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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Building Your Digital Dating Presence - Part 2

Robert Manni - Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Stay Positive – It’s important to be in a good frame of mind when writing your profile because your mood impacts your decisions about what or what not you include in your profile. How we feel about ourselves is often communicated by what we post online. So, it’s important to focus on the positive. Think of your bio as both an introduction and a conversation starter. Would you like meeting someone new who starts by saying, “I don’t like… I don’t like…” or with a list of negative things to say? It’s a buzz kill that short-circuits people’s interest. So try not to include all the things you don’t like in your profile. Everyone has pet peeves and personal characteristics that rub them the wrong way. But, your online bio is not the place for them. Unless you have an overarching deal-breaker such as being allergic to dogs or not wanting to date a smoker, do your very best to eliminate the negatives from your profile.

Finally, self-perception, how we feel about ourselves, is also communicated by what’s posted online. Just as a list of negatives of what turns us off is not desirable, also avoid including anything negative about yourself. Focus on your good qualities. Talk to your friends to come up with a list. Then ask a friend to read it and give you feedback. A short list of positives communicates confidence. A list that is too long reeks of narcissism.

Honesty - Another critical component of your profile is honesty. Many online daters have been known to stretch the truth about their height, weight, occupation, and of course, their age. I don’t condone it but in some ways it’s understandable. For example, people age differently. If a forty-one year-old woman in great shape identifies herself as thirty-nine it probably won’t be a deal-breaker. But, if things work out over the long term, eventually she’ll find herself in a situation where she needs to tell the truth. The bottom line is that if you are less than truthful about any aspect of who you are, you’re taking a chance. Your true height, weight, occupation, marital and financial status will eventually surface, so be prepared for the possibility of losing someone due to what you may consider only to be a white lie. You never know what the deal breakers are for other people.

One area of your profile where dishonesty will not be tolerated is your current relationship status. You always need to be absolutely truthful about your current relationship status. Always let your connections know if you are separated, divorced, or even in an open marriage. The other person deserves your respect, and that means knowing your dating status. The same honesty applies to kids. You cannot hide this fact, nor should you. Another area where honesty is helpful is letting the market know if you’re interested in dating casually or looking for a relationship. When it comes to online dating, it’s best to stay open-minded. Many casual daters meet their match online and evolve into a committed relationship. And that’s a good thing. On the other hand don’t let honesty keep you from showcasing the very best version of you to the online dating universe. Take a tip from politicians and savvy marketers who know ways to shape the truth. Maybe due to your current financial situation you have not been able to travel as much as you did previously. That does not mean you cannot profess your love of travel and penchant for snorkeling in the Caribbean. You can also mention far off places you’d like to visit. In any case, when it comes to travel, you can set your sights higher than the neighborhood amusement park if you want to communicate your sense of adventure and lust for exotic locales, especially if you’re interested in meeting someone who shares a similar interest.

Food is another area where you can have fun. Most singles eventually share a meal on a date. Since everyone experiences food through their own personal lens, sharing your likes and experiences is where honesty can help you find a better match. In today’s culture food tells a lot about a person. That makes it a topic worth considering for your bio. Beyond the cliché, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”, food is definitely an area for bonding that bridges many cultures, lifestyles, and financial status.  Consider a mention of your fondness for Asian fusion, your favorite restaurant, or that special dish you like to cook. A woman who prefers five star dining is probably not going to enjoy a night out with a guy who chows down on fast food every day. Also mention if you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or whatever food restrictions you feel is important to share. These days, food choices might become a commonality that makes it easier to connect with someone new.

Your Wish List Your profile should include a short list of the qualities you’re seeking in a partner. The keyword is short, meaning no more than two or three characteristics in a partner that are important to you. I realize that over the years many people have compiled built lengthy lists of must-haves for their prospective partners. These lists include everything from income level and profession to their date’s taste in shoes. Long detailed lists like these do not guarantee success in online dating. Rather, it may become an obstacle by narrowing the range of people that are “acceptable” to date. If you’ve decided that online dating is for you, I suggest putting that list aside or trimming it down to a few mission critical must-haves. Otherwise you are setting yourself up for the same results you’ve gotten in traditional offline dating—a general frustration that there aren’t any people worthwhile to date. If there is one definitive truth about online dating, it’s that you’ll meet lots of people you never would have met if you had not signed up for the service. That’s a good starting point. So, limit the list, keep your profile positive, and remain open-minded.

