Love in Progress《爱。进行中》Ep 5: Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

Episode 5 must be one of the most-discussed episodes to date. The episode has been discussed heatedly by netizens, and even featured on local newspapers.

The key reason?

One of the female contestants, when asked about her dating preferences criteria, mentioned that money is very important to her and money gives her a sense of security. She also stated that she would prefer that the guy earns at least $6000 a month. This has created an instant uproar. Netizens started slamming her for being materialistic. I even received calls from the press to ask me about my opinions on this issue, which I will share more later in this post.

From left to right: Sharon, Jia Xuan, Chen Wei, Vincent, Lance, Ben

There are some interesting lessons that I have picked up from this particular episode.

1. It pays to be gentlemanly. Out of the three guys – Vincent, Lance and Ben, Ben is the one who comes across as most gentlemanly and chivalrous. He would pull out the chairs for the ladies, ask them what they would prefer to drink etc. Guys, even though some might think chivalry is dead, from this show, it is obvious that old school charm does have a part to play. Ultimately, Ben was chosen as one of the two finalists, and eventually became the winner.

2. Do not become too comfortable too fast. Jia Xuan, one of the female contestants is a bubbly, outgoing and straightforward girl. She is very much what I would say is "what you see is what you get". In the initial getting to know you session, she ended up bringing up both her legs, and sat on the sofa as if she's lounging at home. It is good to be authentic and genuine, but we do need to keep certain decorum on a first date.

3. Women like men who take charge. During the rope-jumping segment, Vincent really stood out as he immediately took charge of the situation by allocating job scopes. This was very helpful in this segment, as it was being timed. Many a times, many groups will just stand around and wait for someone to take charge and end up wasting time. What was really remarkable was that he did it in a way that showed his decisive nature yet did not come across as ordering people around. 

4. Speak your mind to be noticed. One of the reasons Lance lost out was because he did not seem to have an opinion. Generally, he is more introverted and quiet compared to the other 2 guys in this episode. However, he should have capitalised on the Q&A session to chalk up some brownie points. However, during the Q&A session, on 2 separate occasions, he just said that he agreed with what Vincent has said, and offered little of his own thoughts and opinions. We do not need to have strong opinions on every single thing. But we do need to have our own opinions, and we need to share them so others get to know us better.

5. Always be prepared for a first date with a 'cheat sheet'. Both Vincent and Ben are comfortable conversing in crowds. They are funny, they are witty and they are popular. However, during the one-on-one date, they both seemed nervous and at times there were some awkward silences. The reason is probably they both liked Chen Wei and they wanted to make the best impression impossible (and not screw up!). As a result, they seemed more self-conscious than they usually are. In these circumstances, I would suggest that guys prepare some interesting icebreakers, openers or even topics that they can fall back on when their palms start to sweat.

6. Head vs. Heart. Based on the various scenes captured on TV, it is evident that both Chen Wei and Vincent are smittened with one another. The shy sidelong glances, their body language, the way they spoke about each other… I think many must be surprised when Chen Wei chose Ben over Vincent. She probably chose with her head and not with her heart as she rationalized that Vincent is out of her league. I am not saying that Chen Wei has made the wrong choice when she chose Ben. Because, it might well be the right decision. However, I think it is important that we have enough self-confidence to know what we want and work towards it. In love and relationships, there is no guarantee that if you work on it, you will get your desired results. However, if you do not even try, then you are going to fail for sure.

Personal Story: When I first got to know Jamie, the right thing to do was probably not to pursue the relationship. He was sending me all the signals that he was not ready to start a relationship since he was graduating in 3 months' time, and I still had another year to go. What that meant was we would end up in a long distance relationship when we do not even know each other too well. I am glad I followed my heart. We eventually got together, had a 2.5 years long distance relationship, and the rest they say is history. 🙂

7. Some things are better left unsaid (especially on a first date). Honestly, we all have our dating criteria and preferences. Men generally place a lot of importance on good looks and physical appearance. And women are generally looking for some one who is confident, carry themselves well and financially stable. We understand these biological attraction markers, and when we match at Lunch Actually, we would also look out for these criteria and match accordingly i.e. if the lady earns $75,000 per annum, we would not match her up with someone who earns $35,000 and below unless she has specifically mentioned she does not mind. The reason is, they probably come from very different backgrounds and circumstances and would usually not be very compatible (of course, there have been exceptions). However, for someone to spell it out so clearly how much they would like the guy to be earning, it is definitely a put-off for guys.

Some of our well-off guy clients have also mentioned that they do not want to be matched with ladies who have specified that they only want to date guys of a certain income range. The first question in their head will usually be, "Do you like me or do you like my money?"

Earning big bucks can definitely be a shared objective and common goal if money is important to you. However, to disqualify someone because he or she does not earn $6000 is not the best dating criteria in my opinion. 

Ultimately, the best matches are those where you share common values and common life goals. 

The contestants in Episode 5 are all young and good-looking. To watch this episode, click here for catch-up TV

Till my next episode commentary, happy dating! 🙂

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Love in Progress《爱。进行中》Ep 1: The Importance of Sincerity & Thoughtfulness

A few months ago, I was invited to be one of the 'consultants' on a local dating reality show. As I have heard so much about dating reality shows abroad, I was really interested and excited to be part of a local dating show. The show turned out to be 'Love in Progress'!

