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How do you approach somebody in real life?

Does the thought of approaching a total stranger who has caught your eye bring you out in a cold sweat?  Would you be confident enough to make the first move on a night out? You may feel it’s a bold step you could never dream of actually doing, so you might be interested to hear a recent survey found 76% of people are open to being approached by a potential date in real life. 

Many singles avoid approaching people they come across in day-to-day life because asking a stranger out in person risks embarrassment and rejection if they don’t respond well. An article on the New York Post recently pointed out that a recent poll found 45% of men aged 18 to 25 had never approached a woman in person. Another survey found 72% of men said a fear of being perceived as creepy impacts their interactions with women. However, if many single people are happy to be approached in real life, are you missing a trick by being reluctant to strike up a conversation with somebody you’d like to get to know better?

There are many ways to approach a stranger that ensure you aren’t making them feel uncomfortable or confused about your intentions. It’s important to pay close attention to how they respond to your approach and know when to call it quits if they make it clear they aren’t interested romantically. Many people are flattered to be approached and appreciate the authentic connection that can come from meeting in real life versus being approached on an app. 

We’ve shared our top tips for ways to approach somebody to help you be better prepared for making the first move when you are out and about. 

Think about where you approach somebody: It can be tricky to catch somebody’s eye on the morning commute while they may be engrossed by scrolling on their phone or rushing to get to work in time. If you are looking to create opportunities for more natural approaches, then think about places you go where you might share something in common. It could be the place you exercise, a concert, or an evening class. This makes it easier to strike up a conversation based on the common ground you share, and you can pick up on cues from the other person to judge whether they are giving signals that they are also interested romantically. If somebody starts to weave their partner into conversation, it’ll become clear they are attached. 

Try not to worry about the worst-case scenario:  Even the most confident person can feel out of their depth trying to strike up conversation with a stranger who is surrounded by a group of friends. However, if you approach them in a kind and courteous manner it’s unlikely the situation will pan out as badly as you may have feared. Things go wrong when people suspect you of having a hidden agenda or undesirable intentions, so if you are friendly and straightforward the other person will hopefully respond well. Leave cheesy opening lines well alone though, as they might create an instant turn-off. 

Don’t linger if the other person doesn’t appear interested:  It’s important to make an approach quick and move on if the other person don’t seem interested. Turning somebody down may make the other person fear you’ll react badly, so be prepared to be polite and leave. Being too persistent can make somebody uncomfortable so pick up on their reactions, including if they are looking away or getting restless, and politely move on from the conversation. 

Be more approachable: Making eye contact and smiling at strangers when you are out and about makes it much easier to initiate real-life connections. Make sure you come across as friendly and approachable, with welcoming body language instead of crossing your arms or staring down at your phone. You can glean how somebody might react to being approached if they return your smile or make eye contact.   

Move things along: If you are getting the feeling the person you like is mutually interested, you can offer your phone number or share your social media handle so you can communicate further and start planning a formal date to get to know each other better. You can also keep thing casual when you meet by suggesting you should both grab a drink sometime, and if they respond positively, you can get it touch to make the arrangements. 

Don’t forget to rely on your gut feeling when you’re talking to somebody, as their cues and body language should give you a good idea of whether they’re interested in pursuing a romantic connection. Why not try gathering up the courage to approach somebody if you like them as you never know where it might lead you, and the opportunity may never present itself again!

Are you looking for somebody special who will truly understand you and share your values, life goals and aspirations? Your dedicated matchmaker is waiting to introduce you to some truly amazing people. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you with a safe and enjoyable search for love.

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The best date ideas in West London

West London is a relaxed and sophisticated area packed full of popular places to explore and must-see attractions. If you live there, you’ll be in the know about the beautiful green spaces and architecture that enhances the area. 

As part of our London date ideas blog series, we’ve rounded up the best things to do in West London. Whether you are looking for new places to head with your partner or you’re searching for the ideal first date spot, find our top tips for the best experiences to share together. 

