Diary of a Dating Diva: 8 Ways To Create Your Own Dating Luck

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March makes me think of the upcoming Seattle Mariner’s season, the impending spring-time weather and, of course, St. Patrick’s Day. There’s nothing like a full 24 hours of celebratory drinking and the shameless belief in undeniable good luck.

But when it comes to dating, luck rarely (if ever) has anything to do with it. Yet, when a couple gets together, becomes engaged or says their vows in front of their friends and family, we’re quick to tell them that they’re lucky. “You two are so lucky you found one another.” “To the lucky, happy couple!” We all like to think that someone else is holding our dating cards and we’re just along for the ride. While it’s scary to think we don’t have any control, it’s also somewhat comforting to know that, hey, we don’t have to try that hard because someone else is pulling the strings.

But that’s just not true. In fact, the only luck anyone has when it comes to dating, is the luck they make themselves. We are in control of our futures, our potential relationships and our possible destinies. We’re the ones who can put ourselves in situations that provide us with the best chance of finding someone truly special.

So with that in mind, I’d like to spend some time this March not thinking about the luck of the Irish, but thinking about the dating luck we can all make ourselves. Here are just a few ways you can give yourself the best chance to find your forever someone.

Keep A Positive Mindset 

Easier said than done, I know, but the foundation of successful dating is a positive mindset. Not every date is going to be wonderful. Not every person you meet is going to knock your figurative socks off. The key is to continue to be optimistic. If you let the bad dates ruin the potential good dates, I can guarantee you that you’ll never have a good date again.

Don’t Stop Dating 

You know what they say; you can’t score if you’re not in the game. Sure, you can “take a break” from dating and sometimes (I would argue) that’s necessary, but at the end of the day, if you don’t get in the game you’re never going to be successful. The more you put yourself out there, the better your chances are.

Be Open Minded

We all have a list of “deal breakers” and perfect qualities that help us to pick out people we believe ourselves to be compatible with. But if we stick to those qualities religiously, we could end up losing an opportunity to meet someone who is actually wonderful. So if you have a “deal breaker” list that has more than five things on it, you should probably reevaluate. You’re never going to give yourself the best chance of finding someone special if you don’t give people the opportunity to get to know you (and you, them).

Practice Self-Love 

You can’t expect anyone to love you if you don’t first love yourself. While the future relationship you have with a romantic partner will be very important, the most important relationship you will ever have is the one with yourself. Be kind to yourself; take yourself for dinner every once in a while; celebrate your strengths and work on your weaknesses so you can be the best possible you, for you.

Just Be Yourself 

Your luck increases when you’re authentic, genuine and real. The more you pretend to be someone else (whether it’s a heightened version of yourself or someone you think your date will like) the greater the chance is that your date or potential relationship will flounder. The truth is, you’re fantastic just the way you are, and you deserve to find someone who will love you for you, not you for the person you pretend to be.

Set Boundaries 

It’s important that you set some personal boundaries as you begin dating. Whether it’s managing your time so that you’re not investing too much too fast or deciding when you will feel comfortable being intimate with someone; you should always feel empowered to make sure that you’re comfortable during the dating process.

Be Patient 

You’re not going to find true love in an hour and a half, like most romantic comedies would like you to believe. It takes time. I mean, there are billions upon billions of people on the planet, finding the one is going to be labor intensive. So while I know it’s hard to manage expectations and not rush through the dating process, be patient. Giving yourself time to simply enjoy the moments you will share on the dates you’ll go on will only add to your experiences.

Have Fun 

That’s the whole point, right? To have fun? If you’re not enjoying yourself, then you’re doing something wrong. And if you’re not enjoying yourself, I can guarantee you that your date isn’t enjoying themselves either. And most importantly, if you’re not enjoying yourself, you’re not putting your best foot forward and giving yourself the best opportunity to meet someone extraordinary. Don’t over think it. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. Just have fun!

Wishing on falling stars, cheering over pints of green beer and hoping the luck of the Irish will help your dating life out, is for the birds. We all make our own luck, and I know that you can make yours!

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

Diary of a Dating Diva: How To “Spring” Back Into Dating

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Whether you went through a bad breakup, a painful divorce or were never into the dating scene to begin with, it can be difficult to get back into the game. After heartache or inexperience, it’s normal to feel nervous and insecure and unsure of yourself, especially when you’re thinking of dating again.

The good news is: this is normal and can easily be worked through. All you have to do is ease your way back into dating and you’ll be well on your way to love. After all, dating is just like riding a bike: once you learn, you never forget, no matter how many times you haven’t been in the driver’s seat.

