Dating Advice for Women

Embrace Your Inner Teenager…Dating Advice for Women

iStock_000014270011SmallIf you’re like a lot of Linx members, you are (and probably always have been) a high achiever. You’ve placed an emphasis on your education and your career, and you’ve been very well rewarded for doing so. Your professional life is probably smooth and established, and you have no doubts about your value in the workforce or your place in the economic food chain. You might, however, be not quite so secure about your value on the dating market. And if you question where you stand in the social pecking order, then you probably also have doubts about if (and how) you can change that.

So many of our beliefs and notions about dating, attractiveness, and romance set in at a very early age, and unless you’re one of those rare dashing Stanford water polo players who was on an Olympic team before graduating from the GSB and starting a hedge fund, you probably – at some point – made a decision to invest more in either your Inner or Outer Self. If you were academically gifted, well supported at home, and praised by teachers, it would make sense that you followed the path that led to the most certain rewards. If, on the other hand, you were naturally athletic, attractive, and social, you might have simply chosen to develop your native talents and appeal by working out or taking dance classes, by being fastidious about your diet or learning how to wear makeup, and by extending your natural likeability through learning how to date… and to flirt.

Obviously, these are not mutually exclusive investments and skill sets. In my college class there was plenty of crossover: a future Yale law student from Calabasas who got regular blow outs and danced hip hop, a handsome UCSF-trained radiologist who studied Kafka at Oxford, played lacrosse, and worried (a lot) about his abs, and a very feminine mechanical engineer who could have been then much prettier sister of a very famous actress. But these individuals were exceptions rather than the rule. And in a sea of very talented people they stood out for being both gifted and exceptionally attractive. These were people who were setting the curve both inside and outside the classroom, which is beyond unusual. In fact, unless you’re successful because you’re sexy, sexiness and success rarely go hand-in hand.

But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Just because you’ve been invested in your education and achievements doesn’t mean you can’t also invest in your appearance. The good news is that a successful woman can work on becoming sexy a lot more quickly and more easily than a simply sexy woman can work on becoming successful. Men and women alike are looking for the total package – someone who is developed on both the inside and the outside. And when it comes to dating – just like in every other strategic endeavor in your life – it makes a lot of sense to work on shoring up your weakest position.

So how do you take the steps to finding your inner femme fatale? By acting like someone half your age, of course. It’s never too late to learn the lessons some people pick up in their youth; in fact, picking up some of those skills later in life could be one of the keys to seeming (and staying) youthful! So what are the secrets?

Get Sweaty
If you aren’t happy with your body, find a form of exercise that works for you, and learn to love it. Whether it’s yoga, bar method, rock climbing, dance, running, Pilates, swimming, or any combination thereof, there is an activity that’s right for everyone. And it’s ok if you’re new to it… in fact, that’s probably a bonus. Being new to a sport or activity allows you to find the fun in it, and requires that you allow yourself to make mistakes. A lot of us were forced into certain sports of activities by peers or parents at an early age, and never allowed ourselves to appreciate the appeal, but those limitations don’t exist in adulthood. It’s good to have a part of your life where you don’t demand perfection from yourself; it’s even better if that lack of perfection can still be accompanied by tremendous progress.

Get Glossy
Odds are that someone you knew spent a lot of time at makeup counters as a teenager, and that she (or he) got really, really good at applying eyeshadow and lipgloss. It’s not too late for you to do the same thing, but instead of aiming for Clinique, MAC, or Urban Decay, aim for Chantecaille, Armani, YSL, or even Lipstick Queen. Don’t be afraid to experiment a bit as you try to figure out what looks best on you, and don’t be shy about asking for advice. In fact, it’s both efficient and effective to call ahead and ask for consultation with a makeup artist at a specific counter. These are always free of charge, and if you plan properly you can show off your glammed up self that same night on a date! Also, don’t be afraid to treat yourself to a manicure, even if you work in a job that doesn’t encourage a particularly feminine presentation; pale or clear polish is a great way to assert your femininity without drawing too much attention to yourself. A little attention, however, is always a good thing. 😉

Get All Dressed Up
Have you ever noticed the way teenaged girls dress… the snug scoop-necked t-shirts, short shorts, and colorful jewelry? It’s hard not to notice, right? And that’s sort of the point. I’m not encouraging you to buy a ton of tiny t-shirts, dozens of bangles, and shorts with a one-inch inseam, but I am encouraging you to show a bit of skin and get noticed. If you don’t have a wardrobe meant for dating, you should fix that right away. And don’t be afraid to hire a stylist. A few hours with a professional can save you a lot of time – and even a lot of money – in the long run, and will leave you looking better than ever. You can even ask us for a recommendation! Inviting someone to look at you in the first step in inviting them into your lives. Visibility is essential. Do not be afraid to want to be seen; at heart, that’s the very thing that most of us crave, and it’s something younger people often invite into their lives quite naturally.

