Dating apps are the future, and the future is now. I don’t think it’s long before we see traditional online dating sites go by the wayside. If you have any misgivings about dating apps, thinking that they are just for people looking to hook up, it’s time to let those go.
The truth is, millions of people of all types around the world are using dating apps, and that number is increasing daily. Tinder alone has an estimated 50 million users. Dr. Helen Fisher, world-renowned author, brain researcher and relationship expert estimates that 80% of Tinder users are looking for a long-term relationship.
There are so many apps on the market, from Bumble to Hinge to Bae to Sweatt. And they’re all free, easy and even fun to use.
That means if you are looking for love, dating apps are way too huge a pool of potential partners to ignore. Here are the five hacks that will ensure you find the most success when you swipe:
#1 Swipe Often
Part of the appeal of dating apps lies in the thrill/ego boost of swiping right and getting the “You’re A Match!” message. If you rarely or infrequently use an app, the chances that another user who swipes right on you gets that thrill are diminished.
That’s why dating apps discriminate against infrequent users and show you other infrequent users - resulting in fewer matches for you, and with a pool of people who are less dedicated to meeting someone.
The solution is to open your app frequently (daily, ideally) and swipe, swipe, swipe!
#2 Don’t Be Overly Picky
Similar to the infrequent swipers, super picky swipers are also less favored by dating app algorithms. If someone swiping right (or yes) on your profile is unlikely to match with you, then the app will show your profile to other super picky swipers. As a result, fewer people will swipe right on you.
To increase your chances of getting matches, open yourself up to possibility. Don’t rule someone out who could be interesting/intriguing/attractive just because they have bad photos. Most people are terrible at picking photos! So give them a little grace. Don’t expect to fall in love based on a two inch wide photo and a 200 character bio.
My recommended baseline is “Could I have a drink with this person and it not be terrible?“ If the answer is “yes” or “maybe”, swipe right and see where it leads!
#3 But Do Exercise Some Judgment
If you swipe right on everyone, the apps don’t like that, either. That just makes you look like a spambot. And no one likes spambots, including an algorithm! Anything less than saying yes to every single profile should keep you in the clear.
#4 Share Something Of Yourself
Blank profiles are a big no-no. If you say nothing, you’re coming off as someone solely looking to hookup. Same goes if all you list is your height or some other basic biographical information.
You don’t have to tell your whole life story, but if you’re looking for something serious you should at least give a brief preview. List your favorite activities, the TV show you’re currently binge-watching or the thing you love best about the city you live in.
Research shows that dating app users respond well to emojis. So go ahead and emoji your heart out, though some actual written words should also be included!
Don’t be shy about stating who you hope to meet, either. If you have a weakness for loyal brainiacs who can cook, say so! You want to speak to the people who you want to attract (and of course that’s not everyone) - show some personality so they can recognize you as a good match!
There’s no point in making tons of matches that don’t go anywhere. Make a habit of sending a message as soon as the match is made. Women can get away with very short opening messages - just a “Hi, ______” with a smiley face emoji is enough of an opening line.
Straight men should put in a bit more effort - try giving a non-physical compliment, or asking her about something in her profile. Get a conversation going, keep it going (asking questions helps) and then take the conversation offline and meet face-to-face!
(I originally posted this article in The Huffington Post.)
Don't know how to meet people offline? Let me show you how you (yes- YOU) can do it!
Sometimes we all need to be reminded of something we already know - like to go to bed at a reasonable hour, or to say no to that last shot of tequila.
Men and women really do have differences beyond our anatomy, which we all know (of course) but often forget (when our emotions are involved).
Here are five things to remind yourself about men to navigate your single life with more ease:
#1 Men Fear Rejection Just As Much As Women
When it comes to dating, it is easy for women to think the possibility of being rejected is something that men are used to, and therefore unafraid of. Wrong! Some of the men I’ve spoken to about rejection insist men fear rejection even more than women do. When it comes to dating, they might be used to it, but that doesn’t make it any easier.
Getting turned down romantically is a painful blow to the male ego. The more selective they are about who they put themselves out there with, the more rejection stings when it happens.
The male fear of rejection spans from being turned down for a first date to having their hearts broken in a long-term relationship. Women know this - but we also have a lifetime of cultural conditioning telling us it’s a man’s job to put his ego on the line in romance.