So if you’re nervous about dating and not sure how to start things up again, here are just a few, simple steps that can help you spring back into dating.

Start With A Group Date

There’s nothing wrong with bringing your friends along! If you don’t feel comfortable going on a one-on-one date, schedule a group date. This way, you’re still putting yourself out there and meeting new people, but you also have your friends to lean on and talk to if things get awkward or silent or just, well, miserable. You don’t have to jump into the deep end all at once. You can dip a toe and test out the waters, if that is what makes you the most comfortable.

Try A Light Lunch Date

There’s less pressure in a lunch atmosphere, than there is during a romantic dinner. During a lunch, you can use your work as a time restriction; and therefore, you will have an easy out if things do go south. A lunch date is in the light of day, which can make you feel much safer, and they generally come with less pressure because, after all, it’s just lunch!

Take Yourself Out On A Date First 

You can’t be comfortable dating someone else if you don’t feel comfortable dating yourself first. Treat yourself to a nice dinner and a movie. Take yourself to a part of town you don’t normally visit, and explore your city. Be good to you, and I can guarantee you that it won’t seem so foreign when someone else is good to you as well. Loving yourself is an essential part of loving someone else.

Go To Your Favorite Restaurant/Bar

If you feel like you’re ready to try an evening date, pick a place that you’re familiar with. Go to your favorite restaurant or the bar you most frequent, so that you don’t feel like a stranger in a strange place with another stranger. At least in a restaurant you know with staff that you know, you won’t feel completely misplaced and out of your element. (Plus, the staff will probably be more inclined to pouring you a heavier drink, and that just may be necessary.)

Try A Matchmaking Service (LIKE IT’S JUST LUNCH!)

If you don’t want to do all the heavy lifting, have a trained professional do it for you. Sometimes, the hardest part about dating is getting started, so when you can find an organization like It’s Just Lunch, who gets the process going for you and finds a person who’s most likely to be your match, the entire process will be less painless, less stressful and less intimidating.

It’s completely normal to feel uneasy about getting back into the dating scene, but you should never let that fear stop you from trying. You have nothing to gain by sitting in every evening, and allowing your trepidation to keep you away from a life of romance and love. Try baby steps, ease yourself back into the game, and enjoy the thrill of finding your soulmate.

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

Diary Of A Dating Diva: Dating At Your Own Speed

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The New Year has come and gone and we’re inching closer to the second month of 2016. Some New Year’s resolutions are still going strong, others have already been left behind and some are still being formulated because, hey, deadlines are tough. If you’re one of those who haven’t really pegged down a resolution for 2016 yet, let me be of some assistance:

Your (and, okay, everyone’s) new dating goal should be: date at your own speed.

While there is a designated “wedding season” and “engagement season”, I can’t help but notice that it seems like everyone is getting engaged and/or married all of the time. Social media has made it very easy for us to see one another’s lives, which can also make it very difficult for us not to compare our own path to the paths of others.

But trust me when I say that, like most everything in life, dating is a game that should be played at your own pace.

There is no reason for you to hurry up a relationship or jump in head first when you would normally just stick a toe in and check the water’s temperature. Just because you see people around you getting engaged and walking down the aisle, there’s no reason for you to look around and think that you’re behind in some race you didn’t sign up for. There is no race. The “race” you feel like you’re in, that is just insecurity talking. That is that tiny voice in your head – you know the one, it’s evil and tries to make you feel bad for eating seconds or watching crappy reality television – trying to manipulate you and doubt yourself and feel like you’re not worthy of the happiness so many others are experiencing.

But you are. You are more than worthy. And in your own time and at your own pace, you will find that romantic happiness with someone who has been waiting for you, just as impatiently as you have been waiting for them.

There are a few ways that you can make it easier to date at your own speed. Obviously everyone is different, so these suggestions might not work for you specifically. But, I highly suggest giving them a try, especially when you’re starting to feel blue about your own dating situation (or lack thereof).

Turn Off Social Media: Just do it. There’s a little button you can click and boom, no more newsfeed and engagement announcements and wedding photos. If you find yourself checking and re-checking your Facebook and/or Twitter, and all you end up feeling is sad, it’s time to take a break from social media and focus on yourself.

