Aleeza Ben Shalom – Bad Dates Happen – What To Do About Them?

Last night I went out with a guy who is not for me. He is too talkative, lacked warmth and we didn’t have much in common. Overall I can tell he is a good and pleasant person, but he isn’t what I’m looking for. I told him that he isn’t a match for me. He texted me later asking what he could do better in the future. He’s a growth-oriented person and wants to know if there is anything in particular he needs to work on. Here are my questions:

  1. Is it appropriate for me to be honest and tell him why he isn’t for me? If yes, how should I reply?
  2. What are things people should try to improve on after having a series of unsuccessful dates and what things should be left alone?
  3. Should I ask him if there is anything I can improve on? I wonder if it’s only fair to let him give me feedback too.

Sincerely,

Not for me

Dear Not for me,

I like that you articulated why he isn’t for you. You gave a few specific reasons that identify differences between the two of you that make you incompatible. One of the most important things you said was that you don’t have much in common. It sounds like you aren’t similar, yet you aren’t opposites either. You are just two different, good people who ended up on a date. While it’s nice to date a good person, it’s wise not to continue dating a good person with whom you don’t share a baseline of commonalities.

You asked three great questions. Let’s talk about them one at a time.

Q: Is it appropriate for me to be honest and tell him why he isn’t for me? I don’t mind that he asked, I just want to know if and how I should reply.

A: Let’s clarify. He asked if there was anything he could do better in the future when on a date. Telling him why he isn’t for you is specific to you, not him. He is asking a question relative to him.

Was there a flaw in his dating technique? You mentioned that he is a good guy and a pleasant person but just isn’t for you. Off the bat I’d say it’s not his technique that you aren’t drawn to; it’s his personality in addition to a lack of things in common that was not for you, not his character traits or social graces.

If you do want to share something, how you say it is crucial. After mentioning that it was nothing he did so he is aware that it’s not an inherent flaw but simply an incompatibility, you can share what you are looking for and why you honestly said no. Letting him know that you can see that you are both good people, just not compatible, confirms he has much to offer to a date.

As for your other reasons, you can share that you are looking for someone who you share more common interests and life goals. It’s always good to sandwich information that isn’t so nice to hear with pleasant comments. So start off by saying you two are good people, just not compatible. Move on to the specifics of why and end with a reminder that although you two weren’t the right fit you know he’s a good guy. Giving over information in this way isn’t only good for him to hear — it’s the right way to develop good habits of speech.

Q: What are things people should try to improve on after having a series of unsuccessful dates and what things should be left alone?

A: The number one thing to improve is who you choose to date. I’m of the philosophy that we are all works in progress. Over the course of time people grow and change, both naturally and with great effort. If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that you won’t be the same person 10 years from now. If you personally see a major flaw or several people you know and trust tell you there is something big you need to work on, work on it. If you’ve had a series of unsuccessful dates, I’d prefer you look at who you are choosing to date first and then afterwards see if you need to make an improvement. See if you are choosing the right type of person to match who you are today. If you are dating people who don’t match who you are today, it doesn’t matter in what ways and how much you improve — you still won’t match.

Q: Should I ask him if there is anything I can improve on? I wonder if it’s only fair to let him give me feedback too.

Do you really want to hear his suggestions? Do you trust his advice? If you think you will value his input, then it may be worth asking. However, you risk dragging on a post-date conversation which may not be healthy. Sometimes it’s best to be short, sweet and cut contact with dates that didn’t work out. This is not a matter of being fair.

May your inner wisdom guide you and may you have the right words at the right time.

Originally published on Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Managing Post-Date Stress

As he smiled and waved goodbye, I wondered if there would be a second date. Are you interested or not? was the only thing I could think. A smile is nice, but how about a “I’ll give you a call” … something to indicate if there would be any follow up?

When my now-husband and I were dating, we weren’t yet working with a matchmaker, so I had no one to ask, no one to tell, no one to help me work through all the thoughts that were swirling in my head. So about ten minutes into my drive home, I was frantically searching for my cell phone. I was going to call him and ask, “What’s the story?” I hadn’t thought about what he would say next. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking clearly at all.

I found the phone, found the listing GERSHON and was about to hit call when my phone rang. Oh, good, I thought, he’s calling me. Nope! It was a friend just calling to shmooze. I sighed, then took a deep breath and realized that this call was divine intervention saving me from looking like a fool.

