Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Dating Etiquette 101

Well well well, it seems like it is time for a refresher on dating etiquette!

Do you keep your smartphone on the table during a date? Unless you're waiting for seriously fabulous or seriously scary news, put it away. If you absolutely must have it out (for the aforementioned reasons only), tell your date why, and then put it to the side.

I've blogged about this next issue before, but it bears repeating. If someone is diggin' you, but you're not really diggin' them, please don't give them your number knowing you'll never pick up their call or return it. Instead, practice this in the mirror until it rolls off your tongue: "I really enjoyed meeting you. I don't know that there's a romantic connection between us, but I would like to hang out sometime as friends - if you're up for that." It's not easy to say, but saying something that is both honest and gentle is the way to go. It also puts them in the driver's seat in a way, allowing them to be the person who says yes or no to continuing communication.

When you do meet someone that you really like, take a cue from the straight boys and SET UP THE SECOND DATE ON THE FIRST DATE! Excitement wanes as time passes. Have a second date idea in your head and be confident! Ask him to brunch at your favorite place; offer to take her to the Art Institute. Besides, doesn't it feel much better to have the anticipation of seeing the person again, rather than wondering if they will ever call?

A few other housekeeping dating rules:
No cursing
No talking about ex's
No name-dropping
Only say positive things (don't even talk negatively about the weather!)
No gum chewing. (Why? Because you don't look good doing it.)

What are YOUR dating guidelines? What makes you crazy on a date?

Monday, July 2, 2012

Jump in! The water's just fine...

Welcome, Anderson Cooper!

In light of Anderson's recent coming out, I felt compelled to address this issue. As a matchmaker, I've heard countless coming out stories over the last 7 years. Most of our clients are pretty much "out", but there are some who have chosen to not come out to their families, or at work. They have various reasons, but it always seems to come down to this: because no one asks, my client doesn't say anything. But because he doesn't say anything, no one asks. It's a very weird cycle that doesn't stop until he or she decides to say something.

Based on the coming out stories I've heard, the majority of the time, it always ends up better than you think it's going to. Certainly not always; and we've all heard about the awful bullying that goes on. But the majority of people I've talked to have said, "It was so much easier than I thought it would be."

Additionally, you have to look at this from a generational standpoint. Different generations surprise us. For instance, take Cher. An entertainer with so many gay fans, but yet when Chaz (then Chastity) came out, she freaked out! One of my clients had, in her words, "hippy parents" - it was so liberal in her house growing up that she could have coed sleepovers and such. She finally comes out to her mom and dad, and they are upset! However, her grandmother, who was 75 at the time, pipes up and says "leave her alone!" Perhaps it skips a generation sometimes. No matter how liberal the parents seem to be, they always start thinking, "What did I do wrong?"

But parents seem mostly concerned with the downside of it. "Oh my poor baby is going to suffer because he/she is gay." They see the hate crimes, the bullying, so that's the first thing that comes up for them. As the person doing the coming out, we take that as a rejection. Tyler Clementi, after coming out to his parents before leaving for Rutgers University, told a friend that that his mother had "basically completely rejected" him. In later interviews, his mother says she was grieving; realizing that he would never marry and have children. She also said she felt betrayed that he did not confide in her he was gay sooner than he had. The point here is that she did not feel that she was rejecting him, but that's how it felt to him.

Most of you have now read Anderson Cooper's email to Andrew Sullivan, but there was one paragraph in particular that stood out for me:
"...I’ve begun to consider whether the unintended outcomes of maintaining my privacy outweigh personal and professional principle. It’s become clear to me that by remaining silent on certain aspects of my personal life for so long, I have given some the mistaken impression that I am trying to hide something - something that makes me uncomfortable, ashamed or even afraid. This is distressing because it is simply not true."

He totally gets it. And he's exactly right.

That being said, I truly believe that everyone has their own path when it comes to "coming out." It's an individual decision. I have clients who are very high up at Fortune 100 companies, and some of them aren't out at work. They've basically said to me, "Look, I've got a good thing going here, I make great money, I've been here for 20 years, and no way am I going to do anything to mess this up." I hear them loud and clear. I've been out to everybody for so long and I come out to people so quickly that I don't know what I would do if I was in their situation. Do you risk it all? Cross your fingers that it will be fine? Or do you stay in the closet? And then the cycle starts all over again.

There is no easy answer here. But I am very happy that Anderson has made his voice heard. Sure, it was something that most of us knew already, but it still makes me happy that he will open the eyes of some straight people who could use a little bit of enlightenment.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

The New Year and Dating

January has always been a stellar month for us. People have been home for the holidays and been asked 10 times over "So who are you dating?" Ten times over the response has been "No one in particular."

Then New Year's Eve hits us. The night ends with either no kiss at midnight, or one that doesn't mean anything. New Year's resolutions kick in, and guess what? It's time to be proactive about your dating life!

You don't get a job sitting at home on the couch, and the perfect person for you doesn't fall from the sky and knock on your door. You have to put yourself in front of the people you want to meet. It's a pretty big message you send to the universe when you become an IGC client - many of my clients report that they hear from exes, and start meeting more people when they are out and about, in addition to the qualified matches we make for them. I believe the universe sees our effort and energy, and gives us exactly what we want.

We're so fortunate to work with such an amazing, talented, smart and successful group of clients. Kudos to all of you who take the risk and put yourselves out there! Dating is emotional, but we do everything we can to make it as easy as possible.

Speaking of holidays - don't let Valentine's Day sneak up on you. Call Shannon today to schedule your interview, and tell 2012 that you mean business!

