You Have A Date, Don’t F It Up

Just in time for the long weekend, You Have a Date, Don’t F It Up is available in audio.

It’s for those men who do alright getting a woman to say she’ll go out with them and then fail somewhere between that initial “sure, okay” and the second date or so.  As always, I’m probably more harsh than 90% of the women out there, but if you can pass my critique you’ll be golden with most other women.

(Keeping in mind, of course, that some women just aren’t going to like you no matter what you do and you’re better of not wasting time on them, no matter how attractive they are or how perfect you think they are for you…)

So enjoy!

A New Book!

Otherwise known as what happens when I get bored.

You Have a Date 20170410 v3.jpg

I’ve been meaning to write this one for a long time now.  It’s a follow-up to Don’t Be a Douchebag.  That one was to basically help men navigate the whole online dating world so they were actually gettting dates instead of getting shut down because they were coming off as douchbags.

This one is how to make it from a woman saying she’ll go out with you to actually getting to a second or even third date.

There’s a section in there I was feeling a little bad about.  (Maybe a few.  It’s sort of a take-no-prisoners approach to dating advice.)  But then I was on Twitter today and saw a woman describing an encounter she had on the subway with a guy who hit on her and when she moved away started calling her a bunch of names, followed her off the train, and threatened her.

That sort of thing happening is sadly common.  And it shouldn’t be.  A woman saying she’s not interested shouldn’t immediately lead to some guy calling her a bitch or ugly or threatening her with violence.  And yet…It happens.

And for every guy out there legitimately looking to meet a woman, he needs to understand that that kind of shit is what he’s up against.  Which is why certain things are not acceptable.  (Like showing up at a woman’s work to plead your case when she turns you down. NO! DO NOT DO THAT. EVER.)

So, anyway.  New book. If you’re struggling with getting through that first few dates, it might help.

Audio will be coming at some point but my narrator just had a kid so we’re working around that, because priorities.

Can You Get Out of the Friend Zone?

This came up this weekend.  I was talking to a guy friend of mine who recently started dating a woman he’d been interested in who hadn’t been ready to date him when they first met and so he said that he believes that a guy can work his way out of the friend zone over time and that this notion that you can get stuck in that role isn’t really true.

I tend to disagree.

I think if two people who are both single meet that they will soon end up dating or probably never end up dating.

Generally when you hear of two people dating later on in their friendship it’s because something has changed.  Scenarios I can think of include:

  1. Throughout their friendship one or the other of them was not single.  So the attraction was there but couldn’t be acted upon at the time and when they both finally found themselves single and in the same location and with enough time and head space for dating, they did.
  2. There was some sort of misperception when they first met.  For example, the woman thought the guy was an ass, but somehow she came to see that he wasn’t.  Chances are these two were not willing friends.  Maybe they had mutual friends in common and kept getting thrown back together until she could see that the guy was actually nice.  Only then was a relationship going to be possible.  (Think Pride & Prejudice)
  3. There was a break in the friendship.  They met, were friends, likely one was attracted but the other wasn’t (because that often drives the formation of a friendship), they moved apart and lost touch, met again, and bam! attraction and dating.
  4. They were both single but one or the other wasn’t ready to date at the moment they met.  (What happened with my friend.)  For example, one had just ended a serious relationship or was planning on moving out of state or country.  (Although the moving thing doesn’t always prevent something from happening, it just makes it hard to keep going once started.)

Hate to say it, but this notion that if you hang around a girl long enough showing her what a nice, great guy you are or if you just buy her enough things she’ll finally see how wonderful you are and want to be with you is a fairy tale.

With the stories where you do hear of it happening, I’d bet almost every single time that if you dig deep enough you’ll find that the spark was there at the start even if it wasn’t acted upon.

Scenario 3 above is probably the only exception to that one.  And I would say it only works if the person changed in the interim.  Short guy from high school grows two feet after graduation and suddenly he’s a completely different person.  Or asshole from college loses his brother in a tragic accident and finally grows up and gains some emotional depth. (Although chances are the girl was always physically attracted to him even back then and just knew better than to go there).

So if you’re all hung up on someone and it just isn’t happening?  I’d say walk away.  Don’t try even harder to make them feel something that just isn’t there.

That will then free you up to find someone who can see what a great catch you are and wants you.

