Need a Dating Cleanse for the New Year?

Here are some tips on how to make this year a better year for dating and achieve the goal of find that lasting relationship!

The hangover of the holidays is over and your New Year resolutions should be in force.

If you’re single, did you include resolutions about your love life? Have you thought about what you’d like to achieve in that category this year? Even if it is later January, you still have time to make changes in your life that will result in a better you.

This year, it would be wise to stop wasting precious time on people who don’t have your best interests in mind. Let’s hit the “refresh” button when it comes to your romantic pursuits! Take some time out to reflect on old experiences, evaluate your current situation, and see if you need to shift your thoughts and take action:

Are you ready to focus only on building a solid foundation in relationships?
Architects don’t design buildings just for the fun of it. Instead they make sure that their hard work will result in a beautiful skyscraper that has a solid foundation. That is the same mindset you need to have when it comes to dating. Put effort into relationships that you know could potentially result in a ring on your finger and a walk down the aisle. Even if you aren’t looking to get married, invest in someone who has all of the qualities that you desire in a life partner.

Let go of what no longer serves:
You may be holding on to a relationship that clearly has run its course, but are you still in it simply because you’ve gotten used to it? Do you feel stuck? Are you afraid to let go? Don’t resign to the fact that since “you’ve been together for so long” you should just stick with it; especially if you know deep down inside it’s not a good relationship for you and one you should definitely not be in moving forward into the future. Try to talk to friends and family for support. Make this year the year you need to change – and this relationship is one of the things that needs to end. Only when you break loose will you have the opportunity to meet someone of substance and build a life for yourself that will be something that you truly deserve.

It’s a Year of Emancipation!
This year should be YOUR year of emancipation! It’s time to cleanse your heart of the waste that your current romantic situations have clogged it with. Do whatever you have to do. Delete those numbers. Unfollow him/her on Twitter and Instagram. Cut off mutual friends. You don’t want to look back a year from now and be in the same predicament.

After you’ve gone through the Dating Cleanse – Here are some tips on what to do next:

Schedule time! Stop making excuses about finding love. You are always going to be “busy” and have upcoming commitments. You will not find love by not going on dates. Now is the time!! Embrace your confidence and put yourself out there.

Be approachable! Get off your phone and talk to new people! When you are out, try to do what older folks did when they were single a decade or two ago. Look around and make eye contact. While your smartphone may act as a crutch especially when you’re waiting alone at a bar, or are on the elliptical at the gym, etc., try to put it down, look around and if you see someone who looks nice, smile! Be genuine in your approach. Believe it or not, people will be receptive to this! It shows you’re confident and outgoing and willing to take risks.

Try different dating methods. When it comes to starting a new dating search, try to take it slow and easy. With so much choice out there it can be really tempting to dismiss people quickly. Try to limit yourself to one to three dating sites/apps. Don’t waste a lot of time messaging back and forth- meet in person to see if there is a connection.

Hire a matchmaker! Working with a matchmaker is a great way to meet quality singles in a curated, customized experience. In addition, the coaching and relationship counsel that is included may help you redefine your search and add to your personal growth. Ever wonder why you previous first dates never resulted in scheduling second dates? Discussing feedback can be critical with your matchmaker in figuring out what issues are coming up in conversations and what other actions may be causing self- sabotage. Guaranteed you will learn a lot about yourself during this journey and you can truly improve your dating skills and increase your odds in finding a lasting relationship!

Three Ways to Re-invent your Search for Love

Do you feel like your dating situation is going nowhere? Do you feel like you’re in a rut? Do you keep dating the same “type” of person only to end up single again after a few passionate months? If so, then perhaps it’s time to reevaluate your search and edit your criteria. Remember, as time marches on, we change, we age, we need to evolve!

At Premier, we have interviewed many potential clients that we have had to coach even before we initiate a search in order to get them on track. Here are a few tips that have been very helpful to clients and we would love to share them with you now:

1. Toss the List – No matter where we keep these lists– on paper, on our laptops, in our heads – we all have these LISTS. You know, the “Top 10 Things We’re Looking for in a Partner?” Maybe you’ve got an image of what he needs to look like (full head of hair? Over 6 ft. tall?) or what she needs to be like (um, like 20 years younger?) Whatever is on your must-have list, TOSS IT!! It’s time to reevaluate that list and be more open to meeting different types of people.

