Archives for August 2007

Five Tips to Becoming a Better Listener

One of the biggest challenges facing couples is the way in which they communicate. Simply put, that’s because men and women communicate differently. It’s not until you learn to bridge the communication gap that you’ll get beyond that barrier and create a stronger bond with your partner.

Essential to bridging the gap in communication is learning to become a better listener. The following five listening tips will help you in this quest:

1) Think about the words that your partner is speaking.
A lot of times it’s easy for a person’s mind to wander when someone else is talking. Many times, instead of listening, a person is thinking about what they are going to say next! It’s essential to get beyond this by actually thinking about the words your partner is saying.

2) Repeat words back in the form of a response.
One of the best training techniques for becoming a better listener is to repeat phrases back. For example, if your partner says, “I had a very rough day at work, the phone was ringing non-stop” then you can respond, “I’m sorry your day was so rough.” Your partner knows you were listening because in your response, you repeated something he/she had said.

3) Eliminate distractions.
Hopefully you own a TIVO for this tip! If your partner starts to talk with you, learn to eliminate any distractions so that you can better listen. For example, if you are watching TV, pause it (thus the TIVO) until your partner is done and you have responded accordingly. You want to provide your undivided attention to your partner so that you can properly think about the words he/she is saying and repeat them back in the form of a response.

4) Look the person in the eyes.
When listening to someone, look them in the eyes. This helps you focus while letting them know you are listening.

5) Ask questions.
A person feels they are important when you ask followup questions based on what they’ve been talking about. For example, if your partner says, “a group of us workers went to that new Italian restaurant for lunch,” then a good followup questions is, “so how was the food there?” Asking followup up questions makes you a better listener (since you have to listen to ask the question) and makes your partner more impressed with you since you have more of an interest in what he/she is saying. (this article Copyright 2007 by Joe Tracy)

Confessions of a Matchmaker – Episode 13

In this final episode of season one of Confessions of a Matchmaker, Patti Novak works with Melba (a wild mom) and Sean K. (who blogs about his sex life).

Here are some dating tips that can be learned from this episode…

Episode 13 (Sean K. and Melba) – Dating Tips:

– “When sex becomes an obsession, it can get in the way of finding real love.”

– “If you want a good guy, you gotta be a good girl.”

– If you’ve done things in your life that you are not proud of, forgive yourself, learn from it, and move on.

– When you go on a date, keep your drinking under control.

– It is highly inappropriate to write or blog about your sexual experiences with dates… especially when you mention them by name!

– As mentioned in previous posts/episodes, it is inappropriate to talk about sex on the first date.

Joe’s Comments
Judging from the number of searches of people looking for Sean’s blog, one would wonder if he really deleted it or not! I was really disappointed in Sean because he claimed to be a gentleman, yet on his date he was all about sexual innuendos, disrespecting his date and turning her off to him real quick. Out of all the episodes this season, I think Sean is the most hopeless. Until he learns how to properly treat a woman, he’ll never find one that he can experience true love with.

Melba seemed to learn, particularly when Patti gave her a male version of herself for a date. Sometimes that’s what we need – to see ourselves in a mirror – in order to make an improvement to our lifestyle.

That’s it for the first season of Confessions of a Matchmaker. Thirteen episodes was too short for this first season. It is unknown at this time whether or not A&E will renew Confessions of a Matchmaker. They did move it from a great time slot to a unfavorable time slot in mid-season and that’s never a good sign.

eHarmony Free Communication this Weekend

This coming weekend, August 31 – September 3, eHarmony is allowing members to communicate for free. A few times a year, over a holiday weekend, eHarmony offers this special free communication weekend event, which promotes the service, while giving non-paying members the chance to experience many of the features paid users receive.

eHarmony is an online dating relationship service with more than 17 million members. At least 33,000 of their members marry every year, according to research firm Harris Interactive.

In order to participate in the free communication weekend, you need to sign-up with eHarmony.

Dating and Relationship Book Reviews

Online Dating Magazine has opened a new section for reviews of dating books and relationship books. Here are links to the first three book reviews:

The Five Love Languages
This book identifies five “love languages” that will improve your relationship when you learn which of the five your partner reacts to the most.

Sex with Your Ex
The rest of the title is “and 69 other things you should never do again”. This review is done by Dr. James Houran.

Instructions to my Officers
This book is more for people who work in the online dating industry. The book was written by True.com CEO Herb Vest and presents his business philosophies.

The book reviews section is the third new section to open up this month on Online Dating Magazine. The other two were a new column – Savvy Singles – and a section dedicated to Dating Humor.

