Silicon Valley Dating Service

5 ways people unintentionally sabotage relationships

 

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It’s impossible to break patterns without awareness. Whereas ending a relationship is seemingly straightforward, ending relationships without fully understanding why is a dangerous pattern—a pattern that can’t be broken unless we employ serious self-reflection. Focusing on the outward makes us feel powerless to make changes; it’s easy to surrender to a victim mentality. Below are the most common ways men unintentionally sabotage relationships:

 

  1. Holding on to a relationship fantasy.

Believing that the grass is always greener—that there is better elsewhere and anything less than perfect won’t do—is a mechanism that shields people from deeper levels of intimacy. If you believe better is just around the corner, there is no reason to invest fully, emotionally or otherwise, in the current relationship.

 

The belief that better exists is usually rooted in fear—fear of commitment, fear of losing one’s individuality, and the fear of pain. Believing that something better exists outside of the relationship mitigates the fear. Looking deeper within will reveal that the greener grass mentality is a projection of the discomfort we have within ourselves; idealizing something or someone who isn’t real soothes those uncomfortable feelings.

 

What to do: Take an objective look at your relationship patterns.

  • Are you constantly seeking change?
  • Why did your last relationships fail? What was your role in that?
  • Are you content?

Figuring out what you idealize in a partner might be a good starting point to figure out what you’re missing within.

 

  1. Inability to address pain openly.

Emotional intimacy can only be achieved through vulnerability. Being unable to share openly and truthfully will inhibit emotional depth and closeness. In The Real Rules of Life: Balancing Life’s Terms with Your Own, Ken Druck, PhD., writes that men learn that anger is a “good” male emotion as it demonstrates toughness and makes some men feel like they are in control. After years of programming, it’s no wonder that many men act aggressively in the face of stress, fear, sadness, or loss.

What to do: Learn to identify your emotional needs and learn how to get these needs met in and out of your primary relationship. This is a process; a therapist can help make it easier.

 

  1. Taking feedback personally instead of objectively.

Criticism can be highly triggering; hearing something that challenges a strong ego can cause an emotional reaction. Not only does this reaction reveal insecurity, these emotional reactions make will make it harder for your partner to communicate openly.

 

What to do: Stop Defending.

According to Robert Taibbi, LCSW, the best way to handle your partner’s concerns is to affirm your good intentions and seek a better understanding of your partners needs. Trying to build a case that refutes your partner’s point of view might stroke your ego, but it will ultimately prolong resolution.

 

  1. Failing to recognize your partner’s love language.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman describes the most common ways people feel loved: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. If you haven’t discovered your partner’s language, reading this short book will help you learn how to express feelings more effectively.

 

Often times we express love in the way that makes us feel most loved, but that is not necessarily the way your partner will feel most loved. Additionally, learning your partner’s love language will help you avoid situations that could be especially devastating. For example, if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, non- constructive criticism or failing to express appreciation will be very painful for a partner who is more sensitive to verbal communication.

 

  1. De-prioritizing the relationship.

Complicating factors—work, children, aging parents—can certainly detract focus from the relationship. Situational distractions are inevitable, but letting distractions, and the distance that follows, get out of hand is a dangerous pattern that gets in the way of valuing your partner.

 

What to do: Schedule couple time.

Date night, Skype dates, weekend getaways—whatever you choose is irrelevant. The most important part is that you choose something. Be intentional. The 9-5 autopilot lifestyle can easily suppress passion and spontaneity. The busier you are, the more important it will be for you make room for quality time.

 

7 Ways to Nurture Your New Relationship

 

iStock-541824336 copy.jpgOne 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:

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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.

Pheromones and Attraction

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Have you ever found someone completely irresistible, but you’re not sure why? Some scientists argue that we might be picking up on someone’s genetic compatibility with our sense of smell.

