How Covid Changed Love and Dating

How the Pandemic Changed What We Value in Love

A couple years ago, if you would have asked any one of Savannah’s friends who was the biggest “party animal” in their group, with no hesitation, it would have been her name boldly declared. Wild, playful, and a self-described “social butterfly,” Savannah was proud of being the go-to girl to call for an impromptu night on the town, a last-minute road trip to the beach, or just a round of drinks after a grueling day at the office.

Though she dreamed of one day falling in love, between work, friends, and the occasional fling, there wasn’t much room left for meeting real, serious men. Plus, ‘settling down’ sounded a lot like being ‘tied down,’ and she valued her independence far too much for that.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Savannah’s daily routine changed drastically overnight, permanently shattering the spontaneous and lighthearted life she had loved to live.

Thinking things would eventually return to “normal,” Savannah kept up (as close as she could) with her old habits--however, girls' night on Zoom just didn’t feel the same without the stilettos.

After seeing the sickness and struggles experienced by friends, family, and the world, Savannah’s philosophy of “work hard, play harder” suddenly stopped making so much sense. Trapped alone in her apartment and with more free time than ever, she began to reflect on her values, goals, and how to create a fulfilling future.

After what seemed like an eternity, life began to resume to some level of normalcy. Curfews lifted, work returned to office, and all her favorite spots were up-and-running, again. The city called her to step back out into the hustle and bustle.

But, Savannah’s priorities had changed. Now, she craved connection, hoping to find someone special, safe, and real.

Shaking Up the Dating Game

Every year, Match releases its study, Singles in America, surveying thousands of singles like Savannah, between the ages of 18 and 98.

In the midst of a pandemic, this year’s report revealed some revolutionary insights into the psyche of the singles.

To say that Savannah, and others like her, experienced some changes during the pandemic would be the understatement of the century. Marking a monumental shift in modern history, COVID-19 has given way to nearly two years of instability, loss, and fear of the unknown, forcing many of us to reexamine the parts of our lives that, before, we took blissfully for granted.

Though we can’t quite say it has all been doom and gloom. In the face of adversity, singles have somehow managed to find a silver lining in the coronavirus-shaped cloud.

Whether to distract themselves from the nonstop negativity on the news, or just to fill their time after a pandemic-induced lay-off, 68 percent of Millennials took up new hobbies during these dark days.

Turns out, Savannah was not the only single to shake up their thinking this past year. When it came to putting things in their proper place, 72 percent of singles said they’re finally prioritizing the right things in life, like mental and physical health.

Put simply, singles made the most of 2021. Coming out of the pandemic as better versions of themselves, it’s safe to say this dose of singles are more eligible than ever.

Virtual Meets Reality

Nearly no aspect of life was immune to the consequences of the virus--love and relationships being no exception.

Thanks to social distancing, many singles found themselves stuck at home instead of out on the roam. Either impossible or too risky to meet their crushes in person, the cultural consensus of ‘dating’ begged to be redefined.

Like a knight in shining (disinfected) armor, a new influx of video chat technology ushered its way into lives to successfully save our dates.

Thus, the video date quickly cemented itself as a common courtship courtesy for a quarter of singles during the pandemic, with half of younger singles insisting to meet virtually before in person.

So, anyone can go on a Facetime date, but what about experiencing real love?

Turns out, you don’t have to be in the same space as someone to feel a spark in the air, with 78 percent of singles having felt romantic chemistry during a video date.

Still not convinced? According to nearly half of Gen Z and Millennials, you can fall in love over a video date. Long-distance daters, rejoice!

So, if you're single and suffering from pandemic-induced Zoom fatigue (yes, it’s a thing), a romantic video date with your special someone might be just the thing you need.

Maturity Matters, Looks Don’t

Needless to say, amongst local restrictions, life-threatening illness, and worldwide uncertainty, looks tended to take a back seat during the pandemic. With the most exciting adventure in town being a run to the supermarket, most people stayed home, alone, and in pajamas.

After endless lockdowns and social distancing at home, dressing up felt more like more of a chore than taking out the Tuesday trash. Aesthetically, comfort took control in our choice of clothing, with loungewear, athleta-leisure, and sneakers seeing a huge spike in sales. And, with masks covering half of our faces, makeup trends were quick to ditch the contour sticks and focused, instead, on a more natural, simple look.