Dating Manners – How to Act on a First Date

So, you’ve hit it off with someone you met on an online dating service and it’s time for that first face-to-face date. Before the first date, it’s a good idea to make sure payment issues are dealt with up front. The general rule of thumb is that the person inviting the other on the date pays for it. Make this clear in your invitation. “I would love to meet you. Can I treat you to dinner at…?”

Now the time for the first date has arrived. Be sure you’ve reviewed the following dating manners to know the appropriate way to act on a first date:

10 Essential Dating Manners for a First Date:

1. Arrive at the location of your date on time. There is a saying that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. How true that is.

2. Dress nice (unless your date location requires otherwise). Take time to look your best. The better you look, the better you’ll feel and the more confident you will be. If you’re a female, don’t dress provocative.

3. Turn your cell phone off. Most people these days have a cell phone and it is very rude to take a call while on a date. Minor exceptions include if you use your cell phone for emergency purposes (to receive emergency calls from home or work). Don’t disrespect your date with a ringing cell phone.

4. If you are a man and you meet your date outside of the date location (i.e. restaurant), open the door for her. Show her that you know how to be a gentleman and how to treat a lady. If you are seated in doors waiting for her and she walks in, stand up to properly greet her. Also, there’s nothing wrong with a friendly hug to start the date.

5. Be confident. From the moment the two of you meet, being confident is essential to making a strong impression throughout the date. This means that you know what you’re going to talk about, ask a lot of questions, don’t slouch, and express confident body language.

6. Use table manners. When eating a restaurant, remember not to order something potentially messy (i.e. Spaghetti) and don’t put your elbows on the table. Eat slowly and properly… this means closing your mouth when you eat and never talking with food in your mouth. When you don’t think about table manners, you can display potentially bad habits that will instantly turn your date off and become a “deal breaker” to any potential future dates.

7. Avoid heated topics. There are several topics that are taboo on a first date, including politics, religion (unless you met on a religious service), and sex topics. Avoid these throughout the entire date.

8. Be positive. In general, people are more strongly attracted to someone who is positive than someone who is negative. Avoid making negative comments about yourself on your date – including innocent ones like, “I’m trying to lose weight because I think I’m too fat”. When you make negative comments about yourself, those negative vibes influence your date’s perception of you.

9. Learn to listen. It’s important to engage your date in interesting conversations. Spend more time (particularly if you’re a guy) asking your date questions and listening carefully to his/her response. Be sure to ask “followup questions” that lets him/her know you were listening and are interested in the topic. For example, if your date says, “one of my favorite things to do is to skydive” then you should respond, “really? When’s the last time you went?”

10. Learn to read and express body language. Body language is important on a date because it shows whether the date is going well or not. For example, if your date is sitting with his/her arms crossed, it could be a sign of boredom. Yet if your date is engaged in conversation with you and innocently touches you on the hand or arm while making a point, then it shows an attraction. You can read more about first date body language here.

If the date went well, it is perfectly OK to arrange a second date at that time. Otherwise, you’ll end up playing the “dating game” where one waits several days for the other to call. It’s not a fun game and is heavily overrated. At the end of a first date, there should be expressions of feeling about the date – “I really enjoyed your company tonight,” etc.. When you come into agreement about how much you enjoyed the date, then it’s easy to move on to planning the next date and moving forward in your new-found relationship. (article Copyright 2007, Joe Tracy)

The Dating Habits of Men

Dr. James Houran, who writes the Office Hours with Dr. Jim column at Online Dating Magazine, has written a three part series on “The Dating Habits of Men”. The series was written for women to better understand men and some of their quirky dating habits. In the three part series, Dr. Houran answers quite a few questions like:

Following up with a text instead of a phone call—what’s that say about a guy?

What’s with making off-handed remarks about doing things together—like “Oh, we’ll have to see that movie sometime!”–and then not following up?

Why do some guys go on and on about their job or how important they are?

Here are the links to the each of the Dating Habits of Men articles:

Dating Habits of Men (Part 1)

Dating Habits of Men (Part 2)

Dating Habits of Men (Part 3)

Patti Novak – Confessions of a Matchmaker #12

Patti (with an i – not Patty) Novak is a matchmaker in Buffalo, New York. Her work is widely seen on A & E Confessions of a Matchmaker. In episode 12 of Confessions of a Matchmaker, Patti Novak works with Sean B. and Tonya. Sean B has trouble talking with girls because he is extremely shy. Tonya’s problem is that she is addicted to adult videos. Here are some dating tips that can be gained from this Episode

Episode 12 (Sean B. and Tonya) – Dating Tips:

– If you’re shy, you have to get over it and break through the barrier. Don’t think about it – do it. Otherwise you’ll be a fifth wheel (to your friends and their partners) forever.

– Lose your bad addictions, otherwise they’ll become a crutch to your dating life.

