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Dating: Rules of Civility

We are living in a time when civility, diplomacy, and discretion are at an all time low. The fact is that the finer part of our natures wants to get along with others, and it is extremely important to be able to spend time with those whose opinions we do not share. This is especially true when it comes to dating and establishing new romantic or platonic friendships.

Elite Introductions & Matchmaking, LLC

People who are dating are those who have chosen to pursue new relationships. The process of dating gives individuals a chance to practice social skills that may or may not be used in everyday life, but should certainly be cultivated for social interaction. In other words, dating is good practice for making friends and for moving comfortably through the world. This includes knowing when certain subjects and behaviors are taboo or inappropriate for a social setting.

It is generally agreed that there are taboo subjects for the first three dates: ex-spouses (girl/boyfriends, lovers, etc.), politics, religion, finances (money in general), sex, and death. With ex’s, money and politics leading the pack, these subjects are taboo because they take the focus away from two people getting to know each other and place the spotlight on other people, places, and things. These subjects have the power to terminate a potential relationship before it starts because they remove the people present away from the moment.

Picture yourself getting all dressed up and excited about going to a lovely restaurant with someone who is new and potentially interested in you as a partner or friend. The stage is set for a wonderful evening. Now ask yourself these questions:
Who wants to hear about an evil ex or “irreplaceable” spouse who died of an insidious fatal disease?
Who wants to be bludgeoned by questions about political issues when the discussion will end in either an alienating argument or a heated agreement about something other than the people having dinner?
Who wants to hear about how much money someone makes or used to make before he/she was laid off, got divorced, lost all his/her money to his/her gambling (or any other kind of) addiction?
Who wants to be insulted for his/her own beliefs and hear about how a date is morally superior to others because of his/her devout beliefs.

The answer to these questions is NO ONE! That’s who.

In such a scenario, you are encouraged to talk about other subjects and enjoy the moment, the atmosphere, the dining experience, the wine, the music being played by the pianist in the lounge. Appropriate subjects are: travel, music, movies, history, hobbies, professions, art, literature, the animal kingdom, sports, how attractive your date looks, humor, theatre. The list is endless.

Believe it or not, if you can overcome defensiveness regarding avoidance of taboo subjects, there is still a world of things to discuss and a delightful memory to be made from an enjoyable evening with someone special.

Elite Introductions & Matchmaking, LLC

A First Date Is No Time For Interrogation

This advice is for both men and women. When dating someone, for the first few dates remember that this is a time to get to see someone in a positive light, and not to take a torch into the most private recesses of each other’s lives. On the first few dates there will be subjects that your partner simply does not want to talk about because that person does not know you very well. She/he does not know if you can keep confidences or even if they want to confide in you. Insisting on talking about sensitive subjects may bring up unpleasant memories and cause her or him to experience pain. They may be subjects that this person is trying to leave behind or are simply no one else’s business.

This is no time to keep pressing the issue. For example, if your date does not want to talk about an ex and a painful divorce, and you will not accept that request for privacy and keep asking questions about the issue, your date will eventually get angry or resentful and will relive the unpleasant and uncomfortable feelings that you evoked. The unpleasant feeling will then be associated with you, and the potential for a romance or even a friendship is shot because your date thinks that you are a person who likes to pry. This is especially true if your questions are rapid fire and turn an evening that was supposed to be an enjoyable experience into an interrogation. Also, do not try a new approach to fact-finding by saying, “well the subject doesn’t bother me,” and then continue to act as if your date should play therapist. That kind of thinking is courting disaster as well.

Trust our expertise here and realize that when your date says she/he does not want to talk about something; that is when it is time to exercise respect and diplomacy and change the subject. It takes courage to be open enough to say, “I don’t want to talk about that.” When such a comment (or one like it) is said, stop, focus on the place where you are right at that moment, and enjoy the rest of the evening. If you keep pressing and pressuring your date for more information only the desperate, twisted, or truly disturbed will stick around for more evenings with you.

To recap – When on a first date:

  • Do stay away from private subjects, especially previous relationships or other dating partners
  • Do change the subject if your date makes the request
  • Do concentrate on the experience at hand and try to stay in the moment
  • Do not interrogate your date about anything
  • Do not expect your date to play therapist

Again remember that you cannot go back to the beginning of any relationship and re-do a botched romance. Respect all personal boundaries regarding conversational connections. If your date looks like he/she is uncomfortable about a certain subject, or expresses discomfort in any way, let it go. The chances are that you have much in common with your date. Enjoy making a memory of the moment at hand, and above all – have fun! Elite Introductions & Matchmaking, LLC

For Men: Dating “Buzz Killers”

You have wanted to date this woman for a long time, and you are sharing your first evening together at a nice restaurant. You have that natural high that comes with good company, laughter and interesting conversation. You think you’re on a roll when you bring up your most recent travel adventure and include details of a shipboard affair. In an instant, the buzz fades into a flat vacuum of silence. Why? You just talked about one of the five top taboo dating subjects. Elite Introductions & Matchmaking LLC

Here they are:

Past conquests – Thinking that a woman appreciates being told about all the other woman you’ve been with is a sign of virility is a huge mistake – especially in this day and age of STD’s. If you’ve had sex with hundreds of woman, trust me, she will not be impressed in the least, and may not even hold hands with you when you leave the restaurant. Likewise, do not talk about your ex.

