Self-help Dating Book Offers Singles New Ways To Meet Opposite Sex
The Macon Telegraph
June 12, 2005
By Sarah Sabalos
There are 6 billion people in the world, so no one should be lonely, right? We all deserve happiness with a predestined soul mate, right?
Wrong and wrong, say Bryan Swerling and David Wygant, authors of “Always Talk to Strangers: 3 Simple Steps to Finding the Love of Your Life.”
The $13.95 Penguin paperback, which explores ways for the almost 90 million single adults in America to meet up, contains 218 refreshingly sane, non-panicky pages of dating skills and myths.
The latter leads to what Swerling and Wygant, a professional dating coach who earns as much as $10,000 for a private counseling session, deem The Passive Waiter Mentality: By doing nothing to increase your chances of getting dates, you actively decrease your chances in what is essentially a numbers game.
Conversely, people can smell desperation a mile off.
“We have to get off the whole ‘This has to happen at this time in my life,’ ” said Swerling, a 30-year-old attorney. “You graduate high school at 18, you go to college, you get married, you have kids, you retire in Florida, you die.”
Swerling and Wygant say that single men, and women, are everywhere – you just have to keep your eyes open and your flirter in good working order.
Their book was born when Swerling met co-author Wygant at a Coffee, Bean & Tea Leaf coffee shop in Brentwood, Calif. – “a legendary place for pickups” – and began to talk about the vagaries of dating and relationships.
After a few meetings, they began to draw friends and strangers into their discussions.
“It turned into an all-weekend thing – 40 people talking about dating and sex,” Swerling said. “It was like a live theater show where people could come and vent their frustration. One day, I turned to him and said, ‘I think I can get us a book deal on this.’ ”
The book stresses the difference between being anxious and being active when it comes to seeking a partner.
“You always have your eyes open, you’re always aware, as you put yourself in situations you enjoy,” Swerling said. “Women ask, ‘Should I go golfing to meet men, even though I hate golfing?’ Well, no. What do you like to do? Go do that, and keep your eyes open. Confidence, coolness, laid-backness, those things are attractive.”
Beyond that, the authors say, the only trick to meeting people is being able to have a good conversation. Good conversation starts with opening one’s mouth and saying “hello.”
Swerling said singles who don’t fit with the dominant culture of their areas can face special challenges.
If that’s you, and you can’t relocate, travel. Swerling recommends Contiki Tours, the world’s largest travel company for 18- to 35-year-olds.
“You get on a bus with other single, professional, good-looking people,” Swerling said. “It’s like a traveling summer camp, not a dorky thing at all.”
And, again: Stop stressing yourself out with worry about dying alone and being eaten by your house cats. This mind-set is a love repeller, as Wygant recounts in Chapter One, “Your Mental Makeover.”
And if your friends and family are pressuring you? Swerling puts that in perspective.
“Your friend who got married at 23 and bragged about it may be divorced at 40,” he said, “while you’re getting married for the first time and having a great relationship.”
TROIKA OF DATING MISTAKES
1. Putting pressure on yourself and others. In the book, Wygant tells the story of a disastrous second date during which the woman began to cry because all of her girlfriends were already married and having children.
Her outburst killed the potential of their relationship: “She had showed me how much pressure she was putting on herself to be like everyone else and was obviously very uncomfortable with where she was at that point in time – very unattractive qualities,” Wygant writes.
2. Staying within your safety zone. “To get anything in your career, you have to branch out,” Swerling says. “That doesn’t stop with your career. It’s great to sit in your house and read books, but wouldn’t it be better to get on a plane and go to Africa?”
People miss the boat all day long, he says: “We’re online, on the cell phone, and life is passing us by. We’ve become an isolated culture. How many times have I sat on the subway next to someone reading People magazine about how Brad and Jennifer broke up, and ignoring someone sitting next to them who could be their date for the weekend?”
3. Not being available. Remember to smile, to flirt with your eyes, to use open body language.
And women: Don’t be afraid to go after an interesting man – Swerling’s girlfriend pursued him first.
“It’s the same as business networking,” he says. “Get out, talk to people. You never know. Collect names and phone numbers. Stay in touch with people over the years.”