Reflection

There are often times when I wonder what I would tell a younger version of myself. I think about all the things that would help me have the upper hand, all the beauty tips that would make me prettier, all the food I shouldn’t be eating, all the courage I should fake towards bullies, all the times that I shouldn’t have shut my mouth and more importantly, all the times I should.  

As I think about this question more and more, one word sticks out, more and more.
This one word of advice gives you a powerful key in the world, it gives you the upper hand, educates you, makes you prettier, healthier, stronger, hands you top secret information and enters you into a secret underground world of truth into the minds of others.
What is this magical word?
LISTEN!
Yes, listen. It really is that simple. Think about it, yes especially the ‘mouth almighty’s’ out there, what good does non-stop talking do? What do you learn about others? What help do you give others? What other view can you gain if all that is being heard are YOUR opinions, YOUR beliefs, YOUR point of views or YOUR secret recipes? 
None.  
What friend can seek solace in opening up to you about their troubles and worries if you won’t let them finish a sentence!
What knowledge can you gain against your enemies if you constantly lay out a blueprint to your mind instead?
What can you learn if all you do is repeat what you have learned so far?
What respect can you gain if others feel that their say isn’t important around you?
Listen. Listen and learn.  
Stop interrupting. Stop picking up your phone when someone is talking to you. Stop listening only to wait for your turn to speak. Stop going on and on and on!
Now before I go any further, I would like to admit that I am quite the chatterbox, I always want to give my opinion or help someone with advice from knowledge I have gained. However, I have learnt to listen. I have learnt to activate a switch in my head and send a signal that says ‘shhhhh, just listen, forget what you are bursting to say and REALLY LISTEN.  
If you want people to actually listen to you then you have to give people respect and value what they have to say too.  
I learn a lot about people by listening. I learn who they are in between their words. I learn their strength in between their sorrows, I learn their weaknesses in between their excuses, I learn their compassion in between their fussing. I get to see some extraordinary qualities that I would miss if I did not shut my trap for once and pay attention (N.B. Paying attention is the most important part). I would also miss some ignorant qualities, some qualities that make me realise that that person is not who I held them to be. Most importantly I get to know someone, I get to walk in their shoes and learn their stories. Good or bad I’m grateful that they want to share them with me and I’m grateful that I paid attention and listened to them.
Thanks for listening pride!

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So there!

(photo from anonymous source – Facebook)

Don’t people please.  Maybe leave out being evil and mean but you get the point right!  Have standards and limits and boundaries and value them pride!

You got the power!

We have got to take responsibility for ourselves and teach our children to do the same.  
Imagine if in every argument we had, instead of throwing accusations and blame towards someone else, we actually took responsibility for our own feelings and actions.
You have control of your life you just have to actually take it. If someone is making you upset or not treating you right then why on earth are you still bothering? Why are you attacking them for not changing or behaving the way you want them to. Take responsibility for yourself and recognise that you do not want to be there and you want to find someone who treats you in line with how you want to be treated.
When someone is making your life ‘hell’ change your behaviour in the situation.  
Yes it might be scary and feel hard but its the only way you will really get what you want and teach others how to do the same.  
We have got to stop blaming the world for how our life is and realise that we are shaping our own life all the time.  
Set your standards, don’t lower them for anyone and be ready to make the decisions your life will require from you.
Your life, your way pride!

The ‘Single Disease’

Although everything I write about today is true, it is also written with a pinch of salt and a little exaggeration for entertainment value. Today I am a voice for all of us out there that are single and…..wait for it……happy!!!!! I know right? Single and happy? Is that even possible? Well yes it is and guess what, we are sick of being treated like it’s a disease being single.

I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I was in a very long-term relationship for most of my teenage and early adult years and I have also been single for a good while.  I have also dipped my toe in and out of the ‘dating sea’. It is safe to say they are two different worlds.

Being single is seen as somewhat of a curse by all those that are safely coupled up around you (of course with the exception of a few people, but I am talking in general before anyone objects….and then goes back to snuggle with their other half). You are continuously asked about your dating success and when you haven’t found love with a recent ‘potential’ or you are not dating you are thrown looks of pity and given words of encouragement. I would like to point out that in about 98% of these cases we haven’t sought advice on how to console our ‘miserable and lonely’ existences, nor have we implied that we are unhappy being single.