– If you have trouble with conversations on a date (because you are shy), memorize a list of topics before the date and practice asking questions. Good conversation topics include: music, family, career, favorite things to do. Do not ask about politics or religion!

– Alluding to sex and sex topics on a date is inappropriate.

Joe’s Comments
In this episode, Sean B. kind of reminded me of myself when I was in high school – very shy. You become so fearful of rejection and what other people might think that it interferes with your ability to interact with the opposite sex. In high school, I was so frustrated with my shyness that I decided to do something about it. The first step was forcing myself to simply say “hi” to people when I passed them at school. I used to go out of my way to avoid passing some people because of my shyness.

The second thing I did was force myself to do public speaking. The first time was extremely hard and somewhat embarrassing (a story for another time), but by forcing myself to do public speaking, I quickly overcame my shyness. A secondary benefit was that in college I went on to represent the United States at a world speech competition in Sweden! Once I broke out of my shell and grabbed that confidence, there was no turning back. Life became a whole lot better.

While online dating is the best way for people to meet their potential soulmate, it is Godsend for shy people. I think that’s why Sean B. initially went to Patti – because he avoided having to ask someone out by having her match him. The same is true with online dating. Many shy people can shed the “shyness” when in the comfort of their home with a computer screen between them and the person they are communicating with.

Online Dating Tips from an Online Dater

A 24 year old female online dater from South Carolina has written about her online dating experience, for Online Dating Magazine, which shares some good online dating tips. The title of the user experience is “Online Dating Tips from an Online Dater“. Here’s an excerpt:

1) Some sites are scams. Beware of the emails that are created by the site itself but appear to be coming from an individual on the site. True.com is particularly bad about this.

2) Before giving any money to a site, check out their cancellation policy. Some have some very shady dealings.

3) Some sites are too narrowed in the questions they ask and how they match you up…

You can read the full user experience by clicking here.

Tonja Weimer Joins Online Dating Magazine Team

Dating and relationship expert Tonja Weimer has joined the Online Dating Magazine team as a weekly columnist, bringing the number of magazine columnists to five. Weimer’s new column is called Savvy Singles and is published every Friday. Here are links to the first two columns:

Know Who You Are – Get What You Want

10 Reasons Why You Don’t Have a Date

Weimer joins Dr. James Houran, Jennifer Brown Banks, Nicole Roberge, and Susan Davis in providing weekly advice to online daters.  A sixth new columnist is expected to be named next month.

Weimer publishes columns that reach over four million people in the United States and Canada. She has over 30 years of experience as a dating coach and even serves as a relationship expert to some TV programs, like The Starter Wife.

Joe’s Comments
I’m really excited to have Tonja as part of the Online Dating Magazine team. I have a deep appreciation for every one of our columnists, each bringing something interesting to the table. Right now we are in negotiations with a sixth new columnist, who is expected to start next month with a regular column in our Dating Humor section. Stay tuned!

Buffalo Matchmaker Patti Novak – Episode 11 Dating Tips

Episode 11 of Confessions of a Matchmaker follows matchmaker Patti Novak as she helps Mike (a man with a busy lifestyle) and Sue (who doesn’t know how to flirt). Here are some dating tips that can be gained from this episode:

Episode 11 (Mike and Sue) – Dating Tips:

– Never put yourself down on a date. It will cause your date to look down on you or lose interest quick. If you can’t say nothing nice about yourself, then don’t say anything at all!

– If you want to fall in love, you have to make time for it. Love requires commitment.

– Keep inappropriate remarks to yourself.

– Don’t be too aggressive (or “in your face”) on a first date. It turns people off.

– Don’t be sarcastic on a date and don’t say rude things to your date.

– Learn to flirt.

– Keep a clean living space. It is representative of you.

– If you have self esteem issues, work on those first before going on dates.

Joe’s Comments
This was an interesting episode because we saw some new things. Patti Novak gave Sue lessons on flirting and sent her on a date to try them out. However, instead of practicing what she had learned, she proceeded to tell her date, “I’m a very bad flirt” then told her the things Novak was teaching her. Bad idea! It’s appropriate to practice things you are learning, but probably not so good to tell your date about it. That kind of ruins the whole purpose.

I really didn’t get Mike at first. He has an ultra busy lifestyle, promises Novak he’ll change that to find love, then doesn’t call the people she matches him with because he is “too busy”?! If you want someone to share your life with, you must put an effort into finding that person and in fostering your relationship.

Favorite line from this episode:
Patti Novak finally gets Mike to set up a date in his busy schedule. The camera cuts to the minature golf course where Mike is waiting for his date to arrive. Novak says, “The date was off to an unbelievable start. To begin with, Mike showed up!”