Category Archives: Advice

Inertia

Inertia. It’s the state of not moving or not changing direction. Sometimes it’s so easy to find yourself there. You’re just going along going along.  Being where you’re supposed to be when you’re supposed to be there. Taking the path of least resistance.

But sooner or later, someone or something needs to shake you out of it. Maybe it’s a movie that inspires you to do something new. Maybe it’s a change in the weather. Maybe it’s something you read. (A blog, perhaps?)

So, I ask you…have you done something completely unexpected lately? Or are you coasting through your days, crossing things off your “to do” list without giving a thought to your bucket list. Don’t put yourself last. Choose one thing this week, a simple thing but something you didn’t do last week or the week  before. Do it because you want to do it. Bring someone with you and shake them out of their rut, too.

Put it on your “to do” list if you have to.

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Filed under Advice, Worth the Effort

I Vote For…

About.com Reader's Choice Best Dating-Related Blog Finalist

The AAbout.com Reader's Choice Best New Dating Site of 2011 Finalistcademy Awards, the About.com Readers’ Choice Awards, municipal elections, a new season of American Idol.  Everywhere I turn, there’s voting, voting and more voting.  (An aside about About.com–“Readers’ choice” all comes down to devoted voting.  A big THANK YOU to those of you who are voting everyday for Greenlight Card.  It makes us feel great.  Voting ends on March 8– if you’re so inclined, by all means, click on the images and vote.) But all this voting got me to thinking.

These things aren’t up for election or in a contest, but if they were, I’d be voting for them:

  • Honesty: You can elect not to tell your height or weight or income, just don’t lie about it!

  • Disclosure, when it matters: Not admitting to the fact that you’re over 40 and living with your parents–NOT okay!  Admitting that you feel compelled to use a Q-tip to clean between your toes every night–not necessary.

  • Kindness: We could all use a little more in our lives.  Be kind to others.  And be kind to yourself, too.

  • Getting serious: If you spend too much time worrying about making a commitment, you’ll never do it.  Dive in with your whole heart.
  • Lightening up: Some things just aren’t as important as we make them out to be.  Save your energy for the things that really do matter.

  • Caring: That “oh-so-cool” demeanor–it’s not really all that cool.
  • Being present: With all of our gadgets and the ever-present existence of the Internet, are you truly focusing on what’s happening around you?  Turn off those devices and give your kid, your friend or your date your full attention.  Aaahhhh.  It feels good, doesn’t it?
  • Going for it: Shoulda, woulda, coulda?  Been there and not doing it anymore!

What about you–what do you think is worth your vote?

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Filed under Advice, Dating Unplugged

You’re Not the Only One

When yet another wedding invitation shows up in the mail, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one who is single.

When you’re the only one at poker night who doesn’t have to check in with his wife to let her know you’re headed home, it’s easy to feel like everyone else is married.

And when you tell friends that you’d love to be introduced to their single friends, only to be faced with blank stares and sympathetic smiles, it’s no wonder you’re ready to believe there are truly no other single people to meet in your town.

But despite how it sometimes feels, CNN reports that you are definitely not the only “singleton” (does anyone else hate that word?) around. In fact, more than 40% of Americans over the age of 18 are single.  That adds up to 96 million people.

And if you’re a single parent who thinks that puts you in a different category, you should know that there are some 11 million single parents living with their children, just like you.

Of course, not being married doesn’t necessarily equate to availability.  The statistics reported by CNN showed that there were more than 6 million households where single people were unmarried but living together–so I guess that means at least 12 million single people aren’t up for grabs.

Still, that leaves a whole lot of people just like you…single.  And many of them are sure to be thinking the same thing.  Where are all the single people?

Now that you know they’re out there, make some plans for the weekend–plans that don’t include your married friends.

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Filed under Advice, Inspiration, No More Excuses, The Single Life

In the Hot Seat

Friday morning, GreenlightCard.com co-founder Lizzie Williams woke up with butterflies in her stomach.  She was antsy all day.  She kept thinking about what she’d say to Chuck that evening.  She thought about what questions he might ask her and how she might answer them.  She wondered if the outfit she was wearing was right, even though she’d decided days ago that it was.  She took extra time with her hair and makeup.

She found herself having imaginary conversations with Chuck when she was supposed to be doing other things, like concentrating on the directions she needed to follow to get where she was going.  She’d promised to be there at 7 pm.  At 6:45, she was circling the block, not wanting to arrive too early.

