what not to do on a date

350 dates in one year….what not to do on your next date!

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An interesting piece of feedback I hear from a lot of men and women who juggle working with a professional matchmaker, and dating apps, is how often their respective dates almost brag about how many people they date. This is a major “no no” when it comes to dating 101.

A friend I had a conversation with the other day mentioned that one man she is interested in, told her last year alone, he had over 350 dates with women. She chalked it up to being a Silicon Valley “data driven” type but the truth is, it’s not only daunting to imagine but a turn-off. 350 women! Who on earth has time for that unless unemployed and loving the hamster wheel lifestyle, yet with no real purpose or intention to settle down with one person?

My advice is not to talk about how much you have been dating recently. I think part of the psychology behind what fuels someone to mention all the dates they go on and people they meet is to showcase how desirable one is to the opposite sex. As in, the more I mention to him all the men that are emailing me for dates, the more he will think I am attractive.

The reality is, most of the time, if you share these conquests of sorts, you will appear as though you are not serious about finding a relationship. Instead, you’re in what I call “play mode” and not “serious mode.” There’s no denying play mode is awesome but be supremely careful with the information that comes out of your mouth and the image you project on dates. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to play the game right.

My advice is to focus on the man or woman who is sitting across from you on your date and show genuine interest in them. Be present, intentional, and motivated to find the right match with the “perfect” chemistry that works for you. If your date pokes around to see if you are actively dating and appears curious to hear stories, simply “don’t go there.” No need to lie or fabricate the truth but you can delicately switch topics with grace and dignity, while focusing on your date and not entering the slippery slope that is “TMI.”

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.

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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

Getting to Date Two Strategies and Advice

It might seem trivial but getting to date two can present its fair share of challenges. Last night I moderated a mock date. A mock date is a simulated date where I hire someone who has experience with dating to serve as my clients date for the night. My client (an early 30’s female in tech living in Silicon Valley) agreed to do a mock date after 4 hours of in-office training.

We worked together on many areas that she felt she wanted to improve on in order to be the best date possible. Topics we worked on pre mock date were: How to greet your date? What to talk about? How to flirt? What is off limits conversationally? What if your dates keeps talking and talking? How to battle major jitters? What if you are inherently a more quiet/shy person..how to stand out on a first date and *shine*? How to get to date two on date one? How to end the date (i.e., hand shake, hug, kiss…run the other way ;))

The mock date provides “real time” feedback and it is a very impromptu sort of format with no set rules or major guidelines. We pause if needed from the date, do “time outs”, and give the client essential feedback necessary in order to correct behavior and reprogram one’s approach. For instance, if a client talks too much about a subject that is sort of starting to go down a slippery slope, we will literally say “time out” and stop. Either the date or myself will explain our perspective and why the client should consider our approach. We will then resume the mock date and have the client practice. We will have the client do as many practice runs as possible till he/she gets it right.

The cool thing is that this client got powerful data straight from her date. Her date was unfiltered, honest, and shared what men want. Last night per usual, I was sitting right there on the “date” with them observing, taking notes, and giving my feedback as needed. Sound awkward with me there? It is for a bit then the client typically just fades me out. The client can also pause at anytime and ask for “on demand” advice as well. Where else can you get anything like this?

Here are some high level insights straight from her date that can be added to your dating arsenal of dating techniques too.

If you are a more quiet type, speak louder. Be very aware of your surroundings (i.e., table next to you is loud, don’t let their noise drown you out.)

Dating can be nerve wracking but try to make dating fun for you!

Keep your body relaxed and not stiff or robotic.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you really want the steak frites, order it.

For women, nonverbal flirting cues like playing with hair turns guys on. So do it more.

Men share they like a woman who has her own thoughts and opinions about a wide range of subjects. You don’t need to necessarily agree with your date. Who wants a ‘yes’ woman? Be someone who is bold in her convictions and speak your mind eloquently. That shows confidence. Confidence is sexy for both genders.

Right before you eat, bring it present and focused on the moment. Say “Cheers, so nice to meet you….thanks, really a lovely evening.”

If your date is dragging on and on about a subject that you feel is quickly going down a slippery slope, you must bring the date to the present….the here and now.

If you have butterflies and don’t want to eat…just order something small. Men will think you have an eating issue, are high maintenance, something is wrong, or worse yet you don’t like him.

Does the female pay on date one? No. If he asked you, absolutely not. It’s insulting if you insist on paying. If he accepts, run. Set the standard for yourself from day one.

Random things can happen on dates like you see an EX! Roll with the punches and be spontaneous. It is good for the soul. Be gracious and friendly and again focus to the present moment, i.e., your date. Versus getting caught up in unexpected stress.

Most importantly, go into the date with low pressure as if you are meeting a friend. If you go in with less expectations and lower pressure, you will end up being yourself and not trying being to someone you are not. And that is good!

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