Friday, December 28, 2012

How We Communicate

With practice, most anyone can learn to communicate with ease and confidence, as well as convey his/her true feelings. 

There are two parts to communication: verbal and non-verbal

Non-verbal clues can include: hand gestures, tics (voluntary or involuntary), stance and posture, facial expressions, breathing (noticeably heavy or shallow), attire, grooming (or lack of), and focus (i.e. wandering eyes). 

Your verbal message includes more than the spoken word. The delivery is quite important, too. Consider your answers to the following questions.

1. Are you fluid in your speech pattern and do your words roll off your tongue?  

2. Are you hesitant with your words or halting in your speech pattern? This could show a lack of confidence about what you’re trying to convey or it can even be indicative of how you feel about your own worthiness.

3. Does the tone of your voice go up at the end of each sentence so that it sounds like a question rather than a statement? This could indicate that you are unsure of what you’re saying or are afraid to state your opinion. If it is framed as a question, you can always backpedal on the issue. 

4. Are you enunciating each word vs. speaking rapidly and slurring your words? 

5. Are you modulating the volume of your voice, as well as its pitch and tone? Emphasis on different words in a statement can also change its meaning drastically. Here's an example. If the question "What are you doing?" is asked nonchalantly and posed in a non-threatening manner, it is regarded as benign. However, if the WHAT is emphasized (WHAT are you doing?) it could be indicative of disgust/surprise/horror upon espying someone completing an act. Or, if the YOU is emphasized (What are YOU doing?), it could certainly sound accusatory. 

A great many of us have stopped listening to ourselves as we speak, so we’re not aware of all the nuances we communicate. Try taking a step back to become an objective observer of your conversations. Listen for your tone; watch your focus; and pay attention to small/quiet non-verbal nuances which can convey loud messages. It’s imperative to say what you mean and mean what you say, and back it up with non-verbal cues. In other words, let your actions and words be in sync. For example, don’t say “I’m fine” with evident tears in your eyes and a frown upon your face. In truth, you're telling a "little white lie."

These “little white lies” may be uttered for various reasons that seem “okay” in the moment. For example: (1) supposedly sparing another’s feelings; (2) to agree in order to be liked or be part of the “in crowd”; (3) to avoid conflict or (4) to not burden another. 

These types of "lies" are so prevalent in society that it seems as if they are an accepted mode of communication. In fact, a recent article in the AARP magazine quoted an alarming statistic: "If you're like most Americans, you tell 11 lies a week." White lies were included in the total.

Putting aside the the moral issue on lying and the fact that it is simply too hard to remember anything but the truth, researchers have also shown that lying affects your mental and physical health. In a 10-week study, participants who told fewer lies experienced less anxiety and back pain and also had better social interactions. The conclusion was that people feel better when their relationships are going well. No matter how you look at it, lying (no matter the size or the reason behind it) is NOT a component of a healthy relationship that is going well.

Remember that it is very possible to tell the truth and be kind in your delivery. For example, it’s not necessary to say “That outfit makes you look fat.” Instead, you could say, “I’ve seen you wear more flattering outfits. How about the one you wore ….” 

The mode of delivery of a message is of utmost importance in all your relationships. Hard and necessary truths conveyed with an undertone of love and acceptance are heard more easily than harsh/cruel words that communicate blame and criticism.

Heed the words of James M. Barrie, who said: "Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always try to be a little kinder than necessary."

Friday, December 21, 2012

Six Tips for Successful Relationships

I love what Kevin Anderson had to say about blogging:

"The bottom line is that blogging is like sex.
You can't fake it. You can't fake passion. 
You can't fake wanting to engage with the public. 
If you do, it will ultimately be an unsatisfying experience
for the blogger and their readers."

Today, I'm passionate about sharing my thoughts on love, dating and relationships. Here are six for your consideration.

1. The caption divulges the key to success in any endeavor you might undertake. You, too, can fly as free as a bird who has the ability to lift himself from undesirable circumstances and migrate to a place where the sun is always shining.

2. The following is an important key to building successful relationships, both personal and professional. You were given two ears and one mouth. Accordingly, listen twice as much as you talk.

