Your Guide To “Dating Sunday”

Happy 2023 everyone!!! The new year signifies change and rebirth for many of us. It’s a time of reflection and growth, a time when we are reminded to look forward to the future, to appreciate the small moments, and refresh our goals. You can almost feel the excitement and anticipation in the air.

But after kissing the holiday season goodbye, we’re kicking off peak dating season with another *unofficial* holiday… Dating Sunday! If you haven’t heard of this infamous day before, here’s a refresher:

n. Dating Sunday = The time of year when dating apps see the biggest spike in new members & user activity (this year it’s on January 8th)

If you’ve been frustrated with dating apps in the past and/or the kind of matches you’ve gotten, Dating Sunday is the perfect time to try for Round 2. Everyone is HOT off of their new years resolutions (for many which is to join a dating app) and are ready for a restart. So if you’ve been on apps before, the pool of people will be completely different.

But if you’re still hesitant, try joining an app you’ve never tried before! Some apps use the swipe model, while other apps like Hinge let you “heart” something specific on a profile. You might find that the design of a certain dating app will make finding matches much more fun.

So if you’re ready to jump back into the dating pool, here are some hot tips to make your profile POP:

1. REFRESH YOUR PROFILEUse Damona’s “3 C’s” to pick your profile photos. Color to stand out (red is always a solid choice), context to tell your story, and character to show off your dazzling personality.

2. ANSWER MORE MATCHING QUESTIONS – Daters are matching based on values, beliefs and relationship goals more than ever so whether you want to have kids, you’re pansexual or you’re kinda kinky, don’t be afraid to say so.

3. PROOFREAD – OkCupid users say they’re 75% less likely to respond to a profile with a lot of spelling mistakes.

4. KEEP IT POSITIVE – Profiles with phrases like “pass on me if” get fewer messages than those that don’t. Eliminate any demands about what your new partner must do or cannot do. Cut the rants about how you’re tired of getting messages from losers, because you might be turning the off the bad guys AND the good guys.

5. DON’T BE AFRAID TO MESSAGE FIRST – More and more women are making the first move. And according to OkCupid, women who send the first message get 55% more likes (and almost 60% more matches) than those who don’t. Plus, conversations initiated by women last longer than those started by men.

6. PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE – 93% of Hinge users look for emotional vulnerability in a partner, and 61% rank emotional vulnerability as more important than income, height, or even attractiveness. So let’s say goodbye to playing it cool in 2023 – if you really like someone, tell them!

7. MAKE EVERY WORD COUNT– The only thing worse than an empty profile bare is a profile that could double as a novel. Thin out your profile and make it more readable. Try including a headline for each key part of your life that you want to dedicate a sentence to.

I hope you’re feeling ready and FIRED UP for Dating Sunday! Let’s get out there and make some new connections… Happy dating!!!

P.S. Damona is running her signature dating coaching group LIVE one last time starting the week of January 23rd. If you want to find love in 2023, this is your moment!! Hear new success stories and see how the program can change your love life too at TheDatingSecret.com. 👈👈

Holiday Boundaries & an OkCupid GIVEAWAY!!!

The holiday season is upon us.

And you know what that means? Tons of questions from your family, asking, “Why are you still single??” But you don’t have to take it.

First of all, your dating journey is your own and doesn’t need to be explained to ANYONE. We really need to protect our mental health during this time, because in these cold winter months a lot of people do suffer from seasonal affective disorder. It’s a real thing – our serotonin levels drop and we start to feel depressed. And when you couple that with cuffing season + parents asking about grandkids + New Year’s resolutions + Valentine’s Day is coming… it’s all a little bit too much.

So hold your boundaries right now. And if you do get asked about your love life, just turn it around. “I am choosing to live my life with these priorities and when I find the right relationship for me, I’ll let you know.”

But if you ARE on a mission to get boo’ed up this Winter:

Damona is partnering up with OKCupid to give away 30 three-month Premium Memberships to OkCupid! That’s 3 months FREE of Premium access to OkCupid. Or maybe just get cuffed for the season, whatever it is that you want.

And it’s super easy for you to enter now through December 15. All you’ve got to do is:

  1. Share your favorite episode of Dates & Mates on social media. Post on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, post it on your story or as a screenshot. And if you’re listening on Spotify or Apple right now, just hit that share button.
  2. Tag Damona (@damonahoffman) and OkCupid (@okcupid) when you share your favorite episode of Dates & Mates.
  3. That’s it!! 30 of you will get 3 months of FREE premium access to OKCupid just for sharing.

The giveaway ends DECEMBER 15, so start listening HERE to find your favorite episode of Dates & Mates. And don’t forget to tag @DamonaHoffman and @OkCupid on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook so you can be one of the lucky cuffing season giveaway recipients.

We’re confident that you have what it takes to find your forever person this year.

