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Are you nervous of speaking to others? How to talk to a girl that you like for the first time


We are all nervous of speaking to strangers, especially those whom we might like or fancy. There is usually some apprehension of how the other person might react, whether they might be wondering about our real motives for contact, whether we are doing the right thing in seeking a friendship with that particular person and, deep down, a fear of being ignored or rejected by them.

No one likes to expose himself to the embarrassment of not having a positive response, so many people focus on the negative aspect of what might happen instead of just going for it and hoping for the best. Another important point to remember is that every time we talk to someone we are improving our communication and interactive skills. Quite simply, we learn what works for us and what doesn't. By making no effort to connect with others, we rob ourselves of that crucial experience.

All friendships start with a contact of some kind. That's the only way strangers turn into friends. If you see a girl that you like and you're not sure how to approach her, there are five key things to remember:

a. She is likely to be nervous too.

b. She might even like you too.

c. Be yourself and be honest! Don't try too hard to impress. If she doesn't like you exactly as you are it's not going to work.

d. The worst that can happen is that she ignores you or tells you 'no'. Your world won't collapse and you'll still be the same great person you are. Better still, there are tons of other girls waiting to be asked!

e. Don't forget that mutual attraction is what drives any kind of connection. If the attraction isn't there on her part, no matter what you say, it won't make a difference.

However, as an opener, the following simple steps should be helpful:

STEP 1 - It is all about confidence in the introduction. Your main aim at this stage is simply to establish a rapport between you. To feel comfortable together. Ask yourself why you wish to talk to this girl. What results do you want? What exactly are you hoping she will do in return? By visualising what you wish to happen it should give you greater confidence in making the approach. You can see the result in your head, see her smiling and talking to you already, and the power of thought is phenomenal for delivering the reality because you will begin to act in the way you wish. Before you say anything, find something about her to comment on, for example, her chain, watch, bracelet, etc.

STEP 2 - Then say something like this, with a broad smile:

"Hello, I was admiring your chain. I think it is rather lovely (or unusual). Was it a gift or did you treat yourself? Was it made in this country?"

Always end that first comment on a question. It means she has to come back at you with a reply, if she wishes too. That observation can be applied to anything: her handbag, jeans, anything you can find about which to make an interesting comment and that is not too personal.

Another question could be, "Hello, sorry to trouble you, but do you know any good coffee shops nearby? I'm parched for a drink but am new to these parts." The lost-boy look can often work wonders as you obviously need some guidance and she won't feel too vulnerable helping you. The great thing about the coffee shop question is that, if she gives you directions or volunteers to show you where it is, that's the time you can casually ask if she would like one too - the least you can do in return for her help!!

The first reply is the most crucial because the tone of her voice, whether she smiles back in return and what she actually says, will tell you if it is worth carrying on. If she is a little abrupt, impatient or doesn't smile, but is polite and answers your question, be careful in going further. But if she is keen to answer, gives added information or asks something about you, that's your cue to go with gusto.

STEP 3: Always remember that people love to talk about themselves so try to listen more than you talk and ask questions wherever possible. The more you listen and ask questions (about her hobbies, interests, leisure, studies etc.) is the more she is likely to feel relaxed and comfortable with you, to trust you more and to see the possibilities for herself too. Moreover, you will also be learning whether she is really the right type for you and how comfortable you are in her presence. Humour is always welcomed too so keep it light at this stage.

STEP 4: At some point casually mention that you have an online presence (like Facebook, MySpace or Twitter) and ask if she has too and can you link up there? By offering online information first it appears more detached, matter-of-fact and not too pushy or desperate. If she seems receptive then you could add that you you have enjoyed the chat so much, would she mind exchanging emails to continue it? If she does not react as you expect, then emphasise being friends online and leave it to her to make contact again. If she does give you her email you could immediately move to the next stage, getting her number with this line of humour, and with another big smile.

"Thank you for the email address but, I have just won the lottery (pause for effect!) and was hoping that we could both splash out the $10 winnings on some coffee! Does that interest you at all? No hurry, if course. When you feel like it. But having won it, I need to celebrate it with someone interesting like you. Shall we exchange numbers before or after the coffee?"

If she isn't amenable by then and reacting with some major laughter at the lottery part, she really isn't for you and you should just wave her on!

How do I get a guy to call me back?


Well....er...you don't! You tell him to 'bugger off' instead, and wave him on briskly.

If you give your number to someone, or you call them at least once and they are not quick to return that call, they are simply not interested or their ego requires you to do the running to make them feel good. Either way, it is not in your interest.

The point I am trying to make here is that no self-respecting woman should aim to 'get' a guy to return her call. He either WANTS to return that call or he can take a hike. That's the attitude one should develop when one is seeking a genuine relationship with another. It MUST be entirely mutual, otherwise it is doomed from the beginning.

There are five main reasons why a guy would not return a woman's calls.
1. Lack of self love and esteem (on her part). People who don't love themselves depend on others to treat them in a better way than they would. They expect the new person to compensate for their own lack of self love by loving them instead. That feeling often leads to dependency, which is not attractive, and new guys can sniff that a mile off and shy away. The initial novelty soon wears off, if the woman appears too needy. In those circumstances, men tend to play it their way and in their own time. People with low esteem also allow themselves to be taken for granted because they often believe they do not deserve better and that the other person really cares. They lack the confidence to get what they truly desire and often settle for second best, which makes them even more vulnerable and exposed to the negative treatment of potential partners.

