Love

Love Against All Odds

 

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There is no doubt that the most fulfilling thing about my business is that I get to try to help people, on a daily basis, with matters of the heart. When it comes to love, there are few fixed rules, and relationships are often quite complicated… so each time that I can put two people together and help give them a chance to find happiness, it reminds me why I really do what I do.

Every once in awhile, I like to share a specific story of one of my couples. In this case, I just attended their wedding yesterday in wine country and was reminded how unique their story is and why it can be a lesson to all of us in how special true love can be.

The groom had been referred to me by a family member 8+ years ago after he had sustained a very bad life threatening injury that had left him incapacitated
for a period of time. His sports injury had left him with long term damage to his eye sight in one eye, as well as, deafness in one ear.

While incapacitated recovering, his wife at the time took very bad advantage of his state and burned through a bunch of their investments, divorced him, and left him without any financial resources. Basically, it seemed like it was all over for him. From a foundational perspective, this man is extremely lucky to even be alive.

Against all odds, this incredible man persevered.

I met him, agreed to work with him with open arms, and fell in love with his spirit, optimism, and fighter mentality. I immediately could see that he was loyal beyond compare and one of the most down-to-earth, no pretenses about him kind of guy. No wonder why my relative referred him!

Though my new client feared that Linx would only work with high net worth women looking for high net worth men, I allayed his fears and found him a San Francisco based woman who was a total sweetheart – with a heart of gold, compassion, and integrity. She never saw his injuries as reason to not date him or having to start over financially as a cause to reject. She had met her soul mate and that’s all that mattered.

It was his third Linx match and her second Linx match that resulted in their dreamy magical chemistry. I even helped plan his proposal at Cavallo Point in Marin years ago.

The two had a long 5-year engagement. The five years brought them even closer as they moved from San Francisco to Michigan so that he could complete his graduate degree to start a new career and she could be closer to home and also evolve her career. They have recently begun their new life in the San Diego area and love the healthy lifestyle So Cal offers and warm sand in their toes only minutes away.

They finally had the wine country wedding of their dreams this Labor Day weekend… 4pm on Sunday – a perfectly intimate setting at a beautiful property, shaded with trees overlooking vineyards. There was a gentle breeze setting in magically at the most needed time on a blazing hot day in the sun where highs were 100+ degrees in the direct sun.

The Linx couple exchanged heartfelt vows under a Chuppah, followed by outdoor cocktails and seated dinner and then barn dancing with a live band followed. Seeing his complete adoration for her and her pure love for him brings such joy to my heart. The happy couple is now somewhere up high in the skies en route to their beach honeymoon and for some much needed R & R. Mazel Tov!

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Is He Ready for Commitment? 7 Signs that Point to Yes

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There is nothing more frustrating than heading towards a serious, monogamous relationship only to hear your could-be-significant-other say, “I just don’t think I’m ready to commit.” Unfortunately, many women blame themselves for this outcome instead of chalking it up to poor timing or different long-term goals. Save yourself time, energy, and heartache by choosing men who want—not be convinced to want—a longer term relationship.

At Linx, we work exclusively with relationship-minded men, and we’ve noticed a few qualities that set them apart from their more casual counterparts. Here are seven signs to help you spot the difference between contenders and pretenders.

  1. Is he thoughtful about the time he spends with you?

He wants to make sure he sees you. He doesn’t invite you to hangout or casually mention that you should drop by his weekend BBQ. Instead, he asks you out and figures out a time based on your schedule. You’ll also notice that his dates are somewhat tailored to your preferences. He may take you to the restaurant that has your favorite dumplings or the art exhibit you mentioned in passing. He wants to share great moments with you—and that starts with thoughtful planning.

  1. Can you count on him?

Being able to rely on your partner for support is a big part of a sustainable relationship, and he will want to show you that he can handle one. It’s easy to feel infatuated when everything is going well, but does he have staying power when things get a little, hmmm, complicated? How did he react when you had a blow up at work? Was he available when you were sick with a nasty cold? If he always shows up for you, he’s showing that he’s worth the emotional investment.

