The Best Piece of Advice Silicon Valley’s Top Matchmaker Gave Me? Stop Dating
Last year, I was totally and completely burnt out from dating and relationships. I had that Charlotte from SATC moment,“I’ve been dating since I was 15. I am exhausted. Where is HE?” After my last relationship with someone I was sure I had long term potential with abruptly ended, I reached a breaking point. In a desperate move, I asked for help. I wrote an email to a matchmaker I had interviewed in the past for an article, and had really clicked with. Her name is Amy Andersen of Linx Dating. Amy is not only the top matchmaker in Silicon Valley (think entrepreneurs, CEOS, and the like) but she is also insanely smart, contagiously funny, and warm. She not only responded to my e-mail right away but she also gave me the best dating advice of my life. In the spirit of SPRING FEVER, and people coming out of their winter cocoons, ready to get our there again, I want to share her advice with you no matter what stage or status you are in on your relationship journey. To the broken hearted, there is light at the end of the tunnel, take some time to celebrate and date YOU!
So what did Amy say to me when I told her I had just about had enough of the swipes, dates, pseudo-relationships, and breakups? She said I needed a complete and total digital dating detox. A digital dating detox? What is that? Amy explained in tech terms, “It’s about getting off the spinning hamster wheel going nowhere and removing the digital noise and distractions from your life. It’s a “reboot” of yourself and a defragmentation of your internal hard drive. Or in Silicon Valley lingo, it’s a CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. Like a computer that’s a few years old and running slow, you might not feel as if you are mentally as agile and optimistic as you used to be. With a computer, it’s likely that you have stored cache, installed apps by accident, have a million old e-mail downloads that are hogging memory, and have a ton of junk on your desktop. My digital dating detox is a personal “clean up” program created to empower anyone who has experienced dating fatigue. The goal is to make you stop feeling burned out and give yourself a necessary break and reboot.” Does that click with you? Keep reading.
1. Invest in yourself and Delete.The.Apps.
First things first. Delete the apps. Amy told me to delete every single one of them for a few months, which I did. To be honest, I was super anxious about it, they were my security blankets to getting dates, but not having alerts and “homework” swiping as part of my daily routine was truly one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done. Amy’s philosophy? “Invest in “YOU time” until you can look forward to it again. My most important advice is to take a well-deserved break and get off all apps, online, and just focus on making a personal investment in yourself. Get in the best mindset and health, and do things that make you genuinely happy.”
2. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who are doing cool things in their lives.
As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I truly believe this. Living in New York City, there are so many choices, invitations, and “we need to catch ups.” In order to stay overall positive and healthy during my experiment I chose to spend my time with people that genuinely felt good to hang out with, inspired, and supported me. It was as simple as that. I still truly believe this, I love seeing people, I’m sure you do too.
3. Start spending your time doing things that YOU want to do instead of what others want you to do or what society says you should do.
This one really resonated with me. My calendar was so often filled with things “I needed to do”. Dates were scheduled like workouts. It was exhausting. I decided to throw that all out the window. If everyone was going away for Memorial Day weekend and there were invites to travel, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t. I spent it going to the spa and doing things that felt good for me. I listened to my mind and body and took my emotional temperature of what I was open to doing, one day at a time.
4. Try and do new things out of your comfort zone.
Amy suggested that I “Think about the “types” of people you would like to meet and center yourself in those environments. If you have always wanted to learn rock climbing and find men who do this to be incredibly attractive now is your time to take indoor rock climbing lessons after work .” Doing these new things will also prove to yourself that you are constantly growing and doing new things. It’s a win/win!
5. Stay open. Stay kind.
This point really hit home with me. I used to feel frustrated after an unsuccessful date and like it was a waste of time but Amy made a really good point to me. “You never know whom you are going to meet. Even if he/she is not the one for you , he/she might have a friend who ends up being your match. Be kind and compassionate to your date with the goal of sending out positive energy and good karma. Although you and your date might agree that there is not chemistry between you, maybe he/she will extend an invite to a BBQ to meet some of his single friends. It is precisely at this even that you could meet the true love of your life. Lesson, don’t burn bridges or play games. Remember any single person is in the same boat as you and probably doesn’t actually enjoy dating just for the sake of dating- much like you!” Be kind, it will never hurt you in the long run.