2. Mismatch in expectations. Where two people are not expecting the same pace of activity or outcome, one is usually reluctant to conform to the other's desires. The guy tends to control the situation by doing things mainly at his pace and when he feels ready. This always happens when one person is keen to move on the relationship quicker than the other. The parties would not be aligned in what they are both seeking and would not mirror each other's behaviour. The result is that one person is very eager to progress the friendship and expects the other person to feel the same by keeping in touch while the other person expects to take his time until he feels it's right.

3. A change of heart. A date can go extremely well yet not yield the expected results for either party because it depends on one's mood on the days that follow. Often people have a change of heart after a date, though one person might have seemed pretty eager to develop the friendship. In the cold light of the next day, perhaps remembering what was said or done, suddenly the other party does not seem as attractive. However, many men are often cowards in admitting their true feelings and cope with this by not returning calls. They hope that their silence will relay the message they are too timid to give. But if the woman is really keen, that kind of non-reaction can create more problems than it's worth.

4. Misperception of the friendship. Sometimes guys do give mixed signals about what they are seeking, or girls interpret certain behaviour to mean something else, especially where sex is involved. The guy might simply wish for a casual sexual relationship while the girl might believe she means more to him than that. Once again, that would be a mismatch in expectations, especially when men and women tend to view the reasons for having sex differently. In such cases, the girl would perhaps be a lower priority in the guy's life than she would like to think, hence why he would be reluctant to return the call.

5. Doubts about your feelings. If a guy is shy or not too confident in interacting with girls he might hang back until he has firm evidence that he is liked and should progress it. Some guys will set the pace while others expect to be led, or to have more evidence before returning calls. If you want a guy to call you back, try not to be too ambiguous in your actions and also indicate, clearly, that you would like to hear from him. Be clear about your desires, even if you are detached in the beginning.

Don't ever accept any excuse that suggests the guy was 'too busy' to ring! That is giving an even more powerful message of disinterest. When we really like someone we seek opportunities to interact with them. We don't leave it to chance. Furthermore, in this technological age, it takes only a few seconds to text an apology and to promise a later call, if one really wants to ring. If someone is too busy to call, especially at the beginning of a friendship, unless it is an emergency, that does not augur well. When people are interested and really care, they MAKE the time to communicate because it is pleasurable for both parties.

There is no great secret to getting a guy to call you back. If he really likes your company, values you, wishes to spend more time with you or can't bear the thought of losing your friendship, he will return your call without you even asking, so long as he knows how you feel about him. In the end, it depends on how much a guy really values that woman enough to want to hear her voice, to call her and to affirm her as a possible soulmate. Otherwise, he just won't bother.

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Tips to Finding The Right Partner You Seek


At this competitive time in our lives, when the demographics are skewed towards women living a very long life, with an acute shortage of men in the later years, it might look as though eligible partners are thin on the ground. But it really depends on where you look for your ideal mate. There is more than one partner for each of us, if we are willing to change our attitude, to let people reveal themselves to us and are less prescriptive in what we want.

If we are only interested in blondes, we immediately rule out women of all other hair colours who may carry the same characteristics as blondes, yet who might need nothing more than a colouring shampoo to complete the picture!

We will always have types of people we prefer, but the more limited the parameters, the narrower the choice and the more difficult these people are to discover. Finding romance is no different from any other aspect of our life. We have to take the responsibility for making it happen, alongside realistic expectations. We are all after 'perfection' in our partners, in some form or other, always forgetting that we are far from perfect to the other party and so any perfect match will be difficult to attain.

Nevertheless, to make a start on that ideal relationship, you must develop a plan of action. Sitting at home waiting for the person to come to you will yield nothing because they do not know where you live! And you might be dead set against any 'commitment' too. This word 'commitment', by the way, seems to strike fear in the hearts of men, in particular, and prevent many relationships.

As one psychologist said. "Many folks are very sincere about their desires to be involved with another person, but are not committed to making it happen. Sincerity is an attitude, while commitment is an action. Sincerity without action does not make anything happen." Yes, indeed. But with commitment coming toward the top of the desired list of all marriage qualities, it demonstrates beyond a doubt that one cannot have a successful relationship without some form of commitment.

Make Space in Your Home for Partner
Some people also believe that luck and romance go together. They just have to sit tight in their living rooms and their knight in shining armour will ride by and sweep them up side-saddle. But the right person for us is hardly connected with luck, a concept which merely maintains the illusion that we have no power to affect our fate; that we are helpless bystanders in the game of life. Being attracted to people on a PIE level (physical, intellectual and emotional) means that luck plays little part in it. We would expect to feel the first stirrings of love when we meet this person who strongly matches our PIE requirements. People who search for a partner while they hope for the best, without any real conviction regarding their own personal appeal, have little chance of winning because it is they who have to set the pace and the course for success.