We are also treated like children or animals, by which I mean decisions are made for us that wouldn’t be done if we had a significant other, for example:

  • Where we will sit at events and how we feel about that.
  • Where we will be accommodated and who we will share with – and how we will feel about that
  • What will be done with us when we are amongst a group of other couples – and how we will feel about that
  • What we will be available for and how we can help out – and how we will feel about that
  • What is important in our lives and what is not – and how we feel about those

If we are not on the road to marriage or children – god forbid we have other priorities – then we are seen as lonely and pathetic – we are pitied and decisions need to be made for us (because obviously we can’t make good ones otherwise we would have met someone). Perhaps our careers are taken seriously but that is about it. Now imagine the same considerations listed above were given to a couple – you know, decisions made for them. Oh no I don’t think so, both their individual needs have to be considered in any given situation and it is perfectly acceptable for them both to be as difficult, fussy or demanding as they like. If a single person does this then they are committing a crime or even worse, being irrational. What is it about being in a couple that makes you superior to those that aren’t?

Well, I have some things to say about this:

  • I don’t want to be sat next to your weird nervous friend and expect to be the person that entertains them – If you attempt to do this, I will instead talk non stop about myself and my meaningless existence unless I am paid a wage to do otherwise. Entertainment is to be valued and you pay for what you get – no wage – no entertainment.
  • I am not happy to be placed in a vehicle or room with any Tom, Dick or Harry. Instead, I will place myself at my home, where I will enjoy the company far better and am able to sleep naked and sing to myself.
  • If I am the only person in the group to not have a significant other, leave an extra space at the table or event anyway, we can pretend that one day it will be filled and I will not be unhappy and alone forever – It’s good to dream. Failing that I will bring my cat and we will both beg for extra food.
  • I am busy, always – just assume this. I will not be happy to be a dogs-body. In fact anything you want from me you should request well in advance. My social life is packed full of fun events that are far more tempting than your partners, mothers, friend’s dog’s birthday party. Ask one of your couple friends for help then you get two sets of hands, my nails are far too pretty to work.
  • My life is free and exciting and I am on a road of self discovery. Enlightenment is a stone’s throw away. Everything in my life is valuable and the way I choose it. It is all important. I care much more about my next adventure than your new garden table.
  • I am not gossip for you. Just because you are settling into evenings in front of the television and cleaning nappy’s it does not mean you should look to my dating life – or lack thereof – to get your gossip fix. Yes we notice that you look disappointed when we have none for you. May I recommend Jeremy Kyle instead perhaps.

Being single is not a curse. Settling with someone so you are not alone IS!

I have so much fun in my own company. I can do whatever I want, whenever I want without the responsibility of compromise. Yes falling in love will be great, building a family will be magical and taken into consideration a handful of people before I make any single little decision in my life will surely make me feel more complete than I can ever imagine – when the time is right. Not a moment before because quite frankly, I am totally and utterly in love with myself. I get to explore places, take in the world, learn amazing things and live each day in wonder. I am not lonely being alone. I do not want to rush my life and being me is so much fun. Whilst you are cooking dinner and making children and seeking other couples to double date with I am living my life too, just in my way. I am sleeping in a quiet bedroom that is disturbed only by the sound of my cat purring – this does not make me a lonely cat lady – I am cleaning up after only me – and I am pretty tidy. I am not surrounded by noise and people demanding from me. I still understand priorities because I have my own that are important to me. Just because I don’t want children tomorrow it doesn’t mean I have no meaning in my life. Just because I go for long walks alone or with a friend it does not mean there is no magic in my life.

I am not unhappy and I am not desperately searching for someone to validate my life.

Where is the celebration for this? Where are all the presents for me being me? Where are all the nice clothes and traditions for being independent and happy? Quite frankly your relationships cost far too much, you get married (find someone to have sex with forever)  and have children (by having sex with that person)  and we have to celebrate this and shower you with gifts, it costs us time, money and energy. Where is the celebration for the time we have given you? Where is the celebration for being celibate for so long? Surely that is an achievement? Where is the equality?