I will be featured as a dating consultant on 5 of the 10 episodes, where I will be giving dating tips and advice to the singles prior to their first date, as well as during the date. This is actually something that is fun for me, as we do not get the chance to observe or 'spy on' the dates that we arrange for our clients at Lunch Actually. In this filming situation, I actually get to 'eavesdrop' on the date, and give constructive feedback as we go along! 

I plan to give my comments and insights on each and every episode so that it would give my readers as well as the viewers who are single on how they can maximise their chances of finding Mr or Ms Right. As I am quite busy with work and business travel, my blog posts might not be as frequent as I would like them to be. Please do bear with me. 🙂

My First Impression of The Contestants

Madelyn: Her first appearance on the TV screen was quite striking. She was wearing the shortest dress among the the girls, and her dress is quite low-cut as well. Coupled with a confident strut, she comes across as a girl who knows what she wants. My advice: For ladies, it is better to go for a more feminine and elegant look for a first date. Revealing too much skin on a first date is not such a good idea as it might give the guy a wrong impression. It is good to be straightforward rather than beat around the bush. However, if the girl comes across as too aggressive and always needing to have the last say, guys would find that off-putting. Remember, you are on a date, not a debate.

Chanel: Chanel might not be the prettiest, but she came across as friendly and approachable. Her dressing is also chic and trendy. Even though it was an asymmetrical top that reveals her shoulder, it is not overtly sexy. My advice: It is not necessary true that the most beautiful girl will finish first, and the plain girl will finish last. So, if you have always felt like a plain Jane most of your life, do not dismay. Often, it is about being kind, friendly and having a ready smile. 

Siew Jing: Among the three ladies, Siew Jing comes across as the most gentle and feminine, which should work in her favour as men in generally prefer ladies who are not too aggressive. However, Siew Jing is so quiet in most of the show that she ended up being like a wallflower. My advice: First impressions are made in minutes if not seconds. It is important that you make a lasting impression to your date. You can either make a good impression, bad impression, or worse… no impression. You do not need to hog the conversation, but you do need to speak up to get noticed.

Zi Han: He came across as someone who is stable, matured and knowledgeable. As a guy, this is a good impression to convey on a first date as women like men who are driven and know where they are heading. My only gripe about Zi Han is his choice of shirt during the initial meeting. He was wearing a mustard yellow shirt that does not complement his skin tone at all. It made him look very sallow. My advice: One of the best investments we can make for ourselves is to find out the colours and styles that suit us best. The easiest way is to work with an image consultant. This does not only help us in our dating journey; it would also help us in our career as we would be making the best first impression every time.

Albert: At first glance, Albert seems like the most eligible out of the three male contestants. He is tall, he has a corporate look and he was dressed in a light jacket. (Note: Albert was eventually not chosen as the final two due to other factors.) My advice: I know that in Singapore and Malaysia, the weather is really hot, and we do not have a 'jacket culture'. However, men always instantly look smarter in a jacket, and just by putting on a jacket, you would be perceived as having a better career or have a higher earning potential. Hence, invest in a casual jacket that you can pair with your slacks or your jeans when the occasion calls for it.

Kok Liang: My first impression of Kok Liang is that he is rather skinny, and he tends to hunch. In terms of his dressing, his style is young and trendy. Generally, he comes across as someone who is very young and not very confident, which is not an advantage when it comes to dating. However, Kok Liang makes up for it by coming across as someone who is friendly, sincere and down-to-earth. My advice: For younger guys, you can appear more matured by choosing dress shirts that are thicker, wearing glasses or even just by changing your hairstyle. It is also about how you speak and the way you carry yourself. By speaking in a lower and deeper voice with a more measured pace, you instantly come across as more matured and confident. 

One-on-One Date: Chanel with Zi Han

I thought Zi Han's choice of gift for Chanel was really refreshing. Rather than just buying flowers or chocolates which are typical presents for a first date, he actually presented her with a Princess Barbie Doll in addition to a small bouquet. It was a brave move as some girls might not be into dolls at this age. But Zi Han made the right choice as Chanel absolutely loved it, and you must see her swoon when he said, "I want to treat you like a princess…"

Zi Han shared with me that he actually prepared a magic trick to surprise Chanel with. However, he did not manage to practise it as much as he would like to, and he was worried that he might make a fool of himself, hence at the end he did not show her the magic trick. 

My advice: Girls in general like surprises. We want to know that you have been thinking about us, and you are willing to make an effort to make us happy. When you buy presents, put some thought into it, just like Zi Han did. 🙂 And also, girls are generally quite forgiving. I think Chanel would have appreciated the magic trick even if it had turn awry, because it is really the thought that counts. 🙂

One-on-One Date: Chanel with Kok Liang

Kok Liang made a good choice with the setting up of an outdoor date. From the beginning, you could see that both Chanel and Kok Liang were feeling very relaxed and happy.

I thought it was a bit corny that Kok Liang cut out the crust of the bread from the sandwich, and told Chanel that, "You eat the bread, and I will eat the crust…", but it actually worked! Haha! 🙂 Chanel was actually really touched. I applaud Kok Liang as it is evident that he has put in a lot of effort into preparing for a 'mini picnic'. Kok Liang might not be as highly educated as the other two (he is an ITE grad), but his sincerity and his earnestness really shone through.

