121 First Dates Summary and Review

by Wendy Newman
  Has 121 First Dates by Wendy Newman been sitting on your reading list? Pick up the key ideas in the book with this quick summary. We live in a world of lonely hearts. Between a fear of disappointment or just simply being fed up, many women have come to the conclusion that life is better without dating. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Because of modern technology and the development of online dating, it’s easier than ever to try your luck for that perfect relationship. As long as you go at it with a positive mindset, and keep in mind a few easy tips, dating can be a fun and exciting experience – and a successful one, too. In this summary of 121 First Dates by Wendy Newman will reopen the world of dating. You’ll learn how to be more mentally prepared for a date, how to organize yourself before it, and what to expect from it. You’ll also gain techniques for when you need to escape from a bad date, and tips on how to deal with rejection. You’ll also learn:
  • what it takes to live happily ever after;
  • why putting lots of effort into your looks can work miracles; and
  • why your brother should not be in your dating-page profile picture.

121 First Dates Key Idea #1: It’s important to be mentally prepared, before you go on your first date.

On the stormy sea that is modern dating, any voyage is sure to be exciting. But before you set sail, it’s important to be prepared for what’s to come – to batten down the hatches, so to speak. To start, it’s helpful to be able to mentally bring yourself somewhere safe, in case things go terribly wrong. Being able to do this comes directly from being self-aware. It’s important for you to know your needs and what might make you happy. Perhaps you find it difficult to get through your day without eight hours of sleep, or feel tense if you don’t take your daily morning walk. Once you have a good idea of what it takes for you to feel good, it’s important to think about what might make you happy. This might include things that aren’t necessarily needs, but instead, are things that enhance your life. This could mean anything from getting a massage to going to the movies to setting time aside to read a good novel. Making it clear with yourself what these desires are, will make future dates feel less daunting. This way, if a date is going poorly, you’ll be able to turn to yourself for support. Making sure you know yourself and what you want can empower you as a person and allow you to find happiness internally, making it easier to live life without relying on someone else. The next step is having an open mind prior to a first date. This is very important – so important, in fact, that you should pay attention to when your date is. You probably shouldn’t go on a first date straight from work — you might still be too preoccupied with the worries from your day. Many people will enjoy the company of a relaxed and self-assured woman much more. So even if you have limited time, and can only take a quick bath, change your outfit, and fix your makeup a little bit, it’s worth it — such a routine can do wonders for your energy. It can also be worth it to stop setting unrealistic expectations. It’s entirely possible that the two of you just won’t connect. If you aren’t expecting to meet your soulmate, you’ll be much less likely to stress later over what he thinks of you. It might also help if you’re able to partake in engaging conversations and share funny and uplifting stories, since this is usually a good test to see how successful a date is.

121 First Dates Key Idea #2: While online dating can give you more opportunities than you’d have otherwise, it requires lots of commitment and amazing self-presentation.

Now that you have an idea of how to prepare for your first date, it’s time to actually dive into the online dating world. While there are hundreds of online dating sites to choose from, in order for them to really help you, you need to know exactly what you’re looking for. The true purpose of dating sites is to make the process of meeting people much easier. One way they do this is by establishing communities of people with similar needs. Match.com and OKCupid, for example, are primarily for people looking for a committed, romantic relationship. If you’re simply looking for casual sex, Tinder might be a good place to start. Another bonus of dating sites is that you now have the chance to talk to people you most likely wouldn’tmeet in your casual, everyday life – from surgeons to public speakers, rock stars to rock climbers. This doesn’t mean there isn’t a downside to all this freedom though. There’s always the chance that your new online acquaintance could disappear, never to be heard from again. Don’t let this discourage you; it’s just part of the deal. After all, who you thought was perfect might disappear if he doesn’t think you’re right for each other. Or it could just be that he was scared because he’s new to the world of online dating. Whatever the case may be, you definitely shouldn’t take it personally, and you shouldn’t let it affect your commitment to finding someone. But commitment alone won’t reel in Mr. Right. It’s also crucial to know how to present yourself. When it comes to taking the perfect profile picture, the best way to go is natural. It’s crucial to post at least three photos with a natural backdrop and to select pictures that represent who you think your authentic self is – pictures that make you feel happy and sexy. It’s also best to post pictures that don’t include your best female friends as this may confuse people looking at your profile. And it’s also crucial not to post pictures with your brother because guys will just assume he’s your ex-boyfriend and worry that you’re still in love with him. When curating the perfect written section of the profile, it’s important to be honest, funny, and concise. Don’t take the risk of starting a new relationship that’s based on little lies. It’s much more difficult to backpedal later on than to be honest right from the start.

