I matched with three guys I wanted to meet, but none of them have started a conversation!
I spend so much time on these apps and nothing ever comes from it!
Any of these thoughts sound familiar? If you have frequented any of the dating apps on the market today, it’s likely you can relate to all three of these statements. It’s almost proven that the overabundant online selection and quick-to-judge vetting process is more curse than blessing to females looking for something serious. Weeks, months, or years spent sorting, swiping, matching, and messaging often result in nothing but extreme dating fatigue, landing most women right back where they started when their membership expires.
Most clients who seek my help have nearly given up hope of making something online happen offline. It’s one of the main reasons I decided to change my coaching structure two years ago from single sessions to a six month program. As fast and easy as app dating may be, the process is anything but that. To play the new dating game, you not only have to understand the other team, but you have to really know the playing field, and it has become challenging, confusing, and all too time consuming.
I’ve been dating for over twenty years (ten years for myself, ten by proxy) and can confidently say I know the app game pretty well. There are ways to work the new system of dating so that the system doesn’t work you. I teach my clients how to do just that, and at times, I even do it for them by logging into their profiles. Today, I’m going to share a few of my app dating techniques right here so that you, too, can up your odds of making love happen.
As much as we’d like to use Tinder and the like to “cherry pick” our Prince Charming, doing so is a recipe for sitting home every night. If you want to find the right person for you, you have to ditch your list of physical must-haves and swipe right on almost anyone who fits your age range and location. Before you start posting the backlash comments to this, let me clarify that I’m not telling you to go out with everyone you swipe right on. I’m saying that in order to have enough of a dating pool to fish from you need to swipe right A LOT. From the guys who “SR” back on you and result in a match, you can then decide who you want to message and possibly meet. If you hate this idea, you will likely need to read my upcoming book, “Cursed: Why you are smart and savvy but bad at love and the 5 cures that can save you from heartbreak” because your problem likely runs deeper than your “swipe psychology”. (Sorry!)
I am a big fan of old school rules like never texting a man first, and not asking him on a date. However, those principles don’t apply before you meet! Pre-first date, throw all the rules out the window because they will only have you scratching your head asking yourself why you aren’t meeting anyone. It’s not only fine to start messaging a guy first, it is necessary at times. Remember that most men have a substantial online funnel going, too, and if you don’t initiate a icebreaker you could get pushed down the line by the five other aggressive females clamoring to have coffee with him. And speaking of coffee, I also encourage you to throw out the suggestion of grabbing a cup because some guys are slower to pull the trigger and ask than others. Again, you don’t want Aggressive Abby and Brave Betty to beat you to the punch… or to the latte.
<b>If He Bites, Reel Him In</b>
This might be the most important part of my app dating strategy and it’s one that I don’t see many people use. Listen carefully because this is the golden nugget! If you get a guy chatting through one of the apps, do not leave the conversation. Do not play hard-to-get by hopping offline for an hour or a day, and then come back and try to resume your chat. It won’t work. If someone starts messaging you, stop what you are doing and build a relationship with him right then and there! Spend the next 15-20 minutes getting to know that person and creating a connection. After you feel you’ve done a good job building a little rapport, close him for a coffee date like this, “Hey, it’s been great chatting with you but I have a pilates class at 7:30. Maybe we should grab coffee this weekend? Let me know and I’ll check back with you tomorrow.” By closing him but also leaving him at the height of impulse, you create what I call the “laid back close.” This strategy makes you seem somewhat indifferent (not overeager), but still allows you to take control and get yourself the date!