Find great al fresco options 

It does feel like the weather will never improve, but one day the sun will shine enough to spend a warm afternoon mooching together, seeking out an al fresco table to watch the world go by.  This is the perfect time to make a beeline for Little Venice, a tranquil stretch of water where the Grand Union Canal meets the Regent’s Canal. Rembrandt Gardens is a lovely spot for a picnic on a nice day or you can seek out the tasty eateries that overlook the canal. You can also take to the water on a narrowboat for a relaxed sightseeing tour along the Regent’s Canal to explore more of London’s landmarks. Fancy something a little different? Look for The Puppet Theatre Barge which is moored at Little Venice, offering a range of live music, theatre and puppet shows. 

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is a UNESCO World Heritage site and makes for a great day out. There is a programme of events to get involved in or you can just enjoy seeing the beautiful gardens at your own pace. 

Richmond Park is another green space to enjoy where you might get a peek of the historic herd of deer. Stretch your legs around the scenic trails while enjoying the views

Explore interesting neighbourhoods

Portobello Market in Notting Hill is one of the most famous street markets in the world offering an ever-changing variety of sellers and stalls to explore. It’s best known as the place to head for interesting antiques, but you are spoilt for choice when it comes to shopping for all sorts of things. Foodies won’t be disappointed either with a delicious array of street food and cuisines on offer. Make sure you linger in the area as Notting Hill is a great neighbourhood to explore, especially to check out the iconic pastel-coloured houses and pick your favourite from the fashionable restaurants on offer. For a real treat head to The Ledbury, a venue that boasts three Michelin stars offering delicious tasting menus you can pair with matching wines.  

Fabulous nights out

Make the most of long summer evenings on the open roof terrace at Darcie & May Green in Paddington, a venue made up of two canal boats that share a combined open air upper deck. 

Viajante87 is an intimate Latin America inspired cocktail bar in Notting Hill Gate with delightful drinks list you’ll enjoy sampling. Trailer Happiness offers great rum and cocktails with a Tiki twist on Portobello Road. If you prefer a cosy pub atmosphere then head to the Harwood Arms in Fulham, an upmarket gastropub offering a game-focused menu and produce from its rooftop vegetable garden. 

Enjoy the arts

West London is packed with must-see museums and galleries which make it easy to spend a few hours strolling around enjoying each other’s company. The Natural History Museum and Science Museum are world famous, but don’t overlook interesting options such as the Museum of Brands in Notting Hill and the Design Museum.   

Outside of theatre district, find incredible shows over at the Lyric in Hammersmith with a packed schedule of live performances available. The Canal Café Theatre is a renowned comedy, cabaret and theatre venue which has hosted many household names. Find it housed above the Bridge House Pub in Little Venice where you can grab pre-show drinks and food. 

We’ve love to hear your top tips for the best places to head in West London – share them on our Facebook or Instagram page! 

Our dedicated matchmaking team are ready and waiting for your call to help you with your search for love. Get in touch today to find out more!

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How do people meet their partner?

When you are in the thick of the dating scene, but you’ve still not met the right person it can be tempting to get fed up and wonder how anybody meets anyone. It can be disheartening to put in lots of effort but still be in search of that elusive connection. 

If this sounds familiar, you might be interested in recent stats that shed light on where people met their partner. As you may expect, there are a range of avenues that lead to long-lasting relationships. The YouGov research discovered nearly a fifth of people meet their partner at work, with an equally as popular route being meeting through friends. Of those surveyed, 15% met people while they were out and about, 7% found love through an online dating platform and 6% through dating apps. Also mentioned was meeting due to shared hobbies (5%) and through family (3%).  Digital routes were most popular among younger age groups, with more than a fifth of 25- to 34-year-olds meeting this way. 

While it may feel like the apps are the go-to place to search for love, the figures make it clear there are plenty of other successful ways to meet a partner. How you met somebody may even have a bearing on the long-term prospects of the relationship. An article in Psychology Today points out research that found the most successful couples meet through shared social networks or while pursuing a common interest. The article also points out that couples with weaker social ties outside of each other may take longer to commit to marriage. 

While it’s all well and good to hear how other people met their partners, it can be tricky to find new love interests in everyday life. Flirting and approaching people offline isn’t straightforward for everybody, especially those who fear rejection. So, we’ve shared our top tips for improving your chances of meeting somebody new, without an app in sight. 

