Friday, January 13, 2012

Self Promotion

After a little hiatus, I'm back blogging for Girl Power Hour. Here's the most recent installment, about how self-promotion is terrifying, and why we need to reign in that fear to date effectively. Enjoy!

Girl Power Hour: Dating Dish | Self Promotion (Samantha Scholfield)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Why Dating Is So Fun for Some and So Hard for Others

For many of us, dating is incredibly challenging and delivers some major sucker-punches to our self esteem on a regular basis. For others, it seems to be a delightful, enjoyable and anticipated pastime that doesn't seem to have any negatives. What's with this vastly varying take on dating? Why is it easier for some than others? What is this latter category of daters' secret?

That secret is confidence and independence... and lots of it.

The act of dating -- of meeting new people and having someone to spend an hour with -- can provide relief from the loneliness that can sneak up on even the most independent of us. However, when we use dating as a cure for loneliness, our interactions with the person we're out with tend to take on much more significance than necessary. This makes the whole process a lot less fun.

When we're not feeling confident, we tend to seek validation from dating: validation of our attractiveness, validation that people like us, and validation that we're not alone. As a result, we tend to place a ton of pressure on ourselves to find-someone-right-now and fill the void. This turns each dating interaction into a pressure-filled pit of anxiety about whether or not they like us, whether or not we like them and, if we do, whether or not this person The-Next-One potential. Plus, regardless of whether we're interested in pursuing something with them, if they're not into us, it can cause some major self-esteem downward spirals. Yikes.

The secret is that those that enjoy dating don't place any weight on their interactions with those they date -- if it's fun, it's fun. If it's not, they don't worry about it. If someone doesn't dig them, it's a non-issue. If they don't dig them, it's no big deal. They accept it and move on, with no lasting blows to their egos. They know that even when they do get lonely, finding relief from randoms in the dating world isn't the way to go. Instead, they seek out quality time with friends, family and/or ferret out new social circles through taking a new class, volunteering or exploring a new hobby. They know that all of these are far better ways to combat loneliness and low self-esteem than seeking a lift from a stranger on a date.

So, the next time a date threatens to throw us into the depths of a self-esteem-trounce-athon, remember that we can choose to let the date throw us off our game and ruin our night, or we can let it go and move on.

Schedule some time with friends that make us laugh. Sign up for a marathon to finally hit those fitness goals we've been thinking about for the last two years. Because when we remember that we're in charge of how we feel and we're in charge of our own lives, happiness, confidence and independence, we're happier people -- who can enjoy dating.

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Dating Dish: Why Leaving the House is Fantastic for Your Dating Life

Dating Dish: Why Leaving the House is Fantastic for Your Dating Life

This is the January installment of my monthly column, 
Dating Dish, for Girl Power Hour. Dating Dish is a monthly feature that brings you hot dating tips and sassy how tos to keep your dating life sexy. Enjoy!

Why Leaving the House is Fantastic for Your Dating Life

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Dating Dish: Bring the Fun Back to Dating

Dating Dish: Bring the Fun Back to Dating

This is the January installment of my monthly column, Dating Dish, for Girl Power Hour. Dating Dish is a monthly feature that brings you hot dating tips and sassy how tos to keep your dating life sexy. Enjoy!

Bring the Fun Back to Dating

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

When Dating Sucks: 5 Ways to Keep It Fun

Dating can be an emotional roller-coaster that takes from nauseating depression to euphoric highs -- all in the span of a few hours -- depending on what's going on. This is exhausting. It's also typically what causes the dating burn-out that makes us want to give up and run a cat-rescue clinic out of our living room. Putting up a wall to protect ourselves from the roller-coaster would be on obvious potential solution, but this up-and-down cycle is also one of the best parts of dating (or at least the euphoric high is), so it would be a shame to cut ourselves off from that all together. Fortunately, we don't have to -- here are five ways to keep the fun and banish the burn-out.