The theme of photography throughout the date was also a brilliant move. Chanel was all giggly and had lots of fun during the date as she wanted to learn more about photography from Kok Liang.

My advice: After the initial meet up, when planning your next date, do consider going for an outdoor date. It would immediately put both of you at ease, and you can also learn more about each other in a different environment. For guys, learn to play up your strengths or talents. Back to Kok Liang… during the date, he would share with Chanel about photography, and you could instantly see Chanel being more attracted to him as she saw him as someone who is knowledgeable and someone whom she could look up to.

So the big question is of course… who did Chanel choose at the end? 

Well, you have go watch the show to find out! 🙂

Click here to watch Episode 1 -> http://video.xin.msn.com/browse/catch-up-tv/love-in-progress#

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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The Choice is Yours

Told a friend,

"You think you know what you are looking for. But you know something? Your choices do not show that you know what you are looking for. In fact, you are actually deceiving yourself thinking you are looking for what you think you are looking for."

Are you confused? 🙂

Well, to cut the long story short, this is someone who told me that he does not mind whether the girl is pretty or not, is young or not, is slim or not. He is just looking for someone whom he can share his life with. Someone whom he can connect with. Sounds like the perfect guy, and perhaps the only guy who is not biologically driven (or some might say shallow)?

The only problem is… his choices in girls show otherwise. Just like most guys out there, he chooses the 'sweet young things'. And when presented with ladies who are not that young, not that slim, and not that good looking, he is nice to them, but he simply is not that interested. And he would cite reasons such as, "We do not have that much in common," or "She is not my type…"

I don't know what's worse. A guy who is biologically driven and knows it, or a guy who thinks he is not biologically driven but in actual fact, he is.

It is so important to know what we are looking for in an ideal partner. And the reasons why we make these choices.

My hubby Jamie like most guys out there used to be extremely biologically driven. He only pursued the prettiest girls in school. Given his height and brooding good looks (in my opinion, haha!), he was quite popular in university. The funniest thing was, he never knew that he was 'shallow' until one of his friends pointed it out to him one day. And then he suddenly realised that he actually did not have much in common with some of these pretty girls that he was pursuing. And that was when he started to ponder on what mattered to him most when it comes to a long-term relationship.

It is an 'open joke' in our relationship that Jamie did not even remember the first time he met me. (I know…) Let's just put it this way… my physical appearance has improved leaps and bounds since Jamie and I first met. I used to have bad skin, frizzy hair, bad makeup skills and poor dress sense. The only reason why our relationship progressed beyond the first meet up is because in Jamie's words,

"We connected very well!"

We could talk for hours. (We can still talk for hours.) And again, in his own words, "She became prettier and prettier as I got to know her!" (Yes, makeup and a good hair cut does do wonders!)

In the end, Jamie chose friendship that blossomed into romantic love. However, most men would choose love (or lust) and hope that friendship will eventually blossom.

We all have a choice. Whatever your choice is, just remember that you will be spending the rest of your life with him or her. Depending on what age you marry, that could be 40, 50, 60 or even 70 years, and that's a long long time. As for people who tell you… marriage has 3 rings, the engagement ring, the wedding ring and the suffering, well… you know what they might have chosen. 😉 Or you could be like some of us who would say on our wedding day,

"Today, I will marry my best friend. The one I laugh with, live for, love."

My dearest friends, please choose wisely…

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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“Violet, why are you SO desperate?”

I dreamt of getting married by the age of 26.

Yes, when I was growing up, that was my goal. To get married by the time I am 26, and to have my first child when I am 28.

I am very blessed… when I finally got married, I actually 'beat' my goal by a year. Jamie and I got married when I was 25 and he was 29. And among our friends, we are one of the few that so-called 'married young'.

Why did I have a target to marry by 26 years old?

Come to think about it… I am not sure. Perhaps I grew up in a family where my parents are deeply in love, and have a stable marriage. I am sure they have their set of marital challenges like everybody else, but they managed to ride through the storms and they provided me with a happy and secure family environment.

Having such a goal since young, I have never been shy to share this goal with people whom I know or guys whom I am dating seriously. I know, I know… some people would ask,

"Aren't you afraid that guys would run away?"

"Aren't you afraid that guys would think that you are desperate to get married?"

"Violet, why are you SO desperate?"

In life, we all have goals and dreams. And at the beginning of every year, we will often set new year resolutions… setting our goals for the upcoming year. And since we can set goals for our career, our health, our travel plans… in other words every single aspect of our lives, why can't we set a goal for our lifelong happiness?

Why are we so afraid to be termed as 'desperate'? Why are we so scared to declare our true intentions? Why are we so worried that we cannot even set our own rules? Instead, we're being ruled by what others want. And some of us are so afraid that we will even go out of our way to tell others… "I don't really need to get married…" when deep down, that's what you truly and deeply yearn for.

With everything in life, you will not succeed unless you have a dream, a strong belief and an action plan.

If you do not even dream of getting married, why would you end up being married?

If you do not believe you would ever be able to get married, chances are you won't.

And you can dream and believe all you want, but if you do not do anything about it, then it's highly unlikely your dream girl or prince charming would just fall from the sky.

Life is short. Do not spend time worrying about what others might think of you or say about you. You cannot please everyone, and neither should you. Do what you think is right. If you are not going to 'fight' for your own happiness, nobody will.

