Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Facebook Relationship Status = Dating Free Zone

Changing one’s Facebook relationship status seems like an innocent enough thing to do…Until you realize that you’re announcing that status of your sex life to not only your 500 closest friends (some of whom you haven’t spoken to since 4th grade), but also various judging family members, voyeuristic co-workers and “It’s complicated” exes. When you’re announcing a new relationship, the comments are congratulatory and not overly annoying. When you end something? That’s when it gets bad. That little broken heart shows up on every single of your Facebook friends’ newsfeeds and you’re forced to deal with all manner of well-meaning (but very quickly overwhelming) pity-party comments and questions over your relationship fail.  

But besides the public scrutiny, there is a whole other giant pile of issues surrounding the emotionally-charged mine-field of the relationship status checkboxes.

Changing it requires an often-awkward conversation where questions arise like “Are we changing them simultaneously so one of us doesn’t look like a loser in denial?”, “Are we ready to change them? If not, what does that mean?”. And the most awkward of all: What if the person you’re dating changes it without discussing it with you, and suddenly you’re listed as “in a relationship” with someone you aren’t in a relationship with? Ack. 

After you’ve broken up, when is the optimal time to change it? Doing it too soon is kind of a slap in the face to your ex and waiting to change it looks like a serious case of denial. It’s also usually a raw, emotional time and it often takes a few days to make sure the important people in your life know that you’re no longer in a relationship. Announcing the news on FB can be like dropping a drama-filled pity-party bomb - something you so don’t want to deal with when you’re in the post-break-up turmoil zone. Double ack. 

The solution — provided by a brilliant friend who has dealt with all manner of Facebook relationship status shenanigans — is to make your Facebook profile a dating-free zone. Relationship status is left blank, no matter the situation, thereby avoiding all of the above problems. When asked by relationship-status-updating suitors, my friend simply states that it’s her policy to keep her private life private and she never has and never will update her relationship status. As a diplomatic but save-yourself-some-major-hassle policies go, this one is as solid as they come. Here’s to bringing back a little privacy for the sake of our sanity. 

Yours in Facebook TMI, S
Credits: Image by mikebaird
Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Interview with

I had the great honor and pleasure of being interviewed by Courtney Stovall, founder and CEO of BounceBack, LLC. (The interview was originally published on Enjoy!

Bouncing Back With...Samantha Scholfield, BounceBack Dating Expert
By BounceBack Editorial Staff with Samantha Scholfield

How did you discover/realize you would be a great relationship/dating expert?

Thanks for putting the "great" in there! Starting a pretty young age, I was the person that people would come to with their problems. I like to listen, and I figured out pretty quickly that we all like to be heard, so I've been listening to and helping to solve dating conundrums for the better part of the last 15 years. I've also had a pretty tumultuous personal dating and relationship history, so I have a lot to draw on. I knew from about age 13 that I wasn't the patient sort when it came to waiting for guys to ask me out, and so took it into my own hands to ask them out first. It took a good eight years before I figured out how to do that without freaking the guy out or totally putting my ego out there to be stomped on. Once I had the answers and had tested my theories thoroughly, I wrote it all down so that I could share my knowledge and save others from the dating disasters I'd gone through. That turned into my first book, 
"Screw Cupid: The Sassy Girl's Guide to Picking Up Hot Guys", which came out in late 2009. Since then, I've been making a living as a dating coach and dating/relationships writer.

What's the first piece of advice you'd give to someone who's just gone through a breakup?

In the days, weeks and months after a breakup, take time to focus on yourself and do things that make you happy -- hang out with friends who make you laugh, paint or write and be creative if that's your thing, cuddle with your cat, and make sure you're getting outside and enjoying the world. It's important to remind yourself of all the things that make your personal universe great. If things aren't great? Take steps to make them so: if you're not happy with your job, research what it would take to change careers or companies. If you're not happy with your living situation, figure out what you need to do to make it better. If you're not happy with yourself, take a class you've always wanted to take and grow yourself as a person through new experiences. Breakups hurt, but they are also a unique time for self reflection and growth. Taking advantage of this is a very healthy way to make lemonade out of lemons, as it were. Also, take time to mourn the relationship for as long as you need to. Everyone handles breakups differently, so if your best friend did great by putting her feelings in a box and taking them out later to deal with them, but you need to let your emotions run their course and deal with them as they come -- so be it. There's no "right way" to deal.