There’s a lot to be learned from observing people who are coming into their attractiveness, but don’t yet have professional responsibilities. They are focused on developing social capital, attracting the attention of the opposite sex, and learning how to communicate both verbally and non-verbally. Those of us who had our heads in books picked up an entirely different set of lessons, but it’s never too late complete your education. In case you haven’t noticed, school is back in session; so what lessons do you need to learn?

Call Me….Maybe?

The timing of when a man calls to ask you out can indicate so much about how he feels about seeing you, and where he thinks the two of you are potentially headed. I am a big believer that carefully managing the early stages of dating is critical in establishing a pathway towards the relationship you have dreamt of.

I recall having many highs and lows during my single years while looking for my match; in my constant struggle to understand “boy world,” I noticed a familiar pattern surface around when guys I was dating would call me. This new awareness led to great clarity and insight that really helped me figure out my confusing dating life.

Every woman – regardless of age – should strive to be part of a man’s coveted A List… aka his “Dream Team” bucket. Being on this “it” list means a man is in hot pursuit of you, and it can be incredibly empowering and reassuring to know he’s so interested. A guy this engaged might actually call you on Monday to ask you out for a proper Saturday date. In doing so he is making the effort to plan, to think ahead, to get on your calendar, and to recognize that you have a busy life and are a girl in demand! Saturday dates signal something more serious- especially those that are reserved in advance! Ask yourself, are you on his dream team? iStock_000042037726Small

Another scenario is when a man calls (or texts…let’s hope he is not texting to ask you out) on a Thursday for a Friday or Saturday date. This guy has most likely a) been clocking long hours at work and is living in a state of delirium so it is unclear if he has legitimate time for a relationship, or b) is dating multiple girls and his A-Lister just cancelled on him, so you are simply on his back-up B, C, or D-List. We all know B-list, C-list, and D-list actors…those who have never made it to the top of the heap. If you were an actor in Hollywood, would you be ok being placed on the same level as “that guy” or “that girl” whose name you can’t really place but know you’ve seen in some film? Wouldn’t you want to aim to do what it takes to be a bankable star? The same principle applies to dating.

Ladies, wake up and check yourself. I want you to put yourself on the A-List today and believe that you should and can be on any man’s dream team and hot list.

If a man calls you on a Thurs for a Friday or Saturday date, remember my advice and make a hard decision about whether or not you want to go out. You can take a bold stand and turn him down and politely share that you’d prefer the following Saturday. If he is serious about you, he will listen and comply. If he is wading around in the kiddie pool and is not serious with his intentions, move on. Remember to not reprimand him for not calling sooner or being so unavailable; that always turns a man off. Follow your intuition, but be courteous and lady-like when you do.

Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that at some point we have all agreed to the offer above, and have compounded that mistake by clearing our schedules way too soon in the hope that this guy could be Mr. Right. No no no! Stop in your tracks. Do not go there! Most men (especially Linx guys) find it incredibly desirable to find a woman who has an active and busy schedule filled with many activities, hobbies, friends, travel, and fun. This signals she has a great, happy life… the sort of life that he might eventually like to share one day! call-me-maybe-gif

One final scenario to which I don’t want you to fall victim is (I admit I might have given in one or two times to this “play” bucket) the “booty call.” You know what this is like… you know all about the sneaky guys who text you after you’ve come home for the night with some cute little emoticon and a “hey girl… watcha up to?” Or maybe “would heart to see you.” You and I both know nothing good comes from this other than some fun play and romping around in the sheets. I suppose… if you’re needing a little something-something… then go ahead. But just know that chances are very slim that he’s ever going to be kneeling down in the future and asking for your hand in marriage. Instead, you might be doing the solo walk-o-shame down Chestnut Street in smeared make-up and his baggy sweatshirt (if you’re lucky). We’ve all seen that person. Do you want to be that person? Do you want to be the C- or D-list actress who probably isn’t going to get the starring role? NO! You do NOT!

So ladies, I implore you to start tuning in to when a man calls, and become extra aware of the motivations for this. And for any men who are reading, we do appreciate when you call! And ultimately (despite some of the mixed signals you’ve probably gotten from us girls) we love it when you court us and behave like gentlemen. We applaud and value that sort of courtesy and chivalry… and we look forward to your next call.

“Do You Have Anyone… Younger?”

We hear this question perhaps more often than any other — at least once a day, sometimes once an hour, and never, ever, in jest. We hear it from men and women young and old, from divorcees and widows, from single mothers, lonely dads, and those hoping to find a Happily Ever After that keeps them from becoming one of the above. We hear it… all the time.iStock_000019428153Small

There are a lot of reasons someone might want a younger spouse; beyond the superficial, men tend to point out the desire for fertility in women (funny we’ve never heard that one before guys!), and women tend to point that men don’t live as long as they do, so each gender can certainly make a valid point. But most of the time that we get asked for an introduction to someone younger, age actually has very little to do with it. Most of the time, people aren’t looking for someone young. They’re looking for someone youthful, and they’re hoping to go on a date with a man or woman who is willing to exhibit real, unbridled enthusiasm; they’re looking for a date who is excited about meeting them.