And if it’s really too hard to just walk away, then force the issue. Suck it up, tell them you like them, and see what they say.  Maybe yours is one of those very rare situations where  both people are attracted but neither one has the guts to start things and so you’re just circling around each other without ever realizing how close you are to dating.  (Keep in mind, this will likely fail, but at least you know and can move on with a clear conscience knowing you asked.)

Whatever you do though, don’t hang in there hoping for it to magically change.  If you get value out of the friendship, sure, stay friends.  But if you’re friends because you want more?  Nope.  Move on.  (Take it from someone who has been on both sides of that losing equation.  It’s a waste of your time and energy.)

Don’t Give Up Hope

I was at a conference this weekend selling my Cassie Leigh books as well as a number of other books and I ended up having a series of conversations with men who I’d say were a little lost about how to find a new love.

We didn’t get into specifics for the most part but I think most of the guys I talked to this weekend were either recently divorced or widowed, no longer in their 20’s or even their 30’s, and just trying to figure out what to do now.

Now, anyone who has read Don’t Be A Douchebag knows I can be pretty harsh for the guys who are like a bull in a china closet when it comes to online dating.  It’s not fun as a woman to get weird or disgusting emails and every man who sends those types of things deserves the verbal beating I give in that book.

But most guys who venture into the online dating world aren’t those guys.  They’re genuinely nice guys who are completely baffled about how to navigate this new bizarre world.  (As are most women, quite frankly.)

So, this post is for those guys.  The nice, well-meaning guys who don’t even know how to get started with dating.

(I’m probably going to write a short book about this pretty soon, but in the meantime I wanted this here in case any of them find their way to this blog).

So here goes:

I know it seems scary or daunting or completely impossible to find a new love.  But as long as you’re willing to keep trying, you will find someone.

Most of us don’t find someone because the journey to that happy relationship is rough.  VERY rough.  And so we quit before we get there.

There are genuinely horrible or scary people out there, but mostly it’s just too many awkward and unpleasant dates where you wonder what’s wrong with you or with the rest of the world.  It’s like you’re trying to put together a puzzle and none of the pieces fit.

All I can say is that the people who push through that and keep trying do eventually find the right person for them.  I’ve seen it happen over and over again.  Some luck out right away and for some it takes a decade or more.  But keep trying and it will happen.

It doesn’t matter what you do for a living, what you look like, how healthy you are, how intelligent you are, or funny you are (or aren’t).  There is someone out there for you.  And if you keep trying and stay open to meeting that person,  you will find them.

Now, you may be wondering, how the hell do I get out there in the first place?

My advice?  Do the things you love and try to find ways to make them social.  If you like to cook, take cooking classes.  If you like to read, join a book group.  If you like to hike, join a group that meets up for hikes.

By doing so you are creating opportunities for that person to come into your life.

And if you can find someone who shares your interests and passions, life will be that much easier.

Plus, and this is a big one, meeting someone through a shared passion is far less intimidating and potentially disappointing than going on a date with a stranger.  You already have a shared interest, you already have an activity to do, and you can let a relationship develop naturally.

Also, let your friends and family know you’re looking.  Let them set you up.  You never know whose co-worker or third cousin might be perfect for you.

If all of that fails, sure, try online dating.  And don’t let it get you down when it doesn’t seem to be going well.  Expect failure, but hope for success.

I have a friend who is a good guy, a great catch.  Last time he tried online dating he just wasn’t getting responses.  He kept going, though, and finally met a woman he’s been happily dating for almost a year now.  Because he didn’t give up.  When things weren’t working, he looked at what he was doing, changed it  up, and tried again.

You have to push through the disappointments and keep trying.

And, yes, there will be women who ignore you.  Or say you’re not their type.

That’s okay.  It happens.  Move on and keep trying.

(And, honestly, I do think meeting people socially is the best approach for many, many people.  So don’t get stuck behind a computer sending messages into nowhere.  Not if it’s  not working for you.)

And, please, if you do try online dating, don’t let some woman convince you to send her money.  For any reason.  Don’t do it.  If you want to be scammed by someone, at least make them do it in person…

I can honestly say for each of the gentlemen I talked to this weekend, there is someone out there for you.  I know it’s hard and confusing and crazy.  But I also know you can do it.  You’ll make mistakes, but that’s okay.