1) Don't take it so seriously. Focus on enjoying the moment, and not on the what-ifs. What if they don't like me? What if I don't like them? What if I'm really excited about this person, but they end up sucking? What if they're cool but there's no chemistry between us? What if I say something dumb? What if they don't share my plans for the future? Ahhhhhh! Worrying about these puts enough pressure on every interaction to burn anyone out before they ever even go on a date. When we don't stress, we're much more laid back and fun (and don't reek of desperation), so take a step back, turn off the what-if radio and enjoy the moment.

2) Be honest. When we're honest about what we want, and the person we're on the date with doesn't want that (for example, you don't want kids, but you do want to get married), it never would have worked out with them anyway. It's easy to get bummed out about something fizzling or someone not liking us, but at least if we're honest about what we want in life (and aren't wishy-washy out of fear of alienating a date who may not feel the same way), the information is on the table and we'll rest easier knowing that we stayed true to ourselves.

3) Embrace the bad. When things take a turn for the there's-not-a-shot-in-hell-for-a-second-date, instead of getting bummed, enjoy the date for whatever it's worth: having an interesting conversation, gathering details for your friends about how bad a date can get, or using your date as a mirror and asking them what their perception is of you. Our internal perceptions of ourselves don't always match what we project on the outside, so in a situation where you know it's not going anywhere and therefore the pressure is gone, figure out if there's anything they see about you that doesn't match with how you feel inside. Everyone perceives everyone else through their own personal filter of experiences and neuroses, so take whatever they say with a grain of salt, but it can be a very interesting exercise to see yourself through someone else's eyes.

4) Keep an open mind. A tremendous asset both in our pursuit of a mate and in keeping the process fun, keeping an open mind is a solid way to keep things light, enjoyable and fun. When we date by judging whether or not they have or don't have the must-have or hell-no attributes we've amassed a list of over the past several years, we severely limit our enjoyment of them as a person and the interaction, and also probably reject some people we may have found ourselves compatible with. It's very stressful to try and figure out, over the course of a 30-minute drink, whether or not we see ourselves marrying this person eventually. So, leave the lists at home and enjoy getting to know them -- without thinking about the future at all. Is the conversation fun and easy? Do they make you laugh? Are they fun to flirt with? Our chemistry with someone is ultimately a much more important metric of measuring whether we want a second date than judging them on what they're wearing or what their drink choice supposedly says about them.

5) Focus on you. Do things you want to do and let any worry about "I need to meet someone in the next year so that I can get married and have a baby by 20XX" (or whatever it is that's stressing you out) control your life. Life is not controllable, nor can organic things like developing a relationship be pushed into a timeline. So do the things that make you happy, explore yourself and explore new hobbies to enrich your life and grow as a person. When you're totally happy with yourself and excited about life, it's extremely attractive and you will attract what you want.

As disillusioned as we may become with the perceived dearth of available and compatible-with-us dates, in order to enjoy the dating process, we need to remember why we're doing it to begin with (to meet someone we like), and focus on enjoying the process rather than resenting it. It's exciting to go on a first date with someone new -- the outcome is a complete mystery each and every time: maybe we'll learn something new about ourselves. Maybe they'll introduce us to something new we didn't know we liked. Maybe we'll click with them. Maybe we won't, but they'll end up being a friend. Maybe they'll really dislike us and we'll learn that (for example) although we feel happy inside, we're not showing that outwardly and therefore look depressed and angry when we're not. Maybe the conversation will be fantastic. Maybe the date will be so awkward, it will be funny. These maybes are the fun and exciting part of dating, and as long as we focus on enjoying the unknown them rather than fearing the potential outcomes of the date, we can get all the good and none of the bad in our quest to find our future -- no game playing necessary. 

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert, and also on Yahoo! Shine.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The NEWLY Single's Guide to Valentine's Day

For the freshly single, Valentine's Day can sting. A lot. It can seem like every card, advertisement, and plans made by happy, coupled-up friends are designed specifically to Tase our emotionally ravaged feelings and hearts. So, instead of waiting for the inevitable zap, treat this year as an opportunity to recreate V-Day into something you'll not only enjoy, but will look forward to repeating next year.