  1. Can you talk about anything?

He’s willing to be straightforward about his feelings for you. If he’s not verbal, he finds other ways to show how he feels. He reaches for your hand. He holds the door for you. He stocks his fridge with your favorite snacks. He learns how you take your coffee. Give him an opportunity to show you how he feels; if he’s interested in long-term commitment, he will be attentive.

  1. Does he bring up exclusivity?

Sometimes the cues aren’t always verbal. You’ll notice that his phone isn’t blowing up with texts or calls from other women, because he’s buried all old flames. If you’re his +1 to an event and notice that all other attendees are in couples, he considers you two a couple.

  1. Does he take it slow?

Having sex at the right time—not having sex in a vacuum—becomes the goal. There is no pressure or focus on the sexual aspects of your relationship, because he knows that this part will evolve at its own pace. Men seeking casual flings will put an enormous amount of focus on the physical. Dates may seem rushed or overly casual and may feel more like activities to fill time until it becomes ‘suitable’ to have sex. How would he respond if you nixed the date without spending the night? If you predict any backlash whatsoever, he’s probably more interested in sexy time than learning about you.

  1. Does he talk long-term plans?

He might not be talking rings or kids, but he’s making plans that go beyond the upcoming weekend. Whether it’s scheduling a concert weeks away or inviting you to an upcoming wedding, he’s starting to assume you’ll be in the picture.

  1. Does he make you feel secure?

When a man is seriously interested, he wants to make you feel safe—physically and emotionally. In large crowds, he will help navigate you. If someone appears aggressive, your man is on alert. He’s an extra pair of eyes and ears making your physical well-being a priority. You’ll also notice that your man wants you to feel your best. You won’t feel jealous of other women, because your man takes time to compliment, and remind you of all the reasons you are special.

If you’re wondering how to get him to commit, you’re asking the wrong question. The right man for you—a man who is ready for a serious relationship—will show you that he is worthy of your time and affection. If you are ready to meet a commitment-minded man, consider emailing amy@linxdating.com and tell Amy a little bit about yourself.

Here’s How to Escape the Friend Zone

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The friend zone—it is the place you’ll end up if your romantic interest thinks you’re nice, but isn’t attracted to you romantically. Despite your best attempts to show your “friend” how great being in a relationship could be, your “friend” just isn’t reciprocating. Maybe one or more of the following has happened to you:

  • A romantic prospect introduces you to other people, saying “This is my FRIEND…”
  • A romantic prospect refers to you as a “brother” or “sister”- perhaps after there was some sort of physical contact (i.e., a brief make-out that leads to them pushing you away…saying “I feel like you’re my sister/brother.” 😦
  • You’ve made obvious advances that were ignored

Shifting interest from “just friends” to something more is difficult, but not impossible. If you are perpetually finding yourself in the friend zone, consider these three principles and a few tips on how best to implement them.

  1. The Principle of Least Interest: The member of a relationship who cares least about it is often more desirable and powerful. In other words, letting go of your intense desire to be in the relationship is more likely to boost your chances of ending up in one. It sounds counterintuitive, but it’s the same principle that explains why so many of us have played ‘hard to get’. Feigning a lack of interest can make oneself more desirable.

So what can you do? Entertain other options.

Showing interest in others demonstrates that you aren’t willing to forego other options for someone who isn’t feeling the same way about you. In other words, you’re not going to sit and wait for someone to start being interested in you. Though not seeming too eager can be hard when you really do like someone, actively meeting other people and keeping your options open will help you regain some of the power that you lost while pursuing a relatively disinterested person.

  1. The Principle of Scarcity: A close cousin of Principle #1… Because we value things that are scarce more than we value the things that are abundant, it’s in your best interest to remain somewhat unavailable. When you are always available, you’re depriving your partner of an opportunity to win you over and understand just how valuable your time is.

So what can you do? Fill up your social calendar.

Getting busy will give your love interest an opportunity to miss you. Committing yourself to other activities—and refusing to cancel them—is a great way to signal that your time and energy are valuable.

  1. The Ben Franklin Effect: This psychological phenomenon explains why people have better feelings towards the people for whom they do favors. In practice, this means that you are the favor asker instead of the favor doer.