Finally, they were saying hello, exchanging pleasantries and having a nice conversation.  The butterflies were gone.

It wasn’t a date–it was a live news interview, but the experience was ironically similar to a first date, or a second date that you really, really hope will turn into a third.  Lizzie wanted to present herself in the best possible light, without appearing to be trying to hard.  Mostly, she just wanted to be herself, with no nerves getting in the way.  And, because she remembered to breath, and smile, and listen, she pulled it off.

If you’ve ever gotten nervous about a date, here’s what you can learn from Lizzie’s experience:

  1. Butterflies are good.  They mean you care.  There are two things you can try to make them more bearable.  Diversionary tactics–keep yourself busy with any distractions you can think of.  Reorganize your closet if you  have to.  That’s number one.  Number two is psychological.  You have to remind yourself that eventually, the moment you’re waiting for will be upon you and sometime after that, the butterflies really will disappear.
  2. A little preparation will make you feel more confident and in control.  Lizzie sat down in the chair and knew that if there was an awkward silence, she could think of something to fill it–because she’d thought about it ahead of time.
  3. Listening is important.  Sure, Lizzie had been having imaginary conversations with Chuck all day long, but when it was show time, she let all of that go.  She listened to his questions and answered him easily and honestly.  You’d be surprised, or maybe you’ve experienced it enough not to be, how often people aren’t actively listening.  Their mind is only partially engaged in the conversation as completely unrelated thoughts (I wonder what that waiter puts in his hair) push their way forward.  People can tell when you’re really listening to them, and they like it.
  4. Genuine conversational compliments are another thing that make everyone feel good.  There’s a point in the middle of the interview when Lizzie says to Chuck, “That’s a very good question.”  It was a natural reaction, not a staged compliment, but it was a compliment nonetheless.  When you acknowledge a good question or an interesting point, you show that you’re engaged in the conversation and you keep the person you’re talking to engaged, as well.
  5. Lizzie kept reminding herself that it was just one interview.  There would be more.  If it didn’t go well, the world wouldn’t end.  It might feel like she wanted it to, for a few minutes, but the feeling would pass and life would go on.  Never put so much importance on a date that you feel like it absolutely has to work out.  At the risk of sounding like my mother, let me remind you that there will be other dates.

What about you?  Do you ever get nervous before a date?  How do you handle it?

p.s.  GreenlightCard.com got a makeover.  Hope you like our new and improved, easier-to-use website!

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Filed under Advice, Confidence, First Dates

Top 5 Ways To Shake It Up

If you’re complaining about not meeting people and you’re going about life as usual, you’re in trouble.  And deep down, you know it.  You can’t expect something different to happen if you’re living a same-old, same-old life.

And that’s why you’re reading this post…I’m going to give you five ways to shake things up. And they are painless, fun and worth your time.  I promise.

Here’s the most important part to understand—the goal of this exercise isn’t to meet your soul mate.  It’s to change things up and have fun.  The more often you seek out new experiences, the more likely you are to run across someone interesting, and then, well, if you let that person know you think he or she is interesting, you can see where that leads.

When you’re a positive, fun person, you’re a more attractive person.  Attractive people get asked out more often—because they attract other people.  But you knew that, didn’t you?

So here are my top five ways to shake it up:

  1. Throw a party.  You can invite your closest friends if you want, but make it a requirement that they bring someone you don’t know.  That way, the party is half full of new people for you to meet.
  2. Go on vacation.  I know that times are tight and you might not feel like you have money to spend on a vacation.  But whether it’s a day or a weekend or two weeks, get out of your house and spend at least one night someplace different than where you usually lay your head.  Different doesn’t have to be expensive.
  3. Get a new job, find a new way to volunteer or take a new class.  All of these involve group activities, so you’ll get to know new people in the most natural way possible, by working together.
  4. Break a sweat.  Ideally, join a team, but any physical activity works.  Pick a sport, go dancing, or just hit the gym—the post-workout endorphin thing you’ve been hearing about is real.  It will make you feel better.
  5. Join the crowd.  If you read the newspaper, watch the news or go online, you can easily find out where people are going.  So pick something and go.  A protest.  A sports event.  An art opening.  A health fair.  A concert.  Go where other people are going.  You’re there.  They’re there.  At the same place for the same experience.  What an easy way to start a conversation.

If you’ve tried these ideas or have some of your own, spill it in the comments!  In return, I promise some great party ideas in an upcoming post.

