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November 2010

Single for the Holidays? Don't Just Survive...Thrive!

Turkey The expectation is that, for most singles, the holidays can be a depressing time. There will be uncomfortable questions at the family Thanksgiving dinner table ("Are you seeing anyone special? Why not?"), endless holiday parties full of happy couples...

But it doesn't have to be that way.  It's all, really, a matter of perspective. Imagine this: a nosy relative asks you if you're seeing someone special and you reply, "Not yet, but I'm having fun looking for him/her."  

What if you went to each and every holiday party (even the ones you'd rather not go to) excited to be there without a date? Parties, can be a great way to meet new people and flex your flirting muscles. Chances are, you won't be the only single person there.

It's up to you, you can be anxious and depressed about spending the holidays solo. Or, you can embrace your single identity and flirt your way through the holiday season.  

Second Date Success: It's as Simple as 1, 2, 3

252798_7041 You had a good first date and now you're on to date number 2. Congratulations.

We've prepared a few helpful tips to help make your second date every bit as successful as your first.

1)  Be yourself.  Really, be yourself.  This is not the time to start pretending to like new music, hobbies or food.  Be honest about who you are and what you think and feel.  Don't try to impress your date (this goes for men and women).  

S/he will see (eventually) through your dishonesty. And, more importantly, you want to be liked for who you are, not who you pretend to be.

2)  Remember and follow-up on your first date conversation.  Nothing makes a person feel more at ease and appreciated than remembering the details of your prior conversation.  Helpful hint: if you have a bad memory, write yourself a note after the first date to remind yourself of something you'd like to bring up in future conversation.

3)  Be an active listener/ask questions. The foundation of a great second date is a good conversation. This requires listening and asking questions.  It's not hard, but it does require some effort.

The ROI of Dating

N584446437_2225452_9182 By Andrea Syrtash, Author of 'He's Just Not Your Type (And That's a Good Thing)'

When a friend was complaining recently about how much she has to multi-task, I thought about the fact that there really is no such thing as 'mono-tasking' in today's culture. We are all over over-scheduled, hyper connected and busy. The song '9 to 5' hardly resonates for the average American worker. We are working longer hours than ever before (often continuing to do our work into the night); and even though many strive for better work-life balance, we do a poor job at creating it. We may excel at our careers, but if someone reviewed the way a number of us showed up for our own lives, we would get a failing grade!

The people who say that finding love is their ultimate goal complain about having too few options, too little time and the fact that nothing works. When I delve a bit deeper and ask about the time and energy they have put forward in pursuit of their biggest goal, the answer is surprising. The average dater I have spoken with puts only a few hours a month into his dating life, even though these same people claim that finding love is their biggest priority. What they say they want and what their actions demonstrate do not always add up. On a weekly basis, it seems that these people give precedence to almost every other 'to do' that they admit is less important. Of course work needs to be done and chores need to be completed – but boundaries also need to be created if one wants to find balance.

In defense of his ultra light dating schedule, one guy I interviewed said, “Who has the time for a lame date?” and another admitted, “I'd rather take a nap in my bed than a nap on a date with someone I don't like”. Both these people's comments are valid. The dating process can be draining and dating fatigue is common. The bizarre reality about dating is that most dates are designed to fail – that's the nature of dating! Everyone I know in happy relationships found their partners after a series of dates that were less than memorable (or so awful, they were hard to forget). Having resilience (and let's face it, a sense of humor) is a big piece of the dating equation.

Only by putting forth effort – time and energy – will dating work. Successful dating requires both physical effort: clearing time in your schedule and showing up for dates (like the ones conveniently planned by It’s Just Lunch!); and mental effort: adjusting your attitude so you can approach the process with excitement and curiosity.

When you are looking for love and overwhelmed by your overbooked calendar, consider: What do you have to say no to in order to say yes to your priority of finding a loving partner? You may have to say 'no' to working past 7 pm or working every weekend. After all, how do you expect to be in a relationship if you don't even have time to date?! Or - you may have to say 'no' to the attitude that the pursuit of love is too tiring to be worthwhile. If finding a partner is one of your primary goals, find the time and space in your life to express that.

Andrea Syrtash is a dating and relationship expert, advice columnist and author of the new book, "He's Just Not Your Type (and that's a good thing)". Andrea has made Google 'hot trends’, ranking in the top 100 things googled on particular days between 2007-2009. She has no idea how that happened, but appreciates the (very postmodern) honor.  For more visit

Computers Don't Hug Back

624237_99471681 If you talk to a room full of singles, chances are, at least a few of them have tried online dating. Over and over you'll hear similar stories.  It's what everyone is doing.  It's cheap, or even free.  And they know someone who's met someone. Even a couple who met and married.

All of which is true.  It's also true that online dating can be extremely time consuming, frustrating, and expensive depending on which/how many service(s) you use and how many dates you go on before you meet anyone worth seeing a second time.

The BIG underlying truth behind all of this, though, is that it's nearly impossible to make a real, human connection with someone you've never met in person. You can make online contact with a new person. And based on what that person reveals about themselves (assuming that any, some or all of it is true) you can decide to engage in some kind of communication with that person.  Emails, phone calls, texts or IMs might give you some sense of whether or not you'll connect with this new person. But ultimately, none of it is a substitute for face to face interaction.

All of the online back and forth of online dating is really a prelude to face to face contact. The real deal. The actual date.  

You can't build a relationship with someone through a computer. Not completely. If for no other reason than it's hard to hug a computer.

IJL cuts the computers out of the equation. Instead of spending hours online sifting through hundreds or even thousands of profiles (the information in which, may or may not be factual), your IJL matchmaker connects you directly with men/women who you're likely to want to date. It may sound old-fashioned, but there's a reason we're still around.  It works.

5 Surprising Things That Men Find Attractive

How many times have you heard, "Men fall in love with their eyes?"  A lot, I'll bet.  

It's true, to a certain extent.  Men are visual creatures, and their initial attraction to any woman will be primarily inspired by her appearance.  Primarily.  Men don't fall for women they don't find visually appealing.

That doesn't mean, however, that looks are the only thing that matter.  Hardly.  As the saying goes, you can only look for so long.  

The reality is, it really is what's on the inside that determines whether or not a man falls in love with a woman. And stays in love.

We've done our homework and asked men what they find attractive. Here are some of the more surprising (or maybe not so surprising) answers:

1)  Kindness. Sure, there was that popular book that claimed that men preferred unkind women. But that's not what we hear. Most mature guys aren't interested in a relationship with a demanding diva.

2)  Independence. Men are attracted to women who can take care of themselves. Who have well developed lives and their own interests.  A woman who has nothing better to do than sit by the phone and wait for her man to call isn't attractive.

3)  Confidence. Confident people project that confidence and it shines through them, making them more attractive.  This is true for both men and women.  It's said so often that it really is a cliche, but you do have to love yourself first.  Self-doubt (or worse, serious issues with self-esteem) make you seem less attractive than you otherwise would.

4)  Supportive. We all want someone to support our dreams and goals.  Men, particularly, are seeking someone who will support them in their decisions.

5)  Sincerity/Authenticity. Somewhere, there's a dating advice columnist telling women to be aloof, mimic all of a man's interests and laugh at all of his jokes (even the really bad ones).  Those games might indeed work, at times. But when you ask men what they seek in a partner, they say they want someone authentic and sincere. Someone who will be their true selves, be comfortable with admitting differences, laugh when they're amused and always real.