On the practical side, Feng Shui experts advise that, if you want to attract a new romantic partner - or to move a casual relationship closer to commitment – make sure there is space for that person in your home, especially in the bedroom. Look at your wardrobes, shelves and dressing tables. If they are all filled to capacity with your own stuff, clearing some room for your current or future partner needs to be made a priority. One expert advises, "Aim to free up 25 per cent of the space in your bedroom for someone else's things. When you are finished, take a moment to visualise your loved one's belongings finding a home there."

Additionally, remove old relationship energy. Go through your home - especially your bedroom – and remove anything that reminds you of past failed relationships. This could be an ex-boyfriend's old sweater, photographs of you with a previous partner, a gift that reminds you (unfavourably) of a giver with whom you are no longer in love - anything that reminds you of a love that went badly. You are advised, "No matter how incurable a romantic you may be, do not keep old love letters anywhere in your bedroom, unless they are from someone with whom you are still blissfully paired up."

Dating Tips for Shy Single People


Shy people and unhappy people have one thing in common: they mainly focus upon themselves. But self-focus comes from insecurity and kills interaction. The greatest feelings of self-worth come from our positive effect on others. It has been shown that low self-esteem goes hand-in-hand with individuals who put too much attention inward. Confidence comes by doing something daily that focuses on someone, or something, else in a positive way. My hero Denzel Washington once said in a film, "A person wrapped up in himself makes a very small package!" Indeed.

I often wonder why anyone would boast about being shy, because shyness is a focus upon fear and the self which increases the inability to engage another person in basic interaction. When you are in a situation where you are meeting new people and interacting with others you immediately become less nervous. Life only works reciprocally. If we merely expect from others we tend to get very little until we begin to give too.

Many people who have not learned how to share find this giving difficult and simply wait with open hands to receive. Yet it is very clear that the people who give the most tend to receive in abundance. When we focus upon ourself, there is a limited field of vision which obscures the whole picture and gives us just one narrow view of the world – ours. We always expect something from others emotionally, yet are unprepared to give much back.

A shy person worries constantly about the REACTION of others and what they might think; whether they are WORTHY enough in that situation and how they will be TREATED because of their low self-esteem. Being so focused upon themself and their perceived treatment, they have little to give to others, which keeps the shy one in the same situation – being sidelined, alone and feeling excluded.

There are 6 main ways to overcome shyness, listed in order of importance:

1. Be proud of yourself and appreciate who you are, regardless of your 'faults'. You cannot be acceptable to others if you reject yourself. How can they affirm what you yourself dislike and reject? If you learn to accept your faults as well as your strengths, to cut yourself some slack, others will too. If you have to change yourself in any way for the potential date, that's the worst start to a relationship. You will always be trying to please and feel inadequate for it.

2. Shift the focus from yourself and push it outwards. When you shift your focus, you learn to relax more. Everything does not appear to be such a big deal. Relaxing comes through many forms: making a phone call to someone for an easy chat – they might be so grateful for your contact; going for a walk; listening to your favourite music; doing some puzzles; talking online to someone; sending a simple email to that valued person; reading a book and, above all, accepting everything that is happening at that moment instead of getting stressed about it or trying to control it.

3. Ask as many questions as possible. It doesn't matter how difficult this is, learn to ask questions, especially with a potential date. Any question is indicative of curiosity and is a doorway to dialogue and interaction. It does not matter how simple and trivial the first question is, that is vital to open that door and it shows your interest, making you seem less one-dimensional and more engaging.

4. Do not always wait for others to act, chances are they are shy too! Pluck up the courage to make the first move sometimes. If you don't try to engage the people you are interested in they will never know your feelings and others will beat you to it. Belief and desire need courage and conviction around them to get the required results.

5. Join in activities, like a local activity club, dating club, or becoming a volunteer. These are the surest ways of boosting your self-esteem and getting that date as you remove the focus from yourself and give the attention to others to reinforce them. You will feel wonderful seeing the results of your actions and the difference you're making to others. Most important, people will suddenly want to know you because they feel valued!

6. Begin to appreciate your world and what you have today and see the difference as your life changes in front of you. Don't take life for granted and the blessings you have. Stop and smell the roses so that you too can smell much sweeter!

Why Friendship and Dating do Not go Together


Whenever I read some dating profiles I always avoid the ones that say "I'm seeking friendship first". It suggests one of two things to me: someone seeking 'friends with benefits', or a controller wishing to dictate the pace and direction of the friendship, neither of which is satisfactory to form a genuine relationship. People who fear commitment and hurt love to hide behind this condition, while never really achieving their aim. But is such 'friendship' possible? And when, precisely, would the friendship change to something more intimate? Would BOTH parties desire that change to intimacy at the same time?

Real friendship originates from understanding another's needs and aspirations and appreciating their pain and joy. It comes out of being able to empathise with them, in both good and bad times, and this usually takes a while to develop. Thus true friendship is highly unlikely with anyone we do not know well. When it comes to instances where there is clear attraction, friendship is the last thing on the cards because the feelings of attraction will overwhelm all other platonic ones and get in the way of real friendship developing.

