Newlyweds Laurie Davis and Thomas Edwards are online dating coaches who met on Twitter after making a business connection. (Photo by Brian Phillips Photography)
Imagine what dating would be like if you became excited by the process rather than the outcome—if you looked at it as an enjoyable journey, filled with adventure, new people, and new places. If any couple is a testament to the advantages of approaching dating with a positive attitude, it’s newlywed dating coaches Laurie Davis and Thomas Edwards, who actually met on Twitter after making a business connection.
Laurie is the author of Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating and founder of eFlirt Expert, and Thomas is the founder of The Professional Wingman. After watching the adorable video about how they met, I became inspired to delve deeper into the best ways to navigate today’s often-confusing dating landscape.
So I spoke to Laurie and Thomas. Here, in excerpts from our conversation, they share their insights on where and how to make connections, plus tips you can start using today to transform your dating experience.
When it comes to dating and meeting people, whether it’s online or in the real world, what’s the biggest mistake you see?
Thomas: The biggest mistake I’m seeing people make these days is thinking there are specific times when it’s good to meet someone and times when it’s not. There is no off-season to meeting someone, and it’s important to be open to any opportunities. The second biggest mistake is that people refuse to take initiative or allow themselves to be vulnerable. The moment you make excuses for why you shouldn’t do something is the moment you sabotage yourself. Vulnerability is at the core of confidence, so the only way to be confident is by taking that risk and making the move.
Laurie: The truth is, there aren’t really any wrong places to look today when you’re looking to meet matches. There’s actually a new statistic that says that 21% of people who meet online are now finding each other on social networks, just like Thomas and I did. So whether it’s Facebook or Match.com or you’re in the real world at work or meeting your friends, I don’t think there is necessarily a wrong place to look.
Do you think there are specific places where you’re more likely to meet someone?
Thomas: Of course! You’re more likely to meet someone living your life than doing anything else. It seems simple and obvious enough, but it comes down to three levels:
1. Day-to-day lifestyle: From when you wake up to when you go to bed, there are always things you’re doing that give you the chance to interact with others. Once you open yourself to talking to them, you immediately increase your chances of meeting someone.
2. Passions: Love working out? Yoga? Spin? Playing kickball? I’m sure there are others who do, too. There are tons of groups of people enjoying the activities you love. Find them, join them, and mingle—you instantly have a commonality you can use as a starting point.
3. Hobbies or interests you’ve been wanting to try: Want to pursue photography? Hiking? Craft beer tours? These new groups will open you up to new people and experiences previously unknown to you.
Laurie: Most of my clients meet through technology. That takes many different forms, whether it’s Tinder or an app like that, a dating site like Match, or a social network. So, naturally when you’re online dating, you’re putting out into the universe that you’re open to meeting someone. But even if you’re not online dating, which is the case with some of Thomas’s clients and even some of mine, once you put that energy out into the world, you might meet someone at the park or on the subway platform or somewhere that’s a little more coincidental.
Dating is as much about mindset as it is about action. Can you expand on how a person’s attitude toward love affects their experience?
Thomas: Negative thoughts breed negative results. But positive thoughts can bring negative results as well. The common theme between the two is the lack of action that thinking breeds. What’s most important is to take positive action toward making your dating life better. Combine that with patience and persistence, and success will come into your dating life. Like muscles, if you’re not out there keeping your social skills sharp, they will atrophy, making it harder and harder to make romantic connections when it matters most. If you create a lifestyle that’s conducive to meeting people, your dating life will no longer suffer and you’ll have tons of options to choose from.
Laurie: Knowledge is power, and I think that when people work with eFlirt Expert, even if it’s just having their profile written, they walk away with confidence and a little digital swagger because they know that now they’re being represented well. Once they have a better handle on that, anything they encounter is going to be more on par with what they’re looking for.
For example, many of our clients are in their early 40s and have been very focused on their career. They’re very successful professionally, but they haven’t really focused on their love life. And now they’re ready to do that—they say, “I’m ready for love.” But they haven’t been through much of love, so they haven’t really gone through an emotional evolution yet. We learn about love through our experiences, and when you haven’t had a lot of experiences it’s challenging to truly be emotionally ready for a lifelong commitment.
But the truth is that one step, any step, will get you closer to love. It won’t just magically happen if you’re not taking action. Recognize that there is a difference between taking action and forcing it, though. Alternately, if you’ve been dating for a really long time, trying very hard at love and coming up empty-handed, it’s natural to get disheartened. But when you’re discouraged for a long period of time, that mindset will seep into everything, turning even fabulous dates into terrible scenarios in your mind. You won’t be able to recognize the difference between what’s great and what isn’t. Your outlook can change everything, so don’t be afraid of taking a break and releasing some of the pressure you’re putting on yourself. Returning with a more positive mindset will almost always change your results.
Thomas: The best exercise is to unplug for a day: no headphones or any distractions such as your cell phone or even a book. When you’re walking from one place to another, look to make eye contact with the people around you. If contact is made, smile. You never know how people will react, but most of my clients have told me that most people smile back. And if you’re feeling really good, once you get that smile back, you can say “hi” and see what happens. I’ve had a client do that and only minutes later go to a nearby coffee shop for an instant date with the other person!
Laurie: My advice is to make online dating part of your regular web habits. For example, let’s say you log on every morning, read a few articles, and then check your online dating account for about 20 minutes. Or maybe you have a specific goal in mind, like you’re going to go through your inbox and message three new people every day. Whatever it is, it should be something small and manageable that you can do to be proactive. Small micro-movements will add up to a huge impact on your heart!