Tag Archive for: compassion

Relationship Science & Dating Cancellations

Y’all know that we LOVE statistics and science here at Dates & Mates, so why not squeeze in some more data before the end of the year?

Today Damona is dishing with award-winning international dating and relationship expert (and the same person who gave Damona her certification in coaching!!) – Hunt Ethridge. He’ll be breaking down some new science in the relationship and dating space, so you can hack the dating game once and for all.


Canceling plans because you’re not feeling body confident? Let’s talk about it.

A new survey from a company called Wild Dose (who make products for belly & gut health) revealed that men are more likely than women to back out of a date when they aren’t feeling body confident. 

More specifically, the research showed that 25% of men will avoid sex when feeling self conscious, compared to 22% of women. And 1 in 10 men admitted they’ve canceled on a date last minute when not feeling body confident due to stomach issues such as bloating.

Damona makes two arguments based on this data. Firstly, that we should all be trusting our gut a lot more when it comes to dating. (Yeah, butterflies are a thing. But maybe what you’re feeling has to do more with intuition than nerves.) And secondly, that we all need to practice being more respectful of our date’s time when canceling plans. Damona also shares her sure-fire formula to avoid being canceled on.


Hunt Ethridge is an award-winning international dating and relationship expert with over 15 years experience.

Hunt is the co-founder of The Matchmaking Business Academy, which will educate and mentor matchmakers and dating coaches at all levels of their career. He has also been featured in CNN, The New York Times, Playboy and GQ.

(12:08) Where we are now…

There have been several milestone shifts with dating culture in the last 15 years. But most all of them fall under how we communicate – Tinder and swipe app technology increased the speed of communication, and texting became the primary mode of communication in dating. So how can we continue to use these tools as a means of connection, rather than letting them become obstacles to connection? Hunt gives his hot take.

(19:30) Authenticity pays off!

We talk about authenticity a lot on Dates & Mates and learning to show up as your authentic self. But Hunt clarifies. He says that it’s about being your *best* authentic self. “Sometimes people think oversharing or being unedited is authenticity, and that’s not necessarily what it means… I could sit here with greasy hair and a ripped t-shirt and that would be authentic because I look like that sometimes. But it’s not going to be the authentic that will work the best for you in a dating situation.”

So can we redefine what it means to be authentic? Hunt shares his thoughts…

(26:38) The science of self-disclosure

Hunt dives into a study he read recently about the science of over-sharing, which some may see as self-disclosure or being vulnerable. According to the research, your date’s response to self-disclosure works out more favorably and creates more connection when the other party values openness and vulnerability themselves.

Hunt also explains the ways in which we are wired to mirror each other (and the varied ways that mirroring shows up).

(36:04) What if Stranger Danger was wrong?

Another study? Heck yes! Hunt shares some research he found that describes how positive interactions with strangers, however minor, predict a greater subjective well being. “It boils down to if I smile at you, you’re gonna smile back. And if I see your smile, hopefully it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. And so I kind of created a feedback loop.”

Plus, Damona and Hunt dive deeper into this concept of “reciprocal altruism”.

(36:04) What does it take to date offline?

Online dating has its obstacles, no doubt. And I know many of us are itching to ditch the apps altogether and solely date offline. But keep in mind – dating offline will require us to do more of the work to see results.

A tip from Hunt to ease your transition into offline dating… Instead of asking each other logical questions like “how was your day,” try asking more emotional questions that will access their more positive emotions. What was your favorite thing about this weekend? What was the best thing about where you grew up? When was the last time you had a win at work? What was the best prank you saw in college? 


Be sure to follow Hunt on Instagram @QuestforAdvice and check out HuntforAdvice.com for more information.




Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:


  • IG Message from Emily – Dear Damona, I was wondering if you could provide me with some insight. I have it stated on my dating profile that I am looking for something more serious. I’ll match with someone, they say they are looking for something more serious as well, but then by the third or fourth date they say that I am further along in wanting a commitment and they aren’t quite ready for a relationship and want to keep things casual. And when that happens, I end it. This has happened to me four times now. What are some signs I can look out for to avoid this happening again and is there anything I can do to find someone more serious about wanting a relationship?

Boundary Bubble & Fourth Date Day

It’s that time of year… Mariah Carey has her Santa hat on and Starbucks has changed their cup color to red.

The holidays are a magical moment when family comes together and people celebrate. But the same things that make it so great can create some strain – like cramped spaces, a little too much booze and overly nosey visitors.