So what can you do? Ask for small favors that can lead to spending time together.

Figure out a way for her to help you out and also to spend time with you. If your apartment feels a little stale, ask her to help you redecorate. If you need a weekend away, ask her to watch the dog; find a way for her to help you out. Instead of you driving to their home every day after work, ask them to drive to you.

Are You Dating Someone with Asperger’s?

With nearly 3.5 million Americans falling somewhere on the autism spectrum scale, it’s likely you’ve been on a date—or even a relationship—with someone who may show signs but not may not be formally diagnosed. Asperger’s syndrome is a mild form of autism that makes it extremely difficult to read others; social cues, hints, romantic gestures, and suggestive language won’t make sense to someone with Asperger’s. Paul, a 37-year-old with Asperger’s described dating with his condition as “learning a new language, but instead of words and phrases, I had to learn how to read and speak nonsensical behavior.”

When it comes to dating and relationships, people with Asperger’s, or Aspies, have additional challenges that may frustrate romantic partners. Without understanding the condition, neurotypical (NT) people can feel hurt, annoyed, and embarrassed by well-intentioned singles with Asperger’s. To help bridge the gap, we’ve addressed the top stressors of dating someone with Asperger’s and what you can do to make it easier for all parties involved.

An inability to express sentimental feelings

What you can do: Don’t assume the other person is uninterested, just because he isn’t telling you he likes you or finds you attractive. Let him know what you think and tell him why it is important that he learns how to make you feel special. Employing some structure to this conversation will help everyone feel more open and honest. “Create a ‘safe space’ for discussion and using semi-formal techniques like active listening, time outs with agreed upon return times, and speaker-listener paraphrasing,” says Amy Marsh, a sexologist “set regular times if you have to.”

Lack of understanding about physical affection

What you can do: Affection like holding hands and kissing won’t make sense to your partner. Attaching a gesture to an emotion is not intuitive, so take the time to explain what the gestures mean and why you are doing them. Otherwise, your physical affection can have an adverse effect. According to The Partner’s Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, hugs can be very uncomfortable as they essentially restrict movement and invade personal space without warning. Best to say, “I want to give you a hug, because it will make me feel close to you. Sound good?” to help your partner acclimate to your style of affection.

Harping on the same subject or telling the same story repeatedly

What you can do: Shift the conversation to something that interests you. If your partner interrupts or continues to talk, gently tell them that this behavior makes it difficult for you to feel interesting. “If you are the more “neurotypical” partner, then you may find yourself playing detective and trying much harder to understand the other person than they ever will try to understand you, and it can feel lopsided” says Marsh. “Remember that for many people on the autism spectrum, social and emotional skills and communication have to be learned more intellectually rather than intuitively.”

Inability to read social cues or knowing which social rules to apply in certain situations

What you can do: Ease him into large social situations like parties or group outings. If he or she is overwhelmed or decides skip the event, try not to take it personally. Social situations are especially trying with so many different social cues coming from so many different people. To help your partner feel more comfortable, try to make the introductions on their behalf and help them transition topics.

Not understanding sexual situations, specifically how to escalate into physical intimacy

What you can do: For many people with AS, physical intimacy is the expression of feelings; however, escalating to the physical realm and establishing the mood with foreplay won’t seem important or necessary unless the NT explains what he or she is looking for in the bedroom. Asperger’s specialist, Dr. Kenneth Roberson suggests the following exercise: “Together with your partner make a list of the things that your partner does sexually that you like. Make a second list of things you would like your partner to do or try sexually. Make a third list of things that you do not particularly enjoy sexually. Ask your partner to generate similar lists. Then sit down together and share the items on your lists.”

If things do not go as planned in the bedroom, wait for a better time to discuss. “DO NOT argue in the bedroom,” says Marsh. “Let that be your area for safe connection with emotions and intimacy. Period.”

