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State of the Union

Now more than ever tensions run high if your conversation takes a turn the political on a date.  At times, I have lifted my hands in the air and cried “CAN’T WE ALL JUST GET ALONG!?”, but  If Bill Clinton and George W. Bush can play nice, theoretically it will be even easier with someone who has the potential to be the love of your life. While I will remain neutral and keep my own opinions away from this post, I thought it timely to provide some helpful strategies for all of you-regardless of the boxes you check on the ballot this November.

Let’s talk about the elephant (and the donkey) in the room, shall we?

Firstly, take a moment to really think about how big of a role politics really play in your life and if being in a relationship with someone who belongs to a different political party would really make a difference to you. Personally, I had a wonderful friendship and long distance relationship with a man who served  in the navy for nine years. In that time we developed political beliefs that were farther away than the actual oceans that were physically between us. So we chose not to talk about it-and our relationship was grand while it lasted. We both agreed that we could respect each other’s beliefs  support one another’s career choices. Which is fundamental in a relationship, anyway. If you know yourself enough to recognize that you could never “sleep with the enemy”,  then you should mention your viewpoint in your online  profile or discuss this with your match maker to avoid disappointment.

In the event that you are caught by surprise on your date, you will need to be prepared on how to avoid getting into a heated debate. It is very easy to get sucked into trying to change the view point of the other person when you discover that you don’t see eye to eye.  Arguments are what cause relationships to fail, so why on earth would you try to create a relationship with a fight!? While your differences in opinion could be too great to pursue a relationship, keep in mind that you will do a better job of spoiling the entire evening than changing the other person’s view point if you get too passionate (not just about politics, either. Slow down there, Tiger!). A better approach when you discover that you don’t agree with the person is to fight the urge to counter attack and instead, ask a question such as “Are you off your rocker!?”  “Interesting point. What was it that inspired your opinion on that?” You may learn something new or the person could share something personal with you that can create a bond, or at the very least,  set the course of conversation on to a different subject.  

Keeping the energy light, friendly, and humorous should be at the forefront of your mind no matter what topics you find yourselves engaged in. While the issues at hand are very serious, there is plenty to laugh about too. For example, can we all agree that Big Bird should keep his job? I mean, Oscar the Grouch lives in a garbage can as it is, and I think we all know that Snuffleupagus is lazy, and frankly, a bit of a bummer to be around. Sesame Street needs high morale, and that elephant isn’t helping. See? Silly! Funny!

Political views are deeply personal for some, so be conscientious in how you frame your opinions.  For instance, if you blurt out “If you live in America, you need to learn to speak English!” your outburst could be perceived as abrasive and insensitive, while saying “I believe that to be a citizen, individuals should be proficient in the language spoken in that country.” is more likely to be  perceived as an intellectual approach to the subject.  When you offend someone, you will have to dig yourself out of a hole to get back in their good graces. If you find yourself in the hot seat, crack a joke STAT! “Maybe I should call the waiter over to get some water to wash down my foot”  or “Sorry, that was a direct quote from Rush Limbaugh…shoulda known better!”   Don’t let your date take you too seriously, and be sure to apologize for the gaffe.

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Hope You’re Hungry!

You know the feeling. The nagging ball in your stomach when you think about your last date. The twinkle in their eye…the talk of getting together next week…that awkward goodbye hug. Oof. I cringe just thinking about it!  That knowing that you don’t want the follow up date. That knowing that, no, you don’t want to stay in touch-even as friends.

A cherished client of mine brought the following scenario to me the other day. He had taken a woman out that he met on his own and knew she was interested. At the end of the date they had talked about going out again the next week. He wasn’t really interested, but she called and they talked about it, but he didn’t solidify the date. The question is:

“We only went on one date. Do I tell her I am too busy and hope that she gets the hint, or do I flat out tell her I’m not interested?” 

Before I go on to answer, I will mention that match making isn’t just putting two people together; it’s what happens after that teaches you how people react to each other-and to the process of dating as a whole. I have had hundreds (probably more like thousands) of conversations with people who are navigating a blow off. They thought things were going well, only to be met with the ominous “Things are really busy right now” line or maybe never even got a response at all. Most people don’t shrug that off as easily as you think.

So! You could tell her you are busy and hope that she takes the hint. However, from her perspective, you had indicated that you would be open to seeing more of her. This is the type of behavior that makes dating so frustrating!!!

In the moment you play along to be polite, “Sure I’d like to see you again! *Cough* let’s do that…sometime,” then it’s only a matter of time before she gives up on you and your busy schedule, right? If you’re lucky, she won’t call and you’ll never see her again. But how would you feel if you ran into her at friend’s BBQ a few months from now knowing that you blew her off? Awkward! Why is it awkward? Because you know that you had indicated a possibility of moving forward knowing that you weren’t interested. That’s called Game Playing. 

Since we’re assuming outcomes, let’s also assume how she may or may not be feeling about you. She could be lukewarm about you and is being more aggressive since she doesn’t really care as much whether or not you want to be her boyfriend, OR, she could be feeling pretty excited because you were exactly who she has been looking for so she’s swallowing her pride and making it easy for you to ask her out. So I am compelled to ask: Do you really want to risk hurting someone? 

I say, bite the bullet and let her know where you stand. I call this The Compliment Sandwich! This is composed of three simple parts:

  1. I had a very nice time getting to know you.
  2. I don’t see this moving forward
  3. You are a good person and I wish you the best

The art of delivering a compliment sandwich is to keep it brief and keep it simple. The above is in it’s purest form, so definitely warm it up and personalize it to your situation. If you have only been on a date or two, you risk making a bigger deal out of ending things than you need to if you over-explain yourself or apologize; which might end up offending the other person unintentionally.