You know what you need my friend? Boundaries. Both to make it through the crush of cuffing season and to make it through another holiday with well-intentioned family and friends.

And that’s why we have relationship and recovery coach Dufflyn Lammers joining Damona this week. She’ll be outlining how to set healthy boundaries with your loved ones AND dates so you can have a happy and healthy holiday season.


Just FYI, your fourth date should absolutely be a day-date.

A new article from Cosmopolitan Magazine gives several reasons to go for the day-date during your fourth meetup. Firstly, the fourth date is still early enough that if red flags come up during the date, you can make your exit. The day-date also provides less pressure to dress to perfection or play up the sex appeal. And unless you’re doing mimosas for brunch, you can’t hide behind alcohol during a day-date. You can also escape that pre-date anxiety since you’re not waiting around all day.

Damona is a fan for a different reason – the day-date gives you a deeper understanding of your matches’ personality. The goal of the first three dates is to give and receive as much authenticity as possible. So going out for lunch, coffee, a hike etc. is more likely to create opportunities for connection than hiding behind a few drinks.

Additionally, Damona gives tips for why activity dates (aka bowling, mini golf, hiking) can play a role in feeling more attracted to your match…


**REMINDER: Our big cuffing season giveaway with OkCupid is still on through December 15!!! Just share this episode or your fav episode of Dates and Mates to social media, then tag Damona (@damonahoffman) and OkCupid (@okcupid) for a chance to win three FREE months of OKCupid Premium.



Dufflyn Lammers is a relationship and recovery coach with over 10 years of experience. More specifically, she’s trained in attachment repair, tantra, intervention, and personal coaching.

She has published and performed for the LA Times, In The Rooms, The Fix, She Recovers Foundation, The International Conference on Addiction and Associated Disorders, National Association for Poetry Therapy, HBO, NBC, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

(12:00) Learn to voice your expectations.

Defining our boundaries can take time, but as Dufflyn observes, “that’s the big thing that boundaries give us is an opportunity to be our authentic selves.”

When we know our boundaries but don’t express them, we often end up in situations where we feel disrespected or betrayed. But how can the other person have an opportunity to show up for us if we don’t let them know what we expect? Set up your expectation, and THEN see how that person shows up.

(16:36) Boundaries are gates, not walls.

We set up boundaries around others to protect ourselves and make us feel safe, right? But that doesn’t mean we can’t be flexible. Dufflyn compares boundaries as being alike to gates rather than walls, which more easily allow us to come together with another human who isn’t us. “When two people come together, there’s always negotiation. We say these are my standards and boundaries and these are the other person’s. Do they match?”

Dufflyn also maps the different levels of boundaries, and explains how setting boundaries is a kind thing to do for ourselves AND other people.

(23:25) The MOST common myths about boundaries.

The top misconception Dufflyn hears about boundaries is that maintaining boundaries will hurt people’s feelings. “The truth is when we stop pleasing people, people aren’t pleased, right? But the fact that they’re not pleased doesn’t mean that we should trash our boundaries. It might actually mean the opposite – that this was overdue. Or that they’re uncomfortable.”

Damona asks if there’s a right and wrong way to express our boundaries. There is no right and wrong way, but only the most compassionate way. Dufflyn’s strategy is to “top and tail” your boundary. A.K.A. Top it (acknowledge the other person), then express your boundary, and finally tail it (how you will take action or collaborate with the other person).

(31:24) Let’s regulate these emotions…

One of the biggest obstacles we may face when setting boundaries is unregulated emotions. Because it’s really hard to place a boundary when family members or other people are pushing against them, right? Dufflyn adds, “If you’ve got two people that are both dysregulated, they’re not going to be able to regulate one another, which is the primary way that we find regulation, right? It’s co-regulation with another person.”

So how do we emotionally regulate in those moments? By having a few people who we can rely on to help us emotionally regulate, rather than relying solely on our partners, matches or a family member. Not sure who to call? Dufflyn likes to imagine the conversation ahead of time. She says, “Before I dial, I think, will this person make me feel regulated?”


Be sure to follow Dufflyn on Instagram @Dufflyn. Dufflyn has also created a FREE guide for Dates & Mates listeners – The 8 Top Tips for Getting Through the Holidays With Boundaries


And if you want to work with Dufflyn ASAP, her new workshop Boundaries Are The New Black is going LIVE on Saturday December 17, 2022 at 7PM CET.