2. Don’t Listen to your Friends – Sound harsh? Look, your friends and family have developed a sense of who you are based on what they’ve seen of you; makes sense. But no one knows what you really want ~ who you really want and who you really are ~ more than you! Haven’t you ever been attracted to someone only to be convinced by your friends that you shouldn’t invest any more time with this person? Even if this person is a good, solid individual that is kind, generous, intriguing and treats you well? We would suggest the next time this situation arises, avoid listening to what your friends think and who THEY think you should go out with. Listen to YOU. It may shock them – and you – to find who you’re really happy with.

3. Practice the “What If”- Here’s the scenario, you’re at a bar/restaurant or event and this man (or lady) orders you a drink even if (at that moment) he/she may not seem “your type.” Hmmm, what to do? Are you willing to practice the “What if’s?” What if you accepted the drink and allowed yourself to at least explore a conversation with this person. What if you found out he/she is pretty interesting, has a real funny side and happens to share quite a bit in common with you? What if you actually allowed yourself to become attracted to this person simply by letting you encounter evolve? Look, you’ve tried the same routine to find someone and the old formula isn’t working. Right now, you’re dateless. So what if you said yes to serendipitous interactions?

September Romances in Full Swing!

Summer might be over but September is a great time to find romance. While the summer months offer beautiful weather for singles to enjoy outdoor activities and social events, the month of September in many ways can even be even better. It’s a great time to enjoy cooler temps, socialize and attend events and meet other singles that are seeking romance. Here are few fun ideas to consider enjoying this month:

WATCH A MOVIE OUTSIDE – Yes, many cities and towns are still showing movies outside during September. If you haven’t yet done this, try going this month! Check the town’s listings and go watch a movie outdoors. Everyone brings their blankets and picnics with friends. You’re single, so you’re game, right? You’ll find it’s easier than ever to meet singles on a Wednesday evening.

GO TO A BALL GAME – Even if you’re not a super sports fan, baseball games epitomize fun, and they are also a great way to meet people. Grab a few friends and don’t be afraid to talk to that cute person sitting behind you – it’s a guaranteed good time.

PLAY MINI GOLF – Golf gets a bad rap and many of us just don’t have the time to invest hours to play 18 holes. It’s slow, and even its pro athletes aren’t exactly in peak physical condition. But mini golf? Everyone loves mini golf!! Its one sport everyone can play, and guess what – it makes for fun interacting with others that are also playing “the course.” There’s probably a mini course near you, all you have to do is find one. It’s especially hilarious to play this game after a few beers or glasses of wine.

FARMERS MARKET FUN – These days, farmer’s markets are year-round, but farmers’ markets during the summer and fall are simply the best. From tomatoes and corn to melons and peaches, the food is fresh and juicy. And while you might have frequented one of these markets several times this summer, why not go this next time and just “browse.” You might just notice a lot of attractive people there!

FALL BEACH TIME BLISS – While the beach was great during July and August, September can be even a better! Try it out. You’ll pleasantly notice the crowds and screaming kids are gone, the weather isn’t sweltering, and the ocean is still warm and inviting. Also, because the beach is a bit more laid back now, people tend to socialize more with those stationed around them. Believe it or not, it is a prime pickup zone. Give it a try. Even if you feel you’re “beached out” after enjoying the past few months in the sand, this after-the- summer vibe you’ll experience in September is just delightfully different. Also, keep in mind, it won’t be long before the frigid temps of December arrive, so get out there and enjoy these remaining weekends we have!!

FIRST DATE OPTIONS – Where to go, who pays and are you managing your expectations?

As matchmakers we are often asked what should be planned for first dates. Well, if we are working with clients and arranging their potential in-house introductions, then first dates should be important enough that select plans and/or reservations be made. Choosing a nice place with great atmosphere is key.

