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Five Dating Goals to Set in the New Year

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Are you looking to overhaul your dating life in 2016? Tired of the Tinder swipes that go nowhere, the endless text messages, the so-so dates that bore you to tears?

There’s no reason to feel powerless in your personal life. While the timing of meeting someone special isn’t under your control, making changes and switching things up is totally within your control. And sometimes, we all need a little push in a different direction to really make things happen.

So for the New Year, following are five dating goals to set – and habits to break to help you find someone special:

Express gratitude. Sometimes, we all need a reset button when it comes to attitude. Many of us get frustrated after a few bad dates, or being single for longer than we’d like, but we shouldn’t. There are so many things to appreciate right now, no matter what you might feel is lacking in your life. Start a gratitude journal if that works for you, but be mindful every day for 30 days of what you love in your life – what you are thankful for. This exercise really works. It can shift your attitude about your life from lacking to fulfilling, which definitely is more attractive to others when you are dating. Plus, you feel more fulfilled and hopeful yourself.

Go out more. Are you glued to your screen, swiping left and right? Maybe it’s time to meet people old-school style – by going out and introducing yourself. Many of us have forgotten how to make conversation, how to meet new people without the help of texting. Now’s the time to practice those skills – so say yes to parties, networking events, and going out with friends of friends.

Curb the texting and messaging. Instead of developing your new relationship over text, hoping it goes somewhere meaningful, try asking someone out IRL instead – sooner rather than later. Many of us get emotionally invested in online communication, developing a fantasy about who the other person is, only to be disappointed when you do finally meet in real life. So next time, ask him out sooner and drop the texting back and forth.

Own what you want. Do you want a long-term, serious relationship? Do you long for something more than a hook-up or a casual arrangement? Then own it. Let your dates know what you do and don’t want. Don’t make assumptions that everyone else is casual and so you must be, too. You have the right to want more. So don’t accept less than what you feel you want.

Commit to online dating. Yes, you should still go out more. But you should also expand your options. If you gave up on online dating, try again. Or pick a new dating app. Let a friend help you with your profile pictures. Do whatever works for you – but try some online dating, and really commit to it. Don’t let a few bad dates get you down. You never know when or how you’ll meet the right one.

The Right Time To Have The Big Talks In Your Relationship

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If honesty is the best policy, is there an optimal time to divulge your most personal information?

Even at the best of times, “The Talk” can be a touchy subject. Maybe you want to date exclusively. Maybe you have wedding bells on the brain. Maybe you're just ready to disclose a weird hobby or an annoying habit.

Whatever talk you're ready to have, it's a sensitive situation and tricky to get the timing right. To shed some light on the murky topic, online dating site Zoosk polled more than 5,000 users to get their thoughts on having uncomfortable relationship conversations.

The big question on most daters' minds is this: when is it ok to define the relationship as exclusive or nonexclusive? According to Zoosk's survey, almost half of men believe it's important to define the relationship within the first few dates. Only a third of women agreed. Forty-nine percent of female users wanted to wait until after the first few months of dating to discuss exclusivity.

As far bigger commitments go, 56% of men and 54% of women consider six months an appropriate time to talk about marriage. Note: the marriage talk in question isn't about marrying each other or picking out color schemes. This conversation is just about whether you aspire to get married at all.

Zoosk also asked users about disclosures earlier in the dating process. Their research found that response rates to the first online dating message increase if the following words are used: vegan, pets, allergies. On the other hand, response rates decrease with the appearance of these words: vegetarian, virgin, rich.

In that initial communication, more men (32%) than women (28%) say they would disclose if there was something unusual about them sexually. However, the majority of men (52%) and a significant number of women (41%) say they would prefer to remain in the dark about their date's number of past sexual partners.

On or immediately following the first date, 70% of men say they would be upfront if they are seeing other people. Sixty-two percent of women say they would do the same. Past partners, on the other hand, are a subject better saved for later dates. Nearly half of men and women say they do want to discuss former relationships and recent breakups, but only after a few weeks of dating.

For more about this dating service please read our review of Zoosk.

5 Tips for a Fun Holiday Season (and to meet more people)

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It’s that time of year – the decorations and lights are up, people are rushing around to catch the sales, and extra glasses of bubbly are being poured in festive cheer. Not to mention all the happy couples, who seem to be everywhere and doing romantic things like ice skating and warming up together by a nice fire.