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:


  • Email from Anonymous – Dear Damona, I am a 25 year old female and I have been putting a lot of effort into online dating recently and have been challenging myself to go on at least one date per week. So far there is one trend that I run into a lot while talking to men online and that is they don’t ask me questions about myself. I will ask them a question like what is your favorite genre of music for example and they will respond with a long paragraph but then not think to ask me the question in return. It really frustrates me because I feel as though this is a lack of awareness and interest in me and it really turns me off. It really is a dealbreaker. Am I overreacting? Is there a way I can communicate this without sounding overly negative and judgmental? I don’t know what to do and I am tired of carrying the conversation and not getting the same effort in return. Thank you!

Gender Wars & Broken Picker

Gender norms are evolving rapidly but online there still seems to be a lot of rhetoric circulating about things like alpha males and high value women. 

And while there is no doubt that there are certain characteristics of these labels that are valued by many, like a strong work ethic or being accountable, I’ve been wondering if these terms and the online communities that seem to be building around them are driving us further away from authentic love and true understanding between the sexes.

And that’s why we have one of the hottest multi-platform content creators, Chris Thompson, here to break down the gender war he’s witnessing online and to share his methods for coming back to a place of peace. 


Should dating references be required in online dating?

We all go to Yelp for reviews on new restaurants – but what if you could do the same thing for potential dates? A recent article from Refinery29 makes the case for why dating references should become the new norm in online dating. The article cites a lot of scary statistics about the potential dangers of online dating – but Damona wants you to remember that it’s really unlikely that some of these extreme situations will happen to you. More likely, your worst case scenario will be realizing you and your date are incredibly incompatible.

But if something does happen to you, report this user to the app immediately! Because there’s no way that apps can police toxic or dangerous behavior if we’re not reporting it.

P.S. If you’re really nervous about online catfishing, listen to Damona’s interview with Kamie Crawford, co-host of MTV’s hit show Catfish. She shares her top tips on how to research your matches before you meet IRL. 


**If you’re looking for a little more discovery in your dating life, try out Damona’s FREE Profile Starter Kit to magnetize your dating profile. (This won’t be free forever, so get it while you can!!)



Chris Thompson is a veteran of the influencer industry and has an audience of over 2 million. He also hosts the podcast, Unfiltered Friends, where he helps your favorite creators tell their personal stories.

(12:15) Let’s end the Gender Wars.

The dominant theme amidst Chris’s social media content is discussing gender roles (or breaking down the “Gender Wars”). When we say “gender wars,” we are referring to the strict thinking that men must support men and women must support women, solely. In this line of thinking, people tend to blame the opposite gender for their horrible dating experiences. Chris believes that this divide is mostly created when we project our dating disappointment & resentment onto each other.

Chris also gives details about his experience interviewing someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, and how our mainstream fantasies about love actually allow narcissistic people to manipulate us more easily. (Say whaaaat?)

(22:38) Look beyond the checklist.

When dating apps give us access to more matches than we could ask for, it’s great to be specific about what you’re looking for in a partner. But if our must-haves consist of mainly surface level qualities, sticking with this checklist can begin to dehumanize our matches. Make sure your must-have qualities help determine your long-term compatibility with someone, and allow potential partners to be included in the building of your relationship. 

Chris and Damona also discuss (and debunk) the idea of what it means to be a “high value” woman or man.

(28:30) Alpha-male atrocity…

Let’s get one thing straight – Alpha-male culture is ridiculous and should not be seen as an exemplary approach towards dating. That being said, there is a reason why so many men have continued to gravitate towards the Alpha Male persona. Damona believes that this attraction comes from a place of pain and feeling as though they are not enough. Chris states that in order to alieve the toxic symptoms of alpha-male culture, we must approach the situation with compassion. 

**Note: compassion does NOT mean validation. Of course alpha-male culture tends to validate really crappy and toxic behavior, which is never okay. But the more we can understand where toxic behavior is coming from, the more we can help to heal it.


Be sure to follow Chris on Instagram and TikTok @SupDaily and check out his podcast, Unfiltered Friends, wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.



Submit your questions on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:


IG Message from E – Hi Damona – help! I discovered your podcast a few months ago and listen a few times a week when I walk. I go on lots of dates. Men usually ask me out on a second and third date. I have actually turned down numerous opportunities with nice guys who want a relationship. I’m not attracted to most of the guys I date! What do I do? Am I picking the wrong people? I find the really attractive guys are often jerks or have very different values (like very conservative, anti-abortion, that sort of thing). I’m starting to wonder – is it me? Is it my selection strategy?