But if we are managing a client’s online search, a much more casual type date is encouraged such as meeting for coffee, or a quick drink after work.

Let’s review a few first date options that will be helpful for you to consider, whether you’re  meeting your date through a service, a friend, or if it’s someone you’ve been communicating with online:

The Coffee Date.  We all know that millions of singles have started relationships from first date encounters at Starbucks. Why? Because coffee dates are ideal for meeting people through the internet. At the point of your first meeting, you don’t know much about the other person and so these dates can be quick and easy, extremely low-pressure, casual, and low risk. Just keep in mind, in order to make the encounter more enjoyable, make sure you inform the other person of your exact location since coffee shops seem to be on every corner these days, and arrive a little early so you can snag a nice table that offers some privacy. Remember, these places are noisy and bustling morning, noon and night!

Drinks Dates.  We love encouraging our couples to “meet for drinks” on first dates! Whether it’s over a martini, a glass of wine, or even a seltzer for those that don’t drink alcohol, drink dates can be fun, casual and offer a much nicer atmosphere for the two of you to enjoy your time together. Pick a place that isn’t too popular so that you’ll know you can find a spot to sit down and enjoy some quiet conversation. Also consider looking for spots that have great after work happy hours, which can help minimize costs. And no, it’s not cheap to have drinks at a place that offers happy hour prices!

Dining Dates.  Whether over brunch, lunch or dinner, many individuals really appreciate the invitation for a dining adventure together for a first date. We like this option as well, especially if the venue accepts advance reservations and if there’s table service so the two of you can enjoy some great food and focus on your conversations.

OK, so we’ve reviewed the various options for first dates, so now let’s discuss…..

Who pays?  With our service we expect the gentleman to pay for the first date. However it seems lately a lot of women feel the urge, even the sincere desire to share the expense of the first date. We leave this decision up to the couples. But ladies, if you DO offer to share the tab or pick up the tab, and he says OK, don’t make the mistake of chastising him afterwards and describing him as “cheap.” Remember, you offered.

Is Your Attitude in Check?  Keep things light and upbeat. No matter what happens!! If the service was horrendous, the food was lousy, or traffic was challenging, rise above it and give this person your smile, your relaxed demeanor and your full attention. Let the little stuff go, stay cool, have fun, and make sure this other person has fun too.

And last but not least – Are you Managing Your Own Expectations?  The only time we’re ever disappointed in life is if reality doesn’t match our expectations. One thing you can do instantly, to improve your first date experiences is to relax your expectations. Go with the flow, look for what’s right and lovely and worthy of note in this new person. Look for pleasant surprises. They’re always there, if you look, if you pay attention, and if you notice.

Ladies – Do you feel Him Pulling Away? What to Do…

You just started dating someone recently, and things were going strong, but lately, he has been distant. If you’re not ready to write him off just yet – here are a few strategic tactics to try.

Don’t be so Available – If he calls at 9 pm to ask if he can come over, don’t take the bait! Tell him you’re in for the night and let him schedule real plans later. Most women make themselves more accessible when they feel a guy fading away, but that only gives him a pass to treat you with less respect.

Continue to Remain Good Company – It’s easy to act annoyed when you don’t know where a person stands, but that only creates more distance. Instead, when you do see him, bring your A-game. He will start to question why he’s letting a woman so charming potentially slip away.

Make it Known you’re Doing Fun Things – There’s no harm in mentioning your cool plans; plans that do not include him. He’ll feel a little left out – and wonder who might be hitting on you when he’s not there. Keep him guessing…

Say you’re OK with Space between you – and Mean it!  If his vibe is really getting to the point where you’ll need to have “a conversation” about his recent actions, mention something like this: “I’m feeling some confusion, which is fine, but I’m going to take some space, so I don’t get too close to someone who’s not sure what he wants.” This will give you some of your power back.

We always empathize with women when they experience this type of behavior. We try to coach and encourage them to stay strong and hold on to their self-worth. The last thing you want to turn into is the insecure and needy woman – for that type of behavior will surely ruin any chances of a relationship continuing!