Giving yourself a little space from the date is not only helpful, it’s necessary.

After years of working with my clients, I have found that I am not the only one who has struggled with not immediately knowing what the other person is thinking. Not knowing drives many of us crazy. But I have found that giving yourself a little space from the date is not only helpful, it’s necessary. What is the other option? Frantically calling 10 minutes after the date ends to find out if the other side wants to go out again? Not so appealing. If feeling desperate and impatient is something you struggle with, here are five strategies for dealing with the post-date in a healthy way.

  1. Patience  – Have patience with yourself and with your date. Getting the right words out at the right time is an art. Your date may not know what to say even when there is a good connection. Sometimes nerves and excitement keep a person from thinking clearly. If the date ends and you don’t know if another one is on the horizon, give it time. Don’t jump to any conclusions. Sit with the unknown and wait it out. While this can be frustrating and unsettling, sometimes being patient is the best thing you can do.

2. Sleep on it  – You just came back from a nice date, but it ended in a nebulous way. You are very eager to know if the person wants to go out again. My first question is: Do you want to go out again? Sometimes clients answer, “If the other person wants to try again, I will too.” To me, that’s not a clear answer. It will be more helpful for you to take a night to think over whether or not you really liked the person you just went out with.

Don’t leave the question in someone else’s hands. You decide first what your preferences are. If you don’t want to go out again, I want to know. If you are undecided and would be open to trying again if they are also interested, that’s good information. If it’s a definite yes, you’ll still be interested in the morning. No matter your answer, you should still sleep on it and clearly understand your reasons for wanting to move ahead or not.3.

3.  Distraction – Your date ended. You’re crystal clear that you want to go out again. The other person seemed to be on the fence. Whether you are waiting for a call or dying to call and ask for a second date, your goal for today is distraction. Give the unsure party 24 hours to figure things out. Allowing them time is the best thing for both of you because then their response will not be influenced by your desires, but will just be their real answer. Keep yourself busy enough that your thoughts don’t get the best of you and drive you up the wall. Waiting for an answer can drive anyone crazy and you are likely to do something desperate and probably not smart unless you distract yourself and keep busy. Focus on a hobby, read a book… do anything other than think about this dating situation. Since you’re crystal clear, there is no need to review the situation in your head any longer.

4. No rehashing the date – Don’t run to tell the world what just happened on your date. Rehashing the date isn’t likely to change the fact that you still don’t know what is going to happen next. Truthfully, talking about it won’t make you feel better. Besides, if you don’t get a favorable reply, how will you feel when you need to break the news to your friends that your first date was your last? If you need to clarify your feelings, you can verbalize your thoughts to a friend. This isn’t storytelling. Sometimes we just need to talk things out. Set a time limit, and tell your friend that this is a one-way conversation where you are going to talk some things out for the sake of mental clarity, but you’re not looking for feedback.Keep a journal

5. Dating is definitely one of those times where journaling can be helpful. Sometimes things need to be thought out; other times, writing things out will help set your mind at ease. Don’t have a journal? No problem! Send yourself an email and read it the next day. You’ll be surprised at how nice it is to see your thoughts waiting for you in your inbox.

The best thing you can do is know yourself well and have a plan in place to keep you in the best frame of mind while you figure things out. What you do post-date is not as important as having a plan for keeping yourself distracted, patient and calm.

Originally published on Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Eleven Dates

What is the goal of each date?

There are no exact rules when it comes to dating, contrary to some modern-day books and articles. But since misguided dating expectations can kill a date, it’s helpful to know your goal for each date.

Date #1: The aim here is to enjoy each other’s company, to get to know a little about each other and to start warming up to being around this person. Some people are better than others at being open and friendly on a first date. I consider a first date a success if you are either feeling positive or neutral about the person you went out with. If you are feeling negative about the person then I know you’re likely to say no to a second date. Neutral doesn’t feel great, but it might still be worth giving it a shot. Some happy couples started out feeling neutral on their first date. If you’re feeling positive about the date, it could be a real feeling or only one of infatuation. Only time will help you to tell the difference.