You want a guy to risk his ego to ask you out? For all the good, non-creepy guys out there, it’s up to you, modern woman, to get your flirt on so he knows you’re likely to say yes! And when you’re not interested, treat him with as much consideration as you would you want to receive if the tables were turned.
#2 A single man can legitimately enjoy your company and find you attractive, but still not want to date you.
It is one of the most frustrating experiences for a single woman - you meet a single guy, you feel an attraction to him, and though he seems to like you as well, he never tries to move the relationship forward.
Sometimes it happens after a great first date - you shut down the restaurant or bar, and end the night with a passionate kiss. You think “I finally met someone I like! What if he’s the one?” And then the next day comes and you haven’t heard from him. You send him a “thanks for last night” type text and he responds with“the pleasure was all mine”, confirming in your mind that he likes you as much as you like him.
But then — nothing. No text, no call, no invitation for a second date. You ask your friends for advice, you debate texting him again, you convince yourself he doesn’t know you’re interested, so you just have to send him one more text...
The truth is something that you know in your heart - he could have had a great time on your date, or he could think you’re great — but he also doesn’t want to date you.
The “why” could be any number of reasons - it could be he’s seeing someone else, that he had fun in the moment but you’re not who he’s looking for, or he knows that you’re not on the same page in terms of what you’re seeking. He could be a charmer who gets his ego boost from getting you to like him and that’s all he wants. Or his “why” could be something completely un-guessable!
The bottom line is, you might never know the reason, but you have to move on regardless. The sooner you do, the sooner you will meet the man who’s dying to date you!
#3 His desire to sleep with you doesn’t necessarily mean he wants to be with you.
From a young age, women are conditioned to equate a man’s desire with his valuing you as a person. In dating, this can get confusing, particularly if a guy is saying all the right things (see #4 below) and he clearly desires you physically.
As a coach, I often talk to single women who assume a man wouldn’t try to sleep with them if he wasn’t interested in something serious, because he knows she wants something serious. In their heart of hearts, these women know better, but sometimes “forget” this truth.
Now hear this: never assume a man is on the same page as you about sex without clarifying it first in words and actions.
There’s nothing wrong with a man wanting you sexually - in fact, it’s a prerequisite for dating! However, if you are indeed looking for a commitment, give him the opportunity to show you with his actions that he’s looking for the same.
This is normally going to require you to put sex off for a while, even if you badly want to sleep with him as well. This is not about playing games or a sexist double standard - it’s about being honest with yourself about what you can handle emotionally.
#4 Men communicate with actions more than with words.
Life experience has already taught you that men aren’t usually as verbal as women, but that doesn’t stop you from expecting or hoping them to be. Most men won’t easily express their true feelings in words (especially as they are just getting to know you), but their actions speak volumes.
This works to both establish his interest in you and also to show his lack of interest in you. If he says “I’d love to see you again” and he means it, he will make concrete plans to see you again. If he says he’ll call you this weekend, and he doesn’t - it doesn’t matter that he told you he’d love to see you. His actions are the communication to pay the most attention to.
Don’t turn a blind eye to a man’s actions towards you, ever - that’s where he’s communicating most authentically.
#5 Men are romantic, in their way.
OK, not all men... However, most men are. They care about the experience of falling in love just as much as women do, as well as keeping the excitement and passion of love going. His romantic gestures might not be the same as yours, but that doesn’t make them any less meaningful.
Men primarily express romance as thoughtfulness - he might not bring you flowers, but he does make a reservation at that new restaurant you mentioned you wanted to try. Or he brings you coffee filters when he comes over because you mentioned you forgot to pick some up at the store.
Be mindful of the ways men are expressing their romantic side to you, and express your romantic side as well! With the right man, you’ll create a cycle of appreciation and romance.
(I originally posted this article in The Huffington Post.)
Can you handle casual sex?
Abstinence isn’t a realistic or appealing option for many singles. Even if you’re seeking a committed relationship, casual sex is likely to happen along the way. Some people can emotionally handle casual sex and others can’t. Still others tell themselves they can handle it, but are really sabotaging their search for something more meaningful.
It’s understandable why many singles don’t want to give up sex entirely while looking for “The One” — after all, that might take awhile.
But there is no escaping the fact that sex complicates things. For many of us it complicates things a lot. If you are seeking a committed relationship, sex can be especially complicated. Too often we expect that sex means the same thing to us and our partners, and this is not always the case.