Bear in mind, if he is showing obvious clues that he’s trying to “exit” the relationship, it’s best to acknowledge this, hold your head high and take action. You deserve to be with a man that desires you and wants to continue to spend time with you – not keep you in a state of confusion as to where it is going.

Ladies –What is Causing the Men You’ve Been Dating to Disappear?

Mistake #1: – Believing That What Attracts Him to You is the Same Thing You Find Attractive in Him

You look great for your age. You’re educated. You make your own money. You’re smart, analytical, resilient, driven, ambitious, and independent. You know what you’re worth and, after a few bad experiences, you’ve vowed never to compromise to be with anyone who isn’t up to par.

Yet every once in a blue moon, you meet a man who makes the cut.

Your attraction is strong. Your connection is real. Your chemistry is white hot.

You dive into a relationship … and he breaks up with you a few months later.

Next thing you know, he’s involved with another woman who isn’t nearly as attractive, successful, or impressive as you are. And you scratch your head and wonder what head injury this man has suffered to choose such a woman.

Why would he give you up for her? It’s completely confusing… unless you understand men. Then, it makes perfect sense:

What you’re looking for in a man is NOT what he’s looking for in a woman.

  • He doesn’t care if you’re smarter than he is.
  • He doesn’t care what you do for a living or if you have a healthy bank account.
  • He doesn’t care if you’re cultured and well-traveled and sophisticated about the finer things.

Thus, your strongest traits – your intelligence, your success, your independence, your drive – don’t matter as much to him. He wants what he can’t get from his male

A man wants a woman who makes him feel good, who makes him feel loved and secure. He wants someone who makes him feel sexy and trusted.

Regardless of what you do for a living, how successful you are, or even how beautiful you are, if you don’t consistently make him feel good when he’s with you, he’s going to disappear and find a woman who does.

Mistake #2: – You’re Being Too Proactive

Men win you over by giving to you. We ask you out. We call you. We pay for dates. We initiate sex. We ask for commitment. We propose marriage. We give. You receive. Reverse this order by asking him out, initiating sex, asking for commitment, or proposing marriage, and a masculine guy will feel, well, emasculated. Thus, if you want a masculine guy, your greatest move is to embrace your passive feminine side.

You may hate the word passive. You may think it sounds like a 1950’s housewife, or a helpless woman who can’t do anything for herself.

Not quite.

Being passive doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything proactive. It means that you’re choosing not to do anything proactive, because being proactive during courtship is ineffective in making a man feel attracted to you.

Here are a few common examples of being proactive:

  • You have a great date, you email him the next day to say you had a lot of fun.
  • You haven’t heard from him all weekend, you text him to make sure he’s doing okay.
  • You want to see him next week, you tell him his favorite band is playing downtown and you can get tickets.
  • You’re confused about where your relationship stands, you ask him where things are headed.

You think you’re being real; he thinks you’re acting clingy. Understand, the man of your dreams doesn’t NEED to be pushed to be your boyfriend.

The disconnect is this: You want men to actively pursue you. But most men do not want to be actively pursued. The only guys who do are really shy, really insecure, or really clueless about women. Most men will value you more if they have to win you over. That’s what guys mean about a “challenge”. So step away from “The Rules,” which tell you to refuse to return his calls or act like you’re busy when you’re not. All I´m asking you to do is embrace your receptive feminine energy.

Continue to push men for dates, commitment or clarity, and watch them run away.

Mistake #3: You Worry Too Much About Getting Hurt Again

You’ve probably been hurt by guys in the past.

One boyfriend may have cheated on you. Another may have dated you for three years but didn’t want to get married. Another might have been a friends-with-benefits guy who never wanted a relationship with you.

And because you’ve had these life experiences, you’re determined to learn from them. You tell yourself that you’re never going to find yourself in that position again. So you become vigilant. You look for the signs. You seek “red flags” and instantly dismiss a man you even SUSPECT is going to be a player, a commitment phobe or a wishy-washy loser.

You ask him probing questions on the first date, looking for chinks in his armor.

You make it perfectly clear about what you will or won’t tolerate up front.