Thanks to the habits we picked up during the pandemic, the trend towards inner beauty was well on it’s way. However, it wasn’t until some of our most cherished celebrity crushes began to publicly question the necessity of personal hygiene, that the hotness hierarchy finally fell to its knobby knees.

With that, it became official: looks are out, maturity is in.

“Following any traumatic event,” Match reports, “we often look for partners who are stabilizing, regardless of whether or not they have a six pack. This psychological effect leads us to surround ourselves with people and social contexts that feel genuinely safe.”

Emotional security suddenly became the new sexy.

Before the pandemic, if you would have asked a single person how they ranked physical attractiveness in a list of desired qualities in a mate, hotness would have been at the top. This year, however, only 78 percent considered it an important quality at all.

While physical attractiveness might temporarily catch the eye, qualities like being open-minded, accepting, and a good communicator are what makes a partner truly show-stopping.

Covid Killed the Hookup

With all this emphasis on emotional security, is there any room left for keeping things casual? According to singles, not much.

Today, only 11 percent of single people are interested in casual dating.

“We’re not saying one-night-stands are gone for good,” says the Match report, “but they’re definitely on the decline.”

Were social distancing restrictions to blame? Maybe. But, catching the COVID-19 cooties didn’t sound very appealing, either.

When it came to taking seriously their role in stopping the spread of the virus, Millennials and Gen Z understood the assignment.

Both generations are known for their passion for improving society; so, it makes sense that amongst a global pandemic, the young, wild, and free were more careful with their mingling.

Interestingly, 75 percent of singles, both young and old, are vaccinated. Considering the wider social opportunities and lesser risk of infection, in the times of corona, getting the pinch could mean a greater shot at love.

For all it’s chaos and instability, the pandemic also provided singles with an opportunity to slow down, work on themselves, and reflect about what they really want out of their lives.

Not interested in risking their health for something not serious, pretty quickly, the flirty flings just stopped cutting it.

Marriage-Minded

What does the future hold for modern singles? According to Match, marriage!

Now, more than ever, singles want meaningful, steadfast and committed relationships.

In the world’s current state of instability, nothing’s more appealing to singles than having a solid sense of security at home. Committing to a reliable, trustworthy, and long-lasting partner is just the sort of stability singles, like Savannah, are searching for right now.

Over the past two years, all singles report 20 percent higher interest in marriage, with men more interested in marriage now more than ever.

So, if you’re single with marriage on your mind, now is the time to get yourself out there.

Not sure where to start? If you’d like to meet like-minded, quality, commitment-minded singles, sign up today and we’ll set you up!


A happy couple

Third Time’s a Charm: How the 3 Date Rule Makes Dating a Breeze

Here at The Setup, we’re dedicated to giving you the tools of empowerment you need for the sometimes scary journey that is dating. Dating should be something easy and fun. However, self-sabotage and bad advice are two common hurdles that get in the way of building successful relationships. 

Let’s break down some dating strategies and figure out how to start a fun and fruitful dating journey. 

What's the first thing anyone can do when beginning this journey?

Speak to professionals. Where do you normally go for dating advice? Most often, people seek dating tips from their friends, family members, or even co-workers. Though they mean well, they usually end up giving bad advice.

For example, if you're speaking to grandparents about dating, there is the possibility that they’ve not dated within this century. Dating dynamics have changed drastically in the last 10 years. Now, throughout quarantine and the global pandemic, we've seen even more drastic changes within the dating industry.

Evidence show that nowadays, people are more anxious, lonely, and stressed than ever. Both quarantine and remote work are two recent factors that have caused otherwise content singles to consider coupling up quickly. Many people currently feel immense pressure to find love and companionship and therefore try to take a fast track into relationships. 

If you’d like to avoid any more unnecessary confusion, worry and stress throughout your dating process, our best advice is to speak to the right people from the get-go. Seek advice from professionals who have the credentials to back up what they're saying.

The Magic Number 3

We’re all aware of the many dating strategies that have floated in and out of popularity. Which ones actually work?

3 Day Rule

The “3 Day Rule” goes like this: after you finish a date with someone you must wait three days until you call them back. By waiting this amount of time, you supposedly appear less desperate and more attractive to the other person.

This strategy essentially tunes into the idea of playing “hard to get.” However, in modern dating this strategy is no longer relevant nor effective. If anything, it is more harmful to your dating journey.

