If you never have luck with dating, read this.
Q: Your book, "I Never Have Any Luck with Dating" offers a light-hearted approach to love seekers. Can you tell us a little bit more about it?
I hear many singles complain about dating and dating services. Many become jaded by their views. For example, a woman on a first date with a guy who she meets through a dating service might lament that “all the good ones are taken.” Whether or not she realizes it, she just insulted the guy across from her since he isn’t taken and therefore is not a good one. She also insulted herself since she is not taken. This kind of negative attitude harms dating, and singles would be better off with a positive attitude.
I also hear complaints about dating services—that they take your money but do not deliver as many people as promised or the quality is poor. Taken together, I think that many singles need to laugh more about being single and the process of meeting others. That’s why I wrote the book—to encourage people to lighten up and have a good laugh. Plus, I don’t think anyone has done a book like this before. I take it all on—dating services, getting fixed up by friends, baby-boomer dating, signs that your date is going bad, etc. It’s all in good fun, though based on real-world incidents in many cases.
I’ve also just finished an accompanying screenplay entitled Sick of Being Single. It’s about busy professionals who try and try to meet that special someone through dating services but strike out repeatedly, only to meet the right one by chance (I like happy endings). Yes, the screenplay is a comedy/romantic comedy.
Q: Please tell us how nice guys can finish first…
Nice guys ultimately do finish first. It’s just that they get off to a poor start because they are not different or outstanding as some bad boys and exceptional good guys may be. Women might be attracted to bad boys as well as good guys who are exceptional because they stand out. Nice guys don’t stand out. Yet many women tire of the bad boys or guys who they were attracted to for the wrong reasons. For example, a guy might be highly athletic and this attracted the woman. However, he might be abusive, dumb, rude or a player. Eventually the woman learns to make better choices.
With nice guys it’s like the tortoise and the hare. They get off to a poor start but often win the race. They just have to hang in there and understand this.
Q: How you keep and decorate a home says a lot about a man. What are some bachelor pad must haves that will make a good first, second or overnight impression?
Well, if a guy wanted to decorate his pad for other guys to enjoy he’d have posters of football players or half-naked women, a big screen TV, theatre seating with cup holders and all the trimmings.
However, if a guy wants to impress a woman he needs to develop his feminine side. Neatness is a big help—no beer cans lying around or yesterday’s dinner. No underwear on the floor of the bedroom, etc. Beyond this, women love flowers, if not real ones then artificial ones placed here and there. Some nice art work and high-quality kitchen appliances make a big impression (even if the woman is never going to use them).
Q: How can a guy who’s not good at flirting get good?
You can actually take classes on this. They are offered at community colleges and similar places. Actually, part of flirting is being able to read someone’s body language (I have a chapter on this in my forthcoming book "Relating Effectively"). Guys in particular are bad at reading when a woman is flirting because, unlike guys, women flirt in more subtle ways. If they could just read the signs then things would be a lot better and it can be learned.
Q: How can women who attract jerks break the pattern?
It isn’t that some women attract jerks. It’s that some women are willing to put up with jerks while other women won’t. This creates the illusion that they attract jerks. Women simply need to recognize that if a given guy cannot or will not change his behavior for the better, then you need to lose him and not put up with his being a jerk. Part of the problem is that some women, certainly not all, see men as a project that needs fixing. They keep trying to fix the broken guy and won’t abandon the project when they should. They stay with jerks too long and should find someone else.
Q: Secret sex tip every man should know about?
As a psychologist you frequently hear that women are not satisfied by the seven-minute quickie, the favorite of many guys. They enjoy more foreplay and stimulation than is typically provided. So if the guy wants to make her happy, give her what she wants. . .
Q: Taboo topics in the getting to know you phase?
Avoid politics, particularly who you would vote for in elected offices. Also avoid religion and abortion in the early going. Some people are very opinionated in these areas. Even if they are not opinionated, if she is a Democrat and the guy is a Republican, early on the other person starts thinking, “this person is really different from me” and therefore not compatible. If the person is opinionated, they may be very dogmatic in their beliefs and this could start arguments early on. Either way the parties realize that they are different and therefore not meant to be a couple.
Q: What are some signs that a woman/man is into you?
Body language will tell you more than the words being said, for many people will say nice things when that is not what they are feeling. As for body language, look for a person who sits close to you, looks right at you, asks lots of questions, pays attention to you, leans forward toward you when seated, etc. These are all very good signs and not many people are conscious of how to control them.
The one foolproof sign is what psychologists call Pupillary Response Reflex (or PRR). It refers to the tendency for people’s pupils of their eyes to dilate when they look at someone they are attracted to. This is easy to see with the special someone in your life when they are within two feet of you. If they are looking away, then look right at you for at least a couple of seconds, pay attention to what happens to the pupils of their eyes. If they get bigger, that person is into you. But the tricky part is that the room or outdoor setting should not be unusually bright or dark, because the eyes respond to natural light as well and you can’t see changes. You also can’t tell on a first date since people at this stage are typically three feet away or more and you can’t see pupil changes at that distance.
Q: How do you know when to give up on a relationship and break up?
Most things can be fixed in a relationship with counselling. However some things that I cannot fix are: (1) either one or both parties do not love each other; (2) the two have very little in common to enjoy together; or (3) either one or both people have very rigid personalities and are very unwilling to change this and be tolerant of someone, such as their spouse, who has different views. Pretty much everything else can be fixed if the two are willing to try certain things to improve their relationship.
Q: What about all those shy or nice guys? What advice would you give to all those individuals out there who are having a hard time approaching women?
Shy and nice guys should avoid bars, nightclubs, dances, singles mixers, etc. Here the players and the gregarious will dominate. Instead the shy should focus on meeting people in other ways such as through friends, at work, through clubs and professional associations, volunteer activities, charities, etc. Here they can meet someone else quietly one-on-one. Though they may not make that great first impression, the other person has a chance to see the guy over time and recognize all of the positive traits that are present. In short, shy and nice guys need to focus on meeting others where they will have a chance to see the person multiple times and can nudge things (e.g., “wanna do lunch”) into a dating relationship. They should avoid places where you have but one chance and must impress.
Q: What advice would you give to all those workaholics out there, who do not make time for dating or relationships?
It can be tough to do it all, but you have to make some time for dating. The nice thing about Internet dating is that you can make initial contacts at a time that is convenient for you. As for meeting face-to-face, get some balance in your life and turn that cell phone off and focus on people and relationships. You need not invest a ton of time, but must invest some in order to be successful. It’s no different than anything else. If you want to be successful at golf, then you have to find some time practicing and playing. Why would dating and relationships be any different?
Q: What is the number one warning sign that a relationship is doomed from the start?
The number one thing that tells you that the relationship is doomed is poor communication. If you are arguing on the first date, totally uninterested in the other person, both speaking at the same time, or both silent for long periods, these are very bad signs. A lot a relationship is based on interacting with someone else and if you enjoy being with them and listening to them, that is something that is very important. When this is missing you may want to focus on another person.