Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Joy of Dating

As single people, we are so busy looking for ‘The One’ that we miss the joys of dating and the perks of having a well-rounded social life. -- Erin Tillman ‘The Dating Advice Girl’

Dating can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be! Too many people make it their only purpose to date is to find a relationship. Why? They spend hours online on one dating website after another, reading profile after profile, message back and forth for days, weeks, months… and then they go on their first date – the dreaded “interview” date - only to discover that this person was not who they thought. And so, again back to the drawing board, or in this case, back to the computer.

There are three major flaws with this approach and this way of thinking about dating. First, it doesn’t matter how well crafted a person’s profile is or who good they look in photos or how many hours you spent “talking” to them online. You will never truly know a person until you meet them, interact with them and spend some quality time with them.

Second, when the other person is hidden behind a computer screen, you read into that person what you want to see/feel/believe. You form that person into what you want him/her to be, not who they really are. Then you go into the first date with high expectations and high demands, which often leads to disappointment.

Third, when you’re focused on finding “The One” you often go on “interview” dates to quickly assess and filter out the candidates. But love and relationship is not like a job. The other person may meet all of your criteria and yet still be the wrong person for you. Personality, compatibility, chemistry, attraction – they come with interaction and spending quality time together. No questionnaire, test or match making algorithm can find you that “match.”

So how can you make dating fun? First, don’t worry about finding “The One.” It’s an endless job. Focus on enjoying your life and being happy. As a single person, many times there things you want to do but no one to do them with. Waiting to be un-single is not the answer. Just make it a date! Invite someone to go do the things you want to do. I.e. make it an “activity” date. One website, HowAboutADate.com, makes it easy for you to just post-a-date.

When you’re on an “activity” date, you both start with a similar interest, you both have something to do and to talk about, you both are more relaxed and the conversation is more natural. Discover how you two interact with each other and get to know the other person for who they really are. Let chemistry happen naturally. Go into the date with no expectations and you won’t get disappointed; you may even be pleasantly surprised. At minimum, you did a fun activity, had someone to do it with and perhaps even made a friend. You’re not sitting at home; you’re out enjoying and experience life and building your social circle.

In addition, when you’re doing the things you love, your personality shines. That’s when people are most attracted to you. That’s when love can find you. So get offline, stop doing the “interview” dates and go on “activity” dates. Get out, enjoy dating and enjoy life!

by Dao Nguyen
Founder and Social Instigator

Monday, November 16, 2015

How many dates does it take to find Mr. or Ms. Right?

Now-a-days it seems increasingly harder and harder to find that elusive “soul-mate”, Mr. or Ms. Right, the one that will take our breath away, fill us with everlasting joy, and make us want to live the rest of our life with them. Most people have gone on tens of dates, been in and out of relationships and still they are back to “square one” and still single. It feels like mission impossible!
Singles now outnumber married couples as stated in an article in the Washington Times on September 15, 2014 by By Hunter Schwarz: For the first time, there are more single American adults than married ones…1  As everybody wants love and most people still want to be married, this trend surely shows how difficult it is to find “the one.”  Have singles just giving up? Have you given you?
It sounds cliché, but don’t give up. Don’t ask, “How many dates do you have to go on?” The answer is "as many as it takes." Some of the biggest success stories started with many failures, setbacks and disappointments. When it comes to love, you have to keep trying. No two people are alike and you never know when you will actually meet “the one” for you.  Your chances may be extremely small in finding your soul-mate; but one thing is for sure, if you give up and you don’t even put yourself out there, then your chances are ZERO.
Wendy Newman, author of 121 First Dates2 said that it took her over 100 first dates to finally meet her Mr. Right. But with each date, she learned a little something about herself and about the world around her, and it helped her understand and focus on who would be the right man for her. And... with a little bit of perseverance and luck, she finally met “the one” for her, and knew when and how to hold on to him.
So don’t give up. You've got to keep trying, keep seeking, keep asking people out and keep dating. Learn from your past dates, adjust your choices/criteria, grow yourself and change... but don't give up.
By Maria Thao Tran
HowAboutADate.com Guest Blogger 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

How long does a heartbreak last?

Breakups and heartbreaks are very painful. It feels as if the pain will reside in your heart forever. It can be a sore and faint ache of a raw wound. If your heart has been broken, only time can heal it completely. Every wound hurts and requires time even though you think that you can’t be normal again. Some people are more emotional, some people heal faster, but sooner or later they will feel alive again. People often feel angry, alone, empty, lost and sad. They might also lose hope, have insomnia, and suffer through loss of appetite, interest in any activity and show signs of depression. 

Many people try to escape that unbearable pain by jumping into another relationship as soon as possible. However many people fail to understand that being alone is the best way to a heartbreak recovery. It is very important to give yourself time to heal alone. Even though it may seem harder, being alone makes you strong and enable you to think. If you are going through a breakup, take a break from looking out for another person. Give yourself some quality time to mend and nurture yourself.

