Friday, July 25, 2008


I was at the gym the other night, and I got to talking with one of the girls working out.

She had been speaking with her trainer about her engaged brother who is planning a wedding. The parents of the bride had planned to pay for the affair, but the groom's parents opted to split the cost because they wanted to be able to offer opinions, be included on the invitation, etc.

And, then she proceeded to share how her brother's fiance can be a bit of a "challenge." That already she has seen rifts between her and her brother. And, the fiance is in fact meeting with the mother of the groom in the next week or so in an effort to clear the air.

Being a proponent, as you know, if you've been reading this blog, of mensches making the best marriage material, I wondered what kind of woman we are speaking of here. While I have never met her, we got into a discussion at the gym about change and relationships.

My feeling is that people don't typically change.

If you are marrying someone with the hope that they have the potential to become a different person, I don't think that's particularly realistic.

Sure, we all influence each other. It is possible for people to cultivate new interests. Try out new skills. Change their wardrobe. Get a updated haircut....etc....etc.

However, people don't alter their basic character.

What you see is what you get in that sense.

So, when you are dating someone, trust your gut. If there is something about their behavior that you question, don't sweep it under the rug. There's only so many dustballs you want under that rug.

You can't make someone more fun than they are. You can't give them a sense of humor. You can't change their sense of responsibility. You can't make them close to their friends, if friendship isn't important to them.

And, as life packs on more responsibility, things can get more challenging, especially if you add children to that equation.

So, don't fool yourself into thinking that little fights don't matter. Sure, no relationship is perfect, and you want to be open and express you opinion even if it leads to a disagreement. But, if you fight regularly or don't see eye to eye about things that matter most to you in life, then that won't get better.

And, it shouldn't be your goal to get someone to follow your belief system. They are entitled to their own. Sharing passions is one thing. But your life's work isn't to shape them into what you hope they would be.

I have heard couples say that their mate makes them a better person. And, that is great. But, you can't lay in wait for that to happen. You need to choose wisely.

Once a mensch (decent person), always a mensch. That's what you should strive for.

PS -- Check out the site The cousin of a friend of mine made this really cool independent film regarding single life, and it is very empowering and insightful.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Third Right: Right Place

You've probably been waiting with baited breath for Right #3 (LOL) -- well here goes.

It's The Right Place.

I am referring to your choice of socializing avenues.

You ideally want to put yourself where you're going to find the opposite sex in numbers. The odds of making a love connection may then be all the more in your favor.

As obvious as this may sound, you may not necessarily doing it.

Do you tend to pursue activities that are convenient and familiar to you? Have you been going to the same functions, bars, mixers, etc. for the last 10 years, with little success?

If the answer is yes, it's time to shake things up and perhaps step out of your comfort zone, even if just a bit.

Of late, I've been working with a number of single women love coaching clients who want to take advantage of the summer weather. Though the heat can be rough, it's also an opportunity to get outdoors. And, if you want to meet a guy, engaging in something physical is a great way to go.

For example, consider going on a hike, taking up biking, or going on white water rafting trip. How about participating in a sports league, etc. There are so many options, and you don't have to necessarily be a jock.

Other ideas for meeting men .....attend a networking function, a business breakfast, join a speech making group, take a class, i.e. architecture.

Be creative. Think out of the box. Ask your male friends or relatives or co-workers for ideas. Check out a magazine like Men's Journal for ideas.

If you're a guy looking to meet a women, why not consider cultural pursuits? Take a film class. Go to an art exhibit or a fundraiser supporting an arts cause. Take a Pilates or yoga class. Sign up for a walking tour for shoppers (yes, they exist).

No doubt most of these activities would be female-dominated, and that is what you want. The more you surround yourself with women, especially if you're all engaged in an activity, the easier it is to break the ice and start a conversation.

Take a hard look at your socializing efforts, and throw in some of the above. You'll have fun, while you put yourself out there in a way that can work to your socializing advantage.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Second Right: Right Attitude

As I mentioned in my previous blog post, there are Three Rights that are considered important in my book, when you are seeking a mate.

The first, Right Time, was discussed.

Now I'm going to shed light on the second, Right Attitude.

Right attitude refers to staying positive, keeping an open mind, and being approachable.

You give off vibes you might not even be aware of.

If your tendency is to walk into a room, anxiously size up the crowd, and decide in no time that it's not for you, your attitude could use some adjustment. How can you really tell that quickly if there is no one you would connect with?

If you are sincerely open-minded, you will give someone the opportunity to show his or her true self through in-depth conversation. Only then can you attempt to reach some level of conclusion. You certainly can't judge someone just based on looks.

You might also find that Mr. or Ms. Right Mensch does not present him or herself at the onset. If you are at a social function, the person could be the quiet, shy one standing in a corner, not entirely confortable with the scene. You might have had times when you felt like that.

You can potentially boost his or her confidence by coming across with a positive attitude and initiating a conversation.

I once spoke at a Jewish singles function held at a popular synagogue in Manhattan. I had brought along three single girlfriends at the time who were hoping to meet someone. While they listened to my speech, as soon as I was done, they bolted out the door. They were so eager to get home that they didn't make an attempt to speak with anyone. And, I was approached by a bunch of attractive guys afterwards who had questions to ask. I scanned the room in an attempt to find my friends and connect them with the guys, but they were already out the front door.

I later told them that I thought they had lost out and that they didn't have the right attitude.

It's not enough to put yourself in a social environment. An optimistic attitude has to come with you. Then, at least you'll know you made a concerted socializing effort and didn't just show up, regardless of the outcome of the event.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

The Three Rights: Right #1 -- The Right Time

In my book, How to Marry a Mensch, and in the workshops I teach, one of the key points I make is the importance of the Three Rights.

I'm going to discuss one of them right now, and will shed light on the next two in blog posts to follow.

The first Right is the Right Time.

When you are out there in the socializing arena, you cannot discount the importance of timing.

In part it is fate when you meet your Mr. or Ms. Right Mensch. Sure you have to put yourself out there, but as you know, it's out of your hands when it will actually happen.

That said, when you do connect with someone, the bigger challenge is to be certain that you are on the same page. Meaning -- what is your relationship goal, and when do you expect/hope to achieve it?

Are you yearning to get married? Do you want to have children tomorrow? Are you the type to live with someone first, or potentially never get married?

You have to want the same thing as the other person at the same time. Otherwise, it will not work out.

And, in my book/humble opinion, I don't believe that someone will rise to the occasion. I have worked with singles....women in particular....who are of the opinion that if a guy likes them enough, even if marriage isn't top on his To Do list, he will change his priorities if he falls in love. Certainly this is a possibility, but how likely is it?

You have to take a look at where the person is at in their life. For example, if they're not settled in their career, they're not going to be buying the wedding ring any time soon if they want to have a particular income.

If they have a ton of single friends who they like to hang out with, they may not want to walk down the aisle all too soon.

If they aspire to go back to school, they may not want to get married in the immediate future.

If their parents didn't have a great marriage, they may be altar shy altogether.

So...the bottomline is, make sure to consider the Right Time when you are dating someone, so you don't waste valuable time. People don't just rise to the occasion. They have to be commitment-minded first. Even if you are madly in love, you have to want the same thing at the same time.