What's Your Best Ice Breaker?

So, last night I went to a cocktail party and I found myself a little at a loss for words, which, for those of you who regularly read my column know is not normally the case with me. Part of the reason was the cocktail party was work related, a networking event where I didn't know anyone, the other reason was there was a really cute guy I was attracted to. It caused a two-fold problem for me; how to break the ice with work associates I didn't know, and how to cleverly break the ice with a work associate who might potentially be more.

Well, after a few minutes of feeling tongue tied and twisted I shrugged it off and awkwardly worked my way into a small group of people talking and let it organically continue from there. But, it gave me an idea for this week's column. I am always spouting off my advice to all of your, well this week the tables are turned - I want your advice. What are your best ice breaker lines? Both for someone you're interested in and in a professional or friend situation.

Share you're favorites, best, and even stories of how they worked, or didn't in the comment section below.

Have a question for Skout Wing Gal? Leave it in the comments or search my username SkoutWingGal on Skout and chat me up.

The Element of Surprise

So this week I had a Skout member ask how they could surprise a guy...well, we must be on the same wavelength because this question falls right into what I was planning on talking about.

Summer is here and the time is right for…sure, dancing but so many other things too. A great way to surprise your guy (or girl) is to plan a date, start to finish and I'm not just talking your average go to dinner type evening. In relationships usually one partner normally takes the lead on organizing what to do and where to go, so why not surprise your significant other by taking the lead this time.  Instead of just heading out to dinner think out of the box and keep the awesome summer weather in mind.

Wondering what to do? Never fear, I’ve got a few ideas that you can use in entirety or parts of…it’s up to you, just make sure you’ve got it organized and have fun!

1. Outdoor Movies/Music

Take advantage of warmer evenings and enjoy some outdoor entertainment. Cities across the world host outdoor movie nights and concerts...most that are free! In Los Angeles, CA on Friday evenings LACMA hosts free jazz in the courtyard. Pack some snacks, beverages and a blanket and you good to go. Fancy a show? Try a drive in movie sans the car. In New York City you can catch a flick showing on the big screen in Bryant Park or on the piers in Lower Manhattan.

2. Walking Tour

Whether you choose a self-guided or led tour wandering your own city can create lasting memories with new friends and partners. In San Francisco a stroll through China Town offers a unique glimpse into the history of the city by the bay, and the best part...you can end the tour at the fortune cookie factory and see what your future holds.

3. Bowling

Sometimes summer weather, as wonderful as it is, can drive us inside to escape the heat and humidity. Plan a cool afternoon or evening with a lighthearted competitive edge, at the bowling alley. Those hipsters have helped bring back a vintage style pastime, and added a cool edge to it. Places like Brooklyn Bowl in New York or Lucky Strike in Los Angeles aren't just bowling, they are an experience with ambiance, music, full bars and snacks other then microwaved nachos.

4. Beaches, beaches and more beaches

Make a day or evening beach time! Pack snacks and sand castle building equipment to build your dream house together. Watch the sunset, keeping an eye out for the green flash while you enjoy the warm weather, salt air and soft slap of the waves on the beach.

Look, anyone can order a drink at a bar, or make reservations at a restaurant, planning something out of the ordinary, taking into account the weather and what the other person likes to do shows at the very least interest on your part, and even better, a desire to try. Most of these activities can be found in any city, but if you don't have say a beach substitute a park, or if you don't want to go bowling maybe head to a ping pong club and play a few games. The point is, don't take the easy way out, plan something out of the box, keep it under wraps and surprise your date. Most importantly don't forget to have fun!

Keeping it real - Skout Wing Gal

Have a specific question, leave it below in the comments and I'll get it answered.

Breaking up is hard to do

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real. So this week I had a question from Mark, he chatted me up on Skout to ask how to end a relationship with a girl he had been seeing for a few months. He thought it was best to just stop talking to her.

I thought it would be best to share what I told him with all of you, just in case anyone else was thinking they would “just stop talking to the person”.