My wish for you in 2012…

For those who are single and looking… be bold. Dare to dream and set a goal for your lifelong happiness. It might not happen overnight or it might not even happen in the year 2012, but if you have a dream that you truly believe in, and you work towards your goal, you can only be one step closer to finding love.

For those who are in a relationship not sure where it is heading… be courageous. What was your dream? Was it to get married by the time you are 26, 28, 30 or 35 years old? Whatever it was, put your foot down and declare your intention. The right guy or girl would not run. Yes you heard me right. He or she might feel very uncomfortable or even scared, but the right person would not bolt. If he or she quits on you, then he or she was never the right one to begin with.

For those who are in happy and fulfilling relationships… be thankful. I am really glad that you have made the right choice. Treasure and cherish your partner for you are truly blessed to have found one another. 🙂

To my dearest readers, Merry Christmas and have a wonderful year ahead!

If you feel that this post might benefit your single friends who are looking for love, please tweet it or share it on Facebook. 😉 Thank you in advance!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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10 Love Lessons Learnt from General Election 2011

Wow, time really flies… I just realised that I have not blogged for 3 months! Sorry for the long absence as I have been very busy with the business, especially our new branch in Taipei, as well as spending time with our family…!

And of course, in recent weeks, I have been one of the many keen followers on the latest updates on the Singapore's General Election 2011.

Now that the dust has settled, I have reflected on the ten lessons I have learnt from this momentous event in Singapore, and how these lessons can be applied to love, dating and relationships.

1. Do not think that what you have done in the past would help you in the present or the future. As much as it is true that the ruling party has brought Singapore from a fishing village to the thriving modern metropolitan it is today, many Singaporeans no longer vote based on the past accomplishments. Application: Similarly, one of the biggest complaints in many relationships is that the guy or the girl puts on his or her best behaviour during courtship, but once the deal is sealed, he or she will stop trying as hard, or keep bringing up all the things that he or she has done in the past. In any relationship, be it between the government and its citizen or between two lovers, constant and consistent effort must be put in to keep the relationship relevant and growing.

2. Do not come across as arrogant. If you read the many forum postings about GE2011, one of the most common traits used to describe the ruling party is 'arrogant'. Application: I can assure you that if your date meets you for the first time, and you come across as arrogant and high-handed, chances are you will not get a second date. The problem is, many a times, the person who has been labelled as arrogant did not even intend to come across as such. They are usually shocked when they know that others view them as arrogant. It's all in the mindset and the attitude. When you go on a date, adopt an open mindset and a positive attitude – take it as an enjoyable experience to make a new friend. Even when you meet the person, and he or she might not be your ideal mate, do not dismiss him or her immediately. You never know… he or she might have a friend or colleague who is the perfect mate for you… and because of your deemed arrogance, you have lost the chance of being introduced!

3. Communication is a two-way street. I remember visiting one of the PAP candidate's FB page, and I was quite surprised that comments are not allowed and wall postings by fans are also not allowed. It set me thinking, "What's the point of having a FB page then?" The ruling party would have realised by now that they have to rethink their social media strategy to connect with the young. Application: When it comes to dating, it is interesting to observe some who just embark on a monologue during dates. They are not even aware that their date is getting extremely bored and disinterested. A good conversation is like a game of table-tennis or ping pong. The ball goes back and forth rhythmically. Each party must be given a chance to participate and air their views.

4. Speak in the same language. Communicating is not enough. You have to speak the same language as your audience. During the GE, I attended rallies and watched the rallies online. And I found it quite amusing how different the various candidates spoke during the rallies, and the varied responses (some good, and some not so good) that they drew from the audience. I have to say, most of the time, the opposition parties did a much better job in rallying the rally goers. Application: When it comes to first dates, you will be shocked to know what people talk about. Some people like to talk about their jobs even though they hate their jobs. And as they delve deeper into their jobs, they would use industry jargons that people generally do not understand and eventually, their date lose interest. Know your date, know what his or her interest is, and engage him or her on the same level.

5. First impressions do matter. In every GE, be it in Singapore or other countries, there are bound to be some 'STARS'. One of the biggest and hottest names in GE2011 is of course Ms. Nicole Seah. Even before she was officially introduced and interviewed, she was already making waves when her official photo was released to the media. Sweet, pretty, fresh-faced are just some of the words used to describe this passionate, confident and well-spoken young lass. Application: Ladies, I know I have said this before, but I am going to say it again… first impressions are very important for first dates. Men are visual creatures. Hence, always put your best foot forward when going on a first date! First impressions are difficult to change… in doubt, just refer to the unfortunate case of Ms. Tin Pei Ling. Her real self could be totally different from what was portrayed in and by the online media, but it is definitely going to be an uphill task changing that initial impression.