Just keep going…

A Tongue-In-Cheek Guide To Moving From Lonely Singledom to Happy Coupledom

I’ve noticed that many of my friends seem to follow a pretty standard and predictable path from lonely singledom to happy coupledom.  It’s gotten to the point that I read their latest Facebook post and think, “Yep, next step is…” or, “Oops, this one’s not gonna last.”

Now, granted, what I’m about to list out says A LOT about the type of people I know and am friends with.  I’m in my late 30’s at this point and went to some pretty good schools, so the people I know are doing well enough financially to take foreign trips and buy homes, for example.  I don’t expect this list applies to everyone.  But it certainly does seem to happen far too often for me to ignore at this point.

So, what are the steps that my friends seem to follow?

Pre-Relationship

  1. Get a pet.  Usually a cat.  Sometimes a dog.
  2. Post a lot of cute photos of said pet and dote on it a bit like you would a child.  FB posts about the pet should be at least 10% of all posts made, but probably closer to 50% or more.
  3. Go on a diet/get in shape.  (An optional step that doesn’t apply to those who are already in shape.)
  4. Buy a home/apartment.  (Also an optional step, but happens often enough to be noticeable.  For those who don’t buy a place, they do move into a home/apartment by themselves and spend some money/effort making it their space.

Relationship

  1. Meet someone.  Often not the someone you would expect them to meet.
  2. Engage in ten times more dinners and outings than before, many of which will be fancy or special in some way.  (Think lobster and steak at a nice restaurant instead of hamburgers at the local bar.)
  3. Take long distance trip together, preferably somewhere international or gorgeous like Hawaii.
  4. Post on social media about being lucky/happy/etc. or just post photos of being lucky/happy/etc.  Gush even though you’re not the gushing type.
  5. Take second long distance trip together, preferably somewhere romantic like Italy.  (Optional step here: Get engaged.)
  6. Settle into happy coupledom.  (Not necessarily marriage, but usually something long-term like buying a home together.)
  7. Dial back on the fancy dinners and outings and settle into “real” life together.  Occasionally gush about being lucky/happy/etc. but not near as much as before.

There you have it.  Get a pet, get fit, meet someone, go out with the person lots, travel once to test the relationship, travel a second time to cement things, and you’re on your way.  Easy peasy, right?  Haha…

Compromise But Don’t Settle

I have a couple of friends who’ve been on the dating merry-go-round recently and it’s not easy.  One is a woman and she really, really wanted to meet someone so she responded to the overwhelming number of e-mails she received and went on ten to twelve dates per week until she found one.  The other is a perfectly nice, decent guy and he kept sending out message after message after message trying to meet someone.

She didn’t give up when the sheer number of men she had to wade through was almost overwhelming.  (Because a lot of the guys just weren’t what she was looking for.)  And he didn’t give up when his first messages were met with radio silence.  (Because he’s a good guy, but he was pretty generic in his presentation and approach and that isn’t going to get you much of a response in the online dating world.)

They’re both now happily in relationships.  One is even engaged.

But…

I wonder.

Are they really both in the relationships they should be?  Or did they just get to the point where what they had was better than anything else they saw and settle for “good enough?”

Where is the line between realizing that someone isn’t perfect and settling for less than you really should?

I can tell when someone is madly in love.  You probably can, too.  I have a friend on FB right now making the most adorable comments and posts about her current boyfriend.  Those posts just scream love.  This is a woman who will either marry that guy or be with him long-term and is happy for that to happen. I’ve been friends with her on there for six years so I can SEE that she feels differently about this guy than she has any other guy in the last six years.  Another friend of mine was acting similarly a few years back and, sure enough, she just married the guy she was so over the top about.

Now, I realize that personalities differ and one person may never be the over-sharing, effusive, “I LOVE THIS PERSON” type.  I get that.  But when someone really is head over heels, there are signs.  Even little ones.  Like a smile here or a shared touch there.  There’s a sort of insular affection between two people who feel really strongly for one another.

And, with at least one of my two friends, I’m just not seeing that.

Which may be okay.  Maybe when you get to a certain age you stop trying for that type of love.  You just want someone you can go out with on Friday night and have brunch with on Sunday.  (Although I will say both of the women who were head-over-heels?  One is probably 42 right now, the other was 38 when she met her now husband.)  Maybe companionship is enough.

And that’s fine.

One of my friends and I talked a bit about this idea that no one is perfect and you have to accept that the person you’re with isn’t going to be everything you want.  And I agree.  I’ve fallen for guys over the years that weren’t everything I wanted and I was happy to let a few things slide for what they did have that I wanted.

