It’s February, and we can’t help thinking about love. Can you? If you are single and need a little practical advice about finding love, read on. As a matchmaker and a dating coach, I have a few tips to offer single women (and men) of all ages–so BA50s, listen up!
1. Forget your lists. Stop thinking about what you WANT in a partner and start thinking about what you NEED to make you happy. Maybe you think you have to have someone who loves dogs or the opera or the Red Sox; but imagine the pleasure of introducing someone to an opera for the first time. Some couples share similar styles, talents and interests, while other relationships thrive on complementarity. I suggest you practice saying, “I am looking for someone wonderful to make me happy!” Clients often tell me they find this statement liberating because it allows them to be open to new romantic possibilities, and it feels natural and thoughtful when asking friends and colleagues if they know someone you might like to meet. Take the time to identify what you need in a relationship. Be honest and look inward before you start searching for that special someone. Telling yourself you are looking for someone wonderful to make you happy, and thereby opening yourself up to new possibilities, will free you from existing expectations and limiting requirements. This freedom allows you to be open to the possibility that love may come in a totally unexpected and surprising package!
2. Dating and Networking are your equal partners. You are now your own new business. You are the CEO and only employee. Your job is to develop a sales team; a team of family, friends and colleagues to highlight your amazing qualities. Your team has your sales goals in mind. The good news is you only need one great sale. The bottom line is you must network. You need to tell anyone and everyone you meet that you’re ready to date and to meet new people. One of my favorite examples is a 59 year-old female client who was reluctant to attend her friend’s second marriage. She was feeling somewhat envious, wishing that it was her turn to be the bride. It was a small wedding, only eighty people. Here is the wedding toast we wrote together: “I am so happy for my dear friend, Emily, that she found Mark, and I hope someday I’ll find someone just as wonderful.” Toward the end of the afternoon, a gentleman introduced himself to my client, and told her he had a cousin he would like her to meet. They met, dated for nearly a year and are happily married.
3. Get out of the kitchen. No more coffee in your own kitchen. Try new places for coffee, different supermarkets, stores and libraries. Go to social and professional networking events and share your new project with everyone! It’s not always about meeting men; women are great connectors too. It’s easy to network for business, but you need to apply the same skill set to finding your someone special.
4. Always look your best. Small clues tell big stories; your hair, makeup, outfits–even your fingernails. One client told me that she only wanted someone who appreciated how she looked when she ran out to the supermarket; worn-out jeans, tee shirt, hair pulled back and no makeup. Bad idea. Once you are in a relationship with someone, of course, being this casual is fine, but this approach is not my advice for early dates. You never know when you’re going to meet someone. I have an excellent image consultant who consults with every client of mine to talk about the image he or she projects. First impressions matter. If you care how you look, it’s likely your date will respect that quality in you.
5. A first date is an opportunity to meet a new person. First dates are not about deciding (or even thinking about) if this is the person with whom you want to spend the rest of your life. First dates are opportunities to meet people and to consider whether you want to go on a second date. Try to appreciate each date’s good qualities. Always be polite…you never know who he knows. You are only one, two or at most three degrees of separation from meeting your special someone.
6. What is a dating coach? A dating coach is a personal trainer for finding love; someone in your corner to motivate and guide you to help you be successful. Having an expert can make all the difference. A dating coach, unlike family and friends, can be honest and objective. You are not outsourcing your love life and turning it over to someone else. You are the one in charge. Like any worthwhile endeavor you pursue, finding love takes time, energy, effort, commitment and resources. By giving you the tools you need to attract, find and keep the mutually loving and respectful relationship you deserve, a dating coach empowers you to be your own matchmaker.
7. Make love happen. Before I became a matchmaker and dating coach, I directed theatre. My advice to actors–and now to singles of all ages: Be big, bright and beautiful, react authentically, trust your instincts and have fun. You can then build the self-awareness and self-confidence necessary to make love happen!
Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Do something fun with someone who elevates you–someone who makes you happy!
Peggy Wolman is a matchmaker and dating coach who can be found at peggywolmanmatchmaking.com