Think about your daily routine: It’s possible to run into somebody interesting at a variety of venues you head to everyday, such as the café where you grab your morning coffee, on public transport, at the pub, or at the gym. It’s important to pay attention to what’s going on rather than being distracted by constantly scrolling on your phone. See who might be trying to catch your eye and don’t be afraid to smile and make eye contact. Mix up the venues you head to as well, as going to the same bars and coffee shops may mean you are seeing the same faces repeatedly. 

Ask friends to introduce you to people they know:  Ok, so it’s not a good idea to be introduced to a friend of a friend merely because they also happen to be single. But there’s nothing wrong with asking a friend to introduce you to somebody they know who has caught your eye. Or if a friend has genuinely seen something in both of you that suggests you’ll be a good match, then why not take up their offer of setting you up? Try to say yes to dinner party invites and opportunities to get together with your friend’s wider circle, as you never know who you might meet along the way. 

Pursue your hobbies: Going to regular meetups or trying something new is a great way to introduce you to like-minded people. Whether it’s volunteering, joining a sports group or taking a new class, you might well get chatting to somebody with romance potential. 

Try singles’ events: They might not be for everybody, but more innovative singles’ events have emerged in the past few years. It’s not just speed dating but also nights out and get-togethers based around a shared interest which can help you meet a lot of single people in a short time. 

There can be so many advantages to meeting somebody in real life. You can see what they look like and how they act, rather than trying to scrutinise a decade-old photo on their profile. It can feel a lot less forced to meet naturally through a shared activity or night out than meeting as strangers for a first date. So, next time you’re out and about why not see who you come across – you never know where it will lead! 

We’d love to hear your top tips for meeting new people in real life – tell us more via our Facebook and Instagram pages! 

Ignite Dating is an elite matchmaking agency specialising in hand-selected personal introductions for our discerning clients. Our exclusive private network of available ladies and gentlemen boasts successful and professional people, like you, who are committed to finding a partner. Find out more here.

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The best date ideas in East London

East London is packed full of iconic sights and great places to visit if you are looking for date ideas with a difference. Packed full of well-known neighbourhoods to explore where no two streets are the same, you’ll find activities to suit all tastes and budgets. Check out the latest instalment of our London date ideas blog series to find inspiration for your next date night in this exciting part of the capital. 

Explore 

Explore the stunning colours and scents of Columbia Road Flower Market in Tower Hamlets, where the street is transformed by flowers and plants available for sale from the market traders. The market operates every Sunday, and you can take a leisurely walk along Regent’s Canal to make a day of it. Over in Hackney Broadway Market offers 120 regular stalls on a Saturday so a casual stroll will give you plenty to browse and delicious food to sample. 

If you enjoy taking in the London views, try the IFS Cloud Cable Car which reaches heights of 90 metres over the Thames. It connects the Royal Docks and the Greenwich Peninsula and offers views of landmarks such as St Paul’s Cathedral, The Gherkin, Thames Barrier, and Greenwich. The service runs late at night for a romantic way to see the city lit up at night. 

Exciting activities 

Up for some fun? Check out Ballie Ballerson, a Shoreditch cocktail bar which taps into childhood nostalgia with giant ball pits and sweet-themed cocktails including the Skittle Sour and Hubba Hubba Bubba.  

Reopening in Spring, Roof East is a fun venue which is located on the rooftop of a multi-storey car park in Stratford. On offer is tasty street food, games, and an open-air cinema, with great views to enjoy as you relax together.  

God’s Own Junk Yard offers an amazing gallery of neon lights and bulb signs in Walthamstow. The bright artwork is bound to impress, and you can see signs that appeared in famous movies.

Relaunching in the summer, the ArcelorMittal Orbit offers the world’s tallest and longest slide! Be brave and share the experience while enjoying the views at the top of Anish Kapoor’s red lattice tower

Eat great food

Brick Lane is a well-known foodie destination which is famous for its curry and bagels. For bagels, try the famous Beigel Bake which is open 24 hours offering a variety of filled bagels and baked goods. There’s also the Beigel Shop which offers a great variety of products including pretty rainbow bagels

You’re spolit for choice when it comes to great curry on Brick Lane. Sheba, Aladin and The Famous Curry Bazaar are well worth a try for some delicious spicy dishes. Some restaurants are BYOB so check before you go if you fancy a boozy accompaniment to your meal. Over on Fieldgate Street is Tayyabs, which offers delicious Punjabi cuisine including their famous lamb chops. 