6. Ask people around you if they know anyone for you?
The good old friends of friends approach. Amy says to, “Tell your trusted network of friends and family that you are taking a 2-6 month digital detox and are going to “old school” it for the time being. That you are excited at the possibilities and put it out there that you’d love to be considered for any set-ups if they have a single friend in mind. Have a sound bite ready for your approach with anyone you are talking to….”I came out of a relationship a few months ago and I’ve checked out some of the dating apps but truthfully it’s challenging from a time and lack of vetting perspective. That’s why I was hoping to get out there and just meet people a little more organically, like you.”
6. STAY POSITIVE and don’t overthink all of this.
And Amy’s most important advice of all, “The energy you radiate is what’s given back to you.” Hell yes. “Additionally, you have to enjoy being in the moment and letting go of concerns or any negative messages or doubts. When you are literally having fun and carrying on with a giant smile and a “I don’t really give a flying f*ck” attitude because I am happy THAT is exactly the energy people want to be around. You’ve reached a much more enlightened point and have shifted your energy from tired and frustrated to “light, easy, and breezy.” You’re radiating a confidence and certain je ne sais quoi that many people wish they had.”
So what happened to me, after my digital dating detox? I fell in love with myself again. And with being in love with myself, I felt this magical aura around me once I “got back out there” I went on my first Hinge date after no dating for a few months and there he was, the healthy partner I manifested while taking time to be the healthiest version of myself.
For more information on Amy Andersen, linxdating.com
Forget the mother-in-law. Sometimes the most difficult family member is the four-legged hairball who drinks out of the toilet. Managing an obnoxious animal can be difficult, but the real difficulty lies in dating someone whose priorities are out of order.
If you’re feeling like a powerless third wheel, there are ways to get your relationship in a better place. Below, we’ve outlined the most common problems that arise when dating a pet owner and how to approach them.
Problem: The dog sleeps in a bed—with both of you.
Solution: Tell your SO (significant other) that you’d like to keep the bed on hold for sleeping and other “special activities”. Between the pet hair and the lack of space, this request shouldn’t come as a surprise. Snag a dog bed and keep it in the corner of the bedroom to accommodate the new arrangement. If you’d prefer to keep the dog outside of the bedroom entirely, vets suggest putting the dog bed in a warm enclosed area away from heavy traffic areas (i.e., hallway, family room, home office, etc).
Problem: The dog is poorly trained, and your significant other isn’t doing anything about it.
Solution: Explain how the pet’s behavior makes you feel. For example, you could say, “Rover went crazy and tried to bite the mailman. It was really stressful, and I was worried about liability issues.” Then, pivot to the solution: “I think we need to enroll in some obedience classes. Here’s one that has rave reviews.” If your partner pushes back on the formal classes, suggest some in-house training that includes crating the dog after bad behavior.
Problem: You are allergic to your partner’s dog or cat.
Solution: This is tricky. Aside from suggesting some antihistamines, there isn’t much you can do. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the best way to keep allergies at bay is to:
- Keep animals away from the bedroom
- Vacuum often with a HEPA filter
- Wash your hands after handling your pet
- Try to bathe your pet once a week or you can hire a doggy concierge to arrive to your home and clean the furry loved one in a mobile van in the driveway.
If cohabitation is in jeopardy because of your partner’s pet allergies, you have to figure out which relationship you value more: the one with your partner or the one with your pet.
Problem: You can’t go on vacation, because the pet “has anxiety” without his owner.
Solution: Before traveling, set up some time to interview pet sitters. Give your partner (and pet) some time to get comfortable with the idea of a new caretaker. Once you’ve picked the right pet sitter, you can leave for vacation worry free. If your SO is still hedging with the pet sitter, frame the situation from a cost perspective. One-way flights with a pet in tow can cost $100-150 or, as much as $1000 for a long stint in cargo. Hotel fees can also add up to $100 per night.
Problem: Your partner co-parents the pet with a crazy ex.
Solution: Establish some boundaries. Encourage your partner to come up with a set schedule for pet care and get it confirmed well in advance. Last minute changes or pet sitting requests can add unnecessary emotional reactivity.
The best way to approach any issue is to have a solution in mind. A new plan might not be the perfect answer, but it’s a start. For many people, the pet is family, and family is forever. If your partner isn’t prioritizing your needs over the pet, you will need to decide if you can handle being #2 in your partner’s life.