Furthermore, we cannot replace sexual feelings with friendship because friendship is enduring while fancying someone is likely to be fleeting. Putting the two together is a contradiction in itself, especially when true friendship is only possible when the heady feelings of romance have taken their course and we appreciate the person as someone truly valuable on our journey because we have grown to like or love them more. Most important, friendship and dating do not go together because one is based on emotional needs (friendship) and the other is dictated by physical needs (intimacy). The emotional bonding in dating usually follows much later, if it gets that far.

Fear of being hurt

If we fancy someone like mad, that's a sexual need that will not go away until it is either brought to a conclusion or it fizzles out. Trying to repress those needs with 'friendship' is a one-sided situation based on fear of being hurt which usually benefits only one party - the one who wants to control the relationship for hisher own ends. It is difficult to be friends when you fancy the person and wish to get closer to them while they are holding you at arms' length, or vice versa, in the name of 'friendship'. It is a clear mismatch, and, in any mismatch, one person is losing out. So friendship isn't possible with dating because it has an unequal and superficial foundation.

Often the main reason for seeking 'friendship' first is the desire to control a relationship instead of letting it unfold in its natural way. To prevent 'being hurt', some people believe that seeking friendship first keeps pain at bay. But if there is going to be hurt, no amount of having friendship at the beginning is going to stave off the pain! Such hurt usually comes when we are at the familiar stage in relationships later down the line; when we take each other for granted or when one or both parties begin to lose their appeal. Not at the start of the relationship. Thus seeking friendship first is really delaying the inevitable in a superficial way.

When we fancy someone we can always fool ourselves that, should the fancying not prove mutual, it can then turn into friendship and everyone will be happy. Or that we can be friends first, to get it off the ground, and then sail smoothly into sex. But next time you are seeking friendship first, look back at all the dates that have failed to live up to expectations and count up all the real friendships that emerged from them. You are likely to find that friendship is only possible if BOTH people liked each other platonically from the beginning. Once there is a mismatch an expectations are dashed, or there is any kind of rejection involved, friendship would be the last thing anyone wanted! Their sense of rejection would propel them elsewhere to get the affirmation they seek.

How Finding Yourself First, and Simple Courtesy, are Essential to Finding a Soulmate


My advert was quite clear: I wanted "a slim, non-smoker and single man, preferably under 200 lbs in weight". I weigh 138 lbs so allowing up to an extra 62 lbs in a partner (over 4 stones) was pretty generous, I thought. How many men would look at a 200 lbs woman? Not many, I'm sure! A quick scan of the male personal adverts confirmed this - hardly anyone wanted women who weighed more than 150 lbs! Most desired their soulmates to be under 135 lbs! So there goes at least 90% of women.

I felt sure my clear requirements would weed out the unsuitable ones to avoid time wasting and allow greater choice from those who matched up. Fine hope, as it turned out to be. Men weighing over 210 lbs, fully married and smoking, for good measure, thought they fitted the bill! The general attitude was that I didn't mean what I stated, so they felt they could stop smoking, slim down or even leave their wives for me, as I seemed to be 'worth it'. Glib words masking an air of desperation and a lack of personal standards for something so important as a future partner. Some appeared to expect a woman to accept anyone just because she is single and older. Others thought they'd try their hand at something 'different' and 'exotic'! I was not impressed.

Knowing myself as I do now, I do not stray from my requirements, no matter how appealing the guy might be, simply because I am not prescriptive in my desires. Apart from those three non-negotiables, anyone else is eligible, depending on chemistry. Above all, people are not products so they will not come strictly to order. Sadly, many people seek perfection in partners conveniently ignoring the imperfection that they are.
When seeking my own soulmate, I also bear in mind that our personality and perceptions are formed mainly by our background, culture and beliefs. If a person seems wanting in certain key respects, they will remain that way, no matter how much they try to please us. Any change would merely be temporary to get what they want, unless they truly believe the change is beneficial to them.
So I have no desire to change anyone to suit me.

I have gradually discovered that the best partners are those who love and appreciate themselves as they are and who are proud of their personality and identity. If they are appealing to us, true love accepts that person, warts and all. People who are happy inside their own skins are more likely to appreciate others too and make allowances in expectation and behaviour. Better to be who you are: flawed, exciting and happy - than to try to be perfect and unhappy for someone else who might soon get tired of the new, fawning you!

General lack of respect and courtesy

Since I have been seeking a new soulmate, I have noticed a few hidden trends in the mating game, which many people are not even aware of, and which prevent both men and women from finding their ideal partners. There are lots of reasons why people do not hook up together easily, despite the zillions of pubs, dance clubs, dating agencies, mingle parties, speed dating and website opportunities available; reasons which keep people chasing their ideal without ever catching him/her. The main ones seem to be a basic lack of courtesy and social skills. People seeming not quite sure, in our Internet age, of how to approach each other. Common courtesy seems to be escaping many people, women in particular, in responding to approaches. Many professional and articulate women are registered on websites, or they deliberately go to pubs and clubs, to SEEK partners. But despite current emphasis on equality, we still expect men to make the first move.

