Love Every “Single” Second You Have!

July 11th, 2014

When I was looking for love years ago, a lot of people told me: “Love yourself. Because you have to love yourself before you can love someone else.” All true of course. But I found that hard to gauge in the same way that, say, “Stop eating when you’re starting to feel full” is. Me, I don’t feel full until my plate is empty, and with no way to measure self-contentment, how do I know if I love myself enough?

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Look at the beautiful life in front of you and live it up now.

What was easier to do, I realized, was to start loving my life. Because that was something I could do in an active, measurable way. For example:

Instead of going for drinks in desperation with any stranger I met (I mean, how many glasses of rosé can one girl drink?), I began to spend more time with my friends and my family who I loved. I went for lingering brunches and inhaled my freedom. I walked for hours around the city appreciating my health, my home, my apartment, my job and everything else I had going for me.

And because I didn’t have a husband and kids (though I wanted both), I traveled more than ever, and felt even better about my life when I was out exploring the world. And the more I appreciated my life, the happier and more fulfilled I felt. And the happier and more fulfilled I felt, the more I glowed. And the more I glowed, the more confident I was. And the more confident I was, well…that’s when the men came flocking. Yes, I had plenty of down days (my God!) But I had far more happy ones, and I’m grateful now that I made sure to have them.

So I suggest the same to someone looking for love this summer: Love every single second you have—and I mean that literally. Think about it: If all goes according to hope and plan and you do meet someone and fall in love, won’t you wish you didn’t waste these weeks or months of singleness you had left? If a crystal ball could tell you that you are going to meet someone in three months, aren’t there a few things you might want to do with the commitment-free single nights you have left? (Like, I don’t know, make out with a hot bartender you see absolutely no future with, just because you can?)

While you search for a partner, try not to bog yourself down with must-do dating rules or depressing thoughts or too many dates that you forget who you are and what you’re looking for in the first place. Look for love, of course, but while you’re doing it, live and love the life you have now. The more you do, the more likely it is that love will come flocking to you to find out your secret.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

Is Your Date Into You? 6 Signs They Are

July 9th, 2014

Another post for the singles here.

Right now, I have quite a few friends firing up their Tinder apps and flirting on OK Cupid and meeting up for quickie cocktails, all in the name of love. And one of the main things they always walk away wondering after almost every date is: Does my date feels the same way about me that I feel about them?

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Dance Party. Image by Amy Spencer

Even if your date has been smiling up a storm or raptly listening to your opinion on the next season of True Detective, he or she could just be acting interested and secretly hoping the evening will end soon. But that’s not to say you need to be in the dark about your date’s true feelings. It turns out there are many signals your date may send that give away what’s really going on—and could mean there’s a real connection and raging chemistry between you two.

So…do you want to know if your date is into you? I pulled together a few signs for the dating site Chemistry.com and wanted to share them with you now. Do any of these seem familiar?

SIGN #1: Your date says your name more than usual. Maybe your date says your first and last name, like, “So, Michael Malone, you up for a night cap after dinner?” Or maybe your date says just your first name three times, like “Jenna, Jenna, Jenna.” Either way, it can be a sign that your date feels so much chemistry, he or she can’t help but connect with your closest possession: your name. But only if your name is said in an enthusiastic way—not in a flat tone like the person behind the counter at the DMV. “Saying someone’s name is like a sign that you’re testing the magic you’re feeling, because you almost can’t believe they’re real,” says body language expert Patti Wood. “It also subconsciously elicits immediate focus from the person whose name is said,” says Wood, which is more proof of the chemistry: If someone is into you, he or she wants your full attention.

It’s an unconscious bit of body language that shows the person is searching for more info about you.

SIGN #2: Your date squints at you. If you watch reality dating shows like The Bachelorette, when one party harbors a crush on the other, they’ll give each other a cute little squint, usually followed by a smile. (Hello, Andi, we’re lookin’ at you!) What gives? It’s an unconscious bit of body language that shows the person is searching for more info about you. “Squinting is typically a gesture of searching deeper into something or testing it,” says Wood. “The same way you’d squint at a diamond to see if it’s real, squinting shows you’re focusing harder to be sure it’s not just a mirage.” And that, she says, is a great sign. That coy little spy tactic shows that your date likes you so much, he or she is looking more closely to see if you could possibly be as great as you seem. (Obviously you are.)

