Dating Tips

Distant Partner? 5 Steps to Reconnect & Get Back on Track

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Often, when a woman feels a distance manifesting between her and her partner, instinct can easily take over leading to the beginning of a “pursuit.” Often times this means one partner begins literally following and remaining close to the other. Suddenly every moment must be spent together, every thing must be discussed at length and every argument – even the most minor and typically insignificant – is amplified. Dear friend, this is called a reactive response. What’s more is that this kind of response can wind up causing further damage, and creating further distance. That’s why I want to talk with you about shifting from reactivity to proactivity and seeing distance differently. Because, believe it or not, a relationship funk, or rut, can be an incredible opportunity for growth. Keep reading to learn how to clear the fog between you and your partner, reconnect and get back on track together.

1. Commit to Fostering the Solution Instead of Making a Diagnosis

When one partner feels as though the other seems distant or uninterested, the first question that pops into her mind tends to be, “Why?” This question is closely followed by, “What did I do?” I am challenging you to let those questions go. There are many reasons why someone may seem quieter, more distant or less engaged. He could be stressed, under a lot of pressure at the office, he may be feeling sad about something completely unrelated to your relationship or just having an “off” week. It happens to all of us, but it’s a whole lot easier to recognize when it’s happening to someone else.

What I’m asking you to do is to commit to creating a solution to the problem instead of pursuing a diagnosis. While it’s absolutely important to understand the why behind someone’s actions or words, it’s not going to help you or your relationship to overanalyze every moment, invite criticism to the party, or hunt down one specific answer. Instead, channel your loving energy into giving your partner the support and attention he needs to get back to his usual, amazing self.

2. Be the Change You Want to See

You may be surprised to know just how much you and your partner feed off of one another. Your individual view of the world, approach to relationships, speaking style and mood greatly impacts those of your partner. Sometimes it can impact your partner in the way that you wind up sharing many of these habits and behaviours. When it comes to reconnecting with your partner and truly getting your day-to-day back on track, it’s important that you be the change that you want to see.

Take time to appreciate the micro moments that happen in your relationship. While a spontaneous weekend getaway may be fun and exciting, it’s the more “mundane” moments of everyday life that build and shape your partnership. Turn towards him when he speaks, practice active listening and show your authentic appreciation for his opinions, actions and love. Actively nurturing your relationship will inspire him to do the same. And, when he makes a bid for connection – such as sending you a mid-day text or giving you a kiss goodbye – take pause and allow yourself to be fully present.

3. Be Present, But Respect his Needs for Space

Like I mentioned, your immediate reaction may be to eliminate any and all space between the two of you. Instead of taking this approach, I urge you to be present and attentive while still respecting his need for space. Your partner is a unique human being with individual interests and the need for “me” time just like anyone else. There is a difference, however, between an hour spent playing video games or reading a book and days on end of physical and/or emotional separation.

Consider letting him know that you’ve noticed how busy you have both been lately and would love to spend more time together. Be honest and upfront, but avoid coming across as accusatory. Make a commitment to spend tomorrow evening together, even if it’s just cooking dinner and watching a movie at home. When tomorrow comes, ensure that you remain in the moment and present by removing distractions. If you have children, consider setting up a play date so you have the house to yourself. Leave your mobile phone on silent or, even better, place it in another room. When you’re on the couch watching the movie, leave your laptop put away and stay focused on enjoying the here and now.

4. Embrace Mindfulness

I cannot emphasize enough the importance or power of mindfulness. An incredibly effective practice in your individual life, the positive impact of mindfulness is limitless when it comes to relationships. I’ve written on the topic several times recently and strongly encourage you to explore those posts here. You will be amazed at the transformation that practicing a higher level of self-awareness, empathy and deep understanding can lead to.

A key aspect of bringing mindfulness to your relationship is committing to continuously growing not only your partnership but also your understanding of one another as individuals. The journey of getting to know each other doesn’t end when you move in with each other, say “I do” or even welcome your first child. Quite the opposite, this journey is a lifelong one. As you both evolve and grow as individuals, there will always be something new to discover. I encourage you to see this fact as a never-ending adventure packed full of excitement, opportunity and fulfillment.

5. Be Willing to Step Outside your Comfort Zone

Last but most definitely not least, I ask that you be willing to step outside your comfort zone. It can be all too easy to allow regular routine to take hold, and it’s so important to remember that what got you here isn’t necessarily going to move you forward. Engage as a partner and spend time exploring not only your shared passions or hobbies, but also those that your partner holds dear. Is he into car racing, but you can’t imagine waking up at 4AM to catch the European coverage? You guessed it; you may want to consider setting an alarm and spending that time together. Showing your support for your partner’s individual passions, and that his happiness leads to your happiness, can be a truly bonding experience. No you don't have to buy the T-shirt and become an insta-fan but being open to the reasons why he is passionate about different things/activities is great for bonding.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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5 Ways to Remain Mindful in Online Dating

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I know what you must be thinking. “Mindfulness and online dating? Is it even possible that the two concepts can exist together?” Well, my friend, like any other thing, it’s all in the way you approach it. If you’re considering online dating, or are already doing it, it is possible to both remain mindful and use online dating to find a great date or relationship. Let’s explore how. 1. Interact Authentically

I’ve written before about how to create an attractive, authentic online dating profile. If you haven’t already read the post, I definitely encourage you to do so by clicking here. When it comes to interacting with other users, try to do so with a certain level of self-awareness, intentionality and openness. To be mindful in your online dating journey, it’s important to understand the difference between being authentically friendly and falsely familiar.

2. Explore with Purpose

Instead of browsing profiles aimlessly, whether it is to pass the time or otherwise, I urge you to be purposeful each time you open the app or log onto the site. Setting the intention to explore only the profiles that really match what you’re looking for, and thinking twice about who you “like” or who you message, will help keep you on your true path to finding the right partner.

3. Limit Your Screen Time

We’ve all heard that spending too much time on social media can be detrimental to a person’s self-esteem, self-worth and overall life experience. The same can be said about dating apps and sites, especially as they become more and more popular with more profiles than ever before to flip through. Consider limiting your “screen time” each day to ensure you remain purposeful in your exploration and avoid “app addiction.”

4. Release Feelings of Rejection

When you see a profile that interest you and you send a like or shoot them a message, it’s natural to feel a sort of rush. There’s an exciting anticipation in waiting for a reply from someone you think you might be attracted to, but it’s important to remember to not become too invested this early on. I encourage you to not take any lack of reply as something personal. Don’t allow yourself to feel rejected, because you genuinely haven’t been. And, when you do take a conversation offline and meet for a date, try not to set expectations. Every experience offers the opportunity for learning and reflection.

5. Reflect Regularly & Honestly

Pausing every once in a while to check in with yourself and really evaluate where you’re at and where you want to go is crucial to living your truest, most authentic life. It’s also an incredibly effort when it comes to online dating. It can be easy to become passive and settle into a routine of logging on, checking profiles, sending a few messages and calling it a day. Remember to take time to reflect on the results you’re seeing (or not seeing), what’s working and what’s not. Be honest with yourself without being critical and commit to taking the steps you need in order to be successful in your journey.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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6 "Single" Stereotypes That Got it Wrong

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If you’re single, there’s a good chance that your couple friends and family can sometimes find it hard to relate to you. Perhaps they’ve offered to set you up with someone they know, made a comment or asked a question that made you feel awkward, or regularly check in to ask if you’re “still single.” This is because your friends and family, like many people within our relationship-focused culture, have grown to believe certain stereotypes over time. Sure, there may be downsides to being single, but there are a whole lot of upsides too. This post talks about exactly what – the six stereotypes about being single that got it totally wrong. 1. It’s So Hard Cooking for One

Cooking for yourself, and just yourself, can be incredibly enjoyable. This is your chance to be adventurous, explore different cuisines and never have to compromise on the menu. Love pineapple and olives on your pizza? Do your thing. It’s 100% up to you! Plus, with so many cook-at-home subscriptions and grocers offering options that cater to those seeking smaller portions than the traditional four-person household, it can not only be enjoyable but affordable as well.

2. You Can’t Enjoy Traveling

There’s no denying that traveling on your own is different from traveling with a partner, but that doesn’t mean it’s not just as exciting or fulfilling. In fact, traveling on your own can be the most rewarding experience of your life if you approach it with the right mindset. Take the opportunity to go somewhere you’ve always wanted to, step outside your comfort zone and make lasting friendships and memories. Not only that, but you’re gaining life experience and amazing stories to share with your future partner.

3. You’re a Workaholic

Being single doesn’t equate to being a workaholic or lacking in life balance. Actually, it’s pretty likely that you have a more balanced life and greater time for your passions than many couples do. You set your own schedule, only have yourself to answer to and have the complete ability to do what you want. Want to pour yourself into your career and land your dream promotion? Want to commit to living a mindful life and take off on a yoga treat in Bali? Want to live a totally balanced life that allows for rewarding work and personal time? It’s your call and no one else’s.

4. You Just Don’t Know What You Want

There’s a preconceived notion that a single person may be single because he or she doesn’t know what they want, or because they are being “too picky.” There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting the bar high and refusing to settle – and this can be difficult for those in a relationship to understand at times, as often sometimes people define success in life by finding a partner, getting married and having children. Remind yourself that it’s not that you don’t know what you want. In fact, it’s just the opposite. You want to live your fullest life, find the right partner and do it in a way that makes you happy.

