How to Date a Dog Lover

ThinkstockPhotos-200454566-001Think romance has gone to the dogs? You might be right. According to the ASPCA, an estimated 70-80 million dogs are owned in the United States alone. Don’t be surprised then if you run into a dog lover during your search for a partner. 

In the same way you hope to partner with a man or woman whose parenting styles align with your own, the same can be said about the relationship they have with their dog. So, before you adorn that dog bone with a big red bow, take a few minutes to prepare yourself for the lifestyle that goes along with dating a dog lover. 

Dogs are part of the family

There is no denying this, and if you’re dating a dog lover, there is certainly no arguing it. Dogs sometimes get better treatment than the people living under the same roof. It’s important for you to learn to respect and admire a dog owner’s commitment to treating their dog as more than just a pet, but a member of their family. The sooner you accept this, the better chance you have of leading a happy love life, with your partner and their canine companion. 

Dog lovers treat their dogs like children

What do people who love their dogs do? They do exactly what a person does with their child. They throw them birthday parties. They dress them up on Halloween. A survey taken in September of 2013, showed that of the 1,407 dog owners who responded, 86 % reported they used a picture of their pet as their screensaver. You may even find yourself explaining to a few people that the “baby waiting at home” is just a dog. 

You’ll never be greeted first

Unless you’re willing to sprint to the door, wide-eyed and enthusiastic, jumping up and down and running circles around their legs, you will never be greeted first. Their dog will always receive dibs on the “Honey, I’m home” kisses. Don’t let this hurt your feelings.  

You’re a third wheel

Dogs demand an unwavering amount of love and affection. Not only will you be asked to supply some of it, but also you’ll also never be entirely sure who is loved more, you or the dog. Frankly, you probably don’t want to find out. One-on-one cuddling will be non-existent. Not only will you be sharing your bed with the dog, but you’ll also realize that it is completely acceptable for their canine companion to carve a spot out on the couch during movie night, directly between the two of you. 

Invest in a lint roller

Or two. Or ten. If you were wondering who coined the term “fur coat,” it was dog owners. Most dog breeds shed, so get used to finding hairs in your favorite sweater from two winters ago. While you’re at it, say goodbye to your beloved white clothing, unless your lover has a white dog. In that case, consider parting ways with that charcoal duvet cover. 

Patience is key

Whether it’s a newborn puppy or a full grown dog, they’re probably chewing on something that they shouldn’t be. Chances are, you would’ve lost that old sock anyway. In other cases, you may come across an old squeaky chew toy hidden in your couch cushion, or trip over a half eaten rawhide. No one is blind to “doggy breath” or the odor that consumes the house when his or her fur child is wet. 

Try to stay as calm as possible during these instances. Take a few minutes to read about your lover’s breed and it’s nature. Learning to care for an animal is a process that requires both patience and commitment, both of which take time. 

Don’t try to fake it 

"Pretending – or outright lying – is not the way to begin a relationship, even if you think it’s a little white lie to say you love dogs," says It’s Just Lunch spokesperson Irene LaCota. “It will come out eventually, so own up to it from the beginning. It’s unlikely to be a deal breaker unless you treat the dog poorly or start demanding they give the dog up.” 

If you find that you are both avid dog lovers, perfect! You may have just found your soulmate. However, if you can’t seem to understand the reasoning behind your lover’s strong appreciation of his or her furry companion, don’t try to fake it. 

At this point it’s important to determine if compromises need to be made, as well as if you can see yourself in this relationship long term, with the idea that it’s a package deal – you, him or her, and the dog.

Are you still looking for your match? Let the matchmakers at It's Just Lunch help you. Get started today by calling us at 1-800-489-7897 or click here to tell us a little about yourself.

How to Survive Your First Weekend Getaway as a Couple

ThinkstockPhotos-78781340 (1)You love to travel. You love spending time with your new sweetheart. Time to pack your bags and hit the road!

Before you start imagining your dream weekend getaway, take a few minutes to prepare yourself for the inevitable awkwardness and relationship-changing potential (both good and bad) of that first trip together.

How soon is too soon?