All jokes aside, I am very happy for those around me that have found someone truly amazing. It fills me with happiness to see them happy and loved and respected. To see them build families and loving homes is so special. I very much enjoy being around them. But, I wouldn’t trade places with them for the world. I feel that same happiness toward my life. So please, those of you that do any of the above, consider the possibility that your single friends probably don’t want to be you, they probably turn up to a lot of events because they love and support you but may not always want to do the couple thing, family thing or snotty children thing. They are there because they love and support you. Do the same to them and treat them like a respectable adult who has opinions and preferences too.

Here’s to each of you Pride, each one of you individually, coupled up or not. We are all fabulous.

Be Quiet!

Listen.

Listen, listen, listen.

How often do you take the time to listen to someone else? Do you enjoy talking? Do you enjoy people listening to you? Do you do the same for others?

I mean ask yourself, are you paying attention when someone is talking? Or are you thinking about what to cook for dinner? What homework the kids need to finish? What to wear on the weekend?

People know when you aren’t listening. I mean sure it can be a little obvious if you pick your phone up in the middle of someone talking to check what your friend has tagged you in on facebook, but, even if you are just thinking about something else, people know. They may not always say it, but they know.

For goodness sake listen. Put your phone down for five minutes, take your focus out of your own head and actually listen to the human being who is talking to you. If you don’t want to listen to them then don’t give them your time and let them find someone who will be considerate enough to listen.

If someone I am with is clearly not listening to me when I talk or they pick up their phone, I stop talking. Simple as that. I stop mid-sentence and you wouldn’t believe that so many of those times the other person doesn’t even realise I am no longer talking and when they come back round or put their phone back down they begin talking about themselves, as if I wasn’t in the middle of talking to them in the first place (perhaps I should stop talking about paint drying). These are the people who I no longer waste my efforts talking to about anything important to me because they do not deserve to hear it.

Sometimes your friend, partner or family member will just need you to listen to them, they may not need advice or your opinion but just your ear. So lend it to them. It is important. I am sure you like it when people listen to you.

So challenge for this week: Let’s all shut our mouths a little bit and open our ears and see if we make a difference in someone’s life. It might be just what someone we care about needs.

Listening carefully Pride!

YOU WANT MY ADVICE?

Advice – noun

an opinion or recommendation offered as a guide to action, conduct, etc.: I shall act on your advice

We all turn to our family, friends or colleagues for advice at times. Sometimes we need a few suggestions on how to handle a situation we are faced with and other people can really help us out.

Somehow, with some people and all too often, this advice turns into instruction. A way you ‘should’ be doing something. A lecture.

I hear about this all the time and witness it myself. You start talking to someone about an aspect of your life and almost instantly regret it as you begin to be instructed on exactly what you should do, how and why based on nothing other than that person’s preference or belief. You are no longer considered into this equation of ignorant advice/instruction and you end up trying to look like you are interested whilst thinking of ways to stop this person talking. I have listed below the most popular topics that people often feel like they are instructed on (the list on how to stop them talking can be sent upon request):