A research conducted by the Journal of Positive Psychology, out of total of 155 cases, 71% of the young adults will take about 3 months in order to get back to normal and feeling positive. This is the time when it is appropriate for them to think as grown and goal-oriented person.

Jennifer Lopez said after her breakup: "I think I've finally learned the biggest lesson of all. You've got to love yourself first. You've got to be OK on your own before you're OK with someone else. You've got to value yourself and know that you're worth everything. And until you value yourself enough and love yourself enough to know that, you can't really have a healthy relationship."
Once you are completely healed, you'll be ready to love again with an open heart, instead of a bitter, angry and emotional one.  So don't worry about how long it will take for you to get over a breakup. Give yourself all the time you need to heal and remember: if it didn't hurt it was never good.
by Irene Jasaf
Dating and Relationship Coaching

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Dating Tip #102: Always Schedule Two Dates

Dating Tip #102: Always Schedule Two Dates... because dating can be stressful. Having two dates back to back increases your changes of having at least one good date; thus, you won't give up on dating all together. Elizabeth's story:

I had posted a date on HowAboutADate.com the week before, sifted through the numerous responses and ended with two "dates." I was very excited to meet both guys, based our few email exchanges. The Sunday guy flatly turned me down after our one hour coffee meeting. Fine, because I was not attracted to him very much, although he was ok. But still, I was a bit demoralized and destabilized.

So what's the point of going to my Monday evening date, the odds are, it's not going to work neither, and I'm getting sick and I'm feeling exhausted, and I have to find a parking spot, and I'm going to spend money again at the restaurant, and I'll get home late...

But then I thought, just go do it. You never know until you go and find out, and it's difficult enough to get a date with someone who you are at least interested in his profile and photo.

Well, things went very well. He paid for dinner (I left the tip though because I am not a complete mooch). To me, him paying for dinner is a sign of respect and that he's interested in me and he has manners - I'm old-fashioned. He offered to pick me up after work and drive me back to BART1 if we meet after work in the future.

Wow, so refreshing! Guys are not all like that. I like him for what I've seen and heard so far. We're seeing each other next Saturday. Wish me luck!

July 15, 2015
(The author's name was changed for privacy.)

1 San Francisco's subway system, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART)

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

A Special Thank You to HowAboutADate.com

I am very grateful for your website (HowAboutADate.com), your singles group (via meetup, i.e. http://www.meetup.com/HowAboutADate-SF) and your concept in general. I haven't found a boyfriend or life partner yet. But I went on some dates, and met two very interesting persons who brought so much in my life.
One of them is BigDaddy. I contacted him because his profile said he liked to dance all night. Sounded just like me! I was just curious, open-minded and didn't set high expectations so I met with him. I met a very sweet, considerate and kind person, always very respectful of me and watchful for me. We met several times, always evenings getting into the night. One time we went to Audio listen to music. It didn't happen very well in the sense that I was glued to the DJ's booth the whole time -what can I say I just love music that much!- and neglected my date. But he was cool with it, I apologized. That ended our club outings, although we did go dancing at least one more time, where I made a better job. Most of the time we would just be cruisin' -like he called it- in his car, listening to deafening trap/house music, windows rolled down, the foggy wind cooling off my face, riding San Francisco's roller coaster streets while lights at night created the most animated neighborhoods. We would turn down the volume once in a while or stop for tea and Chinese pastries and talk about our life, catch up, or just casually chat.

San Francisco Chinatown

I always enjoyed and fully appreciating the present moments. Even thought we didn't have the chemistry or didn't check each other's wish-list boxes to take it to another level, those nights and moments with BigDaddy have been some of the best moments of my year. Magical, relaxing, fun and unique. Ultimately I found some of what I was looking for: a personal connection, a break in my loneliness, a soul who cared about how I felt and who was there for me, who accepted me and didn't judge me, and I hope I provided some of what he was looking for too.
Another time I came across Ron's profile. He described living an active lifestyle with exercise and hikes as well as cultural outings, so we had this in common. Our first date was a disaster. I made it a disaster by focusing on everything that was wrong, setting high standards and high expectations which were not met all the way. I got in a funk and wasn't very pleasant to say the least. The day after I felt very bad about my behavior because he didn't deserve it. I sent him an email sincerely apologizing and thanking him to have organized the meeting, picked a venue that offered music, showed up on time. Ron is a very forgiving person and brushed off the uneasiness of our first encounter and added me to his mailing list of group outings and events invitations. That's how we kept in touch.
Then I went through a very bad heartbreak with a person I was infatuated with but who wasn't interested in me. I was miserable, felt out of control and needed a shoulder to cry on. I reached out to Ron. He responded with good advice. He opened his ears and heart to my need of someone understanding what I was going through and my need for sharing my thoughts and sorrow. From that point on, we exchanged daily emails and texts, first to help me through the rough seas I was crossing. Then we met again, for activities we both have an interest for. We walked the trail at Land's End above the Ocean, strolled at an art exhibit in the Mission, hiked trails and discovered new neighborhood parks in the Peninsula, and so much more. Ron was there for me at every step of the way in my struggle to get over my heartbreak and then my various daily challenges big or small. Always listening and acknowledging my feelings, and bringing his experience, wisdom and natural kindness to help me overcome my moments of weakness, doubt or pain. We also shared our excitement, enthusiasm and stories of happy events.
The Labyrinth and Golden Gate Bridge From Lands End
I feel incredibly lucky to have met such a person, as in my experience it happens very rarely. We both know that we are not adequate to be each other's life partners. But we have developed this rare connection based on communication and helping each other out with presence, kindness and acceptance.
While I haven't met the "man of my dreams", your website (howaboutadate.com) did and do provide me with a place where I know other members are looking and available and ready to meet. I lead a very full life and my free time is limited and precious. So the quick sign up and profile creation, straight forward way to contact a person for a specific activity and place, and ultimately getting to go on a date or do an activity made the whole experience very easy and efficient. It gave me the opportunity to meet at least two wonderful unique individuals and shared special and delightful moments, all based on appreciating similar activities and taking the time to get to know each other - something we all forget or neglect to do. I don't think we would have approached each other in a different setting or even met each other otherwise. While waiting or looking for my perfect man, I didn't stay lonely or idle. Instead I lived and grew, discovered and learned new things, about other persons and about myself, and we helped each other out. It keeps my spirits up and gives me the energy and motivation to keep looking for my soul mate.
Thank you,

