Thanksgiving

Single Survivor Guide for Thanksgiving

Oh, Thanksgiving. The annual Fall feast of gratitude and gravy is right around the corner. As a kid, it used to be one of my favorite holidays—a long weekend off of school, watching football with my uncles, and the smell of mom’s warm pecan pie filling the kitchen air. 

Nowadays, however, this time of year can be a bit tricky, especially for singles. If you’re a perpetual Thanksgiving loner, this season can be downright depressing.

Find yourself dreading showing up dateless to this year’s festivities? Check out my four favorite tips for surviving this Thanksgiving as a singleton.

Prepare your answer: “Are You Seeing Anyone?”

If you’ve been alone for a hot minute, maybe you’ve experienced that brief moment of despair while looking into the mirror and thought to yourself: “Why am I still single?” 

Trust me, we’ve all been there. It’s hard wondering why you still haven’t found The One, but absolutely nothing compares to the searing sting that’s felt when someone else says it to you—especially a family member. 

So, how can you deal with those well-intentioned, yet, annoying questions and remarks you’re bound to hear from your family? Unfortunately, the answer is NOT to hit your great-aunt Bertha over the head with a Turkey wing. 

Before crafting the perfect response, it’s important to remember that your nosey loved ones probably mean well. 

Take their prying as thickly-veiled compliments, as they couldn’t imagine why someone as young, attractive, and fun as you could continue going solo. After all, they just want the best for you. 

It’s also entirely possible that their questions are just a way for them to stir up some small talk, trying to catch up with your life—“How’s work? Seen any good movies lately? Oh, by the way, where’s your date?”

No matter the motivation, questions about your love life are… uncomfortable, to say the least—especially if they’re always asked by the same few people or delivered in the form of some kind of recurring joke. 

Let your family know that, despite being single, you’re not depressed. In fact, you’re happy! If they sense that you’re enjoying life, they might slow down a bit with their concerned comments, allowing you to redirect the conversation towards more interesting aspects of your life. 

To show off your confidence, you can say:

“I’m having such a blast on my own right now. Did you hear about my last-minute trip to Mexico?”

“Maybe someday I’ll meet someone, but right now I’m rocking the single life!”

Feeling snarky? Here’s a few responses that turn the tables around and put that pesky prober in their place: 

“Yeah, I'm still single! I’m just not willing to settle like most people do.”

“Hmm. I’ve never thought about it, actually. Why did you get married?”

Host a Friendsgiving

The idea of confronting your rude relatives is still too much to handle? Maybe it’s time to skip the family feast and apt for a Friendsgiving instead. 

Whether it’s to flee from the family theatrics, or to enjoy a sense of community while far from home, this holiday alternative is a favorite for singles still in the mood to celebrate. 

Modern life has pulled millennials in all sorts of directions, and oftentimes, that means living alone and far from home. However, being a family-of-one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some family-style fun. 

Many singles find that their friends offer just as much comfort and support as their relatives, if not more. Hosting a Friendsgiving is a perfect opportunity to show your closest circle just how much they mean to you. 

Whether you’re an experienced entertainer or first-time friendsgiver, it’s best to plan ahead. Let your pals know ASAP so they can carve out the time for turkey. When it comes to decor, keep it simple. If you’re in the mood to splurge, focus on the food. 

Feel free to pick a culinary theme that’s totally untraditional (this is Friendsgiving, after all. Anything goes). Yet, keep in mind your guests’ preferences. All your friends are health nuts? Try plant-based versions of the holiday’s staple plates. Are they world-traveling, Insta-influencers? Prepare foods from around the globe and ask your friends to guess their origins. Those who choose correctly get to take home a goody bag of treats! 

While cooking can be a fun part of the evening’s preparation, it’s also a lot of work. No one will judge you if you opt for take-out, instead. This is a holiday for you, too. So, make sure you enjoy it. Friendsgiving can be just as fun by ordering in some Uber-Eats and watching reruns of The Office with your besties. 

Plan a Special Activity

If you’re new to a city or, for some other reason, find yourself single and alone on Thanksgiving—don’t worry. There are still tons of ways to make the fourth Thursday of the month worth remembering.  