1) Get out of town. Grab your girlfriends and bail. Plan a yoga or spa weekend. Head to Mexico or Vegas for some girls-only partying, pool-side lounging and Margarita-sipping. Go camping and let nature do its healing thing. Or just plan a whole (non-Valentine's centric) weekend at home with much merry-making, movie-watching and re-organizing of closets, living rooms and kitchens. Removing ourselves from our daily lives (and changing our surroundings) can do wonders for boosting our mood and our spirits, especially on and leading up to a day that can totally blow if we're recently minus a plus one.

2) Volunteer. Just like getting physically out of town helps us recover by releasing us from our memories, volunteering can give us a vacation from the black hole of bummer in our heads. When we focus on others, especially when it's a hands-on helping situation like helping out a soup kitchen or cuddling some needy animals, we lose track of our own worries for a while as we focus on theirs. This has the potential to be incredibly relaxing and a very welcome break at a tough time of year. Plus, we're hopefully making someone else's day better in the process. Win-win.

3) Throw a party. It's almost guaranteed that even some of your coupled-up friends will be happy to skip the traditional dinner/flowers thing and its forced expressions of love. And all your single friends? Who doesn't love somewhere fun to go on a day when it seems like everyone else has plans. So throw a party -- zombie themed, old Halloween costume swap themed or dress up as your favorite color of Jello themed -- and start a new annual tradition of enjoying a very well attended anti-V-Day party.

Valentine's Day doesn't have to be National Single's Awareness Day anymore -- it can be fun, healing and a total blast if we choose to do things that emphasize the awesomeness in our lives and push away the mope. So let's choose fun over bumming and enjoy February in all its winter glory.

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert, and also on Yahoo! Shine.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Dating Dish: How to Rock National Single’s Awareness Day

Dating Dish: How to Rock National Single's Awareness Day
This is the January installment of my monthly column, Dating Dish, for Girl Power HourDating Dish is a monthly feature that brings you hot dating tips and sassy how tos to keep your dating life sexy. Enjoy!

How to Rock National Single's Awareness Day 

Friday, January 28, 2011

4 Alternative (and Awesome) Ideas for National Singles' Awareness Day

Valentine's Day isn't the coupled-up love-fest the media at large and those ever-annoying grocery and drug-store displays would have us believe. As it turns out, there are lots of un-coupled (cool) people out there. A good chunk of said people want to have a good time on Valentine's Day, feeling strongly that just because they're not currently one-half of a couple, they shouldn't be discriminated against and forced to sit at home and mope. Whether we're single, coupled-up and over the schmoop, or just want to have a fun night, here are 4 alterna-V-Day activities for us all.

1) Go out. V-Day is a well-kept secret party night. Populated and thoroughly enjoyed by those who don't partake in the dinner/flowers plan, it's a night where one can count on everyone being happy to be out and enjoying life, and all being much more friendly than usual due to the fact that we're collectively stoked we're not being forced into sulking at home because we had nowhere to go and our lives don't resemble a Happily-Ever-After romance novel or Rom-Com. So, enjoy the enjoyers and have fun.

2) Have a movie night. What makes this an alterna-V-day plan? Make it a horror or action or thriller movie-fest instead of chick flicks. There's nothing quite like watching zombies take over a town to bust us out of our V-Day induced depression.

3) Have a party. Dinner party, theme party, anti-V-Day party, I'm-single-let's-party party, Pajama party -- whatever you choose, make sure to gather all your favorite people, including the coupled-up. Similar to the general happy you'll find bar-hopping, having somewhere to go and fun people to hang with makes for an awesome night.

4) Go out to dinner, but go in a big group so no one feels like an odd-numbered wheel. Make reservations. Dress up. Have lots of group hugs and schmoop as a group. Enjoy the envious looks from the other diners who wish they'd thought of going out with ten of their closest friends.

Let's be honest: moping is no fun. And unfortunately, it's all too easy when mid-February rolls around. So let's not do it. Let's make V-Day 2011 one to remember for today and an annual tradition for next year (and the year after that) by focusing on the fun, on good friends and on the future.

