country for college-educated women.

As you can imagine, Date-onomics generated a ton of buzz when it was published. Glamour, Time, Good Morning America, The Washington Post, National Public Radio and countless other media outlets all produced stories or segments about Jon’s first book.

Now he has a new dating book coming out in February — MAKE YOUR MOVE: The New Science of Dating and Why Women Are in Charge. I read an advance review copy of Make Your Move, and it’s terrific. So terrific that I asked Jon if he’d answer a few questions about it for the Linx blog. He obliged.

AMY ANDERSEN: Jon, what inspired you to write another dating book?

JON BIRGER: It had a lot to do with being on book tour with Date-onomics.

The first book was more pop science than self help. Yeah, there was a little bit of advice tucked into the final chapter, but it was only there because my editor demanded it.

My primary goal with Date-onomics was simply to explain why dating had become so hard for young, successful, college-educated women. I wanted to shed light on this strange phenomenon so many of us are familiar with — this plethora of fabulous women in their thirties and forties who cannot seem to find a decent guy.

When the first book came out, I had it in my head that women would be relieved to hear that their dating woes were not their fault. I thought the knowledge-is-power thing would be enough.

Well, you can probably guess what happened when I got out on book tour and started taking questions.

Women still wanted you to tell them how to find a husband.

Yep.

I’d give speeches to mostly female audiences or go on radio shows with mostly female callers, and they wanted advice on their love lives. They wanted me to explain why other women whom they considered no more attractive or successful didn’t have the same problems they did.

I didn’t have great answers, and that’s what prompted me to write Make Your Move. Backed by the latest research on dating, Make Your Move is all about solutions and strategies for hetero, marriage-minded women who are navigating an unfair dating market. There’s a lot of fun storytelling too. I interviewed all these amazing women with romantic stories about how they found their partners by ignoring the traditional dating rules and norms that had been holding them back.

A lot of your advice in Make Your Move involves encouraging women to make the first move, right?

That’s definitely part of it.

I don’t want to give away too much, but I do believe our culture is at an inflection point. Young women are kicking ass in education, sports, business, media, politics and so much else. So why the heck would anyone tell these women that they’ve got to wait for a man to ask them out? 

Do you think men are changing too?

I do. I think the whole culture is changing — which is why this new generation of singles needs a new dating bible!

If you think about it, nearly every best-selling dating guide written over the past forty years — from The Rules to Ignore the Guy, Get the Guy — has told women that in order to bag a man, they must commit to a very complicated game of playing hard to get. The message these books ask women to send to men boils down to “not interested means keep trying.”

I don’t think this was ever a helpful message, but in the post-#MeToo world, it’s really, really unhelpful.

Men have learned important lessons from #MeToo. Maybe we’re not learning as fast as we should, but we are learning. Nowadays if a woman indicates she’s not interested, most men will just take her at her word and move on. 

Do men actually want women to make the first move?

Most do. A woman who makes the first move takes away a man’s fear of rejection. She makes it easier for him to be himself around her. There’s less peacocking. More conversation.

I’ll give you an example from the book. It involves a 29-year-old named Becca — someone I know pretty well because she was our Saturday-night babysitter years ago. Becca is attractive, but key thing to understand about Becca is she has a huge personality. She’s a real cut-up. My kids loved her.

Of course, some men find the extrovert thing intimidating. When I mentioned the new book to her, she started telling me the story of how she and her boyfriend first got together. They met at a party. They were talking, having a good time, but it was apparent he was too nervous to do anything about it. So Becca just blurted out, “Hey, are you going to ask for my number?”

That’s how it started for them.

I know there are women out there who will never believe this, but the whole key to understanding men is that men like women who like them. Too many women have been raised on the notion that men love the chase and that a man will become less interested in her the moment she’s too interested in him.

Perhaps that was true once upon a time, but I’ve yet to meet the man who broke up with a woman he liked simply because she was too enthusiastic about him. I’ve also yet to meet a guy who enjoyed guessing which women are playing a game and which just want to be left alone. This is why assertive women willing to make a first move have such an advantage over women who sideline themselves by waiting to be courted.

