“On the Date” Tips

Preparing Your Kids When You Reenter the Dating Scene

There are many things that may have changed since you last dated, and one of those things that might be different is that you now have children. Whether putting yourself out there again excites or terrifies you, you’re probably wondering how to handle the situation with your kids.

Depending on the age of your children and your custody situation, there’s no one-size-fits-all way navigate things, but here are some tips from the matchmakers at www.itsjustlunch.com Single parentto keep in mind as you reenter the dating waters.

Talk with them about it first

If your kids are old enough to have a conversation with you, consider sitting them down to explain that you’re going to start dating again. Tell them about your need to develop friendships with new people, but assure them that you’re not looking for someone to replace their other parent.

Most importantly, listen to what they say. Try to really hear their concerns or hesitations and do your best to address them.  

Take things slow

You might get caught up in the excitement of a new relationship, but remember that your children might not be able to move at the same pace as you emotionally. Even if they haven’t met the person you’re dating yet, be careful about how much you share with your children and what you share. No matter how agreeable they are, or how much you view your child as a friend, most children will be easily spooked by something new coming into their life so fast.

Take introductions seriously

You don’t need to introduce your children to everyone you date. Consider what might happen if your children do develop an attachment to this new person and then you break up and they suddenly have to adapt to even more change in their lives.

Wait until you’re sure you’re serious about someone and that you see the potential for moving in together or marriage happening down the road. Talk to your children in advance about how the first meeting will go and set some expectations.

And once again, listen to your children. How are they feeling? Nervous? Angry? Even if there’s nothing much you can do to assuage their fears, being willing to take the time to truly listen and empathize with your children can go a long way.

Don’t get defensive

If the worst happens and your children dislike your new partner, don’t leap immediately into a defensive mode. Ask them questions about what specifically they don’t like. Try to get down to the root of the problem. Are they nervous about this person moving in? Were they hopeful you were going to reconnect with your ex?

Lead with listening. Your children want to know they’re most important. They want to know that your relationship with them will never change.

Make your children feel heard and have reasonable expectations about the time it might take for them to feel comfortable with the situation. Don’t let them stop you from pursuing a new relationship and someone who makes you feel hopeful and happy again, but be patient and remember your children might need to be on a different timetable from you.


The Playing Field May Be Level After All

IJL - couple having coffeeWe’ve all seen the movies where Hollywood gives us hope that we can date someone out of our league – “Hitch,” “Knocked Up,” “Beauty & The Beast,” and the list goes on. But is it possible to “date up” in real life? 

According to science, the answer is yes! 

A recent study published by Psychological Science gives hopeless romantics a glimmer of faith that it can be done – by becoming friends with the desired person first as attraction can grow over time. 

The study surveyed 167 couples – 67 dating and 100 married for various lengths of time – about how long they knew each other before beginning to date and whether or not they had been friends before dating. Researchers also independently rated each individuals’ physical attractiveness. 

Results showed that people who started dating within a month of meeting were more similar on the attractiveness scale, whereas couples who knew each other, or were just friends for more than a month before dating, were less equal on the attractiveness scale. In other words, people do become couples despite not having an instant physical attraction. 

"If you happen to be shooting for someone ‘out of your league’ (in terms of attractiveness, at least), you may be more likely to succeed if you get to know the person for a while rather than going for it immediately," said the study’s lead author Lucy L. Hunt of University of Texas at Austin’s School of Human Ecology.   

The study also detailed more about the influence attractiveness has on relationship satisfaction. Even though couples who started dating soon after meeting were more likely to match based on attractiveness, it didn’t effect long term happiness, and neither did being friends first. 

Let’s say you show up for your first date and the sparks aren’t immediately flying. Your first instinct might be to shut down mentally and emotionally and down your drink as quickly as possible so you can get out of there. 

Slow down and give it a little time. The study noted, “As individuals become acquainted over time, romantic impressions become increasingly unique and less consensual.” 

And what are some of the best ways to get acquainted? Things such as making someone laugh, the ability to have a great conversation and having common interests can help perceptions of people change over time. 

Are you ready to get out there and meet your match? Let the matchmakers at It's Just Lunch help you find your match! Get started today by calling us at 1-800-489-7897 or click here to tell us a little about yourself.


The 3 Biggest Dating Mistakes Men Make (with tips for how to avoid them!)

Bigstock-Sad-And-Rejected-Man-With-A-Bo-60461645

Listen up, Romeo!  Flowers, candlelit dinners, and walks on the beach won't get you anywhere if you're still making these three dating mistakes!  Read on to learn the pitfalls most men stumble into and the easy fixes to pull you out.