The first step in sustaining a serious, long-term relationship with someone with Asperger’s is acceptance. “Don’t confuse acceptance with granting permission to act whatever way your partner chooses. Callous, unsympathetic, and cold behavior, for example, are not things to be supported,” says Dr. Kenneth Roberson, Ph.D. “There is nothing wrong with expecting to be treated decently, wanting to be accepted and loved, and disapproving of anything less, but when your goal is to change the fundamental characteristics of who your partner is, you not only set yourself up for failure but you risk setting the bar impossibly high for your partner.”

 

 

Does He Think You’re the One? 7 Signs that Point to Yes

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You meet and there’s chemistry. Real chemistry. You are starting to fall hard, but ghosts from relationships—and flings—of the past prompt you to ask: “Is this serious infatuation or could this be real?”

 

Instead of spending energy trying to figure out what he means, look for behaviors that reveal investment. If these signs apply to your current relationship, chances are he thinks you’re the one or, at the very least, a serious contender.

 

  1. He wants everyone to meet you.

He’s excited to incorporate you into his world, and that starts with meeting the main characters. You are meeting friends, family, coworkers and anyone else who knows your partner well. You’ll notice that many of them have been looking forward to meeting you. If he’s aiming to build a life together, he wants start building memories with the people who matter most. He feels proud to stand next to you and he wants his social circle to see what a wonderful person you are!

 

  1. He talks future plans—especially holidays.

Any nod to future plans is a good sign, but if it’s summer and he’s already discussing Christmas logistics, he’s smitten. Holidays give people two major excuses to be apart—family and extensive travel. If he’s ignoring the implications of both to include you, he values your time, your company, and the long term potential of your relationship.

 

  1. He handles your down moments.

This sign goes beyond his willingness to to see you in all of your forms—this sign is about YOU. Are you able to fall apart in front of this person and know that his opinion of you won’t change? If so, he’s giving you a gift that is beyond weathering occasional storms; he’s showing you that he offers unconditional support—a strong indicator that he’s in it for the long haul.

 

  1. He says “we”

When his decision evolves from “best for me” to “best for us”, he is subconsciously showing that you are part of bigger plans that extend beyond the present. In this case, “we” is more than just a pronoun, it’s his way of saying “you are a part of me.” As the relationship progresses, you’ll notice that questions directed to him are answered with “we”, because in his mind, most of the plans include you. We means he is “facing forward” into the future and seeing both of you as a unit.

 

  1. He wants to learn you.

He’s not only curious about what makes you tick, he’s interested in showing you that he’s absorbing the information. So, you love coffee. Does he know a coffee run is in order before Sunday’s errands? If you can’t join the coffee run, does your coffee come back with the right ratio of milk and sugar? Although seemingly small, these gestures speak volumes about his desire to learn you and your routines. At the end of the day, he wants to make you happy.

 

  1. He lets you in.

Emotional intimacy starts with vulnerability, and he’s willing to get vulnerable with you. Since some men struggle with expressing their feelings, the emphasis is on his willingness. If you ask the hard questions, he will work with you on answering them—even if that means visiting a counselor or therapist. Emotional bonds are much harder to break than their physical counterparts. If he’s serious about growing with you, you’ll be strengthening both types of attachment.

 

  1. You never wonder if he thinks you’re the most interesting person in the room.

In a crowded room, he always seems to be aware of how you’re doing; you have an ability to sense each other. Maybe it’s the way he encourages you to share your personality. Maybe it’s the way he knows what you’re thinking without any words at all. Whatever it is, you know you’re with someone who reads you and enjoys the story you tell.

 

If you’re dating someone and he hasn’t started to exhibit any of these “signs”,  give him a chance and don’t give up too soon. Everyone arrives to the dating game with their own history, set of experiences and expectations. It’s impossible to know what’s going on in his head but by giving him some time, you can closely watch his behavior and see if he’s the man for you or you’re meant to be moving on.

You can always email our founder Amy at: amy@linxdating.com and ask her dating advice in a confidential manner.

Happy Spring, happy dating….XO

 

 

Dating: Is it Really just a Numbers Game?

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After a bad date, string of bad dates, or zero dates, you might hear someone encourage you to try again with the old adage: “Dating is just a numbers game.” Sounds like a straightforward concept, but is there truth to this?

