Published in the Santa Monica Mirror Newspaper Oct. 3, 2013
Hi Anthea, I enjoyed reading your last article about online dating. I’ve been curious about speed dating. Do you have any words of wisdom? - Thomas, 29
That’s great that you are curious about trying speed dating. Successful online entrepreneur and speed dating maverick Anoush Stevenson is the owner of SpeedLA Date. She has been bringing together singles searching for love for almost a decade. Check out my interview with Anoush where she answers your most burning speed dating questions!
How did you get involved in the speed dating industry? Why were you interested in this business?
I organized successful events back home in London. In 2007, I noticed that speed dating in the U.S. tended to be more about function rather than a fun night out, set in coffee shops and less-than-chic restaurants. I wanted to bring a new way to meet others. We did away with name-tags, whistles, and over-the-top party trimmings while offering the hottest spots in town to meet others. Add in lovely British hosts, complimentary appetizers for the guests, lovely touch ups for the ladies by a certified make-up artist and you have a lovely event that attracts singles that others want to meet all tied together in a UK bow. Now in 18 cities across the US and Canada – the fun hasn’t stopped!
Can you describe a speed dating event for those who have never experienced it?
Our events tend to be a bit more relaxed, restrained, and sophisticated than your typical speed dating event. The ladies sit for the duration of the evening, while the lads move from lovely lady to lovely lady every six to seven minutes.
As we don’t use whistles – our hosts gently tap the lads on the shoulder to let them know it is time to move on. Dates write down whom they fancy and if they have a match – they get notified the next day with details.
What would be the benefit of speed dating verses traditional ways of meeting people, say going out to a bar with friends?
With such busy lifestyles, speed dating is a highly efficient way to meet the most amount of people in the shortest amount of time. With us, you can combine elements of trying out the local hot spot with friends while you meet others just like you.
Is speed dating different from online dating?
We’re fans of anything that gets us connecting with each other. With speed dating, you do away with the wonder of what they’re really like. Feeling a connection in person can’t be substituted.
What are some tips for someone who is new to speed dating?
Think of it as a lovely night out and be yourself. Don’t fret about what to ask or what to say – let it happen.
What are some things to avoid doing at a speed dating event?
Treating the dates like job interviews and jumping on the tables in excitement. Both are frowned upon.
Published in the Santa Monica Mirror Newspaper Sept. 18, 2013
Dear Anthea, I’ve been single for a while and I really want to try online dating. Do you have any advice? – Amanda, 28
Good for you that you want to take the adventurous step of trying online dating! I know at first it can be a bit out of your comfort zone to try something new.
The first question I have for you is do you believe online dating ‘works’? What I mean is do you have personal friends in great relationships or marriages who have met through online dating? Or is there some part of you that is somewhat cynical and suspicious of the process? Because your answer to these questions will greatly affect your experience.
USA Today reports that one third of marriages started through online dating.
If you don’t personally have friends who met online, then try to seek out examples of colleagues, or friends of friends who have met online.
You need to have a real world example, and a strong belief that this process will be beneficial and effective.
If you don’t believe it will work, then there is no point in trying.
Here are some tips to become an online dating rock star!
Choose The Right Photo
The photo is especially important for women as men can’t help but initially be attracted visually. Make sure to upload the most flattering photo of yourself as possible. Take it on a day when you look and feel your best. Make sure to be looking into the camera and smiling, no hats or sunglasses, and no other people in the photos with you. Add two to three more photos, one of you how you would look on a date, another casual, another full body. No bikini or sexy pics please!
Keep It Simple
Keep your profile short, sweet, and to the point. Stay away from being overly negative or complaining about dating or men. Describe yourself without using lists of adjectives. Speak in feeling centered talk, connect with your emotions. For instance ‘I love the adventurous feeling I get when exploring a new city’ is much more engaging than ‘I like to travel.’
Respond, Don’t Hunt
Are you the type of girl who walks up to a guy in public and asks him out? If not then don’t become the hunter online. Assuming you want a masculine type of guy. Men don’t need your help in reminding them to ask you out. Responding to guys who are contacting you is a good way to stay centered in your feminine, and to make sure they are interested enough to put forth the effort. It’s okay to ‘wink’ or ‘favorite’ or ‘like’, this is similar to smiling at a guy you’re attracted to in real life.
Just Say Yes
Start routinely saying yes to the top one to three offers you have per week. Offers for a phone conversation, offers for a date. Anything to begin moving away from the online chatting and starting a real life relationship. Remember it’s just practice. Saying yes to your best offers will get you out in the world to practice your dating skills.
Too many people think online dating is ‘different’ from dating in the real world. It’s just a vehicle to meet a new person. After you have connected with someone you’re interested, please treat them like a normal human being and not an online dating monster from outer space.
Know Your Dating Style
Decide what types of dates you’re most comfortable in. Are you a casual drinks or coffee type of girl, or is an intimate dinner date preferred for you? Everyone is different. Just know what you are comfortable with and that you don’t have to accept dates you wouldn’t enjoy. I have friends who hate dinner dates but love unusual dates such as meeting up for a bike ride or spinning class.
This is a process, it could take many online dates before you meet someone you’re interested in. Part of what makes online dating so great is the sheer volume of available people, and that’s also what makes it so daunting. There are moments in the dating process when you may feel discouraged or depressed. Keep your expectations of the dates low so you don’t get burnt out. Like mentioned before this is good practice. Aim to have an enjoyable time with a new person, not to size him up to find out if he’s your future husband.
