Asia’s first female Cupid and founder of Lunch Actually tips us off on getting comfortable with first encounters in the era of mobile app dating.
The Tatler 10: Violet Lim
Violet Lim was groomed to get good grades, enter into a prestigious university and land a cushy job. A law graduate with a Masters in Human Resources, she was snapped up as management associate for Citibank Singapore.
But that marked a turning point in her life.
Many of her attractive and eligible colleagues were still single, and it soon dawned on her that like most professionals and executives in Singapore, they were married to their jobs. You either found a partner in school or university (like herself), or you ‘missed the boat.’
One day on her travels, the idea of lunch dating sparked and struck. Lunch was ‘short, sweet, and simple’ – the perfect formula for a quick date. It also helped that no matter how busy her banker friends were they would always make time for lunch.
At 24, Violet left her job, teamed up with then-boyfriend, now-husband, Jamie Lee, and started their dating company, Lunch Actually. On an honest mission to help people find lifelong happiness in love, she became matchmaker to couples across Asia, a best-selling author and relationship expert. Over 12 years later in the age of mobile dating apps, we turn to Violet for tips on surviving and enjoying blind dates:
Firstly, remember to relax. Do not stress yourself out thinking that you are about to meet your future wife/husband; treat the date as you would – getting to know a friend.
Be punctual. And being punctual does not mean appearing on the dot, but five to ten minutes earlier. It shows that you are considerate of your date’s time.
Dress well – it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed. First impressions count. In fact, not only do they count but also first impressions usually carry more weight than the subsequent ‘damage control impressions’ you give off.
Avoid ordering ‘messy food’ such as spaghetti and stick to food that is bite-sized. The last impression you’d want to leave is of spaghetti sauce dribbling down your chin or splattered across the front of your white shirt. The best way forward here is to play it safe when ordering your food.
Do not hog the conversation. Find a good balance between listening and sharing. Don’t forget that a first date is about getting to know each other; so, ask a lot of questions and have fun doing it!
Do not bring up sensitive topics during the first date, such as exes, religion, politics and sex. Keep the conversation light; you can save these more sensitive topics for later dates.
You can prepare topics for conversation to avoid long, awkward silences. Try not to talk about your job (unless that’s the only thing you are passionate about). Share about your interests and passions in life. Be willing to dive deep and share rather than just skimming the surface.
Let your date know you enjoyed their company (if you did) as soon as possible and don’t play the waiting game.
Do not be over calculative when the bill comes and start counting down to the last cent to pay! Guys, if you want to make a good impression, do offer to pay, and ladies, do not simply expect your date to pay – you could even offer to contribute your share.
Lastly, one of the key advices I always give to my clients when going on a date is, "Be happy! Smile! We all love to be around happy people!" Perhaps I should change my advice to, "Do not be afraid to laugh! Laugh with your date, laugh at yourself! Even if nothing comes out of it, at least you have had a good laugh!"
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