Date #2: It’s good to keep expectations low for this date. A great first date can lead to a second date that bombs. A neutral first date can lead to another neutral date. Of course, a second date could also be amazing, in which case you won’t need help moving to a third date. However, don’t let a neutral second date throw you off course. Take a minute of quiet reflection after this date and answer these two questions: Do I want to know more about this person? Was s/he pleasant to be around? I’m less concerned with the actual date and more interested in your reflections about the person with whom you just spent a few hours. If you’re feeling neutral, I’d say try again. If you’re confident this isn’t for you then it’s time to end it. The goal of this date is, in a small way, to begin desiring to know this person better or to be around them more.

Dates #3-5: For the next few dates, it’s good to have a combination of fun mixed with getting to know your date. All fun and nothing personal won’t help you build a lasting connection. Too much serious talk will deflate a good thing if it’s not integrated with activity and enjoyment. We long to spend our lives with people we enjoy being around and it’s good to look for someone whom you can connect to and share things in common. Start to make the conversations on your dates more personal, but don’t divulge your deepest secrets just yet.

Dates #6-10: Sticking with someone for the next few dates should start to be an enjoyable process (unless you struggle with anxiety, depression or other challenges in which case it may take you longer to enjoy the process). Deeper conversations should start emerging naturally as the dates progress. Things like your future hopes, wishes and dreams, as well as slowly revealing personal challenges you’ve overcome, are subjects that should come up. People tend to speak about themselves negatively and justify it by saying, “I just want to be honest. I don’t want to hide anything.” Generally speaking, people can see the faults of others; we don’t need to draw extra attention to faults that are already visible to the naked eye. If there are any more serious things you need to discuss, such as illnesses, you will need to determine when to have that conversation. Some people start to share things early on while others wait until the relationship is further along. Since each couple dates for a different amount of time before reaching chuppah, the time frame will be different for each couple. I suggest you speak to your mentor to guide you in how to best approach discussing sensitive subjects in dating.

Dates #11+: These dates are confirmation. I like you and you like me. The more time we spend together, the more time I want to spend together. I have come to recognize the good side of you and I like it. I am also able to identify at last five faults about you and accept those as a part of you. In layman’s terms: I accept both your good side and “other” side.

Your personal mentor will be able to guide you through different dating situations. If you don’t yet have someone you trust, take time before your next date to connect with someone in your community who can support you. Also remember that what worked with one dating situation won’t necessarily work for another. Each relationship is unique.

May you have insight into your dates and may you find the right one with ease.

Originally published at Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – 49 Blessings To internalize While You’re Searching For The One

Being single may sound like more of a curse than a blessing, but while you’re working on finding the right one let’s focus on blessings.

  1. May you answer the door when opportunity knocks.
  2. May you love your life.
  3. May you soon gain something you’ve always wanted.
  4. May you know when to hold on and not be afraid when it’s time to let go.
  5. May inspiration strike at just the right moment.
  6. May you be satisfied with being perfectly imperfect.
  7. May you explore new options and open yourself to new possibilities.
  8. May the challenges you face strengthen your core.
  9. May your false beliefs evaporate and may you replace them with words of truth.
  10. May you have time in your week to visit someone in need.
  11. May you wear your smile, no matter how difficult today seems.
  12. May your mind be filled with great ideas.
  13. May you let go of something you no longer need.
  14. May you overcome what is holding you back.
  15. May your failures lead to success.
  16. May you embrace and loving accept your body.
  17. May you schedule your time wisely.
  18. May you invite someone new into your world.
  19. May you increase your confidence and boost your self-esteem.
  20. May you laugh easily and often.
  21. May you have the strength to put forth enough effort to get what you want.
  22. May you be blessed with an abundance of love.
  23. May you manifest your future by living as if it is already your reality.
  24. May you receive encouraging words that elevate you.
  25. May you be motivated to set and reach a new goal.
  26. May your life be infused with meaning and purpose.
  27. May you have strength, courage and wisdom to do the right thing at the right time.
  28. May you be free of financial burdens.
  29. May you hear what others say and more importantly understand what they mean.
  30. May you redirect angry energy and use it as fuel towards something positive.
  31. May you see clearly what you are meant to see and turn away from things not meant for your eyes.
  32. May you know the right questions to ask and may you be open to receiving the answers.
  33. May your words, actions or presence bring comfort to someone who is struggling.
  34. May your eyes be wide open and may you clearly see the messages that are before you.
  35. May you see clearly the obstacles that are before you and may you steer clear of any challenges.
  36. May you strengthen yourself, both body and soul.
  37. May you carry your physical and spiritual loads gracefully.
  38. May you find something wonderful to do this year that inspires you and connects you to great people.
  39. May many singles find their soul mate and be satisfied with their choice.
  40. May those in need of healing recover completely, mind, body and soul.
  41. May your senses be awakened by a pleasing surprise.
  42. May you find the perfect place to call home.
  43. May you visit exceptional places.
  44. May you be satisfied in being uniquely you.
  45. May the efforts you make yield the results you desire.
  46. May you have a good today and a better tomorrow.
  47. May you find your purpose in the world and pursue it with passion.
  48. May you harness the wonderful power within you.
  49. May you have a huge breakthrough!