To be continued…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 3)

Robert Manni - Monday, May 23, 2016

I was still determined to master the art of online dating by using my skills as a long-term marketer and advertiser. I reminded myself that my profile was not for me. I was not the customer. My profile was for the person I wanted to date.

So I reviewed my profile and once again asked myself what I wanted, what made me different, and what I had to offer a woman. It’s easy to be self-critical, but we’re all special in some ways. I identified the qualities that I thought separated me from the herd and asked a few women I knew if they agreed. I asked them what they looked for in a man. Most of them wanted to date a guy with a job, a dream, confidence, and a sense of humor, kindness, and relatively good looks.  I used this feedback in my profile and made sure there were no typos or grammatical errors. I also changed my specs for the type of women I was interested in meeting. I realized I wanted to date women who knew what they wanted, shared my values, and were emotionally available. Finally, I expanded my geographic search parameters beyond the world of Manhattan and the ‘lists’. You may have read about women’s lengthy lists of must-have qualities men need to have to be even considered datable. My advice? Shake it off. Be yourself because nothing beats authenticity. Ultimately, everyone wants to be with someone who’s interested in the real person, not the “best front” we sometimes present during our initial weeks of a courtship.

Then I went back online. I decided to keep my contact rules in place before meeting anyone in person. If things did not feel right when we met, I wouldn’t waste our time. I’d share a drink and move on. However, even if there was no spark or the possibility of a romantic connection, it was important to treat the women I met respectfully. In today’s digital dating scene, it’s easy to disappear like a ghost or simply delete someone with a keystroke, but we’re dealing with people who are just like us. People who have feelings and who are also searching for a connection. So if there was no real chemistry with my date, I did my best to keep the conversation going until she finished her cocktail. It was the least I could do. As a result, some of the women that I met became friends. In fact, a few of them even set me up on dates with their cute friends. It pays to be nice.

With my newly updated profile, I was getting better responses from women than when I first signed up. When I saw someone I was attracted to, I read her profile a few times to get a sense of whom she really was. I made sure her bio wasn’t laced with, “Me, me, me…” or  “I don’t like…” I’d send a brief note— never a wink or a poke. I’d also mention something she had included in her profile—maybe that Korean dish she made or her recent trip to a yoga retreat. I might also add something about me that wasn’t in my profile. If she replied, I’d respond with another short note and my phone number, full name and personal email address. This way she could Google me to make sure I wasn’t an axe-murderer. If everything checked out, I’d suggest that all important phone call. Most women sent back their phone number so I could initiate the first call.

If the call went well, I’d suggest meeting for a glass of wine or coffee depending on her preference. A word of caution—no matter how great things might feel during the email and phone call, don’t invite someone to dinner without first meeting them in person. As mentioned, the vibe could change dramatically when meeting for the first time, and first dates can take bad turns. If you have dinner with someone you’ve never met and there’s no chemistry, it can make for a long, uncomfortable, and often awkward evening.

As I continued to date, I also continued to fine-tune my set of rules. I found that when meeting someone new, it was best to make it a short night. If things were clicking, I’d suggest a second glass of wine. If things were really going well, I’d offer to take her someplace else for a quick bite. Then I’d call it a night and hail her a cab. I found that a show of restraint added a sprinkle of mystery and stoked the anticipation of a second date. Soon I was dating more and more interesting women—clothing designers, entrepreneurs, fitness models, photojournalists, and teachers, along with selected professionals and corporate types. Most importantly, I was connecting with almost every woman. After a few months of non-stop dating, I got into a relationship with an attractive woman, took a break from the site, and dated for a year. After the relationship ran its course, I logged back on the site, reviewed my profile yet again, made a few more tweaks and in no time began dating like crazy for another year. My online dating system was working like a well-oiled machine.  Having a clear set of rules helped, but I soon found out that, as in life, when it comes to online dating there are no unbreakable rules.