Pasta lovers will enjoy Tom’s Pasta, a local neighbourhood restaurant in Hackney offering fresh handmade pasta via weekly changing menu. Just fancy drinks? Try Satan’s Whiskers, a cocktail bar in Bethnal Green that offers a daily changing menu and a backdrop of hip hop music. Nightjar offers fantastic cocktails and vintage live music in Shoreditch with a glamourous backdrop you’ll both enjoy. 

We’d love to hear your top tips for the best things to do in East London with a new love interest or partner. Share them over on our Facebook or Instagram pages!

At Ignite Dating, your dedicated matchmaker is with you every step of the way, working closely with you to understand the characteristics and values that are important to you. Our experienced matchmaking team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to make your dating journey as streamlined and enjoyable as possible. Get in touch today  to find out how we can help you.

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Is it a myth that opposites attract?

Do opposites attract? It seems to be a subject of great debate with plenty of articles dedicated to examining both sides of the argument.  

Lots of people believe in the notion of a couple being compatible because they have nothing in common and wildly different tastes. The old adage that “opposites attract” refers to a long-standing belief that polar opposites often spark a romantic attraction. But is it true? 

According to the Guardian, recent research found partners were often remarkably similar when it comes to the traits they share. The study found between 82% and 89% of traits examined were similar among partners, with only 3% ranking as substantially different. The areas where people tend to be similar were wide ranging and included their religious views, levels of education, political leanings, some measures of IQ and how likely a person was to drink or smoke. 

How similar you are to a partner may have some bearing on whether the relationship goes on to be long-lasting. The Daily Mail cited an analysis of eHarmony’s Compatibility Matching System that found similarity was the key to making a relationship last, even though opposites may be attracted to each other at first. The article points out that dating somebody who is very different to you may seem attractive at first, but eventually tensions show as the differences come between a couple. While differences may seem exciting and intriguing in the honeymoon phase of a relationship, they can soon turn into obstacles and disagreements. There’s even stronger evidence that opposites don’t attract when you consider a review of 313 studies with more than 35,000 participants found that similarity was a strong predictor of attraction in early stages of a relationship. 

An article in Women’s Health points out that many people aren’t actually dating their opposites, even though it might initially seem that way. The piece points out how you may appear to be different to your partner in many ways when it comes to your tastes, but you’re probably more alike than you realise. The concept of opposites attracting may have endured purely because people don’t realise the person they are with isn’t as different to them as they might have first believed. While you may love spicy food while a partner despises it, or you both have totally different tastes in film and music, you may find you are more similar than you expect when it comes to the bigger things like values, communication styles, temperaments, and attitudes. People who may seem like opposites on the face of it could in fact have similar core values.

The tools we use to find people may also play a part in connecting us with people who are similar personality types. As the BBC points out, the online networks and sites many of us use to find friends and dates are nudging us towards people who may think similarly to us.  There are even dating apps that cater for people with specific views. The article also points out that there is evidence that opposites repel, especially when it comes to values and views. 

There’s nothing wrong with having different tastes though, with a recent survey finding more than 70% believe having different interests can lead to more diverse and enriching conversations. There’s no need to be alike in all areas, with many couples having totally different taste in clothes, food, TV, and the like. It can keep things interesting to be introduced to new habits and activities, however, deep down it is likely you are more alike than you’d expect at face value.

All relationships evolve and, and this article on Medium points out, a couple may begin as quite similar but find ways to differentiate themselves. Couples can develop complementary roles, such as one half of the partnership being the “funny one” while the other is the “serious one”. It does not mean the pair are opposites, but they are indeed becoming more complementary within the relationship

It’s an interesting debate and we’d love to hear your views on the matter. Share your thoughts over on Facebook and Instagram! 

Take the next steps to finding your perfect partner today – get in touch with our friendly team!

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Top tips for dating after divorce

Once the ink is dry on the decree absolute (or sometimes way before then), many of us start to think about meeting our next person. How wonderful it will be to be in love again, we decide. 