Originally published on Aish.com

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Deepening A Long-Distance Relationship

Long-distance relationships have their ups and downs. Your heart may be happy but your day-to-day relationship can be challenging. Here are some ideas to keep stress and anxiety at bay and to help you move your relationship forward.

The delicate travel balance. How often do you pack up and how long do you stay? Of course there are many factors, like how much time you can get off from work and what kind of travel budget you have. All things being equal, it would be ideal to see each other every 3 weeks for 2-4 days at a time. With budget concerns, work schedules and intercontinental dating, every 3 weeks may not work. Try not to let more than 6 weeks go by without a meeting in person. Although video chat has advanced our dating, when you’re marriage-minded it’s vital to date someone in person, as a relationship can change drastically once you spend time together.

Managing visit expectations. My clients often tell me they feel extra pressure to make something special happen since so much time has passed since the last in-person meeting. Acknowledge your desire to make the visit meaningful, and also realize that things won’t go perfectly. All relationships have ups and downs, and although it’s no fun, it’s likely that at least one visit together will fall during one of those down moments.

The best preparation is mental preparation. Get your mind set to be present during your visit. Don’t let your past hurt or future worry be at the front of your mind. Try to enjoy just being together, whether you go out on the town or have a cozy date night just hanging out at home together.

Talk about expectations and fears. Some of us try so hard not to say what’s on our mind to avoid conflict, while some of us have a need to talk about things up front and be straightforward. Try to gauge when it’s the right time to talk about the stress of long-distance dating, as well as your expectations and your fears. Make sure you both know that expectations and fears are a normal part of all relationships – long-distance or not. Make a safe place for the other person to express what is on their mind. Provide comfort, and then go back to enjoying your relationship. Don’t dwell on your expectations or fears, as they are often related to your past or your future and are not rooted in the present moment.

How well do I know you? If you started your relationship at a distance, before thinking of getting engaged it’s a good idea for you to have time with their family and friends. People act differently when they are around others. Seeing someone in different contexts is important before taking the next step.

Calming insecurity. We all have insecurities about relationships and they often become even more pronounced with distance. For example, if you sometimes feel lonely or disconnected in a relationship, those feelings are usually much stronger and can last longer in a long-distance relationship. And that can leave you wondering if the relationship is real, or all a figment of your imagination.

These feelings are common. If you know these feelings are your own insecurity, you can try positive affirmations and reframing how you view yourself. If you’re not sure, you should discuss your feelings with your partner, and see if together you can find ways to make you feel better. Also know when it’s time to get help from a professional to guide you through the process of calming yourself.

Managing family and friends. Well-meaning family and friends often ask questions and try to guide you in your relationship, and can be even more involved when it’s long-distance. Before anyone has the opportunity to put you on the spot, think about who you want to speak to about your relationship and what you want to say. Seek advice from those you trust. For everyone else, remember that just because someone asks you a question doesn’t mean you have to answer. Long distance relationships are more fragile. Guard your relationship and give it the appropriate privacy so it can flourish.

Quelling cold feet. While the old adage is absence makes the heart grow fonder, the reality is that absence can also create distance, and distance can lead to cold feet. Dating at a distance is an investment. Both sides have to be willing to put in a big effort to build the relationship. Give yourself extra time to allow the relationship to develop, and try to use a little extra patience during conflicts.

Have fun. You may feel like your in-person time has to be serious because you have limited time to get those important conversations out of the way. Like any relationship, remember to infuse it with fun as well as some serious moments. Give funny cards, or thoughtful gifts. Keep your sense of humor when you’re miles apart and especially when you spend time together.

Managing the transition to one location. By the time you finally get the hang of dating long-distance it will be time to learn how to live and date in the same city. One of you will need to make the transition to a new and unfamiliar location. If you’re the one moving, give yourself extra time to adjust to a new city and new life. Moving is a big challenge, and even more so when in a serious relationship. If you’re the one who got to stay in your city, be extra forgiving of your partner in the first month after the move.