Here’s the deal, whether it’s an online only relationship or one in the physical world you have put some time into it, they have put some time into it - maybe a few days, a few months or even a few years, so you owe the person, and yourself,  an actual end. In other words, don’t just stop talking to them, end it in a mature way that will give both of you some closure.

There are hundreds of reasons why a relationship ends; someone cheats, you find someone else, you grow apart…whatever it is there needs to be closure. Tell the person, in an email or in person, that you have moved on or that you don’t trust them anymore or whatever the case may be. Don’t just ignore them, that degrades the time they and you spent on the relationship. Think about it from your point of view, wouldn’t you rather know the relationship was over as opposed to just guess?

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it Real

Don't Get Caught by a Catfish

What do you think of when you hear the word Catfish? A whiskery fish that lives deep in the water, or the newer definition, a person who creates a fake online profile in order to seduce someone, often using fake pictures and information? If you chose number two, you are not alone, people from football stars like Manti Teo to the girl next door looking for love have been taken in by these so call“catfish” bottom feeders.

The Mtv show “Catfish” has helped to expose a wider audience to the term and the dangers involved. The show facilitates in person meetings between people who have had an online relationship but never met. It gives them the chance to prove (or not, as the case maybe) they are who they portray themselves to be online. We recently sponsored a bulk message from “Catfish” fishing,  (pun intended) for couples to be on the show, well this got us thinking. Being a docudrama the set up, of course, leads to more then one surprise and a lot of “how could they not have known” moments. But the truth is, almost anyone can be lured into a false situation, especially when emotions are involved.

We’ve seen our fair share of people pretending to be someone they are not, so I polled the office and from our combined our experiences came up with our top tips to keep from getting caught by a catfish.

  1. Don’t give out personal information to people online. This means everything from credit card numbers to your address to your mom’s maiden name. You would think this would be common sense. Because honestly, there is no reason why anyone would need it. Trust me, the chance that they were mugged and are now stuck in a foreign country with no money and no passport are so slim you have a better shot playing the lottery. Don’t give out personal information.
  2. Skype – the next best thing to meeting in person is seeing each other over the internet, ok, maybe not but at least you can see if that Calvin Klein model really is who you’re chatting with.
  3. Cyber stalk – for once it won’t be considered super creepy. Use the Internet to research the person you are chatting with, they should have a virtual footprint – Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram. Do your homework.
  4. Social Red Flags – just because they have a Twitter doesn’t mean it’s real; anyone can get a twitter account. So make sure they have friends, followers and a real presence. Do they have an Instagram with no photos? That should be cause for pause. What about Facebook, only 3 friends, doesn’t that tell you something?
  5. Technology Red Flags – they are on a social networking site but yet they don’t have a cell phone, or access to a webcam. They can text all night long but they can’t pick up a phone, ever?! Really?!
  6. Go slow – someone who immediately says they love you should cause you to stop and think about why the declaration has come so quickly: either a. they are crazy or b. a catfish or c. don’t really know what love is. Either way, if they are saying they love you and can’t live without you after 3 days or even 3 weeks of chatting via text, email or IM there is something else going on.
  7. Listen to yourself – it’s called intuition and we all get. That feeling that maybe something’s not right, or that it’s too good to be true. Not to be a Debbie Downer but honestly, if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

Egotistical or Confident?

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real. Today’s question comes from the city where so many people have left their hearts, San Francisco. Eddie chatted me up on Skout and said he was worried he might be dating a girl who was too into herself.  My advice to Eddie, well you can read for yourself.

Dear Eddie,

It’s great for girls, and guys, to be sure of themselves and exude confidence but there is a line that, when crossed, tips confidence into egotistical. Here are a couple questions to ask yourself to see if you are dating a confident guy or gal, or someone who clearly loves themselves.

They only want to do what they want.

Does this sound familiar? You love to hike but your “partner” wants to go for a run so every weekend you go for a run, because that is what they want to do. Relationships are about compromise, unless you are having a relationship with yourself.

Every argument ends up being your fault.