Look At The Variables: Social media can erase (or at least successfully camouflage) all the variables that make every person different. Just because someone is the same age as you or was dating someone for as long as you were dating your ex, it doesn’t mean that everything else about the two of you is the same. You have your own reasons for why you aren’t married or engaged, and those reasons are just as valid as the reasons someone has for getting engaged or married. We’re all different, which means we’re all meant to go through life differently.

Take Yourself Out On A Date: If you’re feeling down in the dumps and behind the life-curve, treat yourself. Go out on a date with yourself. Get all dressed up and go to a fancy restaurant, go see a show or go do that one thing you’ve been meaning to do but just can’t find the time. The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself.

Remember, just because someone else’s relationship is traveling at warp speed, doesn’t mean that yours should. There is no race, there is no competition and there is no reason why you shouldn’t do dating at your own speed.

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

Diary of a Dating Diva: Why Being Alone For The Holidays Is Okay

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The days are darker, the weather is colder and it’s that time of year when “togetherness” is universally celebrated. From traveling to see friends and family, to snuggling up with a special someone around a decorated Christmas tree or lighted Menorah, people are encouraged to spend the holiday season with other people.

Which, of course, can make dating difficult this time of year. When happy, cozy couples seem to be everywhere, and family members are sure to ask you about your romantic situation, being alone can be downright dreadful. As a result, many people rush into otherwise nonsensical relationships to avoid awkward situations or unending questions, or simply the loneliness most single people feel during the holidays.

But I am here to tell you, being alone for the holiday season is more than okay. In fact, it is healthy. You can’t completely appreciate this time of year with someone else, until you have spent it alone. You can’t be a healthy member of a thriving, head-over-heels in love “us”, until you know what it is like to be a happy, unapologetic “just me”.

Being alone during the holiday season gives you the incredible ability to look inward, so you can see how far you’ve come over the past year, notice the areas of personal improvement and fall in love with who you are as an individual. After all, if you can’t love yourself, how can you expect anyone else to love you too? And while sayings like “you can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been” are clichés, they’re also true.

Being alone during the holiday season means you aren’t settling for a semi-perfect, not-really-what-you’re-looking-but-It’ll-work-for-the-company-Christmas-party relationship, because yes, you deserve better than that. While I understand the innate need to avoid annoying conversations with prying coworkers and merciless family members, that need shouldn’t trump your need for a real, fulfilling and genuine relationship. You shouldn’t have to cut corners or rush a relationship, just to avoid feeling lonely. If making it through the month of December alone means you’re giving yourself a real shot at something potentially life-changing, then make it through the month of December alone.

Being alone during the holiday season can be relaxing and freeing. Instead of splitting the time between families and racing from one celebratory spot to the next, you get to sit back on your couch with a heavy blanket, a spiced drink, and a favorite Christmas movie. You don’t have to worry about an overwhelming list of presents and you won’t get swept up in the sometimes anxiety-inducing, materialistic culture that can be associated with the holiday season. And, eventually, you will find someone special and you will be racing all over time (if not the country) to accommodate both families so enjoy this time while you have it. Trust me.

So, while I understand that sitting at home alone, eating over-priced Chinese food straight from the delivery box and watching Love Actually for the 17th time isn’t what many would consider the most ideal holiday celebration, I think it is wonderful for those who don’t find themselves coupled up this time of year. There’s no need to rush love just to avoid being alone, and there’s no way to not appreciate your own company because, hey, you’re pretty awesome company.

Instead of being sad that you aren’t with someone this holiday season, be thankful that you are you and that, along with the promises of a New Year, come new opportunities for dating, love and a happily ever after.

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

Diary Of A Dating Diva: Why You Should Be Thankful For Dating This Thanksgiving

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The holiday season is a time of reflection and thankfulness. As another year comes to a close, it’s easy to look back and be grateful for the good things that happened: a new love interest, a job promotion, health, and happiness.

But what about the bad stuff?

I know, I know. It’s difficult to be appreciative of the things that cause pain and embarrassment. But if you really take a step back and evaluate your past, you’ll notice that it’s the times when things didn’t work out, that taught you the most. It’s heartache, that reinforces our hearts for love. It’s pain, that makes us ready for complete happiness.

So when you’re sitting around the Thanksgiving dinner table this year, make sure to take a moment and be thankful for all the relationships that didn’t work out. Be thankful for all the bad dates and the awkward situations and the romantic blunders. Because while they might have hurt and definitely weren’t enjoyable, they are preparing you for something bigger and better.

Still don’t believe me? Hey, I get it. I’ve been where you’ve been. I’ve spent many a holiday season alone, bitter and unhappy about the failed relationships I’ve experienced. But now that I have found true joy and contentment, I’ve realized that it was all those failed relationships that made my present possible.

