This week GaG got lucky because we were able snag an interview with the popular and insightful, Erin Tillman, California's famous The Dating Advice Girl! Erin believes that dating can be tough, but it doesn’t have to be! Her goal as The Dating Advice Girl is to empower singles to have happy, healthy, and enjoyable dating/social lives that best suit their dating/relationship objectives.
She believes that as single people, we all are so busy looking for ‘The One’ that we miss the joys of dating and the perks of having a well-rounded social life. She thinks that relationships do not fit into a ‘one size fits all’ category and not every single person is searching for the same kind of partner. She's been helping singles make the most out of their dating/social lives by getting clear on their objectives and helping them find others that have similar dating/relationship goals and objectives.
In our interview she was able to show us how to stop hating our single status and start making conscious decisions that will lead to amazing dates, partners, and relationships that will enhance our lives. Take a look at the great conversation we had and all the great advice she had to give to us singletons.
--with Erin Tillman
1. What kind of dating goals should single women have?
Erin Tillman: The goals should be to have fun meeting new interesting people/potential partners, spending time with people who have similar relationship objectives, and spending time with people who are a positive addition to your life rather than adding drama or negativity.
2. You say that some people 'hate' dating - how can you make it a more fun process?
ET: Remember that dating in the early months should be nothing more than a casual get-to-know-you session. Once you make fun and getting to know your potential love-interest your goals on early dates, dating becomes fun. When 'finding a husband' is our only goal on dates, we suck the fun right out of it. Seriously, when you boil it down, dating is you and your potential love-interest chatting and doing something fun in your city. To add more fun to a date, plan to do something unconventional. Instead of dinner and a movie, sign up for a painting class, go to a concert, bowling, an art gallery, wine tasting, dance lessons...the possibilities are truly endless!
Once you make fun and getting to know your potential love-interest your goals on early dates, dating becomes fun.
3. What are the top 5 red flags when starting to date?
1. Your love-interest is argumentative or rude with you, your friends, their friends, or others (waitstaff, bartender, etc)
2. Your love-interest talks incessantly about their ex
3. Your love-interest seems unhappy/overly pessimistic
4. Your love-interest doesn't ask you questions about yourself/has a wandering eye/isn't focused on you while on a date
5. Your love-interest makes you feel unsafe emotionally or physically
BONUS: Your love-interest isn't making time for you in their life/isn't trying to see you on a regular basis
4. How do you think older singles can take advantage of dating in the world of social media?
ET: www.Meetup.com is a great website for finding social and activity based groups in your area. There are also online dating sites like www.OurTime.com that caters to 'singles of a certain age'. Generally speaking, I encourage singles to be social and participate in activities they enjoy. That's where you can organically meet other singles with similar interests and possibly even your singles in your same age group. The Internet can be your friend! If used as a tool for meeting new people outside of your normal social circles, it can open up your world and connect you to amazing people you wouldn't have met under normal circumstances.
--highlights some of her fave interviews, radio tips, and tv appearances
5. What's your dating No-No's for men? How can a guy improve his chances in finding a date?
ET: Guys! For the early months of dating:
1. Don't let us pay on a date! I know we're modern women but it's just about being the best you can be on a date and showing that you are a gentleman. If your love-interest insists on paying for her fair share, let her pay rather than get in an argument.
2. Don't let your ego (or bitterness with an ex) stop you from courting us and being a gentleman. If you're sweet to us, we'll agree to do things you've never dreamed of. Most guys let their egos get in the way. You treat us like queens, we'll treat you like kings.
3. Don't expect us to make all the plans on a date. We may want to help you make date decisions but it's good to have at least a tentative plan or a few date night options to choose from.
4. We don't want to hear about (or be involved in) your ex/baby mama drama! That only shows us that you can't handle your business and that we might have to deal with your crazy ex which we have no interest in.
5. Don't drop off the face of the Earth! Be in touch with us regularly if you like us. If we don't hear from you several days/weeks/months after that amazing date (or amazing sex) we had, no matter how amazing it was, we will lose interest. If you aren't calling/texting us, rest assured we're moving on to someone else who is.
A guy can improve his chances of getting a date by getting clear about the type of girl he's looking for.
BONUS: Don't put us in any situation where we feel unsafe. We want to be with a guy that we feel is looking out for our best interest and cares about our wellbeing.
A guy can improve his chances of getting a date by getting clear about the type of girl he's looking for, what kind of relationship he'd like, and being aware of his communication and social skills. That last one is HUGE! A lot of guys are not clear communicators nowadays. Guys who know what they want, are confident (but respectful) communicators, and who have a stylish appearance (that fits their individual style/personality), stand out from the crowd.
6. Topics to avoid on a first date? What IS good to talk about or ask?
ET: It's so important to avoid talking at length about exs, your biological clock/marriage timelines, weird medical issues, and deep political/religious discussions on first dates. Great first date subjects include your job/career, goals/dreams, family/friends, hobbies/interests, and current events. Whatever you decide to talk about, keep it general, positive, and respectful if possible. Your date should be fun, not drama-filled.
