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 www.bounceback.com, 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 www.bounceback.com, where I'm the dating expert.

Friday, January 7, 2011

3 Tips for Staying Positive When First Dates Go to the Dark Side



Sometimes first dates are amazing. There's amazing chemistry, amazing conversation and we end the date feeling amazingly optimistic about the future. And sometimes? Sometimes first dates get on the high-speed elevator to hell and/or crazy-town and we're left mystified, discouraged, annoyed and sad, which is not only no fun, but can put a serious damper on our enjoyment of the dating life -- and who wants that? Here are three bad-date scenarios and tips to allow us to enjoy these horrid first dates for all they're worth -- the worse the better.


1) Absolutely no chemistry. Sometimes, the spark just isn't there: maybe you don't like the way they smell. Maybe the way they eat grosses you out. Maybe you just learned something that's a deal-breaker and you know there's not a shot in hell of this ever working. To salvage some enjoyment from this date, verbally acknowledge the non-chemistry. Chances are good that if you're not feeling it, neither are they (and if they are feeling it, it's better to let them know now rather than later.) Acknowledgement removes the awkwardness of being on a bad first date, and turns the situation into a much more comfortable setting where the pressure of deciding whether or not you like each other is lifted. Talk about all the bad dates you've both been on and enjoy an hour or two of laughing about how much dating can suck. Who knows -- you might find a new friend.

2) They're completely obnoxious. Perhaps they just spent 45 minutes talking about their recent sexual conquests or maybe all they've done since meeting you is complain about everything, including you. In this situation, you can either sit back and enjoy the hilarity if someone making a complete jerk of themselves, or you can egg them on with some well chosen questions, all in the name of making the date even worse than it already is. Everyone loves a good bad-date story, and if you can push this one into epic-bad-date territory, you'll have cocktail party fodder for the next several years.

3) Things were great until the "But..." In those situations where the date appears to be in the running for Best Date Ever, and then does a 180 when they reveal the "But..." (such as "But, I'm married," "But, I'm starting a ten-year jail sentence next week," or "But, I'm fleeing the country tomorrow because I haven't paid my taxes in 15 years,"), stick around long enough to get the back-story (it's bound to be interesting), and do your best to trade in your disappointment for some real, no-social-filters conversation. Why did they go on a date if they knew they were going to be unavailable? Has it worked in the past? What were/are they looking for? Treat it like an interview and again -- be prepared to gather some major stories to share with your friends at brunch the next day.

First dates are something many of us loathe because it can be so disappointing if they go badly. However, if we can turn our perception of these bad dates into opportunities for fun stories to share with friends for years to come, or the opportunity to make a new friend (instead of finding a new lover), we can find humor, light and fun where there was only dark, heavy disappointment before. And what's the point in dwelling in the latter when every first date (no matter how bad) can potentially be turned into an enjoyable evening?

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