Long-distance relationships require some serious work and consideration. Ask yourself if you’re up for the challenge, and if you are, give it your best effort.

Originally published on Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Being A Dating Magnet

Many of us go searching the world for our soul mate. We search at every event, in many cities and countries and online. Perhaps we should invert the question and instead of asking, “Where is my bashert (soul mate)?” let’s ask, “How can I get my bashert to come to me?” I suggest you spend 50% of your time and effort looking for your bashert and the other 50% of the time continuing to bring out your best self in order to draw your soul mate closer to you.

How do you get a great relationship to come to you?

The short answer is: Be magnetic. Here’s the long answer.

What is a magnet and what does it have to do with dating? According to Wikipedia, “A magnet is a material or object that produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for the most notable property of a magnet: a force that pulls on other ferromagnetic materials, such as iron, and attracts or repels other magnets.”

If we apply this definition to dating it would read: “A relationship magnet is a person who produces a magnetic field. This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for a force that attracts or repels other relationship-minded singles.”

There are several important points worth exploring here:

A relationship magnet is a person who produces a magnetic field. You have the ability to produce a tangible field of energy around you. You impact the world around you just by having an impact on what is within your immediate reach, namely — YOU!

Think about what is on your list of desirable traits in a mate. Chances are the list includes some of the following: warmth, kindness, consideration, thoughtfulness, a mensch, someone who acts in loving ways, is verbally articulate and lets me know how they are feeling, someone open, someone who laughs easily and often.

Now visualize the person you desire to meet. Have that picture in your mind? Imagine meeting this person. Now get curious: what kind of traits would that person be looking for in you? Do you possess those traits? Is your magnetic field projecting the right energy to attract the mate you desire? Take some time to evaluate and see if who you are is who you need to be in order to pull your mate closer.

This magnetic field is invisible but is responsible for a force that attracts or repels other relationship-minded singles. This invisible force that we create can either attract or repel others. Have you ever been on a date and not been so interested? You put something out there that signals that you are not interested, in the hope they will pick up on those signals and lose interest as well. Or how about the reverse? Ever had a great date where both of you had a strong connection? Often my clients try to explain when things just “click” but can’t exactly put their finger on what worked.

I would say it’s the field that attracts one to the other — what’s within someone as well as what’s on the outside that draws one person to another. The “click” is a magnetic moment. During that moment there is an electrical current running between two people. If one side suddenly becomes uninterested, the current breaks and the magnetism is lost. If you’ve ever felt that one moment you are connected and the next moment you don’t know what happened, what’s happening is that the other side lost interest (ie changed their magnetic field) and there is no longer a positive charge between you two.

Try to make a fair evaluation. Have you been attracting or repelling those you date? Has it been intentional or unintentional? Try to be more conscious of your magnetic field. If you like the results you are getting, i.e. attracting those you’re interested in and repelling those you don’t want, then you’re doing the right things. If, however, you are attracting those you don’t want and repelling those you are interested in, it’s time to make some changes and see if you can get different results.

So take some time this week to explore and investigate your magnetic field. First, do your own evaluation and see what you would like to change and what you want to keep the same. Then try speaking to a trusted friend and sharing this concept. See if they notice something about your field that you didn’t see or know. (Make sure it’s a good friend and ask them to be mindful about what they say; this is not a venting session about what you’re doing wrong, but rather a safe space for you to get some feedback.) Finally, take time to decide if you want to make any changes to your magnetic field and how you will go about getting the results you desire. May your soul mate be near and easily drawn to you!

Originally published on Aish.com.

 

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Dating Foreigners

Q: I am not from the United States. I speak English well but it is not my first language. I am finding this to be a bigger problem than I expected. First, not everyone understands my accent perfectly, which makes first-time phone calls/dates much more difficult. But that isn’t the only issue. Even though some of my dates find my accent – and my background – to be new, exciting, intriguing, they don’t realize that it isn’t just a cute way of talking, but an entirely different approach to life. I find that in other countries there is a totally different “normal” for family expectations, financial expectations, even emotional expectations. I am having trouble bridging this gap with the people I date. Am I a lost cause? Do people need to be from similar cultural backgrounds to connect with each other?