Like other indulgences, online dating has a shelf life. I reached a point where I was content. My system was doing a lion’s share of the work. Dating had become easy. And as soulless as it sounds to me now, at the time, I thought I’d be happy dating for the rest of my life. Everything changed though late one night when I logged onto the site. A new woman had winked at me. She was pretty, even if her photo was a random late night selfie without makeup. I was intrigued by her photo and by the carefree flow of her profile. So I began the usual process. I emailed her and she replied the following day. We exchanged another email. The vibe felt right so I sent her my number and suggested a phone call. However, this woman did not think that a phone call was necessary. She suggested that we meet in person. I wrote back, trying my best to arrange a phone call, but she again declined. What about my rules?  I needed to make a decision.

I was torn. My rules worked. Why should I change? I read her profile again and stared at her cute photo before my intuition kicked in. This feels right, so, what the hell? It’s just a rule that I made up. We skipped the call and met on a balmy July evening. Things went well. Real well. And I wanted to see her again. I followed up by text after our date and we got together again the following week. Out of curiosity I looked up her profile again, but it was gone. When we got together for dinner I asked why her profile was hidden. She told me that she’d only signed up on the site for a three-day trial. Since she had a good time she wanted to give us a chance. She saw no reason to stay active on the site. I wisely deleted my account shortly after and we were engaged one year later. We’ve been married for six years. I know now that online dating is an art, not a science. It’s okay to go with your gut and break your rules now and then.

The bottom line is that if you pay attention to what you are putting out and who you are, online dating can be fun and fruitful. You might stub your toe and get your heart broken a few times along the way, but you can win. Always show respect for yourself and the people you meet. And, don’t take anything too seriously. Remember; dating and meeting new people can be an adventure, not something that creates anxiety. If you take the time to build your personal brand (know yourself, what you want, and what you have to offer), communicate clearly both online and in person, and display the confidence from a well-lived life, you’ll be on your way to making the right connections.

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 2)

Robert Manni - Monday, May 16, 2016

It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. I couldn’t agree more.

Take my experience for instance in online dating. After being with a woman for five years, one day she said that the relationship was over. I’d always thought that when a woman had issues with the relationship, her guy would be the first person to know. I assumed that the woman would want to have, you know—the talk. But in this case, she packed up her bags and was gone. I found out a few weeks later that she had already moved in with another guy. I was blindsided and devastated. Man, I was pissed off. But once I had time to really think about our relationship, my emotions shifted from pain to relief. I realized our relationship really hadn’t been working and I owned up to my share of why it went wrong. I asked myself if I wanted to be with a woman who was unhappy and didn’t want to be with me. And the answer was, of course, I didn’t. I was glad it was over.

It took some time, but I licked my wounds and self-assessed. I definitely did not want to make the same mistakes again. When I felt I was ready to meet new women, I realized, most of my friends were married and had kids, so they were not going out to meet women with me. So, initially I returned to my old habits of trolling the bars, gyms, classes, and bookstores alone. Hunting as a lone wolf soon proved to be a tough world for a guy over forty, especially after years of being in a live-in relationship. So much had changed that soon, there was no fun going out on my own. After a few lonely Friday and Saturday nights, I had to do something new. I decided to give online dating a try.

I signed up at the most popular online dating site. Like most guys, I slapped together my profile and anxiously dove into the fray. At first, I perused only the women with pretty pictures and pursued dates solely based on women’s photos. As a result, I met a lot of attractive women. I’d sit across from them thinking, they’re nice looking, but where’s the ‘spark’? Something was definitely wrong. I was not using the head perched on my shoulders to make my decisions. I was wasting a lot of time and money meeting the wrong women. I needed a reboot. The best thing I did was to take a break and hide my profile. I reviewed my personal brand (who I was, what I was looking for, and what I had to offer) and reworked my profile making sure it had the right messaging and photos to attract the type of partner I was looking for. This was the first important step in developing an online routine that finally worked for me.