  • Pregnancy – All of my friends that have had children have said that one of the worst parts of pregnancy is everyone telling you what you should and should not do with your body. Can you imagine? Forget the labour, swollen ankles or the peeing every 5 minutes being so bad, it is the other people around you that can make it so tiresome. It seems that when you fall pregnant a majority of the people you will come to communicate with will be ready and waiting to share their ‘expertise’ with you. And will they all have the same advice? Oh no, of course not, but they will ALL know best and make sure you know it. If you happen to be pregnant at the moment and are suffering through this torment I feel for you. Nobody really knows best and everyone has their own way of doing things so I think it is important for you to listen to your body and the people you feel happy listening to and tune the others out. Perhaps use the extra need to pee to get the hell outta there and stop them talking…..unless of course they follow you to the toilet and talk outside the door, then, failing you and bump being able to squeeze out of the window, proceed to sticking toilet paper in your ears until you can no longer hear them.
  • Relationships – Well we all like to discuss our relationships with friends when we need to but, there are those certain friends that you instantly regret opening your mouth too. You know the ones, they tell you what you did wrong and what you should be doing instead. They advise you on what you need in your life and it sounds strangely similar to either their current ‘successful’ relationship or similar to the person they think they are but in fact, are not. I’m not talking about the friend that kindly suggests something thinking that referencing themselves may inspire you, I’m talking about the friend who proceeds to lecture you on exactly what you need, what you are ready for, what age you should be, where you should be at in your relationship and how you should feel about it. The phrases ‘you shouldn’t want to settle down yet, you are too young’ or ‘you are mad wanting to meet someone, if I was single I would love it’ or of course ‘he’s a nice man, don’t end it hastily, your feelings will grow’ all because they liked him the one time they met because he complimented her dress. These are the times when it is fully acceptable to think about what you will eat for dinner instead. Nobody knows what is right for you and telling you what you should want or what you should do based on what they want and think they would do isn’t helpful. Suggestions are of course helpful but only when a person considers who you are as part of that, not who they are. If they want to go at it from that approach then the following should be said in that sentence ‘I can only tell you what I would do’ and it should not become an instruction for what you should do.
  • Careers – This is the one I suppose I feel most strongly about. I grew up being told that a ‘real’ job was working for somebody else, that following my dreams was a fairytale and would never get me anywhere. That working part-time in my twenties was me refusing to grow up and that £8 an hour was good money. I have had to battle a lot with other people’s judgements and my own to continue to work towards my dreams. And now, finally I have fully accepted that my life is made for living and dream chasing. It may not be for everyone and their dreams will be different from mine so I say to anyone – do whatever makes you happy and do whatever you feel is right for you. To anyone telling me, you or any other soul how and what they SHOULD be doing in regards to working a ‘real’ job that isn’t, in fact what YOU want to do, I say IGNORE THEM. They don’t have the courage to believe in themselves otherwise they would be encouraging you to believe in yourself too. These negative people want to soul suck you down into their pit of fear and misery so that they are not left alone there. They believed the people who told them the same thing. I want to say I BELIEVE IN YOU, ALL OF YOU. If it doesn’t work the first time, it can work the second or the third or even the three hundred and seventy-fifth time. You can be anything you want to be and do anything you want to do. At least the journey towards doing that will be one hell of an adventure.

It is also good to consider the advice you give others, where does it come from and is it in the best interests of the person you are giving it too, or yourself?

To all of these people who want to give you the rules and instructions for these above mentioned parts of your life and any other parts of your life, I want to share with you a visualisation technique (a practical exercise if you are around those it won’t offend). I was with two of my favourite people on this planet yesterday, Ciara and her husband Dan. Dan was telling us a story about a group of kids driving past his boss and in slow motion one of the kids raised his middle finger at him, his boss shrugged and carried on walking. That was it. It was actually pretty funny by the sounds of it too. But it got us laughing at the idea of using this method when someone is really butting in to your life and telling you what to do. Imagine it, hold up your closed fist and as slowly as you can with a blank expression on your face, raise up your middle finger. I think it makes the perfect point. We named this ‘The slow flip of the bird’. Anyone who starts telling you the ‘rules of life’ or instructions on how you ‘should’ do something, just give them ‘The slow flip of the bird’, perhaps in your head if it is inappropriate to physically do this but do it. Slowly. All the while remember that you can make your own choices and your own decisions about what is right. Listen to your instinct. Your gut is your guideline, always.

Slowly flippin’ the bird at all the preachers and rule-tellers out there, have a great week pride!

DATING DO’S AND DON’TS – PART 7

HOME TIME:

A short and sweet post today.  No I am not going to give you a curfew! It is my belief though that on a first date you should make sure you leave at a respectable hour – meaning you aren’t out partying at 2am. There are two reasons for this:

The first reason is so that you give the impression of being a respectable lady. You are on a first date and therefore you are setting a few standards. One of these being respect. A gentleman shouldn’t want to keep you out all night partying on a first date. He should want to see you home at a reasonable time, it shows that he doesn’t see you simply as a ‘good time’ girl. You don’t need to be Cinderella but you should consider that this man should earn your time and he should want the challenge of earning it, if he is serious about a possible future with you.