When we smell something, tiny odor molecules bind to receptor cells that travel directly to the brain for processing. Smell—unlike the other senses—is analyzed almost instantly. This rapid analysis is the reason why smelling something familiar can trigger an emotional response instantly, and sometimes these responses can be quite powerful. Think of the last time you smelled chocolate chip cookies. Did you feel a cozy, comfortable feeling? What about popcorn? Did you find yourself in an upbeat, casual mood?

If smells can solicit hefty emotional responses, can they trigger us to have romantic feelings?

Scientists still debate the answer, but they all can agree that the discussion starts with pheromones.

Pheromones describe the special cocktail of chemicals that our body releases that may influence the way people behave towards us. These chemicals—when smelled—are known to stimulate the hypothalamus, a part of the brain known to regulate sexual behavior, mood, and hormones.

To figure out how sensitive we are to pheromones, Swiss zoologist Claus Wedekind conducted “The Sweaty T-shirt Experiment.” He instructed 44 different men to wear the same t-shirt two consecutive nights. After collecting the t-shirts, he asked 49 different women to sniff each t-shirt and rate the odor for intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness.

Results showed that the women preferred the odors from men whose DNA was most different from their own. Because choosing a mate with a similar genetic makeup can cause a host of genetic complications for an offspring, the women’s choices show that they have an ability to analyze and gravitate towards men who guarantee greater reproductive success. In other words, women preferred sexual experiences with men who smelled a certain way.

Pheromones also solicit responses based on sexual preferences, not biological sex. In another study conducted by Dr. Ivanka Savic and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, a group of men—some straight, some gay—and women were asked to rate attractiveness to two different pheromones. Both the gay men and women responded strongly to the male pheromone, whereas the heterosexual males preferred the female pheromone almost exclusively.

Despite the science, there is no real way to determine the true effect of pheromones; There are simply too many mitigating factors. For example, it’s impossible to confirm the real reason we gravitate towards certain people we find attractive. It could be the scent they carry, but it also could be related to personality, confidence, appearance, or status.

If pheromones can influence sexual responses, is it possible to recreate certain smells to make yourself more sexually desirable?

Unfortunately, pheromones are an elusive mix of natural chemicals, impossible to replicate in a lab. To date, scientists (and fragrance companies) have not been able to get to the heart of what exactly makes up pheromones, how they are created, or how to emulate them. Some companies tout “love potions”, but these are most likely gentle, pleasant fragrances.

Pheromones could be influencing attraction, but it’s more likely a combination of factors with pheromones playing some small role. Visual cues, body language, and the quintessential “chemistry” of how your personalities mesh all play into your perception of a potential romantic encounter.

 

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

 

 

How to Date When You Want Kids Yesterday

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All too often the subject of kids—and knowing if they’re a possibility with a new partner—isn’t handled with much care. It has a sneaky way of becoming a checklist question; a question that is asked early on to determine whether or not someone is worth seeing again. With biological clocks ticking, some women and men are rushing to get an answer before “wasting” one more minute with someone who might not share the same goals. That rush prevents real chemistry from blooming, regardless of the partner’s desire to have children in the future.

So how do you date when you know you want kids?

Describe your approach to family plans, without any pressure for your partner to be a part of it.

 

What to say: “Family dinners and minivans are probably out there somewhere, but I still have no idea how I’m going to get from point A to point B.”

 

Here’s why this works: This kind of comment reveals your plans for a family without any expectation for your partner to respond in a certain way. Not only are you able to express yourself authentically, but you are doing so in a way that doesn’t involve deadlines or ultimatums.

 

Don’t let kid-centric or family-centric conversation be the hot topic.

 

Here’s why this works: You are more than your desire to have children. With a healthy self-esteem intact, you don’t need a sperm/egg donor to make your life complete; you have yourself and you are complete as is. Even though children are a top priority, you come first. In other words, you are looking for the right person for you before looking for the best parent to a child. When dating is about you, you partner will feel like he or she complements you, and isn’t just being vetted for sperm or egg donor.

