How daters Torpedo their first date chances #7 Letting nerves get in the way

Believe it or not there is nothing to be nervous about on a date. That might seem overly harsh coming from someone who used to get nervous about most things, but having nerves on a date is simply a state of mind that can be changed. Before we go any further I’m not referring to those daters that get butterflies in their tummy. These are natural and aren’t going to inhibit our ability to meet and chat to new people. Nerves however, will. In my book I talk about the concept of “acting as if”, act as if you don’t care – this doesn’t mean being rude, but does mean that you free yourself from the the notion that there is something to be nervous about and that bad things will happen or that you are able to fail in some way if your date doesn’t wish to meet up with you again. Try tricking yourself into believing that you’re just checking out the person sat opposite to see if they might be suitable for a single friend of yours, you’ll find it easier to chat without all the pressure of actually being on a date. Nerves relate to a self-imposed feeling of anxiety often linked to potential awkwardness of situations, this takes practice to manage and ultimately dispel, but reducing the potential for awkwardness in the first place can also help…

I can share some addition wisdom that might be of use to try and help reduce awkwardness. When you’re meeting your date, assuming you arranged it, make sure you go and get the coffees so that they can get a table and sit down. You don’t want an awkward “waiting in line in silence” situation right after you’ve just met them as this will make you feel more anxious which isn’t helpful when you’ve only just met. Also, if there is an awkward silence during your date, acknowledge it. Better still, try to embrace it. “Aggh, awkward silence…did this coffee place just turn into a library or something!?” Or crack a joke “how much does a polar bear weight?” Answer: “Enough to break the ice”. Hopefully that’ll help get the two of you chatting again.

One of the other things I notice with people who suffer from nerves is the tendency to talk too much and one of the killer things they seem to want to talk about is planning date two whilst on their date! Listen to me when I say that there should be absolutely no mention of date two whilst on your date (at least from you). Take the time to enjoy chatting with your date and stay in the moment, there is no value whatsoever talking about your next date together when you’re only half way through your first!

Happy Dating Everyone!

Want to read the other six ways daters Torpedo their first date chances? Read my other posts here

David Cohen – The Dating Guru

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Reflective Thinking #2 What’s stopping you finding love?

Believe it or not there was a time when I was a dater. I didn’t get to be the Dating Guru by accident (well I guess I did due to all the mistakes I made, but you know what I mean!). The time spent as a singleton is very much different to that of someone in a relationship. Assuming they live by themselves they wake up alone and go to bed alone. They’ll no doubt be with work colleagues during the day and perhaps socialising in the evening but after this, it’s back to the reality of single life. The thing I found so much harder to deal with being single than I was expecting, was the silence. I mean, I’ve always prided myself in my ability to be happy in my own company, but whilst that may be the case, being single can be a really dark place at times and it takes effort. You don’t magically bump into someone and start chatting like in the movies, dating takes time, effort and a thick skin! It’ll wear you down if you let it.
So in this reflective thinking post I’d like to ask you “Is there anything that’s stopping you finding love?” Are you happy you know what it is you are searching for? These could be physical attributes, personal qualities, socioeconomic factors, personality traits etc. If the answer is no, you should perhaps spend time some jotting a couple of these down. If the answer is yes, dig deep and question why it is those things in a partner that you rate so highly. Have you held these views for a long time? Where did they come from? Are there other qualities you’ve missed or perhaps ones which you’re holding onto which aren’t necessary and are making it harder for you to find what you’re looking for?

When you’re looking to find love it’s easy to typecast someone based on all manner of things, but often it’s things from the people we don’t expect that make the most impact. So have your deal-breakers by all means, but consider letting all the other things that aren’t total deal-breakers go. Be prepared to go on more coffee dates with the “maybes” and free yourself from the notion that if you drew out your perfect partner in words taken from your “ideal partner” book, you’d be 100% sure there was no one else more fitting to be in their place along side you in a relationship. Often, we don’t realise what it is we truly need until we find it in someone – sat across the table from us.

Happy Dating Everyone!