For those of us who’ve been dating for longer than we’d like, or who’ve cycled through the same three first date restaurants far too many times, we can start to think that every first date will be just like those that didn’t work before. We already know where we want to sit, what we’ll likely order, and how bad or good a particular waiter might be. We can fall into a familiar routine far too easily, and treat our dates like they’re part of a longstanding pattern that he or she did nothing at all to establish. In fact, it’s OUR responsibility to try to break that pattern; after all the only common link in all of those failed first dates is… us.

Try to remember that it’s not your date’s fault that you already go to Left Bank with your friends every Thursday night. Don’t talk to the guy across the table from you about all of your ex’s past sins. And please, please, don’t tell the woman you’re trying to court all about how you “destroyed your ex-wife in the courtroom.” Young people think a lot about the future; older people think a lot about the past. Which one do you find more attractive? And which one do you think you want to be? Age may dictate lots of things about your body, but it doesn’t have to play any role at all in your attitude; you may not always be young, but you can always be youthful.

We do our best to rise to the challenge when our clients ask to meet someone younger, but more often than not, we know that an age gap isn’t really the solution. Our clients quickly realize it too, but instead of understanding that the difference in age is too big, they usually decide that it simply isn’t big enough. When we’re really, really lucky, they finally admit that they might be better off taking our advice about the men or women they should date. And in the very best cases — when we’ve met people who are optimistic, full of life, and looking toward the future — we’re able to say to our clients “We happen to know an incredibly warm and youthful person you should meet… and the two of you happen to be about the same age.”

Pace Yourself….

Happy couple laughing
In the past few weeks, Amy and I have seen so many examples of dating foibles and relationship failures that probably could have been avoided with the right kind of pacing. In one instance, a couple had about fifteen dates, a break up, a reunion, and another break up all in the span of roughly three weeks. In a totally opposite situation, one couple never managed to meet at all because they started to play phone tag like increasingly adversarial business associates. And several other relationships just got off track as a result of two people moving at completely different speeds. We all know the importance of pacing ourselves with work, with exercise, with food, and even with family; if you binge you make yourself sick. And if you don’t pay attention to your needs, you can starve in all sorts of ways. Here are some of the ways in which the team at Linx thinks pacing is absolutely key:

When Planning Dates:

Start small. We know plenty of guys who are very eager to prove how serious they are about being in a relationship, so they book first dates at restaurants with tasting menus, show up in suits and order Krug, and on the following morning, they send a huge bouquet of roses. In theory, it seems like a great idea (and a romantic one) but here’s the problem… if you set the bar that high initially, how do you go up from there? If your first date is at Meadowood, where do you have your second? Or your third? Or your fifteenth? How do you signal an increasing level of interest and investment when you start with such a strong opening move? A relationship should build gradually, and your date choices should reflect that; it lets a woman see that you’re not just serious about being in a relationship, but that you’re serious about being in a relationship with her. You can certainly still be a romantic (and we encourage that) but start with someplace like Chapeau! or South Park Café instead of Coi, wear a good pair of jeans and a loafer with a great blazer, and if you must send her roses the next day, send her just one. Imagine how much more meaningful it will be when you can finally send her a dozen. 😉


When Having a Conversation:

We know; this is a hard one. There are few things more nerve-wracking that talking to a complete stranger for the first time… especially when you throw in some hope, excitement, and attraction. We really do get it. It’s hard. But when opening up for the first time in a conversation, you need to go slowly. If you have a tendency to bulldoze your way through a first meeting (ask a good friend if you do this) then feel free to say to say something to your date like “I sometimes get a little bit nervous around handsome men and start talking too much. Feel free to tell me if I start doing that.” With that statement you do three really useful things: you stop worrying about the problem because you’ve admitted it, you pay your date a very nice compliment, and you allow him to be partly responsible for making sure that it doesn’t happen!

If your problem is more one of divulging too much rather than saying too much (i.e. talking about your last bad relationship vs. blabbering about your dog) simply ask yourself “Would I want to know this about another person on a first date?” and “Do I know this person well enough to feel comfortable with them having this knowledge about me?” Some of us have had some really rough experiences – whether it’s a hard surgery or illness, a difficult divorce, or a rocky employment history, for example. And we sometimes get really worried about being rejected for this part of our past. Here’s a tip to keep that in check: if you’re on a date with the right person, they’re really only interested in connecting with you in the present to see if the two of you might have a future. We all have a past, so leave it behind you unless and until a discussion of that topic becomes absolutely necessary.