Obviously, every relationship is different. However, at a bare minimum you probably should have spent the night together at least a few times before you venture out of town together. Go ahead and get those awkward first-night jitters over with when you’re not 200 miles away from home with a virtual stranger.

What kind of trip is it?

You might like the 20-mile bike rides you’ve done on Saturday mornings together just fine, but maybe your idea of a vacation is relaxing by the pool and only expending enough energy to lift your margarita from the table next to you. Does the other person know that?

“It’s important to plan a trip with activities you’ll both enjoy,” says It’s Just Lunch spokesperson Irene LaCota. “That might mean making some compromises. Maybe you spend one day by the pool decompressing and one day hiking on a scenic trail.”

It might seem romantic to plan the weekend and surprise the other person, but if it’s early on in your relationship, you should probably get their input and ensure it’s a getaway you’ll both enjoy. The romantic surprises can be smaller gestures, like having her favorite champagne waiting in the room for your arrival.

A few habits you’ll learn about fast

You’ve had the maid come by before each of your previous overnight dates, but she won’t be there to clean up after you on your getaway. Is your neat-freak girlfriend going to discover you’re kind of a slob when you’re shut up in close quarters together for several nights?

Maybe you absolutely must eat breakfast before you can tackle any part of your day. Or you really prefer to fall asleep with the television still on. Even if you’ve spent the night together a few times already, you’re bound to discover some new routines (and maybe even flaws) that were previously kept under wraps.

Cleanliness and personal hygiene are some obvious habits that might first reveal themselves over a weekend getaway. What about the less obvious ones though – like the fact that you never listen to music in the car, only NPR? How’s that going to go over on a five-hour drive?

The only thing you can really do to prepare on this front is to have an open mind. After all, it’s people’s quirks and idiosyncrasies that make them unique and interesting.

It can make or break you

When you’re with someone 24 hours a day, you start to get a glimpse of the real person. String two or three of those days together, and you’ll have a pretty good idea if this is someone you can see yourself with long-term.

It’s easy to always be polite, smile and act like life is grand when you’re on a three-hour date, but a three-date getaway complete with a mountain road you’re GPS has never heard of and a lumpy bed that hurts your back might show you a new side of Mr. or Ms. Wonderful.

One fight does not a bad weekend getaway make, however.

“Every couple has a fight now and then,” says LaCota. “Ask yourself if what you fought about is a deal breaker or if how the other person fought was unacceptable.”

Were you just tired from a long drive that got you into town at 2 a.m. after that incident with the GPS? Or is a more fundamental issue with the way you communicate with one another? There’s a big difference. Remember that travel adds another layer of stress and take that into account as you assess the situation.

Compromise and patience are the key to any successful weekend getaway – and likewise to any successful relationship. Survive that first trip together and you know you’re ready for bigger and better things ahead!

Are you still looking for your match? Let the matchmakers at It's Just Lunch help you. Get started today by calling us at 1-800-489-7897 or click here to tell us a little about yourself.

The 3 Biggest Dating Mistakes Men Make (with tips for how to avoid them!)


Listen up, Romeo!  Flowers, candlelit dinners, and walks on the beach won't get you anywhere if you're still making these three dating mistakes!  Read on to learn the pitfalls most men stumble into and the easy fixes to pull you out.

Talking About Yourself Too Much.  Here's a little secret, fellas.  Want to impress a woman?  It's easy—listen to her.  Most men approach a date thinking they'll wow us with a litany of successes and accomplishments.  Yes, we know you're trying to impress us and we definitely want to learn about how wonderful you are, but slow it down!  Prattling off your entire résumé in the first couple hours comes across as pompous—especially when you fail to ask your date about her.    
Dating Tip:  I've got three words for you:  Listen.  Reflect.  Respond.  Women are way more impressed by a guy who talks with her as opposed to one who talks at her. 

