Category Archives: Date Etiquette

The Friend Zone: Fact or Fiction? Part 2

by Sabrina Cohen

Last month I wrote about platonic friendship between men and women. I grew up around guys whose philosophy was, “A guy only wants to be friends with a girl to get in her pants.” Even with that notion floating around in my consciousness, I managed to maintain lots of platonic friendships with guys throughout my 20’s.

But as time went on, the dynamics changed. In some cases, the friend got into a serious relationship and I inadvertently became the other woman, even though nothing sexual ever took place. Suddenly the idea of another woman sharing up-close-and-personal time perhaps seemed inappropriate. Thankfully it usually resulted in a natural drifting as opposed to anything dramatic or specifically addressed, at least to my knowledge.

I’ve also seen plenty of women cut off relationships with guy friends because her significant other was jealous or threatened. Was it because they believe that any other man is really interested in more than friendship?

In other cases there was no significant other, just unforeseen (ok, undisclosed) feelings that appeared to motivate one person to engage in the friendship. In my case, even though my intentions were clear, I was guilty of denying his ulterior motives.

With all that said, I do maintain friendships with these men. They’ve morphed significantly over the years, but considering they’re still there, anything is possible.

In your experience, can men and women really just be friends? How about when one is in a relationship?

Sabrina Cohen is a blogger, copywriter, and creative consultant for MarketSmiths.com.

 

 

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The Art of Open Relationships

by Sabrina Cohen

What do you call it when a committed couple agrees to see others outside their immediate bond? An open relationship, of course.

Seen from one viewpoint, open relationships require immaturity—and a serious yen for adventure. Seen from another, they’re a natural extension of our real world attraction to others, and require—ironically—an even deeper maturity, connection, forthrightness, and understanding.

On the pro side, new partners can provide a needed sexual boost. They can administer fresh attention, companionship, and even challenge. They broaden the horizon—be it emotionally, sexually, and even intellectually.

But there are just as many reasons to avoid an arrangement that some might see as a land mine. To name a few: jealousy, possessiveness, insecurity, and romantic attachment.

If you’re considering an open relationship, think about these parameters:

  • Make sure both of you are on board. Persuasion or manipulation will likely backfire.
  • Establish solid ground rules.
  • Be honest with your new partners. Let them in on your arrangement.
  • If you’re new, venture forth slow and steadily. Experiment and enjoy, but keep a close eye on everyone’s comfort zone.
  • Maintain your respect and communication for each other, and not least your honesty toward yourself.

In short, open relationships can be an exciting way to spice up your relationship and build self-awareness. But they’re not for everyone, so proceed with caution.

Have you ever considered or engaged in an open relationship? Share your story below!

Sabrina Cohen is a blogger, copywriter, and creative consultant for MarketSmiths.com.

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The Golden Rule of Dating

by Sabrina Cohen

OLD SCHOOL RULES

Back in the day (the olden days, not 1995), dating was relatively simple; people met, married, bore children, and died—for many, all this before age 30. Up until the mid-twentieth century there were clearly defined (albeit unspoken) rules, and just about everyone followed them. But as our freedoms increased, so did our options. Dating these days is a free love free-for-all, based on nothing more personal preference.

Without having “rules” or standard practices to go by, dating can be a minefield of mixed messages. Every person speaks his or her own dating language, leaving everyone else lost in translation. This could explain why dating is so damn confusing these days, and why after a while, everyone out there seems crazy.

NEW RULES = NO RULES

With no set rules to play by, we have no choice but to follow our instincts. Setting aside contrived signals, logic, and reasoning, we instead focus on the natural chemistry that exists (or doesn’t). We learn to be guided by our experience as opposed to our thoughts about what “should” be. We also learn to just be instead of being stuck in evaluation mode all the time.

It may seem to have been easier back then, but there’s something refreshingly simplistic about relying on our hearts and not our heads for a change. And perhaps the unpredictability of it all may actually make it easier for daters today to spot the right thing when it comes along.