Quite counterproductively, this strategy paints you as uncertain, hesitant, or uninterested. No longer do we live in a time where romance goes slow. Allow yourself the indulgence of dating and communicate with your potential partner freely. Don’t bind yourself within this outdated rule. 

The modern dating world does not fare well with the “3 Day Rule.” This unhealthy method of beginning a relationship often ignites thoughts of insecurity and doubt in your date. 

So, do yourself a favor and leave this “strategy” in the past.

Wait Until Date 3 To Get Physical

The idea behind this strategy is that after date three it is acceptable to become intimate with the person you are dating. It insinuates the idea that you are finally good enough to not be abandoned or thought of as “loose” because you waited three dates.

Countless amounts of research and years of expertise proves that this idea can be emotionally dangerous. By placing too much pressure on the relationship too soon, many partners find themselves feeling unnecessarily anxious and begin to overthink almost immediately in the relationship.

By the third date you are more than likely just beginning to truly understand the person your date, still figuring out if the feelings you have with them can spur into something deep and meaningful. Don’t get lost in the whirlwind of premature physicality—keep it cool and take things slow.

If you find yourself considering a third-date hooking up, take a moment to consider your long-term goals while dating. What do you really want? A fun night of lost inhibitions and pleasure? Or to genuinely get to know your date, understand their deepest desires, and maybe, if all goes well, build a future with them? 

Getting physical early on might be fun, but it can also cloud your judgement as the relationship continues. For example, getting caught up in lust for the person could cause you to ignore major red flags or obvious differences in you and your date’s core values. While lust is an important aspect in dating it is impossible to build a lasting foundation from lust alone. 

Our advice is to bury this strategy, and never look at it again. By taking out the pressure of intimacy, you allow your feelings to grow naturally for the other person. This will make your relationship stronger, your feelings deeper, and leave you with peace of mind.

3 Date Rule


The idea behind this strategy is to go on a minimum of three dates with your current match or possible partner before making the decision to continue/stop dating them.

The 3 Date Rule is a method to break unhealthy pressure and anxiety-based patterns that we have placed on ourselves in modern dating.

This strategy gives you a clear action plan to follow that takes off the pressure of early dating and give you steps to follow throughout your dating journey. It aims to help you understand the other person and yourself and see if there is a possibility of going steady.

There is no doubt in our mind that the 3 Date Rule benefits those who utilize it. 

So, what is the 3-date rule, exactly?

Date 1: Keep it light

The first date should be light-hearted, focusing on simply getting to know each other. This means the date should not be more than 2 hours, and it should be in a less formal place such as a coffeehouse or brunch. 

The modern “conveyor belt” type of dating—the quick interview-like conversation of back-and-forth questions—gives you no room to discover your match. Try to know a bit more than just a bullet point list of basic facts. 

Keep the conversation light and keep an open mind!

Date 2: Have fun!

Find out if you can have fun together. Date two is about laughing. Focus more on values and hobbies. 

The activity-based part of the second date will allow you to get to know this person while you're in a more comfortable and laid-back mood while your focus is on something else. Go bowling, hiking, mini golfing. Museums and sporting events are also great ideas.

Date 3: Wine and Dine

Get dressed up and go on a date dinner and a show. Allow this date to be where the romance steps in and takes the wheel. Lust can happen on date one, but date three is where you understand if that visual element can evolve into love. 

Do you want to go steady?

After the third date sit down with yourself, process your feelings, and ask yourself: “Is this someone I can go exclusive with?” 

Deciding to move forward with your date is the first step to building a strong, long-lasting foundation of forever. On the other hand, if you feel this person isn’t quite right for you, cut things off then and there. You can leave with confidence knowing that you tried your best, while refusing to waste time with an incompatible partner. Now, understanding your feelings and wants with more clarity, you can take what you’ve learned as you move into the next journey with your newest match.

Where did the 3-date rule come from?

There are only 12 Master Certified Matchmakers in the World—and Genevieve Gresset is one of the best. She has spent over 25 years coaching, mentoring, and matching single professionals all around the world.

Genevieve created the 3 Date rule when she noticed that her clients didn’t last more than 10 minutes into their first date. How? Having paired them based off their similar interests, relationship goals, and life values, Genevieve knew they should have matched better. She found, however, that many of her clients enter their dates with both anxiety and judgment, inhibiting them from investing in the opportunity before them. 