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Filed under Advice, Inspiration, The Single Life, Top Five

Ready or Not…It’s Up to You

As you know if you’ve been reading this blog or checking out GreenlightCard.com, we like the idea of embracing chance encounters. You see, we’ve found that more often than not, the most interesting possibilities arise when you aren’t out looking for them. They just appear.

Like when you’ve just finished a workout and are all sweaty and high on endorphins.

Like when you’re having fun with your child or grandchild at a park, when flirting is the last thing on your mind.

Like when you’re leading a group at work, and you know just what you’re doing and are comfortably in command.

When you are being you, people around you notice. They are drawn to you, not your age, height, weight and astrological sign, but your intuitiveness, your sense of fun, your intelligence, your drive.

It might not even be the things you like best about yourself that someone else finds attractive—he or she might be drawn to your endearing clumsiness or your inability to say no to the child who wants one more push on the swing.

So what should you do this weekend?  Make a vow to yourself right now that you won’t try so hard or worry so much about meeting the perfect person.  Just be you.  Have a great time.

And carry your Greenlight Cards, so that you’re ready when it happens.

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Filed under Advice, Dating Unplugged, Greenlighting, Offline Dating

Advice from Annie

Are you highly motivated to experience change in your love life? Then you’re just like dating coach Annie Gleason’s clients. In today’s blog, I bring you a new interview from the dating trenches.

In her own words:  Annie coaches clients in a holistic manner, helping them to build confidence by building awareness of body language, teaching them techniques to overcome anxiety, as well as understanding and integrating the dynamics of successful courtship. Her focus includes working with the most up-to-date knowledge of the science of romance with common dating practices, and translating the opposite sex to each other. She also works with personal image, is an expert on online dating, takes clients on Flirting Field Trips, and helps her clients create a welcoming and sexy home environment.

You can check out Annie’s website for all kinds of interesting information, and also find her advice on 50+ Fabulous and Best After 60.

Olive Juice: How did you become a dating expert?

Annie Gleason:  I became a dating coach after spending 20+ years in a business where 98% of my customers, who I saw frequently, were men. Many of them repeatedly sought my advice about their love lives. I realized that men see dating/relationship dilemmas in a very different way than women do. I coached part time for several years, then did a year long dating coach training program with Susan Bradley as I jumped into coaching full time in 2007.

Olive Juice: What’s the most common thing people who want to meet other single people do wrong?

Annie Gleason:  They are often embarrassed that they are looking, and wait to be found. Or they focus on who they want, instead of being open to those who are interested in them.

Olive Juice: How would you describe what it’s like to be single today?

Annie Gleason:  Single people have incredible freedom to follow their dreams and create fulfilling lives. However, many single successful, social people yearn for a mate. Being single today is challenging partly because there is a perception that there are so many choices. Even if you live in a small town, the internet opens up the dating world. It gives many people unrealistic expectations about what kind of mate might be available to them.  You can only meet one person at a time, and it’s human nature to want someone/something just a little better–whether it’s realistic or not. Social changes hamper dating, as there is not a culturally accepted courtship structure. The ideal of “soul mate” dominates our idea of love.

Olive Juice: What’s the greatest challenge for single people who are serious about wanting to meet their soul mate?

Annie Gleason:  The biggest challenge for those who want to meet their soul mate is to be open to getting to know those who don’t match your picture of perfection. It’s important to objectively analyze your criteria for soul mate. No one is going to be a better husband because he’s over 6 feet tall, loves to dance or has a sailboat. Life will change, and his kindness, flexibility and ability to compromise will be what makes it or breaks it.

Olive Juice: What’s the best advice you can give to someone who says they just can’t meet anyone?

Annie Gleason:  Basics: look your best every time you leave the house, smile at strangers, go out at least two nights a week, meet people online. Yes, it’s work, but you invest time in developing every other area of your life. Don’t rely on first impressions. And don’t write someone off until after the third date.

Olive Juice:  What do you think about the idea behind Greenlight Card–that single people should get out there and flirt–and do what they can to avoid missing out on an opportunity to meet someone they’re attracted to?

Annie Gleason:  I think it’s great that there are tools like Greenlight Cards out there–the more tools we have for people to meet others, the better.

Olive Juice:  Great answers, but what if readers have more questions?

Annie Gleason:  If you want answers to other dating questions, you can “ask Annie” here.

If you know someone who would make a great addition to this occasional, ongoing series of interviews, email me or make a suggestion in the comments section!

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Filed under Advice, bloggers to watch, Interviews, The Single Life