3. No relationship is strife-free, but, as Robert H. Schuller said, "Problems are not stop signs; they are guidelines."

Don't let roadblocks stop you in your tracks. Find a "curvy" way (like the street sign captioned below) around issues that confront you. This new way, which veers off the straight road from A to B that you might be used to taking, might present interesting solutions and also allow you to connect with those you would not have normally met in your regular walk of life.

4. A bad attitude is like a blown light bulb that plunges you into darkness. You can’t even see what is right in front of you until you change it.  Check to see if your "light bulbs" are becoming dim, if not already blown out. If they are, make the change today!

Extrapolating that thought to dating ... if you think you are going to have a negative experience with dating or will never find anyone else to love and someone who will love you back, there's a good chance you will make that into a self-fulfilling prophecy. Changing your attitude towards any circumstance that confronts you is one of the first steps for moving through it with grace to reach eventual success. 

5. Henry David Thoreau said, "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put foundations under them."

Accordingly, if you want to be partnered, visualize yourself in that situation. Be assured, this doesn't negate your capabilities to live fully as a single person. However, envisioning that there is room and an important place for a partner in your life opens up the space for him/her to walk in. Visualize your dreams first and then pull them into your everyday reality to bring them to fruition.

6. As you start to think about what you want to accomplish in the new year, remember that life is about participating. Don't sit on the sidelines or act like a wallflower. And if no one is asking you to dance at the moment, create your own opportunities to "dance." Your joy will shine through, making you attractive, and it will draw people to you.

I like the sentiment Lee Ann Womack expresses, and I echo it as my wish for you. She said, "When you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance."


Don't forget to check out my Holiday Sale on a selection of my books on both relationships and coping with grief. Click HERE to find out more.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Lighten Up and Smile!

Times are tough these days, so most everyone can use a little light in their lives. Smiling, both to yourself and at the world, is a simple and inexpensive way to experience a change in perspective so that light can stream into your life once again. With an adjusted stance at how the world is viewed, pro-active thoughts and subsequent positive changes can be experienced. In fact, "smiling makes you feel better about yourself, even if you don't feel like it. And it always makes other people think better of you." 

Furthermore, as Joseph Addison said, “What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure, but scattered along life’s pathways, the good they do is inconceivable.” 

Smiling is also a wonderful way to attract others to you. Even Mother Teresa agrees. She said, "Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love." 

I believe that smiling, and the positive thoughts it sparks, is so important that I wrote a book about it! The book offers 33 ways to change your perspective and suggests ways on how to incorporate smiling into everyday life. 

I’m allowing FREE downloads of the book for the next five days, December 14th through December 18th. Here is how you can access your free copy. 

Please spread the word about it, so everyone you know can begin to practice the art of smiling!

1. Starting at 12:01 A.M. on Friday, December 14th go to this Amazon link.

2. You will notice the price is set at $0.00 and will remain so until midnight of December 18th.

3. Lighten Up and Smile: The Power of Smiling and Positive Thought is a Kindle book. However, you DON’T need a Kindle to read it. Just download a free reading app from Amazon. This will allow you to read it on your computer, tablet, phone.

Here's what one reviewer, Celeste Castillo, said about the book:
"I really liked this little book. It shows the power of a smile. I put it in practice as soon as I started reading and the results were amazing. I got a great response from the people around me. It made me more approachable and welcoming. This book is great and everyone should read it!!" 

In addition to what you'll read in the book, here are some extra "smiley" thoughts for you today.

And here's a fun game to play.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Building Healthy Relationships: Choose The Life Your Want

It’s Your Choice 

Choice Therapy: A New Psychology of Personal Freedom (published 1998) by Dr. William Glasser, an internationally recognized psychiatrist, presents the theory that we all choose how we behave and that our control is limited to our own behavior vs. trying to control the behavior of another. 

As man’s most important need is love and belonging, he wants to do everything in his power to further closeness and connectedness in his relationships. When this goal is not attained, and, thus, he feels alone or rejected, he becomes dissatisfied by his relationships. Quite often, rather than looking inside himself and recognizing that his own choice of behaviors may have caused the deterioration of the relationship, he looks externally to place blame on another or makes himself a victim by blaming the circumstances in which he finds himself. 

Glasser’s theory goes on to state that there are seven caring habits that will foster good relationships and seven deadly habits, which are detrimental to relationships. The deadly habits are aptly named, for their usage will eventually lead to the destruction of a relationship. 