The second reason is a little more simple. If you meet someone and you spend a few hours together and have a really good time, leave it at that point. Do not try to drag out that feeling into awkward silences or lack of conversation. You do not want to simply stay out to keep the feeling going. Instead it is far better to leave whilst having had a great time and are interested to see that person again. A little taste of something good makes you want more, over indulging makes you sick.

Sounds so simple but far too often we fear ending something in case we don’t see or hear from that person again. If someone has enjoyed your company and felt like time has flown by they are going to be far more interested to see you again and sooner rather than later. When you feel the conversation slowing a little, simply look at your watch and say you better be heading home….or pick a place that doesn’t close too late and then it is sorted for you!

Start small and grow tall Pride!

The traditional feminist.

So I have decided to get a better idea of what it means to people to be a ‘feminist’. This was sparked by a friend of mine who went on a date on Saturday night. It was a first date and the man she went out with arranged a place to meet for some drinks. He bought two rounds of drinks and they were getting on very well. He then said to her ‘aren’t you going to get the third round in? I gave you a chance to get the second round and then gave you the benefit of the doubt by getting them myself’. My friend is a very ‘traditional’ girl – partly to do with culture and partly to do with her own views on men and women. She laughed and explained it was a first date and she believed that if a man asks you out he should pay. It sparked a debate between them and he explained that he was a real feminist. He put it down to the fact he was ‘artsy’ and people in ‘that world believe in feminism’. (Thanks for believing you speak for the whole of the Arts world). It got me thinking, does being a feminist mean that the roles for courting are now the same? Should a woman be just as willing to carry her groom through the threshold? Should he wear a fake breast and feed his newborn baby? Should she court him? Should she open the door and let him through first? Does feminism mean that men and women do not have differences?

The definition of the word feminism is different to different people. I have taken some time to ask men and women from all different backgrounds and cultures what it means to them and what being a feminist means in a relationship between a man and woman.

The dictionary definition of a feminist (dictionary.com):

Advocating social, political, legal and economic rights for women equal to those of men.

The world, in my opinion, owes a lot of thanks to feminism and there are still a lot of issues that are being fought or highlighted in regards to women’s rights that, without feminism would go unnoticed. I have listed just some of the changes made below by people who have fought for women’s rights:

  • Women were once largely absent from standard history texts.
  • Women did not used to be allowed to vote
  • Women could not have credit cards in their own name
  • Women could not legally terminate a pregnancy
  • Women could not attend certain Ivy League colleges
  • Women could not become an Astronaut
  • Women could not join the Army
  • Marital rape was ok
  • Sexual harassment at work was not illegal

In the Western world a lot has changed for women and we now have many equal rights to men. There are now lots of issues being highlighted across the rest of the world and feminists, are fighting hard to stand up for women.

Often I hear people using the term ‘feminist’ to make a woman feel like less of a woman. It will be used to try to put down her independence, her career or her relationship. It is a way of defeminizing a woman.

I asked the people around me what they thought. I asked men and women, some older, some younger, some gay, some straight, some single, some married. I asked two questions, the first was what feminism meant in everyday life, the second about what feminism meant in a relationship.

The general feedback about feminism in everyday life seems to always come down to the workplace. They believed that a woman should be paid the same as a man in the same role and that they should be able to apply for any job a man can.

One friend of mine is doing a college course in plastering and she has had a lot of negative response about doing so, particularly by males. Not in the sense that they are ridiculing her but in the sense that they can’t understand why she would do that being a woman. She has even had comments about doing a nice easy job instead, one where she can look nice instead of learning this trade. For her feminism is about being able to do whatever she wants to do regardless of gender and not being judged or believed to be unfeminine.

Nothing was really highlighted about political rights, medical rights or even really social rights – i.e credit cards. I like the idea that we have come so far as to not even recognise there was ever a difference in these now, although they should not be forgotten. It shows that everyone involved in fighting for these rights really accomplished something, so much so, that they are a natural way of life now in certain parts of the world.

