First Dates Do’s and Don’ts

Going on a first date with someone can feel exciting and scary all at once. Sometimes when we are feeling anxious and not grounded we make choices, do and/or say things we might not have had we been anchored and connected to ourselves. So here are some thoughts about how to have a great first date.


Yes, I know that is easier said than done. Pretend you are going to meet a friend for coffee and notice how that feels in your body. Feel the ease with which you would approach that kind of date. Anchor that feeling in your body. If you can connect with the feeling of ease and relaxation in your body you will be able to recreate those feelings when you begin to feel yourself get anxious.

Have a short first date

This is especially true if you have never met the person before. Plan to meet at a café (or some other public place) for an hour. Have something planned afterwards. If you feel comfortable with the person and want to spend more time with them, you can always plan a second date.


It is easy to get distracted and preoccupied when you are anxious. But you will get a lot of information about the person if you keep your attention on your date and really listen to them. What do they talk about? What is important to them? How do they talk about their life? How do they connect with and include you in the conversation?

Pay attention to yourself

How do you feel when you are with this new person? Can you relax? Can you stay connected to yourself when you are with them? Is there room for you?

If you have non-negotiables put them on the table

Most people will tell you not to ask about things like marriage and children on the first date. However talking about things that are non-negotiable for you might be an important way for you to take care of yourself. If you know that your goal in dating is to meet a life partner and the person you are on a date with has no interest in a long term commitment doesn’t it make sense for you to know that right from the beginning? If you are dedicated to polyamory and the person you are on a date with only wants a monogamous relationship, don’t you want to know? If you have a dream of having children and the person you are on a date with doesn’t want or can’t have children for one reason or another, don’t you want to know now?


Valentine’s Day Reimagined

Some of you may have read what I wrote specifically to those of you who long for a partner but have not found the right person. I encouraged you to give love and attention to yourself the way you would to your sweetheart. I’m curious if anyone tried that. What was it like?

This year, as Valentine’s Day approaches I want to write to those of you in relationship who are thinking about what you want to do for your beloved on February 14th.

We live in such funny times where there is so much emphasis on the material world: what you look like, what you own, what you wear. So many people buy roses or jewelry or candy for their valentine and think that is a wonderful representation of their love.

I want to challenge all you Valentines out there to dig a little deeper this year and give your Valentine a non-material gift. Give the gift of time. Time spent just being together, talking and enjoying each other may be the most loving gift you can give.

Here are a few gift ideas for your sweetheart that will say “I love you” more than a box of chocolate or a bouquet of flowers:

  1. Give a whole day to your partner. Do whatever they want to do. No questions asked.
  2. Take your loved one to a beautiful place in nature that is special to you. Best if it is a surprise—somewhere they have never been, that you love. Sharing that special place and taking time to be there together is a beautiful gift.
  3. Plan to go on an adventure that neither of you have ever been on together. If you don’t do the actual adventure close to 2/14, make sure the date is untouchable in your calendar.
  4. Sign up for a class together: dancing, art class, cooking, or a Good Vibrations class.
  5. Give your beloved a handmade book of coupons for massages or other special treats.
  6. Make your Valentine a handmade card. Take time to make it beautiful, elaborate, unusual and particular. Get inspiration here
  7. Spend the day doing something creative together. You set it up and have all the materials ready for your partner to enjoy.
  8. Give the gift that keeps on giving- Plant a tree, or a garden with your sweetheart.

I am sure you can come up with some of your own wonderful Valentine’s gifts that are about spending time with your sweetheart. Write and tell me what you did and how your Valentine responded.


Valentine’s Day

Ahh Valentine’s Day… Martyred saints, bloody pagan rituals – Valentine’s Day has a long fascinating history way before Hallmark got a hold of it. These days most people either love it or hate it. The lovers are, well, usually the lovers. The haters are often single people who don’t want their noses rubbed in their aloneness, and partners who forget (or don’t care) about this holiday.

For those of you who are in the second category, I am writing to you. If you are single and want to be in a relationship, I have some ideas for you this Valentine’s Day. Instead of moping around and feeling sad that you don’t have a sweetheart, take this day as an invitation for self-love. Do something special for yourself: get a massage, buy a bouquet of beautiful flowers, go out to dinner at your favorite restaurant with a dear friend, take some time to be in nature and get some perspective on your life and situation. I want you to give to yourself what you will give to your lover when you have one. Love your self the way you want to love and be loved!

And one more thing…remember back in elementary school when you made little valentines for everyone in the class. I want to reinstate that ritual in the adult world. Make simple, sweet valentines to give to the people around you whom you love and even like. Spread the love: co-workers, the person who makes your latte every morning, the person who delivers your mail, friends and family. Let’s bring back Valentine’s Day as an inclusive, loving holiday.