Does that advice change for someone who's gone through a divorce?

Give yourself more time to recover than you would from a normal breakup. Everyone recovers at a different rate, and it's important to let yourself recover at your own pace and not feel like you "should" be feeling anything at a given time. When you're ready to move on, you'll feel it. Don't force anything before you're ready -- a divorce rocks your emotional boat in the best of situations, and can be extremely traumatic at the worst. Make sure you're reminding yourself as often as possible about all the good things in your life -- no matter how small. It's vitally important when recovering from something as deeply seeded as a marriage to build your self-esteem and self-worth back up. Spend time with friends and do things you've been wanting to do, but never had the time -- take an art class, run a marathon, or volunteer. Fill your life with new activities that challenge you and help you grow into the new person you'll be, post divorce. This new person has gone through something intense and life-altering, but with care and patience in yourself, can be happier, healthier and more enriched than before.

What do you find is the most common reason for relationships failing? Succeeding?
I think that communication is vital to a relationship succeeding, and that lack of communication is highest on the list of why a given relationship will fail. Really communicating means trusting your partner with your feelings, and knowing that they'll respect you and really hear you when you talk. When you really listen, absorb and respect what your partner says, dealing with ups and downs is much easier -- and knowing they'll do the same for you creates a solid, safe and trusting platform on which to conquer life together. Even if two people figure out they're not right for each other in a romantic relationship, when there's deep communication involved, the situation is a much more pleasant one and the likelihood of walking away with a close friend instead of an enemy is much higher.

What can we look for from you on BounceBack and also in your own endeavors?
BounceBack is a phenomenal resource for those recovering from a breakup. I think it offers so much: support, great advice and commiseration from a community of people who are actively going through a breakup or have recovered from one but want to help those who are hurting. I'll be a happy member of the BounceBack team as long as they'll have me. In terms of my own endeavors, my goal is to keep helping as many people as I can find dating and relationship happiness. I'm all about empowerment and making your life as great as possible, with the added benefit that doing so sets you up to find love: when you know yourself and are happy, love has an uncanny ability to find you. I'm also committed to teaching people (through "Screw Cupid" and otherwise) that initiating conversation doesn't have to be scary or intimidating. On the contrary, it can be easy, fun and ego-safe. I'm currently working on the guy's version of "Screw Cupid" to reach out to all the great guys out there who feel too shy or don't know how to approach women. There are so many amazing people around us everyday -- my goal is to connect them and make the world a happier place by helping them find love.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Scotland on Sunday: Dating/Relationships Column

Scotland on Sunday, a newspaper serving Scotland, has asked me to do a series of columns about dating and relationships. Here is the second installment, which was published in the July 13th paper. 

Lifelines: Online Dating

The first installment can be found here -- Lifelines: Get Back in the Dating Game

It was originally published in the June 8th paper.


Friday, July 16, 2010

5 More Ways to Fatten Up Your Personal Independence Piggy Bank

Breakups are rough -- not just on our emotions, but also on our self-esteem, our self-worth and our confidence in our ability to succeed in life and in new relationships. It's important to make sure you're as happy and healthy (both emotionally and otherwise) as possible all the time, but it's even more important right after a breakup to give your inner self a hug, and make sure you're doing everything you can to support healing and making that inner you feel safe, confident and happy again. This is the second in a two-part series about how to boost the level of the pile of change in your personal independence piggy bank. Here are five more ways to make sure you're doing everything you can to make sure you're happy and healthy as possible.

1) Take a pole dancing class. There are lots of people coming from lots of different backgrounds (psychology, fitness, health & wellness) who recommend pole-dancing for many different, very positive reasons. It's fun. It's a great workout. It's a great way to express yourself. But mostly? Mostly it lets you tap into that inner goddess -- the one who's sexy and confident. Bring her out as much as possible, and you'll find your self-esteem, self-worth and confidence fly right back up the scale to a higher place than they've ever been before.

2) Plan your dream vacation. Even if you can't actually go on it for another five years, start planning it and figure out how much you need to save each month to make it happen. Acting on a dream and planning for the future is a great way to remind yourself of your ability to succeed and follow through, and also gives you something to look forward to -- a very useful thing on those bad days.

3) Teach yourself a new skill. Whether it be flower arranging, cooking, candle-making, sewing, knitting or playing the guitar, not only is a new hobby a great way to focus on the future and give distract yourself from the negative, but it's a great way to show yourself what you're capable of. This is a great confidence booster. Plus, you'll walk away knowing how to do something new, and if you took a class to learn how, you'll probably have some new friends as well.