Talking About Yourself Too Much.  Here's a little secret, fellas.  Want to impress a woman?  It's easy—listen to her.  Most men approach a date thinking they'll wow us with a litany of successes and accomplishments.  Yes, we know you're trying to impress us and we definitely want to learn about how wonderful you are, but slow it down!  Prattling off your entire résumé in the first couple hours comes across as pompous—especially when you fail to ask your date about her.    
Dating Tip:  I've got three words for you:  Listen.  Reflect.  Respond.  Women are way more impressed by a guy who talks with her as opposed to one who talks at her. 

Appearing Cocky, Instead of Confident.  Few women can resist a confident man—but most detest a cocky one.  There's a fine line between "Oh, he's interesting . . ." and "What an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk!"  To complicate matters, guys often have no clue they're coming across as cocky to women because of commonly observed gender differences in communication styles.  The one-upping, interrupting, and posturing characteristic to male speech doesn't typically fly with females.  It works well in "Guy World" but such banter often strikes us as brash and conceited.
Dating Tip:  Ask a female friend or your sister to let you know whenever you come across as too cocky in conversation.  Identifying when you veer off course will give you the chance to present yourself as charming and confident, not annoying and arrogant.

Trying To Play It Cool.  Of course you should take things slowly in the early stages when you're first getting to know each other.  There's no need to rush anything.  But once you determine your intentions, make them known!  Women love being pursued!  Playing it cool only fosters ambiguity in your relationship, which can instigate a cycle of confusion.  If you keep things low key, she may respond in turn by pulling back to protect to herself from getting hurt.  You then interpret her distance as disinterest and begin to lose faith in the long-term viability of what you two are developing.  And just like that, a relationship with loads of potential can tank. 
Dating Tip:  Women love a man with a plan.  If you're serious about her, show her!  Pull out your schedule and lock in future dates.  Demonstrate to her that you're making her a priority!

Remember, Romeo, you're not inking a business deal, you're wooing a lady.  Save the bravado for the boardroom and showcase the romantic part of your personality—the side of you that listens well, projects confidence, and goes after what he wants.  Avoid these three major mistakes and watch your love life soar!


6 Easy Steps to Having First Date Confidence

ThinkstockPhotos-487174973It's a date! Whether you mustered up the courage to suggest a get-together with the cutie on your bus route or it was specially arranged by one of our matchmakers at It's Just Lunch, you are probably experiencing a bit of the first date jitters. You know, that butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling. Those feelings can be exacerbated for those of us who have been out of the dating scene for a bit, wrapped in our careers or in another relationship. 

The best thing about those feelings -- they're totally normal. We all want to look good and put our best foot forward. It's normal to be nervous about whether or not you kiss on the first date, who pays (hint: if it's through IJL, the check is split) or what to wear. Our minds are programmed to get us worked up by triggering anxiety over "what if" scenarios. It has helped us survive centuries.

But dating has changed, and the key to surviving first dates isn't about living through the night (at least not for the majority of us). It comes down to confidence.

Don't believe me?

Have you ever known men or women who aren't necessarily "10s" on the attraction scale, but they never lack for friends or dates? What makes them so attractive, you may wonder? Confidence. These people are glowing with bright, friendly, fun attitudes and they have a genuine interest in others. They're happy with who they are and know what they have to offer. Think of confidence as a positive energy that pulls others to you.

Self-confidence produces amazing results. Here's why:

  • It's sexy
  • It allows you to relax and live in the moment (not worrying about what may happen or things that were said)
  • It means you take rejection lightly, not personally
  • It means you're content with yourself, your looks and life, which adds to your attraction

So, how can you up your confidence for your next big date? Well, us matchmakers at It's Just Lunch Vancouver have a few ideas:

Ease Into the Evening
Many of us are going full steam ahead before rushing out the door for our lunch or dinner dates. Whoa! If you are in a hurry or rushing about, you will bring that same anxiety to the Italian restaurant with you. Slow down. Give yourself about 30 minutes to decompress from the day and shift your focus to what lies ahead. A little bit of separation will gear you up for the date and present you in a better light.

Put a Positive Spin on the Self Talk
Take a few moments before a first date to give yourself a bit of a pep talk. A new study from the University of Illinois, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology says a little bit of self talk may be the best thing to boost your dating success.  According to an article on Fast Company.com, "previous studies have found self-talk can boost willpower and help you psych yourself up when you need to calm nerves" before a first date.

The study also found that the pronoun we use to talk to ourselves matters. Using the pronoun "you" when talking to yourself can help elevate your confidence and give you that "can-do" attitude.