 

Accept where your partner is—and the personal goals he or she has.

 

Here’s why this works: In the wake of amazing chemistry, we can create a narrative that doesn’t exist. For example, we may think, “We have such a good thing going, of course he will change his mind when we get more serious.” This kind of thinking reveals that we do not accept our partner as he or she is; instead, we are hoping for them to change. This added pressure on our partner will ultimately cause friction and disappointment when his or her mind doesn’t change.

 

 

Be patient with those who are unsure, but keep the door open to those who are.

 

Here’s why this works: Some people aren’t sure about kids in their future for situational reasons. Perhaps they are in the midst of a career transition that is taking up most of their future planning. Maybe they are close to someone who is dealing with the agony of infertility. Maybe they need the right partner first to see kids in the future. Whatever the reason is, there’s no need to eliminate someone who isn’t exactly on your same page right away. With that being said, it’s also wise to keep the door open to those who may be ready to start their family sooner.

 

You should have a sense of your partner’s feelings about a future family before committing.

Here’s why this works: Dating is your chance to explore the likelihood of a lasting relationship. If you aren’t sure what he or she feels about kids, continue keeping doors open until you have a better sense. Signing onto serious emotional and time investment without a nod to your personal priorities is too much to risk—your time is too valuable.

 

101 Women Answer What a Man Should Wear On a First Date

This guest post is written by Peter Nguyen, a private personal stylist for successful men and founder of The Essential Man

On our first date, my girlfriend and I went to PDT (above), a really cool speakeasy bar here in NYC hidden behind a phone booth in a hot dog shop. They’re known for their amazing cocktails, which we gladly put to the test.

If you asked my girlfriend about our first date, she couldn’t tell you much, except for one thing — the shirt I was wearing. A striped tabbed collar dress shirt from Robert Geller.

“It’s my favorite shirt on you.” She says.

It made such an impression on her that it has survived a good 5 closet purges.

You’ve probably heard the saying “It only takes 7 seconds to make a first impression”.

What if I told you you actually had less time than that?

According to a study done by Princeton, it actually only takes the brain 1/10th of a second to make a snap judgment of someone.

So what does this mean for you my single, dating friend?

It means that before you’ve even opened your mouth, she’s already sized you up. So it’s in your best interest to use the only tool you got in that brief, 1/10th of a second: your style.

BUT WAIT, THAT’S SUPERFICIAL! LOOKS SHOULDN’T MATTER! SHE SHOULD LIKE ME FOR WHO I AM!

Whenever I’m at a party and I tell people that I’m a personal stylist for men, I get one of three reactions:

1. “THANK YOU!”
(This is the #1 response from women.)

2. “Oh man. How’s my outfit?”
(This is where I try to decide whether to give the polite answer or the real answer.)

3. “Cool man. I don’t focus so much on superficial stuff like that.”

Yes, someone said this to me at a party recently.

Here’s how it went down:

“Interesting. What do you mean by that?” I asked him.

“Oh, no offense,” he said.

(I love when people say “no offense”, or “not to sound racist”. It’s usually followed up by something offensive or racist.)

“I want people to like me for who I am, not whether I’m wearing a nice suit or whatever.”

“Totally. Hey, it was great to meet you.”

And then I walked away to pour myself a much-needed drink.

(Conversation tip: Sticking out your hand and saying “Hey, it was great to meet you.” is the best way to leave a conversation you don’t want to be in.)

You’d be surprised how often I get this kind of reaction, especially when I bring up that one of the best “dating hacks” is to improve your style.

“She should like me for who I am!” Guys say in response.

“Ok.” I’d say. “Describe to me your perfect girl.”

What do you think their answer always is?

Their perfect girl is always HOT.

“She should like me for who I am! Meanwhile, I want to date girls that look like this!”

Yeah, shocker, right?

This is what I call “The Perfect Girl Hypocrisy”. People think they’re exceptions. They want everyone else to change their standards instead of raising theirs for themselves.