Here’s my four part test to determine if casual sex is a bad idea for you. Before you sleep with that guy you’re not in a relationship with, ask yourself:
1. If I never hear from this person again, will I be OK with that?
A surefire way to know if you’re being honest with yourself about your expectations when it comes to casual sex is to answer this crucial question. If your answer is ‘yes,’ then you’re in the clear emotionally. You are able to separate the act of sex with a deeper emotional attachment.
If your answer is no, don’t do it! You are clearly hoping for something more than this person might be able or willing to give you. Engaging in sex with someone you’re not in a relationship with is a gamble, and you shouldn’t gamble unless you can afford to lose.
One likely scenario is you are hoping that your casual relationship might turn into something more serious. This is not unheard of, but going into it wishing and hoping for that is a bad strategy. You must learn to listen to what people tell you - and if their words and or actions are telling you they want to keep it casual — believe them.
If the sex in question is with a friend or someone else who is likely going to be a continued presence in your life, modify this question to say: If this person tells me they are no longer willing or available to have sex with me, will I be OK with that?
The same principle applies - if your friend with benefits falls in love with someone else next week, how will that make you feel? If it would make you feel badly, then you are more attached than you have admitted to yourself.
2. Am I able to communicate honestly with this person?
I was recently asked by a woman if it was OK to ask a guy if he was sleeping with anyone else before she had sex with him. My answer?
Hell yes. And if you can’t, then do not have sex with him.
I often hear women say they don’t want to ask if the relationship is going anywhere before sex for fear of “scaring him off”. If asking that question scares a guy off, he is doing you a favor. Better you find out now then after you have slept with him and your feelings are even more pronounced.
You owe it to yourself and to your partner to find out if you’re on the same page. The right man for you won’t be deterred by your honest desire to have a relationship - he’ll be psyched!
If you feel uncomfortable asking about a potential partner’s sexual activity, the status of your relationship, or communicating any boundaries or preferences you have, do not do it.
Sex doesn’t have to mean everything, but it is an intimate act that can have serious, life-changing consequences (no matter how safe you endeavor to be). Sex deserves respect. You deserve the self-respect to make sure that your sexual partners respect you enough to make you feel heard and respected.
If you can’t honestly communicate with this person and you’re still willing to have sex with them, it could be a sign of a bigger self-esteem issue that is holding you back from the love you are seeking.
3. Am I able to practice safe sex with this person?
Even with all of the education we have in this day and age about STDs, to say nothing of pregnancy, unprotected sex is still the norm for many.
If you are about to engage in sex with someone who refuses to use protection, do not do it! This is a no-no even if you are a woman on the pill or some other form of birth control and your risk of pregnancy is low.
On the BET show Being Mary Jane, the title character has a stash of rapid at-home STD testing kits. She has any new sex partner take the tests before sex. And they still use condoms. Talk about being able to articulate your boundaries!
You don’t have to have an at-home pharmacy if you don’t want to, but at a bare minimum you should use condoms with any casual sex partners. Talk to your doctor about appropriate birth control options for you.
Love yourself enough to not succumb to pressure - anyone who is pressuring you to have unprotected sex does not respect you (or themselves) enough to be worthy of sleeping with you.
4. Am I actively dating people who share my relationship goals?
We often focus on the physical risks of sexual activity, but the emotional risks are just as high. For one, if you are using casual partners as a way to feel less lonely or to compensate for the intimacy you are seeking, there is a high likelihood you’re holding yourself back.
It is a leap of faith to believe that you can have the love you are seeking. Using casual partners as a crutch is a signal to your unconscious self and to the universe that you are willing to settle for less. If you’re willing to settle for less, that’s usually what you get.
If you are continually getting involved with people with whom a long-term relationship is not a possibility, you are in a pattern that is not going to lead to the relationship you want. This is one of the biggest hazards of casual sex. It can be a sign your actions are out of alignment with your true desires.
I have no moral objections to consenting adults having as much sex as they like with whomever they choose. However, as a love coach, I work with many singles whose sex lives are in direct conflict with the relationship they’re looking for. Nine times out of ten, my clients and I uncover multiple ways in which they’re sabotaging themselves with casual sex.
Of course there are no guarantees in romance. Casual sex is not the only pitfall. We all know that not all committed relationships work out, either. But without that commitment — that mutual desire to try to make it last — you are taking an even bigger chance with your happiness.
