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Lanie's Tips and Advice

1. The question usually arises in the very beginning of the dating process, "who pays for the date? " A general rule of thumb is that whoever asked the person out should be the one to pay. In most cases, it is really nice and certainly appreciated if the man offers, strongly but gallantly, to pay the tab. The woman can offer to help, of course, or to pay the tip. And it isn't wrong for the man to accept. But he'll look especially good if he pays--many women (and men, too) are traditional and having the man pay says something to them about the man's generosity of spirit. The most important thing is to be gracious and DO NOT FIGHT OVER THE CHECK!

2. Keep your first meetings and dates positive. This is not the time to talk about illnesses, exes, allergies,money troubles or negative past experiences. No talk of diets or weight. Or bad dates. Over time, people will get to know you and your foibles. Now is the time to put your best foot and positive attitude on display. Again, no ex-talk and no "we" talk !!!!!! And avoid negative stereotypes and generalizations.

3. Remember to be polite. Keep your head and eyes focused on your date. No scanning or working the room. Or looking at your watch. If there is a lull in the conversation, ask a question that is not too personal. And turn the cell phones off (unless you need them on for your children).

4. Don't fill the first coffee meetings and first dates with bragging about yourself or selling yourself. You are not on a job interview. Believe that you are great as you are. What could excite a potential employer will probably be a real turn-off to a potential romantic partner. Know the difference between the two scenarios.

5. If the other person insists on talking about himself/herself too much, then interrupt politely with comments about yourself. Otherwise, they leave knowing more about themselves and nothing about you. A client recently told me about overhearing folks at a restaurant--he just knew they were on a first date. He said the man talked 45 minutes about himself without giving the woman a chance to say anything. You can imagine how much she wants to see that man again!

6. On the phone, don't give the impression that you are too busy to date. Get to your planner and find a time happily, even if it has to be in a week or so. People pick up on your enthusiasm -- otherwise they will come to the conclusion that you really aren't interested in pursuing a relationship.

7. Avoid sexual innuendos on first meetings and dates as well as suggestiveness. And don't dress too sexily or provocatively. Not too much personal sharing.

8. On the first coffee/tea meetings, see if you can laugh and have fun together. Do you share some common values and interests?

9. Be gracious to wait staff, people in line, etc. It has been said that how you treat a wait staff person reflects how you treat people in general.

10. Don't lead people on. At the end of a date or meeting, use the "I" word. " "I had a good time" from her or" I'd like to call again," from him. Don't ask directly -- we want people to be straight with each other and not feel forced into a lie. If you don't want to see the person again, just shake their hands and tell them that it was nice to meet them. And don't take any rejection personally. They really don't know you at all--and many really great folks just simply will not be compatible with each other.

11. Please, please be on time for your first "meetings" and subsequent dates. Folks are nervous and courtesy counts!

12. Some good places for the first meetings are a coffee/tea house or dessert place like La Fiorentina's in Northampton or the Barnes and Nobles Cafe or Panera in Hadley etc.

13. Some good places for first dates might be a picnic, a walk, a musical event, the Smith College Green House, a hike, bowling -- any place where you can chat and be in the midst of interesting things to chat about! A museum like the Butterfly Museum, perhaps - go to www. museums10. org. for more ideas.

14. Making eye contact may be one of the most important things you can do!

15. Remember to be polite and never talk on a cell phone during a date unless it is an emergency!

16. Come prepared with a few fun things to talk about and ask about, especially if you are a bit shy. Favorite book or movie, best vacation they've been on, favorite city they have lived in, what they do in their free time, what they like best about their job, what family member they are closest to. Something funny you read about it the paper. something interesting that happened to you at work.

17. It is okay to say that you are nervous--most people are. And then move on. See tip about topics to talk about.

18. Try to be enthusiastic and positive about their interests. This is not the place to devalue their interests. For example, when your date tells you he or she enjoys playing board games, and that games are the attraction at their family gatherings, now is not the time to make a negative comment about board games. Delve into common areas that are positive, things that make you smile and feel comfortable. Don't insult their taste or be insulting in general.