However, when they overcome their fear and shyness to do so, we tend to give them short shrift, especially if they do not look like the ideal or do not say what we want to hear! Amazing what a simple 'No, thank you, but I am flattered by your interest' can do to let someone down gently and reinforce their value and dignity. More difficult suitors can be kept at bay with the exciting news that you have 'just met someone else and would like to follow that through before pursuing any other interest' ... a favourite for unwanted and persistent attention! They never know if it is true or not but it is a powerful lever to have.

New Expectations
The top need for people of Britain in a Channel 4 TV nationwide poll of 'new commandments' was: 'Treating people the way I wish to be treated'. If we do not expect people to ignore us, to be rude and boorish, we shouldn't act that way ourselves. One insecure 40 year old woman used to criticise all men who made a pass at her, or even said hello. She immediately judged them in all sorts of aspects without ever taking the trouble to simply get to know them first. She was very attractive and got a lot of attention, initially, until the men became discouraged trying to match her impossible standards and general disrespect. 'Courtesy costs nothing, give generously', as they say. Being a positive force, it is guaranteed to make that person's day in some way and reinforce the kind of desirable behaviour we all seek.

However, even worse than courtesy is weak conversational and interactive skills! Men and women, having got more equality down the years, have become more unequal in knowing the rudiments of social protocol and how to treat one another with confidence, courtesy and respect, especially when making the first contact through simple conversation. This is usually stilted and one-sided, with one person talking too much, or hardly any questions being asked. Yet only questions supply answers, not just making statements. A good conversation will not only demonstrate genuine interest but is also an important source for getting to know that person and providing clues to personal preferences which can progress the friendship further.

Overall, though we have more tools for interaction, we seem to have less skills in doing so. Yet knowing ourselves, the courtesy to interact and the skills to connect with another human being are the only elements that will deliver that elusive soulmate.

How to Start a Conversation and Make Friends With One Simple Thing


It seems a difficult process, speaking to strangers, especially when we are seeking soulmates. But wishing, hoping and dreaming about finding our ideal partner, without any form of strategy will lead nowhere. Serious people do not leave everything to chance. They try their utmost to increase the possibilities of meeting that ideal person by doing something about it, even if it is to strike up a simple conversation. A lack of interest in others, exaggerated fears, a need for approval, a focus on ourselves and social protocol (especially for women) make it hard for us to communicate or use our initiative to bridge that gap with a stranger.

A man at a club once said that he didn't ask me to dance because he feared rejection. But he lost the possibility of acceptance too by doing nothing! Another day, I was in the local car park in my town and saw a shy-looking man gazing at me intently. He went on his business, returned to the car park at the same time as I did, and continued to look at me, hoping I would probably indicate some form of acceptance. He was quite appealing and I exchanged eye contact but said nothing. He drove off soon afterward, again lacking the courage to make a move towards me. I often wondered about him, who he was and where he was going, and I am sure he wondered about me too. But when we make no effort in such situations, nothing ever happens.

For this reason, for fear of our actions being misinterpreted and because of the perfection we seek, men now dance by themselves, or talk among themselves, and women do the same, each gender lacking the courage to make a move while they drift further apart in the selection process and remain on their own for much longer. In fact, at another club, a man walked in and took up a position leaning against a wall. He never left that position for the rest of the night, not even to get some drinks. He looked sad, lonely and dejected and everyone ignored him. I wondered why he bothered to come out of his house if he wanted to just exchange one wall for another! But that's what fear and low self-esteem do for us. They rob us of opportunities to join the human race.

The Art of Conversation
Any interaction or conversation is like a game of tennis. If the ball is held by one person and never passed back and forth, there would be no game and it would be very boring. The ball, in our quest for a partner, refers to all the questions we ask others to reflect our curiosity. With many people being rather self-centred, they cannot see that connection and so the one-way attempt at interaction makes it difficult to sustain a dialogue, let alone any kind of relationship. I was not afraid to speak to that man in the car park. I was single and available. In fact, I never engage prolonged eye-contact with anyone unless I really want to talk to them. However, even though I responded to his gaze, the social brainwashing of a man being expected to make the first move took hold of me as I looked at him and did nothing. His fear of my rejection prevented him doing nothing too. Result: Opportunity lost.

Another limiting factor is that too many people believe there is only one partner in this world who is ideal for them. But that has no basis in fact. If that were the case, we would not meet and fall in love on multiple occasions with very successful results. Our love life would be finished, once our first partner leaves the scene! It is our narrow vision of acceptability, the low expectations we carry, the lack of skills in wooing others and the preoccupation with being hurt rather than being loved, which keep us without any partners or stuck in negative relationships.

Next time you see a potential soulmate, try plucking up the courage to ask just ONE QUESTION about them with genuine interest and see the difference. It could relate to the weather, perhaps to something unusual about them or anything that is positive. Your life could change with that single question.

The Most Crucial Ingredient of a Good Conversation


Often we meet someone who seems really exciting. We begin to chat to them, we take an interest in them, but, somehow, everything falls flat as we slowly realise that we are really getting nowhere fast, despite the best intentions on both sides. The big problem is likely to be the actual conversation. You might be genuinely interested and show that interest.

But if you ask someone a question about themself, and they reply by going on and on, perhaps because they are not in interested in you, they are nervous or they just want to talk about themselves, that will be a very boring conversation. Research has shown that the average person has an attention span of just 90 seconds, before they start to drift. It is longer when they are really stimulated by the subject matter.