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.
What do women want? Although it may seem like every woman has a long list of ‘must haves’ and an even longer list of ‘have nots’, there are some things you can do to up your appeal. To help improve your chances of finding a girlfriend, we’ve tapped into some qualities that are scientifically proven to help you be more attractive to the the female population.
- Build some muscle, but not too much.
If you’re looking for a long term, serious relationship, forget the washboard abs and rippling biceps. To understand what women found attractive, researchers at UCLA showed 250+ women pictures of shirtless men and asked them which ones would make the best long and short term partners.
For shorter term relationships, i.e. flings, the women preferred the muscular builds however, for long-term relationships, the women preferred a medium build. When asked for an explanation, the women associated the muscular builds with sexual prowess and physical dominance, but also assumed that these same men would be less likely to commit. Unsurprisingly, the women weren’t wrong; the muscular men reported more lifetime sexual partners and more affairs than their less muscular counterparts.
- Wear deodorant.
It’s no surprise that women prefer men who smell great; however, it’s not for the reason you might expect. While studying two groups of men, researchers gave the first group of men a scented spray and the second group of men an unscented version. When women watched both groups of men from a separate room, they rated those given the scented fragrance more attractive than those without the fragrance. Apparently, the men who smelled better acted more confidently earning higher ratings.
- Throw some food in the mix.
According to a 2014 study published in Frontiers in Psychology, sharing food is the best way to create interpersonal closeness. Going out to dinner is a strong start, but crossing into each other’s personal space via eating off each other’s plates will help your date feel closer and more comfortable.
Food and intimacy have a strong link. Nursing usually our first, most intimate food experience has a comforting effect for both giver and receiver. As we grow, sharing meals continues to establish positive feelings, but it is the actual transfer of food item from plate to plate that encourages deeper connectivity. Research on nonverbal behavior—including this type of action—reveals that, `In general, the greater the intimacy of the relationship between the partners, the higher the level of mutual involvement will be’ (Patterson, 1991, p. 470). In other words, sharing food reveals a higher level of shared intimacy.
- Grow some facial hair, but stay groomed.
Try ditching your razor for a couple weeks or at least until you have a healthy amount of stubble. According to research published in the Journal of Evolution and Human Behavior, Australian researchers Dixson and Brooks had women rate male attractiveness and masculinity of male subjects with varying amounts of facial hair growth. In each test, women rated heavy stubble as most attractive followed by light stubble, heavy beard, and clean shaven.
Love your beard? You’re in luck.
As for perceived masculinity, both men and women rated the men with full beards as most masculine, best equipped to parent, and healthiest.
- Make her laugh.
According to researchers at the University of Louisville and Lakehead University, a sense of humor can help take your relationship to the next level, but only if you’ve already established mutual attraction. How much can your wit help you? A lot. In one experiment, the confederate who told jokes was 3 times more likely to walk away with a phone number than the confederate who didn’t.
According to researcher Jeffrey Hall, humor is also part of the social script we’re all following: “Men act like jokers, and women play along. ‘The script is powerful and it is enduring, and it dictates everything from asking someone out to picking up the tab’.”
- Avoid millennial talk
Yes, we’re all busy, but it’s in your best interest to take the time to spell out words in your texts and emails. According to OkCupid, the average man has a 37% response rate. This percentage can plummet to 10% if someone opts for ‘ur’ instead of ‘you’re’ and ‘wat’ instead of ‘what’.
- Try some community service
Women in the market for a long-term relationship “significantly preferred” altruistic men. According to a study published in the Journal of Research and Personality, women considered men who donated time or helped others in a pinch as altruistic. Seeing men operate in this capacity also leads to a positive halo effect. In other words, if a woman sees you do something dutifully for others, she will use this visual as a proxy to assign a judgment for your entire character.
- Wear something red.
In a 2010 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, women rated the men wearing red in front of a red background more sexually desirable than the men donning other colors. The perceived characteristics stopped at desirability, though; the women did not rate the men wearing red as more extroverted, likeable, or agreeable.
Finding someone single, attractive, and interesting is only half the battle. Finding someone capable of sharing a future can be a much more difficult task. If you find yourself dating—but never finding sustainability—with the same type of women, you need to think about re-evaluating your dating style.