5. Happy Couples Annoy You

Just because you’re single doesn’t automatically mean that you dislike happy couples or no longer want to hang out with your “couple friends.” Sure, feeling like the third wheel can be a little challenging at times, but you are a mindful adult capable of determining whether or not you like someone based on their individual actions. You see a couple as two equal partners, not as a single being. Some people in relationships may rub you the wrong way, but it’s not because of the fact that they’re in a relationship. You don’t breathe life into stereotypes.

6. You Must Be So Lonely

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’ve never felt so lonely than when standing in a room full of people?” You see, anyone is capable of experiencing a sense of loneliness. Those in relationships still do experience loneliness from time to time, sometimes more emotional than physical, but still just as valid. And, being single doesn’t mean that you’re sitting at home by yourself. Many of my single clients take full advantage of their autonomy by trying new restaurants, spending more time with friends, following a passion or hobby they’ve put off and by filling their time with the people and things they love.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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Making a Great First Impression: How to Capture His Interest

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  During a recent seminar, I was asked a question that I’ve heard many times before from clients. The female guest asked, “How soon does a man know he’s interested?” And, you know what? It got me thinking. We often talk about how to approach the first date or how to know when it’s time to take the next step in a relationship, but something I’d like to focus on today is the importance, and impact, of the first impression. Because, dear friend, for better of for worse, on both a subconscious and conscious level, it takes far less time than you might think.

Psychologists have long studied the inner workings of first impressions, and have said that the average length of time it takes for a person to form a first impression is seven seconds. As you may have guessed, this tends to be how long it takes a man to know – at least initially – if he’s interested in a woman. Men, as you know, more than women, are visually motivated beings. It's hard-wired in their DNA. How a woman looks, how she’s dressed, how she carries herself and walks, even the sound of her voice – these are all things that men immediately notice and are drivers of attraction.

While there are absolutely other stages in a man deciding if he’s really interested in a woman, and if he’s interested in a relationship, this post’s going to focus on the very first encounterLet’s talk about how to make the most of a first impression and making sure those first seven seconds showcase your best, most authentic self. AND, keep in mind; I know it takes two to tango, so I am going to assume you are interested in him too. :)

I've purposely kept these bits of advice simple and to the point. The reason is I want them to work as Reminders. Sometimes we forget them and try to make things super complicated. So here goes...

1. Engage, Engage, Engage

When a handsome guy looks your way or a friend first introduces you to him, you’re faced with a decision. You’re probably familiar with the idea of “fight or flight,” right? Well, the same sort of thing happens when you meet someone new of the opposite sex. Your eyes meet his, you start to feel a little it nervous, and your mind (and body) quickly decide whether to engage or throw the walls up.

The next time you meet someone who piques your interest, be mindful of the two options in front of you. No matter how nervous or hesitant you might feel, I encourage you to take a deep breath, remain in the present and engage. It’s impossible to make an authentic first impression if you’re not present, and there’s no surer way to waste those precious first seven seconds than to block a new connection with security walls.

Let’s pretend you’re in line at your go-to coffee shop and the cute guy behind you flashes you a smile. He’s alone, has clearly noticed you and now you have a decision to make – do you grab your coffee and head towards the door or lean in and see where the moment takes you? You lean in, of course. You engage. Give him a big smile back, give him a friendly hello and if you are feeling open, simply ask him how his day is going. It might seem a little awkward at first, but the more you practice mindfully engaging the easier it will become. You are not asking him on a date or to exchange vows, you're just asking him how his day is going!

2. Be Mindful of Your Body Language

Let’s pretend you’re somewhere unfamiliar and need to ask directions from a stranger. You quickly scan the sidewalk around you and notice you have several people to choose from. How do you decide whom to walk up to? How do you know who will be most likely to stop and help you out? It all comes down to body language. We are naturally and emotionally conditioned to read and interpret the body language of those around us – sometimes it’s an intentional act of noticing and other times it’s more subconscious.

When meeting someone for the first time, or when someone’s making the decision of whether or not to approach you, your body language speaks volumes. If your arms or crossed, your hands are square on your hips or your face is buried in your phone, you’re sending an intense signal to “stay away.” On the other hand, if your body is relaxed, legs standing hip-width part, arms relaxed and head held high, you’re perceived as approachable and inviting. Be aware of how you hold your body and make subtle shifts to send the right message!

Now, let’s say that you’re having a conversation with a guy you’re interested in, maybe you’re sitting at the local pub or next to each other on the subway. Avoid crossing your arms, no matter how comfortable it might feel. Lean in and turn your body towards him. These subtle acts show that you’re fully engaged in the moment, receptive to what he has to say and will leave a positive impression in his mind. It’s often said that actions speak louder than words and, when it comes to the science of body language, it couldn’t be truer.

3. Disarm Him With Authenticity

In a world filled with high expectations, superficialities and constant competition, nothing is quite as attractive as authenticity. By now you know that I often work with my clients to build lives, and relationships, that are as genuine and authentic as possible. I, like many others, truly believe that you cannot experience a truly fulfilling life – or love – without first becoming your most authentic self.

And you know what? Authenticity is ridiculously attractive. Men love real women. A man loves a woman’s real body, real mind and real heart. From the first moment you meet a man, embrace your authentic self and allow your real self to shine.

Let’s pretend that you’re having the worst day ever and nothing seems to be going right. That is, of course, until you run into the new guy in the neighbourhood who’s caught your eye a couple times before. Maybe your hair has a mind of its own on this day or you’re running errands in sweats because your dryer’s on the fritz. So what? This guy – let’s call him Joel – is walking right up to you and this is your chance to finally meet him. When he asks how your day’s going, be honest! It’s OK to admit that you’re having one hell of a day, and that bumping into him as brightened your day. You don’t need to run and hide or, worse, pretend that everything’s completely perfect. I promise you that he’ll appreciate your honesty and flattered that he’s caught your eye.

4. Ask Him a Question. Seriously.

Anyone can give a compliment when meeting someone new, and while this is a great first step to get yourself comfortable with striking up conversations, there’s actually something even better you can do to make a lasting first impression. When meeting someone new, take note of your surroundings and of him. What’s he wearing? What’s he drinking? What’s he doing? Quickly taking inventory of all the topics at your disposal will help you start a conversation that is anything but generic.

When your first encounter goes from a simple “Hi, how are you?” to “I love your t-shirt, did you ever catch them live?” you immediately form a personal connection and open the door for real conversation. Asking a question, particularly about something that maybe other people don’t notice, will show him that you really do pay attention and are genuinely interested in learning more about him.

Plus, we all know that people tend to enjoy talking about themselves. When a man is interested in a woman, it’s his natural instinct to impress her. Asking a question and allowing him to entertain you with a response gives him a chance to do both of the above – talk about himself in a way that doesn’t come across as bragging and even potentially impress you with his answer.

5. Embrace a Certain Sense of Mystery

You’ve heard of “playing hard to get” and “leaving him wanting more,” right? While certainly these concepts can be taken to the extreme, to the point where they wind up backfiring, there is power in practicing a certain level of mystery. Men are programmed at a genetic level to “chase” and, believe it or not, enjoy the thrill of vying for a woman’s attention and the opportunity to learn more about her.

When getting to know somebody new, there’s no need to put it all on the table straight away. In fact, leaving a little bit to the imagination and keeping him wanting to know more about you can be incredibly effective in nabbing his interest. You can do this in the way that you dress, how you answer his questions in a very authentic way and even how you end your first encounter. Men are intrigued by the exciting and interesting things is going on in your life and "fitting him in" between work and other plans – just enough time to grab a drink and catch up until next time is a good thing. The only mistake I sometimes see women making here is they talk a lot about how crazy busy they are and how they don't have time for anything. Men are really only interested in when you are available, not the mountain of times you aren't.

A (somewhat) mysterious woman can be captivating, intriguing and very, very sexy to a man. The key is to not create a false persona, but to remain your authentic self and simply allow him to crave seeing you again and getting to know you better. Have fun with dating and getting to know someone. Sometimes we forget this!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
Click Here to Get Your FREE DATE COACH STARTER KIT!

5 Tips for Crafting the Most Attractive Online Dating Profile Possible

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When it comes to finding love in the world of online dating, there’s no magic potion or scientific equation to make it happen. But, with more than a third of today’s relationships starting online, there are certain things that have proven to increase your odds. To help find your ideal relationship, I want to talk to you about how to build the most attractive online dating profile possible so you can start connecting with more of the right guys now, no matter which online dating site or app you’re using. Let’s dig in!

1. Build a Great Gallery

When curating your photo gallery, keep in mind these two things: A picture speaks a thousand words, and men are very visual beings. Select a handful of photos that truly exemplify who you are and what you’re all about. Opt for action shots over selfies, and make sure you put your best foot – or, in this case, face – forward. That means smile! Your profile picture and gallery are what will catch a man’s eye and pique his interest in learning more about you.

2. Embrace Positivity & Authenticity

Like attracts like, so always remember to stay positive when writing your profile. Rather than listing what you’re not looking for in your next relationship, focus on the things you love and what you are seeking. And be honest! If you’re not looking for a serious relationship, don’t be afraid to say so. But, if you are looking for something long-term, don’t pretend you’re open to something more casual if you’re really not.

