Moving from Text to Real-Life Interaction

Steven Ward nice dateMany people find it difficult to move from text message and social media interactions with people they are interested in into real life interaction and conversation. This is not unusual at all. It seems that these days, many people would rather text than talk. Because of how ubiquitous texting, emailing, and social media updating is in our daily lives, sometimes it can be uncomfortable to vocalize yourself instead. When people get too used to communicating electronically, they seem to forget the basics of conversation. If this has been a problem for you, here are a few important things to keep in mind.

First, remember to not make it about you. Make it about her. You can start with something simple, the subject of her career for example, but don’t dwell on it forever or very soon you will find yourself in the friend zone. After that, ask noninvasive questions. For the most part, women love to talk about their family, their friends, and their pets. If they ask you a question you’re uncomfortable with, just provide a pleasant answer and pivot back to them. Turn the tables and ask something that is easy to answer to change the subject.

Let her do more of the talking. If you catch her fidgeting, slouching, playing on her phone, making less eye contact, or generally looking less comfortable, it means you’re losing her. Find out what she’s passionate about and hone in on it. Do your best to learn as much as you can about what she cares about. Let her go on for as long as she likes, but remember to participate in conversation, too.

Those are a few “Do’s.” Now here are a few “Don’ts.”  Unless you’ve slept with her already, don’t make sexual innuendos. Don’t discuss — or at the very least — don’t dwell on your ex. Don’t debate politics or religion, and, at all costs, don’t be negative.

Three Dating Issues

Steven Ward couple-on-a-dateDating While Unemployed

Without a doubt, the number one thing that women expect when meeting someone is gainful employment.  If you find yourself in a position where a woman wants to get to know you better, but you happen to be out of work, the best thing to do is to own up to your current situation. It is also important to put a positive spin on things.  With that said, don’t embellish or make excuses. That will only make matters worse.  Tell her that you are currently exploring your options and want to be sure that the next position you take is one that challenges, motivates, and satisfies you. Having a plan is always attractive, so be sure to let her know what you are doing to secure your next opportunity, whether it’s going back to school, tapping into your network, working with a recruiter, or going into another line of work altogether.  Just remember, above all else, to be honest and to be confident.

Steven Ward talk-to-womenApproaching Women

Many guys find that they can approach girls when they are in a group setting, but that when they are flying solo they have trouble going up to talk to them.  Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you’re getting ready to approach someone of interest: Don’t catch them off guard or seem like you’re stalking them;  Make eye contact, but don’t stare;  Smile and project confidence.

Once you both have recognized each other’s presence, it’s time to make your approach. Casually close the gap between the two of you and get within chatting distance. In the words of my old high school football coach, “use the KISS method: Keep It Simple, Stupid!” Don’t try to appear too witty and don’t be pushy.  Open with a simple question in the context of the surroundings – “Excuse me, do you happen to know the bartender’s name? I can’t seem to get his attention,” or something along those lines.  Ask questions that aren’t easily Google-able, and that won’t seem too out of the blue.

If she engages, introduce yourself, pay her a compliment, and assume she’s unavailable – “I’m sorry, I should introduce myself.  And you are? You seem like a great catch, is your husband or boyfriend going to appear any second?”  If she tells you she’s available, it should be smooth sailing. If she confirms your assumption that she’s spoken for already, tell her, “Well, he’s obviously a lucky guy. Have a great night.” And get out of there.

Also keep in mind that pickup lines rarely work.  And, as always, it’s important to be confident.  If you feel awkward, she will definitely feel awkward.

Steven Ward Dating-CoupleDating Someone Who Is Recently Divorced

Someone recently asked me a question on this subject, so I think it would be worth sharing it here with my response.

Hey Steve,

I’m dating a woman that I care about, but I found out she got a divorce two months ago. Am I her rebound? It seems too quick for her to be dating already.

You can’t rush to judgment. Without knowing the circumstances, it’s hard to say. You must consider a few things: Did she decide to end it? Did he? Was someone unfaithful? Did they grow apart? Could it be all of the above?

You must be sure to let her know how you feel. Tell her that you really care about her, and that you want her to do what’s best for her own well-being. If you’re ready to be in a relationship and she isn’t, or vice versa, it’s important for each of you to know where the other stands. Respect her privacy, her space, her time, and her boundaries. Showing your appreciation for these things will only help.