Make a list of all the qualities you want in a partner. Now ask yourself: Do I possess these qualities? If the answer isn’t a definite yes, then it might be time to re-evaluate your expectations.
The best way to attract a quality woman is simple: Become that which you’d like to attract. Here are 5 ways to get her attention.
- Do interesting things.
Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, so many of us fall into routines—and the routine can get old. No need to make grand changes, you can spice up your schedule with relatively small tweaks. Opt for a cooking class, art show, or concert. Try a new lunch place. Meet people different from yourself. Say “yes” to new experiences, even if it’s ‘not your thing’.
The most interesting people have lived through vast experiences—not all of which were pleasant. Successes and failures all contribute to a well-rounded character, so it’s in your best interest to take some risks. You will surprise yourself, and she will appreciate you for it.
If you’ve invited to a networking event, dinner party, or frankly any social gathering, NEVER refuse an invitation. You never know who you are going to meet. Furthermore, try two new activities in the next 60 days. Diversify your routine and see what happens.
- Enjoy the company of women, without an agenda.
When finding a partner is top of mind, your conversation will slant in that direction instead of evolving organically. Give each other a chance to develop some attraction. The anxiety that can stem from a potential rejection will influence your interaction. Let the date be a secondary objective and just talk.
The thrill of the chase can also get in the way of determining if there’s anything beyond physical attraction. Instead of pursuing the most physically enticing woman, try to find the woman who makes you feel the most comfortable. Establishing some semblance of emotional connectivity will help you establish a firm foundation, the basis of any real connection.
Before asking her out, ask yourself: Would I be friends with this person? If the answer is no, ask yourself why you’re asking her out in the first place.
- Put yourself in her world.
Imagine your dream woman. What kind of things does she enjoy doing? Art? Sports? Horses? Music? Go to places that attract the type of people you’d like to meet. It’s not impossible to meet someone special during last call at the bar, but the odds of making a real connection aren’t in your favor. You’re better off making connections in places more conducive to conversation or in places that group people together based on shared interest.
Generosity and altruism are always attractive, and it doesn’t necessarily mean opening your checkbook. Find an upcoming event that interests you, and volunteer your time.
- Be prepared to carry the conversation initially.
Let’s be clear: Women struggle with conversation as much as men, but men are generally tasked with breaking the ice. The good news is that you only need a few open-ended questions to get started.
The questions that are easiest to ask are going to be the same ones she’s answered from every other guy. Set yourself apart with questions that require her to answer from her emotional side, not her logical side. She mentions she completed a marathon. You could go with something obvious like, “Where did you run?” or, you could try something new like, “What is it like to cross the finish line after so many hours?” Giving her an opportunity to share an experience with you will, in some ways, allow her to relive it again with you.
Did your last date feel like an interview? If so, the talk-to-listen ratio wasn’t balanced. Remember, G*d gave you two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. Next conversation, limit yourself to asking two consecutive questions. Give her an opportunity to learn about you.
- Let your actions—not your words—show her who you are.
If you’ve found professional success, and it’s serving you well, you shouldn’t need to spell this out. Talking about what you have, who you know, and what you can provide isn’t attractive; it’s validation-seeking behavior. A quality woman won’t be with you for your bank account or Rolodex; she manages her own finances and social network.
If you’re outlining reasons for her to be with you, she will wonder why you feel the need to convince her. Spearhead a more interesting conversation about common interests or something that has less to do with your success and more to do with things you enjoy.
Instead of starting with the basic questions and getting more specific, work in the opposite direction. See how long you can talk without mentioning what you do for work. Engineering the conversation this way will force you to talk about the life you lead outside of the office. If this is challenging, it’s time to take some serious vacation and turn your phone off.
Attracting a quality woman begins with a fostering a stable, healthy relationship with yourself. These dating tips are just a few ways you can capture some interest; living your truth and being comfortable with who you are is the best place to start.
One of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves is the opportunity to share life’s joys with someone else. Unfortunately, so much of us are conditioned to seek the things—and the people—either out of our reach, or that might seem to satiate what we see as the current shortcomings in a current relationship. It is easy to start believing the grass is greener instead of investing in what we have. To save time, we want to know who “checks all the boxes”, and are quick to nix a future with anyone who might not follow the image we had in mind. For these reasons and so many more, we unintentionally jeopardize and sabotage our relationships.
