Top Ten Dating Tips

Susan Kahn was 34 when she realized she wasn't getting the results she wanted in her dating life. She wanted to be successful at finding her soul mate.

"I had this idea that I would recognize my soul mate the moment I saw him," she recalls. "It would be love at first sight. I even thought he would look like me and we would have children who will look like us. I just wasn't thinking practically."

Aside from that image, however, Susan wasn't clear on what she really wanted and what she had to offer. It's like looking for a job. If you are job-hunting and you don't have a clear idea of what kind of job you want, you can't put your best foot forward and get a job.

For Susan the first step was to understand herself, her values and what she had to offer. She also had to define the qualities she wanted in a spouse, acknowledging that no matter whom you choose, you will have things to work out. Two people who become a couple are like diamonds in the rough. Through their interactions with each other, polishing and perfecting themselves, you get two beautiful jewels. It takes time and work to earn that deep, interpersonal connection that gives true spiritual satisfaction, but their beauty will not be revealed without that steady work.

In the meantime, try these simple dating tips to help you transform your soulmate-seeking journey into an enjoyable process of self-discovery and personal enrichment. Don't be shy about reaching out for help to family, friends and professionals to offer cheerleading and support for your growing self-esteem and acceptance.

1. Show those pearly whites. A smile is one of the greatest gifts you can give. It can make another person's day as well as making you look even more attractive.

2. Be all ears. Listen carefully and actively to your date and you will get to know who s/he is. Listen also to your intuition; it tells the truth.

3. Shh! Communication is more than just talking. Women often complain that men don't talk enough. Women need to know a secret: men's actions are a far better indicator of where they are emotionally than their words. Take note of what he does. His actions speak volumes and they speak truthfully. On the other hand, men need to learn the art of validation. Not everything a woman says is a problem that needs fixing. Often a woman just wants to be heard.

4. Mirror, mirror. Look as good as you would like the person you want to meet to look.

5. Work from the inside out. While being attracted to a person is important, be aware that attraction is not static and can grow. Give a person's inner beauty time to reveal itself. As time goes on, you'll notice that the person becomes more and more attractive to you.

6. Don't expect the world to move on your first date. On the first few dates, just concentrate on enjoying yourself; nothing more or nothing less. Give the relationship time to develop.

7. Follow the two-date rule. If the first date is not a disaster, give the person a second chance. People are usually nervous and not truly themselves on the first date.

8. Make the first date short and sweet. The best first dates are meetings for lunch, drink or coffee. Meet for one hour. Meet at a place where it is easy to speak and hear each other talk.

9. Mind soul body. Get to know your date's mind and soul before you get to know his/her body. Body contact clouds your emotions and you lose objectivity. Women are especially vulnerable to this. Know that when you marry someone, you'll have that physical contact for the rest of your life, so the gratification will come.

10. Have fun! The most important rule of all.

Maxine Freedman is a life coach who has specialized in relationships for 19 years. She coaches singles to attract partnership and coaches couples to create long lasting relationships. She currently teaches in New England and coaches clients in her Brookline office and via the telephone worldwide. To contact Maxine please call (617) 730-5775 or email