3. Keep it Short & Sweet

We just discussed how a picture is worth a thousand words, right? So, it’s probably no surprise that I would encourage you to keep your “About Me” short and sweet. When it comes to your bio, it’s about quality rather than quantity. Introduce yourself, tell the reader what makes you tick, but don’t feel as though you need to tell your entire life story or type until you hit the character limit. Write with your goal in mind – to show off your personality, pique a potential match’s interest and start a conversation.

4. Be Your Original Self

One of the benefits, and drawbacks, of online dating is the ability to filter and control what information you share, and what information you don’t. Anonymity can be an incredibly empowering thing, but remember that your ultimate objective is to start a conversation online so you can build a relationship offline. Let your authentic, original self shine in both your photos and your words. Never use language you wouldn’t actually use in real life and definitely don’t feel as though you need to create a “sexier” or “more interesting” persona in order to get messages. You are already amazing. All you’ve got to do is showcase it.

5. Spellcheck

Friend, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve heard a client speak about an online profile they found attractive only to stumble across spelling and grammatical errors and be totally turned off. We’re all human, we all make mistakes and – quite honestly – typos happen to the best of us. Luckily, there’s this little thing called “Spellcheck” that I absolutely, 100%, completely recommend you use before you push your online dating profile live. Certain personalities tend to find spelling mistakes more distracting than others, but it’s a good rule of thumb to avoid ‘em whenever possible.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
Click Here to Get Your FREE DATE COACH STARTER KIT!

6 Unexpected Places to Meet a Man Offline

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According to a recent study, more than 35% of relationships now start online. But, what do you do if you’ve tried online dating and so far it hasn’t worked out? (not that it won't!) Or, maybe you’re just not ready for online and want to try your hand at your very own meet-cute in the offline world. No matter the reason, rest assured that plenty – and I mean millions and millions – of relationships still start offline. And it happens every day. This post, my friend, is all about unexpected places to meet a man offline – and none of them is a bar.

1. Bookstore

The local book shop or library can be a great place to meet a likeminded guy. Consider spending a Saturday afternoon sipping on a coffee and browsing the shelves for a new read at a busy book store or central library. You’re sure to encounter many men and will have the advantage of knowing they enjoy reading, and if they’re holding a book or in a particular section, you’ll also know at least one of their interests. Making a simple comment on a topic you clearly have in common is just being open so go for it.

2. Grocery store

Everyone has to eat and everyone shops for groceries. While it might seem a little mundane, the reality is that the grocery store is the perfect place to bump into someone new. There’s no pressure, it’s easy to start a conversation (think, “Which pasta brand would you recommend?”) and it’s even easier to jump out of a conversation if you’re not feeling a spark. Weekday evenings and especially Sunday evenings are prime time for singles to get their groceries.

3. Dog Park

There’s something about a man with a dog that just melts hearts, right? Whether you already have a dog or offer to walk a friend’s, head over to the local dog park on a busy afternoon. Feeling nervous about starting a conversation? Ask about his dog. “What’s your dog’s name?” or “What breed is your dog?” is sure to get the conversation flowing. Then, once you’re more comfortable, you can turn the topic to him.

4. Volunteering

What I love about this idea is you get to meet lots of new people, but you’re also doing something that will better the community and make you feel fantastic. Consider volunteering at a clothing drive, charity event or even sign up for a walkathon. You’ll be surrounded by people with good hearts who have come together for a common cause. Plus, once again, you have something easy and pressure-free to talk about.

5. Public Transit

Those of you who take public transit probably spend hours, if not tens of hours, every single week getting from Point A to Point B. Instead of catching a nap or trying to pass an hour by staring into your phone, I encourage you to take a seat next to someone you find interesting and just start there. Even if you only smile or say “hello” to someone new each time you got on the train or bus, imagine how many new people you’d meet a week. Heck, your next destination may very well be a first date. Of course, I know what you are thinking, you don't want weird people chatting with you - so just focus in on those who, just like you, have a healthy lifestyle and need to get from point A to B.

6. Home Improvement Store

If you’ve ever spent time in a home improvement store, it likely doesn’t surprise you that the customer base is made up of mainly men. So, why not kill two birds with one stone by taking on a DIY project around your place and meet a new guy? Consider enrolling in a weekend workshop (many home improvement stores regularly run them) or finally tackling that Pinterest DIY project you’ve been eyeing for months. While at the store, ask a few people for their opinions or advice and see where the conversation takes you. Even if you don’t wind up with a date, you’ll have learned a new skill and will feel seriously accomplished. One last tip is think of all the things on your "to buy" list and see which ones can be bought at a home improvement store - duct tape, cleaning supplies, coat hooks, etc. And again, you may not "pick up" but you will gain more confidence in "just having a normal conversation with someone you find attractive." Practice, practice and have fun with it!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
Click Here to Get Your FREE DATE COACH STARTER KIT!

 

5 Questions That Make Men Cringe

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You may have found that, by nature, women tend to be more talkative than men. In fact, women on average speak twice as many words per day than their male counterparts. Wow! This isn't right or wrong, it's just a difference that exists between us and note, I am speaking "on average", not all men or all women. :) Men, on the other hand, tend to rely more heavily on action over discussion. They also tend to place more meaning on the words they hear, and say. Even the most well intentioned question, or one simply asked to spark a conversation, can have the complete opposite effect. In this post, we’re going to talk about the top five questions that make men cringe and, more importantly, why it happens.

 

“What’s wrong?”

When it comes to this question, timing is truly everything. If your guy comes home from work mid-day and is visibly upset, then of course you would ask what’s going on and try to help. If he’s enjoying a little quiet time or doesn’t feel like going out to dinner with a big group of friends, then asking him a question that implies his behaviour isn’t normal can be agitating and can come across as confrontational.

If you’ve noticed a pattern of behaviour that’s outside the norm for your guy, then have a conversation. Let him know that you’re curious if he is doing okay and you want him to know that you’re there if he needs you, but the key is, don’t press him on it. It could be the case that he had a stressful week or perhaps didn’t even realize he’s been sending you these vibes. As women, we are programmed to take everything personally and want to fix people who are feeling down. Sometimes, it's not needed, he is just processing but knows you are there if he needs to talk.

“Where’s this going?”

This one’s a real doozy. The question, while so short and simple, can mean an incredible number of different things to different people. At the beginning of a relationship, it most often means, “Are we exclusive?” Later on it might evolve to mean, “When will we move in together?” or even “When will we get married?” or “Are we going to have kids?”

When dealing with loaded topics such as these, it’s important to engage in the right setting and with clear, honest language. Leave ambiguity out of the equation and put what’s on your mind on the table, but in a way that's not confrontational. Confrontation rarely leads to conversation as everyone is on guard. This will help keep the conversation from seeming intimidating or overwhelming and is much more likely to get you a clear answer in return. If you are asking "where's this going?", don't keep it opened ended, it is way more productive to be specific "we've been together for 6 months and I think it would be good for us to chat about what our future looks like...."

“Who is she?”

[ctt template="2" link="pb50w" via="yes" ]Confrontation rarely leads to conversation as everyone is on guard.[/ctt]

I’ve spoken before about how jealousy is one of the top traits that turn men off, so it’s no surprise this question makes the list of topics that make men cringe. Whether you’re asking about a woman he’s mentioned from work or someone who passes you on the street and gives a friendly hello, letting the little green monster take hold of you is sure to end in an argument. Similar to the first two questions, there’s a right way and a wrong way to approach the subject. Even with the “right” way, it’s incredibly important to avoid coming across as accusatory or confrontational because, friend, it can backfire.

If you notice that your guy seems to be spending more time with a female co-worker than before, even though you’ve never met her, it’s only natural to want to know more – and it’s completely OK to ask. To keep things open, you can say something like, "Tracey seems interesting, what sort of work did she do before joining your company?" Showing him that you’re genuinely interested in all aspects of his life, including his co-workers and friends, will allow the conversation to run smoothly as opposed to coming across as an accusation. The fact is, both of you are going to have attractive, single people come into each of your work lives and so coming from a place of curiousity is going to go way further in having both of you share openly and building a trusting relationship. 

“Why’d you break up?”

Exes and past relationships are one of those topics that a lot of men and women find uncomfortable. Asking a man to sum up the reason for a past relationship’s demise in a single response? That’s another story entirely. As with most breakups, it’s hard to narrow down why it didn’t work out to a single reason. Even when there is a clear reason, such as infidelity on either partner’s part, it can be very raw and uncomfortable – and, understandably, the last thing a guy’s going to want to dive into discussing (especially on a first date!).

When it does come time to discussing past relationships, it’s important to do so in a safe and private environment – such as one of your homes or when you are out for a walk as opposed to a loud coffee shop. Consider asking questions like, “What did you learn from your last relationship?” and “What do you want to get out of your next relationship?” as opposed to focusing only on the negative, more gossipy stuff. From working with clients for many years, I have found that one of the most important things to process before heading into a new relationship is why the last one didn't work. Also, figuring out a way you can speak about it respectfully rather than begrudgingly is important. Don't bring the past into the future with things like, "well he was just a total prick who cheated on me". That will instantly close doors. As tough as it can be, have a more mature approach in the beginning, "things didn't work out between us, we had really different values and I learned a lot about myself" Then, as your new relationship progresses, you can aim to get into more details down the road. It's important to create space to get to know each other without the past cluttering things up.