When she began instituting the 3 Date Rule for her clients she found an immediate increase in long-lasting relationships and healthier connections between people leading to the majority of the first ground of clients getting married.

The Best Dating Strategy

Applying the 3 Date Rule by Genevieve has helped thousands of clients go out on more dates and find lasting relationship success.

Throw away those other tips that forces you to move slowly into a relationship— Genevieve suggests three dates within two weeks. 

The method works by eliminating insecurity—the annoying, yet universal feeling that makes modern dating is so difficult. The 3 Date Rule keeps dates moving quickly, focusing on foundation-building and relationship investment while prioritizing maintaining a clear mind and feelings.

Here at The Setup, we do dating differently. We combine years of experience, face-to-face matchmaking, with a modern app for ease of coaching and communication. Don’t worry—it isn't a dating app. It allows you to set up dinner reservations, read in-depth research articles, and access to professionals for advice on anything from outfits to opening lines.

We are here to ensure you have a fun, happy, and successful dating journey. Start at The Setup today!


Father Daughter Bedtime Story - Men Have a Biological Clock

Men Have a Biological Clock Too

Most people have heard the expression geriatric pregnancy. It’s the heinous medical terminology pregnant women over the age of 35 get. I’m only 30 and I’m already offended. But what you probably didn’t know is that men have a biological clock too. 

"Eventually I believe we will have the research to show that when it comes to fathering a child, time isn't always on a man's side."

-Jeremy Silverman, PhD

35 is the Magic Number

It’s a long-held belief that men can father children well into middle-age and beyond, while women hit their peak fertility age in their 20s. But recent research shows that sperm count and mobility drastically decrease with age. In fact, studies show the male reproductive system begins breaking down around the age of 35 as well. 

According to Rutgers University a study—which reviewed 40 years of research on the effect parental age has on fertility, pregnancy and the health of children—revealed some surprising findings.

Not only can poor sperm quality affect the fetus and ultimately the child, but it also puts the mother at greater risk of developing complications during her pregnancy and delivery. The study found that men 45 and older can experience decreased fertility and put the mother at risk for increased pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm labor.

Infants born to older dads were found to be at higher risk of premature birth, stillbirth, and low birth-weight. There is also an increased chance of newborn seizures and birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate. As they aged, these children had an increased likelihood of cancer, psychiatric impairments, cognitive disorders, and autism.

Columbia University studied nearly 100K births and concluded: the older a man is when he conceives a child, the more likely his partner is to experience a miscarriage, even if she is young, healthy, and has no other risk factors.

Men Have a Biological Clock & It's Ticking

The study also found that older men struggled with fertility issues even if their partner was under 25. The problem is, nobody is talking about it, so most people don’t even know that men have a biological clock, much less that it’s ticking away under our noses. 

According to Gloria Bachmann, Director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School—women tend to be more aware and educated than men about their reproductive health. As she says, “Most men do not consult with physicians unless they have a medical or fertility issue.” 

Bachmann recommends physicians counsel older men as they do older women on increased risks and ways to mitigate them.

If you want to delay fatherhood, consider preserving a specimen to decrease the probability of complications later. It’s a much simpler, and less invasive process than it is for a woman to freeze her eggs, so look into it. If you know you want kids someday, consider it a solid investment in your future and your childrens’ futures.

Next thing you know, you’ll be saving for college. 

It Might Not be All About Age

“There is definitely evidence of weaknesses in the DNA of sperm as a man ages. And this could be the result of a weakness anywhere in the sperm-making system, from the copying mechanisms necessary to turn out new sperm every day, to the natural ability of the body to correct mistakes in that copying process, or really, any step along the way; any or all could become defective as a man ages.”

-Karine Kleinhaus, MD, PhD & Researcher at Columbia University

Dave McCulloh, PhD, Embryologist & Director of Laboratory Services suggests that a decline in the health of the male reproductive system has less to do with aging and more to do with environmental exposures to things like radiation, carcinogens, alcohol abuse, smoking, drug use, etc. 

Regardless of the cause, more and more research backs up the argument that men have a biological clock too. So if you’ve been putting off fatherhood, now is the time to take control of your future before you run out of options.

Of course, another option is to let us set you up with the love of your life and start making babies the old fashioned way. We can introduce you to the mother of your children


Couple on Date at Coffee Shop Experience Love at First Sight

Myth or Magic: Love at First Sight

According to a 2017 poll, 72% of men and 61% of women believe in love at first sight. But 41% of men and 29% of women claim to have actually experienced it.