6. Commitment is not enough. You need to have passion too. I believe that all the candidates who ran, withstanding the parties they are from are committed to serve the country. However, commitment is not enough. The voters want to see passion too. If your passion to serve is all wrapped up and people cannot see it, it is definitely going to cost you votes. Application: In a relationship, if there's only commitment and no passion, it is known as empty love. Many long-term relationships fall into this trap. They are committed to stay together, but after a while, the romance fizzles out, and like they say, familiarity breeds contempt. Before your relationship spirals down further, it is important to reignite the passion that you once feel for each other when you first started dating. For a marriage to work, you have to work at it. 🙂

7. Gifts do not always work. In the past, carrots worked like a charm. Lifts upgrading, grow and share packages. This time round, the gifts were no longer as effective as that's not what many of the voters want. I think all future candidates should read Gary Chapman's The Five Love Languages. Giving gifts is just one of the 5 love languages. The others are acts of service, quality time, touch and words of affirmation. The ruling party seems to be lacking in the last 3 – quality time, touch and words of affirmation. And hence, they started to lose touch with the voters. The opposition parties however struck hard on touch and words of affirmation when connecting with the voters. Application: When it comes to relationships, do you know what your partner's love language is? And are you displaying your affection by speaking his or her love language and not your own? If your love language is act of service, and your partner's love language is quality time, it is obvious why both of you often feel unloved. Once you understand what each other's love language is, you can start speaking in the same language. 🙂 

8. Watch your words. The biggest buzz word in GE2011 has to be 'REPENT'. Many of my friends and FB friends alike were extremely offended by MM Lee's statement. And ultimately, this word probably contributed to the loss of Aljuneid GRC for the PAP. Application: Similarly, when you are in a relationship, it's so important that you watch what you say. Because a single word can sometimes make a break a relationship. In anger, we often say many things that we do not mean. But hurtful words are like water being thrown out from a pail onto the floor (Chinese Saying). Once it's thrown out, you cannot take it back. When you are in an argument with your loved one, bite your tongue if you have to, but always refrain from sarcasm and contempt.

9. Acknowledge your mistake when you are in the wrong. It has been said that PM Lee Hsien Loong's apology helped to sway some swing voters to vote for PAP. Sorry is indeed the hardest word. I have to force my 2 year old daughter to say it when she does something wrong. And yes, she's only 2!!! Application: Prolonged arguments can be avoided in relationships if one party takes a step back and apologises. When you are in the wrong, put your ego aside, and apologise. It can actually be the best thing you can do to save your relationship or your marriage. Think about it this way, is saving face more important, or is your relationship/marriage more important?

10. Be the right person. Many investors have been holding their breath lest there be a freak election result. Thus, the Singapore's stock market rose sharply after it was announced that the ruling party PAP has returned to power decisively. After the exciting campaigning and hustings, Singaporeans generally voted wisely and rationally. As much as many are not completely satisfied with the ruling party, they still voted for the candidates whom they feel can best serve them in the long run. Opposition parties who did not have strong manifestos or long-term plans were not voted in this time round. Workers' Party who fielded strong and credible candidates and has a convincing manifesto made great strides in this election. Application: When it comes to dating, before one even starts to think about meeting the right person, most importantly one has to be the right person. Because when you are the right candidate, with the right mindset, the right attitude and the right behaviour, you would automatically come across as attractive to your target audience! 🙂

This has been an extremely insightful and enlightening two weeks for me. The General Election has indeed brought out the best and the worst in many of us. I have been heartened and inspired by heroic acts, touching stories and courageous stance; and I have been brought to tears when I saw how ugly and petty we can be. At the end of the day, I believe it is what we learn from it all that will make us stronger and better.

To my dearest readers, happy dating and have a wonderful week ahead! 🙂

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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No Strings Attached?

When I first saw the 'No Strings Attached' trailer, I thought to myself… I would like to watch this show… mainly because I have always enjoyed Natalie Portman's acting. Hence, when OMY Blog Club sent out an email to say that they had 40 preview tickets available, I jumped at the chance to be one of the first to catch the show.

The key question posed in the show is of course… Friends with benefits… does it work? I think most of us know the answer to that. It will never work for long as one party will end up falling for the other, and the other is simply not ready to invest anything more than just sex. It was still fun watching the chemistry between Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher as the plot unfolds…

Even though the plot might be a tad bit predictable, I did glean some interesting tips for all you single guys out there from this show. 🙂

1. Wearing your heart on your sleeve. Ashton Kutcher played the male lead Adam. Adam is such a sweet and sensitive guy, and his friends are always giving him funny advice. However, one thing I have to admire about Adam is that he really dares to just wear his heart on his sleeve and just put himself out there. Upon the suggestion of his friend, he actually visited Emma (played by Natalie Portman) at her work place with a balloon. For you guys out there, you do not always have to come across as macho and aloof. Sometimes, wearing your heart on your sleeve is sweet too. But always be sincere and genuine about it of course.

2. Planning a great first date. Finally after being sex friends for ages, they decided to go on a real first date. I love the fact that Adam dressed up for the date. Gave her 'flowers'. Planned the entire date and even had an itinerary! And they did so many interesting things together, not just your usual dinner. Guys, if you do not know this already, women do not like men who are indecisive. As much as you would like to give her a say or a choice, truth is, we will be extremely impressed if you have taken the initiative to give us a surprise by planning a great date!

3. Standing your ground even when it hurts. In real life, you would think that the guy would be the one who falls for the girl and as a result the whole friends with benefits relationship will break down. However, in the show, it was the other way round. When Adam wanted something more than just sex, and Emma just couldn't seem to reciprocate. Adam finally took the painful decision of putting a stop to it all.

The scene where he told her, "I can't keep doing this. I am not going to see you again…", it was quite heart-wrenching to watch as you know how much he loves her.