“Are you listening?”

Women often show that they’re listening with gestures and speech.  I'm sure you notice that when you speak to friends, co-workers and family. Understandably, it can be difficult to sometimes tell if men are truly listening and easy to assume they’re not. What you need to understand, friend, is that men truly listen differently.

Men tend to focus in on key pieces of information – specifically if there are pieces of information they can put into action. They don’t always demonstrate that they’re listening in the same way that women do. It’s best to save, “Are you listening?” only for when it’s super obvious his mind has wandered or he can’t hear you. Instead, ask questions like, “What would you do in my situation?” or “Can I get your point of view on this?” to engage him and avoid the question coming across as accusatory which will immediately shut down the conversation. I'm sure you can think of times in your life where a man has said to you "yes, I AM listening!". This tends to come up with couples a lot. Just take notice that you both listen differently and neither is right or wrong. Communicate with each other on the physical or verbal cues you may need in order to know the other person is listening. Keep it simple and keep it light.

Want to learn more about men's listening styles? I highly recommend checking out my 6-part audio series - "Inside the Male Brain."

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why do Some Men Pretend They Want a Second Date, Only to Cancel Later?

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At one of my recent workshops, I asked everyone to write down one thing they feel they struggle with when it comes to dating or a question they wish men would answer honestly and openly. I received so many honest and thoughtful responses – one of which I want to talk through with you today. The response is a concern I’ve heard from clients in the past, but seems to be occurring increasingly frequent in the modern world of dating.  A female participant wrote, “Why do some men pretend they want a second date, only to cancel later?” Before I share my view on why this happens, let’s take a step back and walk through the situation. Let’s say that you’re on a first date with someone and everything’s going smoothly. The conversation is lively, the night is flowing and you seem to be really enjoying each other’s company. Maybe you spend hours together and it seems like neither of you wants the night to end. You might sense a spark and get the feeling that he does too. All in all, you’re interested in seeing what happens next and it seems like he feels the same. Heck, he may even outright say that he’s interested in a second date. This is all to say that, in this scenario, there is no obvious red flag or apparent reason you wouldn’t – or shouldn’t – see each other again. In fact, all signs point to the strong possibility that you will.

Scenario 1:

So, you make plans – or plan to make plans – and then it happens. He cancels. He doesn’t reschedule or postpone, but he cancels. And, just like that, you’re left wondering, “What the heck went wrong?” Friend, let me tell you, that the chances are nothing went wrong – at least nothing on your side of the equation.

So, why the sudden change of heart? If we take a step back for a second, it’s a little bit easier to wrap our brains around the answer. We, men and women, live in a world filled with the most pressure and highest expectations in the history of mankind. We feel as though we’re expected to land our dream job, have the best group of friends and have the perfect life, house and relationship – and to do it all right now and get it right the first time. For the most part, people truly believe they want and need these things, and so they set out in search of them. There are two problems with this, however. First, having the perfect everything is an impossibility. We can build amazing lives and accept ourselves as perfectly imperfect, but there is always progress to be made and obstacles to overcome. Second, not everyone is genuinely ready for these things – perfect or otherwise.

Take the man in this scenario, for example. It’s likely that, during the first date, he did intend on seeing the woman again. Or, at least, he believed he intended on seeing her again. He might feel as though he should be finding someone to settle down with, so he goes through the motions, but when it comes time to actually take the next step (in this case, go on a second date) he might panic or shut down because, to go on that second date, could feel like he’s committing to something larger. He may not be ready for a relationship, or might convince himself that the woman wants something more than he’s ready to give, without ever giving her the chance to prove him wrong. He doesn't want to risk disappointing her. 

And, while I often hear of this happening to women, it happens to men quite often as well. A woman might feel as though, since all her friends are settling down, that she should to. So, she signs up with an online dating site and goes on a couple dates, only to suddenly find something “wrong” with the man when things start to feel more serious.

Scenario 2: 

Now, I do feel like we should explore the other possibility on the table. There’s a chance, albeit it’s a small chance if the date truly seemed like it was going well, that he was simply trying to be nice and avoid letting you down. He may not have felt a spark and, instead of just being honest or even remaining neutral, decided to overcompensate by leading you to believe he wanted a second date. Is this the right thing to do? No, not exactly, but again it does happen. People have a natural fear of rejection – both giving rejection and receiving rejection – and sometimes do whatever they can to avoid dealing with it, at least in the moment.

Regardless, you need to know that none of this reflects on you as a woman or potential partner. Rather, it speaks to the other person entirely. I don't think it does us any good to spend time being upset with men for these behaviours or helping them to change them. In both scenarios you wouldn't win - the first, you would be trying to convince them they are ready and the second you would be expending energy on someone who you have to convince to be into you. No fun! When you do meet your person and the spark is really and truly there, there will be a second date – and a third, and a fourth. As someone who is ready and open to a real, fulfilling relationship, you need a partner who is just as ready and open. So, don’t let these experiences along the way get you down. You deserve more, and it’s out there waiting for you. Ready? I’ll be here if you need me.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

 

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The 4 Biggest Turn-Offs for Men & How to Avoid Them

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If I were to ask you about your biggest turn-offs in a man, I bet you could quickly tell me the top three or even five. That’s because, by nature, both men and women are judgmental creatures. It’s easy for us to identify whether or not we’re attracted to someone within seconds, and also easy for us to recognize characteristics in others that we do and don’t like. But, what about when we reverse the roles? It’s not always as easy to recognize positive (and certainly negative) characteristics in ourselves. But, in a world we filled with right swipes and first impressions that take only moments to form, it’s more important than ever before to be mindful of our attitudes and behaviours – I mean, in all honesty, we are judging others so we can't expect not to be judged ourselves! (I know, it's the unfortunate reality. :)) So, friends, let’s take this opportunity to do exactly that. In this post, I want to talk to you about the four biggest turn-offs for men and how you can work to avoid them....if you choose.

Jealousy

Jealousy is a key cause of arguments, dissatisfaction and discomfort in relationships, so it only makes sense that the little green monster would be a top turn off when it comes to dating. When you’re out on a date and your guy catches you giving the stink eye to another woman passing by, or pressing him on his relationship with a female friend or even past relationship, it throws up a red flag. Men seek confidence and self-assuredness in a partner, while jealousy showcases the opposite.

If insecure feelings start to set in, take pause and remind yourself that you are a total catch. You have so many amazing, positive and attention-worthy attributes so let yourself shine by not comparing yourself to others.

Nagging

Believe it or not, nagging isn’t something that happens with “old married couples.” Seemingly small comments can pick away at anyone, particularly a man trying to win your heart. Reminding him of a tendency to forget things or making a slight about his style, choice of food, condition of his car or anything else can quickly diminish your star qualities. Nobody wants to feel “less than” or as though they’re not capable.

If and when you’re tempted to nag, ask yourself if it’s truly that important. There’s a difference between forgetting to signal when changing lanes and wanting to enjoy some fries with dinner instead of his usual salad. The first is a safety concern and may in fact be valid. The second is an adult choice he is making. Can you imagine if he told you to get the salad?! Reflect on that for a moment, haha, so don't do it to him. My advice to you would be to voice valid, meaningful concerns and to learn to shake off the rest.

Self-Centeredness

We all want to feel important, interesting and share our opinions, stories and dreams. But, in dating just as in relationships, it’s important to both talk and listen. According to men, a striking imbalance in this department is a major turn-off. Coming across as overly self-centered on a date sets the tone for the future relationship and can say, “It’s all about me” even if you don’t realize it. Practice self-love and showing appreciation for who you are and what you do is never a bad thing, but remember to keep things balanced and allow your guy his time to shine.

Next time you’re on a date, why not use the opportunity to practice your active listening skills? Ask plenty of open-ended questions, show genuine interest in your partner’s responses and you’ll be amazed at how the conversation seems to flow. Sometimes it is just our nerves that have us be self-centered, and not a reflection of who we actually are. Be aware of this.

Negativity

Over-the-top enthusiasm can be tiring, but nothing leaves a bad taste quite like negativity. As human beings, we all have our negative moments. It’s only natural and, in moderation, it’s totally fine. However, if you spend all your time together talking about how awful your day was, how much your sister annoys you, how much you hate online dating, how disappointing the restaurant is or (worse) projecting negativity onto your date, the spark is bound to fade. And, friend, I get it, we live in stressful times and sometimes we need to vent. I would encourage you, however, to find another outlet and avoid using your date as an opportunity to get a tough day off of your chest.

Consider downloading a self-guided meditation app or carving out a half hour to listen to music and read a book at the end of your day. Maybe there is a friend you can call to vent about your day before you go on your date? Use the time before a date to decompress, get in the right mindset and shed any negative feelings and thoughts that might have built up in the hours before. Set the intention to enter into the evening with a positive attitude and to enjoy yourself. Then, let it happen!

Like what you are reading and want to know more about working one on one with me? Contact me for a free 20-minute coaching call.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

Want to Become a Certified Dating Coach and Help Others Find Love?
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5 Simple Steps to Keeping Calm & Rocking the First Date

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This time of year can come with a lot of pressure – pressure to get fit, chase a dream, find love and do it all well. No stress, right? For someone jumping back into the dating game and getting ready for a first date, it can all be a little much. But, it doesn’t have to be. This post is all about keeping calm, rocking the first date and (if there’s a spark) locking down a second. 1. Know That This Date Won’t Make or Break You

In the days leading up to your first date, encourage yourself to remember that this is just a first date and the date itself, just as its outcome, isn’t going to make or break your love life. You can even say to yourself that "it's just two people getting to know each other, no pressure." It might be awesome and it might not, so why stress over what you really can’t control at this point? Get pumped, get excited but make sure you get real – it’s just one date and your world will keep on turning.