121 First Dates Key Idea #3: Surprise, surprise: the point of online dating is to actually go on dates!

Online dating is a great way to meet singles near you that you might be compatible with. But, although it might sound like it, online dating isn’t simply about chatting with other people online. It’s about going on actual dates! Dating sites aren’t meant for you to simply get to know your partner over email. After all, while you might email back and forth a bit, check each other out on social media, and start fantasizing about your perfect life together, this might only lead to disappointment in the end. Relationships built on the internet are bound to fail because they’re based on illusions. There’s not way you’ll actually know if you’re compatible until you meet in person. This is the reason it’s important to arrange a date as soon as you think you’ve found someone you’re a good match with. That being said, there are always a few roadblocks when it comes to actually arranging a date. The first step is to agree on a good meeting place. When your date asks to meet in person make sure you don’t reply saying, “wherever you want.” Answering like this would not only be unhelpful, but they might also be untrue. Many women think that men will find them more attractive if they appear to be less high-maintenance. This is a misconception—it’s actually better to be assertive and opinionated. So, rather than leaving it up to him, it’s good to suggest a couple potential locations and invite him to offer his own suggestions too. Your suggestions should reflect how you think you and your date will get along. If you think you’ll be able to talk for an entire hour then it might be good to suggest going to dinner. If you’re not sure how you’ll get along, then suggest a more public place, like a museum or a park. This will make it easier to cut the date short if things aren’t going so well.

121 First Dates Key Idea #4: Have an idea of the type of person you’re looking for, but don’t be so stuck in your ways that you can’t be flexible.

In life, balance is important – between work and play, friends and family, and so on. It’s equally important to have this type of balance when you’re dating. When looking for someone to begin a committed relationship with, it’s important to find someone who you’re not only physically attracted to, but who’s also someone who makes you happy. If you only find him physically attractive, it might be hard for him to make you happy down the road. And on the other hand, if you only base your decisions on whether or not someone inspires you and makes you feel safe, you might get stuck with someone who offers you zero physical excitement. There is a solution to this problem: make a unicorn list, on which you write every characteristic that your ideal fantasy partner would have. For instance, you might say you want a man who is tall, empathetic, super wealthy, and fantastically smart. The next step is to ask yourself, Would I rather be single than be with a guy who isn’t... finishing the question with one of the desirable qualities you listed. If finding a partner who has that quality is more important to you than it would be upsetting for you to remain single, keep it on your list. This list can now serve as a guide to help you decide if someone you match with online is what you desire. But make sure you aren’t too rigid when it comes to your list. Making sure you embrace each person’s differences, even if it’s something you’re not used to, is integral to dating. For instance, if you’re shy, and enjoy dating more confident men, but find yourself on a date with someone who’s so nervous he’s having trouble simply starting his sentences, it would be a total loss not to give him the chance to show you his sexy-confident side, which could be waiting just beneath the surface. A good way to help a man feel more comfortable is to talk about his accomplishments. Ask him about his job, what sports he’s into, and his hobbies. Talking about his strengths will help him get more comfortable in his own confidence.

121 First Dates Key Idea #5: Rejection is difficult – learning how to deal with it correctly can make it less so.

Imagine, after going out with someone for the first time, while it went okay, you realize later that you and him just aren’t a good match. What should you do? Well, you definitely shouldn’tdisappear without an explanation and start ignoring his messages. If you don’t want to meet up again, it’s more fair to just tell him the truth. Lots of women hesitate when it comes to turning people down because they don’t want to hurt the guy’s feelings. The main issue, though, is that if you’re just not interested in dating him, it’s pointless to need prolonging the inevitable and pretending you’re into the relationship. Pretty much everyone would prefer you to be straightforward, so that they can get a clear answer from the start, and begin moving on. Make sure you don’t tell a guy how special he is and instead, say something like, “We just aren’t right for each other” or “I had a great time but I don’t see a future between us.” And if it ends up going the other way, and the guy ends up rejecting you, it’s important to just accept it and not blame yourself. Remember, if you’re doing your best and someone doesn’t call you back, he’s probably just simply not the right one for you. There are many reasons a guy might not call you back. While he might have liked you, he might be able to tell that you wanted something he just couldn’t give you, or maybe he just broke up with a partner and, after his date with you, realized he wasn’t ready to move on. If someone says he’s too busy to date, it’s best to just believe him. Don’t question whether or not he’s telling the truth. Finally, make sure you aren’t telling yourself that a guy isn’t calling you back because he’s intimidated by how successful you are. Men love women who are strong and capable. Your success won’t be a problem unless you’re completely self-sufficient, which could make it hard for him to see himself as part of your life.

121 First Dates Key Idea #6: When things get difficult, it’s possible to take care of yourself, and heal your own broken heart.