When Moving Ahead:

As adults who are serious about relationships, we can sometimes let the idea of ending up with someone become more powerful than the reality of dating them. It can be so easy to project and plan, to anticipate and forecast. We are so anxious about finding the missing pieces to the puzzles of our lives that we sometimes try to force a fit that should never happen. Lots of people look good on paper and great in person, but that doesn’t mean they look right when cast in the movies of our lives. We don’t get to script our relationships. We don’t get to decide what other people should feel and when they should feel it. All we can do is focus on ourselves; we can listen with our hearts, but hear with our heads. And we should never let the way we feel about someone and the way we think about them become too discordant. You can’t really have a healthy relationship with someone you don’t respect. You can’t respect someone you don’t trust. And whether we like to admit it or not, learning to truly trust someone takes time.

Too often, we hear clients say that they can’t wait to be done with dating and “get to the good stuff.” Guess what? Dating IS the good stuff. So start small and aim high, but tread slowly at first. Take bigger steps as your connection deepens, but pace yourself; in the best relationships, the happiest married couples continue to actively date each other for the rest of their lives!

If you are interested in our private date coaching sessions, we would be delighted to hear from you. amy@linxdating.com

Find Love There Are No Excuses

In my journey to find my husband, I often wondered if I would ever find true love and sometimes reached a deep level of concern within my conscious soul that I indeed might not. Back then, I did not like that feeling and found it empty, sad, and disconcerting. I needed an exit, an outlet, a way to see the positive from what was a void in my life… I seemed to be caught up in what society was telling me to do. I never really listened to my heart until I had a revelation one day – in wine country, at a pet parade, of all places!

In a moment of clarity, everything hit me. It was as if time and reality were suspended right in front of me – so I listened…

As I listened to my heart, I knew I had to make some changes in my life. Part of those changes for me, personally, meant moving and taking some time off from dating. Certainly I am not saying that everyone should move and take time off from dating. Yet what I am preaching to you today is to listen to your heart and to do what YOU need to do. As Hemingway once wrote, “I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.”

Take 15 minutes this week to have a moment within yourself. Get away from all of the noise surrounding you and create a sacred quiet place for just you. I know so many people who never spend alone time. Try it. During this time, close your eyes and block out all distractions. You cannot reach the state I am asking you to get to without removing all chaos from around you (roommates stomping around the apartment, dogs barking, cell phone buzzing, music playing…you get it). Get to a place of calm by closing your eyes and breathing deeply into your diaphragm and belly.

Try to reach a state of peace and quiet and once there you might achieve a clear state of heart and mind about what direction you should be heading in your personal life.

If you want to find love, then go find it, there are no really excuses. Finding your soul mate is one of the greatest experiences you will ever have. Do not wallow in your miseries or feel sorry for yourself. Only you can be an agent of change in your life. Why not pave the way for a bright and successful future? Too many people dwell on all of the negative garbage of the past and worry that they will never find anyone. Too many people also create so many lists of “must haves” in their mate that these lists actually become obstacles and block and progress in finding a partner.

This is the present, relish in today. Listen to what your heart tells you.

P.S. If this all sounds a bit contrived and like a meditative yoga class, here might be another way to get to the same place. My husband read this blog entry and really loved the message, but asked if he could add the following for another perspective 😉 :

I certainly agree with Hemingway that most people never listen (rather, they hear but often don’t listen.) But in my experience, at least, you can’t just decide to listen. You need to be ready and in the right place to listen and you can’t control that – you just need to be aware enough to let it happen naturally. I don’t recommend you force it – just be open to it.

Be open to finding big insights about yourself in what might seem like the small routines in life. Maybe rather than creating artificial silence and peace in a chaotic environment and consciously trying to reflect, you should just take time (whenever it just seems to hit you) to think about what really makes you happy. What do you look forward to? What do you not? How can you make it a point to do more things that make you happy? If tradeoffs are involved, how might you reconcile the different competing forces? Grappling with these important questions will likely give you many insights into what could be really important qualities to look for in a soulmate and also ways that you might better put yourself in position to meet that person. Remember, if you are in a good place yourself, you have a much better shot at attracting your perfect match.

Dating Advice for Men and Women

We get many questions surrounding early stage dating and how to successfully get from date one, to date two, and beyond.

Simple advice for men: Keep it simple guys. Remember that chivalry is not dead. Women love when men are confident and have manners. I always tell guys who suffer some pre-date nerves to head to the restaurant ahead of time- this could mean even the day prior to your date to familiarize yourself with the setting, the menu, wine list, and start visualizing success. DSC_7260 Here we see a Linx client confidently walking into the restaurant ahead of time to scope it out.