As a result of falling prey to the seven deadly habits of criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and bribing, and generally trying to get your partner to do what you want him/her to do, individuals push each other further apart, which results in a disconnection. 

This disconnection is at the root of many of the emotional problems we encounter during our lifetime. As we become more disconnected, our basic need for love and connectedness moves further away from us, and we become unhappy, depressed, mad, sad – a whirlpool of negativity from which it is difficult to extricate oneself. This leads to more external blame, for people have a hard time seeing it is their choice to feel a certain way. 

A person can just as easily choose to be positive about a situation, rather than negative. It is all in one’s perspective. 

The bottom line is that we each have a CHOICE on how we respond to our circumstances and a choice on how we behave towards our partner. It is greatly influenced by our perspective, for it is possible to consider the same situation good or bad. It is the individual who places the emotional tag on the circumstance. 

Glasser contends that having at least one close and satisfying relationship is imperative to our mental, physical and emotional health. It is when we are unable to get along with the important people in our lives that our ability to cope in other areas of our life deteriorates too. 

When we are frustrated by a relationship, we may tend to revert to anger. In this anger, we might lash out and emotionally hurt a partner. In a continuous downward cycle, this anger saddens and depresses us – actually immobilizing us so we cannot act on our feelings (good or bad ones). Now, we do not have enough energy  even to be angry  because the depression is zapping our strength. We then blame our depression (and our partner) for our inaction. We are looking outside of ourselves to find an external reason for the predicament in which we find ourselves. In truth, we have chosen to act in this fashion and created our own mess. 

Moreover, when we are sad, or suffering, we are, in essence, “asking” our friends and family to reach out to us – without really having to come out and beg for attention. The result is the same, though. We have chosen to cut ourselves off from the most important love relationship in our life, and, in our need for connectedness, we search for some other way to get love, which is calling attention to oneself by exhibiting a suffering attitude.

We could just as easily choose not to suffer and decide to act in ways to repair the relationship. We could take responsibility, as well as step out of the fear of rejection by reaching out to a partner. In other words, we could use the seven caring habits of supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating differences. 

Suffering or situational depression is sometimes chosen as an easier route because it gets one off the hook to do the hard work necessary to have a healthy and successful relationship. This hard work includes being courageous; being emotionally honest; not playing games; realizing and accepting one can only be in control of oneself and not his/her partner; discontinuing the jockeying for position with a partner in a power struggle; and subordinating some individual wants and desires for the greater good of the relationship. 

These are not easy feats to accomplish, although doable if both partners agree to work towards the goal of having a great relationship. The choice is yours.

Interested in learning more about healthy relationship principles? 
Join me on Facebook at Finding Love After Loss for daily tips and thoughts.

Friday, November 16, 2012

7 Tips for Negotiating Conflict

Definition: Ne-go-ti-ate: to confer with another so as to arrive at the settlement of some matter; to deal with (some matter or affair that requires ability for its successful handling); to arrange or bring about through conference, discussion and compromise 

John Donne wrote the famous meditation No Man is an Island in which he illustrates how each of us are impacted by the actions of others. Consequently, each time one man “dies a little death” so we, too, feel his pain. If you can keep this concept in mind while negotiating conflict with a partner, you will understand that when one of you loses, you both lose, and when one of you wins, you both win. 

Let’s review 7 principles and techniques to utilize for a “winning” negotiation that can resolve conflict in a way that can be satisfactory for both parties. 

 "Let us never negotiate out of fear. 
 But, let us never fear to negotiate." 
                                                         ~John F. Kennedy 

1. Choose your desired outcome before you start. Determine your ideal outcome, as well as the points on which you’re willing to be flexible. Knowing where you want to go and what you want to achieve BEFORE you start allows you to avoid making snap decisions you may regret. Follow Karl Albrecht's rule, who said: “Start out with an ideal and end up with a deal.” 

2. Know and understand to whom you are speaking. You know your partner’s strengths and weaknesses, as well as where all the “buttons” reside. Use this information to your benefit and steer clear of issues that you know will create a firestorm. If you can’t avoid them, at least approach them in a non-accusatory manner. 

3. Don’t devalue yourself. Your contribution to the partnership is important, even if it may not look equal on the outside, for example, if one of you is a stay-at-home parent and the other is the breadwinner. Without support on the home front, the breadwinner would not be able to be as successful, for his/her focus would be split and scattered. Everyone has an important job to do and so each partner has an equal say/vote. Inspire confidence in your abilities by presenting clear, well-thought-out proposals. 