Money – Women think of a man who enjoys quiet prosperity as a guy with class. Talking about your financial affairs, salary, mortgage, your ostentatious lifestyle and exclusive neighborhood is very vulgar. Show her; don’t tell her about your wealth by “taking care” of the tab at a swank restaurant, or picking her up in an impressive automobile. Bragging about how much money you have will make you seem like a man who is compensating for something else.

Your ailments – If you launch into a festival of whining about his illnesses the moment a woman sits down at the table of the restaurant during your first dates, she is going to share the meal with you and figure out how to never see you again. The idea is to make a positive impression, not bore her with stories about your hernia operation five years ago. Ailments do not have to be hidden, just dealt with in a discrete and timely manner, otherwise you’ll come off as self-indulgent and incapable of interesting social conversation.

Your vices – Avoid talking about any of your unhealthy, degrading or immoral practices or habits such as chain smoking, binging on alcohol or food, and other sundried iniquities. Go positive and think of how you would introduce a dear friend to your date. If she is the gal you think she is, she’ll figure out your short-comings soon enough, but you must first get to a second date and impress her about your other special charms.

The future – Women are interested in knowing that a man is relationship minded, but beware that too much future talk too soon will make you seem needy and/or unbalanced. Do not come at her with baby names on the second date or she may run for the door. Reserve future talk for when you are in an established relationship.

Avoid these topics for your first few dates and everything should turn out in your favor.

Elite Introductions & Matchmaking LLC

Dating & Religion

Before we start, understand that this article is about any religion and pertains to any combination of people on the dating scene.

Of all the subjects that can set fire to otherwise pleasant evening, religion is perhaps the most incendiary. Therefore, understand that personal belief systems in terms of religion are a taboo subject for polite conversation when on the first few dates with someone.

If you have ever studied history, you must realize that many, many wars and untold sufferings have plagued the world because of this very subject. Prejudices from every angle of the human philosophical spectrum are causing difficulties throughout the world even as this article is being written. Do not bring this kind of conflict into a first date with someone.

The reason the subject of religion is taboo for polite dating conversation is very clear. At best, the subject of religion takes precedence over all other subjects at hand and takes the focus away from the two people involved in the date. That focus is necessary for the two parties to understand and nurture each other’s individual personalities.

The purpose of dating is not to create a venue to debate about opposing religious beliefs or get into an argument about the subtle nuances of a shared religious path. The object of dating is for you to have a fun and enjoyable time, get to know someone as an individual person, and perhaps cultivate a partnership or friendship.

Some religious leaders (clergy) require that their members ask certain questions before a date begins and if that is the case with you then ask the questions. Do not press for the answers you want, judge your date, or abruptly end the evening if you have asked questions and do not like the answers. You were attracted to the person before he/she was asked these questions, and you would be an unfortunate person if you were unable to spend an evening with someone whose religion or philosophical path did not match your own. This is not a marriage, it is a date.

If you are of a belief system that demands a religiously matched partner, and you are with someone of the same faith, then you should still avoid the subject of religion because there are differing ways of approaching the same religion. You do not want the dating experience to become a contest as to who is the more devout.

Whether with someone of an opposing religious path from your own, or with someone of the same faith, concentrate the focus of your date on learning about the person you are with. It is important to really get to know each other to share commonalities such as humor, or the enjoyment of a certain genre of literature, film, or travel styles.

One thing that all religions have in common is the ideals of goodness and kindness in the path of humanity. If you apply those values to dating and focus on the person you are with, that goodness will be reflected in a fun time and an enjoyable evening.

For Women: Post Divorce Dating Blunders

It is surprising how many smart, attractive, and accomplished women who are socially savvy and still make dating blunders when on the first few dates of a potential relationship. Try, try, try to avoid these tops.

1. Your Ex – Do not bring up past mistreatment or that you did not stand up for yourself in your late marriage. The first dates are for showing your true self and inner strength, not to start a pity party that takes the attention from you and the man you’re with. Likewise, don’t put up with this from your date.

2. Your Kids – You love them and they are the center of your world, but the man you’re with is thinking that he might want to be in that spot. Focus on the moment and the company you are keeping. There will be time enough to talk about little Johnny’s food allergies later on down the road. For now, concentrate on the game at hand.
3. Your Job – If you love your job that’s great. Mention it briefly. If you dislike your job, think of how your date will see you if you start carping about how much you hate your job, your boss, or working conditions. You will not be seen in a good light, and that is what the first few dates are about.

4. Your Money – Keep your financial accomplishments or shortcomings to yourself when you are dating a man for the first time. Men who think of themselves as providers may be turned off by the fact that you don’t need any assistance from him, and men who are well-off might think you are looking to be rescued if you complain about financial lack. Also, men who are out to be “kept” may zero in on a situation that can be exploited. So mum’s the word until you understand each other’s motives.

5. Your Sexual Escapades – This is inappropriate on the first date. Unless you want to have sex with the man you are dating for the first time, do not bring up sex. Many men are uncomfortable about hearing about a woman’s list of lovers, so keep that information to yourself and concentrate on making the best first impression possible. Any man who is middle aged will understand that you have a sexual history, but keep it private until you have a closer relationship.

As a rule of thumb, ask yourself these questions before you start talking about a subject:

  • Will this subject keep the focus of the date on the two of us at this time?
  • Will this subject make a good impression of me?
  • Will this subject create tension or make the date go more smoothly?
  • Will this subject disclose too much information about me?

Understand also that there is no necessity to stick to a subject that a man wants to talk about if you are uncomfortable with that subject. Just tell him that you’d rather talk about it another time.