So, how you navigate the uncertainty? Follow today’s golden rule of dating: Lead with your heart, follow your gut.

Do you fancy yourself a modernist or do you prefer the dating traditions of generations past?

Sabrina Cohen is a blogger, copywriter, and creative consultant for MarketSmiths.com.

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First Date Advice: How to Click in 4 Minutes

By Jackie Potts

Good news for singles: You only need four minutes to hit it off with someone new, and we’ve got some first date advice to help tip the scales in your favor.

Think dating chemistry is all about money and appearance? It really has nothing to do with your car or designer labels, according to a new Stanford University dating study. It’s all about showing compassion, enthusiasm and using the following conversation skills.

By analyzing nearly 1,000 dates, geeky guys Dan McFarland and Dan Jurafsky found that how words were delivered, when and for how long determined the strongest connections. And four minutes is all it takes to spark “a meaningful relationship,” they said.

During these mini-dates, women were definitely the deciders in whether or not the conversations would continue, but both genders can do several things to ensure a second date.

  • Show approval. Use phrases like “That’s awesome” or “Good for you.”
  • Be empathetic. If a date shares a hardship tale, respond with, “That must be tough on you,” or something supportive. Women like guys who seem to understand their problems.
  • Share a short personal or funny story. Spilled BBQ sauce on your shirt? Rode an elevator once with Lil Wayne? Talk about it. But avoid complaining or “Can you believe my ex?” anecdotes.
  • Watch out for the “I” monster. If every other word out of your mouth is “I,” you’re losing your date.
  • Show vocal enthusiasm. Laughing and making your voice louder or softer to mirror the other person’s help create an emotional connection.
  • Don’t grill the other person. What’d you do today? Where do you work out? Hey, where are you going? People lose interest when asked question after question.

Interestingly, both guys and girls reported stronger connections when the conversation focused on her. Take it from Beyonce: Who run the world? Girls.

Jackie Potts is a blogger at MarketSmiths.com. 

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Let’s Talk About Sex: 10 Questions to Ask a New Partner

by Ella

Talking about sex can be awkward, which is why most people just do it, no questions asked. But pillow talk can be the perfect opportunity to learn more about your partner, and asking questions often lightens a nervous mood. Here are some ideas for someone you’ve just started sleeping with. Not too graphic, not too intimate, but enough to start a teasing tête-à-tête.

1. How was your first kiss?

Take a trip down memory lane and find out if there were fireworks when your date had his or her first kiss. Where were they? Was it expected? 

2. How do you like to be touched?

Finding out the answer to a question like this means you then have the ability to give your partner exactly what they want. If they have no idea what their preference is, stroke them softly and ask, “Do you like that?” Try different pressure or speed until you get a resounding yes.

3. Are there certain everyday things you find erotic?

We’re all familiar with the tropes: a woman eating a banana or a man holding a baby might be reliable erotic triggers for your partner. But who knows, maybe the smell of fresh laundry turns them on. Maybe they get off on jumping jacks.

4. Where’s the strangest place you’ve had sex?

With all these questions, the key point is to alleviate judgment. Maybe your partner has done it on a park bench in broad daylight, maybe they’ve never left the bed. Either way, you won’t do anything to further the relationship if you label them “dirty” or “vanilla.” Instead, further the subject: Where’s the strangest place you’d like to have sex in the future?

5. What are your thoughts on sexting?

Practically, this is good to know before you dash off a “I’m touching myself thinking of you” text.

6. What physical feature do you notice first?

Likely your partner will end up mentioning your body. If he loved your red lips, you know what to do when you want to be especially seductive. If she was struck by your smattering of chest hair, you might want to pull out the deep V more often.

7. What kind of music do you like to have sex to?

We hear Autre Ne Veut’s “Ego Free Sex Free” is today’s top sex tune, but your partner might be more into Barry White or Bon Iver. Obviously the next time you hook up, you’ll have their favorite tracks in a playlist on Spotify.