4. Listen twice as much as you talk. We were all born with two ears and one mouth for a reason! Rather than being anxious to state your case, practice active listening when your partner presents his/her side. You can pick up valuable clues that can lead to an easy resolution. 

5. Be a positive force. Robert Estabrook said, “He who has learned to disagree without being disagreeable has discovered the most valuable secret of a diplomat.” Thus, enter your negotiations with the expectation that it can be resolved amicably, even if you have to agree to disagree. An optimistic outlook can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, just as a negative one can become one too. Choose to succeed! 

6. Never threaten or make ultimatums. Don’t become emotionally attached to your solution; it may not be the best way. One sure way for negotiations to break down is uttering the statement, “It’s my way or the highway.” This accomplishes nothing except building a bigger wall between you and your partner. Remaining calm and patient, even if your partner is reaching a boiling point, can help to rein in the conversation to a manageable proportion. Joseph Joubert said, “Never cut what you can untie.” 

7. Don’t focus on winning. It’s important for both parties to feel satisfied about the decided upon course of action. This most probably will involve some compromise, but that’s the name of good partnering. You want to leave a negotiation with both parties feeling good about the situation AND about each other (and his/her ability to work together). Henry Boyle said, “The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people half way.”

If you are having difficulty negotiating conflict with your partner, you may be interested in my book: How To Find Your Happily Ever After: What To Do Before and After You Say I Do. The book gives practical advice on how to build a healthy and successful relationship; how to communicate with your partner; how to navigate conflict; how to enhance your relationship; and how to avoid becoming a divorce statistic ... all for only $1.99 on Amazon. Click here to purchase.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Tips for Dating After 50+

Love is not just for the young, but also for the young at heart. It can happen at any age and still be the most joyous of celebrations. 

One of the problems that results in mismatched couples is that when people marry in their early twenties, and even into their thirties, they don’t always know the right questions to ask before “taking the leap.” Most often, the older you get, the wiser you become. 

Of course, this can be a double-edged sword because it may also be harder to find and commit to a life partner because you know too many questions to ask. What you must remember is that no matter how many answers you have, there will always be more questions. Love, commitment, and marriage are, in the end, all a leap of faith. If you have true love, respect, and a willingness to work at a relationship, then the impossible becomes possible. 

Many who are in their fifties and sixties are distraught at the idea of having to search for new love just at a time when they thought they would be walking into the sunset holding hands with their prior or late partner. If this is the situation and mindset in which you find yourself, what is needed is a change in perspective. 

Would you be willing to consider yourself lucky to be searching for a new relationship at an older age? 

Think about it …. 

Once you hit the 50 mark, you are probably past the point of child rearing; your career has been established; your priorities have been readjusted and are in order; that nasty mid-life crisis is over; and the next relationship you have can be a “couples only” relationship where the major focus is on each other and the enjoyment of life. 

Consequently, for those of you who are on your own at a mature age, try not to feel frustrated by your circumstances. Look at it as an adventure and a time to start life anew.  As Robertson Davies so aptly stated: "As a general thing, people marry most happily with their own kind. The trouble lies in the fact that people usually marry at an age when they do not really know what their own kind is.” 

Let’s discuss 10 appropriate elements that can help you determine “your own kind.”  I also suggest some questions for you to ponder.

1. Rhythm of life. Life becomes a little more challenging when one partner is a tortoise and the other a hare. When the pace at which you experience life is similar, more synchronicity is attained. 

2. Sense of ease. You are comfortable to be yourself, which includes the good, the bad and the ugly. 

3. Desire to share activities. It’s not necessary to be joined at the hip, but research shows the more leisure activities that are experienced together, the closer the bond between partners grow. These shared moments go into a memory bank and can be pulled upon when experiencing a difficult time. 

4. Health priorities. No one knows when illness may strike, but are both partners doing everything in their power to remain healthy? This can include eating healthy and staying physically fit. 

5. Political views. This becomes very important if one of you is an activist and the other generally opposes every idea that you hold close to your heart. Can you agree to disagree or would you rather be with someone who holds your belief system?

6. Aspirations. What’s your passion and purpose in life? Do you want to sit on the couch and watch television (and the world go by) or do you still have a burning desire to make a difference in the world? 