19. For insightful reading about relationships, I recommend books by Harville Hendrix or John Gottman. Few folks have heard of Gottman, and everyone has heard of Gray who writes the Mars and Venus books, which are fun, of course. But Gottman is one of, if not, the leading expert on marriage. Gary Chapman's book "The Five Languages of Love is also interesting. For basics, The Dating for Dummies by Joy Brown is a hoot. I like most of what she says, though she has a few rules I don't think one has to stick to. "The Grown-Up Marriage" is a thoughtful book by Judith Viorst.

20. Easy on the perfume or cologne. A trail of scent shouldn't follow you.

21. Limit the personal sharing on a first date.

22. Avoid getting hot and heavy too soon. As they say, you can't go back to holding hands. Once you sleep with someone you can't be dating others. Move slowly and get to know several folks -- and take your time. Taking your time and seeing a few folks keeps you from getting intimate too soon with the wrong person.

23. Remember that this is not a job interview. What could excite a potential employer may be a real turn-off to a potential romantic partner. Realize the difference between the two scenarios.

24. Watch the alcohol! A little nervousness usually works better than a lack of inhibitions.

25. No cell phones! Focus on your date! Unless, obviously, there is an emergency!

26. Don't go on first dates with a relationship agenda, like "I plan to be married by 30. " People don't want to be pressured from the get-go.

27. Stay open to possibilities without compromising basic values and beliefs. Maria Headley, in her late 20's, had never been married and thought she was not thinking outside of the box in her quest for a husband. She decided to say "yes" to every date, every opportunity that came her way in the course of a year. One of her first dates was with a man 20 years older with 2 grownish kids -- way too complicated, she thought and outside of her parameters. Well, at the end of the year, she came back to him and is now happily married, loving the richness of their life together. All this is reported in "The Year of Yes (Hardcover)" by Maria Dahvana Headley. So remain open and don't sabotage yourself--you just never know!

28. While one of our young Mass Matchers proved irresistible to her now fiancee with the duct tape on her dungarees as the finishing touch he couldn't resist, most of us mere mortals can not get away with that level of insouciance. While you don't need to buy a new outfit, both sexes have mentioned that they appreciate it when someone has taken the time to look nice and at least wipe the sweat off their brow.

29. Watch the nostalgia for past romances. You are with someone different who might want a fighting chance to be in your life.

30. Keep a bitter, sad, cynical, lonely, desperate attitude in check. No one wants to hear your misery on a date. Get some coaching or therapy to turn your attitude around.

31. When someone says, "You are too good for me or you won't want to deal with me" listen and RUN!

I met someone wonderful through your fine service. Lanie's moral support and encouragement helped me during the dating process. I have been having a wonderful time since I've met him. Thank you, Lanie!
Cindy, Springfield Ma
Dear Lanie, Mass Match has definitely exceeded my expectations. It was a great way to connect with someone special. I couldn't be happier at this moment.
Sam, Holyoke Ma
I moved to the Berkshires two years ago from a large city when my marriage ended. I'm in my 40's and now a single mom. I was attracted to the country lifestyle and thought it would be a great place to raise children. What I didn't realize is how hard it would be to connect with single men! The Berkshires are filled with talented, beautiful women, who far outnumber eligible single men. And because people are fairly isolated here, its difficult to meet other singles. A friend introduced me to Mass Match and really, it changed my life! They take a personal approach and only match people when they really think it would be appropriate for them to meet. Lanie is very wise about the dating scene, and able to coach her clients well. I've met so many great guys through Mass Match. I can't recommend it enough and have sent many of my friends to them for help. The cost of their services is so reasonable. Mass Match really cares, and many of the men I have met have become friends if we decided not to date further. I feel like I have a family here now. The best part about Mass Match is that you can always all or email her, if you want to talk about the dating process or ask for advice! It's a lot better than doing it yourself on the internet dating circuit!
Marie, Stockbridge Ma