Most people get the holiday off work so, I’ve got to ask: wanna get outta here? Whether a quick jet-set to Europe or exploring a neighboring town, a long weekend is just enough time to get your Eat, Pray, Love on. It might sound crazy, but why not? Traveling solo can be even more rewarding than going with friends. Plus, you never know what kind of cool and interesting people you might meet.

If traveling isn’t possible or just not your thing, why not sign up for a Turkey Trot? Most major cities host annual Thanksgiving runs with varying distances from 5k, 10k, and sometimes marathons. 

If you’re like me, Thanksgiving is synonymous with lounging on the couch in a cranberry sauce-stained sweater while watching the Macy’s Day Parade on TV—basically the antithesis of any sort of physical exertion. However, getting your buns out of bed early Thursday morning and heading off to the races might be just what the doctor ordered. 

A bit of exercise and fresh air can be even better for the soul than Grandma’s special stuffing. Even if you’re not athletically inclined, there is something undeniably wonderful about being part of a large group of people that are all running together towards a common goal. Talk about a sense of community!

For extra feel-goodness, try to find a race that supports a good cause, like Run to Feed the Hungry, for example, which raises funds and awareness about hunger in the community. With this marked on your calendar, you’ll look forward to the holiday with excitement, knowing that you’re doing something great for both yourself and others.

If beating the holiday blues with a runner’s high is simply not your thing, volunteering at a local charity center is an excellent way to spend the special day. 

Studies show that volunteer work is great for combating depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. There’s nothing like doing something special for others to put your own life in perspective. Research some local volunteer opportunities where you can donate your time or money for a good cause. By focusing on doing small acts of kindness, you will feel the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

Focus on the Positive

If you’re feeling lonely this Thanksgiving, remember: you’re not alone. The holidays can be hard, especially if you’re going through them without a partner by your side. At its core, Thanksgiving is about expressing our gratitude for the good in life and for those that we love the most. By focusing on the positive, you can do more than survive this Thanksgiving--you can enjoy it, too. 

At The Setup, we want to help you through all the challenges of single life. But, if you’re serious about finding that special someone, these tips are just a temporary fix. 

Ready for this Thanksgiving to be the last holiday you’ll attend alone? ‘Tis the season to make a change. To meet your special someone by Christmas, sign up today!


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!


Single Mom and son laughing while on basketball court

3 Tips for Dating As a Single Mom

Dating as a single mom is tricky enough without all the bad behavior we see online these days. As a single mom, you tend to consider the impact felt by your children before you even pause to think about your own feelings, but you deserve love and happiness too!

You should be as honest with your kids as possible when you’re ready to put yourself back out there since your decisions affect them directly. Even when you know instinctively you’re making the right move—they won’t always react the way you hope. So, do your best to prepare them for the coming changes so they don’t feel quite so off-kilter if and when they meet their future step-siblings. 

1. Manifest a Whole Family

Ron L. Dean, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, suggests you sketch out the silhouette of what your perfect family would look like. Don’t just manifest your dream date, go a little further. Imagine the ideal home you hope to create with this person.

Do you want more kids? Would your imaginary husband bring his own children into the relationship to create a blended family or is he flying solo? Is there a limit to the number of kids he has or the more the merrier? Are you open to having more children with him? How many?

Committing to this exercise will help you develop a blueprint in your mind. Keep in mind: this is only a guideline it will change overtime. This is meant to be a tool to help you discover what you want out of life, not to be used to get in your own way. 

Lillian and Clay each have a son and a daughter from previous marriages. When Lillian drew up her ideal family, she decided she only wanted one more child, if any. When she met Clay, her plan evolved to include both of his children, and she was happy to become a mom of four. But she quickly found out that even her evolved family didn’t mesh with Clay’s vision for the future. You see, Clay has his heart set on having five biological children.

If you do the quick math, that would mean Lillian would need to have three more kids with Clay. I would never reveal a lady’s age, but she’s tip-toeing the line of what would be considered a geriatric pregnancy. Not to mention: the gap between her original goal of 2-3 kids and Clay’s desire for 5-7. 