Veronica - San Rafael, CA - July 11, 2015

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Why don’t I get asked out?

“Why don’t I get asked out?” This question has always plagued so many women. There could be numerous reasons. The guy may be too shy. The timing may be off. Or he’s just not that into you. Or do you think it’s you? You’re not pretty enough. You’re not smart enough. You’re not funny enough. For many women it’s the later.  It’s our low self-esteem that creates a vicious cycle of self-loathing that, in short, turns the guys off.
  1.  Nobody fancies me. Everybody has a dry spell now and then. But if you let this thought consume you, it will cause you to:
  2. Ignore those checking you out and pay attention to rejection messages.  All because you think “nobody fancies you.” This in turn creates:
  3. Feelings of unattractiveness and self-consciousness.  Which can results in:
  4. Sloppy dress, acting unsocial and not mixing with others.  This leads to more:
  5. You don’t get asked out, which reinforces #1 Nobody fancies you.

Breaking out of this vicious cycle may take time but it’s completely doable. It all starts with raising your self-esteem.  (1) Dress up and go out with some good friends, friends that will complement you and you them. (2) Stay positive, which will cause you to laugh and smile. People are attracted to happy people; they don’t want to be around people who will bring them down. (3) Do activities that you enjoy. When you do what you love your personality shines – that’s when people will notice you. (4) And keep your eye out for those that do notice you. Let that boost your ego and raise your self-esteem.  (5) Lastly, remember that confidence is sexy.

Now that you have the how to, only practice makes perfect. Get out there and start dating!

By Dao Nguyen

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Singles, How to Survive Valentine's Day (7 day count down)

This day for the “celebration of love” can be especially hard on singles that are (currently) not in a relationship.  Singles, don’t let Valentine’s Day get you down.  Here are a few facts and tips to help you survive, if not enjoy, Valentine’s Day!  
Seven Day Count Down:

7. Realize that Valentine's Day is only made for money. Just like the many non-federal holidays created by the retail industry, it's to guilt people into buying flowers and gifts; thus making money for the rich.

6. You are not alone. More than 50% of the US Adult population is single.

For the first time, there are more single American adults than married ones, and here’s where they live – The Washington Post, Sept 15 2014

5. Know that many breakups happen on/around Valentine's Day since many couples feel pressure to "evaluate" their relationship around this time. Bonus: that means there will be more singles after Valentine's Day.

4. Avoid couples. If you have a friend who is with their partner, it's in your best interest to stay away from them, even if they ask you to go somewhere with them it's not a good idea. It's Valentine's Day, so obviously there will be a lot of affection and if you see that it will ruin your week and also you will feel like you're just tagging along and this will also hurt your feelings.

3. Realize that you're happier alone than with your ex. Just because one day can make you feel miserable doesn't mean you should force yourself to find a relationship and be miserable for the rest of the year.

2. Plan to spend Valentine's Day with your single friends or join a singles Meetup event or go out to a singles mixer/party. Now-a-days there's meetup.com, where many singles social groups and events are posted. There are big parties organized just for singles! For example, there's a huge Singles Valentine's Day Party in San Francisco CA on Sat Feb 14 2015. 

1. Treat yourself. Celebrate your beautiful self and show yourself some love. Book a day at the spa and pamper yourself, buy yourself flowers and chocolates, and/or treat yourself to a fancy dinner. You deserve it!

By Dao Nguyen, Social Instigator
Empowering singles and supporting & enriching the Singles Community