Not to be confused with the reality show, Married at First Sight (MAFS), where one of our Master Certified Matchmakers, Genevieve, served as an expert. 

In an interview with BBC, Prince Harry said he knew Meghan Markle was the one for him the very first time they met. Like Harry, many people report experiencing love at first sight, but as you may have suspected, it’s not technically love.

Love, Lust, or Something Else?

It’s a typical Saturday night out with your girlfriends, when suddenly you lock eyes from across the room with the hottest guy in the bar. You hold one another’s gaze for just a beat too long as a slow, confident smile makes its way across his lips. Your pulse intensifies and your hands feel clammy as you realize he’s making his way over to you.

Suddenly it’s last call and you realize you’ve been talking for hours while your friends gawked knowingly. When he kisses you goodnight he asks to take you to brunch tomorrow. Your friends are dying for details in the Uber, but you can’t quite put into words what just happened. It’s not just that he’s insanely good-looking. It’s as if the two of you were drawn together by some unseen force. You just met, but it feels like you already know him and you’re already in your feelings. 

But if it’s not exactly true love...what the heck is it?

As far as 21st century scientists can tell: it's a strong pull to another person that makes you particularly open to the possibilities of a relationship with them. Maybe it’s chemistry or pheromones or destiny or magic—some things aren’t meant to be understood. But does it really matter?

Studies have proven this immediate connection and romantic drive toward another human is a legit phenomenon. Love at first sight is real.

“It's a basic drive, like thirst and hunger. Food and water keep you alive today; romantic love leads to bonding, mating and sending your DNA into tomorrow. In fact, poetry around the world talks about love at first sight. Even other creatures experience instant attraction to one another. But cultural factors always play a role as well.” 

-Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist

What Do We Know About Love at First Sight?

According to Dr. Fisher, romantic love runs along certain electrical and chemical pathways through the brain which can be triggered instantly.

It’s rare for both parties to experience love at first sight. It is usually only one party who feels the strong magnetic attraction instantaneously. The other takes a bit of time to warm up. 

People are more likely to fall instantly in love with objectively good-looking people. Men experience love at first sight, far more often than women do. Which suggests as we’ve often heard—generally speaking, men tend to be more visual beings.

“When you feel like you're falling in love, a chemical reaction is actually happening in your brain, releasing all those warm, fuzzy feelings. Your brain is creating dopamine and serotonin, and it looks like the brain of someone high on heroin. When you look into another person's eyes, your adaptive oscillator lock between you and your partner and form a loop. The greater the feeling here, the stronger the feeling of love. From there, these adaptive oscillators just pull you together and guide the two mouths together and you kiss. So there are chemicals in everything.”

-Dr. Trisha Stratford, MAFS Expert

One thing the experts agree on? You cannot rely on love at first sight to carry your relationship. You still have to put in effort and love your partner they way they want to be loved. It may jump start your relationship and put you on the fast track to commitment, but it doesn’t mean things will always be easy or come as naturally as it did when you first met. 

Are you ready to go on your last first date and possibly fall madly in love at first sight?


4 Ladies Pose for Camera- Womens Intuition

Myth or Magic: Women’s Intuition

We’ve all heard of women’s intuition. It’s an age-old phenomenon, but in recent years science has proven its validity.

Did you know that women make better spies, according to the CIA?

Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation.

According to the British Journal of Psychology, Intuition is what happens when the brain draws on past experiences and external cues to make a decision—but it happens so fast that the reaction is at an unconscious level.

Intuition is our brain’s ability to draw on internal and external cues while making rapid, in-the-moment decisions. Often occurring subconsciously, intuition relies on our brain’s ability to instantaneously evaluate the situation and make a decision based on gut-instincts.

Judith Orloff, MD, is the assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA and the author of Guide to Intuitive Healing: Five Steps to Physical, Emotional, and Sexual Wellness. She said the following:

Just like the brain, there are neurotransmitters in the gut that can respond to environmental stimuli and emotions in the now—it's not just about past experiences. When those neurotransmitters fire, you may feel the sensation of butterflies or uneasiness in your stomach. Researchers theorize that gut-instinct plays a large role in intuition by sending signals to your brain. I teach my patients to always listen to their gut—that sixth sense that's telling you something might not be right—particularly if you're sensing danger. If you listen to it and you're wrong, you've lost nothing. Perhaps you took a longer route home or you ducked into a store until the feeling passed. If you don't listen to it and you're right, things could turn out very badly. More often than not, your gut is right, so listen up! It's always better to be safe than sorry.

