At Strictly Dating we are always on the look-out for the best advice to help our members gain dating success. We were delighted to spark up a relationship with the amazingly talented author April Masini who shared her own dating pearls of wisdom. Here’s what she had to say about love, life and dating –
We asked April her top 5 tips for dating success:
1. Know yourself. Know what you bring to the table, what you want, and what your deal breakers are.
2. Meet 20 new people every day. One of the biggest complaints I advise on has to do with the inability to meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Well, if you don’t get out there, you definitely won’t meet anyone, and just getting out there is no longer good enough! The internet is great, but don’t let it become a crutch. Practice smiling at strangers, initiating and responding to small talk, and flirting. Those are three awesome entry ways to meeting people.
3. Be date-ready. If you have ten pounds to lose, stop talking about it, and go swim off the weight or work out in the gym. If your wardrobe is in need, attend to it! If you need grooming help, go to the salon, the aesthetician — whatever you need, do it! Make your own maintenance as important as your car’s maintenance or your home’s maintenance. You never know when you’ll meet that perfect person, so being ready is important. That first impression may sneak up on you!
4. Expand your “type”. If you’ve been dating for ten years, and haven’t met Mr. or Ms. Right, consider dating outside your ethnic group, religion or socio-economic background. There is a lot more open-mindedness when it comes to co-mingling, than ever before, so expand your dating pool by considering men or women you hadn’t in the past.
5. Be competitive. Dating is more competitive than ever because the internet has made it possible to date a new person every night, for the rest of your life! That is not something I’d recommend, but it’s possible. What you need to understand is that there are more dating resources — and more competition. Rather than crawl back in your hole because the competition makes you feel unworthy, rise to the occasion! If you’re boring, take a class, read a few new publications, join a book group and go to a lecture or a museum. Learn a language and take up a new sport or simply stop going to the same coffee shop over and over (since it’s yielded no dates in a year), and eat lunch at a country club or have drinks in the financial sector on Friday after work — in other words, strategize a little more, and waste time a little less!
You mention the importance of being date-ready but what if you fail at making a good first impression? Is there any hope for recovery?
Knowing that first impressions are very important, and preparing yourself so that you’re ready for an unexpected first impression,
is a great way to live single! However, recovery from a bad first impression, calls for efforts in inverse proportion to the faux pas. In other words, if you meet by crashing into his mother’s car, you need to make a grand gesture to correct the problem, because the problem itself is grand in scale. You have to go above and beyond making sure her car is repaired — sending her flowers, champagne, or some type of “get her attention” gift, is necessary. The trickle down effect will work. She’ll tell him how impressed she is with your recovery, and that’s what you want — her approval voiced to him. However…. if a bad first impression consists of you running into him or her in the market, and you’re looking like someone who’s plumbing doesn’t work and you may have chosen your outfit with your eyes closed, simply showing up next time you see that person, looking like a million bucks, is going to set the record straight — or at least straighter.
What you want to avoid when doing first impression damage control, is appearing desperate or needy. Yes, you screwed up — and you may have lost the game, but take a calculated shot at repairing the damage, knowing there are plenty of fish in the sea. Men and women love people who can take a pie in the face — in other words, they don’t take themselves too seriously, and nothing repels the way desperation does. So don’t try to correct a bad first impression by doing anything that is going to make you look desperate or the poster child for low self-esteem. In other words, if you seem him and you look bad, don’t bring him an entire cooked dinner to his office, followed up by a bottle of wine on his doorstep. You’re going to look like the booby prize — not someone who’s worthy of being chased after and won over!
What’s the worst thing a person could possibly do on a first date?
One of the worst things people do on first dates is agree to meet without knowing their own deal breakers, first and foremost. When people are unhappy in dating, they usually point the finger at their date and blame him or her. Personal accountability is usually absent. I always recommend that before you even make a date or agree to one, you should know what you’re looking for. If you want a long term relationship, or just a fun time that doesn’t necessarily have a future — know that about yourself. If kids are a deal breaker, either way (wanting them or not wanting them), know that about yourself. If you have age or race or religion parameters, know that. If you don’t want to be a step-parent, then don’t even go on a first date with a single parent. Knowing yourself is the first step towards successful dating and relationships. Not knowing yourself, or ignoring what you do know and trying to pull one over on a date — for instance, not admitting that you’re still married because you feel single, even though the divorce is in process and technically, you’re still living with your spouse — is not going to win you any success in dating or relationships.
What’s the piece of dating advice you find yourself giving most often?