After reposting my profile with a new headline, photo, and bio I went back to the work of dating. I set a few directional rules for myself. I decided not to invest too much time with online connections I met online before deciding whether or not to move forward. I’d exchange a few emails, maybe starting with a compliment or question about something in her profile. Then, if I liked her response I’d decide to talk on the phone. The call was always helpful. Nowadays, after a text or a tweet, people meet up without having a call. I wouldn’t take that chance too readily. The energy exchanged when emailing or texting is quite different than what we experience on a call. I’ve had experiences where the emails would flow with wit and élan, then come to an awkward silence when I got them on the phone. And even if that first call lasted an hour it did not guarantee success. Very often the energy dramatically changes, again, when we meet someone in person for the first time. I’ve found that we can’t control chemistry, and it’s impossible to predict. I paid attention to how the energy felt at every touch point—from first contact online to email, then to a phone call before asking a woman for a date. All this saved a lot of time and disappointment.

In time, I learned that, like my initial foray into online dating, other people also charged in without figuring out what they wanted from the experience. There were a lot of lonely people out there. And many of them were over forty and desperate for love and attention. They’d sign up on a dating website in haste and plunge into the unchartered online dating waters like new members of the Polar Bear Club on January 1st. After a few failed dates and often the icy chill of rejection, many singles withdrew from these websites as quickly as they dove in.

Here’s an example of what happened while I was developing my online dating chops. I met a woman for a date at a bar in Manhattan’s Flatiron district. She was a senior-level television executive. She was attractive, successful, and immaculately dressed in a white designer suit. We’d exchanged two short emails and a quick phone call before agreeing to meet after work. Everything felt good and I was looking forward to our date. Over small talk and a glass of wine I sensed the tension in her voice and body. I asked her about her job, thinking that she’d had a tough day. She told me she worked in television ad sales and she was having a banner year. So I asked her how long she’d been dating online. She said I was her first date. She’d signed up for the service the day after her long-term boyfriend dumped her. Initially, I thought that was a favorable omen for rebound sex, but she was so out of sync that I didn’t want to get intimate with someone in her vulnerable state of mind. I asked her if she had considered taking some time for herself before jumping back into the dating scene. Her eyes welled up with tears. Then she said, “I don’t want to be alone.” Sadly, this attractive, high-powered television executive was an emotional shambles.

This was not the first time I met someone who was obviously not ready to date. I consoled her over a Chardonnay before grabbing the check and hailing her a cab. The following day, Ms. TV Executive sent me a lovely email, thanking me for being so understanding. But our short night was another reminder that I needed to do a better job when screening dates. I was still doing something wrong. Many of the women I had met were fun online and on the phone, but uptight and anxious in person. Between learning about their lists of must-haves or surviving first dates that felt like job interviews, this online dating thing was quickly lose its appeal. I realized that I kept going out with women who reminded me of my ex—corporate stars who were not enjoying the ride. It was time for another break from the site.

To be continued…

The Guys' Guy's Guide to Online Dating (Part 1)

Robert Manni - Friday, May 06, 2016

When I was in my twenties, I met women the old fashioned way. This was before the age of ubiquitous cell phones, female wingmen, and dating apps. In the old days, drumming up the nerve to approach a woman took courage.

Like a lot of young men I wasn’t always comfortable in my own skin.  If I saw a lady who appealed to me, I’d drum up the courage to greet her with a friendly hello. Then, hopefully, I’d come up with something to say, an interesting question, or anything to keep things going. It was a challenge, but over time, I developed a decent rap. Sometimes I’d lose my nerve and stand at the bar too long nursing my Amstel Light. So, I’d lose out to some other guy who’d beat me to the punch. I met a lot of women and sure, I got shot down plenty of times too, but it was all part of putting myself on the front lines.

In many ways, meeting women the old fashioned way was a lot like sales. To succeed you needed to know who you were and what you had to offer. You had to qualify your prospect quickly so you wouldn’t waste time with someone who was married or in a committed relationship. Most importantly, you needed to know how to strike up a conversation and close the deal. So, I learned how to ask the right kind of questions, and stay positive in the face of rejection, and how to overcome obstacles to make a connection. Over time, I became fearless and experienced a lot of success. I met women in bars, gyms, laundry mats, libraries, bookstores, buses, airplanes, or just about anywhere. And, beyond ‘winning’ at the mating game, meeting women was fun.