Is there such a thing as too assertive?

I don’t think the first move has to be anything dramatic.

I know that the rule-followers always conjure up images of women throwing themselves at men any time someone suggests women making the first move. But that’s not at all what I’m talking about. Think about what Becca did. She didn’t grab the guy’s butt. All she did was open the door wide enough to make him feel confident about walking through.

In the book, you urge women to take a break from online dating. Why?

Just to be clear, I’m not opposed to all online dating. There are some niche dating apps that I like a lot, and I do write about them in the book. I also recognize that in COVID times, online dating may be only dating some people are comfortable with.

Still, I think many singles would be happier if they ditched the apps and tried asking out people they actually know instead. Over the past year, the dark side of online dating has really been coming into focus. According to Pew Research, 57% of women report experiencing harassment on dating apps, and 19% say they’ve been threatened with physical violence. Overall, 55% of women believe dating is harder now than it was 10 years ago.

So tell me about the “Make Your Move Offline Dating Challenge.”

It’s one chapter in the book. It’s essentially a step-by-step plan for dating in the real world instead of the digital one — for finding more meaningful connections.

The reason I created the offline dating challenge is there’s too much anxiety surrounding dating right now. Online daters don’t trust each other. The whole purpose of the offline dating challenge is to make people more comfortable about dating. Less jaded. Less fearful.

When I was in my 20s, blind dates with complete strangers were pretty rare. Nowadays, most online first dates are blind dates with complete strangers. What’s so difficult about this is you have no idea what kind of person will walk through the door. Everybody who knows your online first date knows him better than you do, so you really are flying blind.

Now compare the online first date with a stranger to going out on a first date with someone you already know and like — a co-worker or a neighbor or someone from church or maybe a friend of a friend. It’s a much different experience. It’s much easier to fall in like or in love when you share common experiences or common friends — and when you’re not worried the person across the table from you could be an axe murderer.

When I was dating up a storm from online sites in my 20’s, the biggest problem was lack of filtering. Lots of good guys but those guys were looking for only fun in the here and now. Their goal was getting laid over actually finding a compatible partner. 

Hah. That’s obviously a familiar experience for lots of women, though I have seen research showing women use apps for sex as often as men do.

I think a fundamental problem with dating apps is the anonymity fosters miscommunication and mistruths — especially on that all-important question of whether the other person is looking for a hookup or a long-term relationship. It’s just easier to behave badly with strangers than with people connected to your daily life.

A woman I interviewed for the book described online dating to me as “a doubter’s game,” and this struck me as a really interesting turn of phrase. Based on past experiences, she just assumed most men on dating apps were lying to her. She’d spend first dates trying to poke holes in their stories.

Needless to say, that didn’t lead to a lot of second dates.

Well, this woman is now engaged to a man she met through a mutual friend. Before her first date with the now-fiancée, she didn’t even bother googling him. She told me she didn’t have to because she knew her friend would never set her up with a man who was unkind or untrustworthy.

“It’s more of a believer’s game,” she said about old-fashioned dating. “I was just more inclined to find the positive. It was actually the closest thing to love at first sight I’d ever experienced.”

In the book, you cite research showing that couples who meet at work, in college, through friends, in church, etc. stay together longer than those who meet on the apps. Why do you think that is?

Human beings evolved as social animals, and we bond through shared experiences. Those shared experiences — those fun stories we like to tell and re-tell — become building blocks for deeper connections. This is why couples who know each other tend to have lower breakup rates than couples who first meet online.

What’s your opinion of professional matchmaking?

I put matchmaking into the “met through friends” category.

I have no doubt that your best clients view you as confidante and friend more than as a paid advisor. The only difference between being set up by a close friend and being set up by a good matchmaker is the matchmaker has a much longer list of single men and women to choose from. (I’m always reminded of that scene from “When Harry Met Sally,” when Carrie Fisher pulls out her rolodex during lunch and tries unsuccessfully to come up with men she can set up Meg Ryan with.)