David Cohen – The Dating Guru

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How daters Torpedo their first date chances #6 Failure to listen


Continuing in the series of how daters Torpedo their first date chances is another basic one. A failure to listen. First of all, if you aren’t listening it could well be because you’re too busy talking and that’s a big no-no. But more than this, listening is actually a real skill and I believe is harder for men than women (don’t ask me why!). On a date, both daters look for areas to connect on and often they’ll use their own personal experiences as reference points. To really make an impact with your date, you can demonstrate your ability to actually listen, interpret and respond with something interesting. They’ll probably be taken back by such an approach as too often dating (especially first dates) seems to be nothing more than an information exchange. “What do you do?”, “how long have you been single?”, “do you have pets?” etc.

What you need to do is pay attention at all times to what your date is saying and when appropriate ask some insightful questions. An example might be if your date is telling you about the year they spent in the USA working as an assistant in an underprivileged-childrens’ school. Most people would probably say something generic like, “what was that like?”, but having just listened to your date a far better way to respond would be:

“wow, that’s amazing. I assume the experience had a big impact on you / your life, what did you learn about yourself while you were out there?”

I do accept that these questions could be considered be a little “heavy” on a first date and I’m not going to start getting all new-age and talking about personal growth (promise), but what I’m trying to get across is that to build connections (which will potentially go on to form the basis of a relationship), even early on it’s important that the conversation be moved beyond simple information exchange and towards something a little deeper. You want your date coming away from their dating experience with you thinking “I’ve never met anyone like them before” (in a good way obviously!).

So I implore you to really listen when your date talks – guys, you might have to spend more time practising though as it doesn’t come naturally to all of us!

Happy Dating Everyone!

David Cohen – The Dating Guru

How daters Torpedo their first date chances #5 Negativity


This is a no brainer but is easy to forget in the heat of first date conversation. Negative language won’t take you very far in life and the same applies in dating. Happiness attracts happiness (a phrase perhaps someone else has already coined) and on a date you absolute must take stock of the language you use. Perhaps you’re having a tough time at work or you’ve just been screwed over by a so-called friend. Whatever it is please observe the advice that the language you use plays a big part in your date’s perception of you – you don’t want to give them the chance to rule you out as a potential partner simply because of the way you’ve chosen to phrase the hard time you’ve been having. I’m not saying lie or even not to mention it but there are ways to ensure things are kept positive. You want your date to feel energised and buzzing having met you for a coffee, not to be as “down” as you by the end of it! An example. Rather than saying:

“I don’t like my job. It’s long hours, all the traveling wears me out and I don’t fell appreciated for what I do”.

you could instead focus on an area of you do like but also use a positive statement to suggest that you’re intending to make a change about it. Something like:

I love the people I work with, but the role isn’t a good fit for me so I’m actively looking to move to a place where I can pursue my passion for X”.

Similar statements about your feelings towards your job, massively different outcome. It’s rather a basic example, but when talking openly to someone it’s so easy to allow the negative feelings you may be carrying (as a result of the bad week you’ve just had for example) to spill out.

So don’t dwell on the negative stuff and don’t give details, there is no benefit to you doing so. Instead talk about your passions and your goals – you’ll “come alive” when you do and that positivity may rub off on the person sitting opposite.

Happy Dating Everyone!

David Cohen – The Dating Guru

Reflective thinking #1 What would your ex say about you?

In this reflective series of articles the Dating Guru asks one question that some might shy away from answering…

#1 What would your ex say about you?

It’s an obvious question that a heartbroken soul might fixate on, during the immediate aftermath of a one sided break-up. “What could have I done to prevent this? What did I do wrong? I thought we were both happy” etc. They’ve been fed the whole it’s not you it’s me bullshit and are left in turmoil trying to make sense of it. But following this awful stage, a sense of clarity will prevail and it’s at this stage that we really should be asking ourselves a key question: “What would my ex say about me?” Obviously if things ended badly you could perhaps guess the answer to that one but when the dust has settled and the pain of splitting has eased, what would their answer be? What would be the first words to come out of their mouth? (This is after all likely to be the most significant). Would these words about you be positive or negative? Would they be able to answer quickly without hesitation (a strong sign they’re definite of their answer), or would they need time to reflect themselves to be able to truly and properly answer this question?
Phrases like “we grew apart” are an easy means of avoiding the true reasons behind relationships ending where other traumas such as infidelity are not the cause. I’d urge all those singletons (and perhaps those currently in relationships too) to ask this question. To dig deep and understand that there is often not one single reason that a relationship ends but multiple different causes that build to an overwhelming need for change. Tell me, knowing deep down what you think your ex would probably say, how does their statement make you feel? Do you feel their comments are merited and if so are you be prepared to commit to these changes or do you believe these reasons are without cause and unjustified?