You know how they say sometimes love isn’t enough? If your dreams and your partner's dreams are in direct conflict with one another, and neither of you are willing to compromise—a breakup is imminent. 

2. Trust Your Intuition

This guy has to mesh into your entire life, and that means your kids’ lives too. If you sense something is off between him and your children, don’t ignore it. You should expect some growing pains as you transition a new person into your lives, but don’t dismiss real red flags. 

Listen to your gut.

Unless you have a pre-arranged agreement with their father, there is no set timeline for when you should introduce a romantic partner to your kids. Every relationship is different, and every child is unique. Only you can know when it’s the right time to bring them together.

It can be hard introducing friends and family but introducing children is always more difficult and can be hard for all parties concerned and very nerve wracking. It is also the most important decision you can make. Only introduce children if you are 100% sure that the new relationship is stable and serious enough to warrant the introduction. It can be very unsettling for children if they are introduced to many potential partners, the children should not be used as part of the vetting process. They should be the most important ones to consider when making the introduction and if they are not ready to meet the new partner, don’t push it. Always work at the child’s pace.”

-Genevieve Gresset, Master Certified Matchmaker & Relationship Expert

You don’t want to rush it and introduce every single first date you go on. A revolving door of strange men can feel confusing and scary for a little one, especially if they get attached to guys who don’t stick around. On the other hand, you don’t want to find yourself head over heels in love just to realize your kids hate the guy. You have to find the balance that works for your family.

One single mom suggests introducing male companions to the kids as a platonic friend. That way you can see how they engage and interact with him without being confused. If everyone gets along and things continue to progress, you can explain that you’ve decided to move out of the friend zone toward a more romantic relationship. 

3. Ditch the Single Mom Guilt

Take a deep, cleansing yoga breath.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Say this with me—I am a single mom, and I deserve happiness too. I’m allowed to feel sexy and take some time for myself. I’m going to treat myself to a new dress to wear on my setup.

Now pour yourself a glass of wine; you’ve earned it. 

"Kids need a healthy relationship role model. There’s pressure for moms to be born-again virgins, and sacrifice everything for their children. While this might sound noble, children learn a lot by observation, and it doesn’t teach kids what a good relationship—or dating life—looks like. I never wanted my kids to choose to stay home because they worried about me being lonely. It’s important that kids don't feel responsible for their mother’s social life. Plus, going out without kids on occasion gave me more patience with them when we were home together."

-Lara Lillibridge, Author of Mama, Mama, Only Mama: An Irreverent Guide for the Newly Single Parent—From Divorce and Dating to Cooking and Crafting, All While Raising the Kids and Maintaining Your Own Sanity (Sort Of)

According to Lara Lillibridge, dating as a single mom is similar to what dating was like as a teenager. You occasionally sneak out after everyone’s asleep, with a babysitter, of course. And you don’t want to be overheard on the phone, or caught canoodling on the couch.

If single mom guilt keeps you on homework duty in the evenings and you can’t bear to be away from them, consider utilizing the time you don’t have the kids more efficiently. Plan dates when they’re with their father, at practice, or sleeping over at a friend’s house. Schedule lunches throughout the week while they’re at school. Get creative with your time management and the kids will never miss you!


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 Driving with the Top Down - Put Yourself Out There

Are You Ready to Put Yourself Out There?

Before you decide to put yourself out there again, think about what it is that you are really seeking. And if you don’t know, maybe this will help you consider defining what you are looking for in the first place.

Chances are, you have tried to put yourself out there in one form or another. Maybe you tried a matchmaking service or posting an online profile. Perhaps, you ventured out in public with the intent to meet someone.

People can be nomadic, roaming from various forums to find someone to connect with on whatever the level they can. She may be quick to seek out a companion, but often less hasty to define why or what she truly wants.

Don't Put Yourself Out There for Just Anybody

For starters, if their dating profile says any iteration of the following—do yourself a favor and run.

I’m recently divorced, so I’m just seeing what’s out there. I’m not really sure what I want.

This is a red flag. If it’s your desire to find a lasting relationship, don’t waste your time on someone who is just playing the field.