Obese people want to change health and beauty standards instead of shedding the excess weight. Unqualified job hunters want companies to lower their requirements instead of getting more experience. Guys want hot girls but don’t want to work on and be judged by their looks.

Sorry, my friends, it isn’t happening. That’s not how the world works.

THE UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTH ABOUT OUR LOOKS

Here’s the uncomfortable truth about humans: We judge each other by how we look.

Yes, it’s superficial. Is it bad? Maybe.

The thing is, we’re superficial about almost everything.

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You’re less likely to eat sad looking food in disposable tins because we associate sad looking food with unhealthy. Judging by its looks, It’s probably not as nutritious and is most likely going to make us sick. (Even though this might not be true.)

Vibrant, colorful food on clean white plates symbolize to us freshness, cleanliness, and that it’s healthy to eat.

This is called Thin slicing — it’s making snap judgments on something based on the information you have at hand. When you don’t know a lot about someone, all you can judge them on is what you see. Presentation matters, whether it’s a plate of pasta, or what you wear on a date.

It’s the reason why when surveyed, 76% of patients found doctors who wore white lab coats more trustworthy.

If your doctor came in wearing an oversized shirt, messy hair, sweatpants and dirty shoes, would you want him looking at your kid? NOPE.

GOOD NEWS: IMPROVING YOUR STYLE IS EASY

Before you curse the world, let’s take something else into account. Your style is one of the easiest things you can improve when it comes to dating.

If you’re an introvert, it’s going to take a lot of practice to improve your conversation skills.

Unsure of your career and life path? Good luck changing that in a week.

Bad style? No problem. You can head to a menswear shop and do a complete 180 in 15 minutes.

Of course, you’ll need to know what to get. Luckily, I got your back.

I spent the last 5 months asking women around the world a question: What should a guy wear on the first date?

In total, I gathered 101 responses from women of all backgrounds, jobs, ages, and locations. Women from as close as New York City, to as far away as Tokyo, Sydney, and Tehran.

Here’s a brief overview of the women I spoke with:

Average Age: 28
Single: 42%
Relationship (Less than 3 years) 29%
Married: 29%

And here’s what they said:

#1. EFFORT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING

Does it matter if you’re wearing expensive designer clothes on a first date? No. In fact, of the 101 women surveyed, not one mentioned designer clothes.

However, the most common theme in the written portion of the survey? Above all else, effort (e.g. trying to look nice) was the most important quality of a man’s style on a first date.

Our style is a symbol of who and what we are. It represents choices that we’ve made in life.

Getting dressed is an action. And, as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

Does it matter what kind of car a father drives to pick up his kids? Of course not. What’s more important is that he shows up. It symbolizes that he’s responsible and cares for his kids.

“As a woman, I will make an effort to look nice and pretty for my date because I want to respect his company and effort for asking me out — and I would like the person to feel proud to be with me. When a guy dresses like a teenage boy and it looks like he didn’t care at all, it is distracting and really kills the first impression.” – Morganna, 27

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: If you’re new to improving your style, check out my post “A Beginner’s Guide: 16 Essential Style Tips For Guys Who Want to Dress Better”

#2. THE RIGHT FIT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN EXPENSIVE CLOTHES

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Any clothing that doesn’t fit well is an instant put off. – Jennifer, 27

I’ve preached many times that getting clothes that fit will solve 90% of your style problems.

In my experience, men often wear clothes that are too big for them because:

  1. They grew up (like me) in a time where wearing baggy clothes was cool and never learned any better.
  2. They feel that it’s more comfortable.