4) Volunteer. Contact a charity you believe in and sign up to volunteer your time, even if it's only for an hour a week. Soup kitchens, animal shelters, beach/lake/highway clean-ups or child and adult literacy programs -- whatever you feel strongly about is where you should go. Donating your time is a great way to help out a good cause, it's a great distraction, an excellent way to meet like-minded good people and it feels good. What's not to like?

5) Hang with friends on a Wednesday night and laugh as much as possible. Organize a mid-week outing with good friends. Whether it be trivia night, dinner and drinks or a movie, mixing up your routine and throwing some unexpected fun into the middle of the week is a great pick-me-up and a great way to remind yourself of the good in your life. When you know you have good around you, it's a whole lot easier to deal with the non-ideal things that life throws at us.

Life can be tough, and we have to stay on our toes and actively make an effort to make sure we're happy and emotionally healthy. Choosing activities that you know will boost your confidence, self-esteem and self-worth is a really good idea anytime, but especially so when you're feeling less than stellar. So give your inner self some flowers, a hug and some gentle prodding to get them (and you) bouncing back to where you want to be -- safe, happy and confident.

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

Monday, July 12, 2010

Stoked About Getting Dumped

We all fall into one of two categories: the dumpers and the dumpees. There is some overlap, but most of us have a preference when it comes to ending a relationship, fling, or changing the status of “friends with benefits” to “just friends”. The dumpers are the people who dump before they can get dumped, or — more nicely put — they are more proactive and end something when an end is needed.

The dumpees (usually my M.O.) beat the dead horse of a relationship until they get dumped so they don’t have to confront the problem, or in other words, they want to be absolutely sure that the relationship should end so they keep it going for as long as it takes to eliminate all possibility of regret.Yes, I generalize. Obviously there are exceptions and often — as is the case with relationships — extenuating circumstances. Only rarely does breaking something off work out so that both parties walk away happy.

This rare circumstance found a friend of mine recently.

My friend (we’ll call her Betsy), had gone on about ten dates with this guy she had originally scoped out on an online dating site (one far less superior to PickV, so it’s not even worth mentioning), but didn’t hear back from when she sent him an email. Used to the crap-shoot that can be online dating emailing, she let it go and moved on. That weekend, she was at a friend’s house party and much to her surprise, so was this guy. Her friend introduced them, not knowing that they already had a connection, and as soon as their mutual friend left them to talk, the guy said, “I’m so sorry I didn’t email you back. It’s been a crazy week at work, and I haven’t had any time for anything but eating, sleeping and working. I was going to email you back next week, but this is way better. Hi.” Betsy smiled. The guy smiled. A connection was born.

After about four months and ten dates (the first of which Betsy swears was in her top five best dates ever), things fizzled, as they do. Both Betsy and the guy had other online-born connections that they would occasionally go out with, and Betsy and the guy kept having schedule conflicts, which didn’t allow them to bond as quickly as some of the other connections they both had. End result: after a few months, Betsy was feeling like it was time to call it, and try a friendship with the guy instead. She liked him as a person, but the romantic spark hadn’t lasted past the first date.

She was nervous about talking to him, since she didn’t know where he stood or what he was feeling. She is also a fan of being the dumpee, so switching sides and initiating an end was a new situation for her. She finally psyched herself up enough to make the phone call (she decided doing it in person was too intense for their particular situation), and when she got him on the phone, he seemed really happy to hear from her — relieved, almost. Cringing, she started into her pre-prepared talk, but only got as far as “So, I’ve been thinking…” before the connection cut out and she was unable to get him back on the phone. A couple hours later, after trying him twice more to no avail, she received an email from him: “Betsy — I wanted to talk to you about this earlier when you called, but now my phone is dead and after it cut out I couldn’t call you back. I really didn’t want to do this over email (I like you more than that), but I think we should just be friends. I think you’re a great person, but I’m just not feeling a spark. Let me know if you still want to hang. I totally get if you don’t, so no pressure, OK?”

How stoked was Betsy? Very stoked. It’s so… nice when things work out like this and no one gets hurt, right? Here’s to hoping that the next time you find that the spark has fizzled, whichever side you prefer (dumper or dumpee), things work out every time as well as Betsy and her dude.