A Foreigner

Dear Foreigner,

Don’t despair just yet. You’re not a lost cause. While it is true that couples from similar backgrounds may have it easier at times, there are plenty of couples who are from different countries and end up happily married. All relationships take time to develop.

You specifically mentioned that dating over the phone can be challenging. I would agree with you that it’s not ideal for you to start dating over the phone. If you meet someone at an event or online, it’s best that you find a way to get an in-person date and skip the get-to-know-each-other phone calls. You’re in a similar position to someone who stutters. For anyone who has challenges or differences with speech, it’s important the first time you get to know someone it is in-person. Perhaps once you get to know your date you could then transition to having a phone date once in a while. For the beginning, though, it may be best to set up your date via email or text if you’re finding it challenging to be on the phone.

Understanding a person’s accent is one challenge; another challenge will be understanding what someone means or getting them to understand what you’re trying to say. Even people from the same country who speak the same language have to learn how to communicate clearly with each other.

Communication issues, while common in relationships, are more common with people from different countries. It’s sometimes hard, as you know, for the non-native speaker to get across what they mean. You may also have trouble understanding phrases, slang or colloquialisms. While these issues can be frustrating at first, in time they become easier, especially as you two begin to understand each other at a deeper level.

As you said, some people may think you being “exotic” or different isn’t a big deal, while others find it exciting. From your accent to cultural differences, yes, these things can be a challenge. There will be many differences that come up over time, and you and your date will need to carefully navigate how you deal with those differences. Family integration, financial preferences, emotional connections – these are things you’ll need to pay extra attention to.

The best way to bridge the gap is not to assume anything. Don’t assume you know how your partner will react or what your partner’s preferences are. The more different you are, the less you will understand about how the other person thinks or what they prefer. Of course, in time you’ll get to understand their way of thinking and know their preferences, so don’t worry; the relationship isn’t a lost cause. But at the beginning you’ll have to do more work to build the relationship and really understand your partner.

However, if what you’re really asking is: “How can I be understood by dates who seem to come in with assumptions about me?” then the answer is different. You may need to be choosier about who you date, and try to focus on finding people who share more ideas and expectations with you. Also, you should trust your instincts; if you feel someone is a true mismatch, don’t pursue the relationship.

May you have an easier time with dating and may you and your date be willing to put in the time to get to know each other at a deeper level.

Originally published on Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – 7 Ways To Relax On A Date

Tips for coming across relaxed and approachable so your date can get to know the real you.

Are you coming across as too intense on dates? Is your first impression scaring people off? Here are some tips for coming across as more relaxed and approachable so your date can get to know the real you.

1. Smile more often.

Try not to have your game face on. Yes, you’re dating for marriage and not casually, but it’s still important not to come across like a police officer interrogating a potential suspect. Relax, smile, and enjoy the conversation. Don’t feel that you need to know everything right away – let the conversation flow naturally and see where it goes without trying to force it to lead somewhere.

2. Laugh.

Everyone likes to laugh. Remember to have fun, tell a joke, laugh when the waiter gets your order wrong for the third time. Laughter decreases tension and tends to make people more comfortable, so make sure to laugh at your date’s jokes – or make some of your own.

3. Tell a story.

Maybe something you’re discussing will remind you about an interesting event that happened to you or someone that you know. This gives your date a chance to see the real you and get a glimpse into your life.

4. Don’t debate, find common ground

Maybe he likes the same author that you do. Maybe she’s also the middle child. Maybe you enjoy the same type of music. Maybe you both like to cook and try out new recipes. Whatever common interests or similarities you can find, discuss them further and start to develop a bond with your date. Creating a connection over your shared interest in politics is good. However, if your politics are different don’t entertain that subject to keep your intense side at bay.

5. Ask open ended questions.

If the answer to every question is “yes” or “no,” the conversation never gets started. Ask your date to tell you about what they’re studying and why, or what they enjoyed about their trip last summer, or why they chose their particular career. Anything that makes them think and consider their response creates an opening for further conversation and connection.

6. Remember what works.

Try remembering a time when you were with a friend and felt very comfortable speaking with them. Bring that memory into your present moment so you can relax. It’s not always easy to feel relaxed on a date. This is a complete stranger that you’re considering as a future life partner – not a very relaxing setting! However, it’s important to push those thoughts out of your mind and focus on learning more about the person in front of you. Keep it light and casual for the first date – like you are just hanging out with an old friend.