What many people do not realise is that it does not take a great deal of skill to have really interesting conversations and make some useful connections at the same time. In fact, all it takes ro connect meaningfully when we meet a stranger is the ability to ask varying questions. Using questions liberally in a conversation ensures that you have the attention of your listener and you will keep that attention, especially if the question is relevant to their achievements and aspirations, if it is not too open-ended and is not too negative. So long as you ask a question, you will encourage a response and, if they ask you a question in return, you have the foundations for rapidly finding out about each other in the most satisfying way possible: through mutual admiration.

Keeping the ball in play
Questions in a conversation are like a tennis game. You pass the ball(question) to your party and they pass it briskly back in the form of a response. Then you return it equally quickly to keep the game in play. Where one person hangs on to that ball (ask no questions), or play it unfairly (just making statements and talking forever), that's a very boring game. Not much enjoyment will come from it because there is little opportunity to play and exhibit your skill (give information or react to what you hear).

Questions lie at the heart of any dialogue. If you have wondered why you didn't make an impression on that guy or gal you were hoping to nab, or why conversations seem to go flat when you participate, it could be because your nervousness caused you to ramble on about yourself, to become tongue-tied or to miss a golden opportunity to ask a key question about your party. Next time you meet someone new, unless questions form an integral part of that conversation you are hoping to have, it is going to be a very boring time for at least one of you! Work out simple but interesting questions beforehand, particularly around the other person's work and leisure, and, in no time, you will seem such an expert at how to engage your friends and dates in the the most enjoyable ways, you will be fighting off all the attention you are likely to have!

Have you been dumped? Start thinking about the next date right now!


People have to date after being dumped because that is a natural part of life: dealing with both pain and pleasure. Our life does not consist of single events or just the nice, enjoyable moments. We are on a journey of self-development, self growth, self-knowledge and self-realisation from the day we are born until the day we die. Pleasure and pain are thus two sides of the same coin of life which help us towards that ultimate development. We cannot have one without the other.

Not having another relationship might keep you from getting hurt, but it won't give you a life. You will then be stuck in negativity, with the past trashing inside your head forever, while you cower cowardly in a corner, shying away from the setbacks in life which actually make you more resilient, more experienced, more confident in yourself and far more attractive as a person. Worst of all, it makes you unloving too. You cannot deny love then claim to love others. The two are incompatible. That's like trying to give away what you haven't got. The only way through life is to face everything it throws at us which helps us to develop survival and coping skills.

Every relationship teaches us something. Often, when we don't want to learn, we go inside ourselves and ignore the message. But relationships break and cause hurt mainly because of the expectations we burden them with. People come into our lives for any of four main reasons, of which only one is permanent. However, as we expect every person we like to be permanently with us, our expectations are soon dashed when it does not work out that way. Yet, when we allow a relationship to unfold without trying to control it, or having too many expectations of it, we make room for the unexpected and are likely to be pleasantly surprised.

Why break-ups really hurt

Most important, break-ups really hurt when we don't love ourselves and expect others to love us instead. Once we love ourselves first, it doesn't matter who doesn't love us, because we are already of value - to our relatives, parents, family, friends, to name a few. When we merely expect love from others to compensate for our self-loathing, once they reject us, the pain is harder to bear because that rejection merely confirms what we already believe - how unlovable and unwanted we are. Furthermore, relationships do not just consist of hurt alone, though that is all we focus on when we get hurt. Relationships consist of PLEASURE first. To get to that hurt, we have to experience pleasure and when we deny ourself the opportunity to be hurt, we also deny access to that pleasure too which keeps us stuck, unloved and unloving.

Our character is built on dealing with setbacks in life, no matter what they are. If we deny ourselves the opportunity to deal with those setbacks, to pick ourselves up and carry on in life along our journey, we become stunted in our growth, and also boring, one-dimensional people who simply want to control everything without adding to the store of rich knowledge and experience that makes us appealing and empathetic to others. The only way we learn in our life is through mistakes and pain. We cannot deny that aspect of our evolution.

Finally, the main reason for dating as soon as possible after being dumped is because you cannot afford to use the judgement and actions of ONE person to dictate your life forever. Are you so low in value that just one person out of the millions in this world can dictate how you feel about yourself and who you are? You would actually allow one single person in this world to affect your esteem and progress? What happens to all the other men or women out there waiting to meet you, admire you and love you? Don't their opinion count for anything?

When we stop dating because of being dumped we allow ourselves to be judged by a single human being, placing them as chief arbiter in our lives and reducing our value to nothing. That is no way to live the precious life we are given or to appreciate the fine people we are.

A simple guide to dating in the workplace


It seems that the main place for finding love and romance is where we work. According to a survey sponsored by Glamour magazine and Lawyers.com, "41% of employed Americans aged 25 to 40" admitted having had an office romance. That's a significant statistic, being almost half the work force of that age range, and especially when relationships among more than half of them led to marriage.