 

The *Ultimate* Dates & Mates Holiday Gift Guide

THE BEST HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE

Some people have a hard time shopping for their significant others during the holiday season. The pressure is on during this crucial time in a relationship. So… this year we’re gifting you with a list of our FAVORITE gift ideas for every occasion.

 

A first rule of thumb: Emotional value always trumps monetary value.  

Get them something that shows you’ve been listening rather than something that shows you waited until the last minute and just plunked down a wad of cash instead of taking the time to choose something that your significant other would specifically want.

I’ve put together this holiday gift guide to help you think through your options if you want to make this holiday special. I’ve made it super easy for you: 

You can either read through my extensive guide to picking the perfect holiday gift OR scroll down to the bottom for my cheat sheet gift guide.

IF YOU WANT TO GET BROKEN UP WITH… 

A one-way ticket to relationship discord is a bad gift. This can be anything from a flat out thoughtless gift, to misconstrued presents, to showing up empty-handed.

Here are a few things to stay away from:

Electronics

From iPods to Kindles to a new microwave, if it’s got a warranty it’s an appliance—not a sign of affection. Anything that plugs in, takes batteries or is powered by the sun, no matter how cool you may think it is will be too impersonal for the first gift-giving exchange in a new relationship.

Jewelry

Dating is not the same as marriage, and even the rules of giving back the ring after divorce are muddy so why get caught up in the big expense of something that may or may not last in the long run? Or even worse, cheap jewelry will just look like you don’t care. 

Diamonds are forever, but a new relationship may not be. Wait until a meaningful anniversary to give something shiny.

Clothing

Unless you’re a successful clothing designer, you’re still learning the style AND SIZE of your new mate. Instead of risking a huge fight about the difference between a petite small and a small small, opt for something a little more tailored to their taste than to their waist.

Novelty Items

Even if Spencer’s Gifts does see a huge influx of customers during the holidays, you don’t have to be one of them. A black-light poster, Snuggie or lava lamp (see No.1) may be cool in your crib, but anything that elicits a laugh may not be quite the reaction you were hoping for.

Sexy Anything

Lingerie, silk boxers, and (heaven forbid) sex toys can and will send the wrong message. Especially when your lady’s friends ask her what she received for the holidays. Save the kinky stuff until you make it to Valentine’s Day.

Nothing

Showing up empty-handed is even worse than showing up with a dildo. Even if you’re two weeks into a relationship, giving something is always better than nothing. So if you’re stumped on what to get and are only coming up with items from this list, at least make sure it’s something, not nothing.

Cards

And I don’t mean playing cards either (which would also make a terrible gift). While the simple act of giving a card is better than the dump-worthy gift of nothing, it’s still not enough. If you have to give a card, make one yourself. Make it meaningful with photos or showcase your artistic side. Rule of thumb: If someone else is quoted is on the card, choose again.

Gift Certificates

Practical, necessary and sometimes thoughtful, gift certificates can be a great gift for co-workers, employees and handymen. For anyone you sleep next to, not so much. If you know where they like to shop get them something from there with a gift receipt, not a blank check to take time out of their day to buy themselves a gift. 

Home Furnishings

Because nothing says “I don’t want to see you anymore” like the gift of a fleece blanket.

Lotion or Soap

Do not be tempted by the Bed, Bath, and Beyond gift basket. Even though the sales lady says women always love it, chances are she already received several from people who don’t really give a crap about her. Try to be the exception.

Also, if someone were to give you the gift of soap, wouldn’t your first thought be, “oh my god, do I smell bad?” Definitely stay away from soap.

Money

You laugh, but it’s been done. Aside from being kind of totally rude, it shows no originality, no emotion and is really, really lame. If you’re so out of your element that you are thinking about resorting to giving the gift of green, it may be time to get some professional help.

BEFORE YOU PICK OUT A GIFT (NOTE: GUYS DEF READ THIS)

Talk and Listen

Many times women think they are dropping hints about what they want for months and weeks before the holiday. Often times men are completely oblivious to these hints.  If you think you may have missed the message, simply try asking what she wants. 

Even if it’s direct, it will show her that you care about her and want to get her something she would like.

What they want most is YOU

Spending quality time with you is one of the most valuable things you can give your lady. Take a moment this holiday season to treat her like the queen she is. Take the reigns in the kitchen and cook for her tonight. Offer a foot massage at the end of a long day. These gestures will mean more than anything that comes in a box.

Let’s not forget the JEWISH HOLIDAYS

If your family is anything like mine, you are planning for Christmas AND Jewish Holidays. It’s always appreciated if you do something to acknowledge every night of Hanukkah, but usually not expected. You have the opportunity to be clever though and build each gift upon the last.  Perhaps you order candy hearts made that spell out a special message across the eight nights. Or give her some chocolate Hanukkah gelt nightly and then give her a guide illustrating how the number of coins corresponds to different gifts of her choice on the eighth evening. You can give her a variety of options and let her decide how she wants to spend her gelt. That will give you points for being cute and creative but also ensure that she gets exactly what she wants.

