It’s the part of my job that is the most fun – Taking photos of clients for their dating profiles! After a thorough review of a client’s profile, the first thing I usually tell them is that taking new photos will heavily increase their traffic (and therefore their chances to find love.) It’s not that their current photos are bad, I just know they can be better and with so much competition out there, it’s imperative to post the most flattering, yet authentic photo of yourself.
So I’ve decide to post a few of my favorite “Before” and “After” photos (with my client’s permission) in order to highlight a few of the most common photo flubs, and how to fix them.
1. Angle is everything. Yes, we all know how to take a selfie. Shoot from above. But in addition to holding the camera high, it’s best to also pull back on the subject. Look how much thinner my client appears in her after photo. The two pictures were taken around the same time, yet she looks as if she’s lost 20 pounds in the photo I took. The illusion of weight is due to the “before” pic being a little too close and cutting off the side of her arm. (And busy patterns don’t help the cause either.)
2. Lighting May Not Be Everything, But It’s Pretty Important. If you quickly glance the before photo, your first thought might be, “It was a windy day and her hair is blowing all over her face.” But look at the second photo. Her hair is blowing there, too. So why does it work in one photo and not the other? The answer is because the before pic was shot mid-day when the sun was right above my client, casting shadows all over her face and neck. The best time to take a picture is during the first hour that the sun comes up and the last hour before it goes down. If you have a shaded setting a few hours plus or minus will work as well. As you can see, the right lighting can capture the sparkle in your eyes, or the beauty of your smile. The wrong lighting can wash it all out.
3. Don’t Point And Click. Although our smartphone cameras have come along way, they still can’t compete with a digital SLR camera, and your friend’s photography skills cannot compare to those of a professional (unless your friend is also a dating coach or photographer.) As an expert in this field, we know what pose, what angle, what look, is going to produce the very best shot of you. So while it may seem that everyone is a photographer these days, I would say, yes but not everyone is a good one. Since you only have a handful of images to show someone who you are and entice them into meeting you, why risk a poor end result? Hire someone who knows what they are doing with a camera. It’s not life or death, but it may be date or no date.
Jess McCann is the author of “You Lost Him at Hello : Secret Strategies from America’s Top Dating Coach” and “Was It Something I Said: The Answer to All Your Dating Dilemmas”
A few months ago, a new client asked me a very important question. “Why do some of your clients get married and others do not?” It got me thinking. What do my successful clients have in common, and what separates them from my clients that have not enjoyed the same kind of success?
I have thought about this before. Such a question, of course, always has many answers. People are different. They take advice differently. They listen and act differently. But what separates ultimate success from further frustration, failure and loneliness? Was it my clients’ willingness to self-improve that led them to love? Their perspective on relationships? Their resilience in time of disappointment? Actually, I have come to the conclusion that it isn’t any of those things. The answer, I think, is much simpler than that.
You see, the people who reach out to me have many problems in common. They have had difficulty finding love, and they usually see a negative pattern in all their relationships. They don’t know why the pattern keeps happening, which means they also do not know how to fix it. Most of the time I am able discern a lot of what is causing so much distress in just a few phone calls. But, just figuring the “why” behind their problem or pattern isn’t enough. As I am sure you all are aware, there are many, many pitfalls on the road to love, any one of which can end a relationship in a heartbeat. So, the real work comes after my diagnosis. Some people try to correct past mistakes and travel the road alone, only seeking more coaching when they stray or a big problem arises. Others, however, keep in close contact with me and have me walk them through the entire process- from how to meet someone, date appropriately, secure a commitment, and finally, get married. I have concluded that, right there, is the answer to the question of who is successful and who is not.
Since I have come to this conclusion, I have decided to change my coaching structure so that I can better and more effectively serve my clients, and they in turn can get better, and faster results. I am not a miracle worker (although a lot of my clients have disagreed when I say that) but I’m very certain that a longer term coaching program will work much better for any client desiring a healthy, happy relationship. Much like a trainer helping someone get in shape, it takes a time commitment on both sides, meeting regularly in order to stay on the right track and see results. Therefore, as of January 2018, I will stop doing single or package calls and emails, and I will be changing my business model to a six month coaching program for clients who are ready to make big changes in their love life. I do hope you will be one of them.