Science suggests women's intuition is a product of evolution. Females with a strong ability to understand and predict the needs of their children and mates thrive over females with inferior senses.

Previous generations were often expected to be seen but not heard. Because of this, they developed a deep sense of observation by becoming hyper-sensitive to the feelings and nonverbal cues of others.

Women may exhibit more empathy, intuition, collaboration, self-control, and appropriate concern because of increased blood flow in the brain. Or as Dr. Daniel Amen, Founder of the Amen Clinics, put it:

“The female brain is wired for leadership.”

Perhaps they should have been listening to us all along. 

We are also better at showing our emotions through facial expressions, tone of voice, and body language. Whereas, men are better at hiding their emotions and maintaining a poker face. But often, we’re still able to decode your tells. 

Research on nonverbal communication skills shows women are better at reading facial expressions and emotions. As a result, we are more likely to pick up on the subconscious cues of others.

The University of Cambridge conducted an experiment where they showed 90,000 people photographs of only people’s eyes. They were then asked to conclude the person’s mood based on the appearance of the eyes in the photo.

Unsurprisingly, the ladies dominated. #GirlPower

When comparing MRI scans of brain activity, the female brain reveals an increased number of neural connections, making it more efficient. This helps with interpreting one’s social surroundings.

The male brain, on the other hand, is neurologically wired to be more logical, making it more effective at linking perception with action. This helps men be more intuitive. You guys also have better spatial intelligence, so stop making us navigate!

History and science both agree women’s intuition is more than just a myth. Listen to that little voice in your head; trust your gut.


Couple Leans in Over Dinner - Decoding Body Language

Decoding Body Language

According to Vanessa Van Edwards, Author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People, there are over 800 non-verbal signals made during a 30-minute first date. Once you learn how to read your partner’s body language, you’ll be better equipped to decipher their needs and fill their love tank.

The problem is, we’re not taught to be aware of the signals we’re subconsciously giving off or how to read and interpret others’ cues. It’s just one of those social skills we’re expected to pick up and adapt to which is difficult or even impossible for some.

Joe Navarro has written several books on body language and non-verbal communication. In his book, What Every Body is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People, Navarro discusses how non-verbal communication is guided by the limbic system, a very primitive part of our brains. 

The limbic system assesses danger and risk, preparing the body for fight, flight, freeze, or fawn reactions. It is also the portion of the brain responsible for the high we feel when we fall in love. 

Reading Body Language

Being even marginally aware of body language, can lead to better connections and conversations. Some suggest as much as 80% of human communication is non-verbal.

Although it may be difficult to decode, there is good news. Body language is a more honest form of communication than verbal because so much of it is subconscious. Even the best poker faces can’t control micro-expressions

She’s leaning in; that’s good. But is she trying to get closer to you or the wine?

It’s true that crossed arms and fidgeting can be a sign someone is disinterested, angry, or closed off. But it’s important to take the entire situation into account.

Is this your first date? It could just be a sign of anxiety. Did you cross your arms first? Perhaps they’re mirroring you; in this case it could indicate increased interest. 

Positive non-verbal communication can include blushing, fumbling over their words, playing with their hair, fiddling with their clothes, or touching their lips. Getting tongue-tied often means one is nervous and trying to make a good impression.

Did you know hair follicles release pheromones?

Pay attention to whether they open their body toward you or away. Take a quick glance at their feet, where are they pointing?

Subtle touches are great signs. If they slap your knee when you tell a joke, or touch your arm for emphasis, you can bet they’re flirting.

It's Like Mocking, Only Cute

Mirroring is subconscious mimicking. You know the saying, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? It’s true. If someone likes you, they will start to adopt your mannerisms and movements.

It’s common for couples to start to share each other’s preferences over time. Some even start to resemble one another! 

We like people who are like us. Love and belonging are a vital part of our hierarchy of needs. It’s why cults exist and civilizations survive.

Now that you know this, you can alter your own behavior to mirror your date and build a stronger connection.

Don’t be creepy about it and follow their every move, but subtle things like mirroring the way they lean on an elbow or cross their legs. 