If you are having troubling with the last piece of advice and can’t figure out how to quickly and effectively build a relationship with a stranger, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s actually hard to generate a good, meaningful conversation over “text” with someone you have never met. If you need help, you might want to reach out to me and find out more about my coaching program. Or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Darcy is a fashion consultant in NYC. Like most people in the fashion industry, she not only works in it, she lives for it. Darcy goes to great lengths to make sure her image is perfect. Every extra penny in her paycheck goes to enhancing her wardrobe or maintaining her appearance. She’s a petite blond with a very outgoing personality; so finding a boyfriend would seemingly be easy for her. But Darcy has been on dozens of first dates in the last two years and none of them have resulted in a second. She is active online and is approached when she is out, but over the last few years a pattern has emerged and the initial attraction she gets from guys never lasts long.
One day Darcy called me in a frenzy.
“It happened again!” She cried hysterically.
“What did?” I asked.
“The guy I went out with last night hasn’t texted me. We had a great time. He was so funny and cute. He even said we should go out again. I don’t understand it. This happens every time I go out with someone! What am I going to do? Everyone around me is getting married and here I am without even a boyfriend. My friend Jackie isn’t even that attractive and she is dating this unbelievable guy! I’m getting older with each passing day and my eggs are going to shrivel up and die soon!”
I reassured Darcy that at twenty-six her eggs were not in jeopardy just yet. I knew that lacking in initial attraction was not her problem, because she was asked out quite often. However, Darcy was losing the interest she did get in a very short amount of time. Something she was doing or saying on the first date was turning guys off so much, they didn’t want to sit through round two and get to know her better.
Darcy was a nice girl with a very attractive exterior. She wasn’t mean spirited or lacking in confidence. But she did have a habit of constantly talk about herself and her life. She also spent a great deal of time comparing herself to everyone around her. This had a big impact on her socially and romantically. She was jealous of her friends who so easily met their significant others. It seemed so unfair that she struggle with love while other people found it so easily. It wasn’t uncommon for her to skip bridal showers or engagement parties. It was difficult for her to act happy for others when she was so miserable herself. Even just seeing a couple holding hands on the street was enough to send her into a tailspin.
Darcy didn’t see her habit to compare herself as a problem. She assumed her lacking love life was due to the fact that she was inexperienced in the relationship department. She had only had two boyfriends in her lifetime, the last of whom cheated on her repeatedly, and the one before disappeared without warning. In her opinion, her inexperience was a strike against her marketability. She was sure that all the guys she went out with wanted someone just a little bit sexier, thinner, and a lot more seasoned.
Before she went on dates, Darcy prepped herself for hours. She spent half the day doing her hair and make-up. Quite often she would texts pictures of herself to her friends asking how she looked before she left the house. When she arrived on her dates, Darcy was excited but also consumed with nervous energy. While she tried to be engaging and personable, she didn’t realize that most of the time she was rambling on about herself. Whenever she did stop and let her date get a word in, her mind churned in analysis of what she said. She wondered how she had come off to him. Did he still think she was attractive? Did she wear the right dress? Who else was he going out with, and was she as pretty? Instead of being present and working to get to know her date, she was on a continuous search for clues that he liked her enough to go out with her again.
Darcy would do a little Internet searching before, after, and sometimes even during, her dates. She would click through the guy’s pictures on Instagram or Facebook looking for any signs of him hanging out with other girls. If he did have pictures with females, Darcy would compare herself to all of them and stress about not being as beautiful. After hours of comparing and analyzing, she always was quite sure her date was not going to call her. And although he never did, it wasn’t for the reason she thought.
“The Curse” of The Contestant (An excerpt from my newest book: This is one of five “Curses”)
The Contestant “Curse” is the easiest to spot. The reason I call them Contestants is because they act as if their entire life is a competition. They spend a lot of time comparing themselves to others, and feel as if they always have something to prove, whether it is to other people or just to themselves. They also thrive on attention from other people. In all of their relationships they view themselves as the “leading role” and anyone else is either supporting or an audience member.