Instead of running in the other direction or shutting yourself off from social events this holiday season because you don’t have someone to go with, it’s time to pull out that pair of red heels and start meeting new people. And having some fun.

The holidays are the best time to socialize, especially if you’re single. Between happy hours, office holiday parties, and friends inviting you to their holiday festivities, there’s much more of a chance to meet someone new. (Bonus: you don’t have to use Tinder, either.)

Following are 5 tips for a fun holiday season – and to meeting more people:

Accept all invitations. Even to that boring networking mixer or Aunt Sally’s potluck dinner. During the holiday season, more people attend social events than at other times of the year, so those invitations you try to avoid might actually be more fun than you think. You never know who might show up.

Invite your friends (if you can). Maybe your best pal is not romantically your type, but you have fun hanging out together. This is a good time of year to make plans and bring him to parties with you. This expands both of your social circles, and therefore both of your options of meeting more people.

If not, be brave and go solo. It might seem intimidating to go to a party alone, especially if you think it will be filled with couples. Instead of avoiding dinner parties and other couple-ly events, dress up and put yourself out there. You never know who your friends might have invited, or who they could set you up with in the future. There’s nothing more attractive than a woman or man confidently walking up to strangers to strike up conversation.

Do something you enjoy, just because. Do you like to make hot chocolate with a shot of whiskey for your friends? Do you like decorating a Christmas tree, volunteering your time to a local food bank, or binge watching your favorite TV series while you bake cookies? Do it. There’s no time like the present. It will also put you in a good frame of mind for all the holiday stress ahead.

Spend time with the people you love – and like. The holidays are about being thankful for the people in your life who bring you happiness, joy, or even a good shoulder to cry on. These are the people to hang with this holiday season. It’s really about having fun and sharing experiences with the people you love, romantic or not. It puts you in a great frame of mind for when you do happen to be out and meet someone who catches your attention.

Holiday Themed Date Ideas

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Daitng During the Holidays

‘Tis the season! The holidays are upon us, which means that despite the cooler weather, our options for date ideas really open up. After all, parties and celebrations are everywhere---there’s no need to rely on the typical night of Netflix and dinner at home.

While popping some prosecco and lighting a nice fire in your living room are always good options for getting romantic, let’s think outside the box (meaning outside your apartment). What are some cool date options for someone you’re starting to really warm up to?

Following are some ideas to get you started:

Check out the lights in a cool neighborhood. No matter the city, there’s always a street or two that decorates like crazy – enough to attract small crowds during the holidays. This is a fun way to get into the holiday spirit. Do a little online research and pick a neighborhood, then go exploring – on foot or by car.

Go ice skating, sledding, or hiking. Even in Los Angeles, we have outdoor ice rinks during the holidays (as well as imported snow). So even if your city is not known for its icy lakes, chances are, there’s an outdoor ice rink to check out. (And for my friends in warmer climates this time of year, you have lots of outdoor options!) If you are blessed with cold weather options, try sledding, skiing, or hiking in the snow – or building a snowman. The point is: get outside and enjoy.

Volunteer. Sometimes we get so caught up in our own lives that we don’t make time for others. Volunteering helps us get in the spirit of the holidays and also reminds us of all that we have. It’s a great way to feel inspired with your date.

Build something together. Do you have a project you’ve been wanting to tackle? Perhaps you want to build a new bookcase, or put together a dollhouse you’d love to give your niece, or refinish the antique table in your backyard? Now is the time to take on this project – and doing it with a date makes it fun. Crack open a bottle of wine or go out to dinner as a reward.

Visit a Christmas tree farm. Nothing says Christmas quite like the smell of fresh cut pine trees. Pick out a tree together to take home and decorate, or just walk around and enjoy the atmosphere.

Go to an outdoor Christmas market. Outdoor holiday markets are big in many parts of the world, and offer a great variety of shopping, food, and warm mulled wine for the Christmas enthusiast. You can get errands done and enjoy the experience. Plus, it’s a festive way to spend the evening with a date.

Visit a sauna/ have a couples massage. Sometimes, you need a break from the holiday spirit. Why not treat yourself and your date to an afternoon sauna, or a nice couples massage? Consider it your holiday gift to yourselves.

Attend a festival. The holiday season is nothing if not festive. There are plenty of concerts and festivals – whether it’s wine and beer tasting, live music, a food festival, or holiday open houses, there’s always something to attend. Do a little research, and if you live near a big city, make it a day trip for you and your date.

Happy holidays!