It is easy to assume when someone openly discusses being single or talks about being lonely, that he or she in fact, wants a companion. But, that can mean different things to different people, so you need to define the context. 

Clarify expectations before you ever meet someone. This will go a long way in deciphering if it is even worth getting gussied up. Find out if they’re looking for a relationship or just a body to fill in the void of loneliness.

So many of us have been siloed because of the COVID Pandemic. What we’re craving now more than ever, is connectivity to one another. Unfortunately, this often causes people to act out with attention seeking behavior.

Attention Seeking Behavior

Desiring the attention of others is simply the need to be heard or validated by another. It’s an intrinsic Maslovian need all humans share. But just because someone displays attention seeking behavior, it does not necessarily mean they want a relationship.

As we slowly transition back to our semi-normal lives, a lot of people have blurred the lines between truly wanting a relationship and just seeking attention. We have all lived in a bubble lacking the simple interactions that we used to take for granted.

Interacting with someone at the post office or talking to the salesclerk at our favorite store, perhaps greeting the Principal as we dropped our kids off at school—all these routine communications helped with the balance sheet we all have that tracks our need for human interaction.

For many people, these tedious interactions fed our appetite for attention, even when we weren’t consciously processing them as such.

But living for the last year without those day-to-day errands or interactions in our lives, our inherent nature to be validated in even the smallest of ways has met a deficit. These interactions for many have become extinct, forcing our attention balance sheets into the red.

This has created an influx of daters on the scene with varying intentions. You don’t want to put yourself out there with individuals who have both clear and murky intentions.

A Relationship Won't Fix All Your Problems

Be sure to clarify their intent before meeting. Are they looking for attention or a relationship?

A relationship is presumed to include positive and affirming attention. Although successful relationships are built on attentivity to one’s partner, it should not be construed that every relationship has this successful pairing. Meaning, if you have a relationship, you will therefore reap attention from your partner.

In fact, marriages often fail because a partner feels disconnected, isolated, or alone. This leads to a breakdown in communication, and lack of such. Much of this is tied to simply not paying attention to one’s partner and validating him or her in a positive way.

Keep in mind no one puts themselves out there without having some reason in mind for doing so. Do not be fooled. Often singles will say they do not know what they want, but put themselves in the peripheral of others who are fully in touch with their desires.

Think about what motivated you to put yourself out there in the first place. Were you looking for true love or a bit of validation?

It is okay to be lonely, it is okay to want a relationship, it is okay to simply want the attention of another. Simply own it and say so. Put yourself out there and be honest about exactly what you want.

So, speak your truth, regardless of your intentions. Align yourself with a partner seeking the same as you. No one can fault you for being honest.


Couple on Date at Fair - Join the Setup

Why Should You Join The Setup?

Most people have never considered hiring a Matchmaker before; that’s okay! We understand that this is a complicated product that requires a time investment as much as a financial investment. That scares a lot of people away. Today I want to tell you why you should join The Setup!

But think of it this way, dating in any capacity requires time and effort to achieve any sense of success. If we’re being honest, that’s true for most things in life. 

What are your alternatives? Endless hours spent swiping on random profiles? Let your mom set you up again? Speed dating?

In actuality, when you join The Setup, we a lot of the work off your shoulders. We do all the behind-the-scenes work to curate your introductions. All you have to do is show up and be yourself.

In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell introduces the concept of Connectors.

“The point about Connectors is that by having a foot in so many different worlds, they have the effect of bringing them all together.”

Our Matchmakers are natural Connectors. They cross social circles to facilitate introductions among people who share mutual goals or values. 

Invest in the Important Things

“Why would I hire a Matchmaker? I’m perfectly capable of setting up my own dates.”

There are tons of online tax services out there, but people still hire accountants. It’s perfectly normal to consult a professional about something that could potentially alter your life. We’re dating experts. Our staff is specially trained and certified to help you find a compatible life partner. 

You can’t be great at everything all the time. Most of our clients kick ass in their careers and other areas, but struggle where their love lives are concerned. 

You know how right before you start a new fitness routine, you invest in new sneakers and workout clothes to get your mind in the right place? This helps you mentally commit to the new regimen.