Whether you are single, actively dating, in a relationship, or even engaged or married, allow me to help you get the relationship you’ve always hoped for but have not yet achieved.
Here are the details of the 2018 Coaching Program:
Each month includes:
Two 50 minute coaching sessions via phone, Facetime, or in-person
Up to 10 emails for questions, updates, and advice
Emergency texting for time-sensitive situations
A full online dating profile make-over
One initial photo shoot with professional grade camera for profile (and you keep all the photos!)*
Relationship or couples counseling, as one or both of your sessions, if you are in a relationship (or when you get into one.)
Cost: (Currently offered only through Paypal) Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the monthly subscription fee.
This new structure does mean that I can only take on a finite number of clients. Of course, I wish I could take on every woman (or man) in distress but being just one person, I have only so much time in a day. I will work on a first come, first served basis, and will go to a wait list for overflow. If you are interested and want to see if I have availability for you to join the program, please email me. And of course, if you have questions about the program, please do not hesitate to ask.
I hope you are as excited as I am with this new approach. I truly believe that it will be very beneficial for my clients, producing better and longer lasting results. I look forward to working with many of you and making 2018 the best year yet!
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.
You can’t believe it happened again. Another guy has disappointed you, and you’re beginning to wonder if the Universe just has it out for you. Why else would you attract another bad man into your life when all you want to do is find a good one? If this sounds like you, you may be asking yourself right now if there is something about you that is unknowingly telling men that it’s okay to lie to you…or cheat on you…or not commit to you. Whatever specific pattern keeps repeating itself in your relationships doesn’t matter because at the root of it all, bad behavior from a man boils down to one common theme: Selfishness. Doesn’t matter if he’s a liar, cheater, or a player. At the core of all those afflictions stands a man who simply cares more about himself than you. The question is, why do you keep falling for men who put themselves first?
1. Selfishness is often confused with confidence. When a guy is all about his wants and needs, he often puts up a fight to do things his way. He also spends little time asking what you want to do and simply moves forward making plans that are to his liking. To a lot of women this may seem like the guy is just being manly and taking control. After all, who doesn’t like a confident guy who knows what he wants and takes charge to get it. However, there is a fine line between confident and selfish. A confident guy will still make sure you feel heard and strive to ensure that your wants and needs are met. A selfish man will argue why his way is better. If he constantly alters plans that you’ve made, and accuses you of being the inflexible one, this man isn’t self-assured. He’s self-absorbed.
2. You are constantly seeking approval. Ever wonder why you love a challenge? Ever ask yourself why you don’t like the guys that like you? It could be that you aren’t looking for love but instead are addicted to seeking approval, and the selfish man will keep you in a constant state of that. Since you don’t realize why he never quite seems satisfied with you, your daily MO is aiming to please. It becomes a rush when he is happy and accepting of you, but a terrible let down when he doesn’t. This indicates that you are dating with your ego instead of your heart. The heart wants to find comfort and contentment, but the ego wants to seek approval and gain validation. Therefore anyone that you sense you have to “win over” is enticing. The sad part is that if you ever do triumph and conquer, you’ll just get bored and move on.
3. You cannot accept people for who they are. You would rather die than give up on him. On the outside he’s so perfectly your type, or you are so tired of being single, that the thought of letting go and moving on feels like you’re passing up on the best opportunity you’ll ever have. You think you can work on his flaws and possibly change him to be the caring, sensitive, and thoughtful person you know he can be. The hard truth is that we are back at reason 1 one for why you keep attracting the wrong guys. No matter how cute, well dressed, in shape or intellectual he is, at his core, he’s just a selfish guy. And changing that is not something you can do – he has to figure it out on his own. The best thing you can do is point it out and walk away. If he wants to work on that, let him do it on his own time and pray when he’s figured it out that you are still available.
If you think you are attracted to the wrong men, or are constantly living in an approval seeking state, it may be the very reason your relationships have not worked out thus far. Keep an eye out for my new book, The Curse: Why you can’t find or keep the love you want, coming out next year. Or contact me for personal coaching so that you can break your own “Curse” and make your next relationship the right one.
Let others know how you stopped dating the selfish man, or ask a question about it below!
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