under Single Life
We’ve all been there. You meet someone new, you get a name, and you think to yourself “what would get a conversation rolling?” It probably occurs to you that people like talking about themselves, and what could people love more than their job? So you ask it: “What do you do for a living?”
I’ll let you in on a secret. Some people like that question, but a lot of people see it for the conversational crutch it really is. Asking “what do you do?” is a faux pas in a few ways. For starters, you’re assuming all people like their job, and sadly that is not the case. I know when I was working retail I told very funny stories about things that happened to me (like a river of urine I found in my store), but it was the last thing I wanted to associate with new friends. Secondly, some people may take it as you trying to gauge how much money they make. And lastly, sometimes people just want work to stay at work.
When this question comes up, some friends and I have vowed not to reveal our jobs within thirty minutes of first meeting someone. We’ll say ridiculous jobs like bounty hunter, fruit bowl modeler, or selfie coach, and move the conversation along. So in order to help others make a more fun, lasting connection with a new friend, here are my three alternative suggestions for that rut when you need something to say:
- Talk about what’s around you. One of my favorite social rules is called “Observe, Share, Ask.” You see something in a room, mention something about it and how you relate, and ask something about the other person’s experience. For example, if I was in a room and saw a picture of a clown, I would say something along the lines of “did you see that clown picture? The circus always terrified me, did you ever like it?” This allows me to share a bit about me while sharing an experience (we both see the picture), and allows the other person to open up about their experiences.
- Ask how they got there. Whether you’re at a party, synagogue, or a singles mixer, ask someone who they know or how they found the place. This allows you to find mutual friends (this was my usual conversation starter at parties in college), and build a connection about any hooks that are revealed — they could be classmates, fellow natives, or mutual friends.
- Ask what they do in a different way. This is a fun one to me in that you still get to ask the job question — if they want to talk about it. An article I found on LinkedIn a while back had the amazing option of asking “What keeps you busy?” This is such an amusingly vague and open question that people can answer with anything from, “I blog for JDate and collect beer glasses” to what they do for a living.
Hopefully this sparks your conversations a bit, feel free to leave other ideas in the comments!
under Date Night
Some people don’t think before they speak. And that can lead to some awkward moments on a date where one person puts their foot in their mouth after apologizing for being rude or belligerent — and the other person needs to wipe a disgusted and/or shocked look off their face.
Honesty is not always the best policy. Sometimes omission is best.
- Don’t ask a question if you don’t want to know the answer
- Don’t tell a date that you were “here last week on another JDate”
- Don’t tell a date that you have too many emails on JDate to read through, so they should consider themselves lucky.
If you are about to make a comment that you wouldn’t want to hear from your date, then keep it to yourself.
You finally met someone you like and the feeling is mutual. Dating turns into a relationship rather quickly — and before you know it, you are spending all your free time together as your emotions grow. But then the other person’s feelings deepen… while your feelings stay stagnant. You continue to move forward as a couple because you still like your significant other, but since you’re not falling in love with the same veracity, you begin to doubt if this is “The One.” As you learn more about each other you start to see flaws where there once was perfection.
You know intrinsically that you should be able to accept these flaws as human and normal, but instead they start to irk at you. And the things you liked before also start to gnaw at you, making you wonder if you can get back to that exciting, lust-filled place — or if the relationship is a ticking time bomb. Unfortunately, once you get to this point, it is likely that you won’t be able to backtrack and that the relationship is indeed doomed.
Don’t try to fight it, this is a course that many relationships take. Be comforted by the fact that you didn’t allow it to go any further, and listened to your heart and mind when it told you that something wasn’t right. Feelings are going to get hurt in this wild ride we call dating; don’t be shocked when you are on the receiving side and don’t feel bad when you are on the distributing side.
Buy Tamar’s new book “How to Woo a Jew” now!
under Date Night
I always see articles on the internet that try to teach people about the perfect place to take someone on a first date. All the ideas I come across are very lavish, over the top, and truly a waste of time when you are meeting someone you know very little about – for the very first time.
- Do: It’s easiest to do something simple on your first date. I always recommend coffee or a drink. Something that allows the two of you to sit down and get to know each other for a little while. When there’s too much background noise or a crowd gets in your way, it becomes hard to truly get to know the person.
- Don’t: Do not go to noisy places. Save the movies for a future date. Go somewhere that’s close for you and them – no one is eager to travel a long distance to meet someone for the first time. Try to choose a place that’s convenient for both of you. You also want to select a time that is not too late at night in order to be considerate about the plans (whether it’s work or something else) that they have going on the next day. Try to make your first meeting a little after dinner time – especially if you are not planning to eat on your date.
Follow Jen here: @tthingsilearned
under Date Night
I’ve witnessed many dates where someone was so nervous they couldn’t even hold eye contact, or spoke so fast they couldn’t figure out how to end a sentence, or even (much to my wide-eyed horror) they actually tripped over their own feet.
These situations happen to everyone at some point — whether it’s because you’ve built up expectations of a prospect you’re about to meet or because you’re totally enamored with your date. Eventually there will come a time when you will need to compose yourself.
Take a deep breath. Smile. Remind yourself that the person sitting across from you is probably just as nervous. Perhaps even crack a joke to break the ice about the first date jitters. You can do this!
under Date Night
Like many things in my life, this change was one I knew I’d instantly remember: “It’s time to dress like an adult,” my friend Ryan said, in a surprisingly non-insulting manner. I knew it was time to change the way I dressed. I went from cargo shorts and AEPi shirts year round to polos and shorts in the summer, and a v-neck sweater with a button down in the winter.