Contestants often vacillate between feeling really good about themselves and extremely bad. If she is having a good day, and believes she is measuring up to her preset standard, a Contestant will have very positive self-focused thoughts about herself. But on days when she goes too long without reassurance or approval, her “Curse” begins to turn those positive self-focused thoughts into negative ones. When that happens, she will frantically begin searching for a way to get attention and give herself a boost. She might post a selfie online hoping to get flattering comments, or text someone she has little interest in, but who she knows will lavish her with compliments. It’s not unusual for a Contestant to collect male followers, or have several virtual relationships going at the same time. The more guys that are interested in her, the better she feels about herself. Most Contestants use men to maintain a happy, confident feeling. This is one of the reasons why they have trouble deeply connecting with one person, and why they are the most unfaithful of all Curses. If something goes wrong with their relationship, they have little problem turning to someone else who will make them feel better. Some Contestants may even keep a side relationship going for no reason other than their thirst for attention is more than what one man can provide.
Guys who date this type of woman find her to be high maintenance, attention-needy, narcissistic, and dramatic. Men who are in a relationship with her find her to be exhausting, moody, and selfish.
Living to Win
Because life is viewed as a competition, Contestants feel happiest when they are seemingly “winning”. At times they might just seek a personal “win”, for instance, getting a certain amount of likes on a post, but often their need to win attracts them to romantic situations where their can be winners and losers. Their Curse confuses love with winning, so it unconsciously seeks out situations where it can put it’s worth to the test.
Darcy, for instance, held on to her last boyfriend for two years, despite the fact that he cheated on her twice, and they broke up every few months. When I asked her why she persisted in trying to work things out with him, she admitted that if he finally decided to be faithful to her she would feel like it would validate her worth because she would be considered “good enough to change him”. She wanted to be “the girl” who was so special he reformed. A Cursed motivation if I ever heard one! She felt if she let him go without accomplishing that, however, it meant she was just the loser who was not good enough to commit to, and the next girl he got involved with would ultimately be dubbed the winner.
Of course, the truth was that Darcy’s boyfriend was a selfish man, who was Cursed himself. He believed he was Superior to women and because of that, he thought he was above fidelity. Committing to one woman was lame and no fun because it didn’t fulfill his insatiable need to always feel like he was dominating something. Because Darcy was Cursed too, however, she couldn’t see this. Instead she spent most of their relationships trying to make herself worthy of her boyfriend’s love. This is one of the Curse’s cruelest tricks. It makes you hold on to the false hope that one day you’ll be enough to change someone, as if your worth has anything to do with them committing.
If you are a Contestant, you might be attracted to people who need fixing because correcting them feels like an achievement. You don’t realize that your motivation to change someone is more for your benefit than theirs. Darcy wasn’t looking to make her relationship work because she loved her boyfriend. No, she was looking to make it work so she could feel like a winner. Is a woman using a man to heighten her feelings of worthiness any better than a guy cheating on her? In Darcy’s eyes, she didn’t see it that way but the reality is she did not love her boyfriend any more than he loved her.
Normal, healthy relationships don’t provide a struggle, and so if you are a Contestant, you might also naturally gravitate to men that are currently in a relationship, or even married. Triumphing over another woman and winning the “prize” of a man’s love is exactly what this Curse wants. Even if you are kept on the side for years, you will have trouble letting go and moving on because you will feel like you “lost” the guy to someone else. Of course, if you do get the guy, and there is no competition going on, you might get bored and restless. This is why Contestants are often in drama-filled relationships. Anyone who is emotionally available and genuinely wants to love you, isn’t challenging. If someone you are dating turns out to be a nice, normal guy, you may find yourself picking him apart, asking him for space, and causing drama to create a win/lose situation for yourself. The guy will have no idea where your hot and cold behavior stems from and might assume you are just afraid of commitment. He may at first play your little back-and-forth game, but if he’s a decent person, your behavior may push him to anger, resentment, and finally, disinterest.