Anyone can flippantly swipe through the apps with no real investment. But you know anyone we set you up with has been thoroughly interviewed and screened and invested as much into the process as you have. They’ve worked with their Matchmaker to plan out their goals and dream up their ideal partner, and somehow, you fit into that mold. 

When you join The Setup, you are saying that finding love is a priority in your life.

Ask Us the Awkward Questions

If you need help picking out an outfit for your date, or analyzing something they said over dessert, we’re here for that too!

Want to get out of your own way and overcome some deal-breakers?

Your friends and family mean well, but sometimes their advice sucks. Leave it to the professionals! Your Personal Dating Assistant (PDA) is available throughout the process to help make your dating experience as stress-free and successful as possible. 

Don’t forget we conduct background screens and in-depth interviews before taking on a new client, so we know who we’re setting you up with. #Nocreepsallowed So what are you waiting for? Ready to put your love life in the experts’ hands? Join The Setup today.


Man Lost in Thought - Declutter Your Mind

Declutter Your Mind & Clean Out Your Closets

Have you done your #springcleaning yet? It feels so nice to cleanse your closets of all the stuff you’ve kept for too long. When you clean out your space, it helps to also declutter your mind, and more importantly, purify your heart. 

Are you ready for a fresh start? As you’re Marie Kondo-ing your physical junk, be sure to inventory your emotional baggage as well. So often we hold onto things—memories and maybes, and what-ifs. Imagine how nice it will feel to let all of that go.

Declutter Your Mind & Your Space

Use this time to declutter your mind and focus on yourself. Travel more. Adopt that cat you’ve always wanted but your ex was allergic to. Apply for your dream job. Throw caution to the wind, but use this time to work on you. Start checking items off your bucket list.

Do not go out on a date just yet or go back to the well and start texting old flames. Don’t start downloading the apps or building a dating profile until you’ve finished your spring cleaning.

Stay away from any means that would put you out there looking for a partner. This will be a challenge, but you can do it. You need this separation in your life to build your own seasonal collection. You will never know what is tailored for you, what fits you best, if you do not focus on yourself first. Try you on for size.  

Clean Mind

We tend to hoard possessions until they become emotional weights we didn’t even realize we were carrying. This leaves less room in our lives for the essentials, the things that I call must-haves.

Every season, the fashion industry defines what the newest trends are. It's time for you to define yours, as it pertains to your most prized possession of all—your heart.

How Do You Eat an Elephant?

One bite at a time.

If the idea of taking on your physical and emotional baggage overwhelms you, then take it one task at a time. 

Small, manageable doses are key to tackling any problem. If we tried to inventory the magnitude of baggage we’ve collected over the years, locked away in our closets and our hearts, it would send the strongest of us into a tailspin.  

Make lists of the things you want to change; keep it very specific. Every day attempt to work on at least one thing on your list. You don’t have to give yourself hard deadlines. Take the whole weekend to clean out your bedroom closet if you need to. No one is there telling you how quickly you should work through your list.

Make a game out of it. Reward yourself after each small victory.

We all tend to place unachievable, unrealistic goals on ourselves and it leads to disappointment and disaster. If you focus on each attainable bite-sized task instead, you’ll see how quickly they add up to big life changes. 

Pure Heart

Do you make excuses to yourself? Maybe you tell yourself it's best to stay in an imbalanced relationship because all of the time you’ve invested. Or because it's easier to stay than to put yourself back out there and try to find someone or someone at your age? 

Stop. If you are in an unhappy relationship, pause, and write down the things you wish you could change.  

Have you addressed these issues with your partner? If not, start today.

It’s time to make tough decisions that may include throwing out some of your emotional baggage. Work on improving yourself. Do all of the things in your own life that you wish your partner did for you.

Can't Lose

Once you get to the point where your list is checked off, no matter how long it has taken you, it’s time to party. Try on and out this new version of you. Pop a bottle of champagne and celebrate.

Walk that runway with your heart clean and open to what is to come. You can not find a partner without first clearing out the junk. After you have put in the work to declutter your mind and clear out all the baggage that has held you down, you deserve it.