One of the newer scenarios in the last few years, that I find myself advising on over and over again, is the online, long-distance romance that never progresses into real life. This is the relationship that goes on for years, where the couple never meets, but feels committed to each other. More often than not, one party doesn’t realize that the other one has several men or women in similar relationships, concurrently. The internet is an amazing tool, but it’s not a good scenario to live out an entire relationship. If you meet online, great! But if you haven’t had a first date within three months of meeting online, move on. Unfortunately, the internet is also a closet to hide in for people who, for whatever reason, don’t want a real life relationship. Sometimes the reason is that they’re harbouring other relationships at the same time. Sometimes they’re married. Sometimes, they’re not, physically, who they present themselves to be. Most often, they have a desire to control the relationship by keeping it online.
Another piece of dating advice I’ve been giving a lot in recent years, has to do with dating where there are potential blended families. When there are no kids, the in-laws are potential relationship challenges, but dating single parents means that the kids can be relationship challenges. Blended family relationships have a much higher divorce rate than relationships without step-parents, step-grandparents and step-kids. When the parent does not have a clear and healthy relationship with his kids and their other parent — and I don’t mean perfect, but I do mean clear and healthy — it’s a lot harder to have a relationship with another adult. Kids in relationships manipulate parents, naturally, but when the parent you’re dating doesn’t do what’s right for the kid, your relationship will suffer. So, if you’re dating a single parent, and he or she has serious problems with his or her kids, like boundaries, parental alienation, priorities out of whack — you’re walking into a battlefield, and you will become part of the family dynamic. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it — but it does mean you should have your eyes wide open. Knowledge is power — to make healthful decisions!
We love the title of your book ‘Think and Date Like A Man’ – what made you decide to write it?
The book evolved from a seminar I was asked to teach in Los Angeles. The topic was dating, and it sold out — I mean, there was standing room only! When this happened for two weeks in a row, I decided that there was a need for my advice beyond the seminar, and that’s how I wrote a comprehensive book on how to date — and win. Men and women seemed to forget or ignore the fact that dating is competitive, and it’s time consuming and expensive, so if you don’t do it purposefully and consciously, you lose. I’m not saying don’t have fun — DO have fun! But don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. There were so many men and women who thought that dating meant, simply showing up. They didn’t get it. They weren’t goal oriented, beyond some vague personal guidelines — but they had a lot of complaints about the process and their outcomes! They were really hungry for my particular guidance, and I was able to break it down for them and advise them. They seemed to really cling to my advice and I was encouraged to write a book to help them out. Think & Date Like A Man, for women, led to Date Out of Your League, for men and then two dating books beyond, Romantic Date Ideas and Ideas for a Fun Date, grew out of the process. In addition, my website, www.AskApril.com, where I’ve answered over 20,000 relationship questions on the relationship forum there — for free! — is very popular. From that, the press seemed to catch on, and I’ve become a dating and etiquette expert, and have been quoted in hundreds of press outlets including all the big ones, including The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, Time magazine, US News & World Report, Los Angeles Times, CNN, FOX, Glamour, etc.
Finally it’s an age-old question, that nobody seems to know the answer to: Can men and women really be friends?
The answer is no, men and women cannot be friends. The reason is that one person always wants more than the other at some point, and that creates dishonesty — and dishonesty is not a component of friendship. If she’s telling her “best friend” about a great guy she met, and that “best friend” is wishing she’d want to date him, but won’t say so, he’s not going to be happy for her or honest with her about this great, new guy — and worse, he may give her advice that is meant to sabotage that relationship because he doesn’t want her to be with anyone else. Clearly, this is a fail at friendship.
The other more common situation I see, especially with younger men and women dating, is that they think that they can leverage a friendship into romance, so they sit in waiting, masquerading as a friend, hoping he or she will notice them, or that some perfect moment or opportunity will occur. When it doesn’t, they usually write me for advice. Some people sit in waiting as a “friend” for years on end, unhappily, keeping their lives on hold because their “best friend” is the one they’re in love with. Instead of settling for “friendship” (which it isn’t), my advice is accept the rejection, and move on — or if you haven’t gotten rejection, then ask her out on a date. If she says yes, you’re not friends! If she says no, you’re still not friends, but you can at least know you’re not a romantic interest for her, either. Clarity is much better than limbo and rejection is a gift that lets you move on and find someone great — not a false friend.
April Masini writes the critically acclaimed ‘Ask April’ advice column and answers readers questions on the free AskApril.com advice forum. Author of four books, including Date Out Of Your League (TurnKey Press, 0-9746763-0-6) and Think & Date Like A Man (iUniverse, 0-595-37466-2), April has been interviewed for over 10,000 articles and opinion pieces, radio and television shows, including those on FOX, ABC, CBS, MSN, Telemundo and Univision — New York Times, New York Daily News, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, USA Today, CNN.com, Men’s Health, Woman’s Day, Yahoo! News, Yahoo! Shine, Yahoo! Mujer, TheStreet.com , Huffington Post, Glamour Magazine, Parenting.com and dating advice columnist for MillionaireMatch.com.