However, if not handled in a professional way, romance at work that turns sour can also be damaging to one's career, among other things, so it has to be handled sensitively and maturely. Furthermore, with the threat of litigation around sexual harassment being ever present, some employees are naturally concerned, and even confused, about dating at work in case it is misconstrued negatively by one party.

While it can be a heady experience to find love at work, as it makes it much easier and convenient for regular contact, dating can present a threat to professional and organisational effectiveness due to the negative impact on both the participants and other co-workers. For this reason, a simple guide to dating in the workplace should provide greater confidence in progressing any romance and help make the relationship a more enjoyable and longer lasting one.

There are 9 useful tips to note in this guide:

1. Dating at work is more detrimental to some professions than to others, like in the medical or legal professions, because of maintaining the confidentiality and privacy issues around clients. Before you request a date, find out if your workplace has a dating policy because at least 14% of employers have an unwritten but clearly understood policy on work relationships.

2. Learn about the person professionally before you try to date them. You will soon know how they are likely to react towards you if you make a pass. By finding out as much information as you can before your approach you will also learn whether they might already be dating someone else in the department/organisation, whether they are different in sexual preference and whether they might actually warm towards you.

3. Learn to accept that 'No' ALWAYS means 'NO', even if you think the person might not mean it and you could encourage them to be more amenable to you. That is fine outside of work but pushing the boundaries might just get you labelled in a negative way. Be very sensitive and alert to responses once you have made your approach. That person might genuinely like you but there could be many reasons why they might not wish to progress it while you are both in the same organisation or the same career.

4. If you both decide to date, keep the relationship private and discreet until you are ready to make a formal announcement that you are an item. This is the most important part. There is nothing worse to other colleagues than to have a couple flaunting their relationship too much, spending time chatting and enjoying themselves, when they should be working. It can be very demoralising and often cause unnecessary resentment.

5. Always act professionally while you are a couple. This means no flirting in the office with others, no open displays of affection or neglecting your work to spend time with a date during work hours. In effect, nothing should change about your work behaviour at all. The responsibilities of your role should always come first.

6. Ensure that you continue to act according to the demands of your role and department. It means that you would be speaking your own opinions, exhibiting the same skills and knowledge as before and sticking up for your own colleagues instead of being influenced by your date or being guided by them in your work. The essential point is that you should conduct yourself in the same manner prior to your new relationship and that should, hopefully, engender more trust and confidence in you both from your co-workers.

7. Be open and honest, particular in regular communication, regarding the possible impact of your relationship, the effects it might have on others and the concerns you both might have noticed. By discussing any problems which might emerge from the relationship you would be alert to them well beforehand and be able to take appropriate or evasive action.

8. If you are a manager, you would need to be extra careful and vigilant about dating other staff, especially if they normally report to you. The nature and responsibility of a manager's work means any action towards a particular employee could be perceived as favoritism by others. There could be conflicts of interest, especially when it comes to appraisals, discipline and enforcing work policies. It is always best to date on a vertical level with an employee of similar status than a hierarchical one which could be misinterpreted as having ulterior motives.

9. If the relationship doesn't turn out well, try to keep any animosity or conflict outside. Once again, professionalism and discreteness are of the utmost in such a situation. If any conflict becomes public, it could adversely affect other workers and ultimately affect your career if you have to change jobs or leave that workplace altogether.

By sticking to these basic guidelines, it should make it much easier to find a date at work and enjoy a fulfilling romance without too much angst or concern.

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Can a 20 year old be happy dating a 30 year old?


Q. One of my friend likes a 30 year old guy. Do you think that is too much of an age difference? What are the pros and cons of dating someone that much older than you? Need some good advice quickly. Thanks.

A. I don't see anything too wrong with a 10 year gap. It depends on the feelings between the people and how mature both are in dealing with it. There are only two things wrong with dating someone of more than five years older.

First, that person would have enjoyed their youth already, been there and done that, so they are likely not to be interested in the kind of things (like partying and playing etc) which a younger person might wish to indulge in. The 30 year old would be more mature and experienced, would have probably had a job for a few years, and would want someone who matches them in that respect, while the 20 year old is just starting out on their exciting journey and would need time to get that experience and maturity too.

Second, we all go through set stages of evolution in our lives (seven in all) which mould our perspectives and affect how we see the world. A 30 year old might wish to settle down because he/she is in Stage Two of their adult development (the period of Responsibility and Choice) whereas the 20 year old is in Stage One (the Age of Self-Discovery and Experiment). It means one person will be keen to settle down, to make life choices and begin the process of taking responsibility for him/herself in a mature way, while the other person will be busy discovering their world and finding out about themself first. Two different ways of seeing life, especially if they find it hard to compromise. In time, those two opposing perspectives are likely to create a lot of impatience and misunderstanding between the couple which then makes a longer term partnership less likely.

That is the main reason why relationships with huge age gaps are very tricky. If the people involved do not grow together or come to share the same perspectives, it cannot survive. Personal tastes, particularly in music, fashion and knowledge, which dictate perception, would also be very different because 10 years is almost like a generation when it comes to our lifestyles. That would lessen the things the couple can relate to between them, which eventually means having different sets of friends to connect with who can validate and affirm each party.