But the times have changed. Technology has now made men lazy. These days, a guy can score dates with smart, successful, attractive women while sitting at home in his tighty-whiteys by just plinking on his laptop. All of the apps and websites have made it very convenient for men to meet women. You could say that technology has made dating much, much easier. But, hold on. From what I can tell, technology can only take you so far. Whether you are a man or woman, to make a real connection with a member of the opposite sex you still need self-confidence, conversational skills, a sense of humor, and a dash of self-deprecation.

There's still a lot to be said from those days when a man had to learn how to approach a woman, face-to-face, literally on the front lines. Men used to study ‘pick-up’ lines and share the best ones with their pals. It took a lot of nerve to step up to the plate and simply be you.

Here is a scenario of how things might have played out back in the day. A guy walks into a bar. He scans the room and takes the seat next to a pretty woman sitting alone nursing a glass of wine. He settles in and orders a beer. Out of the corner of his eye he casually checks out the woman seated next to him. Sensing his gaze, she takes out a cigarette. He strikes a match and holds it out for her. She exhales smoke, smiles and thanks him. “Hi, I’m Lou,” he says. “Cindy,” she responds. From here, anything could happen. That’s how lots of guys met women before technology took over our lives and smoking was banned in bars.

If that scene were replayed today, the woman at the bar would probably be on her phone texting or checking emails. She might not notice the guy sitting next to her and he might not even look up from his phone to notice her. The guy would probably order a beer, place his phone on the bar and stare up at the bar’s two-dozen giant television screens. Between sips of beer, he’d check his phone. Maybe he’d check his online dating app to see if anyone in the bar was on the same service. Then, when his friends would show up, all the guys would stand around drinking, watching the games and discussing their fantasy sports teams. Meanwhile, the attractive woman seated next to them, would greet her cute friend’s arrival and the ladies would probably chat over a drink before moving to a table to discuss their jobs and talk about why there are no good men around.

While technology has made things really convenient in a lot of ways, the problem is that people, today, are distracted by waves of ubiquitous media. Most people have trouble being present in the world directly around them and this makes it hard for them to connect. These days, when young people go out, an impenetrable wall of phones, apps, emails, texts, TV’s and a closed circle of friends usually surround them. In most cases, they don’t organically engage with new people. This brings along a new set of challenges to dating in today’s tech-driven culture. It seems that to succeed in today’s fast-paced scene, you need a blend of digital dexterity and that, all-important, old school charm. The digital portion of the equation is relatively easy to pick up. But knowing how to strike up a good conversation and converse with confidence and finesse takes time. But it’s worth it. In this area, daters over forty a big advantage over younger daters who rely too heavily on their cell phones, iPads, and laptops to communicate.

The trick is to learn your way around today’s digital dating landscape while deploying your old school charm. If you want to succeed, you need to stay up-to-date on the multitude of digital dating tools and apps. It’s critical that you learn how to communicate quickly and effectively through your digital device. His will get you half way to the finish line. I’ve learned that to win, you still need to be fluent in the art of conversation and flirtation. That can only take place in person. After all, no matter how much game and witty repartee you may demonstrate in your texts or emails, eventually you’ll find yourself face to face with the object of your desire. That’s the only place where real chemistry can happen.  

To be continued…

5 Signs He's Taking the Relationship Seriously

Robert Manni - Friday, March 18, 2016

Whether it’s in business or a relationship, getting blindsided and dumped sucks. And who hasn’t been there at least once in their lives?

You may have thought things were all rosy after a series of seemingly great meetings or dates, but the other party or person may have had a completely different take on the situation. After five interviews and meeting everyone from the CEO to the maintenance dude, you assumed the job was yours, but they never called you back. Or after that torrid weekend at the beach you thought it was true love, but he thought it was a summer fling. And he never returned your texts after that.