Your fairytale awaits, so get to cleaning out your closet. Rid your life of anything that holds you back from finding the one. Your person has been waiting on you. Never know what you will actually find when you clean out those closets!


Man & Woman Get Over their Deal-Breakers and Embrace Happily

How to Break Up With Your Deal-Breakers

Let’s talk about deal-breakers. We all have them.

Deal-breakers can mean different things to different people, so for the purpose of this article, let’s define them as criteria you use to disqualify a potential match before ever even meeting them.

We all have them, but they’re not all created equal, we’ll talk more about Boundaries and Barriers in a bit.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of dealbreakers (in no particular order) that I’ve heard consistently over the years. Some might seem silly to you, but they are quite serious to another person. 

  • Divorce
  • Career Type
  • Religion
  • Political Affiliation
  • Dietary Restrictions
  • Body Shape
  • Height
  • Zodiac Sign
  • Education Level
  • Smokers
  • Cat Owners
  • Children
  • Distance
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Virginity
  • Age

We once had a client refuse a date after learning his match was lactose intolerant. I know a woman who has a strict no Geminis policy. I could go on for days, but you catch my drift.

The first step to getting over some of your more trivial deal-breakers is to write out a list. Take some time to really mull this over and create a comprehensive list of all your must-haves for a potential match.

You’re the only person who will ever see this, so don’t be afraid or ashamed, just be honest.

It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small. Just add them all to the list. Don’t worry, we will whittle it down later. 

Boundaries & Barriers

Now, it’s time to separate your deal breakers into two categories.

Boundaries are good things; they keep us safe and allow us autonomy to rule over our own being.

Barriers on the other hand, get in our way and keep us from achieving our goals. They act as metaphorical roadblocks to our success.

For instance, rejecting a long distance relationship because you know you need Physical Touch and Quality Time to be happy—that is a Boundary. 

Excluding anyone who doesn’t reside within a 5-mile radius of your front door is a Barrier. You’re needlessly shrinking your pool of potential matches to a minute scale, making your Matchmaker’s job impossible.

Keep in mind, a lot of this depends on you and your situation as much as the other person. Let me give you a couple of examples.

I will not date anyone with a cat.

  • Boundary: if you have a severe allergy
  • Barrier: if you just prefer dogs

I will only date Catholics.

  • Boundary: if you’re a practicing Catholic
  • Barrier: if you haven’t been to mass since you were a child

I will not date someone who has children.

  • Boundary: if you don’t have or want kids
  • Barrier: if you have kids from a previous relationship

Now, I want you to reflect on your list. Organize each one into either the Boundary or Barrier column.

Breaking Up with Your Deal-Breakers

Next, I want you to rank your list of Boundaries in order of importance. Then, do the same with your Barriers.

Those Barriers are starting to seem a little less important now, huh? Some of them may even feel kind of dumb. That’s a good thing! That means getting over them is going to be easier than you thought.

Starting with the lowest-ranked Barrier, think through each of your deal-breakers. Go deep. Make another list of pros and cons for each if you need to. Ask yourself the following question:

If you met the single most gorgeous guy on the planet tomorrow, and he possessed a myriad of positive characteristics, would this one single thing eliminate him in your mind as boyfriend material?

If the answer is yes, then you’re not ready to let go of that deal-breaker just yet. That’s alright, some of us are just pickier than others. But it’s important that you know that about yourself and have patience with your Matchmaker. 

If the answer is no, or even maybe with a qualifier, then let’s see if we can work through it.

Is there an underlying reason for your deal-breakers? Try to get to the core of your desire for wanting or needing that specific trait in a partner.

Maybe it’s not that you have to date a Catholic, but just that you desire a partner of faith and a good moral compass. Perhaps you don’t necessarily need someone with a graduate degree, as long as they’re intelligent and ambitious. 

Your Matchmaker will be able to shed some light on your particular situation and teach you how to increase your scope of potential matches.


Masked Couple - COVID & the 5 Love Languages

COVID & The 5 Love Languages

The 5 Love Languages are:

  1. Words of Affirmation
  2. Gifts
  3. Acts of Service
  4. Quality Time
  5. Physical Touch

Today, we're going to take a look at all 5 Love Languages in the time of Corona, and how to express each of them in a safe and healthy way.