7. Family considerations. Love is grand, but practicalities do count. Where do each of you want to live? Will there be children at home? Is there a chance you will be caring for grandchildren? How will holidays be spent? 

8. Intellect. Stimulating conversation is an important part of a relationship. Each partner doesn’t have to be an expert on every subject. Sometimes it’s nice to be the teacher and at other times the student. What’s more important is the openness to learning from each other. 

9. Importance of affection/intimacy. If this is at the top of your list, you don’t want to be with a person who has no interest in it. Of course, there exists a myriad of ways to express affection and intimacy. Find the balance that’s right for you. 

10. Religious belief system. Are you religious or spiritual? Is going to an organized service each week a must for you? Without having to embrace it, can you accept that others may hold a different belief system? 

If you're preparing to Internet date, the preceding are topics upon which you can base your essay or open up conversations.

The information presented is a partial excerpt from "Love After Loss: Writing the Rest of Your Story," which is available as a Kindle or Nook book, as well as a soft-cover at the following links.

Don't forget to like Finding Love After Loss on Facebook to read tips and thoughts on love, dating and relationships.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Loosening Attachments to Prior Partners

A “Desperate Housewife” said, “The opposite of love isn’t hate. It’s indifference. And if you hate me, that means you still care and we’re still connected.” 

Once a relationship ends there can exist both negative and/or positive attachments. Often in the case of divorce, there is a negative one, while after the death of a spouse with whom there was a good relationship, there exists a positive attachment. Whichever the case, in order to welcome new love into your life, these attachments must be loosened.

Think about how it feels when a string is tied tightly around your finger. The pressure turns your focus on it; it’s annoying and can cut off your circulation; and, if not untied, can cause further damage to your finger. So it is with attachments to prior partners. You focus on the past (either good or bad), and it has a detrimental effect on your emotional state of mind, which, in turn, hampers your forward moving action. 

In my book, Love After Loss: Writing the Rest of Your Story, I discuss readjusting the picture of a late or ex-spouse. Following is an excerpt.

It is the natural tendency of a bereaved survivor to elevate his or her spouse to the position of a saint, once he or she is gone. Whether you had a good or bad marriage, death seems to erase all those annoying little habits that used to drive you up a wall! While it is important to remember the positive things and not dwell on the negative, it may be detrimental to your recovery to complete a sainthood application for your lost loved one. No one is perfect, and no relationship is without some strife. This does not mean your loved one was a bad person — only that he/she was human and had human failings. 

In the case of divorce, the opposite may be true: you may want to complete an application for devilhood! However, the result is the same — it stops you from moving forward. Try to remember that once there was a time when you saw the good in each other. Attempt to put the pain of your break-up aside and try focusing on the positive aspects of your ex-spouse. 

Just as one day you hope that your children will see you as a person as well as a parent, and, therefore, accept any mistakes you have made and will make in the future, attempt to see your ex-spouse as simply a human being that has and will make mistakes. This allows for the possibility of forgiveness, both towards your ex-spouse and yourself. As an added bonus, this type of attitude may make custodial arrangements run more smoothly.


Concerning the death of a spouse/partner, as part of your grief work, you must learn to readjust the picture you hold in your mind of your late loved one. Realistically evaluate your relationship and come to terms with this new picture. The two of you might have had a special way you dealt with finances, problems, children, etc. It worked when there were two of you. However, now you are making decisions by yourself, and you have to do what works for you. If you believe that your late spouse did everything the way it was supposed to be done, then you will have a hard time feeling good about any different decisions you may make. 

Furthermore, as you move on with your life and consider dating and possible remarriage, it will be very hard for a new romantic interest to compete with a dead saint. Each person is an individual and must be evaluated on his/her own merits. It is not fair to compare a new girl or boyfriend to your late spouse. Cherish the gifts your spouse gave you and then look for new ways of approaching life to enter your realm of consciousness. Believe you are a gift to everyone you encounter and that everyone you meet has a gift to offer to you. 

Concerning divorce and ex-spouses, it is important to also readjust or re-frame the role he or she will play in your life going forward. If you cannot sever (or at least loosen) the attachment, the bitter taste of failure may remain in your mouth and discolor anything (and anyone) new you meet. The former relationship failed for a reason. Most times, the harsh words and hurt feelings cannot be erased. Change your perception by considering the tough times as instructive examples of how you do not want to live your life. 