Unfortunately, that’s how life works, amigos, so it’s important to take stock of your business and your relationships on a regular basis. For the purposes of this post, your Guy’s Guy will share his musings on the ways women can get a read on where they stand with that special someone they’ve been dating for a few weeks or months. Let’s call this The Guys’ Guy’s Guide to Knowing It’s For Real.

So, here are five crystal clear signs your man is taking you and your relationship seriously.

1. He takes himself off the dating sites – This is huuuge. One of the toughest decisions a guy can make after he connects with a special woman is suspending his profile on all the dating apps and sites. For a lot of men this can be harder than quitting porn. Guys are visual and there is nothing like sitting back with a cold one in your tightey whiteys while surfing the dating dates for a fresh crop of female photos and profiles. I know it sounds cold, but guys like looking and playing, and these sites and apps can be addictive to men, and for women, also. So if your guy takes himself off these sites on his own, consider that a check plus. If you ask him why his profile is still active and he tells he will shut them down and does, that’s a check. If he either avoids the question or answers in Trump-like double speak, consider that a red flag. It means he’s not taking your relationship as seriously as you may have thought. Your move.

2. He asks you to go on vacation with him – When you think about it, going on vacation with someone is technically only an extended date with luggage and back-to-back sleepovers. If you’ve been seeing someone for a few months you’ve probably already slept with them or spent a weekend together. But taking a trip with someone for the first time can be a big thing. Everyone has their own style of traveling and if a couple is incompatible when they’re on the road, it could be a deal breaker. So, just the fact that he’s asked you to hop on a plane with him is a really good sign. Now all you need to do is show up, pack wisely, and be the very best version of you. You can do that.

3. He wants to introduce you to his squad – Another seemingly insignificant gesture is actually a big deal to guys. Sure you meet new people and get introduced every day on the job, but meeting a guy’s crew is for him an invitation into his inner sanctum. And depending on his taste in friends, it is not always a pretty place. Which is another good reason why meeting his friends is a good thing for assessing your relationship. Say yes if he asks you to meet his boys at the bar. You’ll learn a lot while enjoying free drinks.

4. He invites you home for a holiday – Similar to meeting his friends, meeting his family is another telling adventure and a sign that he is taking you and your relationship seriously. You will definitely learn a lot about your guy and what makes him tick once you meet his family, but the main thing is that he thinks enough of you to invite you in the first place. Do the smart thing and show up. The drinks are free again, but this time don’t get drunk.

5. He pays attention – This is the key sign that your guy is really into you. It’s all about the little things and noticing the details women notice about their guy. Whether it’s remembering which Chardonnay you prefer, noticing and complimenting your new blouse, or knowing how tired you feel after that series of big meetings, if he’s paying attention to the details of your life he’s showing you respect and is focused on making the relationship work.

Sure there are more ways of finding out if your guy is taking you and your relationship seriously, but I think these five behaviors are reliable bellwethers for clocking his interest level and for your consideration of him as keeper material.

This Week’s GUY’S GUY of the WEEK is, drum roll please…. me. After three dates I asked my wife what I needed to do to be a good boyfriend. She smiled and said, “pay attention”. That was a wake up call. I took myself off of the dating sites, focused on building this relationship I was interested in, and eventually asked for her hand in marriage exactly one year to the day later. Hey, you’ve gotta have some game to be a Guy’s Guy.

Guys' Guy's Rules to Recharge Your Dating Life

Robert Manni - Thursday, March 03, 2016

Spring is right around the corner. Birds will chirp, bees buzz for honey and the animal kingdom gets frisky. It’s time for love, people.

But finding love can be a challenge. Every single person hunting for a partner faces obstacles and hurdles, even in springtime. They might overbook their schedules, get too jammed up with work, or simply be too tired and wiped out by the end of the week to go out. Men, women, it doesn’t matter. Every so often we need to take a step back and take stock of our dating life and how we’re performing based on our expectations. Think of it as your heart’s annual review. So this year, let’s get it done in time for spring.

For many daters it’s either feast or famine when it comes to love, with dates either coming in bunches or no action whatsoever. Maybe all that swiping left and right has led to digital dating app burnout or maybe they’re just stuck. The reasons are less important than the fact that every now and then we all need to step outside ourselves and take inventory of the possible things we may be doing that prevent us from making the right love connections.