I want to live in a world where everyone who wants a committed, loving relationship has just that. When it comes to your sexual choices, be sure you are taking good care of your body, your heart and your soul!
(I originally posted this article in The Huffington Post.)
This is pretty exciting, isn't it??
The New Year is like a milestone birthday – no matter how much you don’t want to make a big deal of it, inevitably it causes you to reflect on your life.
This year, the New Year snuck up on me, as it always does. I've seen a lot of people on social media posting their themes, power words, and even theme songs for 2016. And of course, there are the resolutions.
I don’t have any power words, or a theme song and I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, for no reason other than I like to set myself up to win. I know that for me, if I don’t keep all of my resolutions, that feels like a loss. Not how I want to start my New Year!
That’s why my favorite New Year activity is one I learned from my friend Rick – I write down all that I accomplished in the previous year. It's extremely gratifying, even though many of the accomplishments aren’t exactly the things you would ordinarily stop to celebrate. But you know what – I made it all the way through 2015 without sending an embarrassing text message to the wrong person – and for me, this is an accomplishment!
And that’s what’s great about this exercise – it makes you realize how much you are winning, already.
I want you to keep winning, specifically in your love life. And that’s why I’m hosting my first webinar of the New Year this Tuesday, January 5th at 7:30pm EST. If you are single and this is the year you want to make love happen, this webinar is for you!
You know what they say - New Year, New Boo! (Or maybe it’s just me who says that?)
RSVP HERE and I will walk you through how to create your very own customized, actionable Love Action Plan.
Oh, yeah. Let’s do this!
As a professional dating coach, I talk to single people everyday who are frustrated with the modern dating scene. I see the differences between the people who are successful in finding love, and ones who keep coming up against the same struggles time and time again.
What is clear to me is that people from all different backgrounds, ages and geographic locations have a lot of the same issues navigating the dating scene and are making a lot of the same mistakes that are keeping them single.
Here are the biggest ones.
1. Only dating people you’ve met online
Technology is simultaneously the best and worst thing to happen to dating.
On the one hand, you have access to more romantic prospects than at any other time in human history. If you only want to date Christian broccoli farmers, the internet is going to really help you target your search. These days, technology is used by nearly everyone looking to connect romantically, even those who have easy access to lots of “offline” options.
From an emotional standpoint, it’s a lot easier to “wink” or “swipe” or “favorite” someone online or on a dating app than to walk across a room and say hello.
For most people, the risk of being ignored online is less painful than risking someone saying to your face “I’m not interested.” And so technology becomes a digital crutch that works as substitute for the face-to-face courtship humans have engaged in since the beginning of time.
More and more people are losing their ability to flirt and connect in real life. Those in-person skills are key, because that’s where the magic actually happens. Not on a screen, where you are making a million judgments about a curated version of someone’s essence.
Online dating also makes us pickier, and now one stray typo or reference to a rival sports team can tank a budding romance before it begins.
When you meet a new person in the real world, you don’t instantly interrogate them with a laundry list of questions about their interests, views on monogamy and favorite movies. (At least I hope you don’t!) It’s more likely that you view them as an actual complicated person, and not just a collection of some photos on a screen.
If it’s been forever since you dated someone you met offline, challenge yourself to make that happen. Practice making eye contact and smiling at strangers — invite the interaction to happen. Go to new places and put yourself in situations where you’ll encounter new people. Ask friends for (low-pressure) introductions. Go speed dating or to a singles mixer.
Try something new that doesn’t involve a username and a password!
2. Requiring instant chemistry
Whether it’s when looking at an online profile or meeting someone in real life, the number one comment I hear from frustrated singles is they’re not attracted to the people they are coming across.
If you are requiring instant chemistry to even consider dating someone, you’re making a big mistake.
I have a whole theory about how to judge when chemistry is a possibility or a definite no-go, but I will summarize here. When you think of the people you’ve met in your life who you felt instant chemistry with, how did those situations usually turn out? Have you ever met someone who you didn’t think much of physically at first, who turned out to rock your world?
The point is, instant chemistry is an unreliable indicator of long term compatibility.
You could be cutting yourself off from some great potential partners just because you didn’t feel that instant attraction. When it comes to online dating, this is especially likely. Most people are terrible at online dating, and that definitely applies to their terrible photos. Not everyone is photogenic or has a clue as to which photos they should use in their profile.