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert.

Dating Dish: What Kind of Dater Are You? (Now Change It Up.)

This is the January installment of my monthly column, Dating Dish, for Girl Power HourDating Dish is a monthly feature that brings you hot dating tips and sassy how tos to keep your dating life sexy. Enjoy!

What Kind of Dater Are You? (Now Change it Up.) 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

When the Date Rocked, but the Aftermath Didn't - 5 Tips for Staying Positive When Things Don't Pan Out

We've all been there: The first date was amazing - we connected, we laughed, we tingled in "This might be it" anticipation - and then, for inexplicable reasons, things fizzled. Maybe they didn't call again, maybe there's been no further connection and things aren't progressing like we feel like they should, or maybe we discovered a deal-breaker. Whatever happened, this is a hard, and very discouraging situation to deal with. Dating, for most of us, is a violent series of ups and downs, and when the ups don't keep us up, the resulting downs can really suck.

Here are five tips for keeping our spirits, our energy and our hopes up when dating gets us down:

1) Focus on the positive. Part of the reason dating is so hard is because we tend to place very high expectations on what we want and what we hope for. If instead we focus on enjoying each date for what it is -- a fun (or really bad, and therefore funny-because-it-sucks) night out with someone new -- we can regulate our ups and downs much more effectively. Each new person we interact with teaches us about ourselves, how we're perceived, and what we like and don't like. So instead of getting bummed about something not working out, place the focus on what we liked about that person and in the future, seek out those traits. Were they adventurous? Join a hiking club or a rock climbing gym to meet others like them. Were they relaxed and at peace with life? Start going to yoga classes. Yes, it's a bummer when we thought something was there and then found out it wasn't -- it's very easy to get discouraged. But ultimately, we're in this game to meet someone and getting discouraged doesn't help. So focus on the positive and put the negative in a box, only to be examined in the company of friends during your next group pity party.

2) Take a deep breath. Do yoga. Relax. Meditate. Walk. Run. Join a kickboxing class and bang out your frustrations. Exercise, meditation and focusing inward like we do during yoga all helps to put things in perspective, elevate our mood and relieve stress. These are all positives when our dating lives are annoyingly off-track.

3) Hang out with friends. When we're bummed out, we can have the tendency to hole up on our apartments and hibernate in our self-pity. Don't do this. Call a friend and meet for coffee, a day of thrift shopping, a mini-road trip or happy hour. Talk it out. Laugh about the good dates and the bad. Friends are there to support us and lift us when we're down (just as we're there for them). Use them.

4) Change it up. If things are consistently not going well, it may be time to change up our MO for meeting people. Online dating fan? Take a co-ed class or join a co-ed club, doing something you enjoy -- new friends (or their friends) can equal new dates. Constantly getting set up by friends? Try online dating. The bar scene not panning out like you'd planned? Try online, getting set-up or expanding your activity circle. After all - what have we got to lose? If our current mode of finding dates isn't working, what's the harm in trying something new for a while?

5) Dial Down Your Dating Focus. When we place dating (and finding a new love) at the top of our personal priority list, it's easy to be very (and overly) affected every time something goes well or goes badly. Some people thrive on intense focus, so if that's your thing, rage on. However, if you're finding yourself getting sick on your emotional roller coaster, it's time to back off a bit and insert some other priorities in as well, like doing things that make you happy. After all, when we focus on making ourselves happy (by pursuing hobbies, hanging out with friends and kicking ass at work), we're more confident in ourselves. Confidence is attractive.

As clich├ęd as it sounds, what doesn't kill us makes us stronger. So each time our dating lives kick us down, finding the strength to get back up and carry on -- head held high -- is an immense positive. We learn who we are, what we're capable of (and recovering from) and how we handle ourselves and each time things suck, we get stronger for having had the practice to move forward. Getting through the hard times is what builds our character and makes us great, so even though it's incredibly rough to deal with having yet another great date not pan out, it's vital to remain as positive as possible and move on. And who knows -- the next date may be THE date...

Originally published by BounceBack, LLC on, where I'm the dating expert.