The 5 Love Languages is a theory, developed by Gary Chapman over 25 years ago. It states that everyone has a preference on how they like to give and receive love.

Over the last year, we have had to adapt and learn new ways to exist in a world where our interactions with other people are more limited and restricted than any other period in modern history. 

For single people, this has been particularly challenging. Humans are social animals. Isolation is unnatural and uncomfortable. Lucky for us, we have technology which provides safer alternatives to in-person physical contact. It’s not a perfect system, especially if you’re looking for love.

Words of Affirmation

Let’s start with an easy one, shall we?

It only takes a few seconds of your time to make someone else’s entire day. Compliment the people you care about. Send them a quick text that you’re thinking of them. When they say or do something that makes you happy, tell them so. 

The good news is that a global pandemic doesn’t hinder our ability to speak this love language. Whether it’s a Zoom call or a carrier pigeon, it’s important that you make an effort to express your feelings, especially if Words of Affirmation is one of your partner’s primary Love Languages. 

Gifts

Luckily, we live in an age where you can have pretty much any good or service delivered to your door quickly and safely. We have options, it’s not just orchids or roses anymore, fellas. So, this is another Love Language that hasn’t been hit too terribly hard by COVID-19.

Gifts need not be expensive or extravagant. Of course, they can be, but the point is to fill your partner’s love tank, not shower her with diamonds. In a world where restaurants and bars are closed, use small tokens and gifts to fill the void caused by the Coronavirus. 

Acts of Service

This is where things start to get a little more difficult. Social distancing makes doing the small everyday acts of kindness tougher. This is the best Love Language for creativity and thinking outside the box, though.

Try to anticipate and alleviate your partner’s pain points to the best of your ability. What is causing him stress at this moment in his life? Is there anything you can do to lessen or eliminate that burden?

Quality Time

I’ve seen a trend online where couples are complaining about having too much Quality Time while they’re on lockdown together. 

So, what I want to do is look at the opposite. Single adults who live alone are experiencing the worst of this, in my very humble opinion. 

If you don’t have children who live at home, there’s a good chance you’ve spent a significant portion of the last year in complete isolation. I know I have.

How can you spend Quality Time with someone when you’re not allowed to be around them?

Find new ways to do and experience things together. Even if you can’t be in one another’s space, there are safe, socially distant, outdoor activities you can do together.

A lot of places like museums and zoos have added features to their websites where you can do virtual tours and watch live feeds. It’s not the same as being there in-person holding hands, but it’s the next best thing.

Keep in mind, the objective is Quality Time, not necessarily quantity. Your goal is to show her spending time with her and learning more about her is important to you even though it’s not easy to do right now. Women want to see you put in an effort especially when there are barriers to overcome. 

FaceTime is your friend. I know the last thing you want to do between back-to-back Zoom meetings is more video calls, but being able to see one another right now is so important. Calls and texts only go so far.

Physical Touch

If Physical Touch is your Love Language, I feel for you in this pandemic. I wish I could give you hug!

I know my poor cat pretty much runs and hides when he hears the word snuggle these days. 

“Make sure you are taking time to connect physically with your loved ones. Give a shoulder rub. Cozy up as you read a book. Just be mindful to break from the digital routine for some good, old fashioned connection via Physical Touch.” - Gary Chapman

The nation’s top epidemiologists recommend wearing a mask when interacting with anyone outside of your household, this includes during intercourse. So kissing is on hold.

Get creative. One family built a Hug Glove out of clear plastic with sleeves.

We need to touch and we need to be touched. Depriving oneself of human contact can lead to a decline in both physical and mental health.

It’s important that you really take the time to weigh the pros and cons and do a risk assessment before partaking in physical intimacy with another person during this time.

I encourage you to lean on Words of Affirmation, Gifts, and Acts of Service during this time. If you’re unable to see one another in person safely, make sure you’re filling each other’s love tanks in other ways, lest the spark die out. If you’re struggling to learn what your primary Love Languages are, you can take the quiz here to find out.


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.