Sure, some of them probably are your fault, but stop for a minute and count up the amount that you end up taking the blame for. If the other person can’t take responsibility for their own actions, well that’s not confidence that’s lack there of.

They are unreliable.

They show up late, or not at all. They change plans without giving a thought to how it affects you or anyone else. They are only thinking of themselves

The sense of entitlement is out of control.

This seems to be a rampant problem these days, possibly brought on by watching too many hours of reality television. People need to realize they are NOT rock stars, or celebutants or marginally famous – so really if your date is acting like the world should roll over and take care of her/his every whim just because, there’s a problem.

They exaggerate their accomplishments.

We all like to talk ourselves up, especially to people we fancy – but if every accomplishment or deed is the most amazing, the best, no one could have done it better moment then there is an issue. If the person’s main concern is making sure they look the best that they can, again, you should give the relationship a long hard look.

Keeping it real – Skout Wing Gal

Chivalry is not Dead

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real. Chivalry is not dead – or at least it shouldn’t be. Look, girls still like the little things. We may be independent and completely capable of taking care of ourselves but we appreciate a door being held open, flowers just because it’s Tuesday, or a sweet message to start the day off right.

There’s a misconception out there that being romantic will make you seem needy but Skout Wing Gal is here to tell you that is not the case. In today’s world of quick sound bites of information, emoticons and anagrams, the guys who actually take the time to practice sweet and thoughtful gestures will stand out from the crowd, in a good way. We are all still looking for our own knight in shining armor, thank you Disney, so guys use it. You have gotten so cavalier focusing on the casual of everything that good old fashioned chivalry is lacking.

So what do you say guys – next time you see a pretty girl don’t cut in front of her and let the door close, take that extra minute out of your day and hold the door open. I make you a bet the smile you get in return, or even a phone number, will make it all worthwhile.

I mean really, it takes so little effort but goes so far so why don't you step up to the plate.

Keeping it real - Skout Wing Gal

To Tell or Not To Tell

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real. Today’s question comes courtesy of Brian who chatted me on Skout of course, to ask for some advice.

Dear Skout Wing Gal,

I had been chatting with this one girl for a few months and we finally met in person. She is even more awesome then I could have hoped. We have been dating now for about two months and I really want to introduce her to my friends but I don’t know how I should do it. Should I lie about how we met? I want them to like her.

Signed

Bashful Brian

Dear Brian,

First of all, if you like her and she makes you happy then I am sure your friends will like her too; and if they don’t you might want to think about how good of friends they really are. Second, I think what you are really asking is, should you be embarrassed to have met online? To this I would have to say an unequivocal absolutely not!

Look, in today’s flattened world where we think nothing of communicating with someone next door or around the world there is absolutely no reason you should feel badly about having met someone online. So much of what we do today is done online, or through email and text. Home phones are becoming obsolete, the post is having trouble getting people to send letters (see next weeks column on offline surprises) and almost everyone has at least one email address. Even if you had met this girl in a bar, chances are you would have gotten her phone number and texted her, or her email and emailed her – so really you just skipped the noisy bar part.

Brian you are a trendsetter, embrace how you met and enjoy the offline relationship that is blooming. If anyone has something negative to say about they clearly need to move into the 21st century.

Keeping it real - Skout Wing Gal

The Boredom of Over Sharing

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real. In today’s world of always on, always-available there is the real risk of sharing too much. Last week I chatted about the slippery slope to stalker-ville, well today I want to caution you on over-sharing.  We all have that friend, or friends who practices TMI like it’s a religion, but what I’ve also started to notice is the snooze fest TMI that is proliferating on social networks.

What do I mean by this? Look, I don’t care if you just got up from the couch or made a piece of toast or noticed that it’s not raining out. I think status updates, thoughts and pictures are all great but let’s temper it a little bit, especially as you are getting to know someone. If you are constantly inundating them with every little detail of what you are doing (see stalker definition here) then where is the mystery?