For a lady, chivalry means walking on the outside of the sidewalk, opening doors, paying for her dinner date (especially if the man is the one who asked her out), giving a genuine compliment, and actively listening. DSC_7388 This is a perfect example of what a guy should do on a date. Our client is walking on the outside of the sidewalk- he is protecting his date from traffic and making her feel safe. The Linx team also loves how both our client and his date have dressed for the occasion. He looks dapper and well put-together and she is wearing a sexy maxi dress, paired with leather jacket, hair down….effortless and revealing *just* the right amount of skin.

When you sit down for your date, start with a little liquid courage. It’s fun to shake things up and order a cool cocktail instead of a standard glass of wine. If you both are feeling some sparks already, why not suggest your date has a sip of yours and vice versa? Now what to do if your date is a teetotaler? That is unfortunate for you. Kidding! Our advice if you or your date abstains from booze is to not make a big deal about it because that is a personal choice. If you want a glass of wine, order a drink but limit it to 2- especially if your date doesn’t drink. If you don’t drink as a result of sobriety, we have helped a handful of individuals develop techniques to combat anxiety and prepare themselves.

DSC_7351

On your date, engage in the senses on your date- specifically touch. Body language is everything- from leaning in towards your date while you are deep in conversation, to even being in the moment and scooting chairs closer together. Our client felt that sitting across from one another would feel too formal and stuffy for this date. He responded quickly to being seated at a table for 4 and instead knew it could increase affinity if seated next to his date (while respecting personal boundaries). Definitely a smart move! Note this is a staged date and she is not a client of Linx. DSC_7303.

DSC_7328This couple also understands good body language and maintaining eye contact.

On the date, focus on your date! Don’t be Mr. “ADD” looking around the room or having shifty “crazy eyes.” Slow down, be in the moment, and block out all distractions around you (including distractions in your head about ‘what to do now’, ‘what to say’, ‘does she think I’m funny’, ‘does she find me attractive’ …) Try to stop that tape running in your mind- at least for now!

DSC_7341 This couple is great at using body language to not be stiff…more so an example of her in this particular photo.

Express yourself, use arm gestures, laugh, smile, and most important have fun on your dates. Remember that the goal of the first date is not to get into a relationship. Instead it is to get to date two. Date two is to get to date three. If you apply this way of thinking you will immediately remove pressure on yourself. DSC_7306 DSC_7312

Remember that your next date will be unpredictable- as is life! As much as you want the perfect outcome (if perfect really exists) there are inevitably going to be variables out of your control. What do I mean by this? Examples include: the waiter takes forever to take your order, it is noisier than you prefer, your date is not laughing at your jokes, the water you just sipped went down the wrong pipe and now you’re coughing like a maniac, you tripped on the way up the stairs to the table, your credit card just got declined even though there is plenty of cash in the reserve, your date is all of a sudden not hungry, your dish came out cold, you ran into an ex, your boss is seated next to you, your date just insulted you with profanity,…the list is frankly endless of hiccups that can happen and WILL happen!

Gain mastery over dating by being prepared (dating is a skill, repeat that over and over), being natural, being in the moment, and trying not to stress yourself out by the random invariables out of your control. The more you analyze things on your date, the higher probability of short circuiting the entire date!

Don’t be too quick to judge your date (maybe he/she has a bad work day). If you are stressed, you will come across as a stress-case and ‘Serious Sam’ or total ‘Debbie Downer.’

You gotta riff, embrace spontaneity, let the proverbial hair down so to speak, and STOP WORRYING SO MUCH ABOUT WHAT OTHERS THINK ABOUT YOU. If you “let go” and “go with the flow”, chances are you have just increased your chances of a next date. Case in point, our couple snapped on camera locked arm-in-arm leaving Nola’s last night! DSC_7383

The Sound….of Silence

Blog written by: Linx staff member, Michael Norman

Getting to know one anotherOccasionally we get questions from Linx members about dating experiences and anxieties that are all too common, and we decided that it makes sense to answer those as part of a semi-regular column that addresses the real questions and concerns of Linx readers and members like you. This week we’re tackling the issue of “icebreakers” on a first date. Next week, who knows? Don’t be shy about submitting your own questions, dilemmas, and experiences; this blog has thousands of readers, so if you’re having a particular problem, the odds are good that someone else is, too.

This week, anonymous Linx member SayAnything? sent us the following question:

“Dear Amy,

I had been researching first date questions to start conversations and found article after article (and even books) with questions I would never ask anyone on a first date:

-“What is your earliest memory of feeling wonder?”

-“What do you think of the space program?”

-“If you had to write a limerick about this date, how would it go?”

Seriously? I wondered if the people that were writing these articles had ever heard the deafening silence bound to follow after asking such questions. It goes without saying that one would read as much topical news as possible before a date to be able to talk about innocuous things like Oscars, sports, etc. But can you really start a date conversation with, “How do you lose a 777?” without sounding callus? I weeded out work related questions, politics, dating past, and questions that had a negative connotation (i.e. what is your pet peeves?) but my list gets really small. What should I do?