2. Know What You Want, but Maintain a Sense of Mystery

As you head into the date, know what it is that you want.  Are you seeking a great night out, riveting conversation, a short-term fling or something long-term? Knowing what you want is key to setting yourself up for success, but so is maintaining a certain sense of mystery. Heading into date night with the aim of getting married or "interviewing potential husband/wife suitors" is a surefire way to pile on pressure – not only for you but also for the other person on your date. You don't have to talk about exactly what you are looking for on the first date. That's for future dates! Stay cool, practice a little air of mystery and intrigue, and see where the night takes you.

3. Try to See the Experience itself as The Reward

Sometimes it can be easy to get wrapped up in seeing things as a great series of steps. Meet a cute guy? Check. Set up a first date? Check. Have a great time? Check. You can see how quickly one can lose sight of how each experience in and of itself is a pretty great reward. During your date, as you engage in conversation or sit in brief silence sharing a smile, allow yourself to savour the moment and appreciate that you’re having a good time. Even if you don’t feel a spark but the food is delicious and the wine is one you've never tried, try not to get too hung up on expectations and just allow yourself to have fun.

4. Celebrate yourself and all Your Efforts

When the night is over and you sit reflecting on all the things said, the feelings felt and what comes next – stop and take a moment to celebrate you and all of your efforts. You took a chance and struck up a conversation with an attractive stranger. You got dressed up, went out and allowed yourself to be vulnerable. You kept cool, had fun and shared a laugh or two. You’ve taken another step towards finding the authentic, fulfilling love that you crave and are that much closer to it. When the time comes (and it will!) where you are both deciding if a second date is something you are both interested in, I believe that less is more. Indicate during the date that you are enjoying yourself and at the end, you can genuinely say something simple like "it would be nice to see you again." You both don't need to discuss exactly what that looks like or set a calendar date, but aim to be clear of intentions. If you aren't feeling it, be clear on that as well. "It was really nice meeting you" is perfectly acceptable. Keep going my friend!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Stop Stressing About Being Single for the Holidays

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I often hear from my clients about how the idea of being single for the holidays stresses them out. And, you know what? They’re not alone. There’s a period of time that stretches from Thanksgiving to Valentine’s Day where single people feel more pressure than ever to pair up and find their match. Often times, you’ll see different magazines and blogs writing about how easy or wonderful it is to find love over the holidays. Talk about pressure! So, you know what, friend? I say “no way.” This year, instead of stressing about being single or seeing every holiday party as hunting grounds for your next date, let’s kick pressure to the curb. As if the holidays aren’t already busy and frenzied enough. This, my friend, is your guide to stopping the stress and truly enjoying the holiday season as your single self.

Realize You Have Total Freedom

Being single over the holidays, and the rest of the year really, means that you have total freedom. You’ve only got one schedule to keep tabs on and that is yours. Feel like spending a Saturday catching up on sleep or scooting out of work a touch early to catch an early show? Go for it. Not into the idea of spending the entire holidays home with the family? Use up those rewards miles and take yourself on a beachy getaway. And, if, on the other hand, you can’t get enough of your family’s many holiday traditions, let the good times roll – you don’t need to be anywhere else.

Treat Yourself to Something Special

Instead of buying a gift for a partner, use this opportunity to treat yourself to something special. You’ve worked hard all year, are rocking the single life and deserve it. So, fire up your laptop or head on down to the mall and get that bag, coat, fragrance or gorgeous lingerie set you’ve been eyeing. Rewarding yourself for being you, and for tackling the season solo, is a fantastic feeling. Heck, you really don’t need to wait for the holidays to do it!

Know that you’re Not the Only One… Even if It Feels That Way

Even though you might feel like you’re the only single person in your family/group of friends/office, let me assure you that there are millions and millions of people all over the world that are single. You, my friend, are absolutely not alone! On that note, the holidays are actually a fantastic time of year to feel anything but alone. There’s always an event, dinner or just a bunch of family members sitting around and catching up. Instead of hanging back or playing the wallflower, join in on the fun and allow yourself to be a part of it all. When the "lonelies" come on, feel it for a moment, take a deep breath and then re-engage.

Allow Yourself to Say “Yes” and Experience the Magic of the Holidays

With a bit more free time and a whole lot more events, the holidays are an amazing time to get out there and experience something new. Are a group of coworkers heading downtown for drinks? Go with them! Are your friends from college meeting up to visit your old haunting grounds? Say “yes.” Do you have the opportunity to patch things up with someone from your past, or make amends with someone you’ve recently got off on the wrong foot with? You’ve guessed it, go ahead and do it.

There’s something seriously magical about the holidays that just brings people together, fills the air with joy and makes everything better. Don’t let yourself miss out on the magic by feeling alone. You deserve more, so go get it!

View the New Year as Full of Opportunity

With the New Year comes a whole new start and a ton of opportunity. If finding love is on your to-do list, view the New Year as being full of chances for that to happen. And, once you’ve decided that’s so, leave it at that – at least ‘til January 1st. The holidays are about having fun, letting loose and reconnecting with those already in your lives. Sure, it’ll be great if you wind up meeting new people, but there’s no need to put unnecessary pressure on yourself to make it happen right now.

So, step outside, let the snowflakes fall where they may (if you’ve already gotten snow, that is) and know that you’ve got this. Here’s to a magic-filled holiday season, friend. 

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Are You Into Someone Who's Emotionally Unavailable? Here's What To Do.

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Do you keep finding yourself attracting emotionally unavailable partners? Maybe it’s a history of relationships in which you never really felt as though you would get out as much as you put in. Perhaps it’s one recent date where it just sort of clicked and you realized they weren’t into it the same way you were. And, dear friend, if you think you might, this very second, be into someone who seems emotionally unavailable, I urge you to consider my advice and read down to the very last sentence.

To be emotionally unavailable means to maintain a barrier, a distance, between your self and others. Sometimes this can be a physical barrier - they never let you get too close, hug too tightly or spend all that much time with others in a one-on-one settting. It can also be mental and emotional, and show in the way that someone avoids serious or meaningful conversation, speaks in non-committal language or appear to be evasive. This type of behaviour, particularly in a romantic relationship, can be incredibly frustrating and even detrimental.

First, I want to let you know that you are totally, 100%, absolutely not alone in this. Emotional unavailability is a growing cause of dating and relationship difficulties and can be seen in both male and female partners. In this post, we’ll refer to the partner as “he,” but trust me when I say that men often face this same difficulty and the “what to do” portion of today’s post easily speaks to both genders. Ready? Here we go.

1. Acknowledge the Unavailability

One of the hardest situations to deal with for many daters and partners is having to face the reality that the person you like (or even love) isn’t emotionally available. However, in order to live your most authentic, fulfilling life, it’s got to happen. Your first step, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, is to fully and completely acknowledge the person you’re interested in is simply not emotionally available - and that it’s truly beyond your control.

No matter how invested a partner you may be, or want to be, it’s highly unlikely to have a new found effect on the other person’s ability to engage especially if they have been this way right from the beginning. People can go through the bulk of their lives avoiding emotional engagement, whether they realize it or not, and others can develop this unavailability over time and through past experiences. Know, my friend, that you deserve deep, engaged and full love in your life and that emotional unavailability will not offer any of those things.

2. Understand Why the Attraction is there

This may be your first experience with an emotionally unavailable person, but it may also be your second or third. If you’ve noticed a pattern in your love life like this, there isn’t a better time than now to step back, take a breath and allow your mind and heart to understand why it’s happening.

There are many reasons why you may find yourself attracted to someone who isn’t truly available, but the most common three reasons are these: you may not have fully healed from a past hurtful experience, you yourself may not truly be ready for a real relationship or you could even be carrying parent-child dynamics through to adulthood. Think back to your past - to how often you vied for your parents’ attention or affection, to your first love and your last breakup. Be real and be honest with yourself about these memories. Ask yourself, “What past experiences or feelings keep pushing me in this direction?” You are naturally going to be attracted to people who you think or hope will change and as ironic as it is, you may actually find comfort in re-creating your childhood experience even if it's not what you wanted. Once you have the answer, it’s time to take action.

3. Take an Active Approach to Avoiding Unavailability

A key approach to finding someone who can authentically return your feelings comes down to knowing how to recognize traits of unavailable partners. Luckily, there are key, easy-to-spot traits that you can begin watching for straight away. Whether you recognize these traits within an online dating profile, during a first date or early on into a relationship, knowing how to spot them and what they mean will allow you to take control over finding a worthy and fulfilling partner.

Look out for people who criticize the emotions of you and others. Perhaps they feel you often overreact or you can see that emotions make them uncomfortable. Another telling sign is when it’s clear someone isn’t interested in working on their own development in a meaningful, lasting way. They may have a very laissez-faire attitude towards life and may not put effort into developing meaningful connections throughout their world - romantic, professional, family and otherwise. At the same time, these same people may seek to surround themselves with people. They might not feel totally comfortable spending time alone. This can be a signal that someone wants to keep themselves occupied and avoid certain emotions, issues or areas of life.