OKAY NOW HERE’S YOUR CHEAT SHEET!

FOR THE NEW BOO

Regardless of how far along you are in your relationship, from benign dating to almost boyfriend/girlfriend status – get them something for Hanukkah or Christmas. 

You don’t have to overthink this gift and you should probably not spend a lot of money. However, all relationships – even new ones – do warrant some sort of acknowledgment this season.

Here are a few ideas to get you started or spark some inspiration:

Remember that what they want most is to spend time with you. Try giving the gift of an experience!

Groupon has everything from painting classes to concerts to kayaking trips.

Are they obsessed with music? Try a stylish crate for their record collection.

Have they ever mentioned wanting to make time to read more? Try gifting an Audible Membership.

 

FOR YOUR LONG TIME BAE

Sometimes partners can feel taken for granted after a few months or years so this is your time to remind her how special they are to you. 

Again, try the gift of an experience! Do something new to get you out of your routine.

Most ladies love jewelry so if you’re not ready to pop the question (which I don’t usually recommend doing during the holidays) try a lovely necklace instead. The box MUST NOT be misleading to her. There’s nothing worse than thinking you’re getting an engagement ring and ending up with a pair of earrings.

For a guy, try a nice watch. A good watch is a timeless gift. There’s something for every price point.

Whatever you do this season, it’s a good idea to talk about how you like to spend the holidays in advance to make sure you’re on the same page.

And don’t forget to ask them out for New Year’s Eve. There’s a superstition that you’re doing on NYE alludes to what you’ll be doing the rest of your year. So make sure that this New Year’s, the fireworks aren’t only in the sky.

 

 

Surviving The Holidays While Single

A Few Dating Dangers For Singles To Avoid This Holiday Season

Navigating the holidays can be hard when your parents keep asking why you’re still single. Top it all off with dating app fatigue, and Millennials & Gen Zers are ditching dating apps more than ever. But mostly, holiday dating app fatigue comes around due in large part to awkward questions from relatives.

How many times have you heard something on the order of, “Why are you still single” or “when are you going to settle down?” Be prepared for all of the awkward questions because you’re going to get them. 

If you don’t want to talk about why you’re single during the holidays, share all the accomplishments that you want to share instead of focusing on the negative. If all else fails and they just keep asking, tell them some of your bad date stories.

Here are a few tips on handling awkward conversations with relatives:

1. Stay optimistic about dating apps.

Dating apps are the most powerful tool in your dating tool box. If you’re feeling down about dating apps just remember this:

Now more than ever daters are finding love online. But regardless of this shift, people do tend to get down on dating apps around the holidays. Often parents and relatives don’t understand that online dating is the norm now. The latest news may not have helped that…

2. Tell your parents the dating apps aren’t dangerous.

You may have seen in the news that the safety of some of the best dating apps has been called into question. A recent investigation proved that registered sex offenders are finding victims through free dating apps and websites such as Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and more. 

This is terrifying. But, it’s also an opportunity to examine 1) which dating apps you are using and 2) how we are filtering potential dates

On episode #287 Dates & Mates, Damona discussed this with Rene Lynch, editor of LA Affairs in the LA Times. They break down this controversy: 

  • If you’re concerned about your safety, certain dating apps automatically use background checks against the sex offender registry – like Match. These are typically paid subscription dating apps that have the resources to filter for dangerous situations.
  • Do some research on your own! Before you meet your date in person:
    • Schedule a pre-date phone call or video chat & make sure that everything checks out.
    • A quick search on all social media platforms can tell you all you need to know about your match.
    • If something feels off to you, follow your intuition.

3. Think about dedicating some extra time to dating.

Damona always encourages daters to be proactive in finding love. And since we’re all on holiday, let’s take advantage of all the free time! A good rule of thumb is to dedicate five hours a week or more to your dating process.

4. If you’re experiencing dating app fatigue, take a break!

We have all been there. Sometimes you get tired of the seemingly endless and monotonous game of swiping. But once you take a step back, you realize that the dating apps are more than just swiping at faces. 

If you’re in a dating rut, make sure you take some time to regroup. As Damona says, it’s better to take a break than to bring the wrong energy into dating.

5. Revisit making IRL connections.

While you’re taking a break from dating apps, make an effort to meet people in real life and be more conscious about the kind of person you are looking for. You can actively search in relevant spaces where you can find potential matches with common interests. 

6. Where’s your match hiding?

If you’re looking for someone that has a professional career, you might want to go downtown at happy hour and chat up the people that work in those office buildings. Or if you’re looking for someone who has a big heart, try attending a charity event and places with people who make philanthropy a part of their lifestyle.

Do you have a dating resolution for next year? Reach out to us on socials (@DamonaHoffman on all platforms). Happy dating!