That being said, not everybody who’ll read Make Your Move can afford to spend five figures on a high-end matchmaker like Linx. Most can’t. But I still want them to know that there are other, better ways to date than swiping on Tinder.

2020 was a challenging year for everybody, but finding your dream partner can make even the darkest times seem brighter. Have you seen anything that should give people hope in 2021, at least when it comes to love and romance?

Absolutely. Maybe it’s all those “How it began … how it’s going” memes floating around social media, but I see plenty of reasons for optimism. I love all the videos of women proposing to their boyfriends, for instance. I love the then-and-now photos of couples who started out as friends — and not as Tinder matches! — and are now celebrating anniversaries.

Those are the kind of things that gives me hope.

When does Make Your Move go on sale? Where can people buy it?

Make Your Move comes out Feb. 2, but it’s available for pre-order now from all the major retailers and independent booksellers — AmazonBarnes & NobleWal-MartBooks-a-MillionIndieboundIndigo. There’s an audiobook version too.

FYI, I’m usually willing to meet virtually with book clubs that buy and read one of my books. For info on the book-club Q&A’s — or on anything else related to Make Your Move or Date-onomics — folks can reach out to me via my author website, jonbirger.com.

New Year, New Resolutions: 7 Ways to Make 2019 Your Year for Love

 

iStock_000027212743Small.jpgIf you’re ready to make 2019 a year of unforgettable connection, I want to give you the best chance of success. The road to love does involve some work; it’s more than just taking risks, it’s also about letting go of the habits that hold us back. To get your 2019 started right, follow these 7 tips to simplify and expedite your path to a meaningful, fulfilling love life.

 

  1. Ditch the lukewarm arsenal of safe bets.

If you’ve been dating, chances are you’ve met some great people but, as great as they are, just aren’t a great fit for you. If you’ve accumulated a collection of “friends” and have found yourself “staying in touch” late at night or spending all your precious free time together, it’s time to cut the cord. Every moment you spend with someone who isn’t your match prolongs the wait for the right person. Harsh? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.

 

Example: As much as I should love having a glorious, no strings attached relationship, I’m going to try my luck at finding something serious. I want you to know that you didn’t do anything wrong; it’s just that I’m planning to try something new. Wanted to make sure you weren’t left wondering what happened.

 

  1. Let your on again, off again relationship rest in peace.

If you broke up, the relationship is, well, broken. If you have separated or called it off, and are thinking about trying again, ask yourself: “What has actuallychanged?”

Loneliness summons all types of uncomfortable feelings—like regret—while also only allowing you to see the good times and forget the reasons that led to the break-up in the first place.

 

Don’t let these lonely feelings fool you into trying again with someone you were certain wasn’t right for you or someone who was certain you weren’t right for them. The relationship isn’t right, especially at this time, so give yourself the space to grow.

 

  1. Leave the ghosts of your past where they belong: the past.

Heartbreak is a part of life. If you’ve looked for connection, you’ve experienced the pain of losing it. Spending time discussing the ghosts of relationship past will only allow them to keep haunting the future. Each time you choose to relive the happy moments of a past relationship or rant about where an ex went wrong, you resurrect a broken relationship from the dead. Give your new relationship every opportunity to thrive; keep the ghosts at bay.

 

  1. Evaluate how much you want a relationship. Align your behavior accordingly.

Just because you are single doesn’t mean you are seeking a relationship; behavior is the only true indicator of what you truly want. I say this—as obvious at it seems—because so many times people want a relationship but do not do the work to be in one. If you want to be in a relationship, get matched, say yes to new people, make a move. Do something! It might not feel good, but it will prove that you are actively pursuing your personal goals.

 

  1. Refuse to negotiate the red flags.

If you like someone, it’s easy to let the feelings of infatuation cloud better judgment. Instead of making excuses for someone else’s error, re-claim your power by making very intentional mental notes.