SIGN #3: Your date asks the “why” and “how” questions. During dinner conversation, any polite date will ask you factual things about your family like, “So, do you have brothers and sisters?” But that’s not necessarily a sign they feel chemistry with you. It is a sign of chemistry, however, if they delve deeper and ask more probing questions. As in, “So, how did you get interested in accounting, anyway?” And “Why did you decide to move all the way across the country?” That’s one of the ways New York City dater Jennifer first noticed that she and her date were clicking. “He asked questions about my family — not just the same old questions, but things like, ‘What are your parents like?’ People on first dates don’t really ask these kinds of questions unless they have some intention of meeting them some day.” These challenging questions are a strong sign that the person you’re with is seriously interested in you and not just making polite chit-chat. And in Jennifer’s case? They’re married with a little girl now, so those signs sure were pointed in the right direction.

SIGN #4: Your date gets quiet midway through your time together. Rather than taking your date’s silence as a sign your he or she has lost interest, it could actually be the opposite: Your date may be feeling such a pull toward you that he or she is lost in thought about it. “Sometimes, a person feels such a strong attraction that instead of nodding and following the conversation, he or she is just contemplating you,” says Wood. So the next time your date seems to have missed the whole end of your story, don’t cast the person off too quickly. If you really can’t be sure whether the distraction is a bonus or a sign of boredom, go ahead and ask. “Say to your date, ‘Hey, where’d ya go?’” suggests Sharyn Wolf, CSW, a psychotherapist in New York City and author of Guerilla Dating. “If the person says, ‘What are you talking about?’ or acts defensive about paying attention, that’s not a good sign. But if you get a grin back and a, ‘Sorry, I guess I got distracted,’ that can be a great sign. It shows this new companion may have been imagining a future outing — or just a future — with you!”

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Good off. Image by Amy Spencer

SIGN #5: You hear “you’re” a lot. If your date says to you, “You’re awesome” or “You’re so funny” or “You’re a trip!” or “You’re something else…” then you’re very lucky! Personalizing your admiration or approval of a date means a lot; it’s a strong sign of attraction, while statements like, “That’s awesome” or “That’s funny” don’t mean as much. Using the word you means that the person feels chemistry with you, versus just grooving on your story-telling skills.

SIGN #6: Your date gives you a token of the evening. If your date gives you something you can hold onto and look at later, chances are he or she is feeling chemistry. Jennifer’s date once picked up a pack of matches from the restaurant they were in and said, “Here, for you.” He didn’t say, “Something to remember me by” or “So we’ll always remember this night,” but that, in fact, was the underlying message. It’s a sign that your date wants you to have something to remember him or her by… because clearly this person will be remembering your date as a great one.

Amy Spencer is the author of Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Upbeat Guide to Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match, which Harper’s Bazaar magazine called “the ultimate pep talk.” And fitness coach Jillian Michaels of The Biggest Loser said, “If you’re single, drop everything and read this book. It will completely change dating for you as you know it.”

How “Hard” Should You Try to Find Love?

March 25th, 2014

What advice would I give a friend trying to find love?

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If you’re going to “try,” try to be the most fulfilled, content, inspired, kind, relaxed person you can be. If you feel your best, you’ll attract the best. (Image: Amy Spencer, Ojai Tea, 2014)

When I was single, I was always on the case to find love. I dated, I socialized, I went online, I scoped out events for cute guys the minute I entered. Which is why the advice that some people gave me was so aggravating. Their suggestion? “Stop trying. The minute you stop looking, for love, you’ll find it.” And while I got the gist of what they were saying—scouring the city with a wild love hunger was affecting my happiness—it also felt a bit defeatist. Like, really? Just sit back and wait for a guy to come knocking? It felt like the equivalent of “Just wait by the phone for a man to call,” which we girls  learned to stop doing long ago. (At least I hope we have?)

But I think there is a line here. The way I see it, “trying” is one thing. And for that I mean: Going online to find love. Asking to be set up. Giving a guy a second chance even when there wasn’t chemistry the first time. If what you want is love, then I say sure, try anything.