Do you have any conversation starter suggestions? What question is best to ask when there is a lull? I wondered if you had written an article about this from your perspective (or someone on your staff)? Have you ever polled people from your Twitter as to their favorite question to start a date conversation?”

Answer:

Actually, we haven’t polled people on Twitter about their favorite first date questions, but what a great idea! Send us yours now (@linxdating) and we’ll update this later with results. In the meantime, here are some thoughts about the Do’s and Don’ts of good first date conversation.

It is really important to remember that while your first date is an opportunity to learn about another person, it is also an incredible opportunity to let your date learn things about you. That brings us to Rule #1:

Rule #1: Do not ask a question that you would not want to (or cannot) answer!

A good first date question is one that can be flipped. In other words, your date should be able to end his/her answer by saying “and what about you?” or “what are your picks?” or “where would you go?” If there are stories or things about yourself that you’d like to share, or topics with which you know you’re really comfortable, this is a great way to make sure you reveal those sides of yourself. If there are things about your life or past that you don’t really want to discuss, this also helps you stay out of that territory. You don’t need to have a script, but you should be prepared to have an answer to any question you would ask. I once spent twenty minutes describing my favorite books at the request of a date who then stonewalled me with “I don’t really read,” when I asked him his own question. Do not be that person.

Rule #2: Try to keep your questions in the present, and facing forward.

It is inevitable that two strangers will go through the standard questions about hometowns, colleges, family, and jobs, but make sure that you don’t dwell in the past. Remember that this is not an interview; it’s okay if there are a few gaps in someone’s CV or personal history. You do not need a complete timeline on the first date; what you do need is a sense of what his or her life looks like in the present, and what they enjoy and value now. Ask questions that give a sense of how well your date’s interests and outlooks might mesh with your own. Here’s a good example: if you love travel, instead of asking “Where did you last travel?” ask something like “If you could go anywhere next weekend where would you go, and why?” With that one question, you might find out that you’re with someone who prefers roadtrips to airlines, values family time more than adventure, or thinks one day in Paris is worth two days on a plane. What someone wants to do is almost always more telling than what they’ve done, which brings us to:

Rule #3: Be more concerned with thoughts and feelings than with facts.

Just as you don’t want to conduct an interview on a date, you also don’t want to play therapist (stay away from too many questions about someone’s childhood). You do, however, want to know what gets them excited and passionate, and keeps them engaged. Asking “what’s your favorite book?” might get you a very brief answer or the useless “it’s hard to pick a favorite,” but asking “What are three of your favorite books, and why?” can reveal an unexpected interest or hobby. It’s also great to ask about favorite experiences like “What happened on your favorite family vacation?” or “Can you remember the first thing that you cooked for yourself that you actually liked eating?” It’s more than okay to have periods of silence in a conversation, especially if they take place while one of you is composing a thoughtful answer. There is a difference between an occasional awkward silence and actual dead air. In fact, this brings us to:He always makes  her smile

Rule #4: It’s ok to be awkward.

No, it’s not ok to be intentionally awkward, and it’s definitely not ok if you feel like your date is purposely trying to make you uncomfortable. But it is really important to keep in mind that you are two strangers who just met; something is bound to be less than ideal. And actually, that’s great; you get the opportunity to see how your date responds in a less than ideal situation where the stakes are low, and no one is too invested. Don’t stress yourself out about asking all of the right questions. Just make sure that you have the right approach and the right attitude; be optimistic, be open, be compassionate, and listen. It turns out that the actual questions are a lot less important than the spirit in which you answer them. So, finally:

Rule #5: Be genuine.

The worst thing you can do on a date is misrepresent yourself. Don’t pretend to be interested in things that truly bore you. Don’t bring up topics you don’t want to discuss. Don’t be silent about your own likes and dislikes because you don’t want to be judged. Remember that, at heart, all Linx members are looking for the same thing – real and lasting human connections. So if you find yourself sitting across from a first date and neither of you knows what to say, start with the question that most single people would like to be asked more often; smile, take a deep breath, and open with “How was your day?”New love knows no boundries

Intangibles

This year has absolutely flown by at such a ridiculously fast pace that, at times, it is very hard to keep my head above water!

I feel like I say this every year but this truly has been the busiest year ever for us at Linx. So many happy couples, countless new clients (quite a few high profile individuals), incredible press (generated proudly with no publicist or PR agent), fascinating creative projects, and much more.

This week we are conducting screenings for one of our Silicon Valley VIPs and are super excited to be meeting a select handful of lovely women who have qualified. Our client wants us to be able to really determine if each “finalist” has that “it” factor and obligatory intangibles that are required for the long-term.