If you seem to always gravitate towards “challenging” guys or situations, you may very well be a Contestant who is just searching for opportunities to win in order to feel good about yourself. Holding on to an unhealthy and unpredictable relationship provides the opportunity for you to have daily wins. If things go well one day, you feel you’ve succeeded in the game. It’s important to recognize the attraction you have to someone may not be anything more than a Curse tendency or preference. It’s very likely is not your real self being genuinely drawn to someone.
Their habit to self-obsess has Contestants tanking in the dating department. Whether it’s getting a guy interested or keeping him that way, The Contestant often sabotages her chances. This Curse has one goal in mind when it sits down in front of a man and that is to “wow” him and gain his approval. If the Contestant feels she has done a good job of impressing, she will deem the date a success. However, she doesn’t realize that while she’s busy thinking of new ways to dazzle her date and gain more interest, she’s oblivious to how the date is actually going.
This was the biggest reason Darcy had difficulty getting second dates. When she sat down with men, she not only talked too much, but she talked about things that were so centered on her own interests and so motivated by her own attention seeking nature that men quickly became bored with the conversation. Darcy repeatedly suffered from the most frequent effect of the Contestant Curse -when you spend most of your time thinking about yourself, you automatically spend most of your time talking about yourself.
If you asked her, Darcy would deny monopolizing any conversations. She knew to ask her dates questions and felt she did a good job inquiring about their lives. What she didn’t realize was as soon as the guy started talking, her Cursed mind immediately related whatever he was saying to her own experiences and opinions. “I have something to say about that!” she thought. Or, “I can impress him with this story!” Before her date could even finish completing a sentence, Darcy would jump in with her thoughts, leaving the guy feeling like she really didn’t care what he had to say. Even though she was going through the right motions, because her intention was coming from a self-absorbed place, she was never fully engaged as a listener, and therefore, never really engaged with any man she went out with. Paying attention to someone else, even someone she liked, was short and fleeting because her mind would always subconsciously wonder back to, “How can I show him I’m interesting”, or, “How do I get him to really fall for me?”
There are Contestants, however, have mastered dating and having guys pursue them. They have figured out how to play “the game” so guys initially fall hard for them. They are good at flirting, don’t answer texts too soon, and they know how to play a little hard to get. But just because they can skillfully maneuver the “getting him interested” phase, doesn’t mean they sail effortlessly into a serious relationship. They don’t. Many find it quite difficult, in fact, because they are only confident in the beginning stages of dating when the guy is in pursuit of them. If the chase slows, even for a brief second, they begin to question themselves as well as the guy’s feelings.
Betsy had a history of 2-3 month relationships. When she reached out to me for the first time it was because she had recently met someone she liked and was worried that his interest was starting to fade. When I asked her what signs she was getting that indicated a loss of interest, she said it was mostly a feeling that she was losing the upper hand. After two months of dating, she felt that her boyfriend wasn’t trying as hard to win her over as he did in the beginning. Even though he was still contacting her and asking to see her on a regular basis, she felt that he wasn’t paying as much attention to her anymore.
Normally when Betsy began feeling this way, her self-focused thoughts and emotions would take over. She would often start playing harder to get in order to provoke attention. In previous relationships, she would cancel plans to incite a fear of loss, or purposely flirt with someone else in order to make the guy jealous. She wanted to know what to do this time in order to make her boyfriend want her more and focus more attention on her.
What Betsy did not realize was that she was fighting the normal progression of any relationship. At some point, the chase must end so the real relationship can begin and true love can develop. I told her she needed to recognize that her focus in her relationships was concentrated on how much attention and reassurance she was getting from the guy and her attempts to incite jealousy or worry was all in order to feed this self-absorbed craving. It’s only natural that men will relax a little and be more themselves the longer you date them and that is a good thing. If you expect them to bring you flowers every week, plan lavish dates your whole life, or focus 100% attention on you everyday, you are not only signing up for major disappointment, you are going to drain your partner of all his energy and love for you. The truth was that the men Betsy dated were not truly losing interest like she assumed, she just didn’t understand the transition period from dating to a relationship. She didn’t know that eventually she had to stop making the man chase her and start giving back. Because she was Cursed, she perceived relaxed behavior on the guy’s part as disinterest and tried to stir up his emotions. She would spontaneously get mad at little things, or give him the cold shoulder so he would chase her again. Most guys interpreted these attention-getting attempts on her part as drama and backed away. In the end, it was simply Betsy’s hunger for attention that eventually caused men to lose interest and nothing else.