However, between now and that wonderful goal stands the dreaded dating scene. For many divorced people, dating can seem nothing less than traumatic. We worry we won’t find anybody who likes us and that we won’t find anybody we want to date. We fret about what to talk about on a date, what to wear, where to go.  And what about dating etiquette? Will we have to flirt? What are the new rules? It can all seem terrifying, especially if you have not dated in many years.

But with the right preparation, dating after divorce can be great fun and an enormous confidence boost. So, if you are thinking about dipping a toe in the dating world after divorce, there are some important questions to consider.  

When is the right time?

This is probably the most frequently asked question I hear from my divorce coaching clients and it comes in various forms. 

Am I ready? Is it too soon? Am I on the rebound? What will people say?

The thing is, there is no right answer. The right time is different for everybody, so you are ready when you are ready. Nevertheless, it’s important to think about why you are considering dating to test if you are doing it for the right reasons. Many people start dating because they don’t want to be alone, or because they want to hurt their ex and make them realise what they are missing. Clearly these are not good reasons to be putting yourself out there.

You also need to know your own worth and be prepared to ignore or walk away from people who will not value you. Divorce can leave you lacking in self-belief, so it’s best to invest the time in developing a firm belief in who you are and what you bring to the table. 

Be honest with yourself to judge if your resilience is low. No matter who you are, what you look like, how interesting you are, dating WILL involve knockbacks and confidence blows. Are you strong enough to take those right now? 

You are ready to date after divorce when you are doing it for yourself, for the right reasons. You know why you are dating and you are clear on what you are looking for. 

Why am I dating?

Some may think it’s a silly question but when I ask it of my clients, the disparate answers include:

  • To meet my soul mate
  • I need financial support
  • For sex
  • For companionship
  • I don’t want to be alone forever.

Knowing your “why” is important because it will clarify what you are seeking. If you are just interested in short-term dalliances right now, then maybe similar values and interests are less important than physical appearance and proximity. Conversely, if you are only interested in a long-term relationship, then looks may take a back seat to certain personality traits.

Your “why” will also impact where you look. Casual dating is more prevalent on certain apps but if you want a long-term committed relationship, you may want to consider a professional matchmaker. Remember, your motivation for dating can, and probably will, change over time.

What do I want?

This is more tricky.

Some dating experts advocate drawing up a specific list of criteria and then deciding what is non-negotiable, and what is less important. There are many factors people use to filter their choices. Physical appearance, geographical proximity, whether they have children, occupation, education, interests, and background are just some of the things that are important to people when they are deciding who to meet. 

However, the nature of dating is that even when somebody ticks every box, you may not have any chemistry between you. Of course, without chemistry you have nothing.

So, it is a good idea to understand what is important to you because it helps you understand what to look for, and what to avoid. However, the romantic in me also believes that we should remain open-minded because who knows what the next “one” will be like?

Where? 

So you’ve decided you are ready to date, so, it’s time to get started. Depending on what you’ve decided you want to get out of your search for love, your options include online dating, local singles’ events, asking friends for introductions, joining clubs, or professional matchmaking.

Dating after divorce is like any other new experience. You need to understand it and what you want from it – and then you can see if you enjoy it. 

The very best piece of advice I heard was to remember that everybody is in the same boat. The people you are dating are just as terrified, just as unsure and just as keen to meet their person. So be brave, dive in and enjoy!

Amanda Gardiner is a Divorce Coach who runs a Facebook group offering support and advice for people experiencing separation and divorce. 

At Ignite Dating, your dedicated matchmaker is with you every step of the way, working closely with you to understand the characteristics and values that are important to you. Our experienced matchmaking team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to make your dating journey as streamlined and enjoyable as possible. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you.

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Why unrealistic expectations can hold you back in dating

Having been a matchmaker and a coach for more than 30 years, it has pained me to have clients come back to me saying that they realise they let the perfect person slip through the net due to superficial reasons. Often it is because they see people like commodities and discard them without investing the time and energy to really get to know them. The reason they don’t invest further in this person is because they feel that they don’t match their unrealistic and often long list of expectations. Old patterns and fears hold people back from something magical because they get stuck in a trap of thinking they know who they want, and who they don’t want. If they had an open mind and met people based on aligned values, life aspirations, and beliefs, they would have a much better dating experience.  