Strong relationships take work and self awareness. The strongest relationships are built on a firm foundation between two partners who share the same values. To nurture a new relationship or breathe some new life into the one you’re currently in, try the following:
- Foster dependability.
Can you count on your partner to do what he or she says they’ll do? Can you be relied upon in the same way? If you are unsure if your partner will have your back during the hard times, you might ask yourself, “what’s missing?” You or your partner might not be taking the relationship as seriously as it should be for long term viability.
Take your promises seriously and only say what you’re sure you can deliver. If for any reason you fall short, acknowledge your mistake. Try to anticipate your partner’s needs in advance, so you can practice dependability without expectations.
What it looks like: Knowing that his girlfriend had to get her oil changed, Paul offered to pick her up from the mechanic to spare her a long wait time. When he arrived to pick her up, he asked the mechanic about the flashing engine light and proceeded to fill her tires with air. Though his gesture was a simple one that took 15 minutes, his actions spoke volumes about his commitment and dependability.
- Honest communication.
Be honest with each other at all times — even if the consequences may somewhat hurt the other person. When your partner is communicating, listen with an open mind, without interruption, and notice the tone of their voice and facial expression. Not all conversation is verbalized; sometimes your partner will tell you everything you need to know without any words.
What it looks like: Annie knew it was ridiculous to feel jealous of her boyfriend’s attractive female coworker, so she kept this to herself. “Why bring drama into this? Obviously, they just work together,” she thought noting her own insecurity. When she learned that her boyfriend had an upcoming work trip with the attractive coworker, she started acting distant and passive aggressively. Finally, she fessed up. “I’m sorry to say, but I feel jealous and insecure.” When her boyfriend learned what was going on, he reassured Annie and suggested that she join for the next happy hour so she could meet all of his coworkers.
- Asking for emotional support.
Expressing vulnerability is the cornerstone of building an emotionally supportive and sound relationship. Talk to your partner about the things that scare you, that embarrass you, that challenge you. Talking about these uncomfortable things is not just an exercise in your communication skills, it is an opportunity to build trust.
- Fine tune the romantic intimacy.
As your communication skills improve and your relationship evolves, so will the way you express physical connection. If you refuse to communicate about what you want in the bedroom, be prepared to have a less than fulfilling love life. If you intend on staying in a monogamous relationship, give your partner a chance to satisfy your needs.
- Balance alone time with partnership.
The cure for trouble in a relationship is not always more face time. It’s important that both people feel they can take space when they need it and return to their partner without anger or resentment waiting at home. It’s important to honor the urges we have to be by ourselves, but realize the impact our absence can have on our partners. If you feel an urge to be alone, make it easier for yourself and your partner by letting him or her know in advance that you need some time. Some reassurance that your absence is not the result of anything he or she did will help a new partner understand your needs without confusion.
- Assess the way you fight.
In any serious relationship, disagreement is inevitable. Arguments will arise, and they may escalate into some heated conflict. If you find yourselves disagreeing often, ask yourself, “How am I contributing to this?” Sometimes the need to be right will stress the relationship in ways that are neither necessary or helpful. You will not be able to control your partner, but you can control the way you approach conflict.
What it looks like: A former client called crying after her boyfriend stormed out after an argument. “Every time we talk, I end up having to repeat myself, and finally I lost my mind and told him, “’You never listen to me and that’s why this relationship isn’t working.’” After calming down, the client realized that, when she lost her temper, she couldn’t acknowledge her boyfriend’s efforts to understand her. Instead of attacking his short comings, she started the conversation appreciating his efforts before moving into new ways they could improve the relationship together.
- Maintain your sense of self.
Do you lose yourself in a relationship? Establishing and maintaining your boundaries is necessary to keep your standards firm and your self respect intact. Letting a partner decide what you should and shouldn’t tolerate will lead to resentment from you and loss of respect from your partner. To compromise your personality to “fit” your relationship will ultimately ruin any chance at long-term sustainability.
These tips will help you nurture and build a strong, loving relationship, but they will only work their magic with consistent reinforcement. The effort and sacrifice will pay off, however, when you find yourself in a loving, sustainable relationship.