You ask where your relationship is going after the third date.

Then you wonder why he disappeared.

Here’s the deal:

Men are not heartbreakers looking for our next victim. It is never our goal to hurt you at any point in time. Like you, we’re not sure what will make us happy. All we know is that we’ll know it when we see it.

But you’ve gotta give us the chance to reveal ourselves over time.

Push your boyfriend to know where things are going too soon and you’ll quickly find that they’re not going anywhere at all.

How can you learn about a man and protect yourself without scaring him away?

Fortunately, it’s not that hard to show you how to make different choices in your love life – choices that lead to more nurturing, stable, meaningful relationships without compromising your needs or risking that a good man will disappear on you.

Date Someone that Makes you Feel Great and Makes you a Better Person!

When dating, try to seek out someone that makes you feel really great, but will also make you a better person. The individual you choose should enhance your life and make you feel really good about yourself. They should fascinate you, amaze you, and of course make you feel very, very happy! Here are some other characteristics to identify that perfect “catch.”

1). Date someone who is captivating and who oozes confidence; someone whom you find irresistibly sexy and have incredible chemistry with.

2). Date someone who is curious about life; someone who pushes their limits and yours! Pick a person who is intellectually stimulating – someone who has a variety of interests and is always yearning to grow. Let them encourage you to step outside of your comfort zone and experience new places and new things.

3). Date someone who believes in living life to the fullest, but can also be happy taking advantage of all of life’s simple pleasures as well. They can morph and adapt to any situation and make it a positive experience.

4). Since we know laughter can be one of the best remedies to cure a bad mood, it can also serve as one of the best aphrodisiacs!  Choose a partner who can make you laugh, someone who can look at the comedic side of life and is always finding the “positive” in every situation.

5). Date someone who is passionate in a romantic way but also is passionate about their ambitions, their careers, family, charities, etc. Their zest for life should be intense and they should be exciting to be around.

6). Date someone who is drama free. Your relationship shouldn’t be an emotional rollercoaster. They should be reliable and dependable, and not play games.

7). Be with a partner who isn’t afraid to be unusual. Maybe he/she has a bit of an “edge” or is more of a creative type. If they’re not the usual type you are attracted to, explore this. For his/her uniqueness is what makes them special and they could be a really great person for you to be with.

8). Be with someone who you feel can be your best friend. You should be able to talk honestly with them about anything. They should listen to you with kindness and concern and be able to offer candid advice when needed. The relationship should just “flow” and be easy. You want to be yourself and let your guard down.

Overall, fall in love with someone who exhilarates you and makes you be the best version of yourself. Don’t settle for second best!  You deserve to be with someone who is exceptional, because YOU are exceptional!  

Five Things You Should Be Looking for by the Fifth Date

5 ThingsFive Things You Should Be Looking for by the Fifth Date

Is this fledgling relationship worth pursuing?

You’ve met someone pretty special. You’ve gone out with them more than a few times now. You’ve just completed your fourth date and are looking forward to the fifth. So how are things going? Does it appear that things are taking hold? By now you should have a pretty good idea if the fledgling relationship is worth pursuing.

Naturally you’ve been searching for red flags along the way. But if you haven’t really discovered any and the relationship seems quite promising – than bravo!… there is hope that this one might take hold! Let’s review what has gone on so far, and hone in on some of the qualities and traits you should be looking for in a relationship that will stick.

1). You feel comfortable being yourself around him/her:
In the first couple of dates, you will naturally put your best self forward and try to minimize the exposure of your shortcomings. However, this requires a lot of energy, and eventually you’ll want to let your guard down so you can start to get to know each other properly. By the fifth date, you should be able to acknowledge whether or not you feel comfortable around them and if they make you feel good about yourself. There shouldn’t be any feelings of anxiety or insecurity at this point. If you do experience uncomfortable feelings, try to figure out why.

2). The conversation has progressed to the next level:
In the first couple of dates, the conversations tend to follow a safe and predictable script. “What do you do?” “Where have you traveled?” and so forth. However, by the end of the fourth date you should be well past this basic small talk and the conversations should be flowing in a more natural, unscripted fashion. If this hasn’t happened then it may become awkward and perhaps the reality is you may not have as much in common as you should with this person in order to proceed.