The problem with many nice guys out there is… they just simply do what the girls want. They do not stand their ground. And at the end of the day, the girl just tires of them because the girls just feel that they are spineless and cannot stand up for themselves or what they believe in. There's nothing wrong in being nice. But know this, you want her to respect you, to look up to you. And if she's wrong, you have to put a stop to it.

Would I recommend this movie? No Strings Attached might not make it to my favourite romance comedy list like Love Actually, 50 First Dates or While You Were Sleeping… but it's 100% funny enough to have you in stitches, and it's definitely eye candy galore for both the female and male movie goers with two very good looking leads Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. And the bonus… you might even learn a thing or two about dating and relationships!

So what are you waiting for? Go catch it with your special date this Valentine's season! 🙂 Check here for movie times!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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C2VD14 – Day 4: Being Happy on Your Own

 

“Are you happy?” This is a taboo question. I would never dare ask anybody this question unless he or she is a good friend. It seems too personal. It seems like we are prying or intruding.

It seems that the more we progress as a society, the less happy we become.

In our society where instant gratification is a norm, we are always looking for the next good thing. Happiness becomes short-lived. We attribute happiness to milestones or achievements.

“I will be happy if I am promoted.”

“I will be happy if I get a salary rise.”

“I will be happy if I lose weight.”

“I will be happy if I find Mr Right or Ms Right.”

And the list goes on.

Or worst, we place our happiness on the whim of someone else. In order for that ‘something’ to happen to make us happy, someone else has to do something. For example, “I will be happy if he calls!” And if he doesn’t, what happens? We get disappointed and disheartened. But in the first place, why are we placing our happiness in someone else’s hands? You cannot control what he/she does or what he/she does not do.

People are attracted to happy people. People are not attracted to people who are waiting for someone to come along to make them happy. They see, smell and feel your happiness. And they want to be part of that happiness.

For ladies, forget the image of the ‘knight in shining armour’ coming to save you from your misery. You are hardly a damsel in distress. Even if we were to look at the fairytales, all the Disney princesses, despite their hardship, always have a happy disposition. They are experts when it comes to 苦中作乐 (Chinese saying: Finding happiness in the midst of suffering). Isn’t that already a clue? I don’t think their Prince Charming will be attracted to them if they are depressed and prone to lamenting about how hard life is.

Violet, ok, I get you. So how can I be happy?

Let me share a secret with you… happiness is an everyday choice. You can CHOOSE your emotional state. You can CHOOSE to be happy despite your circumstances.

Violet, it is not that I do not want to be happy. But I have a very stressful job where my clients are very demanding. I have a nasty boss. I do not get along with my mother.

I understand. Many of us lead very stressful lives nowadays. And we are constantly interacting with people who expect split-second replies. In the past, if people wanted to reach us, they could only call us at home.  But today, they can call our mobile phones, leave us voice messages, send text messages, email us, chat online with us, drop us a message in our Facebook account, or tweet us on Twitter. If you think about it, it’s really crazy! We feel constantly overwhelmed because we are trying to keep up with all that is happening around us.

Nevertheless, we have a choice.

When someone screams at us, we can choose what emotional meaning and significance to give to his or her actions. And we can choose how we would like to respond.

I used to get all worked up when I receive complaints from demanding clients, especially when their claims were totally baseless. I sometimes even wondered why I bothered helping them when all they wanted to do was to bite my head off. And I got depressed and disillusioned.

Now, I take a step back and analyse why a person did what he or she did. Well, it could be that he was having a bad day, and just needed someone to take his frustration out on. She could be getting increasingly worried as age is catching up. I can either respond in a very defensive manner, or I can invite these people for coffee and a chat!

Happiness is a state of mind. You can either spend the rest of the day being happy. Or being unhappy.

The choice is yours! 🙂

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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C2VD14 Day 3 – Spring Cleaning Your Dating Checklist

 

One thing I strongly recommend to my clients is to put some thought into those characteristics and personality traits they most desire to find in The Right One. This is a good thing because it compels you to identify those things that are most important to you and to use this information to avoid dating people who don’t fit into the description. It’s a checklist, really, designed to help you sort through potential dates and put your time and effort only into those who are most likely to be compatible with you.

The problem, though, is that it’s easy to get hung up on your checklist. Yes, it’s a good idea to know what characteristics are most important to you, but when you become inflexible about those criteria, you end up missing out on many interesting people. Why? They don’t match enough of the must-have items on your checklist.

I call this ‘Checklist Syndrome’ and it’s something you can easily avoid if you’re careful and alert. Start by keeping track of how many potential dates you consider. How many of them do you end up rejecting because they don’t fit your checklist exactly?

The best way to deal with this problem is to re-visit your criteria, paying special attention to how many of them are flexible and how many of them are inflexible. If you’ve been rejecting a lot of potentials lately then perhaps some of your criteria are too inflexible and need to be adjusted. 

Don’t reject potentials so soon

Every time you hear about or are introduced to a potential date, you automatically start to go through your checklist of criteria. Sometimes this is a deliberate process and other times it is almost a subconscious process, making judgments about suitability in a reflexive rather than a deliberate manner.

It’s perfectly understandable, really. However, the assumptions we make about the opposite sex and their individual characteristics are often inaccurate, flawed, or based on stereotypes and judgmental beliefs.