The feedback I had about being a feminist in a relationship was a little more varied. However, it has been quite common that people view a feminist as typically a woman who will be challenging, difficult or stubborn. She will expect to be regarded the same as a man but with the man still paying on dates and pulling out a chair or opening doors. Perhaps it would be fair to say that there is a feeling of hypocrisy. She is also seen as somebody fighting against the entire male race and she is typically not feminine, I even had a friend describe it as unfortunate that a feminist is often thought of as ‘a woman with short hair, tom-boyish with unladylike mannerisms’. This is so true and often joked about socially. The stereotype is quite ironic – A feminist, is not feminine.

Some of my friend’s view feminism as being able to be respected and seen as strong and succesful in their careers, as much as a man would in the same role, and even though that is what THEY are, they don’t view themselves as feminists because they are a stay at home mum cooking dinner for their husband. I found this interesting.

I had one response that I found so important and so right that I was almost sad to see that it was neglected to be highlighted in every other response I received, it was in regards to feminism in a relationship – I quote:

‘It would also be about respecting each other’s bodies and not forcing the other person to do what they don’t feel comfortable doing. ‘

This is a great point because like I mentioned earlier, at one time marital rape was not considered a crime. Without feminism this would still continue to be acceptable. By regarding a woman as equal it means that she is equal sexually too and her body has to be respected. Something still not adhered to in many countries today. Sexual abuse and domestic violence are very serious and very damaging to a person. Can you imagine living in a world where this is deemed acceptable? Many people do and even those that don’t and still suffer it often don’t feel supported enough to come forward. This was just such an important point that is actually very much to do with feminism (whether or not you are for or against it) and yet it is forgotten far too easily, by myself included.

I started to question people a little bit more to find out whether or not you could be a feminist but still have a traditional relationship.

Once asked this question and given time to think, many of the people I spoke to actually agreed you could be a feminist and still have a traditional relationship. That there are in fact differences between men and women that need to be respected. That these differences don’t make one gender more important than the other.

I talk a lot about the roles of men and women and you hear me always support the idea of being a strong and independent woman. I do not believe men are better than women or vice versa (maybe I do take my own side occasionally, but come on, girl power and all)!

I was thinking about a young woman I met in Bali who was telling me that her husband forbid her to work so she couldn’t work. We knew each other well and I leant to her and said ‘Where I come from, I do what I want to do, no man can tell me what I can and can’t do’. She laughed because she knew I was telling the truth, but she also laughed because she didn’t believe she could ever get away with having the same attitude. It angered me that people could feel so controlled. That women believed they were lower than men. If I could teach every woman on this planet to stand together and unite and empower each other to understand their worth, I would. I would teach them that no man has the right to take from you, no man should be paid higher than you simply for being a man, no man can control your life.

I believe that a woman should be ambitious and not be defined by a man. She should be educated and follow her dreams. She should be self-sufficient. She should make her own money and have her own career. She should take herself out and spoil herself. She should love herself. She should have choice and control over her own life.

Doesn’t this make me a feminist?

Yet I believe that a man should be the head of the household. The protector, the provider (to a certain extent), the one to take out the rubbish, he should be respected by his kids and they should fear crossing him. I believe a woman should raise the children (however she so pleases of course – she can work or not work that is none of my business). I believe a woman should nurture and care for her man, she should take care of him by being a woman. The love of a woman is different to the love of a man. We both provide different things. Being equal does not mean we are the same. I believe a man should impress and court a woman and she should allow him to do so. I believe anything else emasculates or defeminizes either gender. This is not healthy and not in line with our animal instincts. For me I do not find the idea of carrying my groom over the threshold attractive, I expect him to open a door or pull out a chair. I expect him to be as much of a man to me as I will be a woman to him. That is still equal.

I believe that a traditional and feminist relationship is healthy. Feminism is not about attacking the entire male race. It is not about proving our physical strength to be the same. It is not about becoming a man, but knowing that by being a woman we are as strong and magnificent and powerful as any man could be, but in our own way. The way of a woman. Most men I know and have spoken to, agree with this.

How has the word feminist been changed to this stereotype that most people today believe it means? I myself have pictured this stereotype when hearing the word feminist. I do not now.

What do you think?

DATING DO’S AND DONT’S PART 6

CONVERSATION

This, in theory, should be a topic that doesn’t need covering. However, it does need covering….very much so….for both genders.