Yours in pleasant endings, S

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Dating Dish: Grab Your Flippy-Floppies, Because Your Next Date Is On a Boat.

This is the next 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!

Grab Your Flippy-Floppies, Because Your Next Date is On a Boat

Photo credit: Amanda O'Brien
Just for fun: I’m On A Boat (ft. T-Pain)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Eff the Fear

I spent this last weekend at various parties and one very fun beer festival (as you do when the 4th creates a three-day weekend). Because I’m a dating writer and coach, the subject of dating inevitably comes up in conversation and so, much of my weekend was spent (happily) listening to the dating issues faced by both sexes. I heard lots of the normal “I never meet anyone”, “All the good ones are taken” and “What’s with all the crazy bitches / douchebags I keep running into?” But the number one stated by both sexes? “The people I want to talk to never come and talk to me.”

Obviously this begs the question as to why we don’t initiate conversation ourselves more often, to which the answer is usually some version of: “That freaks me out”, “I don’t know how” or “I want them to make the first move.” Every guy I talked to this last weekend said that they’d love for a girl to initiate conversation, and every girl I talked to complained that guys don’t initiate conversation often enough. From that, the solution would appear to be that we should all just talk to each other more. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. There are egos, fragile feelings and fear to contend with when we think about talking to someone we like, and much more often than not, those things prevent us from actually pursuing that hot guy/girl and instead leave us with some nice fodder for the next time we’re bored and want to fantasize.

However, if we all take a deep breath, let go of our fear, and — the next time we’re in the same vicinity as an available cute someone — talk to them, we might be surprised at our success. Sure, it’s not going to work every time, and yeah, our egos may take the occasional hit, but in the end if it works out with one of the people we talk to, that’s one more person than we knew than before. Letting fear rule — fear of failure, fear of rejection and fearing that we don’t know how — isn’t how I bet the vast majority of us want to live our lives. So eff fear in the name of reducing the number of dating complaints: talk to the next person you think is cute.

Yours in sunshine and rainbows, S

(Credits: Image by svintus2010)

Originally published on the blog (a new dating site that matches people based on music, movies and book likes and dislikes), where I am the weekly love/relationships contributor.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

5 Ways to Put Some Change in Your Personal Independence Piggy Bank

A relationship breakup can take a serious toll on our self esteem and self-worth -- both of which affect how able we feel to tackle the world and live our lives. It's vital to a healthy recovery to re-build both. So while we celebrate the anniversary of our nation's independence, take some time to make sure you put some serious coinage back in your personal independence piggy bank as well. Here are five ideas to do just that.

1. Get a haircut. Getting a haircut or changing your hair color is an easy way to make a big change to your appearance and boost your self confidence. It's also a great way to start fresh and shed negative associations and feelings that you may have about the break-up. Being reminded that you're starting fresh every time you look in the mirror is exciting, and can have a huge positive effect on your self-esteem.

2. Bust out of your mold. Go out with friends and dress completely differently for a night -- as in out of your normal comfort zone different: go goth, super girly, fifties, sexy, etc. The point is to let out a side of yourself that's been hidden and explore it. Costuming it up for a night is a great way to bond with friends, have a great time and try on a new look for an evening.

3. Dance. Find your favorite 2 or 5 or 10 friends and go out dancing for a night. Salsa, swing, top 100 - whatever floats your boat. The point is to have a great time, feel the music and let loose. If you don't want to go out, have some friends over and start your own dance party. Dancing is a very deep-rooted way to express emotion and release energy. Don't worry about how good or not you are -- just enjoy expressing yourself.

4. Go thrift market hunting. Experimentation with clothing and apartment/house decoration is a great way to find the new you and assert yourself to the world. Being able to do it for not much money? Fantastic.

5. Channel your inner creativity. Sign up for a creative class: painting, writing, photography, sculpture, etc.. Expressing yourself creatively is a fantastic for developing independence because releasing your emotions creatively can be incredibly cathartic and can show you parts of yourself you didn't know were there. If you're not feeling the catharsis, just enjoy the distraction of focusing on creating something new. It's a win-win.

A big part of recovering from a relationship breakup is focusing on you. It's a time to self-reflect, to learn and to grow. By choosing activities that not only distract us and give us joy, but also grow us as people and help restore what we've temporarily lost in the trauma of a relationship ending, we can end up on the other side as healthier, happier people. Fill up your independence piggy bank as often as possible and you'll find yourself moving onwards and upwards in no time.

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