7. End it well.

People remember the beginnings and ends of things more than the middles. Don’t worry if there were a few times in the middle of the date when the conversation stalled or you asked a question that was too personal. Focus on ending the date on a positive note. That is what will stay with your date after the end of the evening.

Dates can be stressful. Start by keeping things light; you’ll not only show off a more approachable side of your personality – you’ll enjoy the dates more yourself.

May you find the right one soon and stay calm and relaxed throughout the process.

Originally published on aish.com

Aleeza Ben Shalom – 50 Things To Know About Being A Matchmaker

If you think matchmaking is antiquated, it may be time to reboot your relationship barometer. While many people think of Fiddler on the Roof when they think of matchmaking, the reality is quite different. A simple Google search reveals a plethora of websites dedicated to finding a match, getting certified to make matches, and information on the history of matchmaking.

Setting up friends with other friends is a time tested way to create and build relationships. You don’t have to be a professional to be a matchmaker. You need flexibility, creativity, passion, and insight into other people. This is an awesome job (or hobby) that allows for flexible hours, lasting satisfaction, and the chance to use your people skills in a challenging and novel way.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Fiddler on the Roof , here are my top 50 things to know about being a matchmaker.

  1. Being single is hard enough, so be nice to people. Seems obvious, but it isn’t.
  2. People are naturally different, match couples based on similarities. Yes opposites attract, but not recommended. Much better to match based on the concept like attracts like.
  3. Look for what someone tells you they want, not for what you think they need.
  4. Don’t advise ending a relationship too soon. When in doubt suggest they continue going out.
  5. Don’t say, “I know the perfect person for you.” You don’t know it’s perfect and you lose credibility if the match goes sour.
  6. Do say, “I have someone in mind for you, would you like to hear about him/her?”
  7. Get curious about the person you want to set up. Ask him/her open ended questions to learn about who he/she is before trying to set someone up.
  8. Listen, listen, listen. (Close your mouth. Open your ears.)
  9. Constructive criticism is still criticism, so be sensitive.
  10. Don’t talk with others about the person you are setting up. That’s private information.
  11. Don’t set up dating profiles, set up people. Try to meet someone in person before you set them up (in person is best, but skype will do).
  12. “No, I don’t want to be set up!” This means don’t set them up. Find someone else for your matchmaking experiment.
  13. Think before you act. That really goes for everything. Just sayin’.
  14. Your tone of voice matters. Speak nicely (especially when someone declines your awesome date idea).
  15. When your first (and second, and third…) couple gets married, celebrate your success. L’chaim!
  16. Lead by example. Single or married, make sure you are a shining example and in a healthy relationship, or healthfully single.
  17. You will fail more often than you succeed. Don’t let it get you down.
  18. Keep trying! But don’t quit your day job just yet to be a professional matchmaker.
  19. Sometimes people will get upset with you for the suggestions you make. Expect this and you won’t be disappointed.
  20. Don’t be a know-it-all (even if you do, in fact, know it all).
  21. Be humble.
  22. Work with someone who is relationship or marriage-minded rather than working with someone who is looking for a date.
  23. Separated means married. Set up singles with other singles. Someone who is separated will likely cause someone heartache as they  aren’t truly available. (Hot topic, I know, comment away.)
  24. Respect boundaries. Some people want more guidance and support, others less. Help according to their need, not yours. And don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t know what they want.
  25. As Nike says, Just do it! Set up!
  26. People have tastes, preferences, and ideas that you will find weird. No judgment.
  27. Confidentiality. (shhhh)
  28. Setting up members of your family will be the hardest cases you work with. That means you need to respect them and their needs, even if you are still angry about the time he cut your ponytail off in your sleep. Be respectful or get out of the game.
  29. Grow a thick skin and be okay with rejection. Your ideas will be rejected. It makes the ones that work even sweeter!
  30. Keep your mind focused on the popular phrase “there is a lid for every pot.” Even if you don’t believe it.
  31. Network – you never know who you will meet.
  32. Don’t underestimate anyone. I just heard about a delivery man who made a match. Who would have guessed!
  33. Remember the world is really small and soul mates are closer than you imagine.
  34. Keep a running list of singles, not just in your mind, but on paper or your smartphone or favorite electronic device.
  35. Help alleviate the burden of being single by being thoughtful. Remember small things like birthdays which can be challenging for someone who is marriage-minded. By relieving their burden you will enable them to be happier the next time you set them up.
  36. Read articles, books and blogs on relationships. Become a relationship expert.
  37. Do your homework. Investigate your ideas before presenting to others.
  38. Have patience with yourself and others.
  39. Be persistent, not annoying. If you think you have a great idea, ask once. If you get turned down, ask a month later. If you get a second no, you can try a third time after another six months passes. If the person still isn’t open perhaps it isn’t a great idea.
  40. Learn the art of persuasion. Use it only for the good to help people see the positive traits that you see.
  41. Speak truthfully when empathizing. Don’t say I know how you feel, when you’ve never gone through what they have. Rather say, “I hear you.”
  42. Change your thinking. Every so often make matches in your mind that are ridiculous. This is just an exercise to stretch your imagination and help you get out of your regular way of thinking. Sometimes the best matches don’t seem plausible at first.
  43. Think before you speak. Some words can hurt more than you realize.
  44. The best ideas come at inconvenient times. Keep a pen and paper by your bedside so you remember that great idea in the wee hours of the morning.
  45. Ask friends if they have any match ideas that they haven’t yet pursued. If you concur, get involved and help set up their suggestion. (with their permission of course).
  46. Follow up, follow up, follow up. Not all people will call you back. Make the effort, call again. Don’t assume they aren’t interested. No call back is not a rejection, it’s simply no call back. People do have a life other than dating.
  47. Good looking is subjective. What you think is pretty or handsome someone else may not be attracted to. And vice versa.
  48. A majority of people are looking for someone who has a “good sense of humor.” What they really mean is they are looking for someone with “their” sense of humor.
  49. Matchmaking is hard work. It doesn’t end with you making a suggestion. That’s just the beginning. Guidance through the process is invaluable.
  50. Add yours to the list in the comment section below. We all want to hear it!                                                                                                              Originally published on aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – A Harvard MBA Dating Offer

