Are You Good At Dating?

Dating expert and founder of the Smart Dating Academy Bela Gandhi has these tips on how to master the process.

Jen Weigel - Lessons for life

January 20, 2011


Are you good-looking and fun, yet still frustratingly single? Maybe it's time for a visit to the Smart Dating Academy.

"I see so many beautiful girls, or successful business men who can't get a second date, and so I decided to do something about it," says Bela Gandhi, president of the Smart Dating Academy ( "There are a hundred million single online daters out there. But you'd be amazed at how some very smart people are making really terrible dating choices."

Those "don'ts" can be anything from dinner conversation topics to the photo you use on your profile page.

"Guys need improvement on just showing up and planning the date," she explains. "They need to e-mail two to three times, call her, actually talk a couple of times. Actually make a reservation. And a common mistake for women is that they try too hard. I encourage women to be who they are when they are with their girlfriends."

Gandhi begins the coaching process by looking at past behaviors.

"I'll ask clients to have their family and friends e-mail me to see who they are with close friends and loved ones, and then I'll do what we call the 'exit' interview where I ask past dates why they didn't call again," she explains. "These dates are usually quite honest with me, so I get a lot of great information."

One client of Gandhi's had the look and the resume, yet after 14 first dates, she was left in the cold.

"We had to see what was going on because this was a strong and successful woman," Gandhi explains. "When I asked the men what went wrong, they felt she treated the date like an interview. It's incredibly enlightening process and having that awareness helps. I told her to talk about things outside of work and to be a better listener. When I got the phone call that she had a second date, you would have thought she got married. It was awesome!"

Another big no-no is overselling yourself in the photos with your online profile.

"No glamour shots," insists Gandhi. "You don't want anything that isn't realistic. Take a picture of yourself at your best, at a charity event or on a nice night out with friends, but no airbrushing. That sets up unrealistic expectations."

If necessary, Gandhi will hire a photographer and make-up artist to get her clients the right look.

"Each profile should have a facial shot, one from the waist up and a three-quarters body shot," she says. "And nothing is retouched."

Here are Gandhi's other tips to mastering the dating scene just in time for Valentine's Day.

  • Don't over text. "I've seen dates fall apart because of misinterpreted texts -- no more textual relationships! Use the phone every once in a while. Even an e-mail is better than texting."

  • Dress the part. "We are incredibly visual creatures. Guys really need to kick it up a notch. No T-shirt and jeans or weird suits on the first date. And we really go for classy and pretty with women. Be feminine. Dresses aren't too much."
  • Show, don't tell. "If you go online and do a search, you will get generalized lists and tons of clich├ęs. Tell me a two-sentence experience that says you're adventurous, don't just say 'I'm adventurous.' How? Grab the reader's attention."
  • Offer to pay -- and be genuine. "Guys understand the fake purse grab -- they really do. We know you women want the men to pay, but this guy may have been on two or three dates this week. Just offer and be genuine. We do tell guys to just pay -- but after a few dates, it's great to split the bill."
  • Don't give it up too soon. "You should not have sex with someone you really like until you've been dating for two whole months, twice a week, so that's 16 dates. I know this may seem extreme, but you need to know you are exclusive. Women get emotionally attached right away, but it takes men several dates to form this bond. If you give it up in the beginning, he might not call again because that's all he's thinking about. In my experience, the women who wait have those relationships much longer."
  • What do you think?

    *Original Tribune Article