We help our clients define their list of intangibles when we first talk to them about their ideal match. To give you some sense of the depth we go with our clients, I want to take you through a simpler but illustrative exercise that aims to prepare you for 2014 regarding your hopes and personal goals. Start now and get ahead of the curve. tumblr_lvj0spreen1qhz76vo1_500

Take an hour in the next couple of days to write down (on a piece of paper) the top 5 intangibles that your dream match would have.

You might now be googling “intangible.” Go ahead and Google it to see what comes up as step one. Step two in my exercise is to think about people that you have met in your life that really just STOOD out and nearly *zapped* you like a thunderbolt because of their chemistry/energy… their magnetism that drew you in, somehow, some way…for whatever reason. tumblr_m8twxeTdbR1r4d8ljo1_5002

As you start to think about this person, do not limit my exercise to be about someone towards whom you have necessarily felt romantic. Instead, create a neutral slate where this person could be literally anyone you have ever had the pleasure of getting introduced to whether for business, academics, friendship, through your travels, family, volunteering, etc. For the purpose of this exercise I do think it is helpful to choose someone of the opposite sex. So if you are a female think about any man who somehow impacted you even on the smallest level. And for the men reading, think of any female (again this does not have to be romantic) who left an indelible impression (even if a very distant one). If your mind is leading you to your mom or dad, that might be telling.

If you are having trouble thinking of that person, take a break and come back to the exercise. Frankly you might have your “a ha” moment when you are least expecting it….driving to work, shopping for weekly groceries and all of a sudden you have your person. Excellent! Once you have selected one or maybe more than one person take the piece of paper and pen and begin to write down what you think were some of the qualities that impressed you the most. Why has this person left an imprint on your life? Was it that he/she was particularly gregarious? Compassionate? Curious? Sharp? Tender? Loyal? Devoted? Analytical? Ridiculously funny? Creative? Spiritual? Family oriented? Tenacious? Decisive? Nurturing? Stocksy_txpc00193e7nd1000_Small_23845

Once you have penned your list of, say, 5 adjectives that stood out, you are well on your way to creating the core ingredients that you need to find in a dream match for the long haul. These essentials are most likely the intangibles most key in your dream match. Even if you didn’t realize it until now, this could be what you have been missing in the search for the love of your life. It is very hard to find all of those qualities in one person so I’d like for you to extract just TWO that you cannot live without. Once you have two intangibles, keep those super glued to you as you date.

This exercise is also designed to focus you a bit more to better vet the men/women you date (especially if you are doing high volume online dating in conjunction to everything else you are doing to meet people). If you can tell he/she does not have those TWO intangibles from the start…move on. In conclusion, by doing this exercise you will start dating with a heightened perspective and keen awareness that most do not have. You are officially ahead of the curve and on a fast track to a bright 2014.

You Gotta Give Him Something To Work With | Subtle Flirting

I just finished a screening with a young and fabulous woman in her mid twenties. She is absolutely stunning, runs a successful business, classy, sweet and a total “whole package” sort of young woman. Spending the last many years focused on her career, she has made some very big changes this year to make dating a priority. She has relocated to a new place outside of her comfort zone, really putting herself out there exercising different avenues to date and find a great match. Today she shared that her trouble has not been getting the dates; it’s getting the men she is interested in to ask her out for date two. 

flirting-11

You see, she’s a good girl and not someone who sleeps around at all. I was able to quickly bypass a lot of layers (since I know men and women quite well in hearing hundreds upon hundreds of stories) and see that she is probably the type who feels guilty/weird/yucky/dirty/fill in the blank when flirting because she thinks if she flirts, a guy will see her solely as a sex object and not take her seriously as a smart young lady. confused-man2
It’s the same dilemma I witness with some of my older female clients who have been these major powerhouses in the business world. For these women (in many cases) where they date after divorce, it is really hard to conceptualize how to flirt without diminishing one’s strengths, smarts, achievements, etc. small-heart
I told this young lady today that there are degrees to flirting and that she can learn to flirt without worrying about portrayed in the wrong light. At the end of the day, remember that men are simple creatures. As simple as they are, you gotta give them a bone at some point. No bone, not a happy, content pup. Bone equals calm doggie and a happy one very satisfied with the person who gave him the bone.small-heart
Give your date something to work with. If you don’t,  he’s quickly going to read that you aren’t into him. In other words, the advice I gave to this young woman is to take a step towards him on the date and do the so called “dating dance” otherwise this potential boyfriend material guy will bucket her as “friend” or worse yet “a business buddy.”Tango Nuevo I
When dating, do the dating tango and step towards him on the date through your verbal and non-verbal actions. Compliment him. If you are feeling good about things, give off a vibe of something along the lines of:
I’m liking tonight
I’m liking you
I’m into this cool restaurant you picked
I’m at ease around you
You make me laugh
You make me LOL 
You’re so cute
You’re so cute I want to kiss you
You’re such a gentleman 
You are different from other guys
I feel good around you
I feel happy right now 
I am in the company of a good guy
You’re super hot
How can you be so smart and down to earth? 
Who said dating is arduous? small-heart
If you are stiff/business-like/one of the boys or simply don’t emote any hint at digging him, he’d rather quickly size you up/down and place you in the “colleague” or “friend” bucket IN FEAR OF getting rejected. small-heart
For all he knows, since you haven’t given any VIBE off, he thinks you don’t like him/ or just cold/uptight. Did you hear that? It’s true. These guys will think you aren’t into them EVEN IF YOU ARE and think he is the cats meow. So girl, work it. You can work it and do it is in subtle and classy way. subtle_flirting_m-425x282