(Hell, one guy I really liked didn’t even know how to play pool!  Hard to comprehend, I know, but he had enough going for him otherwise that I was able to look past that…haha.)

But as much as I agree with the concept, I think that there’s a point where you’re no longer accepting that no one is perfect and are instead giving up because it’s just too hard to find a great relationship.

I always figure to each his own, right?  If my friends wake up happy with where they are and who they’re with who am I to tell them otherwise?  I just…I hate to see people taking less than they could have because I also think it has a domino effect.  Two people settle for one another that means that the two people they would’ve been much happier with are now out there without them and maybe those people settle for less and so on and so on and so on….

So I guess where I’m going with this is if you are in a relationship that isn’t everything you could possibly want (which is most of us), at least make sure that it isn’t because you’ve just kind of given up and settled.

Communication Tip: Ask A Question

One of my closest friends is someone I started out just barely knowing and we came to know each other through e-mails for the most part.  And early on I realized this friend was very good at one aspect of communicating that I’d never really thought about before, namely, asking questions.

Almost every e-mail this friend sent me included a question I needed to answer.  It meant that I almost always responded, because I was raised to be polite and you answer questions when people ask them.

Think about most real life conversations you have:

“Hey, Joe.  How are you?”

“Good, Sue.  How are you?”

“Good.  What are you up to?”

We do this naturally in face-to-face conversation–prompting the other person to participate by asking them a question.

But I find that people often fail at this in online communication.

And it can kill your chances if you’re in an online dating situation.

See, here’s a terrible secret of online dating–people will respond to you even if they aren’t particularly interested.  You may just be in the “well, he/she’s not so bad I need to shut it down” category.  But the person isn’t sitting there hoping and praying that you’ll write them back.  (More true for the men than the ladies since men initiate most of the contact so generally if a guy’s done that he had some attraction to the woman before he wrote her.)

Well, if you’re in this, “eh” category, you don’t want to give the other person any chance to walk away until you can meet them.  You need to keep the conversation going.  And the way to do that is to (a) ask questions so the person feels compelled to respond to you and (b) don’t say anything so offensive or over the top that you drive them away.

I had a match fall down on this just this week.  He wrote and asked a few questions, I wrote back and answered and asked two questions, he answered the two questions.  And…I read his answers.  Neither of which made me feel especially motivated to continue the conversation.  Now, if we were in person, I would’ve followed up because awkward silences are painful.

But online?  Not so much.  It’s been a busy week and he was in that “eh” category and even if I’d continued the conversation I suspected it wasn’t going to be that interesting.

I want there to be a back and forth flow with a guy I’m interested in.  A give and take.  (Think about this for a second–it’s not just in e-mails where this matters, right?  There are other vital parts of a relationship that require working together to create a mutually enjoyable experience…If someone can’t do that at a basic level that doesn’t bode well for more sensitive areas of the relationship.)

So.  Ask questions every time you respond.  Play on the other person’s sense of politeness until you can meet in real life and captivate them with your charm and wit or sheer physical attractiveness.  (And if you’re really bad at written communication, get to that point as soon as you can.  Short responses that don’t build a conversation will do you no favors in the world of online dating.)

Guys – Let’s Talk Dating Profile Photos

Long time no post!  My apologies.  I’ve been doing something or other that’s kept me busy, although if I really had to stop and think about it I might have to admit I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time watching episodes of Chopped.  But, putting that aside…

It’s time to talk dating profile photos.  Because I’m looking at a set of them this morning and I just want to shake my head.  Guys, guys, guys.  Come on!  Think about the purpose of your main profile photo.

It’s to get a woman to click on your profile and see all the great, cool things you say about yourself.  (And, please, tell me you’re saying great, cool things and not the same ol’, same ol’ “I like to ski and mountain bike and watch sports” that seems to be the default profile in Colorado.)

So, what am I seeing that pulled me out of my Chopped-induced absence?

  • No photo at all.

Hate to break it to y’all, but ya gotta put up a photo.  Girls aren’t quite as shallow as men, but I can assure you that an empty photo box has absolutely no appeal.  So unless you luck out and get one of those women who clicks on every profile hoping for a hidden gem, you lose.