Finally, along with loosening attachments and readjusting the picture of a late or ex-spouse, you must also learn to loosen the attachment to the “pre-loss you” and thereby adjust your personal picture. Any sort of momentous experience changes you, so it is virtually impossible for you to be the same person as you were before your loss. Work towards finding and developing the “new single you.” This is the person who will be able to seek and welcome new love.

Love After Loss: Writing The Rest of Your Story is available as a Kindle or Nook book, as well as a soft-cover at the following links.

Don't forget to like Finding Love After Loss on Facebook to read tips and thoughts on love, dating and relationships.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Best Relationship Advice

I met my first (and late) husband when I was a mere 15 years old and he 17. He was my first and only boyfriend, and we married five years later at the tender ages of 20 and 22.

Needless to say, I did not have much experience about how relationships worked. However, what I did have was a solid upbringing with an intact family and an inherent thirst for learning. I was a sponge and, as I watched how couples interacted with each other, I carefully chose the ideas that rang true to me and I incorporated them into my own life. I have lived my entire life by a principle that my then boyfriend made in an offhand comment … and it has served me very well. 

When I was 17, while I was visiting and staying at my boyfriend’s house, his older brother by twelve years was also visiting from out of state. As we sat around the breakfast table, his brother read the newspaper. One by one, he mentioned things his wife would like and he proceeded to cut out advertisements for clothing and blurbs about things to do in the city. My boyfriend remarked that he hoped that when we were married for as long as his brother and wife that we would still be acting and thinking like they did. 

I took this remark to heart and practiced it every day of our twenty year marriage. 

You may ask how did I put this concept into practice and how YOU can implement it in your life. Here are ten suggestions. 

1. You’ve both laid down in bed after a long and exhausting day. Your partner says, “I’m thirsty.” Despite your tiredness, you jump up and get him/her something to drink.

2. You paint your partner into the landscape of your life. Consequently, wherever you go, whatever you do, he/she is always with you. For example, when you’re in a bookstore, you notice books your partner might like; you buy a special treat at the grocery store; you smile when you see something you know your partner would like and can’t wait to tell him or her and so on. 

3. You do tasks you’d rather not do because you know that it will make your partner’s life easier. 

4. You go places your partner likes without resentment because you know he/she wants to share his/her passion with you. (and, of course, your partner does the same for you) 

5. You are always on the lookout for things/ideas that you know will delight your partner.

6. If your partner is tired and taking a nap, you will make sure the house remains quiet by turning off the phone (or at least quieting the ringer) and keeping kids occupied and quiet.

7. You offer to do a task that a mate usually does but is one he/she would rather not. For example, generally men do the driving when out as a couple. You might chauffeur your mate around and let him feel like a prince. 

8. Get up early and prepare a breakfast in bed treat. 

9. Take the kids out and give a mate a day for him or herself. 

10. Encourage your partner to pursue activities he/she enjoys, even if they don’t include you. Of course, this should be balanced with family and partner time. However, when a partner goes out into the world and pursues his/her passion, renewed energy, excitement and passion is brought back to the relationship. Think of it as the pause that refreshes!

These are not difficult things to do, but you must do them with a smile while knowing that you are making life easier, less stressful and more enjoyable for your partner. It's the little things like the preceding (that might even go unacknowledged) that add up to an overall feeling of contentedness in a relationship.

Friday, October 19, 2012

10 Ways To Have an A+ Date

Dating is supposed to be fun. If you don’t see it that way, you’re most likely facing disappointment before you even begin. 

As in every endeavor in life, attitude is of paramount importance. The universe is a giant mirror and whatever you project out will be reflected back to you. If you leave your house anticipating that your date will end badly then it most certainly will. Before embarking on your date, set your intention to have fun. Additionally, slap a smile on your face and project a warm and welcoming aura. These three things alone will exponentially increase the chances of having a successful date. 

Here are 10 more tips to help you succeed. 

 1. Be on time. This is simply a show of respect. Besides, no one likes to be kept waiting, especially if it’s the first time you’re meeting someone. Even if you’re a couple of minutes late, feelings of insecurity can set in and your date might feel like he/she is being stood up. This can set the tone for the entire evening, and it’s not a relaxed one. 