Male emotions are a lot less complex than female emotions. They know what they want and what they don’t want, and they will rarely admit this but they scare easily! From my dating experience  and a matchmaker for over a decade – men don’t typically like to discuss feelings and express interest unless they are certain it’s okay. So, in a nutshell ladies – the right man will be more than happy to be chivalrous and take initiative but if you like him; let him know! Great ways are subtle flirting, complimenting and simply letting him know that you enjoy his company. These things will put the guy at ease and let him know that it’s okay to ask you out on that next date!  small-heart

Use one of my compliments above on your date and see what happens. You can certainly try it verbally or give the vibe of one of the compliments non-verbally. If you are INTO the guy, thank him for being a gentleman and tell him you feel good around him. Smile. Smile again. Hug him at the end of the night. Hold your gaze into his eyes for 15 seconds and see what happens.  Confused? Email me: amy@linxdating.com. We do date coaching every week and take appointments from many non-members of Linx. Don’t be shy. Be bold.

Modern Day Sense and Sensibility

I watched Sense and Sensibility last night….what a lovely film!448px-Sense_and_Sensibility_Illustration_Chap_12

 
“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!” -Marianne Dashwood, Sense and Sensibility (Jane Austen).  

That makes me smile thinking about the wishes of our members who come into Linx often with long romantic lists defining their dream suitor. I listen and extract the key elements I feel the client needs to make the perfect match. A little science, definitely intuition, and an open-heart and mind make for today’s modern day match that Jane Austen surely would approve of! dancing-image1

We can probably all relate to the utter pain and agony Marianne Dashwood experiences when Willoughby breaks her heart. Although they flirted, shared in artistic pleasures together, were affectionate….his words never expressed a hint at any engagement.

Remember this when dating. The man who your heart flutters with excitement over might be another Willoughby type. Sorry to burst your bubble but these guys are everywhere out there.  He’s incredibly handsome and seems most excellent on paper. He’s charming, will date you, kiss you, and leave you wanting more but won’t necessarily settle down (or is just not a good man in general).tumblr_lz19pyALki1roh5gxo1_500

For all you know, he’s out and about galavanting around (in the novel, Austen created him as a protagonist driven by the need for his own pleasure and not one who values an emotional connection like Marianne experienced) and ends up playing you like a fiddle. He tells you he isn’t ready to get serious, doesn’t desire marriage, or perhaps has gotten more serious with someone else.

I‘ve dated the Willoughby type in the city and oh did my heart break in two. I was quite confident that my Willoughby and I would end up together until one day after many dates he sat me down at a bar and declared that I was one of many girls he was seeing and I didn’t have what he needed. He said something along the lines of he needed someone smarter. Wow did that feel like a dagger through my heart and also like a giant “who do you think you are” saying that to ME moment? What you need a female Einstein…seriously so insulting! It was his way of telling me he needed to continue to date others and be a player. I was so mesmerized at how perfect on paper he was for me that I never really read the signs. There were many signs along the way (not calling when he said he would call, being uncomfortable with emotion, wanting to sleep together with no commitment, and on and on.)

believe he took great pleasure in dating up a storm and having the “ultimate control” over the women in his life who he knew he had in the palm of his hand since he was a modern-day Willoughby. He had many women in his life all on speed dial, kept many secrets along the way (he made each of us feel we were his only one…that was something that made it all so confusing!), and when things started getting more serious (like me hinting at becoming exclusive together) he freaked out and went cold turkey. It was as if I didn’t even recognize him. Who was this monster in my presence that could be so cruel and sink my hopes?  He let go and dumped the girls (myself included) who needed something he couldn’t provide being a commitment.

Let’s not forget that he expected that you’d sleep with him anyways even through no commitment was there. As Cher would say in Clueless, “As if!”  On a side note, Clueless is loosely based off of Jane Austen’s novel, Emma. There are many parallels to the film and novel. Both Cher and Emma are matchmakers to their friends.

Luckily for Marianne Dashwood, she ends up with Colonel Brandon who had loved her from the moment he first saw her. She had always overlooked him as he was more reserved (perhaps a shy modern-day Silicon Valley type?) but had proved his honor over time. Luckily for me, I got to marry my husband, Alex in the end and not that silly modern-day Willoughby.

Enjoy the complete film here.