Say you just went through a brutal breakup and are completely discouraged — starting to date again sounds like the worst thing you could do. Well, instead of suppressing your pain – as many people are prone to do – it’s crucial to pay attention to your heartbreak and try to overcome it. There is an exercise that the author developed to help with this healing. It’s called heart healing and it’s designed to clear out the harm from your body and spirit. It’s important to remember though, that this exercise can only be done in the presence of someone you trust wholly and feel comfortable confiding in. To prepare, you and your healing partner should take a step back to breathe and relax. From there, you can begin confessing why you’re sad. Once you’re done with your confession, your healer should say that they’re sorry you’re suffering and then repeat everything you’ve just confided in them. For instance, you might say, “I’m hurt because Marc promised he’d call me and then never got in touch.” Your healer might respond, “I’m sorry Marc hurt your feelings when he promised to call but then never got in touch.” While this might seem forced at first, in the end, it works: hearing someone acknowledge your pain and show their support for you can alleviate that pain. You can also help heal your broken heart on your own. A great way to do this self-healing is to set aside time for you moments:time where you are allowed to be unhappy and angry, and allow yourself space to cry and express your true feelings. Giving yourself room to feel these things will help you to profess this sadness and anger and allow for there to be space for new and happier thoughts. Distracting yourself with healthy physical activities is another way to heal yourself. This can be anything from going on a hike, to doing some yoga, to going out dancing; engaging your body will help put your ex out of your mind. It’s also important to not pay attention to your inner critic. While you might feel like putting an end to dating altogether, for whatever untrue reason (you might think you’re too old or fat or something else) it’s important to replace these self-doubts with optimistic thinking. Develop your own personal mantras, and start by telling yourself that, by moving on, you’ll be freeing yourself to find your soulmate.

121 First Dates Key Idea #7: While sex can be difficult to talk about, you shouldn’t sacrifice your needs.

The question that always comes up when it comes to first dates is: is it okay to have sex on a first date, or is it totally out of the question? Plenty of books and dating coaches have tried to answer this question, but it just keeps getting harder and harder to answer. The truth is, there’s no hard-and-fast answer. The only answer is to pay attention to how you’re feeling. There’s a stigma that if a woman sleeps with someone on the first date, they won’t be taken seriously. However, if you trust him and it feels safe and right, then there’s nothing wrong with having sex. Really, men just aren’t as strategic as women when it comes to having sex. Men believe that sex is nothing special – that it’s just part of the experience of life. That being said, if you do end up sleeping with someone and feel terrible afterwards, it’s important to be open with your date and let him know. Figure out what you need and slow down the pace until you feel comfortable. It’s also important to remember that even if you’re on the search for a serious relationship, you shouldn’t ignore your sex life. It’s always possible to have a friend with benefits or decide to make a relationship non-exclusive. If being friends with benefits doesn’t work for you because you end up falling in love with the person you’re sleeping with, you can always opt for an open relationship. This includes all types of relationships from friends with benefits to polyamorous relationships – partners who have multiple romantic relationships simultaneously – and “play partners,” who meet up at random without commitments.

121 First Dates Key Idea #8: Getting that perfect happy ending is possible, but only if you live a life that matches what you need.

Many women dream of falling in love and living “happily ever after.” A lot of the time, this dream is nothing more than an empty fantasy, but this doesn’t mean it’s impossible. In order to figure out if you can truly be happy for the rest of your life with your partner, it’s important to figure out if your relationship allows you to truly be yourself. The first year of a relationship usually feels like one long honeymoon phase, so it doesn’t always matter truly how much you’re able to be yourself, but as the years go by, it’ll quickly become clear that simply being in love isn’t always enough. In order to truly be happy, you need to focus on what’s important to you. You’ll be able to figure this out by asking yourself things like, “Do I change my personality when I’m with him?” or “Has my relationship with my friends suffered?” Beyond that, make sure you’re free from the pressures of society, family, and friends, which can interfere with the way you and your partner choose to live. You and your partner are the only people who can decide what’s right for you. Make sure you’re clear on what your life values are and stick to them, even when there are plenty of things that make them scary to maintain. For example, say you’re in love with your partner, but the thing stopping you from moving in with him is that you like living alone. You shouldn’t let the pressure of society make you feel obligated to move in with him when you don’t want to. In other words, make sure that you focus on what makes you truly happy instead of adhering to cultural norms. For example, maybe you want to have a huge wedding party, but maybe you’d rather have an intimate celebration with close friends and family to celebrate your partnership. Both choices are perfectly valid. The same goes for decisions to do with whether you should have kids or whether or no your partner should stay at home to raise those kids.

In Review: 121 First Dates Book Summary

The key message in this book: Single women today have so many opportunities in the modern dating scene. Online dating brings so many new realms to the dating scene and allows anyone to have the chance to put themselves out there. There’s so much that can be done to prepare for the first date, but don’t stress if it doesn’t go as expected, and definitely make sure you don’t blame yourself.  Actionable advice: Make your Facebook research analog to avoid hurt feelings.  While it can be incredibly tempting to check out a potential partner’s Facebook profile, giving into this temptation isn’t always such a great idea. More often than not, you’ll stumble upon information you don’t want to see, like photos of his exes. So, if you’re tempted to do a bit of Facebook stalking, download and print out his profile. This allows you to look at all his pictures without stumbling upon unpleasant surprises.