It may be hard to recognise that you’re falling into the expectations trap, so I’m going to ask you a few questions: 

  • Do you wonder where you went wrong in past relationships, and are you concerned about repeating these mistakes? 
  • Do you feel someone better will always come along and dismiss good people, hoping for someone who ticks all your boxes? 
  • Do your expectations, wants, wishes and desires make you dismiss people quickly? 
  • Do you find yourself finding faults and reasons why you should not date someone or see them again? 
  • Do you go on dates and like the person, but still not give them a chance? 
  • Are you chasing a unicorn, someone who doesn’t exist? Do you try to make even the wrong person work for you? 
  • Do you procrastinate over agreeing to go on dates or seeing somebody again?  

So how many resonated with you and your dating journey?  The more honest you are the better! 

If you are looking for superficial qualities in a partner, such as a specific height, type of job, income bracket, dress size, geographical location, fitness level and so on, then you are caught in a trap that will keep you single or dating the wrong people. You are basing your tick box on a recipe for disaster, not a long-term loving, healthy relationship. The emotional space is key to recognising the right person when you meet them. Start looking for aligned values when it comes to family and work ethics. Are you both wanting a family? Are you invested in your current family and both open to creating a healthy blended family together? Do you both share the same beliefs on raising children, or even have the same wants, wishes and desires for retirement?  Your aligned values and aspirations for the future are the key to creating the right life together. Shared dreams become a joint reality. 

Clients who work with me get to unravel the expectations trap that keeps them single as well as building confidence to date authentically. I help clients identify the patterns, fears and unhealthy beliefs that are keeping them single and work with them to unlock these. Firstly, we fact-find and discover what is holding them back, then we start implementing the tools to create new healthier ways to date, and finally when clients are dating, we ensure the tools are embedded for long-term success. I have had so many successful happy clients who are all in relationships that they would never have had the confidence to recognise as the right person for them.  This is the best part of my job, watching clients reach those “a-ha” moments and finding the right love that goes above and beyond any tick box! 

At Ignite Dating, your dedicated matchmaker is with you every step of the way, working closely with you to understand the characteristics and values that are important to you. Our experienced matchmaking team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to make your dating journey as streamlined and enjoyable as possible. Get in touch today to find out how we can help you! 

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How to set social media boundaries in a relationship

How much does your phone dominate your spare time? A typical evening at home in front of the TV can often be punctuated with a stream of interruptions from your mobile phone as messages, notifications and calls pour in. It is common to see diners at restaurants with their devices perched close to their plates so they can keep an eagle eye out for the next incoming message. What you don’t always see is how irate their dining companion is because the person they are eating with more interested in the alerts flashing up on their screen. Our phones are usually the first thing we reach for in the morning and the last thing we look at night.

How much time a partner spends on their phone and on social media platforms can be a big source of tension in a relationship. In a 2014 survey, 45% of internet users aged 18-29 said the internet has had an impact on their relationships. Many people are guilty of ‘phubbing’, a term used to describe snubbing somebody you are with to look at your phone. It’s been hailed as behaviour that can severely disrupt your present moment, in-person relationships.  

However, with some simple boundaries in place it can be much easier to navigate blending your online life with your personal life. We’ve highlighted the common issues that can occur and the steps you can take to address them.

Exes on social media

A new relationship can be impacted when one person discovers the other is still friends with their ex on Facebook or Instagram. Liking and interacting with an ex’s posts can also add friction to the relationship and fuel jealousy and insecurity. The new partner may feel like you are deliberately keeping an eye on what your ex is up to. It can be worth considering unfollowing an ex that is not part of your life anymore, or thinking carefully about why you are posting on their timeline and what your new partner would make of the behaviour.

Respect your partner’s privacy

It’s often the case that one person is more private than another in a relationship, which can leave them feeling uncomfortable about the amount their partner is sharing about them both online. They might not want updates about their relationship status shared with the world, or countless photos of them appearing without their prior consent. It’s best to discuss posting anything related to the relationship beforehand, making sure the other person is comfortable with it being shared with the world. Make sure you are on the same page about the sorts of things you post so one of you isn’t left embarrassed by an overshare they didn’t want to appear online. Airing your dirty laundry via status updates is a big no-no as well.