3). They show humility and compassion:
One of the most important things that a partner should possess is humility and compassion. You want to make sure you are with someone who is able to open up and be frank about themselves and admit to some of their own flaws and shortcomings. Do you sense some humility in this person? Pay attention to what is being said. If they are brash, or come across as arrogant and disrespectful, it might be a good idea to consider moving on.

4). Your interests are in check:
By now you should have an understanding of what your potential partner is into and what they do with their spare time. While you shouldn’t expect to share every interest in common, you should have at least a couple of shared interests that you both enjoy. These interests will be important later to sustain the relationship, so make sure that you can identify a few. They can be any interest ~ from sports and fitness to travel to cooking to the type of movies or music you like.

5). There are shared values and common goals:
You will find it much easier to date and find a partner if you know what your values are and you know what values you are looking for. Are you both on the same page here? As long as you pay attention to what is mentioned in passing and in casual conversation, you should be able to tell whether this person is at least potentially compatible in terms of values. If they are blatantly incompatible in this regard then you may need to think again. You can handle different values while the infatuation period continues, but once those rose-tinted glasses come off then this will become an issue that will be way more important as time goes on.

Image courtesy of photostock at 

Ladies – What are the signals you are putting out while dating?

In daily life we are sending out subtle—and not-so-subtle—messages to everyone around us. Like Wi-Fi signals floating unseen through the air, you broadcast hundreds of messages every time you interact with someone. And if you’re dating, you can bet that the gentlemen you’re going out with are reading every signal you offer, analyzing each one in an effort to decipher its exact meaning.

The good news is that you can transmit these signals any time you want in order to achieve a desired effect. That’s a lot of power to have over another person. But the bad news is that you’re also sending a steady stream of signals without even knowing it. Your facial expression, your posture, your body language, and even the way you walk and talk are communicating all kinds of things to the person you’re interacting with.

Let’s look at some of the main ways you send signals to men. This can help you examine just what it is you’re communicating—intentionally or not—to other people.

Broadcasting that your life is “crazy busy.” You know in your heart you want a relationship, but is it common for you to broadcast to everyone around you that your life is crazy busy and your business and personal commitments are all consuming? If so, do you honestly think that anyone that is listening to this will become more interested in dating you? The signal you are putting out there is that you don’t have the time or the capability of investing in anything right now. Try to keep your discussions more light and less stressed and try to talk about how you are available (if you truly could be and truly want a relationship in your life).

Choosing the Location for the Date. While most people decide together where they would like to go out on their date, if you make demands and choose a date location that seems to be inconvenient or communicates a complete lack of interest in pleasing the other person, please try to identify this and collaborate on a date plan that seems more mutually agreeable. Don’t choose a date location that is literally across the street from your house/apt but is an hour away by car for the other party. And if he isn’t into loud music or into drinking don’t suggest a bar hall that plays loud dance music. Pay attention to the fact that your date may wonder how much you care about them and how much investment you have in developing a dating relationship.

Presenting yourself by the way you Dress.   This is one of the most obvious ways to send a message to a person you’re going out with. If you dress to look sexy, you are communicating one thing. If you dress in a way that’s totally casual, you are saying something else. The same goes for whether you look sloppy, well-groomed, successful, or high maintenance. The clothes you wear and the way you wear them are great ways to tell a date a little about yourself, about how you are feeling about the date, and about what you have in mind for the evening.

Just make sure that you’re not broadcasting messages that you don’t mean to. When you get dressed for the date, ask yourself, “Is the way I’m dressed sending the signals I mean to be sending?” If so, then go for it. But if not, you might decide to dress up or dress down a bit, depending on how you want to come across.

Invitations you Offer or Accept that send the wrong Signals. Certain dating activities don’t really hold any specific significance at all. Dinner at a local cafe followed by a movie isn’t necessarily going to deliver any precise message regarding your expectations for the evening or the relationship. But other invitations have the potential to communicate plenty. Inviting someone inside for a drink at the end of the date signals that you’re at least open to the idea of the relationship becoming more physically intimate.