Good conversation is essential for a date to be considered successful and although nerves can come in to play a bit it is really quite simple to avoid any awkward ‘mind-blanking’ silent moments.

It is also very obvious to avoid being vulgar or emotional…or so I thought. Apparently too many people are unaware of what shouldn’t be talked about on a first date.

So below are some of those beloved Do’s and Don’ts.

DO:

  • Ask questions – It is important to make an effort to get to know the person you are on a date with. Take an interest in who they are.
  • Listen – Do not interrupt (unless it is relevant to what they are talking about and cannot wait another two minutes). Listening is so important. Too often people try to simply compete with each other. It is not a fun conversation when it goes along the lines of ‘I did this’ ‘well I did this’ ‘and I like this’ ‘well I like this’. Each time you open your mouth remember it is not a chance to brag about what or who you are in comparison the other person. Enjoy listening.
  • Be honest about what you are looking for – you don’t have to inform someone that they need to marry you or show them the condom in your wallet, but, being open about what you are looking for ensures you are both on the same page and not wasting each other’s time.
  • Be genuine – you don’t need to act or be a certain way. Let someone get an idea of who the real you is.

DON’T:

  • Talk about sex – Learn someone’s boundaries before making possible inappropriate comments. It is important to show a lady you respect them and pushing through those boundaries too fast could be fatal. Likewise ladies, it is important to show a man you respect yourself.
  • Act like you are with your friends – Whilst it is important to be comfortable with someone you are considering as a partner it is important to consider that you are not ‘chilling with a friend’ you are in fact, on a date. A little charm goes along way as does a little grace and elegance. It is nice to have a joke and be able to have fun and relax but remember you are playing man and woman not Tweedledee and Tweedledum. Save that for your actual friend’s. Speak politely, keep your jokes clean and be kind. I actually have a friend who went on a date with a guy that spoke about his toilet activities for a good while. He didn’t pick up the disgust on her face or the confused and nervous laugh. He just carried on with the subject. I will let you guess whether or not she met up with him again. I have been on a date where the guy told me all about his recent first experience with LSD. I hadn’t once mentioned drugs or implied that I would find anything of the sort impressive. I was completely unimpressed by his story and my face clearly showed this but he went right on talking and laughing at himself. I have endless stories of shocking conversation topics from myself and my friends that still leave us jaw dropping-ly gobsmacked.
  • Put down the other person. The person sitting opposite you is exactly who you see. If you don’t like what they say or think then accept that they are not the person for you. Do not criticise the way they are simply because you are different. Accept it or move on. The amount of men that have thought they can manipulate me into changing who I am by belittling my principles and beliefs is astonishing….and guess what…..not one of them managed to succeed but they were all completely shocked that I didn’t want to see them again. The other side of this is that you can make someone feel bad about themselves and that is not on, no matter who you are.
  • Excuse behaviour that you won’t tolerate down the line – If you are spoken to in a way you do not like then make it clear. You cannot simply brush it off and then have a problem with it at a later date. Be clear on what is acceptable and unacceptable from the beginning.
  • Be too emotional or negative – Yes you want to meet someone you can eventually share everything with but you are not an open buffet. Save some personal problems for down the line – or try to resolve them before hand. Nobody wants to hear all about your debt, your horrible boss, your Ex’s, your health worries or your miserable outlook on life. Your personal problems are exactly that – personal. Unless it is a fun story or you gently touch on the subject because you have been asked, nobody wants to save someone from the victim river so wear your armbands and a rubber ring. That damsel in distress act is not to be confused with a Negative Nancy!

People are so different that you cannot put too many rules on conversation but you can follow some basic and courteous guidelines. Prepare some questions before you arrive and that way if conversation does run out a little bit you can try to spark it off again. I have included some nice easy questions you can use below:

  • Do you have brothers or sisters?
  • Have you always lived in the area?
  • What kind of films do you like?
  • Have you ever had any pets?
  • Have you travelled to many countries?

These are some easy questions that can spark off a whole new conversation with tons of sub topics.

In the meantime pride I would love to hear some of the most shocking things you have had to listen to…..