The rush of instant attraction can be intoxicating — literally. Your brain chemistry is impacted and your judgment is as well. Not the optimal state to make sound decisions, and who you’re going to be romantically involved with is a pretty important decision!
Be open to the possibility of chemistry developing — be an active participant in forming a bond with the people you meet and see if you can cause the sparks to start flying!
3. Taking everything too personally
Repeat after me: I am not for everyone and everyone is not for me.
Repeat after me: I cannot know everything that is going on in another person’s life or mind.
Repeat after me: Because someone doesn’t want to date me/text me back/pay for my dinner doesn’t mean they are a horrible human or that I am fundamentally unlovable.
Repeat after me: I am the center of my universe and everyone else is the center of theirs. For them, it’s not all about me.
Bottom line: Some people don’t like chocolate. I have a friend who doesn’t like bananas. I met a guy who hates potatoes — even french fries! I cannot relate! But everyone has different tastes and everyone has different love goals at any given time.
Rejection is a part of dating. You can’t let a “no” keep you from going out and seeking your match. Every “no” gets you closer to the “yes” that can change your life, so take heart, don’t take it personally and keep going!
4. Feeling (and acting) entitled.
Entitlement is a huge love blocker. If you find yourself:
With a long list of characteristics you want in another person, and you yourself don’t meet all of those characteristics and/or...
Assuming it is up to the other person to demonstrate their interest in you, even if you don’t show interest in them and/or...
Thinking that chemistry is supposed to “just happen” and you don’t take responsibility for contributing to it and/or...
Generally expecting your romantic partners to read your mind and you don’t recognize that communication is a two-way street and/or...
Getting angry when someone isn’t interested in you...
Your best course of action figure out how to turn your entitled attitude around! If you approach dating and relationships from a place of entitlement, you are setting yourself up for a lot of disappointment. Entitlement isn’t sexy. And you’re likely to only attract people who are similarly entitled, which is a recipe for major conflict.
FOMO, (Fear Of Missing Out) is one of the biggest pitfalls of modern dating. If you find yourself feeling like you have infinite options, here is a reality check: you don’t have infinite options!
Yes, there are millions of single people at your fingertips online and it is easy to feel like there’s always someone better than the person in front of you, just a swipe away. But the problem is the more you have that mindset, the harder it will be for you to settle on someone who might be a great match for you. And the more unhappy you will be when you do settle on one person — you’ll always wonder if you chose correctly. Social psychologist Barry Schwartz calls this the Paradox Of Choice.
The first step in eradicating dating FOMO is to recognize you have it. If you find yourself falling down a rabbit hole of online dating profiles, eliminating people based on the slightest shortcoming or becoming increasingly critical while evaluating your romantic prospects, you might have FOMO.
Yes, there are other fish in the sea. But there aren’t millions of them out there who are the right fish for you. There is no such thing as perfection. Show others as much grace as you’d like them to show you.
Be the change you want to see in the modern dating scene. Happy dating!
(I originally posted this on The Huffington Post.)
Join me on Tuesday, December 15th at 7pm EST for a FREE live webinar where I show you which 5 bad dating habits to leave behind in 2015.
Even if you can't attend live, you can catch the replay so long as you RSVP. Sign up HERE!
See you on Tuesday!
I am a sugar addict. Time to time I force myself to detox from the sweet stuff. It doesn't last, but at least I get a good few weeks to a few months on the wagon, sugar-free.Today marks Day 5 of my current sugar detox.
Needless to say, it's been a challenging week! But everyday gets easier.
The #1 question I've been getting from everyone about the detox is why I've chosen the holiday season to quit sugar. After all, temptation is all around and sugar consumption is even more socially acceptable than usual.
And it's true that January 1st would be a very convenient time to detox - and I'd certainly get a lot fewer questions about it.
But detoxing from sugar is important to me. So why wait?
The New Year is a great marker, but so is every new day. I didn't want to put something important to me on hold for another few weeks, because let's face it -there will always be a reason not to do something we're uncomfortable with doing!
So if you're thinking about starting to exercise again, or date again, or eat right, or start writing that screenplay - don't wait! End 2015 strong and don't defer your dreams.
If you have a dream to find love in 2016, I invite you book a complimentary session with me. Bring me your biggest dating frustration and walk away with a solution!
There's no time like the present.