 

Although more dates increase the odds of meeting someone, you are not making the most of your dating experiences or your time unless you are learning more about yourself or figuring out a better picture of what you’re looking for.

 

MEN: If the “numbers game strategy” involves asking every woman you meet on a date in hopes one says yes, you are missing the point. However, if you are employing some level of discernment beyond visual cues, you are more likely to find a meaningful connection.

 

WOMEN: If your “numbers game strategy” involves going out with men with whom you haven’t had a single meaningful interaction but who are simply interested in you, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Give yourself a chance to establish baseline connectivity before committing to a date.

 

When dating becomes a numbers game, it pushes us into a quantity over quality mindset, overwhelming our capacity to connect. One, it becomes easier to be more casual, passive about dating if each date is just an outing—not finding an opportunity to really connect. Two, you risk dating burnout. And, three, to achieve stronger, more meaningful interactions—the kind that last—we must know ourselves to filter potential candidates effectively.

 

Think you might be stuck on a lackluster romantic hamster wheel? Try asking yourself the following questions:

 

Does this person offer me chemistry and sustainability?

The chemistry makes things interesting, but what good is amazing chemistry unless it can lead to a deeper, enduring relationship? Unlike chemistry, the sustainability question requires logic. It may feel like you’re conducting an interview but getting clear answers on whether a potential partner is in a place—geographically and emotionally—to invest in a relationship will ultimately save you time and energy.

 

Am I aware of myself and what I am looking for?

Some of us carry negative habits and energy which can block our ability to receive and give love. Left unaware about the things we do to make ourselves less loveable will make it harder for a partner to connect. Furthermore, without knowing our blind spots, we won’t be able to select the right person to balance us.

 

Am I willing to take responsibility for the impact I have on another person’s emotions?

 

Taking responsibility for the way you date will make you more conscious about who you date. When you are deliberately seeking sustainable relationships, you’ll fine tune your ability to sniff out the relationships that don’t serve long term needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Are You… Available?

It goes without saying that everyone who choses to meet with the Linx team has expressed interest in finding a relationship, but that doesn’t mean everyone is actually prepared to be in one.  In fact, figuring out whether or not someone is ready for a relationship can be quite complicated.  And it’s interesting to see the ways in which we all get stuck in places and patterns that keep us from moving forward with our lives.

We often talk about helping people break free from their current dating inertia; for some clients, that involves helping them learn how to date for the very first time; for others, it involves reintroducing them to the dating world after divorce; and for an unfortunate few, it can mean helping them meet incredibly trustworthy, loyal individuals after an experience with infidelity.  These are all, obviously, very big stumbling blocks when it comes to getting into a relationship and they take a lot of work to overcome.  But smaller obstacles can be just as detrimental when it comes to letting another person into your life, and we it comes to find love, many of us are more guilty of standing in our own way than we realize.

Lately, Amy and I have seen a pattern of more and more first(!) dates not even happening because of poor communication and scheduling conflicts.  This is incredibly disheartening for us because we put so much work into each match behind the scenes.  But beyond that, it’s a huge missed opportunity for everyone involved.  And it’s often the result of unreasonable expectations, inflexibility, or not being honest about the amount of time you have to pursue a relationship.

It’s sometimes the case that people honestly do not realize how busy and overcommitted they are until presented with the option of an introduction.  If these are temporary social or charitable engagements that will clear from your schedule in some reasonable amount of time as you get to know someone, don’t sweat it; most of us actually find it attractive when some has a full and active life, and even look forward to eventually being part of it.  Be upfront about your commitments – give your date a roadmap to let him or her know how quickly those obligations might clear, and dating should pretty easily fall into place from there.

If, on the other hand, you find that you really can’t plan to get together because you constantly work late, are always traveling, are on call, or don’t know your schedule, this may not be the time for you to be dating.  And you should admit that.  If work is controlling your life, don’t expect a potential date to let it control his or her life, too.  This may not be your fault, but it’s also not fair to the person attempting to date you.  Let them go for now.  With some luck, he or she will circle back when timing is better on both sides.  But if you press forward when you really don’t have the availability to build a relationship, you’ll just end up engendering hard feelings and frustration.  No one wants that.