Create device-free time

It’s important to dedicate time when it’s just the two of you, with no phones or other devices allowed. Whether it’s a mealtime, date night or just agreeing to put your phones on do not disturb while you watch a movie together, it helps make sure you are both really in the moment. In general, it pays to be mindful how often you use your phone when you are with your partner and consider catching up with messages when they are busy, or when they are also on their phone. The same applies if you are dating – there’s nothing more annoying than a date who keeps checking their phone every two minutes during dinner.

Bad behaviour online

Micro-cheating is a problematic behaviour that often plays out via social media. It’s doing that your partner wouldn’t approve of, such as not revealing your relationship status to somebody you are chatting to or having personal interactions with somebody else that they hide from a partner. It’s embarking on behaviour that you wouldn’t tell a partner about, or actively concealing online activity from them. Having clear boundaries about what you think is acceptable on social media and clear communication can help address any issues that arise.

There are plenty of positives to social media and phone communication, not least they are a good way to stay connected no matter how busy everyday life gets. They are a great way to stay in touch when navigating a long-distance relationship and social media platforms provide a sweet way of collating memories of your time together. Just ensure you get the balance right to avoid any negative consequences for budding relationships and to avoid conflict with a long-term partner.

Are you looking for love? Matchmaking is the perfect way to achieve an easy and stress-free search for love. Give our expert team a call today to see how we can help you!

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Love at first sight, is it fact or fantasy?

We are joined by coach and author Katherine Baldwin to explore how to decide if a date has potential and whether first date sparks are always a good thing.

Love at first sight. It’s a captivating concept and it’s only natural to want to feel chemistry when we meet someone for the first time. However, first date sparks don’t necessarily mean we’ve found our match, nor does their absence mean we should walk away.

Hollywood has a lot to answer for, in my opinion. Romantic movies set us up to believe that relationships should unfold in a certain way – often with intense passion, incredible chemistry, and lightning bolts from the start.

I remember comparing many first dates to my favourite romcom scenes and deciding the chemistry just didn’t match up. I also remember falling head over heels within ten minutes of meeting, only to find the relationship fizzled out within days.

Even for the most grounded of individuals, dating can be a rollercoaster. So how can we tell whether a date has the potential to turn into something more and if sparks do fly, how do we discern whether they signal a healthy or unhealthy connection?

Firstly, remember that when you meet someone for the first time, you are simply gathering information. All you need to know after a first date is whether you want to see the person for a second date. Go along with an open heart and an open mind. If you don’t feel a spark, try not to write the person off. Instead, ask yourself if you feel curious about them, and if they seem curious about you. Are you interested in knowing more about them? If you’re sure you don’t feel curious and you’re getting nothing back, fair enough, but otherwise take a moment to decide if you are judging them too quickly. Do they deserve a second chance?

Obviously, we want to look out for red flags, for warning signs and signals – perhaps they only talk about themselves; perhaps you feel uncomfortable or on edge in their presence; maybe they overstep your boundaries. But could there be another explanation. Are they talking a lot because they’re nervous, for example? Is it worth giving it another shot?

Secondly, if sparks do fly, try to keep your feet on the ground as much as possible and maintain healthy boundaries. It’s tempting to extend a good date late into the night but ask yourself whether it would be wiser to go home and arrange to meet another day.

What kind of chemistry do you have?

Importantly, remember to question whether the sparks that are flying are the result of healthy or unhealthy chemistry.

Healthy chemistry is the genuine connection we feel with someone we find attractive. We want to get close to them, find out more about them. They may have the physical attributes we usually go for, or they may not, but there’s something deeper going on. We see something in them and they see something in us.

Unhealthy chemistry is different.

We meet someone whom we find irresistible. We feel a strong pull towards them and perhaps they feel the same towards us. We throw our boundaries out the window – we share too much and stay out too late. We wake up in the morning in a relationship, without ever really making the choice. This intensity feels incredible. It’s just like in the movies.

The problem is this passion may come from an unhealthy place. Perhaps we are dating with unmet needs and deep wounds. Perhaps we haven’t done the necessary work on ourselves to feel whole and grounded. And perhaps we’re drawn to this person because they are wounded too.

Our wounds meet in the middle, slotting together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle, and fireworks go off. We’re drawn together like magnets and we stick together like glue. We ignore all warning signs because we’re floating on a pink cloud.