So here are 5 reasons why you should be thankful for the bad dates. I’m telling you, even when they hurt, they’re beneficial.

You Learn Something

You rarely learn the big lessons from perfect situations. It’s when things didn’t go the way you wanted them to, that you learn about patience, confidence and positivity. It’s when you’ve been hurt, that you learn about strength, resolve and self-care. So be thankful that you were able to walk away from the bad situations a little smarter, and a whole lot wiser.

You Grow As A Person

The bad situations we’ve experienced shape us in so many ways. We find out something new about ourselves, about what we really want, about what we can really handle and about what we are really willing to put up with. That kind of self-exploration can’t be handed to you, you have to live it.

You Have Some Great Stories

Because, honestly, who doesn’t like a good bad date story? You’ll be the life of every party. You’ll be the one who makes everyone laugh.

You Can Make New Friends

So many people talk about the “friend zone” like it’s a bad thing. Sure, when you’re looking for romance and find friendship instead, that can be a little bit of a bummer. But at the same time, realizing that being “just friends” with someone you didn’t have a spark with can be wonderful. At the end of the day, dating is about meeting new people.

You’ll Experience New Places

Even if a date was horrible and there was zero chemistry, there’s always a chance that the restaurant was amazing and the appetizer you had was life-changing. Trying new places you would never normally try, is one of the best parts of dating, even if the dating isn’t all that great. So sure, even if the date was a dud, at least you can add that fantastic restaurant to your list of favorites.

I know dating can be hard and, because it can be hard, it can be demoralizing. But be grateful for the bad times and the not-so-great dates. They’re preparing you for a life-changing, all-encompassing love. They’re giving you perspective and arming you with life lessons that you wouldn’t have otherwise learned.

Be thankful for the bad dates this holiday season. They’re the reason you’ll eventually have a fantastic one.

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

 

 

Diary of a Dating Diva: How To Tell When You’re Falling In Love

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There’s no denying it, fall is for lovers. Sure, say what you will about spring time, but there’s something about the changing of the leaves, the cool breezes and the oversized sweaters that whispers romance.

But, while noticing the change in seasons is easy, it can be significantly more difficult to notice when you’re falling in love with someone. How can you tell that what you’re feeling is real, and not superficial lust? How do you know if it’s a genuine shift in your relationship, and not loneliness or impatience doing their notorious dirty work?

Thankfully, I’ve created a list of ways you can know – for sure – that what you’re feeling towards that special someone is the effects of full on, bonafide love. If you can check more than five things off this list, I’d say it’s official: you’re head over heels.

Have Your Excuses Disappeared? 

If you are extremely motivated to spend time with this person, on a consistent and enthusiastic basis, chances are you’re falling for them. When you aren’t in love with someone, it’s easy to come up with relatively lame excuses as to why you can’t see them. But when you’re falling in love, work projects, nights out with friends or Netflix binges just don’t seem as important.

Are You Abnormally Anxious? 

While falling in love is a welcomed emotion, it can also cause your body to release higher levels of the stress hormone, cortisol. So, if you find yourself jittery or nervous or all-around tense, chances are it’s because you care about what this person thinks about you and feels towards you. Those “butterflies” are a real thing.

Are You Genuinely Interested In This Person? 

A big component of love is selflessness. Do you find yourself caring more about this person and their day than you do yourself and your own? Are you willing to invest your time and energy in someone else – essentially linking your life with theirs – even though you’re aware that it makes you more vulnerable? If that’s a yes, you’re knee deep in love, my friend.

Are You Willing to Try New Things? 

Does the idea of doing something that is completely outside of your comfort zone, more exciting than scary? Studies have shown as people fall in love, they “often branch out beyond their normal range of activities and try those that their partners favor”. If you’re open to experience new moments with your special someone, love is just around the corner.

Are You Having Trouble Concentrating? 

If you find yourself daydreaming on a semi-regular basis about one person in particular, there’s a high probability you’re falling in love. The people who bombard our mind and take up the majority of our thoughts are people we have – consciously or subconsciously – decided are of great importance. So, if you’ve decided someone is worthy of a substantial amount of space in your mind, it’ll be no time before they take up a substantial amount of space in your life.

Are You Having A Hard Time NOT Saying “I Love You” 

If it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep those three little words inside your throat, you’re definitely falling in love. When you ache to verbalize the emotions you’re feeling on a daily basis, that means those emotions are genuine, real and palpable.