Ill-fitting clothes wrecks havoc on your attractiveness. It makes you look fatter, shorter, and sloppy. Wearing clothes that fit properly not only makes you look better, it allows you to look good even when you’re dressed in something as simple as a t-shirt and jeans. (See: Ryan Gosling, above left)

If that doesn’t persuade you to wear clothes that fit properly, maybe this will:

Loose fitting [pants] remind me of my dad. – R, 24

There’s nothing that’s going to kill sexual attraction faster than that.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: Download my free “Style Starter Triple Pack”. It’s a combination of my 3 best guides, including my “How clothes should fit” cheat sheets that’ll help you master fit in 10 minutes.

#3. STYLE HACK: SWAP IN A BUTTON-UP SHIRT IN PLACE OF A T-SHIRT

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60.2% of the women surveyed loved to see their date show up in a button-up collared shirt, while just 14.8% of women said they wouldn’t mind seeing their date in a t-shirt.

T-shirts are often associated with “casual” dressing. Swapping in a collared shirt signals that you’re putting an effort to go beyond “casual”.

Instant upgrade.

WHAT CAN YOU DO TODAY: Not sure what kind of button-up shirt to get? Read my post on my favorite button-up shirt of all time “Essentails: The Chambray Shirt

#4. SHOES? NOT AS IMPORTANT AS YOU MIGHT HAVE THOUGHT

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This part of the survey surprised me the most, as I’ve heard time and time again that women will judge you based on your shoes.

Yet, when I asked women what kind of shoes they loved to see their date wear, the results were all pretty even.

A nice pair of boots won overall, but just barely, gaining 34% of the votes. The rest was split evenly between clean white sneakers, dress shoes, and “Other”, with the write-in answers consisting mostly of “it doesn’t matter”.

My recommendation? It’s hard to beat a solid pair of boots, as they can work with jeans or dress pants. My current favorite boots are from Thursday Boot Company, shown above.

And whatever you do, just don’t show up to your date wearing Vibram five finger shoes.

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On behalf of all men, I apologize to these poor women.

#5. WOMEN LOVE A MAN IN A NICE LEATHER JACKET

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When asked what single piece of clothing would a woman love seeing her date wear, the clear winner was a perfectly fitted leather jacket.

A perfectly fitted leather jacket (50% of votes) beat a tailored suit (24.3%) by a little more than double, and completely crushed hoodies (2.8% of the votes, sorry readers in Silicon Valley).

If this doesn’t convince you to get yourself that perfect leather jacket, I don’t know what will.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TODAY: For those looking to add this essential into their wardrobe, check out my Ultimate Guide to Buying A Leather Jacket here.

#6. WHEREVER YOU GO, MAKE SURE THERE’S SOME ALCOHOL

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While many women agreed that you don’t need alcohol to have a great first date (a few even said bar dates were uncreative and cliché) the data still showed they all wanted the option to drink. (Relax the first date nerves, perhaps?)

When asked what was their favorite place for a first date was, 65.8% of the votes went to places that had alcohol.

A nice cocktail bar received 27.8% of votes, a great dinner captured 25% of the votes, and a fun dive bar got 13% of the votes.

The remaining votes were split between coffee (19.4%), and “Other” (14.8%), which included write-in answers ranging from “it depends on the guy”, “a nice walk in the park”, and “a museum”.

OK, NOW WHAT?

Not sure what to do with this advice yet? Not to worry.

To help you out, I’m sharing with you some date and outfit idea combos based on this data to get your first date off to a great start.

THE MUSEUM DATE

Museum Date Look for Men

Eyeglasses: Watts Eyeglasses by Warby Parker – $95, Wool Scarf: Acne Studios – $180, Blue Suede Bomber Jacket: Valstar – $1,135, Mandarin Collared Strip Shirt: FOLK – $185, Slim Fit Stretch Chinos: NN07 – $160, Socks: The Workers Club – $40, Boots: Thursday Boot Co. – $199

The Date: Museum dates are a great way to break up the monotony of meeting up a bar, but it requires a bit of strategy.