It was a slow process, and while I am not the best-dressed person in every room, I am typically the most varied and coordinated in what I wear. I think it’s added a lot to conversations and helped me to feel more confident, and I’d like to share some tips to help you add personality to your outfits. Note: most of these are aimed at men as I only dress like a man, but feel free to provide input.
- Accessorize. Whether it’s a watch, hat, fun undershirt, sweater, or other item, an accessory is always a great idea. Lately I’m big on fun socks — TheTieBar.com and Express both sell great, cheap socks. I also love a good tie clip (also available on The Tie Bar for cheap) and different color yarmulkes/baseball caps.
- Mix it up. Let a button loose in a new place, roll up sleeves you normally don’t, pair odd colors together. Sometimes things look stupid, but sometimes you make a great fashion find. My favorite was wearing a shirt at the University of Florida Chabad last summer, and having someone tell me my undershirt was a bad choice with my button down shirt. Instead, I made a transformation into a “fundershirt” as I called it. I went from looking ridiculous with a thick undershirt, to having a pink collared shirt unbuttoned with sleeves rolled up and a yellow undershirt brightly giving my outfit an extra oomph.
- Don’t worry about it. Sometimes things look stupid, and that’s okay. In fact, I would argue dressing like a schlub can be a great way to display a different sort of confidence. If you mismatch and someone points it out, great, thank them for pointing it out and laugh about it. JDate released a study a month ago, and most people find style negligible anyway, but a sense of humor and confidence will go a long way no matter what you’re wearing.
How many of you have brought home a significant other to meet your parents? How long did you wait? Did you wish you had done it sooner in retrospect, or wish you had never taken that step at all? Is there more pressure to take someone home when you live in the same city as your parents? Or is there more pressure to take a special trip out to your hometown to do so?
There’s no science. Sometimes you introduce a S.O. after a few weeks, sometimes a few months. Sometimes not until after you’re engaged (yikes!). It’s not a matter of time, but rather a feeling of the relationship being in the right place to take that step (but please do so BEFORE proposing!).
Some people wait because their parents are apt to embarrass them by asking, “Can you afford our daughter?” or “Can you tame our son?” Or maybe they look over a girlfriend and exclaim that she has “nice childbearing hips!” Or perhaps they might check out a boyfriend and exclaim what “beautiful children you’ll have!” Some are nervous their parents will pull out the baby album or discuss horrible exes (or discuss your amazing ex that you unfortunately let get away). Some parents meanwhile are very chill and laid-back, and have probably met many prospects because of how easy going they are.
Taking home a S.O. is a huge deal when it comes to figuring out if they can become a part of your family. If you feel it’s the right time, then do it. There’s no wrong time (well, except for the obvious: not on your first few dates unless you’re being picked up from their house!) if you are seeing a future with this prospect.
under Date Night
After hosting a HurryDate event last week, I have some advice that all singles who are planning to attend speed dating events should read:
1. Dress to Impress
There was a man there wearing a hat. Really? Just like your JDate profile photo, why on earth would you show up wearing a hat? There were ladies wearing sandals. Not only is it February, but there is nothing sexy about sandals.
2. Be on Time
It’s tough to start the event if all the people aren’t there. Check in and then go grab a drink from the bar.
Nothing says “approachable” better than a smile. That, and don’t cross your arms over your chest.
4. Be Conversation Ready
Most of the questions that can be asked within the five-minute time frame of the speed date are the obvious ones, so be prepared to answer: “What do you do?” and “Where do you live/Where are you from?” And try to answer with easy, one-line answers that you haven’t rehearsed.
5. Don’t Ask: “Why Are You Still Single?”
“Why are you still single?” and “What is your relationship history?” are questions to be saved for a later time. If someone asks you these questions during a speed dating party, then your answers should go like this, respectively: “For the same reason you’re still single, I haven’t met the right person yet” and “I’ve been in some meaningful relationships where I’ve learned a lot about myself and what I want in a mate, and I’d be happy to share that with you on another date.” Then change the topic.
Finally, stick around after and socialize. You may meet another single to attend future single events with you, or you may get to continue talking with someone, like the couple who was still chatting an hour after the event ended last week…
Buy Tamar’s book How to Woo a Jew on Amazon now!
under Date Night
Bad dates: we’ve all had them. Some of us have them back-to-back, and we swear off dating to the point where we’d almost agree to do anything other than go on another one ever again. There’s a lot to do when you find yourself feeling annoyed by another bad date. The best thing, however, is to take a step back and — when you are ready — try again.
- Do: Talk about it. The best way to get over a bad date is to find a way to laugh about it. Maybe they were rude, or you did something embarrassing, or there was more chemistry in the liquid concoction you were drinking during the date than there was between the two of you. Tell your friends about it, or your roommate, or whomever will take the time to listen. The more people that you tell, the better you’ll feel — and the more you’ll be ready to move on and try again.
- Don’t: Sulk in it. Try not to replay the details in your head over and over again. Try to let it go before it overwhelms you. The more you think about it, the more it will start to become a part of you — and it’s best to avoid that.
under Single Life
So many people let love pass them by because they simply are afraid to take a risk and say something. Whether it be “What’s your friend’s number?” or “Are you single?” or “Would you be willing to set me up with your buddy?” or “Would you like to go out sometime?” or simply saying, “Hi! My name is…”
That’s all it takes to see if that girl you saw volunteering at the JDate event is available, or if that guy you saw hanging out by the kitchen at your friend’s party is Jewish. What’s the worst that will happen? You’ll find out the person is either not Jewish, not single, or not interested. No big deal, right?! Make sure you don’t regret not saying something.