With this in mind, your Guy’s Guy again dons his thinking cap and slips on his Cupid’s arrow quiver once again to help singles take stock of some dating do’s and don’ts before heading back onto the field. Think of it as a halftime pep talk where plays are discussed, strategies are tweaked and players are reminded of who they are and what they stand for before whooping, hollering and charging back to the field to kick some ass and take some names. Okay, maybe they're not literally kicking ass. It’s more like taking names and scoring digits before making a hot connection.

Here are seven tips to power up your dating life. Drum roll please…

1. Know your brand – The most successful daters know who they are, what they stand for, and how they stand out from their competition. It’s marketing 101. You establish an authentic personal brand based on an honest assessment of who you are inside and outside, what you have to offer, and why you are uniquely qualified to be a someone’s special someone. You don't have to be a supermodel to catch a great guy. But you do need to take a look deep inside and figure out who you are, what makes you tick, and why you are an awesome catch. And then show off your confident self.

This goes for men as well as the ladies. Too many guys drink beer on their couch, watching Rangers games and getting fat, thinking they should be banging models every night. Hint: it’s not going to happen unless your name is Leo or you have a Trump-sized bank account. And, even if you carry those assets, if you are a jerk, your dating triumphs will be short-lived. All daters need to be honest about who they are and what they have to offer. That’s not a bad thing; we are all different. We are all special and we are all deserving of love. Never forget that, amigos.

2. Re-establish your goals – Following your self-assessment, ask yourself what you really want out of dating and a partner. If you’re looking for a partner, remind yourself every so often while booking dates. Or maybe you want to have fun and play the field for a while. That’s cool too, as long as you don’t lead people on who are looking for something more than a hook up.

3. Don’t overbook your schedule – Let’s face it. Some people can’t bear the thought of spending even a few hours sitting quietly at home. They want to live, live, live until they die, or so they think. The reality is that being super busy all the time and double and triple booking your schedule does not make your life any more successful or meaningful. It just makes you busy, sometimes so busy that you can’t see the forest through the trees. Too many dates and activities can hinder your ability to get to know yourself and potential partners who you want to get to know on the inside so you can understand who they are. I’m not suggesting you stay home five nights a week and miss out on all that fun. I’m merely recommending that you make time for yourself so you don’t lose track of your personal brand and stated dating goals.

4. Be open-minded – Everyone has a “type”. That’s all well and good provided that you don’t get too wrapped up in the packaging. Let’s face it; too many single young ladies turn into middle-aged single ladies because they have an endlessly growing list of attributes and must-haves for the men they date. Sure, this can be the result of having real dating experience and knowing the types of guys to avoid. I get it, but at the same time there often is a direct relationship between the length of the list and the shortage of men who fit all the desired criteria. It’s tricky, but it’s important for singles to keep an open-mind if they expect to meet interesting people and make new connections. My most successful relationships did not begin with matching a list to a person. They all began by taking a chance on getting to know someone new who was smart, attractive and nice.

5. Be kind, but firm – Karma really is a bitch and it never hurts to do the right thing. So if you feel you have given someone a fair shot and it’s simply not working for you, then by all means, let him or her know that you are not feeling sparkles. Then move on. Sure, you could also just disappear and not respond to their texts, but how would you feel if someone treated you that way? Be firm, but do your best to treat people respectfully. At the same time, respect yourself and don't waste your precious time by trying to fix guys. It's not your job.

6. Online to offline, every time – Winters can get cold in the Northeast and Midwest, but if you don’t go out, your chances of making a love connection are diminished. You need to use your time wisely, and that’s where the online dating apps and websites come in handy. I know from my personal experience that I initially connected with lots of attractive and very cool women while I sat in front of my laptop in my tighty-whiteys. And there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, nowadays that seems to be the norm. The tricky part is migrating your online connections into the offline, or “real” world. This is a mission critical step to dating success. You want to meet your digital connections in person as soon as possible and not waste time with too many texts, apps, emails and other tools in the digital landscape. If you ultimately want a real life partner to rumple the sheets with, you need to get out and make a connection in person.