If, however, you can’t seem to find the time to meet because you’ll only have a first date on weekends (but don’t have any free time for the next three of them), can’t go out on Thursdays (because you have your fav yoga class on Friday mornings), don’t like Monday dates (because you’re too tired after work), refuse to have a weekend breakfast date because they aren’t romantic (even though you’ll only meet on weekends and don’t have any free weekend evening for the next month) then you may be standing in your own way.  And that is your fault.
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It is really, really important to be open and honest about what you need when you start dating someone.  But it is equally important to not be totally rigid and difficult when it comes to the things you want.  You need to be home by 10pm if it’s a weeknight?  Fine.  You need to meet in the city or in Silicon Valley because you don’t have a car or don’t have a ton or time?  Perfectly understandable.  You only want Saturday night first dates scheduled six weeks in advance with regular phone calls and texts beforehand, and you expect your date to be patient, excited, and agreeable because this is what works best for your social/exercise/shopping/travel calendar?  Absolutely not.  When you’re that limiting and specific with your date, you’re not just telling him or her that you’re busy – you’re telling your date that you expect to dictate all of the terms of your relationship, and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that message.  Ever.

Being flexible isn’t just about dating someone who doesn’t look like the actor you fantasize about or the crush you had in college; it’s about stepping out of the box of your life and realizing that your future is going to look exactly like your present unless you start to make different choices.  Amy hates asking the question “Are you single?” because it’s both too vague and too specific at the same time.  She always prefers to ask people “Are you available?” because it’s important to know if they’re unattached, interested in finding commitment, and willing to do the work it takes to get there.  It’s like asking “Are you single? Are you looking for love?” and “Are you willing to invest in another person in order to find it?” all at the same time.  It’s important to be flexible in a lot of ways when you start dating someone, and that includes being flexible with your time, your attitude, your tastes, and your expectations.  In fact, flexibility is the difference between being single and being available — it’s a measure of how open you are to being surprised, and how willing you are to take a chance on trying to make something work.  It also happens to be attractive. 😉

So what about you?  Are you flexible or are you rigid?  Are you open or are you closed?  Are you just single and expecting a stranger to walk into your life, compliantly play by your rules, and make sure that you live happily ever after?  Or are you available – ready, willing, and able to meet someone else in the middle, prepared to no longer be the obstacle that stands in the way of your own success, and open to finding out what it’s like to let someone else co-star in your personal pursuit of happiness?  The question is yours to answer, but don’t forget that it’s an answer you’re constantly sharing with the world.

Cinematic Greatest Kisses of All Time

On this holiday, enjoy TIME Magazines greatest cinematic kisses of all time. They left out some of my personal cinematic favorites (Sixteen Candles, Romancing the Stone, Something’s Gotta Give to name three) but still a great montage.

Putting the CON in Confidence… Part III

March_4_10_Couple_LaughsIt’s great to have a toolkit for getting through a first date with a veneer of healthy self-esteem, but what happens after that? If you’re lucky, a first date leads to a second. And a second leads to a third. But if you aren’t feeling good about yourself, you probably won’t make it very far beyond a couple of dates. That’s fine if you never really had an initial spark, or it’s becoming clear that that two of you are very different people who might not easily connect, but it’s not so fine if the fire fizzles simply because you’re too trapped in your own head to focus on the person right in front of you.

In order to capitalize on early chemistry and attraction, it’s important that you a) actually believe that you deserve to be dating this particular person, and b) let your date see and appreciate that. Try to remember that in order for any healthy relationship to survive, both parties have to be invested, and both of you actually have to think that it’s a good idea. So let’s assume you really did feel sparks, and that the early interest in mutual… if you aren’t the world’s most confident person, what can you do to bolster your ego just a little bit? After all, there has to be more to successful dating than just asking a waiter for suggestions and walking a woman to her car, right?

Here are a few ways you can develop some dating confidence. And if you don’t think you need additional confidence when it comes to dating, try to keep in mind that having added confidence can be useful in almost every aspect of our lives.