Ren, a Harvard MBA, put up an ad, “$10,000 to find a girlfriend.”

Hi Ren,

I’m a dating coach and matchmaker for singles. I tell you this first to tell you that I don’t specifically have a match for you. Sorry!

Why am I contacting you? First, I want to say, NICE move! You reversed the matchmaking process on the matchmakers. You have paid no one, and have everyone working for you. Smart move in love and business! Secondly, you made a great dating profile. It could be improved with 2 things. I hope you don’t mind that I’m making unsolicited suggestions. If not for you, perhaps others can benefit from your story.

I hear that you sincerely want to meet someone and since I can’t make an introduction, I at least want to help as you seem sincere about finding her. First thing, it would be nice if there was a video of you as well as pictures. Pictures are nice, but an intriguing video would capture even more attention, probably go viral and most importantly will give people a better idea of who you are. Which leads me to the second point, it would be best for you to list more about yourself that is unique, different and really makes you who you are. And we need a ton of interesting details about what you’re looking for. All those little quirky things that your prefer, we need to know about. I want to know about those small details that probably mean nothing, but could end up helping someone to identify her. The part about you liking people who are “intellectually curious” and “like learning about the rules to a new board game,” that was a great point. I’d love to see a dozen more points like that. Not that one person needs to have all those things, but rather that someone with a few of those things would be a good person to suggest to you. Anyone who is helping you look for a girlfriend needs more details in order to do a good job at matching you up.

I’m guessing your new full time job is going to be sorting through all the lousy suggestions you get from the publicity of your story. I hope you are good at filtering suggestions! Being decisive is a great challenge and especially if you aren’t really sure what you want. You said, “Most people don’t know what they want (even if they think they do), and I’m no exception.” If you don’t know what you want, how can anyone help you find it? You’ve got to know. Just imagine you are starting a new business and looking for a partner, how would you go about finding one? I believe you’d know what you want before you would start to look for a business partner. In the business of love I need you to know what you want too.

I think with more serious consideration of what you want, you can articulate better to the world your desires and I imagine within 60 days you’ll find her. Not a guarantee, but with the media attention you attracted, I think you can find her.

I hope you meet a woman who has the qualities you value. I can tell you are a creative individual with a passion for life and an innovative spirit.

I wish I had someone wonderful to introduce you to. However, I see your dating site is down now. So what I want to know is have you found the one? I sure hope so, but if not, don’t give up.

All the best,
Aleeza

 

This article was originally published on aish.com.