Work Your Angles

First and foremost, I want you to relax and sit comfortably on your date. Take a few deep breaths, because the most important thing is that you feel confident and secure.

Now, let’s think about how to make small adjustments to your posture so that you’re comfortable, but still giving off positive energy.

Tilt your head slightly when your partner speaks to show you’re listening intently. Try to maintain an open position and close some of the space between the two of you.

Angle your body toward your date—head, shoulders, knees, and toes—pointed in his or her direction. Notice their body language, are they angled toward you or pointing directly at the door?

Touch Yourself

Not like that. Don’t make it weird.

Fellas—did you know your beards produce significantly more pheromones than your heads? Increased testosterone causes facial hair growth, so twirl your mustache or stroke your beard, and watch the ladies come running.

On second thought, don’t touch your face during a Pandemic. But when it’s over, you should know how to use your hands to flirt. 

Touching your throat or neck indicates you’re not a threat. You can also mess with your hair, fiddle with your watch, adjust your glasses, etc.

Eyes are the Window to the Soul

Speaking of glasses, try to avoid sunglasses.

Eye contact releases the bonding hormone, oxytocin. Studies show your eyes dilate when you look at someone you care about. Both of these are hidden behind shades.

I do want to issue a word of caution. There are a number of conditions and diagnoses which make eye contact difficult or impossible for people to maintain.

Even if they’re not staring longingly into your eyes, you can still take note of where their line of sight is focused. Has something just caught their attention briefly or are you receiving rejection signals?

Is she staring at your lips then coyly averting her gaze? It might be time to think about leaning in for the first kiss. 


Man Relaxes in Chair - How to Handle Rejection

How to Handle Rejection Like a Boss

I don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you did, getting rejected sucks. Unfortunately, we have to learn how to handle rejection because it’s part of life.

Admit it...you sang that in your head. It’s okay; your secret is safe here. 

It doesn’t matter if you got passed over for a promotion, grad school turned you down, or your lover dumped you. It all packs the same nausea-inducing punch to the gut. Fortunately, there are tools you can learn and use to help lessen the blow. 

How to Handle Rejection

The first step is to reframe the way you talk about and think about rejection.

You did not get rejected. Your proposal was rejected.

If you proposed going on a date and they declined, that’s okay.

If you proposed taking your relationship to the next level and they ghosted, that’s okay.

Unless you shared way too much information and downloaded your life story, they barely even know you. They are more or less a stranger, so don’t let them define you. Allow their disinterest or disapproval to roll right off your back.

Even if you proposed marriage and they ran away crying, it’s still going to be okay. 

Rejection is not a reflection of you or your character.

It's Not Personal

It wasn’t a good match, but that doesn’t mean either of you are bad people.

After a few dates, you don’t know someone well enough to make a full judgement; that’s why we always encourage our clients to give each match a minimum of three dates.

It is likely there are a number of both external and internal factors that contributed to the rejection. And you probably have control over little to none of them. For instance, maybe they’re already in a relationship, or they just got dumped.

Neither of those things have anything to do with you. It’s not that they don’t want to date you. They don’t want to date anyone. If you learn how to handle rejection, it won’t negatively affect your mood or self-esteem.

There’s a good chance it’s not even about you. Don’t spend your time worrying about things that are out of your control. On the other hand, you should be open to listening to their reason for rejecting you as well as any respectful feedback or constructive criticism.

Feel All the Feels

A study at the University of Michigan using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) scans, found that rejection actually activates the same parts of the brain as physical pain.

Dr. Winch says this suggests an evolutionary advantage to experiencing the pain of rejection.

"This phenomenon is a legacy of our hunter-gatherer past, when we lived in nomadic tribes. Back when a person couldn't survive alone without their tribe, "rejection served as an early warning system that alerted us we were in danger of being ostracized—of being voted off the island."

If someone reacts to your proposal with abuse or threats, if they try to belittle or degrade you—just get out of the situation as quickly and safely as you can. That alone should prove you don’t want to be with that person or anyone else who behaves that way. Don’t spend a moment of your time worrying about them or their issues.

I truly hope that hasn’t been your experience. And if you’ve ever rejected someone’s proposal in that way, shame on you.

Just because your rejection wasn’t abusive, doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt. Take some time to sit with your feelings

Work on Yourself

Dr. Guy Winch is a psychologist and the author of Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts.