The biggest mistake you can make on a museum date? Spending a lot of time looking at the art and reading the text! I know, it doesn’t make sense, but hear me out. First dates are all about getting to know each other. When you’re examining the art and reading at a museum, you have a tendency to be quiet. The real focus of your date isn’t the art, it’s your company. Think of the museum like a beautiful backdrop, just the same as if you were strolling through a park.

Here’s a better strategy, thanks to my friend Nick Gray, founder and CEO of Museum Hack:

  1. Grab a map for you and your date.
  2. Next, walk and talk, glance at the art, but don’t stop, especially to read the text. That takes away from precious time to get to know each other.
  3. After the initial walk through, take a break at the museum café, order some food, talk some more, then pick parts of the museum you want to have a second look at together on the map.
  4. Go back to the spots you chose and enjoy the art.
  5. Don’t forget to stop at the gift shop and pick up something nice. (Like the wallet from the MoMA above.)

The Outfit: The key items in this look are the collared shirt and boots. Wearing a suit on a first date, especially something like a museum, can feel like overkill. You want to communicate that you’re putting a little effort into it, and this is why instead of a t-shirt and sneakers we swap in a button-up shirt and boots. Blues and browns are a great color combination that help you stand out, especially if you’re visiting a museum in NYC where everyone loves to wear black. Give it a pop of color with a bordeaux colored scarf.

THE NON-CLICHÉ COCKTAIL BAR

Cocktail Bar Date Look for Men

Leather Jacket: Hugo Boss – $745, Grosgrain-trim collared polo: Lanvin – $375, Wool dress pants: Suit Supply – $189, Socks: FALKE – $28, Suede slip-on sneakers: Common Projects – $420

The Date: I love a date at a cool speakeasy, but securing a spot at one can be stressful, especially on a first date. There are plenty of cocktail places with great stories that don’t require you to search for a hidden, unmarked door – like Bar Goto, a Japanese bar opened by ex-Pegu club alum Kenta Goto. Order his signature Sakura martini – a blend of gin, sake, maraschino liqueur finished with a beautiful sakura blossom. (Photo above)

The Outfit: The polo is the happy medium between a t-shirt and button-up shirt. The key to not looking like your dad is picking one that’s slimmer cut in a non-traditional color, like this sleek Lanvin number. Slip on sneakers can sound like an odd choice at first, but like the polo, we’ve elevated it. This suede model from Common Projects isn’t your 16-year-old brother’s Vans, and gives a nice casual contrast to the formal dress pants. Bordeaux and charcoal gray is my all time favorite color combination. It’s warm and romantic, paired with a sleek black leather racer jacket, you’ll be hard to forget.

THE LOW-KEY DINNER DATE

Dinner date look for men

Cashmere Coat: Suit Supply – $699, Brushed twill shirt: J.crew – $39, Watch: IWC – $3,950, Wool Drawstring Pants: Acne Studios – $350, Embroidered wool scarf: Paul Smith – $225, Socks: FALKE – $28, Derbys: A.P.C. – $455

The Date: Dinner on a first date can sometimes feel like a trap. What if you realize you two aren’t really into each other and your entrees just came? Instead of a proper dinner for a first date, I recommend getting some wine and tapas.

Tapas are small plates of appetizers and snacks that you share over drinks. I love it because the tapas themselves become a conversation point. Decide on ordering things you’d never normally try, get adventurous. Start with a few plates and see how things go. If it’s going well, you two can order more and keep the date going. Not feeling it? No worries, you share a few bites and don’t have to commit to a conversation over an entire entree. Grab the check and part ways.

Some recommendations for you first-time tapas eaters: Dátiles con beicon (dates stuffed with almonds and cheese, wrapped in bacon) and patatas bravas (crispy potatoes with an aioli) are easy crowd pleasers. My all time favorite: Jamon Iberico, slices of ham from pigs fed acorns then aged for 36 months. Fatty, nutty, and worth the (very expensive) price.

The Outfit: Suits on first dates is a little too much. Subtle style substitute – wear a tailored topcoat. It gives the same feeling that you “dressed up” without going full blown suit.