Appearing Cocky, Instead of Confident.  Few women can resist a confident man—but most detest a cocky one.  There's a fine line between "Oh, he's interesting . . ." and "What an arrogant, self-absorbed jerk!"  To complicate matters, guys often have no clue they're coming across as cocky to women because of commonly observed gender differences in communication styles.  The one-upping, interrupting, and posturing characteristic to male speech doesn't typically fly with females.  It works well in "Guy World" but such banter often strikes us as brash and conceited.
Dating Tip:  Ask a female friend or your sister to let you know whenever you come across as too cocky in conversation.  Identifying when you veer off course will give you the chance to present yourself as charming and confident, not annoying and arrogant.

Trying To Play It Cool.  Of course you should take things slowly in the early stages when you're first getting to know each other.  There's no need to rush anything.  But once you determine your intentions, make them known!  Women love being pursued!  Playing it cool only fosters ambiguity in your relationship, which can instigate a cycle of confusion.  If you keep things low key, she may respond in turn by pulling back to protect to herself from getting hurt.  You then interpret her distance as disinterest and begin to lose faith in the long-term viability of what you two are developing.  And just like that, a relationship with loads of potential can tank. 
Dating Tip:  Women love a man with a plan.  If you're serious about her, show her!  Pull out your schedule and lock in future dates.  Demonstrate to her that you're making her a priority!

Remember, Romeo, you're not inking a business deal, you're wooing a lady.  Save the bravado for the boardroom and showcase the romantic part of your personality—the side of you that listens well, projects confidence, and goes after what he wants.  Avoid these three major mistakes and watch your love life soar!

6 Easy Steps to Having First Date Confidence

ThinkstockPhotos-487174973It's a date! Whether you mustered up the courage to suggest a get-together with the cutie on your bus route or it was specially arranged by one of our matchmakers at It's Just Lunch, you are probably experiencing a bit of the first date jitters. You know, that butterfly-in-the-stomach feeling. Those feelings can be exacerbated for those of us who have been out of the dating scene for a bit, wrapped in our careers or in another relationship. 

The best thing about those feelings -- they're totally normal. We all want to look good and put our best foot forward. It's normal to be nervous about whether or not you kiss on the first date, who pays (hint: if it's through IJL, the check is split) or what to wear. Our minds are programmed to get us worked up by triggering anxiety over "what if" scenarios. It has helped us survive centuries.

But dating has changed, and the key to surviving first dates isn't about living through the night (at least not for the majority of us). It comes down to confidence.

Don't believe me?

Have you ever known men or women who aren't necessarily "10s" on the attraction scale, but they never lack for friends or dates? What makes them so attractive, you may wonder? Confidence. These people are glowing with bright, friendly, fun attitudes and they have a genuine interest in others. They're happy with who they are and know what they have to offer. Think of confidence as a positive energy that pulls others to you.

Self-confidence produces amazing results. Here's why:

  • It's sexy
  • It allows you to relax and live in the moment (not worrying about what may happen or things that were said)
  • It means you take rejection lightly, not personally
  • It means you're content with yourself, your looks and life, which adds to your attraction

So, how can you up your confidence for your next big date? Well, us matchmakers at It's Just Lunch Vancouver have a few ideas:

Ease Into the Evening
Many of us are going full steam ahead before rushing out the door for our lunch or dinner dates. Whoa! If you are in a hurry or rushing about, you will bring that same anxiety to the Italian restaurant with you. Slow down. Give yourself about 30 minutes to decompress from the day and shift your focus to what lies ahead. A little bit of separation will gear you up for the date and present you in a better light.

Put a Positive Spin on the Self Talk
Take a few moments before a first date to give yourself a bit of a pep talk. A new study from the University of Illinois, published in the European Journal of Social Psychology says a little bit of self talk may be the best thing to boost your dating success.  According to an article on Fast, "previous studies have found self-talk can boost willpower and help you psych yourself up when you need to calm nerves" before a first date.

The study also found that the pronoun we use to talk to ourselves matters. Using the pronoun "you" when talking to yourself can help elevate your confidence and give you that "can-do" attitude.