4 Signs Your Date Is Just Not That Into You

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It's that time of year again. Leaves are changing color and falling to the ground. Starbucks has unleashed seasonal flavors and holiday cups. Temperatures are dropping and the sun sets before 5pm.

It's cuffing season.

For those unfamiliar with the term, let me explain. “Cuffing season” comes annually as cool weather approaches, when singletons become obsessed with finding someone to cuddle with. After a summer of low-stress dates and sexy flings, flying solo suddenly seems far less appealing than coupling up and sharing body heat.

With cuffing season comes more dates. With more dates comes more bad dates. And with those bad dates comes more people willing to settle in the name of having someone to spoon. Cuffing season or no cuffing season, resist the urge to pursue a match when intuition tells you it isn't right. Here are # signs that your date is just not that into you.

  1. They take a long time to respond to your messages. Sometimes work really is hectic and things like dating slip through the cracks. It happens. But more often than not, if someone doesn't reply to your messages in a timely fashion, it's because getting to know you isn't a priority. If they're interested, they'll act interested. That means replying within an appropriate timeframe.
  2. They never set up an actual date. You've messaged back and forth but there are no plans for an in-person meetup. Congratulations, you now have an internet penpal. Someone who wants to date you will, surprise, take steps to arrange an actual date. After the initial digital getting-to-know-you phase is done, it's time to ask for a phone number or plan to meet. If things aren't moving forward, it's time to move on.
  3. They don't ask questions. This is Dating 101. A person who is interested in you will ask you questions because they want to learn more about you. If they're silent, there are three possibilities. One, your date could be shy and too nervous to hold the conversation they really want to have. Two, your date is self-absorbed and only wants to talk about themselves. Three, they're just not that into you.
  4. They don't mention a second date. Could it be any clearer? Second dates are often arranged before the first date is over. You're just trying to enjoy your dessert and already your date is making plans for next weekend. We know when we've found a good thing and we want to lock it down ASAP. Someone who doesn't bring up your next time together within a reasonable period isn't interested in a next time at all.

Pick your ego up from the floor, dust it off, and get back in the ring. Cuffing season has only just begun.

Use These 5 Career Skills to Improve Your Dating Life

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Do you feel like your career is taking off, and yet your love life is still lacking? Many men and women find their jobs much easier to navigate than their love lives. After all, if you have a plan, work hard, and accomplish your goals, chances are you will be promoted in your job, or at least have opportunities in your career to move up the ladder.

Dating is a little more elusive. You can strive to find a partner, but it won’t necessarily happen in your ideal timeframe, or under the perfect circumstances, or even after a lot of time spent dating or “on the job” as it were. In other words, dating is often left to chance.

What you might not realize is that you have more control than you think, and there are skills that you’ve gained in your career that could serve your dating life as well. You just have to know what tools you have in your arsenal.

Following are 5 career skills that you can use to improve your dating life:

Set a goal. When you are looking to get ahead in your career, you set some goals to get to the desired place you want. When you work towards something, you feel more productive and optimistic about the future, whether it is career, a fitness goal, a hobby, or even dating.

Get organized. Who can proceed without a plan? The sooner you get organized, the better. Research your options for online dating, such as which dating apps to try. Put time aside in your busy work schedule to actually date and have fun. Enlist a friend to help set up your profile, take pictures, or keep you on track by checking in to see how your dates are going.

Put yourself out there. You can’t move forward in your dating life if you’re fearful. Dating requires a certain amount of courage, and a certain amount of playfulness – remember, not everyone is going to be right for you, so don’t take rejection so seriously. It will happen, and you move on. Instead, focus on trying to have fun, not trying to meet or be the perfect date.

Let go of old ideas and attitudes. Are you too old-fashioned to ask a guy out? It’s time to get over those old dating stereotypes. You are confident in the office when you ask for what you want, or when you manage a project – so why not be a boss in your dating life? Make eye contact with the hot guy at the bar (and hold it!), or try making the first move. Message your matches first. Don’t want for him to ask you out – do it yourself.

Be clear about what you want. In our jobs, we are aware of our goals, and we work towards them. Likely your boss knows your next steps, or at least has an idea of what you want to eventually be doing. This applies to your dates. If you start dating with an attitude of “let’s see where this goes,” you’ll end up stuck in a dead-end relationship, much like a dead-end job when you don’t know what you want. Get focused and stick to your goals. Envision a future that you want. It will pay off in the end.