8. When did your parents give you “the talk”?

If it never happened, how did your partner find out about the birds and the bees? Did they get any misinformation? Compare stories of embarrassing adolescence–we have faith you’ll laugh about it all now. 

9. Do you have any secret sensitive spots?

This could translate to ticklish or erotic, but whether the area is a no-go or “yes please, go,” you–as a considerate partner–need to know.

10. Where in this space do you (or would you) like to have sex?

Nothing is off limits. Corners, counters, the tempting shag rug in the middle of the room…

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How to Get Along with Men: 5 Things to Say to a Guy (and Avoid Saying)

by Jackie Potts

Earlier this month, we revealed the top 5 Things to Say to Women, according to a poll in The Daily Mail. Now, we’re presenting the flip side for women: 5 things to say to a guy you like that he actually wants to hear.

Sometimes we make the mistake of trying to talk to men like they’re our girlfriends. We might inadvertently share news about “that cute new guy” at work, or push a crush to share feelings he’s not yet ready to reveal.

The thing is: Guys aren’t our girlfriends. They’re not always psyched to hear about your new manicure or probe why they’re clashing with the boss. Sometimes they just want to chill with some wings and beer.

These lines were contributed by real men folk, and we hope they’ll work whether you’re just trying to approach that hottie at Starbucks or want to nudge things along with a guy you’ve just started seeing.

  1.  “Hi, I have a Playstation.”
  2. “I just want you to be yourself.” (This can mean understanding when he wants to spend a Friday night working on a personal project or even watching the new Ultimate Fighting match.)
  3. “I’m behind you 100%. Whatever you want to do.” (Ladies, you don’t always have to be in control.)
  4. “Which action movie do you want to see this weekend?” (Let him pick the movie. It probably won’t be so bad LOL.)
  5. “Why don’t you go out with your friends (and see that movie) tonight — you deserve it.” (If it really is that bad.)

Our man-pals also suggested women avoid saying these things to guys:

“Wow, that guy’s hot” (about someone else). “Why are you so quiet? Is something wrong?”

And men say they really hate it when women make them dance in public. Guess they’re not all Magic Mike wannabes.

Jackie Potts is a blogger at Marketsmiths.com.

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How to Get Along with Women (5 Things Not to Say)

by Jackie Potts

In a drug-store aisle packed with colorful greeting cards, this one leaped out: “Your butt does NOT look fat.” I grabbed the last card and desperately rifled the shelves for more (drats, no luck).

Clearly, this card writer has mastered The Secret of how to talk to women. And so can you, guys. (Even if you botched that whole Valentine’s Day thing.)

All you have to do is memorize that phrase and avoid saying the following five things to your crush, babe, honey or dummy. (In fact, scratch “dummy” off your list, that’s a ticking timebomb right there.)

According to a new poll of 500 lasses in that elite British journal, the Daily Mail, these are the top things not to say to a woman by percentage of votes, lightly translated from the Queen’s English to Queens, N.Y.

5. Will you need a hand parking that, luv? (11%) Need help parallel parking, honey?

4. Calm down, dear! (12%) Calm the eff down!

3. You look tired. (13%) (Ugh, no translation needed)

2. Yes, your bum looks big! (17%) Yes, your butt looks fat! (Yeegads, don’t even bother showing your face without a mea culpa frappuccino after uttering this one.)

1. When’s it due? (26%) How many months are you? (Just stop, drop and roll if you say this to a female who isn’t pregnant.)

So what should you say to an attractive human with girlie parts? “I’m fascinated by your mind,” “You know, I wouldn’t change a thing about you,” and “I got you this cupcake, because you’re awesome” are all pretty much bulletproof.

Got a phrase you like or don’t like? Share it here. And tune in later this month for our companion piece, “How to Get Along with Men.”

Jackie Potts is a blogger at MarketSmiths.com. 

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