The power to take control of your love life and your path to finding a meaningful, fulfilling partnership is in your hands. Emotional unavailability is something that must be worked on and overcome as an individual - it can be extremely difficult and even damaging (not only to the other person, but to your own self-esteem and expectations of love) to try and force it within a relationship.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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5 Easy Steps to Navigating Uncertainty in a New Relationship

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Entering into a new relationship is filled with excitement, fun and discovery. Something that many people often unexpectedly discover is that new relationships can also be filled with a whole lot of uncertainty. Whether you feel some anxiety about your new beau or simply need some guidance in navigating the uncertainty of your new relationship, I’ve got you covered my friend. Keep reading for five easy steps to kicking those feelings of uncertainty in a new relationship to the curb and getting back to the excitement and fun.

1. Know That You’re Not Alone

The thing with uncertainty in new relationships is that everybody goes through it. Chances are, even, that your new partner is experiencing the same feelings and thoughts as you.

Something you need to understand is that these feelings don’t come from a negative place. They’re a completely natural reaction to a new situation and the fact that you’re having them means that you care. Don’t let them trip you up!

With time, and with open communication, you’ll begin to feel more secure in your new partnership and the initial anxiety will fade

2. Embrace the Unknown

There’s something incredibly exciting about the unknown, and this is your chance to take any uncertainty you might be feeling and turn it into spontaneity. Take this opportunity of getting to know someone new to challenge yourself to step outside of your comfort zone and try things that you normally wouldn’t.

Allow your mind to wander and get away from your regular thought patterns and routine for a little while. Indoor skydiving for your next date? Maybe. A whirlwind weekend trip to the big city? Sure!

3. Find Your Pep Talk Pal

Everyone has that one person in his or her life who, no matter what the circumstances, can turn a crummy situation upside down. They recognize your best traits and forgive you for your faults. At the same time, they have a knack for holding you to a higher standard. Having this person in your life, especially during times when you might be feeling a little uncertain, is even more important.

Whether she’s your best friend from college, your sister, your co-worker or your mom, don’t hesitate to reach out to your go-to girlfriend when you need a pick me up. They know you’re amazing and just how to give you the pep talk that you need. Sometimes it is just a simple, "focus on what you do like about him, rather than all the things you are worried about", coming from a trusted friend.

Choose wisely who you go to for advice.

4. Keep Confident and Carry On

While you might find it tempting, you can’t accept your truth as the truth. If he takes a little while to text you back, don’t let your mind run wild about all the reasons you haven't heard from him right away. Distract yourself with activities that make you feel good.

There’s a saying that goes, “Fake it ‘til you make it,” and sometimes the idea really works. Even when you’re not feeling 100% confident, if you actively work to exude confidence you will likely actually find your confidence – and your confidence in your new relationship – starts to boost itself. You chose each other because you saw potential so don't be afraid to keep pursuing that potential in an active way to see where things go.

Be open minded, be aware of what makes you feel good and bad about yourself and carry on getting to know each other.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why Some Men Step Up Their Game to Find Love, and Others Do Not

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We’ve all seen a romantic comedy in which the male lead had to take drastic measures to win the attention and affection of his female counterpart. And, while some examples are far more extreme than others, like pretending to be far more well off than you actually are or faking an exotic accent when you’re really just from down the street, there is some truth to the idea of some men needing to “step up” their game to gain the attention, and date, some women. When it comes to men seeking out relationships, men often look for relationships (and women) that match where they are in their life right now. Women, on the other hand, often look for relationships that will bring them to where they want to be – whether it be tomorrow, the next day or the year after that. Men tend to be more rooted in the present, whereas women tend to be more rooted in the future. Now of course, this is a generalization and doesn't apply to all, but does to most.

Men are very clear on what and who they are, where they’re at and what they are capable of or interested in taking on at this point in their lives. For better or worse, they are more closely tied to reality when it comes to their physical and emotional capabilities. They know that in order to date a woman who will enable his development and realization of his full potential he’ll need to step up his game. 

All men make a choice.

Some men take on the challenge of stepping up in full force because, deep in their heart, they know they are ready to take their love life – and life in general – to the next level. They clean up the proverbial cobwebs in their life, step it up and pursue a woman who will challenge him to be the best version of himself on a continual basis. He thrives in this environment and so does she. They fully and completely accept each other where they are at and also want to encourage each other to be all they can be.

Other men know they are truly not ready for this next level of love or life and, therefore, continue in their current pattern and choose to date women and begin (or not begin) relationships that will not challenge him to evolve – at least not right now. The thought of dating a woman who is on an accelerated personal growth path just fills him with anxiety and insecurity so he opts out. He knows he needs to be with a woman who is not very interested in personal growth so that he can firmly stay in his comfort zone.

And you know what? Both paths are entirely acceptable and normal, because in either case the man knows what he is and isn’t ready for and isn’t pushing himself to experience something he cannot currently handle and process. Entering into a relationship that one is truly not ready for on a mental or emotional level can either spur someone on to evolve and become ready – or it can be dangerous and thrust that person into a situation and level of intensity they are not equipped to handle at this point in life. Each man, upon self-reflection, will know exactly what he is ready for.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Strike up a Conversation with That Attractive Stranger

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  I recently read an article on Mind Body Green that spoke about how there’s something about sitting across from an attractive stranger that makes us lose our minds. The author wrote about how someone can be the most confident, put-together person but as soon as it comes to talking to someone they find attractive they start to stumble over words, blush or just back out of the situation completely.

And, friend, it’s sort of true. I’ve seen it happen time after time and it’s something I regularly speak to my clients about. What is it about saying “hello” to that good looking guy at the coffee shop that’s really so terrifying?

In my experience, I’ve found that it comes down to two factors. The first is that you care about the outcome – the outcome that you don’t control. Striking up a chat with a gorgeous stranger is different than pitching a great idea to a client or presenting something to your boss. In those situations you sort of know what to expect and have had some time to prepare. In line waiting for your grande Americano is a whole other ball game.

The second is that you have no previous experience with this person to base your conversation off of. Are they single? Do they find youattractive? Are they funny? Easy to talk to? In a hurry? Who knows! It can be intimidating knowing where to start in a new conversation, with a new person, when it’s a total blank slate. BUT, it’s also pretty darn exciting and can potentially lead to an amazing connection. That’s why I’m challenging you to try it for yourself, even just once, so you can see how it could honestly change your dating life forever. Here’s how to do it:

1. Make Eye Contact

Yep, you’ve really just got to use your eyes and look at his for this one to work. Looking down at your phone or trying to check him out without him noticing isn’t going to get you anywhere. And, if I’m being totally honest, it could make you look a little creepy if you’re not especially skilled in covert surveillance. If you’re feeling him and want to chat, make eye contact and let him know!

2. Smile

Just like number one, this tip should be obvious but so often we forget that we have the power to make someone else smile just by doing it ourselves. A smile is warm, inviting and instantly puts the recipient at ease. Flash him a smile and open yourself up for one of you to say "hello". The worse that’ll happen is he says “hello” back and you both go on with your separate days. The best? Well, you could be swapping digits in a matter of moments and be all set up for a Thursday night date.

3. Compliment Him

Have you ever been out to dinner or at the mall when someone complimented something about you? It probably felt pretty good and made you instantly like the person even though you likely didn’t know each other. If you want the chance to speak with someone you’ve been admiring, go ahead and pay him a compliment. Something as simple as, “I really love your glasses. Do you mind me asking where they’re from?” can open the door to a great conversation. Be genuine and authentic in your compliment and deliver it with a smile.

4. Bond Over Something in Common

Again I’ll use the example of a coffee shop, but this tip works just about anywhere. Start a conversation about something you notice you have in common. Same backpack company? Same coffee? Is he holding a book you recently finished or have been dying to read? Talking about something that you have in common takes the pressure off a bit and makes the conversation about something other than him or you. Also, this is a good time to point out that you need to travel with your interests. Get those books out on the coffee table, wear that t-shirt from your favorite band or festival. Invite conversation about shared interests. Want more? Continue onto #5.

5. Try the 'ol, “Have I seen you here before?” Trick

There’s a reason why this pick up line is still one of the most popular today, and that’s because it works. Turn to him and ask, “I think I recognize you, have you been here before, your face is so familiar?” and away you go. Depending on the answer, you’ll have a few different ways to continue the conversation and things should flow naturally from there. At the very least, you will have helped yourself get past the "I don't talk to strangers and keep to myself" vibe. :)

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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What it Means to Honestly, Truthfully and Deeply Trust

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If you’re a fan of Super Soul Sunday, Ted Talks and general self-development, chances are that you’ve heard of an amazing and wonderful woman named Brené Brown. She is one of the most engaging and authentic storytellers and lecturers I’ve ever seen and I strongly encourage you to enrol in her free course called “Anatomy of Trust” or give her Super Soul Sunday video a watch. After doing a lot of reflecting on the content Brené shares and speaks about, I wanted to share with you a sort of introduction, or crash course if you will, on the topic of trust. So, let’s talk about that. What does it mean to trust? And not just trust, but honestly, truthfully and deeply trust and foster trust in a relationship?

As Brené says, it’s about so much more than there not being lies in your relationship. Trust is something that you continuously work to build, protect and maintain. It’s about our everyday thoughts, intentions and actions.