Dating, as I’ve mentioned is all about discovery, well leave something to be discovered. Think before you text or chat or update; ask yourself if this is really something that needs to be said or if you are just filling the cyber air with mind junk.  If it helps, picture your chats as a real honest to God conversation. If you were physically talking to someone would it go…

  • It’s Tuesday
  • I’m watching Maury Povitch
  • The sun is out
  • I think I’ll get a sandwich
  • A commercial is on
  • I’m making a sandwich
  • You get the idea.

Don’t spam your friends, and definitely don’t spam someone you might like romantically just because you are bored because honestly, it’s a turnoff!

Keeping it real – Skout Wing Gal

Don't Be A Stalker, Seriously

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real. Listen up girls and guys, I’ve got a piece of advice for your Friday – don’t be a stalker.

We’ve all been tempted at one point or another to check in on an ex’s Facebook account, or maybe send one too many text messages (or even drunk texts) to someone we like; but I guarantee once you start down this path you will just come across as needy and a little cray-cray.

Technology has made it not only amazingly easy to find out what people are up to, it has also created a disconnect in rational contact. What do I mean by that? Texting and emailing give you a buffer that face-to-face contact, and even talking on the phone does not have.  Look, Skout Wing Gal totally gets it – you start chatting with a guy or girl, you seem to hit it off, maybe you hang out and suddenly you’re sprung. Now all you want to do is chat with them, which is fine, its part of dating (the fun part) what is not fine is obsessing about them to the point of stalker tendencies.

I’m going to date myself a little but, it used to be if you wanted to chat with someone or see what they were doing you had to actually pick up a phone and have a real conversation, actually commit to communicating with them. Now, you can pick up your cell – type a quick text and off it goes to cyberspace with minimal commitment on your part. Because of this disconnect you might find yourself texting again and again and before you know it you’ve got your phone in your hand, finger poised to tap send on the 50th message in under 15 minutes.

Listen closely: STEP AWAY FROM THE PHONE!

Getting to know someone is about discovery, give him or her time to respond, to miss you, to wonder what you are doing (more on over sharing next week). Texting over and over while checking their profile (and yes, they can see if you have) only leads to them feeling suffocated and possibly even a little nervous, and no one likes that.

Take it from Skout Wing Gal, don’t be a stalker – text responsibly.

 

Chatting Tips

This week’s question comes from a user in the UK, Edward who writes:

Dear Skout Wing Gal,

I don’t know what’s wrong with me, I have met some great girls on Skout and I’ve started to a chat with them, either by saying hi or with a wink bomb, they respond initially and then they just stop. I continue to try and engage them but I get no response. I don’t think I’ve offended them but I just don’t know why no one wants to chat with me. Am I that boring? Please help!

Edward, unliked in the UK

Dear Edward,

Don’t fret, as long as we can assume you aren’t doing anything offensive, and you have a normal picture taken outside your bathroom (see my post on photos here) it might just be your approach. It’s awkward when you meet someone for the first time, even online, so here’s a few tips to help get you over the initial break point and onto the nitty gritty of getting to know each other.

First, let’s chat, no pun intended, a moment about what you say after your initial contact…what do you say? “Hay babe watcha doin?” Or maybe, “Yo honey u sur r fine?”

Because if you say something even close to those I promise you that approach won’t work. First of all, even though it’s chat let’s try not to completely butcher the written word. Spelling still goes a long way in a lot of girls books so rack up some easy points by actually writing something coherent.

Second, don’t say something generic, trust me it’s boring. Take the time to look at her profile or picture at least, and comment on something that is relevant to her. Does her picture have a dog in it? Is she wearing a jersey from a sports team? Why don’t you ask her about that....”Hey, nice jersey, are you a SF Giants fan or just a Buster fan?”

Girls really do like to feel special, so play into that instead of just going the generic route. Who knows, maybe you’ll discover you have loads in common and it’ll be a little slice of heaven from then on.

Skout Wing Gal - Keeping it real.

As always, chat me your questions and quandaries or leave a comment below and I’ll help you out.