When I think tapas, I think sharing food, drinking wine, having an amazing conversation. So take off your coat and relax a little bit. You’re going to be moving plates around and passing food to her, so don’t be afraid to unbutton and partially roll up your sleeves. This is a great opportunity to show off a nice watch. My pick: IWC’s refined entry Mark XVIII. It’s a watch that says “I have really good taste and I don’t need to be flashy”.

GET THAT SECOND DATE

First dates are like movie trailers, a preview to get her interested and excited and make her want to see more.

While I’ve armed you with some style tips to make sure you look your best, remember that clothes don’t make the man, they just enhance him.

To make sure you kill it on your first date and get her asking when can she see you again, I’ve put together a free bonus guide for Linx with some of the best first date tips.

6 Signs He’s Boyfriend Material

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During the first stages of dating, it’s tough to know if your current date situation is worthy of a more in depth investment—with your time and your emotions. Here are 6 telltale signs that the one you’re seeing has the stuff that boyfriends are made of.

 

  1. He remembers the little things.

Men who are genuinely interested keep track of information that is specific to you—your favorite movies, foods you dislike, places you want to see. Though they may not appear actively engaged, you’d be surprised with how many details they’re absorbing.

 

Here’s what it looks like: He knows you get cold—even when it’s 70 degrees outside. He will make sure you know where to find a blanket or he’ll set aside his favorite sweatshirt or oversized sweater just for you.

 

  1. His values his family.

Staying connected with the parents and siblings reveals that he’s able to maintain relationships with the ones who matter most. Even if drama lingers at home, he has a way of seeing the bigger picture. A guy who prioritizes his family will be more likely to invest in a family of his own and sustain a relationship with you through for the long haul.

 

Here’s what it looks like: He talks about his sister’s upcoming visit…and hopes you will be available to meet her.

 

  1. He has excellent follow though.

If he says he will call, he does. He doesn’t just talk about plans; he actually makes them. If he’s serious, you won’t need to push or prod to see action; he’s happy to orchestrate gestures—big and small—to keep things interesting.

 

Here’s what it looks like: When my client’s date had to fly out for work travel, my client said he would pick her up when she returned. Unfortunately, the date’s plane was delayed. Despite an 11:30 p.m. arrival, he was there to drive her home.

 

  1. He puts you first.

There is nothing more telling about a man’s intentions than the way he prioritizes your needs over his. We’re not talking about a man doormat; we are talking about someone who is committed to ensuring that his date is comfortable and happy.

 

Here’s what it looks like: My friend felt ill at a basketball game with her date. Instead of asking her to stay till half time or getting annoyed about losing out on the great seats, he found her some Advil and quickly escorted her home. The next day he called to check on her.

 

  1. He communicates with you often.

Despite his busy schedule, he always makes time to check in. It’s not the length of the message that counts; it’s the frequency. You might get a text, a phone call, or even a social media nod. Whatever it is, you won’t be left wondering if or when you’ll hear from him.

 

Here’s what it looks like: After two weeks my friend’s date left for international work travel. Between the time changes and the work load, she didn’t think she would hear from him for days. She was pleasantly surprised when he bought a new sim card and called her when he checked into his hotel.

 

  1. He’s interested in growing and evolving.

He realizes that he’s a work in progress and wants to better himself. If he’s aware of his faults and interested in working them out, you’ll save yourself the un-winnable battle of trying to change someone. Openness about his desire to grow and change can be an opportunity that brings you closer together.

 

Here’s what it looks like: When my client first started dating in the wake of a painful divorce, he felt aloof and noncommittal. When he first met his girlfriend, he wasn’t sure how much to divulge about his past. Knowing that a lack of communication caused havoc in his first marriage, my client opted for transparency. He realized that for true intimacy to exist, he needed to experience vulnerability. His openness strengthened their bond and left both my client and his now girlfriend feeling secure about their relationship.