Brené breaks it down with the acronym, “BRAVING.”

B is for Boundaries

Boundaries are super important in any relationship – the relationship you have with your self, with your significant other, your friends, family, coworkers, and the list goes on. They’re crucial in protecting all the good stuff inside your relationship and in keeping the “bad” stuff outside. A boundary could be a commitment to yourself, and your partner, that what you speak about stays with just the two of you. It could be a promise to leave work at work and enter the home, at the end of the day, with a positive mind.

R is for Reliability

Nobody likes to be flaked on. It’s not a good feeling to be told that someone’s going to be somewhere or do something and then they aren’t and don’t. Reliability is paramount in relationships and aids in building a deep level of trust. Practice reliability by doing what you say you’re going to do, keeping your promises and stopping yourself from over-promising. Knowing your limitations and what you can realistically be relied on for, is not a weakness. If anything, it’s a show of strength and also a show of consideration for others.

A is for Accountability

Own your behaviour and hold yourself accountable for mistakes. Nobody is perfect – far from it, really – but how you address and acknowledge your mistakes makes all the difference. Instead of pointing blame or arguing about why you’ve argued, take accountability for your part in the matter and face the issue head on.

V is for Vault

I think that “C is for Confidentiality” could be used here interchangeably, but the word “vault” introduces much more powerful imagery to the concept of trust. The idea of the vault is that exchanges that happen in confidence between you and your partner, or whomever is in the relationship with you, stay only between you two. You can trust, implicitly, that what you are sharing will stay in your partner’s vault. And, just the same, your partner can trust that you will treat his or her words with just as much respect.

I is for Integrity

Integrity calls for truly practicing your values. It’s not enough to believe that people should or shouldn’t behave a certain way; you need to truly and authentically practice what you preach. If you expect only the best from the people in your life and encourage them to live authentically and with good hearts, it’s your responsibility to do the same.

N is for Non-Judgment

Casting judgments is, unfortunately, human instinct. However, building trust requires you to push judgment to the side and to allow your partner a safe and open space to share with you whatever is on his or her mind. They should be able to come to you and express what they need or desire without fear of being judged, and you should be able to do the same.

G is for Generosity

Acting with a kind heart and generous spirit will do wonders for building trust. Regularly and routinely seeing the best in your partner and doing small, everyday things to make his or her life more joyful is the kind of generosity that has serious impact. There’s really no need for grand gestures or expensive gifts. Something as simple as packing a lunch for your partner for a busy Monday filled with meetings or folding and putting away the laundry could mean the world to them.

Again, I encourage you to give Brené Brown’s video a watch for yourself. Even if you’re not in a relationship right now, the principles of BRAVING can easily be applied to check in with yourself and deliver a measure of your self-trust. Like I said, thirty minutes now could have a major and positive impact on your life.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Avoid the Texting Trap & Replace Emojis with Offline Experience

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You meet someone new, exchange numbers and then the conversation strikes. This happens often – whether you first connect through an online dating site, over social media, through a friend or during a night out on the town. And, dear friend, don’t get me wrong – swapping numbers with someone you feel chemistry with is a great way to get the ball rolling. The problem really happens when that’s as far as things get. This is what a lot of people these days are referring to as the “texting trap.”

The texting trap is when text messages are exchanged, there’s some great conversation, but then things never move to the offline world. Days turn into weeks and weeks (sometimes) even turn into months – all without a real, offline face-to-face. The issue with this is that you begin to feel more and more attached to the person on the other end of the phone, but you really haven’t had any experiences with one another. So, if and when you do eventually meet, it can be difficult or even disappointing.

To help you avoid the texting trap and keep on moving in your quest for true, authentic love, I encourage you to follow this advice:

1. Use Texting for Quick Exchanges, Not Lengthy Conversation

I recently read an article in which it said, “texting is information, not conversation” and I think that point couldn’t be any truer, particularly in this context. Text messaging is a fast and efficient way to exchange information – like the address where you’ll be meeting or to confirm that you’re still on for tonight – but it’s not replacement for phone conversation or in person discussion. This is how I see it play out: either person will send a text with something like "how was your day?". This is a great way to connect if you have already met in person. However, I've seen this question/answer combo go on for weeks as a connection replacement to actually meeting in person. When he texts you asking how your day was, feel free to hit “reply” and offer a bit of info but also reference how it would be nice to meet in person or speak by phone. Continue doing this each time you hear from him/her but if weeks are going by, politely let them know you are glad you met but you'd prefer to meet in person.

2. Text as Your Authentic Self

Something I’ve noticed women doing lately is creating online (or, in this case, on the phone) alter egos. They text differently than they’d talk in real life. They often use different words, act much more playful and avoid expressing their real opinions or wants for fear of not coming across as laid back and fun.  There are two major problems with this practice. The first is that, when you do meet up offline, your authentic personality isn’t going to match up so well to the alternate persona you’ve been using in your text messages. The second is that you’re not showcasing your true, genuine self. So, the guy you’re meeting up with might end up feeling tricked or, worse, you might feel as though you have to continue the charade or even have anxiety about meeting offline because you realize you haven’t been acting yourself. And, my friend, sacrificing who you really are and what you really want is no way to kick off a new relationship.

3. Don’t Make Your Self Too Available

If you grab your phone and reply the moment you see a new text notification pop up on your screen, you’re making yourself very available. The guy on the other end (who you often haven't met in person!) is going to start expecting an immediate response from you every single time which not only sidetracks what your focus is (work, family, driving!) but I often see it lead to a bit of resentment. The problem with coming across as overly available is that the other person may begin to expect constant availability, accommodation and acceptance. You also can get addicted to the adrenaline rush that goes off every time you hear a "ping!" (did I mention this ping you are addicted to is from a guy you've never met? :)) Go ahead and answer straight away if it’s something like confirming your date for tomorrow night but be wary if he is continually trying to engage you in conversation without in-person plans.

4. Have a Deadline and Stick To It

When you meet an interesting new guy online and exchange numbers, give yourself a personal deadline. Ask yourself, “How long am I OK to stick to texting without actually speaking on the phone or setting a date to meet up?” I suggest no longer than a week and I strongly encourage you to stick with it. Avoid making excuses for him, don’t let yourself be OK with him if he should need to routinely cancel or postpone. Respect yourself and your time by holding him accountable. Does he cancel last minute or always need to “check his schedule,” and then you never wind up meeting? If so, it’s time to cut him loose and carry forward. I totally understand that life happens, people's schedules are busy and things come up but unless he is cancelling and then in the next breath suggesting a couple althernate times to meet, then just let him know he can be in touch once he knows his availability and wants to set a time. The person you truly deserve will want to make time to speak by phone and meet in person.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why It’s Time to Try a Dating App… And How to Choose Between Tinder, Hinge & Bumble

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Is it time to try a dating app? It’s funny to think that online dating has been around since the nineties and yet, it’s only the last few years that it really and truly became culturally “mainstream.” Just as it happened, a new wave of matchmaking apps have sprung up and started quickly outpacing desktop counterparts. You've likely heard these names popping up in conversation: Tinder, Hinge and Bumble. To think that there’s an entire directory of people on these apps, just like you, looking for a connection at your literal fingertips – why wouldn’t you want to give it a try?

There’s really never been a better time and each app offers its own unique features, benefits and (sometimes) pricing scheme. So, dear friend, I’m here to help.  Let’s talk about the most popular dating apps out there and what really makes them better (or worse) so you can choose the one that makes the most sense for your unique wants and needs. Ready? Let’s go!

1. Tinder

If you’re not into the idea of professing your love (or like, in this case) for someone only to learn they don’t feel the same way, then Tinder is a great option for you. When you swipe to indicate your interest in somebody, they’ll only ever see that you did it if they also like you back. It works the same the other way around too, so it saves everyone involved the awkwardness of putting yourself out there only to wind up feeling shut down. Plus, Tinder requires that you have a Facebook profile in order to create an account and can even show you the Facebook friends that you have in common with a match, so it adds an extra level of comfort and security that you don’t always find with other dating apps.

Oh, and did I mention that Tinder has around 50 million monthly active users? The odds have never been more in your favour, friend! Tinder is often touted as the most popular mobile dating app. With its ever growing pools of singles in towns and cities all across the world, you’re sure to find several matches in your first day of use.

When getting started on Tinder, make sure you set yourself up for success. If your goal really is to find a great, offline date on the app, then make it happen. Spend some time on your opening line. It should feel natural and really speak to who you are as a person and what your view is on life. Choose a recent, smiling photo of yourself and limit the number of selfies you add to your profile. You want the guy you’re looking for to be able to get a quick understanding of who you are, what you’re into and your overall style without having to read through paragraphs or swipe his way through an entire album of photos. And when you do start browsing, make sure you really do read the profiles that attract you. It can be all too easy to get carried away and go a little “swipe” happy on Tinder, but not every great smile is going to be a great match. Opening lines and profile info are there to help you narrow down your search, so use them!

2. Hinge

Hinge takes the idea of being set up by friends and brings it into the mobile world. Their tagline is, “Meet someone through friends you trust,” and it’s pretty darn fitting. It relies on its users synching the app with their social media accounts to be connected through mutual friends. Something different, but very helpful, about Hinge is that it will only show you a limited number of matches each day. This helps you really focus in on each individual profile and not feel the “profile overwhelm” that can happen when you see pages and pages of matches.