In a nutshell, such an age gap can work, but it really depends on the parties and the degree of love and appreciation between them. But it is not a good prognosis at the beginning. Perhaps when the younger person reaches 26 it might be a good time to consider such a match, because they will also be in Stage Two of their development and perhaps more able to share that older person's perspective more easily.

Do we really need Dating Tips for Seniors?


Dating tips for seniors....mmmm... The very title is an insult to seniors because of the assumptions it makes about behaviour at a certain age; the boxes older people are put into, with the lids firmly bolted down long before they are dead!

Do we have advice saying 'Tips for dating at middle age? Tips for dating young? For when you are 40?' Of course not. But we fear ageing so much, we treat it as entirely different to the rest of our lives and then spend our whole lifetime dreading its onset. We often assume that once people are over 50 etc., they are a group apart from everyone else, almost alien beings in their approach, needs and desires. They would have little in common with other ages.

Yet people of our age want to enjoy life as much as the next person. We might take a longer time to enjoy it, and have more experience of it, but it is no less applicable simply because we are of a certain age group. The yearning or heartache would still be the same. Age is only relevant when we focus on the number itself instead of the quality of life we lead, which then robs us of the true meaning of that life.

Well, I am one of those 'seniors' being advised and the picture painted of such people looks nothing like me because I am not defined by my age. I am defined by how I see the world and whom I wish to be. Age is just one part of the key attributes that make up my identity: i:e gender, culture, perspective, personality and age. 20%, to be exact. I will not give it any more significance than it deserves to have because the way I age is entirely down to the fears I have and the negativity I attached to ageing, which in turn dictate how rapidly I age and the way I physically look. As a 'senior', I will thus give my tips for finding a date as I see it, which is likely to be different from those of someone younger, perhaps with their own hang-ups about age. With that in mind, I have just four dating tips for seniors like me.

First: Know what you want:
If you don't know what you want, how are you going to recognise it when you see it? How will you know that the person standing in front of you desperately trying to make small talk is the right person for you? How will you know whether they share the same values, aspiration and humour, for example? Often we are seeking an ideal soulmate yet we have no idea what makes them ideal or why they would appeal to us. My ideal man HAS to communicate, be intelligent and articulate, romantic and tactile and give me LOTS of attention.

Additionally, he must not smoke and should be a moderate/social drinker. These are non-negotiable. All the other things I can compromise on. But if he cannot string a sentence together, seems to have nothing except air between his ears, or doesn't even seem the least bit interested in me, it will be hard work communicating in every sense. It would just make me want to shout, "NEXT!"

Affirmation and Reinforcement
Second: Be prepared to give and take - reciprocity, as they call it
. Often we expect from soulmates what we would not give in return, like wanting them to make a fuss of us, or to compliment us, or to do things for us while we totally ignore their needs. We also find it hard to affirm and reinforce them, or treat them in a valued and appreciative way, yet expect them to treat us in ways we desire and expect. That is no way to find our ideal soulmates because it means we are merely intent on receiving without giving and a relationship is a two way process. In fact, it is more about your partner than yourself and if he/she treats you in a similar manner, putting you first too, you then have the ideal relationship made in heaven because you would both be too busy caring about each other to focus merely on yourselves.

Third: Having lived a lot of your life, it is natural that you would wonder how long you have left to live.
So live each day as though it is your last while you enjoy every minute of it. It means finding someone who will really love you to bits, who will shag you silly and make you feel a million dollars because all that loving you're going to have will be the surest thing to extend your life, keep you looking beautiful/handsome and also keep that adrenalin flowing at top speed. You do not want a sedate, low-activity relationship when you're older, a grandad with his slippers and pipe at the ready or a grandma who just wants company. That's the surest thing to get you to an early grave. Avoid anything sedate and sedentary at this time of your life. The time you're going to spend making love, running, dancing, walking being romantic and behaving silly is going to be time well spent. It will be the making of you and give you a new lease and perspective. Live disgracefully, as I call it, and you will live longer because it is all about extending yourself, trying new things, keeping active and with an open mind - actually LIVING each moment - which preserve you and make life really worthwhile.

Four: Resist your children's attempts to put you in an 'old age' box at all cost because they will simply rule your life.
Children, especially insecure and controlling ones, like perfect parents who 'behave' themselves and 'act' their age. But in today's revolutionary times of high technology, acting your age is the last thing you want to do. It would keep you from experimenting and having a date for its own sake. It would keep you stuck in ultra-cautious mode while your life rushes by. Anyway, what exactly is being 50? 60? 70? Is there a prescribed rule book that says you have to behave in a decrepit and needy fashion when you reach a certain age?

Who lays down behaviour for an older person? Resist their attempts to rob you of a new partner and a life, especially when they are firmly joined with their own partners and are well catered for. it is YOUR life, not theirs, and you have to make the most of whatever time you're going to be given. So make your own decisions, no matter how unpopular.

Furthermore, a happy, contented, loved person makes a far better mother and grandfather, with much more to contribute to their family, than a miserable old whingebag who feels lonely, isolated and unwanted. Get dating today and put all the fears and anxiety behind you. The right soulmate for you could be just waiting around the corner!

These are my four tips for 'seniors'. Notice I did not mention age more than once!