Make a list, and check it twice…

I recently spoke with a client who was nervous about an upcoming first date. She was concerned that her date might not like her for a dozen different reasons, and had already started rationalizing a case for rejection from a man she hadn’t even met. While it’s healthy to be prepared for any possible outcome, she was really only focused on one. If you find yourself doing this – particularly when it comes to anticipating rejection, you need to slow down, and make a list of all of your positive qualities and attributes. Yes, all of them. Go ahead and start now; it might take awhile. Be as detailed as possible. Oh, you like your earlobes and pinky toes? Turns out you’re one of those rare people who never has morning breath? You rarely move while sleeping? You can make a gourmet meal out of almost anything? You’re incredibly good at your job, and your patients/clients/colleagues love you? You never forget a birthday? You actually have the time and desire to invest in a relationship? Your most recent ex said that you had “incredibly good hands”?

Take some time to really study this list. These are all of the things about you that are great. These are all of the reasons someone should want to date you. These are all of the reasons that would make someone LUCKY to be your significant other. Some of it, of course, is going to seem very silly. But the rest of this should feel very true and very real. Don’t focus on the possible perceived negatives. Don’t highlight your weaknesses; showcase your strengths. You may still not end up on a second date, but it will be because your date doesn’t appreciate your positive qualities, which is his or her loss. If you go into an evening expecting that your date is going to reject you based on your own insecurities, you’re creating a situation in which one of the worst possible outcomes simply lives up to your expectations. No one wants to experience that.

Dress the part…

I’m sure you’re getting tired of hearing that you need to dress up for a date, but I really can’t stress this enough. What you wear and how you present yourself really does matter. After all, you wouldn’t wear a bathrobe to a job interview, and yet you’re probably not hoping that you and your next job are going to have a relationship that involves the phrase “’til death do us part.” We get confidence from our clothing choices; color tends to make us feel more youthful and alive, flattering cuts make us feel better about our bodies, and high quality garments are often an indicator that we see value in investing in ourselves.

You want to signal that you believe yourself to be desirable, attractive, and worthy of investment. And you want your date to agree. When you really dress for a date, you’re telling the man or woman across the table that he or she matters, that you respect their time and value their attention, and that you value yourself. Highly. If you’ve ever had the experience of overdressing on a day that you feel awful in the hope that you’ll get some sort of compliment, you already understand the role that attire can play in dictating your mood. Putting some effort into your wardrobe pays dividends at all times. It also gives you practice being comfortable attracting attention and accepting compliments. If you have one of “those jobs” where you’ll actually be frowned upon for wearing anything more than a t-shirt and jeans, start making an effort on just one day of every weekend. Your friends will tell you that you look great, and you’ll start to feel even better.

Talk to Strangers…

One of the hardest things about building dating confidence can be overcoming stranger anxiety… you know, the stuff that sets in when we’re about 18 months old, and (for most of us) never really goes away? There is a lot of inherent risk in approaching someone you don’t know, and we spend the first part of our lives being told to never do it. As we age, involvements with strangers tend to be managed through classroom, professional, or social environments where an instructor/boss/friend provides a framework and context for initial interactions. Relationships of all forms tend to blossom from these meetings, but early expectations (and hopes) are typically low. This, of course, doesn’t provide much of a foundation for creating a relationship with someone you meet online or through Linx; we might say that the two of you should meet each other, but it’s still up to you to do the heavy lifting.

There is a way to get better at managing stranger anxiety, and that’s to actually approach strangers. Yes, do exactly what your parents told you to never do. Your goal should only be to have small, simple interactions… asking for the time, making chitchat while waiting in a grocery store line, etc. Do this initially with people you simply don’t find attractive. Start with people of the same sex, or with men and women who are significantly older or younger. Once you get comfortable striking up conversations with strangers you don’t find attractive, then start doing it with people you DO find attractive, but who aren’t available. In other words, look for wedding rings. This allows you to get over the anxiety of approaching someone you find desirable while keeping the stakes very low. And finally, when that becomes easy, you can start talking to strangers who appear to be attractive AND available. It will give you the confidence you need to approach people when dating in the wild. It will also provide a nice boast to your self-esteem when you meet someone exceptional through Linx.

