Before any event, my own or someone else’s, I always get this completely irrational need to pee. I know that I’ve already been to the bathroom, and that once the lights go up, I’ll be fine. It still gets me every single time, even when I try to NLP myself out of it. Last November, I went to see one of my long time mentors give a talk. I looked at one of my soul sisters who came with me, sighed and said “I’ll be right back” with a knowing smile. “Be quick!” she said, as she knew I was super excited to see the man of the hour speak.
I walked out of the auditorium with haste and excitement, when BANG! I bumped into the man himself on the way to a very similar mission. This man was speaker, New York Times Bestselling author, columnist for Cosmopolitan Magazine, and dating expert Matthew Hussey. His work has provided so much inspiration in my life both personally and professionally. We exchanged sheepish glances and he surprised me with a warm and friendly “Hey!” I’m sure I squeaked the same greeting back, I can’t be exactly sure… He didn’t come across as arrogant or rude or awkward – in fact he was exactly as he comes across on his social media channels. This is always such a pleasant surprise.
The biggest surprise however came when he opened his talk by saying that if we were expecting 'woo woo self help', we were in the wrong place. This struck a chord with me immediately. You see, both Matthew and I coach from a place of practicality. If it’s not easy to implement or understand, there’s no way a client will take a coaching tool into their daily lives. Relationships, good ones and one’s worth staying in, don’t just fall out of the sky. Love is where a relationship starts, the work is where they continue.
He sympathized with the audience of 99% women in their twenties and thirties, as dating has become so complicated this day in age. Singles are constantly bombarded with advice such as “do something different”, “look your best”, “it’s what’s inside that counts”, “be honest… but don’t talk about the future!” Where is the face palm emoji when you need it… when I speak with clients personally, I get the sense that dating has almost become hard work or a chore. Matthew said that his aim for the next three hours was to make dating fun again and bring a sense of calm to the process. For many women, there is a biological panic around timelines.
The best way to do this? Create something of value, as the marketplace rewards value. Matthew went on to quote comedian Steve Martin: “Be so good they cannot ignore you”.
Allow me to share with you Matthew’s three step approach to a better dating experience and hopefully higher quality matches. It’s something I’ve been sharing with my clients and applying to my own love life!
STEP 1: CREATE OPTIONS
When you feel like you have options, and aren’t so restricted, we make better decisions. I’ve watched so many people, myself included, accepting awful behavior ‘in the name of love’.
Matthew asked us to change our perspective on the dating climate, and positioned it as the best time ever to find a match, as people have lost a sense of community and tribe, so that we’re starved of real depth and connection. We seem to think that men were so different and gentlemanly ‘back in the day’. His response? “If men could have sent dick pics 100 years ago, they would have.” Touche.
This means that less people are actually able and willing to show up and engage with each other, which creates an opportunity for us to take risks and chances that other singles wouldn’t. In his research, he had found that men are holding back and not talking to the women they’re attracted to.
There is a common misconception that women need to ‘play hard to get’. Matthew argued that this is pointless and gets people nowhere. His recommendation? Be easy in the first five seconds, drop the handkerchief as it were, and allow the opportunity to create itself.
It was heartening to hear Matthew state that dating apps are not the best place to create options. Instead, you can meet people anywhere, anytime – it doesn’t even have to be in a nightclub. As I write this, I just met a man recently on the drive home. We chatted at the red light, and he boldly yet in a gentlemanly manner, asked for my number. It can truly happen when and where you least expect it, but you have to be open to that opportunity.
The biggest take home out of this section then? Get off your phone and out into the real world!
STEP 2: CREATE ATTRACTIONS
A huge learning for me was the amount of women present that day who had no idea how to flirt. Perhaps being of Latin origin, it’s something I’m a born natural at! It was fascinating to watch as Matthew took women up on stage to teach them how to get a man’s attention using eye contact only. A summary of his advice:
1. The look: make eye contact for 1-2 seconds, then look away. Have another look, this time for 3-5 seconds, then look away.
2. Proximity: if you’re in a crowded venue, get closer to the person that you’re interested in. 30% more males will say or do something if they don’t have to cross the room.
3. Say something: don’t be afraid to be the one to start the conversation.
Matthew often hears women say, “it’s different for me, I can’t do that, I have kids/am recently divorced etc etc.” You can flirt and make connections regardless of age or circumstance. Baggage is as heavy as you make it.
The best way to create these attractions is to turn up the volume on the parts of yourself that have been turned down. We all have a unique pairing that makes us interesting and attractive to another person, two qualities that seem opposite in theory, but are quite complimentary. For example, safety AND excitement. Independent AND playful. Sexy AND feminine. Have a think about your own unique pairing of qualities and own it!
STEP 3: CREATE STANDARDS
This is the point of the afternoon where I felt I had been punched in the stomach – you know that sick feeling you get when you hear someone speak or read in a book that life lesson you really needed to hear? Well, the standards part definitely spoke to me as well as my soul sister. It was all we could do to not laugh and cry at the same time about how applicable it all was!
Matthew very passionately stated to the room that accepting behavior that is beneath us has to stop. The wrong type of men will try to get what they can based on how little they have to give. His most urgent message was for the room to start saying no to the wrong type of guys more quickly.
We tend to find a way to convince ourselves that “it’s different”. The truth is, it’s not. When a man says you can’t be together, for whatever reason, listen to them. They will wriggle out of effort and quite honestly, you’re a fool to wait for that change, as life is far too short.
In the early stages of dating, it’s incredibly important to meet the man where he’s at. Don’t jump two or three steps ahead. Match his messaging style and level of interaction.
Moreover, when he behaves in a way that doesn’t make you feel valued, make him feel the consequence now, or you will feel it later.
The best way to encourage higher standards in your dating life? Matthew says you have to realise that YOU are the asset.
Over the course of the afternoon, Matthew shared many ancedotes from his personal life, which we all greatly appreciated. It was hard to imagine that this confident, successful and handsome man once struggled to find his own dates. He was always ‘the nice guy’ or ‘the friend’. He only ever went out with women who approached him, and he accepted taking whoever picked him, and not the other way around. Thankfully, he has since realized that this doesn’t work!
See yourself as the prize and know the value that you will bring into a relationship with you. This is the sexiest and most empowered place to date from!
My girlfriend and I left that afternoon having laughed, cried and even danced our way into a higher state. I hope that by sharing Matthew’s work you can create those opportunities, enjoy those attractions and raise your standards higher than ever.
In love and gratitude