 

If your date, for example, is going hard on the drinks and you find yourself unimpressed or concerned, you can try one of two approaches:

 

  1. I have noticed that my date is drinking beyond what makes me comfortable. I am choosing to note this for now. If it happens again, I will choose to be with someone who makes me feel less concerned.
  2. I am uncomfortable with my date’s drinking and have decided that I want to be comfortable. I choose to move on.

 

Every time you make an excuse for someone, you are stripping away your ability to make a choice. Once you break the habit of being forced to accept to being able to choose, you will feel much more aware of your standards and much less open to people who don’t meet them.

 

  1. If the present fulfills you, don’t let the future stress you.

Have you met someone who makes you feel fantastic? Get familiar with those feelings and let yourself experience them totally! Too many times, I have seen clients sabotage happy, functional relationships in their efforts to “know where it’s going”. Sometimes, the most challenging part of a blossoming relationship is allowing it to unfold organically. If you do find yourself pushing for answers early on, consider the source of your fears and giving yourself time to sort them out before they jeopardize your next connection.

 

  1. Discover what makes you most magnetic.

Whereas people have their preferences when it comes to physical looks, no one argues with the allure of a happy person. That happy energy—the joy of genuine contentment—is universally attractive. Discovering those things that make you feel alive—cooking, hosting, fixing, building—whatever it is, will help you broadcast something special. Cultivate your own happiness and let that new energy work for you.

 

If you’re intent on making the magic happen this year, consider outsourcing some of the work to the professionals. I receive dozens of new clients who want to meet people beyond their traditional circles. Get in touch! Maybe I’ve just added your next match to my rolodex.

 

I’m sending you best wishes for happiness and love in 2019!

Warmly,
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Amy Andersen
Founder & CEO
Linx Dating LLC 

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How and When to Talk Kids with Your Date

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When it comes to deal breakers, we start filtering with the usual suspects: smoking, level of education, religious background, etc. However, life goals—like the decision to have children or not—shouldn’t be treated any differently.

 

According to the US Census Bureau’s survey in 2014, 28.9 percent of women between the ages 30-34 are . This percentage is at an all-time high and, according to other surveys, this trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. Women are postponing pregnancy or not having children at all. For many women thinking about their waning fertility, the topic of kids—to have them or not—is a topic better had sooner than after months of dating.

 

Although men don’t have a biological clock to contend with, they might have family expectations of their own or want to be sure their partner wants to remain before committing. In one poll conducted by the Associated Press in 2013, more than 8 in 10 men said they were interested in becoming fathers. With men’s continued desire to procreate and more women opting to postpone pregnancy, figuring out where kids—or if—kids fit into the plans is a crucial milestone.

 

Talking about future family plans is important, but it’s a tricky conversation to initiate. Women worried about family planning will want to initiate the conversation sooner, but often they do so at the risk of scaring potential partners off or making their partners feel like sperm donors. Men, on the other hand, might feel like they’re adding pressure to their partners to bear the burden of pregnancy.

Step 1. Consider timing.

 

The first three dates should not reference a future. Talking about your future life together before spending enough time together sends a desperate message: Your partner’s personality and behavior isn’t that important. If you’re bringing up kids before establishing any real connection, your partner will feel more like a means to an end instead of being an actual end.

 

The best time to weave hopes of a future family is when the relationship is transitioning from dating to something more serious. When it’s safe to assume you’ll see each other rather than wondering if you’ll see each other, you can start weaving in references to a future family without any kind of pressure-inducing discussion.

 

Step 2. Consider your word choice.

 

When you talk about a future family, nix the deadlines. The point of the conversation is to understand where your partner falls on the family-planning spectrum—not when you’d like to get pregnant/impregnate.

 

If you’re sure you want children, try:

  • I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually looking forward to driving a minivan full of little leaguers.
  • Not now, but in the next few years, I’d be interested in starting a family.