There are two sources of anxiety when dating someone new: 1.) Not knowing if the other person likes you, and 2.) Not knowing when or if you will see the other person again. When the ball is in your court to provide the answer to these two questions, the only thing you owe the other person IS an answer.

While it is easier said than done to deliver a compliment sandwich, who wants to walk around wondering if they’ll have to dodge a call or feeling guilty that you may have let someone down? Plain and simple, it’s just good manners.

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Before You Join That Dating Service…

There are tons of dating services out there, and all of them come with a hard sell and promises of finding you your one true love. I know that there are plenty of services out there that truly have the best intentions of uniting you with your soul mate. And then there are a handful of shady companies/would-be matchmakers that are in it solely for the money.  So what exactly is a “good dating service”?

A good dating service will provide a viable way of making the dating process easier for you by facilitating actual contact via phone or in-person dates with your selected matches. There should also be an option for coaching and guidance through the process.  Most importantly, the company/matchmaker will be proactive about finding matches specifically for you, not just relying on their marketing to bring in appropriate matches.  Before you sign up for a service you should be sure that you have a clear understanding of how the company fulfills these three components. Trust me.

Once you have established that the company isn’t run by Cruella DeVille, you must know that you have a part in making the service work for you. Joining a gym doesn’t make you skinny (darn.) If you are not willing understand and take the following advice, you might as well flush that money down the toilet. Better yet, spend it on a therapist or donate it to a charity.

Don’t expect that because you pay for a service, that your matchmaker will be able to hook you up with someone exponentially better than what you could find on your own. A matchmaker is there to weed out weirdos  gold diggers, players, black widows, and con-artists. It’s likely that the people you are matched with have high expectations too, so if your matchmaker is honest you are going to date in your league. Granted, the likelihood of getting in front of a model or a millionaire is higher, but it still doesn’t mean that they will actually go for you if you don’t measure up.  Fortunately, this advice doesn’t apply to most people I have worked with, but then there is this guy, so yeah.

Ever heard the saying, you get more bees with honey? It’s true, especially when it comes to your matchmaker.  If you invest a lot of money in your service, you have better odds of getting the most out of it if you treat your matchmaker well. Unfortunately we can’t wave a magic wand to make your dreams come true… although we do a lot of back flips, sweet talking, and haystack sifting on your behalf. Make yourself available (don’t make me call you more than twice to set up your date!!), be receptive to their advice, and be open-minded about the matches they come up with for you.  Thank them and let them know when your date goes well or tell them what they have really helped you with. This is more than just customer service; it is a personal-professional relationship, so create a friendship with your love guru! If your matchmaker likes you, you are almost guaranteed more dates than you paid for. Think of it this way, would you want to set up your unreliable, judgmental, fault finding boss up with your sweet, funny, good-looking best friend? Exactly.

Being a psychic is not synonymous with being a matchmaker. Those clairvoyants get pissy when we take liberties with predicting the future, so don’t expect your matchmaker to read your mind, or anticipate your every need.  If you don’t feel like you are on the same page, then communicate as you go along and avoid an epic meltdown. Just be candid and constructive. If you have a matchmaker that cares, she will listen to you and lend some suggestions on what you both can do to make you feel more satisfied. Everyone wins when your matchmaker has your best interests at heart.  Your mind set going into your dates should be 110% positive, so if you are harboring resentment or don’t trust your matchmaker the date will most likely fall flat.

Always be kind and considerate to your date-even if they are not remotely what you are looking for. Make the best of it.  End of story.

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PerksofDatingMe

Last night, scrolling through my Twitter feed I noticed a few tongue-in-cheek posts to the #perksofdatingme trend. While some of them made me straight L-O-L, I noticed a disturbing amount of women posting legitimate reasons why men will find dating them awesome and it made me cringe.  I found myself beginning to reply to many of these women and quickly ran out of character space. Oh, Twitter! 

You know how I love lists and bullet points, so I thought it better to compose a list of the most common reasons women posted why they should be your next GFF with some healthier alternatives that will actually make you a better, happier girlfriend.

1.) #PerksofDatingMe-I love sports, and video games, and dirt, cuz I’m totally just like a guy #FORREALZ

You don’t have to have all the same interests of a guy that you want to date. You have a long road ahead of you if your feel like you have to embrace all of your partner’s hobbies and interests in order to keep him pining for you. Having separate interests is really healthy because you have time to miss each other and new things to talk about. Trust me, my wonderful husband plays D&D every Wednesday and I’d sooner run a marathon than roll a D6. I take that night to catch up with my own friends or do something that I like to do that he doesn’t; like eat sushi and watch Girls.

2.) #PerksofDatingMe-You never have to take me on a date or spend money on me cuz I am just happy to be with you!

Really? You’re content to be with someone that decided to ask you out because they don’t have to put any work into the relationship? Have fun with THAT. Any self respecting woman knows that she is bringing a lot to the table and should never settle for a man that can’t be bothered to do the same.

3.) #PerksofDating me-I care about your feelings more than mine so I’ll always put you before myself

This is called co-dependence. The other C word. You have to recognize that being a good partner doesn’t mean sacrificing your own feelings to make the other person happy. Too many women fall into this trap. When a man loves you he will be willing to meet you half way and compromise to make sure that you are happy too. That’s  love.

I also don’t take this whole trend too seriously and thank god these people didn’t either! Here is a sample of my favorites:

#perksofdatingme I can differentiate between their, there, and they’re

#PerksOfDatingMe I can out drink you… so you will never be the most embarrassing person at the party.

 #PerksOfDatingMe I will show you off to the world like this:
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One other tip before I go! Instead of posting why people should date you online, let The Real Matchmakers do the work for you! TheRealMatchmaker.com

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