7. Don’t settle or give up. Dating is not for the faint of heart. It can feel tough, cold, and heartless. But when two people click, it can be blissful and make all of your previous longing, loneliness and heartache worthwhile. The key is never giving up and never settling for less than your worth. You are a special person. You deserve love. If love emanates from you, you will attract love. If you get dumped or get hurt, brush yourself off and claim your worth. No one with self-esteem wants to be with someone who doesn't want to be with him or her. It’s that simple.

Be the light. Raise your vibration and the energy grid to meet the one who is worthy of you from that purview. Forget what’s passed and never be hard on yourself. Love yourself. Love the world. Be love. It can happen. It will happen.

This weeks GUY’S GUYS, AND GAL’S GALS OF THE WEEK are all the daters who were rewarded for their patience when a special someone finally came into their lives. Staying positive and keeping an open heart are the keys to dating successfully and making lasting connections.

Ask The Guy's Guy: Meeting an Online Connection for the First Time

Robert Manni - Monday, September 21, 2015

Ask the Guy's Guy: How to Connect with Someone Online

Robert Manni - Friday, August 28, 2015

Ask the Guy's Guy: How to Keep Your Man Happy

Robert Manni - Saturday, August 08, 2015

The Holiday About Love That Everyone Hates

Robert Manni - Thursday, February 12, 2015

I don’t hate Valentine’s Day. I dread it, and I’d like to have a chat with St. Valentine. He may be a saint, but he’s got a lot of explaining to do.  The myth behind the man is as confounding as the commercial celebration of romantic love that sprang from his legend. Was he beaten to death with clubs, beheaded after restoring sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer, or was his romantic legend a creation of Chaucer? Until the twentieth century, the tales surrounding this enigmatic man had been spun more times than a soggy towel around the dryer.  Then a slew of corporations that produce syrupy greeting cards, milk chocolate hearts, or jewelry saw the dollar signs and lovingly embraced his “brand”.  And since it’s a holiday we are now treated to price gouging at restaurants and florists. In my informal survey the majority of men and women I spoke to conjured up emotions far from loving when they saw February 14th and that big red heart on their calendars.

What’s the one word that comes to mind when men and women think of Valentine’s Day?  

Pressure. If you're single, Valentine’s Day reminds you very clearly that you are currently not on the invitation list to life’s love-in, making you feel less than saintly. If you’re in a relationship, then you have to up your game and deliver the goods - big time. Women love flowers and chocolates, and like receiving them unexpectedly… on any other day. And although she’s digs jewelry, on February 14th it must be diamonds or gold, and it better sparkle. All men love seeing their woman dolled up in new lingerie, but if her outfit is really for him, who buys it for Valentine’s Day? Tiptoeing around Victoria’s Secret and sifting through teddies, garters and thongs can be unsettling. And he probably forgot what size she wears and does not want to make a mistake.  You’ve seen guys wandering around the store checking out other women’s boobs trying to figure out if they could be the same size as his girlfriend’s. And trust me - a man gets no kicks from discussing his lady’s cup size with the sales girl. Pressure.

So how do we get through this annual ordeal?

I have no clear answer. And to ratchet up my own personal helping of pressure, my wife’s birthday is on February 12th. I’m totally screwed. Okay, breathe. There’s hope. Some experts say that February 14th is the best night for single ladies to get lucky. That is if they can rally the troops and muster up the moxie for a manhunt. So, if you are a single guy, get your butt out there.  And when you hit the bars keep your eyes focused on those ladies on the lookout for some man-meat and off the hockey game playing on the big screen. If you’re a man who is in a relationship, you’ve still got time to come up with something fresh. Buy her some well-deserved pampering at a top shelf spa or offer to cook her a romantic dinner.  If you’re a woman, bust out the deep red lipstick and push up bra ensemble and rock his world. Trust me. That’s all he wants. K.I.S.S., as they say. Keep it simple, stupid! As for me, I might end up caulking the bathroom tile before taking her out to her favorite raw food restaurant.  But, I’ll do that on her birthday. Then I’ll wish for February 15th.

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