Dating is About Enjoying Life
Approach dating as if you are looking to meet a new friend or widen your circle of contacts. By looking beyond the end goal of finding a lifemate, you will experience the joy along the way. Think of it as an experiment or trying on clothes. Not every pair of jeans is a great fit -- but when you find one that is, it lasts a lifetime. Open yourself to the idea that you are just browsing and that it doesn't have to work out. Remember it is just a date. Stay in the moment and enjoy what it offers you.

Accentuate the Positive
It's easy to spot our flaws (yet another survival technique that may be out of date). It is within our nature to notice what is lacking or missing. But not on a date. Share your strengths and unique qualities. Build yourself up rather than working on tearing yourself down. First impressions are everything. Keep the date in a positive light.

Your Date is Human Too
Remember that the person on the other end is a person too. They have emotions just like you and are most likely just as nervous. Relax in this acknowledgment. Treat the other person as you would want to be treated and, most likely, you'll have a successful evening. Even if you don't work out as lovers, perhaps you will meet a new friend. Each person we meet brings to us a new point of view, a new perspective to see the world. Even if you never meet this person again, there is something he can teach you. Try looking at your date from this perspective and you find it much easier to relax and be confident for the experience.

Smile
A genuine smile goes a long way. It's friendly, warm, open, and inviting, Try not to focus so much on the end result of the date and just be happy to be having the experience. Greet your date with a smile, smile throughout the date, and say goodbye with a smile.

Good luck!

This post originally appeared on It's Just Lunch Vancouver's blog


Dating Chivalry for Singles

Old-school-chivalry
Notice how we said "singles" because chivalry isn't just for men, it's for women too. We may be a tad late with this post considering National Courtesy Month is drawing to a close, but that doesn't mean common courtesy should only be exercised during the month of September. Courtesy should be extended every month of the year and with every date you encounter. It's actually kind of sad that we have to dedicate a whole month to an act every single should already be doing as professionals. Since the whole concept of chivalry is rather sexist, placing the sole responsibility of chivalry on the man, It's Just Lunch wanted to take a moment to share a few tips on how both men and women can be more chivalrous to one another, especially in light of technology changing the way we date.

Chivalry for Men

1. Pick up the phone and call her. Gone are the days when the original knights in shining armor would request an opportunity to court a woman by way of a messenger. A woman wants a man who will make an effort and go the extra mile. Today, that extra mile is the difference between a date invite via text and a date invite via phone call.

2. Meet her more than half way. It's the gentlemanly thing to do to meet a woman some place where she feels safe and comfortable, especially when meeting for the first time or do. If you want to build good rapport and chemistry with a woman, to key is making her feel comfortable being with you. The best way to make a woman feel comfortable around you is to hang out in a setting that is most familair to her. 

3. Hold the door open for her. It may be cliche, but roughly 90% of women surveyed by AskMen.com agreed that the most chivalrous act a man can do is holding the door open for a woman. It's a sign of respect that ultimately reflects on you, especially when she notices that you don't just do it for her, you do it for others as well. A truly chivalrous man extends that chivalry to everyone he crosses paths with.

Chivalry for Women

1. Steer clear of mind games. When a man calls you, don't wait three rings to answer the phone or let it ring to voice mail first before waiting an hour to call back. If you're free, you're free. If you're not, you're not. Life is too short to be playing senseless games with the opposite sex. If you're among those always complaining about how men always text and never call, there's a pretty good chance it's because you never answer your phone or return his phone calls. Sure, men enjoy a little bit of a chase, but playing minds games like being unavailable when you're really available is taking it too far. Show him a little bit more respect by appreciating his valiant efforts to woo you.  

2. Give him permission to lead. Yes, women absolutely hate it when a man asks a woman out on a date and it turns into a game of 20 questions trying to figure out logistics. What do you want to do? Where do you want to go? What time should we meet? In age of feminism, men are treading on thin ice to make sure they don't disrespect your independence and self-sufficiency. Throw him a bone and give him permission to take the reigns if that is what you want him to do, especially if you're tired of holding on the reigns of your daily life. If you want him to plan the date so you don't have to, ask him to surprise you or give him your preferences so he can take charge. If you don't care where you go, as long as he is willing to pick you up, say that. Sometimes, all a man needs is a green light to get him going. 

3. Offer to pay your way. While this is a topic that is always up for debate, the general consensus is that men should at least pay for the first date. Most professional men usually do insist on picking up the tab, but the way a woman dances around the check can be very revealing. If you excuse yourself to the bathroom as the check is being dropped, it may reflect on your poorly and illustrates a sense of entitlement even. However, if you offer to split the tab before excusing yourself to the bathroom, then it shows that you are a considerate person. There is another consensus that who ever does the asking does the paying. Even if that applies, the same principles still applies regarding how a person dances around the check.

Chivalry isn't just for men. It's for women too. At the end of the day, chilvary is centered around mutual respect for a person's time, energy and resources.