Even after you’ve met a great guy and had one or two fun dates, it may not turn into a relationship. Keep your profile up and continue to accept your best offers weekly so you don’t accidentally give exclusivity away without being asked to.
Now you’re ready to go out there and practice your dating skills! What are you waiting for?
Published in the Santa Monica Mirror Newspaper Aug. 21, 2013
Dear Anthea, I’m looking to settle down and get married, but I never seem to meet the right guy! What questions should I be asking on first dates to figure out if he could be the one for me? I don’t want to scare a potential great guy off if I’m too forward about marriage too soon, but I don’t want to waste time if he’s just after a fling. – Maria, 30
What a terrific question! It’s one I hear often from women looking for more than a casual hookup.
Asking questions to help you ‘figure out’ if someone is the one is futile. It’s more about observing their behavior over time. There are no shortcuts. Most of us have public personas and are on our best behavior when dating. It takes many months of spending time together to even scratch the surface of beginning to get to know someone. You need to see a person in a variety of stressful situations, so you can learn more about their character. Just know the process will take time and energy on your part.
Having said that, there are definitely some basics to address during the early stages of dating.
You mentioned you want to get married. Does that mean within the next few years, or sometime in the distant future? Does that include having children? It’s good to be as specific as possible with your dating intention so that men who don’t want anything similar won’t waste your time. You don’t necessarily have to say all this info on the first date, but if you are meeting guys through online dating, it would be a good idea to put it on your profile.
It’s a good sign when your date asks you what you’re looking for. A man who is looking for something serious will want to know your dating intentions to make sure it matches with his. Conversely, their lack of inquisitiveness about what you want for the future is a sign that they are only interested in something causal. Feel free to ask your dates this great question as well. Don’t be shy or embarrassed about wanting to know their dating intentions.
Does he try to rush the intimacy factor without taking the time to get to know you? Let him know you like him and are attracted to him, you’re just not ready to rush into anything without getting to know each other better. If he bolts, it’s a sign that he’s not willing to put the effort into anything serious.
In addition to being clear about your own dating intentions, it’s important for you to know your most important core values. Watching their behaviors will tell you a lot about their values. Do they call when they say they will, or are they always breaking plans? Are they close with their family, or more interested in drinking and partying?
Sometimes women sweep the bad behavior under the rug in an effort to be more accommodating. Consistent and reliable behavior is what you should be looking for. You want their values to match with yours.
Even if you have shared values and long-term goals, this does not mean that you are in an instant relationship. You are still at the very early phases, so you need to keep it casual as you continue to get to know each other.
Sometimes, when we are very excited about someone we like, we can end up doing many things to sabotage or rush the relationship. This is what scares a guy off. Check out my article on Commitment Confusion.
Finally, it’s good to get very clear on the reason you want to get married.
It’s important to know that a relationship is never a place to get something; it’s a place to give love and share life experiences.
Some people enter into relationships to fill a feeling of emptiness. This can come off as needy and will repel the guys you like.
Make sure you are happy in your own life first and you will be more attractive to the guys you’re interested in. Also knowing all of your special gifts you have to give in a relationship will help you better evaluate if a man is right for you.
Evaluation and observation over time are the keys to finding the right one for you.
We all like volunteering. But who here has ever felt low energy tired stuck, blocked, or even depressed in our own lives? Who here would like to live life as a shining example in order to uplift all of humanity?
I want to propose a solution that some might say is selfish.
You are the most important person in your life to give help to. If you don’t take care of your own health and well being, then how can you help other people?
Most of us at sometime or another would like to loose a few pounds. But the answer to total well being isn’t always found in a salad
The culprit to our low energy, poor moods and dissatisfaction with life is not found in an isolated area such as food or nutrition.
We all know to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and eat less processed food and sugar. But more information is not the solution. There is enough easily found in the world or on the Internet about what to eat and what not to eat, and nothing is changing.
So…… Why don’t we just do it already?
The answer: We are not choosing to. We are not choosing to love our selves and therefore not choosing to love other people or the world.
Our self love is the key to our health.
When you love yourself you would not and could not let your self be treated that way. You would not raid the fridge at 3am, you would not eat that second piece of cake, you would not polish off that bottle of wine because it is ultimately hurting you.
So what’s one way we can love ourselves more? Right now?
Look around you: Relationships. the answer is other people. How you treat other people is a reflection of how much you love and respect your self.
‘What’s my life purpose’ is a question I hear a lot. Ask yourself. Am I living and fulfilling my life’s purpose? Just to clarify a ‘job’ is not the same as a life purpose. An accomplishment is not the same as a life purpose. Perhaps your life’s purpose is to joyfully uplift the world through your ever expanding loving heart and interactions with people, but your job is an accountant. Who’s to say you can’t uplift others while being an accountant?Or perhaps the way you uplift others is through your volunteer work thereby living your life’s purpose?
Don’t let your job stop you from your life’s purpose.
Spiritual Practice: How do you connect with a force greater to your own self? Yoga, meditation, gardening, writing, singing, being around children? Perhaps it’s a more traditional path such as religion. For each person it will be a personal and private choice. Remember you can’t get this wrong!
Exercise: Being sedentary will ruin your health. You must move your body. But if its not fun to you then you won’t do it. Take a salsa class or get out in nature and go hiking. Body movement releases endorphins and raises your happiness. Fact.