How Hinge further fulfills its promise to help you “meet” someone is with its new time limit feature. Once you see that you have a match, you only have 24 hours to strike up a conversation. Then, once you begin chatting, you’re limited to 14 days to continue chatting with the mobile app. This is all designed to encourage people to use the app to find connections and then take them where they belong – into the offline world. If you’ve been looking for that extra push to meet someone new, Hinge might be the choice for you.

When using Hinge to find your next date, take advantage of the fact that you only have 24 hours after becoming a match to strike up a conversation. Ask open-ended questions to keep the conversation going, and if you feel there’s a spark, suggest you take the conversation offline and meet up at a neutral coffee shop or wine bar. Texting can be great, but it can also lead to a state of limbo where you’re no longer on the app, but you also haven’t met in real life. Keep the momentum going and see where the spark takes you!

3. Bumble

It’s no wonder Bumble is doing so spectacularly well – a former co-founder of mega dating app Tinder launched it! One thing that Bumble does differently than many other dating apps, however, is focus on improving the dating experience for women specifically. How does it do this? Similarly to Tinder, you’re able to swipe through profiles and either show your interest or skip to the next. However, when you make a match with another profile, it’s up to the female user to initiate the conversation.

Yep, you read that right, only female users can send the first message. After that first message is sent, you can go back and forth with that user for as long as you like – but guys have got to wait for the lady to strike up the conversation that first time around. What this does is create a safer, less overwhelming space for genuinely interested people to connect with likeminded individuals. In its initial few months of existence, Bumble reported more mindful, responsible and thoughtful behaviour from both genders. It’s worth a try!

If you’re getting set up on Bumble, I’d recommend choosing a great profile picture that showcases your natural beauty and genuine smile just like on any other mobile app. What I’d also recommend you to do on Bumble, unlike what I’d recommend on Tinder, is to be a bit bolder when it comes to striking up conversations with matches. Since the app relies on females initiating conversation, you really can’t wait for him to make the first move. So, put yourself out there and get the conversations going – you never know who you’ll wind up hitting it off with!

All three apps are free, although Tinder does offer premium features for a small fee. No matter which you choose to try, signing up won’t take longer than a few minutes and, if you don’t like it, it’s as easy as uninstalling. Don’t forget, I’m always here if you need a confidence boost before your first date or need a bit of help crafting a profile that really showcases your authentic self.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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How to Use Everyday Colour Theory to Take Your Love Life From 0 to 60

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Everybody has a favourite colour. Whether you love how it looks on you, enjoy seeing it on the walls and furniture around your home, or simply feeldrawn to it for an inexplicable reason – you’re not alone! In fact, colour is incredibly powerful and has the ability to dramatically impact your mood, feelings, outlook and experiences. In today’s post, I’d like to chat with you about how you can even use colour theory to improve your love life. If you’re wondering, “How the heck can that be true?” I encourage you to keep reading! Step One: Identify Your Goal

The first step to applying colour theory to your love life, and life in general, is to realize what it is you’re looking to accomplish. Is your goal to boost your confidence on your next date? Is it to seem more approachable, more powerful or wiser? Or, are you looking for a way to create a more calming, love-inviting atmosphere in your home? Different goals call for different colours, and even different shades of colours, so identifying what it is you’re looking to accomplish is a hugely important step.

Step Two: Understand Which Colours Are For You

Like I mentioned, different objectives call for different colours. So, let’s talk about the colours you should consider for a few common goals. First up? Confidence! If you’re looking to not only make yourself feel more confident, but also to appear more confident to your date, then yellow might just be the hue for you. Yellow is a colour that we psychologically associate with optimism, high self-esteem, friendliness and confidence. While vibrant yellow may not “work” for everyone, chances are there’s a variation on yellow – say, mustard yellow or muted pastel – that will.

If you’d like to appear more feminine, nurturing or even sensual, then consider reaching for something in pink. Unlike its counterpart, red, pink tends to come across as a very approachable colour. While it may not be the best choice in a job interview or business meeting (blue would be a better choice there as it communicates intelligence and efficiency), it can work wonders on a date or even as an accent colour in a bedroom.

If the idea of dating feels slightly overwhelming and you’d like to create a calmer, more peaceful home environment for you – and potentially a future lover – then you may want to consider hues of green or orange. Green has calming, balancing and refreshing effects on a psychological level. Orange, similarly, has a calming and comforting effect. Like pink, it can also be associated with sensuality and passion!

Step Three: Inject These Colours Into Your Daily Life 

Feeling confident on a date is fantastic, but feeling confident on a daily basis? That’ll set you up for success time after time. Once you’ve established your goals and identified the colours that’ll help you achieve them, it’s time to inject these colours into your daily life.

I encourage you to do a little shopping to add more of the colour to your wardrobe. If you already have some of the shade in the mix, it’s time to bring those items to the front of your closet and be sure to wear those pieces more often! Also, consider bringing the colour – or colours – into your home for a more environmental and regular impact. Whether you choose to repaint your walls, add a few throw pillows or pick up a new piece of artwork for your favourite room – know that the change will almost immediately begin to impact your mindset in a positive way. Plus, when you’re at your home with a date or future partner, having what we’ll call your “power colour” around you will give you a fantastic boost of happiness and confidence. Your date is sure to take note!

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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Why Being Too Laid Back and Just “Going With the Flow” Can Actually Be a Problem

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Lately, I’ve noticed a theme with female clients. Really, it’s a theme that stretches far beyond my own clients and is becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s society. Many women, in and out of relationships, are striving to be seen as that calm, cool, “oh, that’s okay” person in the eyes of their significant other while compromising their true selves. The thing is, there's a danger that comes with being too laid back. Before we venture on further into this topic, I’d like to point out an important distinction that there are lots of people who really are, just naturally, very laid back and are perfectly satisfied with their lives and relationships. In this post, I'm speaking specifically about those who wish to be perceived that way at the cost of their own well-being. It's for the women who aim to be seen as always cool, always laid back and as just going with the flow – even when, inside, they know they’re sacrificing what their heart desires.

When I say I’ve noticed this theme as of late, I should note that I’ve especially noticed it amongst strong, independent women. After a day of killing it in the boardroom or jetting across the country for a speaking gig, they arrive home to their personal lives, leaving their opinion, needs and desires at the door. They want the man they are dating to say to their friends, "I'm dating this woman who is great, she's so laid back about everything" and then hear of how cool his friends think you are for that. I swear it sounds like I am taking this out of a page of the high school chronicles, but it's out there.

Why is this happening and what sort of effects can it have on a woman and her relationship?

This “laid back” and “go with the flow” type of attitude is near constantly encouraged in mainstream movies, television and literature. Think of the last time you watched a romantic comedy. It is generally the aloof, detached woman who captures his interest. Talk about mixed messages!! No wonder it's confusing.

Now, I’m not saying that women have decided to base how they behave in relationships off of romantic comedies, but I am trying to show you just one example of how this type of thinking has become so incredibly mainstream. Media has focused on the extremes.

The problem with trying not to ask for “too much,” and thereby not asking for what she truly needs or wants, is that dissatisfaction is sure to continue to build on the inside. If she rarely voices her needs or desires on the outside, there’s nowhere else for them to go. Naturally, this can lead to extreme resentment of her partner – even though her partner may have no idea she’s feeling this way. It’s a slippery slope and, while initially she may be trying to maintain a calm collective for the benefit of her partner, it can wind up hurting him and the relationship. I've actually seen this as a major cause of some break ups.

Another problem with this kind of behaviour is that it often goes hand-in-hand with completely ignoring major warning signs or big issues like money problems, infidelity, addiction, manipulation and the like. If a woman feels or believes that she’ll be better received, liked or appreciated by letting things go time and time again, bigger and bigger relationship issues can sneak through the cracks without the attention they need and deserve.

So, how does a woman in this situation find her way out of it?

Rebalancing in a new relationship may be easier, as you may have just recently met and there's room for you to shift a bit and shed old habits. In a long-term relationship or marriage, on the other hand, you may find it a bit more difficult expressing yourself and voicing your needs and desires. However, chances are you have history, rapport and trust that will help you and your partner navigate through you shedding your “too laid back” skin. Just be careful to avoid waking up one day and suddenly announcing you are not okay with all the things he thought were just fine. Approach the topic with the desire to build a stronger understanding.

Before doing anything, I encourage you to take a half hour to yourself and truly evaluate your current circumstances, decision making process and the way you interact with the opposite sex. Maybe he’s your new boyfriend, a guy you’ve gone on a couple of dates with or your long-term partner. Whatever your individual case may be, really think on it and allow yourself to recognize how and when you just say “OK” when you’re actually feeling something entirely different on the inside. Starting there will allow you to more clearly recognize the behaviour you wish to change and will help you find examples to share. Then, it’s up to you to step outside of the laid back comfort zone and express yourself. Start with really small things to build your confidence in becoming "laid back AND having your needs met/opinions heard". For example, if the fact you would really rather stay in with him this Friday night rather than go out, just say it or if you'd rather he didn't always reach for his phone during a romantic walk together, then express it. Come to think of it, if you haven't already, visit my homepage and download my Inspire Authentic Communication worksheet and audio. I assure you that your relationship, partner and self will be thankful you did.

To your authenticity,

Love, Christine

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