Maybe you’re a different person now to who you were when you were with them, or perhaps being with them changed you for the better or worse. Whatever your experience, be sure to reflect on the question, “what would my ex say about me?” It will be useful in potentially sparing further heartbreak in the future.

David Cohen – The Dating Guru

How daters Torpedo their first date chances #4 A lack of effort


Today’s modern lifestyle often means there’s little time for dating. People are rightly focusing on their careers, working too hard for too little a reward and so, searching for a relationship can fall by the wayside (I personally believe women are more likely to suffer from the above than men). However, with all that said, if you have got to the first date stage, one really easy way to Torpedo things is to fail to put in the required level of effort in preparation for said date. There are many ways in which this could show:

1. Poor clothing choices – examples might be you wear a wore-out set of shoes instead of buying something smarter. Or, for a man, you wear a shirt but chose not to iron it first

2. A failure to recall your date’s basic info having met them online – When discussing things with your date it becomes totally apparent that you’ve messaged so many other users that you have no idea who your date actually is!

3. Poor attention to hygiene – Yep, it might sound basic but not having spent the time getting yourself prepared smacks of laziness and will show pretty quickly.

The point here is that some people seem to hold the belief that if things are “meant to be” there is no need to pay attention to the things I’ve mentioned. I can attest that this is not the case and when two strangers meet, two new sets of first impression are made that can never be altered. So follow the advice and make an effort for your date. You’ll give yourself the best chance at getting a second date if you do!

Happy Dating!
David Cohen – The Dating Guru

A sideways look at Melissa Moeller’s 500,000+ shared post about Modern Dating


In a new series of featured articles, the Dating Guru provides a sideways (let’s call it isometric) look at the most popular dating posts of recent times…

#1 With over 500,000 shares: “Why Modern Dating Makes Me Want To Punch Myself In The Throat” by Melissa Moeller.

Ok ok. First things first. I appreciate I’m late to the party on this one. Melissa’s article was published back in April so I understand why you might question the choice. However, what you might not be aware of is that this article is currently rated the highest shared article with the keyword “Dating” on with over 500k shares. High praise indeed. So hopefully you’ll consider my choice of article #1 reasonable.

In a nutshell the article perfectly captures the frustration of 22 year-old Melissa, caught in a seemingly endless cycle of text games, predefined social etiquette complexities and an almost resigned sense of despair towards dating. The article struck a chord with readers (500k+ shares and counting) and really captures a point in time of our evolution as a society, wrestling with the ever-increasing complexities inherent in modern life.

The above notwithstanding, my own views on some counts when it comes to the modern dating scene do differ. The first centres around the key theme of honesty and the desire for daters to remove the text games they play. I admit as a Dating Coach, I do suggest that clients do not to text back instantly, that they are not to be too open about their feelings early on, and never to call a girl they’ve only just met “for a chat”. My justification for this is simple, it all comes down to “value”. It’s often stated that millionaires don’t value money as much as those living in poverty because to them, money is not a scarce commodity. To the rich, money is abundant and as the universal rule goes, as you increase the amount or supply of something, it’s overall value reduces. (The Scarcity Principal). As a society, we want what we can’t have, that item has a significant value to us as a result. If we were to simply be given it and told “it’s really easy / cheap to obtain from a number of different places”, it’s value to us immediately drops. The parallel to be drawn with dating and more specifically not reply straight away, is that daters need to guard and protect their own value. Texting back straight away suggests that a person is very keen (easily obtainable) and also appears not to have a life! Instantly, in the eyes of the message recipient, their “dating value” drops. I applaud Melissa for wanting the world to be a different place but trying to fight millions of years of conditioning with logic just isn’t going to happen.