We know that the start of any relationship can be confusing, especially a romantic one. While no two relationships are 100% alike, it helps to look at these signs and evaluate what you’re really feeling and why you’re really feeling it.

At the end of the day, trust yourself, trust your instincts and trust those butterflies. They know what they’re doing.

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

If you would like to meet Seattle Singles with It’s Just Lunch Seattle contact us at: itsjustlunchseattle.com
If you would like to meet Seattle Singles with IJL Dinner Club contact us at: ijldinnerclub.com

Diary of a Dating Diva: The First Date Cocktail And Why You Need To Be Like Booze

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On more than a few occasions, I’ve been asked about my dating success. How is it that I seem to feel so confident, self-assured and comfortable on so many first dates when, let’s face it, first dates can be sufficiently awkward? How do I secure that coveted second date or that quick follow-up phone call? How is it that, in an age of online dating and swipe-right scenarios, I manage to make meaningful connections with people in person?

I usually smile and definitely shrug and attribute my poise to years of experience or my charismatic personality.

But the truth is, it’s because I turn myself into a first date cocktail.

While an alcoholic drink can get a bum rap on a first, second, or really any date; mirroring yourself after your favorite alcoholic beverage can prove to be profitable and beneficial.

Just like a cocktail, you want to make yourself appealing, but not overwhelming.

Just like a cocktail, you want to be intoxicating, but not horribly sloppy or muddled.

Just like a cocktail, you want to be inviting, but not pushy or overly assertive.

And just like a cocktail, if you leave someone with a distasteful burn instead of an intriguing kindle, you probably won’t be a desirable choice in the future.

So do yourself a favor and learn from your favorite alcoholic beverage. I promise, if you can be as bewitching as your cocktail of choice (in moderation, of course) you will have no problem securing that second date.

Whiskey

What You Can Learn: There’s strength in subtly and confident silence. Like whiskey, you don’t feel the need to be flamboyant or bombastic. You know who you are and what you want, and that poise is undeniably attractive. You leave a lasting impression without the hangover as well as a mysterious allure.

What You Don’t Want To Learn: Too much talking, calling or before-the-date cyberstalking and you won’t be appealing. Don’t get yourself in an uncomfortable situation by being overwhelming.

Wine

What You Can Learn: There’s beauty in intellect. Don’t be afraid to show off your smarts and speak about the things that interest you the most. Don’t hide your intelligence; be sure of it. If you can connect with someone on a cerebral level, you’ll have found a connection that can last.

What You Don’t Want To Learn: Don’t be so arrogant with your intellect that you come off as a know-at-all. Don’t dominate the conversation or the topics you and your date decide to talk about. Sometimes, you can learn the most by listening.

Vodka

What You Can Learn: There’s nothing like being the life of the party! Don’t be afraid to let your hair down and enjoy the moment. Dating is about exploration, discovery and excitement, so bask in that nervous-but-thrilled feeling you get before you meet your match. Your genuine happiness and lust for life will rub off on the people around you.

What You Don’t Want To Learn: Remember, you’re on a date, not at a rave. Excitement and elation are all well and good, but don’t let it turn into hysteria. Find the balance between loud and low-key.

Tequila

What You Can Learn: There’s power in public displays of affection. If you’re feeling a genuine, shared feeling of interest and passion and sexual chemistry, don’t be afraid to act on it. You shouldn’t let an electric moment pass so you will be seen a certain way.

What You Don’t Want To Learn: Don’t force a sexual, sensual or otherwise physical connection. Don’t be overly sexual, don’t make every conversation about sex and don’t, please don’t, ask about a person’s number of sexual partners or favorite sex positions. Just don’t.

Beer

What You Can Learn: There’s no time like the present. Why hide who you really are by ordering the salad, when you really want the cheeseburger? Don’t be afraid to be yourself, instead of a dainty or buttoned-up version you think people want to see. If you like to get a little messy or you enjoy the down-to-earth, simple things, let the person across from you know that.

What You Don’t Want To Learn: Don’t abandon all aspects of social etiquette. No belching, no elbows on the table and don’t spill all over yourself like you’re at an all-you-can eat BBQ.

Until the next time I kiss and tell,

DatingDivaPonytail

The Seattle Dating Diva

If you would like to meet Seattle Singles with It’s Just Lunch Seattle contact us at: itsjustlunchseattle.com
If you would like to meet Seattle Singles with IJL Dinner Club contact us at: ijldinnerclub.com