Some of the most common areas we make assumptions about quickly and sometimes unconsciously include the following:

·         First impressions;

·         Social skills;

·         Physical attributes;

·         Your vision of the ideal man or woman;

·         Character, intelligence, and ambition;

·         Status, wealth, and social standing.

So what’s the solution?

The solution is to develop a better, more productive habit of dealing with potential dates, a process that is slower to reject a person based on these kinds of common assumptions.

In fact, I tell my clients.

“The yardstick on whether to go on a second date is not ‘how much you like the person’, but ‘how little you dislike the person’.”

If there is nothing you do not like about him or her, or if you are ‘on the fence’, my advice is, go for it! As much as you are giving the other person a chance, you are also giving yourself a chance!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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C2VD14 Day 2 – Finding a Way Back into Love

 

Hanging on to emotional baggage is one of the worst things you can do if you are looking for The Right One. It is also one of the things many singles are likely to do. 
What is emotional baggage?
 
There are lots of different ways to define it, but for our purposes we’re going to describe emotional baggage as those past experiences, feelings, emotions, and thoughts that linger in our minds and affect our current situation. These are the things that we carry around with us that end up creating difficulties in our current lives. In many cases, they actually can re-create themselves in a way that causes us to live them over again as if they were brand new.
 
The term “emotional baggage” has long been used to describe this situation, and it’s actually a very good term for this purpose because it creates the picture in our minds of physically hauling stuff around with us. It doesn’t take a great deal of imagination to picture yourself lugging a huge suitcase (or two, maybe three) at every step.

What’s in the suitcase? Whatever it is you’re not yet willing to let go. Maybe your emotional baggage is just like mine—the memory of a previous relationship where you thought you found The Right One but he turned out to be something else; or perhaps it’s a pattern of interaction from your past where you’ve not had very healthy relationships and you’re continuing with that pattern. Other things commonly found among our emotional baggage include fears, worries, disappointments, behaviour, dreams, fantasies, hurts, anger, and much more.

It is important to let go of emotional baggage for a number of reasons, chief among them being that it is the only way for you to be emotionally healthy and stable. The more baggage you carry with you, the less you are able to be emotionally strong, capable, and steady. Why? Because your time, energy and effort are consumed with that baggage, lifting it, carrying it, preserving it, looking through it, remembering it, living with it, and generally keeping it with you through all you other daily activities.

And when your entire focus (consciously or unconsciously) is on keeping that baggage with you, nothing else matters. Nothing else can break through and come into your life, and that includes The Right One.

If you doubt the impact of carrying emotional baggage around with you, try this little experiment.

Fill a handbag or briefcase with a few rocks or something else that’s heavy enough to make it challenging to carry around with you. Now carry that handbag with you everywhere you go for a full day. And I do mean everywhere. Carry it around the house, when you go shopping, as you run errands, as you work, as you drive, as you do absolutely everything.
It won’t take very long for you to get really tired of carrying this heavy handbag or briefcase around with you. And that’s exactly what it’s like to carry real emotional baggage around with you.

Once you let go of emotional baggage, though, everything changes. You feel lighter in a whole host of ways—physically, spiritually, and yes, emotionally. For many singles this feeling is something they have never experienced before and so they get a bit scared and maybe even start to pick up their baggage again. For others, though, the tremendous sense of freedom and liberation that comes from letting go is practically intoxicating and they never look back or even pause from then on.
 
There are no 100 per cent guaranteed ways to let go of emotional baggage because each person is different and each “bag of stuff” is different as well. There are a few excellent things you can do, though, to help you through this process and get you well on the road to being baggage-free.
  1. Let go of assumptions. Just because you have had a particular experience with a partner in the past, don’t assume you’re going to have the same kind of experience with other partners in the future. Start each day with a fresh and open mind, and especially let your mind be open when you meet a person who could potentially be someone you might date.
  2. Stop the loop. It’s easy to play the ‘loop’ of past experiences over and over again in your head, much like rewinding and playing a video over and over again. When your mind starts to play that loop , just press ‘stop’ and switch it off, even if you have to do this several times in a row.
  3. Don’t give up. Just because your past relationships haven’t worked out the way you wanted them to doesn’t mean future ones will be the same way, so don’t give up on dating or trying to find The Right One. You have to stick with it, no matter what.
  4. Break old patterns. When emotional baggage is rooted in past patterns of thought or behaviour, the best way to get rid of it is to break those old patterns. Start by identifying what your previous patterns have been, and then watch for signs of them in your current relationship behaviour. If you find a pattern starting to repeat itself, simply stop, take a deep breath, and make a different choice. Taking my case as an example, when I heard that my boyfriend went out for lunch with a group of female colleagues, and I could feel myself going crazy and wanted to accuse him of being interested in one of them, I took a deep breath, and instead asked him how it went, whether I knew them, and so on.
  5. Embrace vulnerability with protection. This might seem like odd advice because vulnerability and protection generally don’t go together. In the case of emotional baggage, though, they can indeed go together in a way that will help you in the long run. Remember to take care of yourself emotionally so that you stay healthy, but at the same time don’t ‘shut down’ your heart completely. Let yourself open up, even if it’s just a little bit, when you meet someone you really like. It’s that vulnerability that will allow you to create greater closeness in your new relationship.
The bottom line is, hanging on to emotional baggage might feel safe and secure to you, but it only seems that way. The reality is that the more you hang on to your ’stuff’, the more you carry it around and drag it around with you, the more it blocks you from finding The Right One and recognising him or her when he or she does actually come along.