2. Keep your alcohol consumption in check. Even though you might be nervous and a drink will relax you, don’t consume more than one glass of alcohol. A drunk date is not an attractive date. Additionally, alcoholic beverages are expensive, and it’s not polite to have your date expend a lot of money on you, especially if this is a just get-to-know-you type of meeting. 

3. Offer to share the cost. To follow up on point #2, it’s also polite to share the cost of the evening. The offer doesn’t have to be accepted, but it’s a nice gesture and is indicative of your attitude about carrying your fair share in a relationship. 

4. Leave your prior relationships at home. A first date is not the time and place to rehash your entire life and talk about how an ex has done you wrong or how a late spouse was a saint with whom no one can compete. There certainly shouldn’t be any crying or ranting about past relationships. 

5. Clean up for your date. Again, this is a show of respect. Take time with your grooming and dress appropriately for the venue. 

6. Inquiring minds want to know, but don’t interrogate. A date is about having a conversation, which includes questions and answers. However, you can show an interest in what someone is saying without having it sound like a police interrogation. 

7. Be flexible. Go with the flow. Try something you’ve never tasted. Participate in an activity new to you, even if there is a chance it might be awkward. This is called being a good sport, and it will be noted and appreciated. 

8. Keep your sense of humor. The ability to laugh with each other and at yourself makes for a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere. Laughter encourages good feelings about the other person. 

9. Know when to end the date. Even if it’s love at first sight, don’t drag the date out forever. Let both parties leave with an urgency to see each other again. 

10. Let your feelings be known. No one is a mind reader and no one likes being rejected. If you liked someone and want to see him/her again, leave broad enough hints without cornering your date into making an on-the-spot decision whether he/she would like to continue the relationship. Send a text or an e-mail the next day to thank your date and let him/her know that you’re open to exploring the idea of getting to know each other. 

In conclusion, the way to have an A+ first date is make the meeting fun, easy and stress-free. Come to it free of expectations and then whatever the result, it will be a positive one. 

For more tips on dating and relationships, like the Love After Loss Facebook page

For more in depth tips and thoughts on love, dating and relationships, check out the selection of relationship books I’ve written. Books on other subjects, such as coping with grief, spirituality, the power of positive thought, how to build confidence, caregiving for aging parents, fitness and weight loss, social media for entrepreneurs and teen pregnancy prevention, may be found here

If You Want To Be Terrific, You Need To Be Specific (series of 3 books) 
1. How To Heal Your Heart After A Relationship Has Ended 
2. How To Date With Success 
3. How To Enhance Your Relationship 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Dating Tips: Y is for You

While participating in the dating game, as well as in many other situations in life, it’s easy to have your feelings bruised. Most often, this happens when the words and actions of others are taken more personally than intended. 

Of course, in the midst of a personal interaction, it may be difficult to avoid feeling this way. 

Over the course of a dating career, you will meet lots of new people, each with their own agenda, and it is one they are probably NOT sharing with you during the first few interactions. Consequently, you have no idea what they are really thinking. 

While you may believe a date went swimmingly and the two of you are headed for a happily ever after, your date may be just looking for a good time. 

If you ass-u-me that your date is more interested than he really is and, thus, make an innocent remark about your future together, you can scare him away. Chances are he will disappear, never to be heard from again. You are left wondering what YOU did wrong. 

The truth is that you did nothing wrong because this incident wasn’t about you. It was about your date’s inability to express himself honestly and his fear of commitment.

If you encounter this scenario, or another similar one, don’t waste your energy beating yourself up or pine for this person to return. Just say NEXT! 

If you let every rejection or slight throw you off track, you will have a difficult time with the dating scene. Simply keep in mind that everything is not about you!

The preceding is an excerpt from my book, Understanding Dating and Relationships From A to Z, which is available via Amazon. Click on the title to see more about it.  Here are the other subjects covered in the book about which you can learn.

From A to Z: Ageist, Behaved Well, Cerebral, Deceptive, Egocentric, Fear, Genital Health, Hesitant, Imaginative, Juvenile, Knight in Shining Armor, Lust, Monopolizer, Noncommittal, Optimistic, Platinum Rule, Questioner, Rebound Relationship, Stymied, Tenacious, Uncompromising, Virgin (Born Again), Wary, eXcessive, You, Zero-Tolerance.