Perhaps we stay together and go on to have a fiery, intense but potentially unfulfilling and harmful relationship. Or, in many cases, the fireworks fizzle quickly or the relationship crashes and burns. We get hurt and we hurt others.

With all this in mind, take the time to know and understand yourself, keep an eye out for red flags but, if there aren’t any obvious ones, give people the benefit of the doubt. Welcome the healthy sparks, while proceeding slowly and respecting your own and others’ boundaries. And look out for the lightning bolts that will wow you temporarily but ultimately leave you feeling burnt.

With the above in mind, dating becomes an enjoyable experience that will lead you to the relationship you want and deserve.

Katherine Baldwin is a love, dating and relationships coach, midlife mentor, and the author of ‘How to Fall in Love’, a dating guide for single professionals. She specialises in supporting people to understand and face their relationship fears and to change their dating patterns so that they can find healthy, committed love. Katherine coaches 1:1 and hosts workshops and retreats in the UK and abroad.

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How to nail your pre-date preparation

Feeling confident into the ever-changing dating landscape isn’t always easy when your dreaded insecurities come creeping in. Even if you are usually an outgoing person, a long break from dating can impact how you feel about putting yourself out there again. Lacking in self-confidence can end up putting you off the idea of dating altogether.

It’s also a very familiar feeling to experience pre-date jitters at the thought of spending a whole evening with somebody who is essentially still a stranger. The good news is that although you can’t predict how the night will go, you can control the steps you take you build your confidence before you meet. This is where it really pays to have a pre-date ritual which you know will calm you and help you feel ready for a night out with somebody who could potentially be the right person for you.

The phrase pre-date ritual is used a lot but what it means is down to the individual to decide what helps them prepare for a big date. Here at Lucie, we offer access to a range of at-home specialists who are on-hand to help our clients get date ready.

We also know it really pays to take time out of your busy schedule to dedicate the time to self-care, and date preparation can start long before you are hours away from meeting. Getting date ready for many is not just about grabbing an extra half an hour to fine-tune your outfit choices.

With the turning of the new year just behind us, we’ve highlighted a few ways to ensure your pre-date preparation really helps you ooze positive energy and feel on top of the world!

Think about your wellbeing regime

It’s so vital to feel good on the inside as well as focusing on your appearance and outfit choices. Due to our busy lifestyles, our health often gets neglected, and our priorities end up falling to the way we look. However, your glow starts on the inside and keeping on top of your health goals is key to looking and feeling your best.

Small changes to your wellness routine can have a big impact. You might feel ready for a detox as spring finally approaches or you may want to try building some chilled meditation into your daily routine. Finding time to exercise also poses huge long-term benefits for your mind and body in terms of mood enhancement and weight loss. Whether you prefer a chilled yoga session, or you’ve set yourself a goal of completing a half marathon, exercise is a great way to take time out, improve your health and reduce your stress levels.

Work on your beauty goals if you want to

It’s not unusual to have hang-ups about different parts of your body. It might be your skin that makes you feel insecure, or the dark circles around your eyes that sap your confidence. There are plenty of different specialists available to help you target the areas you want to improve, but make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. Do it because you want to work on your beauty goals, not because you are worried somebody won’t be interested in you if you don’t look what, in your mind, is 100% perfect.

Soothe your nerves

If you can already feel the anxiety building at the thought of dating, you need to find a way to calm your nerves. If you’re overly worried about what someone else thinks of you, you will not be feeling yourself, let alone enjoying the date. As they say, confidence is sexy. Whether it’s going for a walk, getting a relaxing massage, talking to your therapist, or doing simple breathing exercises, there are many ways to suppress those nerves and empower yourself to feel ready and raring to go out!

About Lucie

Lucie offers a dedicated account manager for clients of Ignite Dating, providing advice and a concierge-type approach to their services, which are available in London, The Cotswolds, Hampshire, Surrey, and Ibiza. Please contact info@lucieapp.co.uk and 0333 880 6370 to find out more.

If you want to re-energise your dating journey, talk to the experts at Ignite Dating. Our matchmaking team work hard on your behalf to offer personalised introductions to amazing people. Get in touch today to find out more!