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
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
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.
under Date Night
I’m hosting a HurryDate event in Los Angeles this Wednesday (today!) and it got me thinking about the advantages of speed dating:
For starters, you know the people attending are serious about finding someone because they aren’t going to spend the time or money to partake in such an event if they aren’t. Secondly, you get to meet other singles who fit your demographic: in this case Jews in their 20′s and early 30′s, and to top it off there’s about an equal number of each gender. And finally, you get to talk with so many people for a short enough amount of time to either get out of a bad or awkward pairing, or to discover you want to learn more about the person sitting across from you. Seems like a win-win situation to me.
Get your copy of Tamar’s book “How to Woo a Jew” at Barnes & Noble and Amazon now.
under Date Night
Body language is important — especially on a date or at a singles event — but when does physical flirting go too far? We all know about making eye contact, looking away, and then making eye contact again (women typically add in a hair flip or twirl for good measure); and then holding the eye contact and adding a smile. But when is it too much?
If you’re constantly licking your lips or biting the corner of your lip, remind yourself that you’re not LL Cool J and put your tongue back in your mouth. The same goes for caressing your fingers down your cleavage or mimicking a growl or a bite. Tone it down. Unless of course your intent is just to hook up because that’s the impression you’re giving off.
There’s a difference between flirting with class and flirting with crass, and it’s not a fine line. It’s a wide, multi-lane highway. You can be obvious about flirting without being over the top.
At the launch of my book, How to Woo a Jew, I was asked by a man if JDate was more of a hindrance to his dating life because of The Paradox of Choice. The Paradox of Choice is a book written by Barry Schwartz; it states that having too many options heightens anxiety and that having less choices will help your chances of achieving success and, therefore, happiness. The man who asked the question wondered if people don’t look at the great prospect in front of them because they think there might be someone better around the corner. Could there be too many fish in the sea?
My answer? No. People should poly-date in order to make sure they are not falling for someone too quickly, and they can make sure they aren’t settling by having options to compare. It’s easy to overlook faults when you don’t have anyone else to consider. It’s easy to convince yourself to accept less when you’re feeling desperate.
A little competition is good, it’s healthy, it keeps people on their game. But you also need to really know what you want — by having your short list of priorities — so that when you do find it, you aren’t doubting yourself and wondering if you could meet someone who meets some items from your longer, more nit-picky, less realistic list.
under Date Night
I’m 25 now and being single on Valentine’s Day is getting harder to ignore. Social media, married friends, and having a CVS on every single corner have become constant reminders that I’ll most likely be spending the day shoving Hershey’s Kisses in my mouth and watching the new season of House of Cards, on my couch, alone.
Here are 10 ways to get through the dreaded holiday:
1. Do something to pamper yourself. Something you wouldn’t do any other day of the year.
2. Combine three of your favorite things and do them all in one night.
3. Valentine’s Day is NOT just about romance. Appreciate the ones you love to love.
4. Treat yourself to the giant chocolate hearts from CVS.
5. Take yourself out on a “you” date.
6. Gather the troops together.
7. Use your off buttons.
8. Surround yourself with other singles.
9. Give back to others.
10. Remind someone of how much you love them.