And also if someone you’ve recently started dating asks you to go away for the weekend you better realize that this may imply more intimacy, and maybe even take the relationship to a new level of seriousness. If you feel ready for this..Great! Go for it! Of course, if you don’t feel comfortable with the invitation, you should never feel obligated to go through with it because the other party is going to misread your signal.

Playing Hard to Get. Men hate this game and bear in mind, with all the options that are available these days in meeting new people, playing hard to get is not a game that will side in your favor. Don’t believe that you are going to make someone more interested in you if you play this game. He will only become more frustrated with you. And if you aren’t into someone, at least follow up and communicate your feelings. Parting as “friends” will offer closure and will allow the gentleman to know how you’re feeling so he can move on and not waste any more time.


Holiday Dating Dilemmas Resolved

(Updated on December 17, 2015)


It’s that time of year again when we are celebrating the holidays. But when you’re presently dating someone new, or the relationship is just starting to take hold, how do you handle certain issues when it comes to gifts, family, etc.?  At Premier Match we are often coaching clients on these “dilemmas” and would like to share a few of them with you, along with a few resolutions on how to make the holidays the best they can be with your new love.

So, how do you handle:


With holiday dating, the issue of whether or not to exchange gifts can be confusing. If you’re dating casually, you shouldn’t feel obligated to give a gift just because it’s the holidays. However, if you feel you would like to give your date something thoughtful, keep it inexpensive but something they would appreciate. It’s good to pay attention to what s/he likes so that they will know you care and that you put some thought into your gift: perhaps a book on a special topic that was discussed or a bottle of scotch that was tasted and enjoyed. Another great gift idea is pre-arranging a future date together– whether it be tickets to a play or ball game or an evening of skating in the park. Remember, certain gifts are going to imply certain intentions. Giving your gal lingerie will certainly hint at the idea that you’re looking for a more sexual relationship, which may be great or awkward. Be careful about splurging for gifts dealing with grooming or exercise as they may backfire and cause your date to believe that you are dissatisfied with the way they look and want to change them.

Family Gatherings

When contemplating inviting a date to a family gathering, first consider whether an extra guest is welcome. Is there room at the dinner table and will your family feel comfortable with a virtual stranger joining them? The nature of the gathering can also determine the appropriateness of inviting someone special. If it’s a cocktail party with extended family and close friends, then a date will be appropriate. However, if it’s an intimate gift exchange amongst siblings then perhaps inviting your friend later would be a better bet. Consider your date’s feelings too. Will s/he feel comfortable with off-key family Christmas caroling or being asked by your nosy aunt when you two will be getting married because you “look so adorable together.”

The Office Party

With dinner, drinks, and dancing, why not bring along someone to share in the fun? Having a date can also prevent a potentially embarrassing interoffice hook-up. However, turning an office party into an opportunity for holiday dating presents a few concerns similar to family gatherings. Are dates welcome at the event? If your company is budget-conscious, they may not allow dates to come. Will your date enjoy spending time with your co-workers? Since you’re the only one s/he knows, it’s especially important to make sure you don’t abandon your date during the evening.

Differing Beliefs

If you’re seeing someone that has a different religious belief, holiday dating can highlight conflicts in your spiritual thought process/beliefs. The key to avoiding problems is to be open and honest about your comfort level at all times. Don’t feel obligated to go to your date’s house of worship if you feel uncomfortable partaking in the religious rituals. As long as you are open and communicate your concerns you both can have a better time getting through the holiday season. It may also allow you the opportunity to see if you are both compatible in this area and if your relationship has the potential to last.

Work, Work and More Work

If you find that the case you are working on or the budget deal is cutting into your personal life, hopefully you can steal away and attend at least one gathering that will be meaningful this holiday season. A lot of busy professionals find themselves working against the clock to finish projects before the clock strikes twelve on New Year’s and we are now into another tax year. Try to pace it, get your sleep but find some balance between work and play–it’s important for your mental sanity as well as your emotional well-being.