Most men and women I know who have ever been married actually enjoyed it. Whether they enjoyed their spouse, however, is another issue. The point is that she might prefer to be with someone than without someone. She may want the time and space to rediscover herself, or she may prefer the closeness and companionship that comes with a relationship. The only way to find these things out for sure is to discuss your hopes, your fears, your thoughts, and your feelings.  The things you want to happen won’t just happen on their own.

Dating Disparity In America

With the exception of my commentary, nearly all of this post was derived from the research and findings of Wendy Wang and Kim Parker at Pew Research.

Pew Research Center has just released some telltale findings regarding marriage in America. I am color-blind when it comes to matchmaking, and I am as much for gender parity as anyone else. However, there are some startling statistics that relate to race, gender, education and employment that are worth noting and considering as you look for the “bigger better deal” in dating.

Let’s start with some of the more obvious findings. The average age of first time marriages for men has gone from 23 to 29 between 1960 and 2012. For women it has gone from 20 to 23. And now, ¼ of never married young adults 25 to 34 live with a partner. Why? Shifting public values, changing demographic patterns and hard economic times have all been contributing factors.

Somewhat unsurprising is that the proportion of single, never married adults who would like to get married versus those who are ambivalent or sure that they won’t has dropped considerably in just a two year span. In 2010, 61% of single, never married young adults said they would like to get married. In 2012, that dropped to 53%. 13% said they definitely do not want to get married and 32% are unsure (versus 27% uncertainty in 2010).

Some of the conclusions they found were not that startling. 46% of men versus 78% of women feel having a steady job is “very important” in determining whether or not someone would be a good potential mate. 62% of men versus 70% of women feel that similar views on having/raising children is “very important” when considering whether or not someone is marriage material.

This is where the rubber hits the road. According to authors Wendy Wang and Kim Parker,

In 1960, among never-married adults ages 25 to 34, the number of employed men per 100 women dropped from 139 in 1960 to 91 in 2012, despite the fact that men in this age group outnumber young women in absolute numbers. In other words, if all never-married young women in 2012 wanted to find a young employed man who had also never been married, 9% of them would fail, simply because there are not enough men in the target group. Five decades ago, never-married young women had a much larger pool of potential spouses from which to choose.

A lot of women that hire me insist that the man is at least college educated. That’s easy for them to say. Today, 1/3 of women over 25 that have never been married have at least a bachelor’s degree compared to ¼ men. When it comes to advanced degrees there are 77 never-married men ages 25 to 34 post-grads for every 100 women with similar educational credentials.

What has happened? In 1960, 93% of men 25 to 34 were in the labor force. Now, that participation has dropped to 82%. Additionally, median wages have dropped 20% over the past 30 years for men. And because the wage gap is closing between men and women as of 2012, among 25 to 34 year olds, women now earn 93% of the wages that men do. That’s up from less than 70% in 1980.

When it comes to racial differences it seems that in 2012 36% of Blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 16% of Whites 25 or older have never been married. In 1960 only 9% of Blacks, 13% of Hispanics and 8% of Whites 25 or older have never been married. Interestingly enough, 58% of Blacks believe that marriage is important if you intend to spend the rest of your life with someone, compared to only 44% of Whites.

In most racial and ethnic groups, men are more likely than women to have never been married. The major exception is among Blacks. In 2012, roughly equal shares of Black men (36%) and Black women (35%) ages 25 and older had never been married. In 1960, Black men were more likely than Black women to have never been married (12% vs. 8%). 

 

For Blacks ages 25 to 34, there are 92 never-married men for every 100 never-married women. When employment status is taken into consideration, there are 51 employed young Black men for every 100 young Black women. Among never-married White, Hispanic and Asian American young adults, the ratio of employed men to women is roughly equal—100 men for every 100 women. Several decades ago, there was a surplus of young employed men among Whites, and for every 100 young Black women, there were nearly 90 employed Black men.

Ultimately, Darwin’s law of natural selection will take over and the hunt for marriage will be about survival of the fittest. Women will have to outmatch each other in order to land an ideal mate. This is why it is so important to be on the top of your game when it comes to dating. Both marriage-minded men and marriage minded women will have to be their best selves in order to meet their match. Hiring a matchmaker, retaining a coach and increasing the frequency and modes of meeting people are all ways to increase your likelihood of finding a spouse.