 

If you’re sure you do NOT want children, try:

  • Although I enjoy kids, I’ve never felt the call to have my own. I want to make sure you know that upfront, so you don’t miss out on any life experiences you might be looking forward to.

 

If you aren’t sure about having children, try:

  • I haven’t spent too much time thinking about my future family. I think so much of that answer depends on my partner.

 

Step 3. Get honest about your needs.

 

If you’re sure you don’t want children and you know your partner does, do the right thing and set your partner free. To continue dating despite misaligned future paths is a waste of time for both of you. If, on the other hand, you’re sure you do want kids, and your partner doesn’t feel the same, do not waste your precious time trying to convince him or her otherwise.

Your New Years Guide to Ghosting

 

iStock-653123384 copy.jpgYou’ve met someone new. You’ve been out on a few great dates. All signs point to a promising future and then nothing. Your date—and any hint of a relationship—disappears into thin air.

 

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. You, like so many others, have been ghosted. When I was dating ages ago, way before the term “ghosting” made its debut, I called this “pulling a Houdini.” Ghosting happens when someone ceases contact without explanation. In lieu of a break-up conversation or a gentle letdown, a ghoster simply disappears in the hopes that the silence will send the message.

 

In this era of digital dating, the rate of ghosting is higher than ever. In one study by online dating site Plenty of Fish, results showed that 78% of people between the ages of 18 and 33—have been “ghosted” at least once.

 

If you’ve been ghosted…

 

Realize that the ghoster’s lack of communication isn’t about you. Ghosting happens when someone tries to suppress their own uncomfortable emotions and, in an effort to numb them, avoids communicating. Ghosting isn’t meant to be malicious; ghosters generally consider their actions to be “nicer” than an upfront conversation.

 

Getting ghosted can be extremely painful. Many people on the receiving end are left not only questioning the validity of the relationship, but also their own judgment. They may wonder why they didn’t see it coming or read the signs. Feelings of abandonment and loss ensue.

 

Though you may not receive the closure you need, you do have the power to write your own ending. A simple message may help you tie up loose ends even when your date has opted for a less thoughtful route.

 

Possible closure messages include:

 

  • “I enjoyed spending time getting to know you. Unfortunately, it seems this wasn’t the right time for us. I’m not expecting an explanation but, if you’d like to chat, I’m available.”

 

  • “Given how close we became, I would appreciate a quick conversation to understand your feelings. Though I’m not expecting to hear from you, some communication could help us land in a better place.”

 

The goal of your closure message is to make a definitive request for communication while also demonstrating that you are moving forward regardless of whether it happens. The request shows that you have self-respect while also giving someone an opportunity to make right or, at the very least, exit the relationship with integrity.

 

An additional thought… If you suspect that you are being ghosted – for example, if you haven’t heard from a date in a couple days and feel like calling it off before getting hurt, reconsider his or her schedule. It’s tempting to assign intent to a lack of communication, but in the preliminary stages of dating, not many people know how to prioritize their personal lives, careers, and new relationships.

 

You could send a message like this:

 

  • “Looks like your week is as busy as mine. Wanted to double check for Tuesday.”

 

If you’re planning to ghost…

 

You’ve been set up with a new date. You’ve exchanged texts and you’re looking forward to meeting. You have a date on the books and then something changes. You might have received an awkward message or a sudden drop in messaging that is causing you to reconsider that first date. Finally, after much deliberation, you send a quick message: “Schedule got a little hectic on my end. I’m sorry I won’t be able to make dinner. Maybe we’ll meet another time!”

 

You thus have canceled the date without an alternative proposal for a new time and are hoping that your date will understand and move on. (I am not even addressing extreme ghosting here, which is even worse and horribly rude – i.e. blowing off the date and not even contacting the person.)

 

Sound familiar? If so, you’re not alone. Most ghosters have also been the victim of ghosting, so you can choose to perpetuate the cycle, or not. Although you might argue that this is a case-by-case decision, the way you end a relationship is a reflection of your personal brand. Approaching others with respect and honesty will help you attract someone who subscribes to the same thinking.