7. What's your dating advice for women of colour? Do you think it's tougher out there for them?
ET: I was recently made aware of an article that said that the two least desirable categories of singles online are black women and Asian men based on actual data from the users on a very popular online dating site. I really hated to hear that since I am a black female. Based on that, I would say it's a little harder for women of color in the dating game though that has not been my personal experience. It's also hard to compare one person's experience to another especially when we don't have other potentially important information. Geographical location could be a factor with these statistics but so could media stereotypes. Having said that, I know a ton of men who LOVE women of color. This is why it's so important to find like-minded singles who are into what you have to offer. I think it's really important not to focus on stats like these. They can do more harm than good. If you're presenting your best self while on dates (physically and emotionally), respect yourself and your potential love-interests, get clear on what you're looking for, and bring fun and positivity to the date, potential love-interests will be drawn to you regardless of race. Yes, some singles will always have a racial preference, but that's not something you can control so why dwell on that? If you're interesting, positive, and fun to be around, race will be less of a factor than it might be otherwise.
8. It seems like the modern dating world is more fickle - more people want to insta-date with dating apps and social media - do you think a more traditional dating philosophy would work?
ET: There will always be singles who are more interested in a more traditional dating/relationship courtship process but because society in general is changing so rapidly due to technology, it just makes sense that it would effect our relationships too. Millennials have grown up with social media and cell phones so social media, online dating, and dating apps feel more natural to them. Modern singles are definitely more fickle and selective partially because there are a million ways to meet people nowadays. Ironically singles still seem to be having trouble meeting one another....personally I think that's because singles are seeking a level of perfection that doesn't exist.
There is definitely a segment of the single population that does enjoy dating 'the old fashion way' though. There can be respect (or lack thereof) regardless of the way you meet a potential partner. I would say that when entering into a more serious relationship, it's important to be respectful when on social media sites and such. A divorce lawyer friend of mine told me that Facebook and other social media sites have had a hand in most of his recent divorce cases because either a partner is using it to cheat or post things that a partner feels is inappropriate.
9. What do you think is the modern definition of a perfect relationship? Does it exist?
ET: There is no such thing as a perfect relationship however the couples that I would call 'successful' are those that are on the same page in regards to what kind of relationship they want, what they want each of their roles to be within the relationship, what they want their life together to look like and they communicate about these things clearly and frequently to make sure they are on the same page. Modern relationships are not one-size-fits-all. They come in all shapes, sizes, and varieties.
-- ET interviews famous Pick Up Artist Mystery in Las Vegas seminar for men
10. Where did live overseas in Europe? What was their approach to love and dating?
ET: I've lived in both France and the UK. In France, and in many countries in Europe , dating doesn't exist. It's more common that you go out on a date with someone in Europe and very soon after you are in a relationship. My European friends sometimes find it challenging to date here in the States because they did not grow up dating like we do here. It's a different system completely. Having said that, Americans are finding it harder and harder to date because with technology, social media, online dating, and dating apps, everything is changing very rapidly. Everyone is just trying to navigate and understand how dating is evolving regardless of geographical location.
11. Do you have a horror-date story?
ET: I've heard some horror stories from clients (being stood up, guys forgetting their wallets, etc) but I've never experienced any horror stories per se. I've very tuned in to red flags. I always meet in public places on early dates. If anything feels weird or unsafe, I respectfully end the date or decline a second date. Especially when it comes to digital dating, it's important to pay close attention to a potential love-interest's language and tone in messages. Paying attention to these subtleties can help avoid being on a disastrous date later on.
Never regret a relationship. There's always something to learn when a relationship ends.
12. How can you come out of a break up with the least regrets?
ET: First of all, never regret a relationship. There's always something to learn when a relationship ends. For some reason, we are only able to remember the bad times after a break up. We forget that there were a lot of good times with our ex.
13. When it comes to finding a lasting relationship, what state of mind should singletons be in?
ET: Being clear about your dating/relationship objectives and dating people who have similar objectives is a good place to start. If you're looking for a long term relationship, try to avoid dating someone who clearly is only looking for sex for example. Don't try to change that person! Also no one wants to date someone who's serious all the time. We all want to be with someone who brings light and positive energy...someone who's not going to drag us down. If you are focused on getting to know someone new and enjoying a night out, there's way less pressure for both you and your potential love-interest and you can focus on simply enjoying yourself. The moment you turn a date into trying to make him or her be 'The One', it becomes way to serious and it becomes a job. That's why most singles hate dating. We've turned into a second job. Just relax. You'll know if there's chemistry and potential or if there isn't and if there isn't, simply enjoy the date night for what it is and move on to someone else once. The truth is that not going to like everybody and everybody's not going to like you. Dating is a process, but it should be a fun process.
14. Have you found the one?
ET: I don't believe in the idea of 'The One'. I think we all can have many meaningful connections in our lives if we allow ourselves to be open to it. The idea that there's only 1 person in the world that is meant for us is completely overwhelming and frankly unrealistic. The happy couples I know aren't perfect but they are in fulfilling relationships with someone that they respect, love, and have a deep friendship with. Being fixated on finding 'The One' can set us up for failure. Just like a lot of us have more than one close friend, I believe it's very possible that there is more than one person that could be a potential life partner if we don't limit ourselves to unrealistic dating checklists and only date people we've declared to be our 'type'.
If you have any relationship/dating questions for Erin leave them in the comments below. For more on her check out her website: 'The Dating Advice Girl'. For dating advice, celeb interviews, and more tune in to The Dating Advice Girl Radio Show on 99.3 KCLA FM Los Angeles