So that’s the first thing. But the second point I’d make is that the frustration of many daters to me is due to the methods they choose to find a partner and their own actions following this. The article suggested swiping apps, which are widely regarded as a means for easy hook-ups. They are not universally known for their ability to attract someone interested in pursing a long-term relationship. There was no mention of online dating or speed-dating but I did see mention of sleeping with someone on a first date (car sex) which to me was a real WTF moment. Is it any wonder a person thinks less of you if you hook up with them on what would be considered a first date? See my points about protecting your “value” above!

Finally, the main premise of the article – being honest and telling people how you really feel. Well, I have to say I agree with this premise in almost all areas of life except dating! If I’m inspired by someone I tell them. If I think a person is awesome at what they do, I tell them. But when it comes to dating, being honest and telling people how you feel about them is not all it has cracked up to be. Putting yourself out there can easily lead to you saying the wrong thing or in the wrong way (which when it’s from the heart to a practical stranger is likely!). It’s potentially extremely awkward for the other person, especially if they don’t reciprocate. So instead of just blurting things out you think you might write it down, maybe practice it a few times to be sure it comes out right. Of course, in doing so you’ve just heaped a huge amount more pressure on your “honesty declaration” and made things even more awkward doing it that way!

The reason you can’t just call people up to talk to them any more is that modern tech has allowed us to control every facet of our lives. With communication being one such facet, it’s no surprise that calling someone out of the blue would be considered bad dating etiquette. The same applies to honesty. Dating should start on a light and relaxed basis with the honesty statements coming as the relationship matures. I fear part of Melissa’s frustration is borne from the fact that she never actually reached that stage.

Dating should not be considered a game, it should be consider a dance. The angst of waiting for the next text message should be replaced with more faith in your own ability to find love – but it would help if you look in the right places!

Happy Dating everyone!

David Cohen – The Dating Guru

If you’d like to read Melissa Moeller article I’ve added the link here:

How daters Torpedo their first date chances #3 Too much too soon guys

I’m talking mainly to the guys with this one. The first date aim has been discussed previously. But guys that go into a first date thinking they’ll come out of it with a life partner need to understand that whilst things might seem to be going terrifically well, there is only so much “dating” to be done on a first date. My rules on first date length are clear. The first date should last 45 minutes to an hour max. Even if things are going great, once the timer expires, the date should end, the guy should say his goodbye, and leave. This is for your own good guys, on two counts.

1.  You’ve been single for just too long and being on a date with this fantastic girl, makes you feel like you’ve found that special someone. As such, you want to hold onto this feeling and are willing to spend as long as it takes, convincing her you’re “the one”.

2. The girl will become more critical of you as more time passes. She will be looking for reasons to rule you out (not always consciously), and the longer you spend together on the first date, the more opportunity you give her to do so. End the date leaving her wanting more, rather than feeling like she’s had her fill!
Happy Dating everyone!
David Cohen – The Dating Guru

How daters Torpedo their first date chances #2 Bad Location

To many, the location of the first date is a choice made at random, based on how they’re feeling that day and what activity they might feel like sharing with their date. However, the location of the first date is actually something which will play a big part in deciding whether things have the opportunity to progress to a second date.

Before considering the first date location it’s important to be clear on the objective of the first date. I’m often surprised at just how many of my clients misunderstand or simply aren’t aware of the purpose of the first date – which really does stack the odds against them. The purpose of the first date is simply to give two people the opportunity to form connections to establish if they might be compatible. That’s it. It also acts as filter to rule out anyone who might appear to have been a good match “on paper” (based on their online profile or the two minutes spent with them at a speed dating event).

So the location of the first date must be consistent with this aim. Given forming connections centres around communication (verbal and non-verbal) its seems quite at odds that people would choose a location for their first date that would make this more difficult. A noisy bar perhaps, or the cinema where you sit in silence for two hours! I coach my clients on choosing somewhere familiar to them, but also a place which has a good blend of space and other people. My recommended choice for a first date location is a coffee house. It’s relaxed (if you go at the right time), has other people milling around, and allows both daters the ability to properly communicate without distractions.
In the space of time it takes to drink a cup of coffee, you’ll either have ruled your date out as a possible match, or be thinking about the location for date two!

Happy Dating everyone!

David Cohen – The Dating Guru