    

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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C2VD14 Day 1 – What’s Right and Wrong About You?

If you have read my book "Lessons From 15,000 First Dates", you would know that I am not the type who will white-wash my advice or just say things that your well-meaning mother, best friend, or colleague have been saying to you. Don't get me wrong… I believe in being positive and encouraging. However, I don't believe in telling you things that you would like to hear, but at the end of the day, not helping you at all in your dating journey. Hence, if you are looking to read politically-correct advice, then I would advise that you stop reading right now. 🙂

Before we embark on our journey of finding love, I think most important of all, we should find ourselves. Like they say, like attract likes! Just like we are looking for Mr. Right or Ms. Right, we should reflect if we are Ms. Right or Mr. Right to begin with!

In the last 6+ years, I have come across many singles who have the right attitude, the right mindset as well as the right skill set to be in a relationship and make a relationship work. Hence, they are the ones who sail into our doors, and sail out rather quickly after a few dates. Some might say they are simply lucky, but luck as we know is when opportunity meets preparation. As they have been preparing themselves all these while on being 'The RIGHT one', when given the opportunity of meeting suitable and hand-picked matches, the pair off very quickly!

On the other hand, I have also met singles who have gone for many dates, but at the end of the day, nothing much come out of it.

Some even lament that we are intentionally matching them with duds. Of course, there have been times that we ourselves thought it's a close-to-perfect match (and we get very excited in the office!), and the clients upon meeting up think otherwise. But for us to intentionally make bad matches does not make business sense. Why? Other than the obvious which is… the client would then go out there and bad-mouth us, we actually DO want to 'get rid' of our clients as soon as possible by making good matches. Because if we find someone a good match on say their 5th out of 10th date package, and the happy couple decides to pair off and get married, our work is done! We can then move on to help other singles who need our help more!

So actually, as matchmakers and dating consultants, we are motivated to find as good a match as possible, every single time!

Now that we have established that we are on the same side and working on the same team, let's look at how we can do a self-assessment of what's right and wrong about ourselves.

1. Make a list. Take out a piece of paper, and make a list of what you believe your strengths and weaknesses are when it comes to dating. There's no right or wrong answer. Just write down whatever that comes to mind. Think from a multi-dimensional level – your profile attributes such as age, education level, earning capacity, your physical attributes – your appearance, your height, your dressing, your personality attributes – the way you interact with people, your outlook in life… any thing that comes to mind.

2. Make a date with 3 of your guy friends and 3 of your girl friends. Think of 6 of your friends, 3 girls and 3 guys who are most candid and you believe genuinely want to help you succeed in love. Once you have come out with the list of friends, make a date with them. It could be a coffee date, a lunch date, a dinner date… make sure you have sufficient time to have a heart-to-heart talk.

3. Prepare yourself for the 'date'. Understand that this could end up being an extremely painful exercise. However, psyche yourself up to be open-minded and to take a positive approach to this as this exercise can help you greatly improve your chances of finding love and meeting the right one.

3. Find out the 'goods' and the 'bads'. On the 'date', share with your friend that you are on a journey of self-discovery and you would like to seek his or her candid and honest opinion about you so that you know where your blind spots are. Ask your friend to share their opinions on your 'dateability' factors. Ask them to rate you on a scale of 1-10 on areas such as physical appearance and dressing, communication skills and positivity vs. negativity. This is also a great time to ask your friend why he or she seemed reluctant to introduce you to that 'great guy' or 'great girl'. 

4. Take down notes. On each and every one of these 6 dates, write down what your friends have said. Of course not everything that they have said is 100% right. Everybody are entitled to their personal opinions. However, before we start judging what they have said, let's just write them down.

5. Calibrate the notes that you have taken. After you have heard of all 6 of your friends, on another piece of paper, start writing down each item that has come up, and take count of how many friends have said the same thing. If 3 or more friends have said the same thing, then it's probably something that's true and consistent. If it's a good attribute, then that's great! If it's a not-so-good attribute, then this is an area that you should take note of and work on.

6. Compare others' perception of you and your perception of yourself. Then, compare the 2 lists – the one that you have written down earlier (item 1) and the ones that your friends have shared (item 5). Some of you might have 2 very similar lists, that's wonderful as that means you have great self-awareness. For others, you might realize that your self-perception is slightly different from what others perceive you as.

Looking at these lists, please do not be too hard on yourself as the purpose of this exercise is not to bring you down. The reason for this exercise is for us to come face-to-face with what's stopping us from finding the love that we deserve. 

Now that we know what's right and wrong about ourselves, we can work on the areas that we might not have scored so well in so that we can be an even better version of ourselves. For some of you, it might be physical appearance, for others, it might be conversation skills and confidence level. And for others, it could simply be your mindset and attitude. 

All the best with this exercise, and please do leave your comments on how it went! Do also let me know if you face any difficulties or challenges while embarking on th exercise so I can help you out!  🙂

Stay tuned for Day 2 – Finding a Way Back into Love.

***

Note: This is the first part of the Countdown to V-Day 2011 Series (also known as C2VD14)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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