Find a Coach…

Increasingly, people are more and more willing to turn to coaches to help them gain or develop missing and weak skills; we do it with fitness and nutrition, with sports, with job interviews, with grad school applications, and even with childbirth. So it shouldn’t seem odd to think that when it comes to dating and confidence, it might be a good idea to have a coach. Much like you might with a gym routine, see if one of your close friends can help you develop some skills and confidence. Give each other positive feedback, encourage more outgoing behavior, and remind each other of your positive qualities. Sharing your goals with other people in your life is usually a great first step to making them happen.

If you’re doing this on your own, consider using a book like Ten Days to Self-Esteem by David Burns. The noted Stanford psychiatrist walks you through several steps that help in gaining confidence, improving your sense of self-worth, and developing a positive outlook. The skills are applied broadly, but can definitely have romantic benefits. If your goal is really to just focus on skills that are dating specific, however, and to do so in person, you may want to consider working with Linx. We provide private, customized coaching sessions for clients on a regular basis, and would be happy to work with you in whatever way you might need.

Regardless of how you choose to do it, your entire life can benefit when you decide to work on your confidence and self-esteem. Even if you think you’re “doing fine” on issues of self worth, there isn’t much of a downside to developing more confidence, and learning that it’s ok to feel truly good about yourself. We all have things about our bodies, our lives, and our personalities that we’d probably like to change, but we want the people in our lives to accept us for the qualities and attributes that won’t. You can’t have what you don’t ask for, and you’ll never convincingly ask for a great relationship if it’s not something you believe you deserve. So learn to like yourself just as you are; learning to appreciate all that you have to offer is a key first step in finding a relationship that is real, deep, and everlasting.

To Love or Not?

Some people have never fallen in love and don’t know what it means to be in love. They ask questions about what it “feels like.” Unlike many people out there who have their first high school love, their serious college love, and maybe one or two real loves post-college, these ‘outliers’ haven’t experienced that yet. hunk flirting with profile of woman

Others fall in love easily. They love a lot. They fall fast and hard. Sometimes their definition of love crosses over from their current boyfriend, to loving their new Kate Spade tote, and loving their Peet’s latte. So, in other words, they love many things from humans to intangible objects. This sort of person can be very emotional as well and constantly express themselves through their outpouring of happiness and love for all things and people in their inner circle.

But what about those who haven’t felt love before? Is it fair to say that someone who has loved many times and experienced the sensation of being in love is a higher evolved human than someone who has yet to experience love?

Have you met someone who was in his/her early 30’s and admitted in a moment of vulnerability that he/she has never had a boyfriend/girlfriend? This happens. I see this in my line of work. When he/she shares that, what do you think? Do you feel sorry? Do you draw the conclusion that something is wrong? Or if you’re both living in the Bay Area, maybe you assume he/she has been 150% on work and hasn’t even come up for air to contemplate dating. Or maybe these folks have just never had their luck in love and the timing hasn’t been right.

There are no right answers for the case of the individual who has loved a lot or never loved at all. To love a lot can raise the question of someone having a less filtered selection process in mate choices and, in some cases, perhaps settling. Some people hate the thought of being alone and would much rather be in a relationship than be by themselves. The thought of being solo for friends’ dinner parties, work functions, or the holidays can make that person spiral into a crazy head space. In this mindset, to be alone and single can feel like being a societal misfit.

Others are inherently private and take cautionary steps towards letting someone into their lives. In a similar vein is the type of individual who has loved hard once and got really burned from a terrible break-up. He/she builds a very strong defense mechanism to self-protect from hurt again and, in the interim, starts to build a very long list of mate requirements. The ideal match list is so long that it hinders he/she from actually finding someone. The list, as a direct result, is a protection from finding love. This person can live their life in a state of fear and would almost rather be single than fall for someone with the risk of getting hurt again. Arab casual couple flirting ready to kiss with love

Where do you fall? Have you loved hard before or are still searching for that special person to feel love and be loved by someone else in a romantic relationship for the first time?