In the beginning, men don’t mind that the relationship is one-sided and they are expected to do all the heavy lifting, but as the relationship progresses over the course of a few weeks or months, they expect the relationship to balance out. After all, a relationship, and especially marriage, is a partnership and men are looking for potentially partners – someone who they can love but who will also genuinely love them back. They want someone who they can rely on and receive support from. Someone who will think about them. The Contestant is not a good candidate because she needs too much from him, and by comparison, gives very little in return.
When should I text him back? Does he like me or is he just looking for a hook-up? How do I bring up the “relationship talk?” If you are a single gal in today’s dating world, you have undoubtedly searched for answers to these questions as well as hundreds of others. In the past you may have asked family and friends for their two cents on how to handle a guy, however these days you probably go straight to the number one source for all information – Google. Yes, unbeknown to even your closest confidants, you have been asking Google for help with your relationship. Why not? It’s so simple. You just type into the search bar, How do I find a boyfriend? and poof! Thirty billion answers await you! Wait. Thirty billion is a lot of answers.
You’ve posed a simple question, but you have not gotten the simple response you were looking for. Instead you find yourself sorting and skimming dozens of blogs, articles, and videos all to figure out how to respond to his ambiguous text message. You just want the answer to your specific question. Why is that so difficult?!? (Insert cry of frustration.)
I have very good news for you. You can now get the specific advice you need without having to read pages and pages of unrelated or irrelevant information. You can get your dating advice, a la carte! Similar to how itunes saved you from having to buy a whole album to get those 2-3 songs that you love, I’ve compiled the most popular dating and relationship questions and put all the answers in one place. My new book, Was It Something I Said: The answer to all your dating dilemmas is different from all other relationship books because it uses Question & Answer format so that you can easily find the advice you are looking for. The Table of Contents is laid out just like an Index; every question listed with a page number.
Here is a sample of some of the questions in the Table of Contents:
When should I text him?
How do I get him to stop texting and start calling?
Can I turn my one-night stand into a relationship?
How do I tell him I’m not ready for sex? Will he lose interest if I don’t have sex with him?
Can I add him as a friend on Facebook?
How do I strike up a conversation with him?
Can I ask about his past relationships? How do I bring that up?
How do I get my hook-up to take me on a real date?
Why did he suddenly become distant? What do I do now?
How should I react when he cancels on me?
The best part about this Q&A book is that you will get specific advice on how to approach each scenario. In many instances, I give you the actual wording needed so you can have smooth conversations with your guy and achieve the best possible outcome for yourself and your relationship. So many women struggle to find the best way to say something, but now you can get all the tools you need to handle love’s challenges, big or small![caption id="attachment_1685" align="alignleft" width="145"] Was It Something I Said? By Jess McCann[/caption]
And for those who asked How do I find a boyfriend, be sure to look out for the NEW REVISED and EXPANDED EDITION of You Lost Him at Hello: From Dating to I Do – Secret Strategies from one of America’s Top Dating Coaches, out in February 2013.
I received an email late last night from a book fan who was in a complete panic. She explained that she had always followed her head when it came to the simple stuff while dating. When to call him, when to let the phone ring, when to end the date, when to kiss goodnight. But when it came to the all important decision of becoming intimate with a guy, she was at a total loss. “I just can’t get it right, Jess, she said. I use to wait a month to sleep with a guy, but then I realized that … Continue reading