There is one more conclusion worth noting. Previously married women are less likely to be interested in remarrying than previously married men. Only 15% of these women want to remarry versus 29% of these men. And 54% of these women state that they are “not interested” in getting remarried while only 30% of these men say the same.

To read the research from Pew please click HERE.

5 Tips to Online and Mobile Dating Apps

My career in matchmaking and dating predates social media. I was bringing love into peoples’ lives before MySpace was a household name and before Zuckerberg launched Facebook. Online dating however, has been around since the chat room. I can remember as far back as 1993 when AOL personals replaced the classified ads that lonely hearts would place in the back of their regional magazine.

Although digital dating has evolved in the last twenty years, many of the perils and pitfalls remain the same. Here are some tips to make sure you’re not wasting your time online or setting yourself up for disappointment in person.


Speak before you meet.
 When you connect with someone through a nifty hookup app like Tinder or a dense online matchmaking site like Eharmony, you must make sure you have some sort of connection before bothering to meet in person. After messaging until your heart’s content, arrange to speak to one another before setting up a date. In today’s day and age, you have nothing to lose by giving your number out to someone you met online.

Do your homework. 
When you get the chance to speak with someone you met online, go on a fact-finding mission before you get together in person. You should know where they grew up, where they went to high school, when they graduated, where they attended college (if applicable) and where they now work before you plan to meet. If you get a home address and date of birth you can actually perform your own criminal background check of them online. This usually isn’t necessary if you have references so find out if you know any of the same people before you become friends on Facebook.

Meet in broad daylight. 
Whenever you get together with someone in person for the first time, and you’ve already met online, you never really know what you’re going to get. That’s why I always suggest meeting during the day and allotting only an hour or so of time. If its known in advance that you’d like to get together just to get acquainted and you end the meeting on a high note, both of you will have something to look forward to when you go on an actual date. If it’s a mismatch however, you aren’t trapped in dire straits.

Keep the texting to a minimum. 
Text messaging is asynchronous. When you get into the habit of texting someone too soon you may find yourself anxiously awaiting acknowledgement, engagement or a response. Although many people nowadays loathe the telephone conversation I still suggest placing a phone call and leaving a voicemail at least to express your gratitude, interest, or desire to see someone. Text messaging should only be used to convey messages you do not expect the receiver to reply to.

Always be gracious. 
Whether this mystery match turns out to be good, bad, or ugly, the number one thing you can do is be as gracious as possible. Word of mouth is now viral thanks to social media. And there are even apps now designed to warn women about scandalous men online. Lulu and DontDateHimGirl are just a couple products that come to mind. Your hope should be that afterwards this person you met would have something positive to say on your behalf.

Use common sense, follow this simple advice, and you may avoid a lot of wasted time and disappointment with dating online. If you’d rather save yourself the trouble, and spare yourself surprises, you could always hire my team and I to do the work for you. Just complete our ‘Getting Started’ form to be contacted.

 

Sex On The First Date

There have been countless surveys and studies published recently that are supposed to provide insights into love, dating and relationship in the digital age. Recently, famed love doctor Helen Fisher concluded that one out of five singles believe it’s either “somewhat appropriate” or “totally appropriate” to have sex on a first date. You may be one of those four-out-of-five today, but that one-out-of-five tomorrow. The same study concluded that 31% of singles say they have developed a relationship from what they thought was just going to be a one-night stand. So it isn’t always a bust.

Jumping into the sack has almost become a societal norm. It’s certainly a far cry from the taboo it used to be. The risks however are very much the same.

Most singles today date like they’re playing Blackjack. Although you might like to play only one hand at a time, many players play as many hands at time as they can. Any experienced Blackjack player will tell you; how others play their hand should have no bearing on how you play yours. So if you play more than one hand at a time, how you play one hand, should have no bearing on how you play the other. That’s why the dating games should be played more like poker…if you’re playing games at all.

Whether or not you win at the poker totally depends on everyone else’s hand; just like sex. Unless you’re a professional poker player you probably can’t tell your odds. Your health and reputation are two of your most valuable assets and ones you should never gamble with. I’ve learned in life that no matter how lucky you’ve been and no matter how many hands you’ve won, you can’t possibly win ‘em all and all it takes is one bad beat to lose everything you’ve worked for.