Dating is About Enjoying Life
Approach dating as if you are looking to meet a new friend or widen your circle of contacts. By looking beyond the end goal of finding a lifemate, you will experience the joy along the way. Think of it as an experiment or trying on clothes. Not every pair of jeans is a great fit -- but when you find one that is, it lasts a lifetime. Open yourself to the idea that you are just browsing and that it doesn't have to work out. Remember it is just a date. Stay in the moment and enjoy what it offers you.

Accentuate the Positive
It's easy to spot our flaws (yet another survival technique that may be out of date). It is within our nature to notice what is lacking or missing. But not on a date. Share your strengths and unique qualities. Build yourself up rather than working on tearing yourself down. First impressions are everything. Keep the date in a positive light.

Your Date is Human Too
Remember that the person on the other end is a person too. They have emotions just like you and are most likely just as nervous. Relax in this acknowledgment. Treat the other person as you would want to be treated and, most likely, you'll have a successful evening. Even if you don't work out as lovers, perhaps you will meet a new friend. Each person we meet brings to us a new point of view, a new perspective to see the world. Even if you never meet this person again, there is something he can teach you. Try looking at your date from this perspective and you find it much easier to relax and be confident for the experience.

A genuine smile goes a long way. It's friendly, warm, open, and inviting, Try not to focus so much on the end result of the date and just be happy to be having the experience. Greet your date with a smile, smile throughout the date, and say goodbye with a smile.

Good luck!

This post originally appeared on It's Just Lunch Vancouver's blog

Should You Reveal You’re a Sports Fan to Your Date?

ThinkstockPhotos-147067540In the midst of March Madness, it appears everyone is a sports fan . . . at least for the month. An estimated 40 million Americans fill out brackets for March Madness – otherwise known as the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament – with the average person filling out nearly two brackets, for a grand total of 70 million brackets. That’s more than the number of ballots cast for either candidate in the 2012 presidential election. Sad, but true. 

And while you might know to steer clear of controversial topics like politics on your first few dates, you might not think to tone down your interest in sports. A recent survey conducted by It’s Just Lunch suggests perhaps you should. 

Sports can ruin relationships 

We’re being serious. Nearly 20 percent of respondents in the survey revealed they’ve had a previous relationship ruined by sports. The younger the respondent, the more likely they were to say sports had sabotaged a relationship, with a staggering one-in-three 18- to 24-year-olds saying sports had gotten in the way. 

Women were more likely to say the source of the angst was the amount of time and money spent on sports, while men were more likely to admit that a bad mood after a “crappy game” caused the fight. 


Stay away from stadiums and arenas 

There’s a reason It’s Just Lunch sends couples to lunch for their first date instead of say a baseball game. It’s a low-pressure atmosphere where you aren’t stuck trying to talk between pitches for three hours. 

Not sold yet? Check out the results of our survey: over 30 percent of men in the survey said they’d rather not go to a sporting event on a first date, along with 23 percent of the women. Those who thought it was a bad idea thought it was a really bad idea: 

Gamble on love, not sports 

Two billion dollars is expected to be wagered on March Madness this year, with the average person spending $29 per bracket. Whether you’re doing some serious damage in Vegas or throwing money in a jar for the office pool, you might be exhibiting qualities potential mates don’t find attractive. 

Nearly one-third of men and women who participated in our survey indicated they weren’t interested in dating someone who bets on sports. Another fifty percent said it depended on the amount of money being wagered. 

Our advice? Gamble on love, not sports. 

How important are sports? 

Despite the somewhat tumultuous relationship between sports and dating, don’t be surprised if sports comes up on the first date, however. Especially if you’re under 35-years-old. Twenty-five percent of 25- to 34-year olds in the survey said their partner must like sports and be willing to go to and watch games. That percentage dropped to 16 percent among 35- to 44-year olds and 13 percent among 45- to 54-year olds. 

If you find your conversation turning to sports, remember that most things are fine in moderation. And if you think you might be tempted to watch the game on a television over your date’s shoulder in the restaurant (and scream about how much you hate Kentucky), maybe wait until after the tournament is over to head out on that first date.  

Are you still looking for your match? Let the matchmakers at It's Just Lunch help you. Get started today by calling us at 1-800-489-7897 or click here to tell us a little about yourself.