 

Before calling it quits, realize that going out with someone is the only way to know if he or she is worth pursuing. Throwing in the towel before meeting isn’t helping you find the love of your life any quicker; it’s just an excuse that’s keeping you from growing and learning.

 

One message you could send if you’re thinking about ghosting:

 

  • “Hi! My week is crazy. I’m thinking it might be better for me to go out for coffee instead of dinner. Does this work?”

 

This message might not be ideal, but keeping the date casual might be better than nixing the date completely.

How To Tell If A Guy Doesn’t Like You

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Written by guest blogger: Nick Bastion

No one wants to waste their time.

And if you’re interested in a guy – but you don’t know how he feels about you – it can be a nerve-wracking experience.

Does he like you? Does he not like you? Does he only like you “as a friend”? Will he ever be interested in you?

And most importantly: Are you wasting your time with this guy?

I want to help you never have to worry about that question again.

So with that in mind, I’m going to give you the top signs that a guy doesn’t like you, so that you never have to waste your time with a guy who’s not interested ever again.

Are you ready for the good news?

It’s actually very easy to tell whether a guy is interested in you or not.

See, a lot of women think guys are complicated, but the truth of the matter is, guys are very simple.

Guys move towards things that feel good to them. They give off obvious signs when they’re interested in someone. 99% of the time, their behavior tells the whole story.

The reason that a lot of women think guys are “complicated” is because they’re actually projecting their own feelings and motivations onto a guy – instead of just looking at what he’s actually doing.

The women who think men are complicated are the same women who look for hidden “clues” or “signals” about how he truly feels.

The truth is, he’s not dropping hidden clues. He’s not being subtle. He’s pretty much incapable.

He’s just not that complicated.

So if he’s not that complicated – what are the signs to look for that tell you whether he is or isn’t interested in you?

Here’s the most important one: Does he spend time with you?

Guys who are interested in a woman are going to take every excuse they can get to spend time with her. They’re going to go out of their way to hang out. They’re going to want to be around that woman as much as they can.

Why? Because it feels good!

It feels good to be around someone you like – that’s the whole reason you like them.

And remember what I said earlier about guys being simple?

Here’s a universal rule with guys: if it feels good – he’s going to move towards it. If it feels bad, he’s going to move away from it.

That means that if a guy feels good around you – he’s going to want to spend more time with you – and he’s going to become interested in you.

If he’s not spending time with you, if he’s rarely ever “around” you at all – it means he’s not interested.

So with that out of the way, let’s look at some other signs that mean a guy isn’t interested.

These all revolve around one question: Are you important to him?

If he’s interested in you, then you’re going to be important to him. That’s a given – when a guy is attracted to a woman she becomes important to him.

So how would you expect a guy to act towards someone who’s important to him?

He would listen to her when she talked to him. He would remember the things she told him. He would make time to see her – even if he were busy.

He would reach out to her first and contact her to make plans. He would stick to his plans and not flake out or cancel last minute.

He would be curious about her life and ask her questions about herself. He would treat her differently than the other people in his life.

In short – he would behave like she was important to him.

If the guy you’re thinking of isn’t doing any of these things – if he’s not behaving like you’re important to him… then the blunt truth is that he’s probably not that interested in you.

But even if he isn’t – it’s still better to know now, rather than wasting your time waiting for him to come around or show his “true feelings” (which he’s really been showing you the entire time).

So if the signs say that he’s not interested – don’t try to shove a square peg into a round hole. Instead, move on and keep looking for the right guy – the guy who’s just as excited about you as you are about him. The guy who will want to be with you the way you want to be with him.

The guy who treats you like a very important person in his life.

That’s the man you’re looking for.

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Vixendaily.com is the only site out there that specializes in mind-reading quizzes, content and advice tailored to your particular needs.  It’s like having your own personal mentor guiding you through life’s challenges every step of the way!

It was founded by dating and relationship expert, Nick Bastion, who is the main contributor to the Love & Relationship Advice section of the site.