According to Dr. Winch, the best thing to do after a breakup is: make a list of all the negative qualities or bad habits that you didn’t appreciate about your ex. Whenever you feel sad or lonely, every time you get the urge to call, read through the list.

This will also help you to manifest positive traits in your next relationship. 

It’s important to be strong in your self-esteem and confidence, otherwise every superficial interaction will have undue influence over your well-being.

On the other hand, you should be open to listening to their reason rejecting you as well as any respectful feedback. Reflect on the situation. Did you make a remark that made them uncomfortable? Did you listen to your best friend’s well-intended, but bad advice?

You can own your role in the situation, and accept responsibility. That doesn’t mean you need to blame yourself and resort to damaging internal dialogue. You’re human. You’re allowed to make mistakes. Learn to forgive yourself. 

Next time, you’ll know how to handle rejection like a boss. 

In the words of Ariana Grande—

Thank you, next.


Playful Couple Cuddles on Couch Laughing at Bad Dating Advice

Don’t Listen to Bad Dating Advice

We have all received outdated, unsolicited, downright bad dating advice from friends, family, acquaintances, maybe even complete strangers. You know that nosey aunt who shares way too much information and inserts her opinion into everyone’s life? She says things like:

Don’t listen to that lady and her bad dating advice.

Rules are meant to be broken. It’s a new decade, so take all the bad bad dating advice you’ve been told throughout the years erase it from your memory.

There is an entire genre of self-help books dedicated to dating advice, much of which is solid, data-based research, but an equal amount is opinion-based and anecdotal. As they say, don’t believe everything you read. 

Love is Magical

Soulmates, twin flames, love at first sight, happily ever after—these are the types of magical love we strive for from our very first bedtime story. 

Real life love is much more practical. Don’t get me wrong, it has its magical moments when you swear the earth stops spinning. But true love, the kind that lasts forever, is a choice that must be made every single day.

Love is a verb as much as it is a noun.

The worst dating advice I ever heard was: If there is no chemistry on the first date, it’s not worth pursuing.

Attraction is not limited to our primal instincts, even though it may feel that way sometimes. As feelings of love and admiration develop, so does that magical, unexplainable spark.

Don’t write someone off right away. Some of our strongest matches have come from couples that we initially had to talk into going on a second date.

Remember the Three Date Rule!

Keep Conversations Light

We’ve talked about the opposite end of this spectrum: oversharing. You don’t want to share too much too soon, but you also don’t want to avoid meaningful conversations that occur naturally. As the relationship progresses, you should feel comfortable opening up about more sensitive topics like family goals, career dreams, and wishes for the future.

Imagine investing months into someone only to find out your goals for the future couldn’t be more opposite. You want to marry and raise a family, but she has different dreams.

By not defining the relationship and communicating your needs, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time dating people who aren’t a viable match. 

Be Your Best Self

We’re taught to be on our best behavior in all new relationships, and it’s true—to an extent. On a first date, at a new job, or even with a budding friendship, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. 

As Miranda Lambert put it, Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.

But there comes a time in every new relationship, where both parties have to be vulnerable, let their guard down, and show their flaws. If this doesn’t occur, the connection will remain in surface-level acquaintanceship territory rather than growing into something deeper.

Often in new relationships, people will behave how they think their partner wants them to behave. This leads to a myriad of problems.

If you’re not behaving as you normally would, your partner doesn’t truly get to know you. She may fall in love with a false version of you. This often leads her to a sense of feeling defrauded. And you’re left feeling as if your partner never truly knew you after all. 

In trying to be everything your partner wants, you’ll end up losing your sense of self.

Communicating one’s needs, expectations, and boundaries is key for building the foundation of any new relationship. 

You’re finishing up dessert on your third date, when your partner suggests a bar across town for a nightcap. You know you have an important meeting first thing in the morning, but you don’t want to upset him, so you say yes. Unfortunately, while you’re sharing a drink an hour later, the mood has shifted. Now, you’re in your head, stressed out about the morning, and constantly checking your phone. Your date studies you closely for some sign of what caused the flip after dinner, but ultimately he’s left clueless.

If you had set boundaries and explained why you needed to go home after dessert, you could have both ended the night on a high note, excited for your next date. 

Have you listened to bad dating advice in the past? It’s not too late to purge all that junk from your mind. Just remember, not all advice is good advice! When in doubt, ask your Matchmaker