But then there’s trying too hard, and that’s another thing entirely. I know, because I’ve been the girl that tried too hard, though I didn’t know it at the time. As I wrote about  in Meeting Your Half-Orange, I cringe when I think about the guys I pushed to like me, the dates I pushed to happen, the parties I waded through in desperation, asking everyone, “Is anyone single here? Have you seen any cute guys?” I remember once hounding my sister once to arrange a set-up with the brother of a friend of hers who was mentioned to me in passing. (Can you follow that?) I’d call my sister every day asking, “Did you talk to R about her brother yet? Have you heard anything? Can you make it happen? Three weeks later, the brother finally told R, who told my sister, who told me: “He said ‘I hear she’s a brunette. I don’t date brunettes…”

God, I felt like a fool. Not only was I trying too hard, but I doing it for some jerk-off (can I say that on here? Trust me, I want to say worse!). The point is, that experience was not good for my self-esteem. I felt like a desperate single woman “on the prowl” just like Aly’s friend, willing to do anything to find a partner. Persistence seems to work with everything else in life, I thought, so why not with love?

Well, because love can’t be earned by hours worked or effort repaid. Finding love is, unfortunately, one of those things we can’t force or control. Try, definitely. But if you feel yourself trying too hard—and by that I mean feeling desperate, turning ugly, feeling down on yourself, hating the search for love—then stop! Please, for your own sake. Stop the cycle that I was in and focus on other things for a minute. You can try again later. The watched pot never boils, and a depressingly-stared-and-glared-at love life won’t heat up either.

Yeah, it sounds unhelpful to suggest sitting back and resting. But sometimes, for your own sanity, you need to! Pick one of the other 135 facets of your life that make you who you are, other than dating—friends, exercise, reading, writing, dancing, cooking, walking, eating—and focus on that for a minute.

And who knows, you may end up being one of those people who (like me) end up saying, “It’s so funny, the minute I stopped trying…” and “It was just when I least expected it…” Remember, clichés become clichés because there’s truth in there.

So if you’re going to try at anything, I’d like to suggest this: Try to be the most authentic person you can be. Try to find things that create a bubbling happiness inside of you whether you’re with someone or not—like cooking for your friends, traveling to far off places, taking some Krav Maga classes, or writing poetry. Try to see the world as wide open as you can, full of all kinds of people you might meet, experiences you might have, and love for family and friends that bursts as big as the romantic one you’re looking for.

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

So, What Will You Do With Your One Life?

March 10th, 2014

I came across this on the web this morning, and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. It’s one of those quotes where we obviously all know to be true, but sometimes it’s like a pebble has to be shot at your head to knock you into remembering the little things like this. Wait, did I say little? I mean as big as it gets.

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This is your life. The only one you’ll get. Let this sink in for a minute. Because it might be time to start thinking about what you want to get done. Places you want to visit. Activities you want to try. Things you want to say to someone you love. Leaps you want to make. Risks you want to take. Dreams you want to take a shot at. Sure, you can do it next month or next year or someday. But don’t let the things you want to be, try, say or do to pass you by. Really.

“You have exactly one life in which to do everything you’ll ever do. Act accordingly.” -Colin Wright

Big love,

Amy Signature 4

 

 

 

[Quote image found at http://www.bakadesuyo.com/2013/03/lifelong-studies-agree-living-long-happy-life/]

Join My Happiness Challenge!

January 27th, 2014

I have started something called The Happiness Challenge with Glamour.comAnd today the challenge hit Week 4.

Here’s how it works: I have created a total of 5 Challenges. Each challenge is built around the idea that if you embrace all the best aspects of yourself and your life in a balanced way. The hope is, by the time you complete all 5 challenges—you will end up feeling stronger, more loving, more confident, more fulfilled and happier all-around.

If you’re just starting today and want to take the challenge on. Do it! Show life you mean business. And nothing makes me happier than hearing you’ve been inspired to live a better life. Here are the challenges so far:

Challenge #1: Bravery

Challenge #2: Self-worth

Challenge #3: Independence

Today’s Challenge #4: Generosity

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Next week is the final challenge—and the sweetest and the easiest of all.

It’s not too late to join in, because there’s no such thing as being too late for happiness. Every single day, it’s up to us if we want to embrace a happy, fulfilled life in the small moments we face, minute after minute, hour after hour.

This is your year, remember. So take the steps to show life you mean it.

#happinesschallenge #gethappy

—Amy

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P.S. If you’re enjoying this positive, proactive approach to life, order your copy of The Happy Life Checklist so you can keep the challenge going all year long.

Because the way I see it, life isn’t just about the big goals ahead of you, it’s also about the small, beautiful things you can stop and savor right now. And those happy moments are all around you.

Remember: Happiness comes in the seconds and minutes of life, as well as in the years. So keep on living, loving and celebrating the small things that make life worth it.