  • Photo of guy in full-on helmet/skiing gear going through powder

This is a specific one I’m looking at this morning, but the general issue is one where I can’t see the guy’s face, eyes, or body shape.  Look, it’s awesome that you can shred some whatever on the ski slopes. (I don’t ski, so does nothing for me…)  But, dude.  Why am I going to click through to see more about you?  You could be hella hot (I’ll assume not since you didn’t lead with the photo that shows that…), but I will never know.

  • Photo that is cut off in some weird way

Look.  I get it.  Not everyone doing online dating is tech savvy, but come on.  You upload a photo.  They ask you to crop it.  You do.  If what you see on the screen when you preview is the top part of your baseball cap.  Or, worse yet, your crotch.  (I’m looking at you Eric.)  Then fix it!  Or choose a different photo.  Your main profile photo is the most important photo you put up there.  Get it right.

  • Photo of two dudes

Am I getting a package deal here?  You two looking for the woman to complete your perfect bromance?  No?  Then, don’t make your main profile photo a picture of you and another dude.  Actually, of you and anyone else.  This is about you and me getting together, right?  Then show me you.  (Because, you know, that friend of yours is kinda hot and I’m thinking I’m more interested in him right now than I am you…)

  • The mug shot

I’m sure it’s not really a mug shot.  I’m not seeing height lines behind the guy’s picture and he isn’t holding up one of those numbered signs.  But, man, that photo looks a bit serial killer.  Plain white wall.  Staring straight ahead.  No smile.  Intense eyes.  Yikes!  You have a photo, so you’re ahead of the first guy on the list.  And looks like you had a friend to take it for you.  Good, good.  But come on.  Sit down at your dining room table and chat with your buddy while he takes a couple of photos for you.  They’ll look real and natural.  Not…scary.

  • The professional headshot

It’s great that your company had someone come in and take headshots of everyone.  And it’s a nice photo.  Suit and tie, looking pretty dapper.  But this is dating not professional networking.  I give a pass on this one.  It’s not a deal-breaker.  But I note it.  And I keep an eye out for other signs that the guy I’m communicating with doesn’t understand the difference between dating and making a business deal.  Or can’t turn off the work mindset.

So, there you have it.  My mini rant of the day. I meant to post a couple months back when a buddy of mine started online dating again and was having some difficulties, but ya know.  I got distracted trying to figure out how you can make a dish using kimchi, pomegranate molasses, yak meat, and coconut macaroons.

(I did write a book last year that walks through all this stuff, ya know.  If this was post was an earth-shattering insight for you, might want to check it out: Online Dating For Men: The Basics.  Although, that’s not why I wrote the post.  I just wanted to rant a bit.  As usual.)

Boys, Boys, Boys…

Picture me saying that in a slightly exasperated, you’ve disappointed your mother sort of way.

A friend of mine has been valiantly trying online dating this year.  She did well and found a boyfriend for a while, but it didn’t work out so she’s currently in the midst of round two.  And the stories she can tell…

Like the guy who used her e-mail address to friend her on Facebook before they’d even gone on one date.  (Don’t do that.)

Or the guy who asked her to text him each morning when she woke up even though they hadn’t met yet.  (What the???)

Or the one who texted her non-stop at all hours of the day.  (As she said, I have a job, don’t you?)

(You can see why I don’t give out my number if I can avoid it until I’ve met a guy in person and determined he isn’t insane.)

She’s also experiencing the usual, standard ones that every girl runs into.  Like the guy who put on forty pounds and then posts only old photos of himself and talks in his profile about how much he likes to jog and hike even though it’s clearly been a while since he did anything active. (Uh, women aren’t blind, buddy…)

And I say boys, but these are grown-ass men we’re talking about.  Somewhere in the thirty or forty-year-old range.

Don’t do that shit.

If you’re a guy and you read any of that and recognized yourself in those comments then you may want to check out my book Don’t Be A Douchebag.  It’s currently on sale for 99 cents.  Buy it, read it, and save us all a little bit of pain and suffering, because finding a good match is hard enough without some of the shit guys pull (knowingly or unknowingly).

Oh, and if you’re a woman who recognized some of that behavior, you might want to read Online Dating Is HELL which basically just rants about the same things I tell men not to do in Douchebag.  It, too, is on sale for 99 cents right now.

(Of course, if you’re new to online dating, don’t read those books.  Keep your starry-eyed optimism as long as you can.)