I believe that 2012 is going to be an amazing year for us!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

No Rest For The Weary

I wonder how many of us are aware of time. I mean, really aware of the time we have. I know for myself, I get up, and do the same routine every morning: grab a grande-sweetened-iced-coffee-with-soy-and-extra-ice, work work work, go home at some point to sleep, then start all over again. How many times have I done this? Thousands? Hundreds of thousands?

While I love my career and it's very fulfilling, I know in the back of my mind, I'm waiting for something big to happen. Whether it's a huge career opportunity, or that special person: I'm waiting for it. I continue my routine every single day, anticipating the "thing" that will swoop in to change my life and make it even better. From a professional standpoint, that actually might be happening. There is a light at the end of the tunnel, and it would be huge for IGC and my clients. If that comes to fruition, then the only other big change I want in my life would be a partner.

I think about my clients, and how smart they are to have someone looking out for their best interests. But who advises the CEO? Who trains the trainer? Who matches the matchmaker?

My clients are a busy lot: 60 hour work weeks, plus time at the gym. Add in family and friends, and there's little time to focus on dating. Which is obviously where In Good Company comes in. But with all our routines, do we really have time for a relationship? I'll have Client A meet Client B, and they both really enjoyed their time together. And Client A will have every intention of calling Client B and seeing him again. But Client A can't make it happen for another 2 weeks because of his schedule. Client B then wonders if Client A really has time for a relationship.

Does Client A wonder the same thing? Do we believe that when the right person comes along, everything really WILL change? Or, are we fooling ourselves into thinking that adding one more element into our bustling routine will actually make things easier, rather than more difficult? Dating is one thing; relationships are another.

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Life would begin. At last it dawned on me to see that these obstacles were my life. This perspective has helped me to see that there is no way to happiness. Happiness is the way. So, treasure every moment you have and treasure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time…and remember that time waits for no one… Happiness is a journey and not a destination. - Alfred D. Souza

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Will Work For Love

The other day, a friend was lamenting to me about the difficulties in her relationship. She said, "I feel that it shouldn't be this much work." In talking about it further, I realized this went beyond her partner's odd sleeping habits or the fact that one of them wants to only eat vegan. The allowances and concessions (that I mentioned in an earlier blog) were becoming too large for my friend to handle.

One of them has an especially sharp tongue; words that sting fly out of her mouth with a swiftness that is disturbing. The other one travels so much for work that her partner feels neglected. Bottom line? They are starting to not get along and resentment is slowly but surely building. So I've been thinking: when it comes to relationships, when does the relationship work become too much work?

It's a very gray area. Relationships aren't all fun and games; there is work to be done, for sure. But know this: if the work you put into your relationship leaves you drained rather than energized, it might be time to explore your options. If the work you put into your relationship lessens your sexual desire for your partner, it's time for the two of you to sit down and have a serious discussion. Realizing there's an issue is a good first step.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Prizes Make The World Go 'Round

We all make allowances and concessions for our partners. You all know by now how I feel about gum chewing in public; yet my ex LOVED gum and I actually took a lot of pleasure in buying it for her anytime I was standing in the check-out line. My dad once told my step mom he loved it when her nails were painted red; now it's pretty much the only color she gets during her manicure.

I think it's important to do things for your partner that make them happy. In turn, it makes US happy. And it shows your partner that you care about them. One of the best ways to do that is to give prizes.

I'm a big advocate of prizes. And I mean prizes for no particular reason and with no particular price point. Now, do I prefer a prize that has a comma in the price tag? Of course. But can it also be a peanut butter cup? Absolutely. Prizes are a way of showing someone that you think about them even when they aren't around. That's what the gum was for me - a small way of showing her that she was on my mind when I was by myself.

Some people either don't believe in prizes, or they don't think they are necessary. Let me be the first to tell you; they are very necessary. When was the last time you picked up a Starbucks card before heading to your boyfriend's house? Or sent your girlfriend flowers at work, simply because it was a Monday?

Some people think they don't need to buy prizes because they show their love in other ways. Perhaps you're a great cook, or give good massages. But never underestimate the power of "I saw this today and thought of you." You are offering your love - whether it's with a $15 itunes gift card, or a Gucci dress. The message is the same: "I knew this would make you happy."

Friday, June 10, 2011

Pride Month and PR!

Pride month is finally here! All of a sudden my social calendar is bulging at the seams. I attended Baird and Warner's "Out Of The Office" last Tuesday at the Dana Hotel - what a great time! I've always enjoyed this event as it kicks off pride month for us here at In Good Company. The folks at Baird and Warner know how to throw a great party!

Afterward a friend and I went downstairs for dinner at Aja. If you haven't been there, do yourself a HUGE favor and go today! I'm not a huge fan of raw tuna, but I have to say - it melted on my tongue. Delish! And they have a lovely outdoor seating area.

This past Wednesday was the first time we've held our dating workshop outside our conference room. We began a 3-month run at the Discovery Center, and could not have been more pleased. Everything we needed was already set up for us, and we unveiled our Top 10 Dating Tips to the participants. The next workshop is July 17 at 2p. Sign up here and join us! As I was preparing for this expanded workshop, I realized that I was laying the groundwork for what could be a really great book! So it's officially in my daily calendar: "work on book." I'll be sure to keep you posted on this blog, which is another thing I'm going to do better. I can't promise you that every posting will be hugely entertaining, but I'll try to give you information that is useful and/or interesting.

Speaking of interesting, did you know that I was on the radio a couple of weeks ago? Follow In Good Company on Facebook and Twitter so you'll be the first to know about any press we receive. Remember, the more press we get, the more clients we get - and the more matches for all of you! You can listen to the interview here. Luis and Shantell were awesome and they made me feel so comfortable.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!