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    The Dubai Match Maker on the pivots that led her to build an AI-powered matchmaking app


    by Camille Macawili
    2 hours ago

    Christiana Maxion aka “The Dubai Match Maker”, on how her pivots led her to finding her path, including being the Founder of an AI-powered social matchmaking app.
    What do the first 30 minutes of your day look like, your morning routine?
    I hate to say but the first thing I do is reach for my phone. With clients all over the world and a team in all time zones, I check my phone first to see if I need to address anything critical. This is then followed by walking my toy poodle Toby in the garden then a coffee on my terrace with a view of the Burj Khalifa journaling. I journal every single day — my gratitude list, goals, and ways to contribute/ add value to others. The more you give, the more you receive.
    You’ve been fearless in changing your career – can you expand on this?
    My early studies and career were in Finance, but I changed course into Education. I had a very successful career as a curriculum coordinator, teacher trainer, school leader, and published author. I used to run a former Instagram account. I ran ‘dating in Dubai’ and what l learned from having that account was that people hated dating in Dubai and I was baffled! You can literally date the entire map here and the most incredible, ambitious people I have ever met have been living in Dubai. I’ve always been a solution seeker and took this as my next challenge to overcome… I’m going to solve dating in Dubai! With the introduction of new long-term visas, the amazing way the UAE dealt with the pandemic, and new laws promoting more freedom in dating and partnership, I decided to consult a legal team about the legalities of opening a professional matchmaking business here in Dubai. I got the green light in 2021 and opened my agency: Christiana Maxion Solutions. Only seven months into the launch of my agency, I was contacted by matchmaking giants Patti Stanger’s Millionaire’s Club and Cinqe Matchmaking to join forces to expand globally and enter into a formal partnership. This new affiliation not only marked a significant new milestone for Christiana Maxion Solutions, but also provides our clients with unlimited matchmaking opportunities across the globe, giving our clients an even greater chance of meeting “the one”.
    We work with the most sought-after HNWIs and UHNWIs in the world. Each has built empires with undeniable levels of success. Hiring a matchmaker isn’t their last resort, it’s their only option. The extreme success and high demand of my core business as a matchmaker to HNWI and UHNWI have led to the creation of my app: MAXION: Match & Meet. It is the first AI-powered social matchmaking concierge app, and a way to bring my niche services to the masses. As a first-time tech founder, there have been many highs and some lows, but entering a new world of tech forced me to learn and learn quickly! I’ve had people try to scam me, purposefully lead me down the wrong direction, and steal ideas… but I am so firm in my belief that I am going to change so many people’s lives with the connections that MAXION will create, that I have been so focused and only see success for us.
    MAXION is an AI-powered social matchmaking concierge. How can AI help in analyzing potential relationships?
    AI is a term that is now used too loosely. MAXION is using AI to master compatibility and concierge, so that all our members have to focus on is connection. I can share that our members’ feedback from their meets will curate their entire dating and social experience to help them find success. Our systems are based on the 96% success rate of my core business of matchmaking HNWIs.

    How has this been optimized to ensure the product is user-friendly?
    We are sharing our app with 500 selected beta testers. The team that built the billion-dollar app Calm, Gymshark, Marks & Spencer and many others, is now building MAXION: Match & Meet. This beta testing will ensure we can optimise the UX – we are working with both AI and real-life humans and connections here, so yes, it has to be right, and it has to provide the convenience and concierge we are promising, exactly what time-poor people need. This beta testing with founder members will be crucial for further developments. What metrics do you use to measure a successful match? There are several factors and with the app, there will be an algorithm that I can’t share publicly but I will share that feedback is super important for a successful match. The more you date, the more curated the experience becomes to find success in both your social and romantic lives. Feedback is everything!
    What are new product features that set it apart from other apps?
    Besides our unique compatibility algorithm and AI enhancements, it’s in the tagline: Match & Meet. No more ghosting, flaky daters, and swiping from an endless pool of incompatible partners. All MAXION Members are extensively verified. We are NOT a free-mium product and will ensure that all MAXION Members are of a calibre that is up to your personal standard. We advise all our members to never settle. We love picky people.
    How do you approach scaling without compromising on quality?
    MAXION: Match & Meet is a way to reach a wider audience and to create so much more connection in the region. Our extreme vetting process is still a handpicked process and our tech aides in all other aspects. For the core business of the personalised matchmaking of HNWIs, I am currently expanding my matchmaking team in UAE and UK in order to keep up with the demand for our services at Christiana Maxion Solutions.
    This is The Fearlessness Issue – what is your advice on how to fearlessly approach making real-life connections?
    Be fearless in who you are and what you bring to the table. Your successes, accomplishments, achievements, character, and values are what make you unique and special in every way. Stand firm and be proud of YOU. This will attract your ideal partner. Another bit of advice that I give to daters and entrepreneurs is to be a duck. Everything rolls off your back like water off a duck’s back. Don’t let the ups and the downs get you too low or too high and keep swimming along. Stay focused on your pursuits.
    October – The Fearlessness Issue with Chaumet  – Download Now
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    Going on a First Date? Here’s Every Ritual You Need To Get Over Pre-Date Jitters and Feel More Confident

    I think we can all agree that first dates can be a little nerve-wracking. Whether you met through mutual friends, on an online dating app, or at your local coffee shop (the dream meet-cute, if you ask me), the jittery feelings before the main event are always there. Spending a couple of hours with someone you just met is a very vulnerable act after all. You’re not only trying to figure out if you like each other, but also contemplating what questions to ask them, who’s paying, what to order, or when to call it a night. But let’s not forget first dates should also be fun! So how do you let go of the jittery nerves and go into a first date confident and open? It’s all about mindset. 
    Your mindset can be the make-or-break factor in having a great date. We’ve all experienced the date who unloads their bad day on you before the drinks have even been ordered, and no one wants that. Going into a first date with a great mindset won’t necessarily weed out the bad dates, but it will allow you the grace of not being phased by them, and even better, to truly connect on the good ones. Read on for some first date tips and rituals to try to get in the right mindset before your next rendezvous.

    Taking a moment to connect with yourself before a first date sets you up to feel good about the conversations you’ll have and the questions you’ll ask, and there’s no better way to do that than by meditating. Meditation is the ultimate mind-body connection, and when you take five or ten minutes to meditate, you are re-centering and sending signals to your brain to relax and trust yourself.
    There are lots of ways to meditate before a date. For example, the Superhuman App has a “Getting Ready” guided meditation and the Unplug App has a wide array of guided meditations to choose from, or you can do a walking meditation or guided journaling. However you meditate, by taking that time to reconnect with yourself, you can go on a date feeling more open to connecting with others. 

    Repeat affirmations
    Affirmations can feel a little uncomfortable at first, especially if they are not part of your routine. But words are powerful, and when you repeat an affirmation enough, you start to believe it. Some affirmations to try before a first date include: “I will trust my own intuition,” “I am a complete person on my own,” “I am open and full of good energy,” and “I can leave whenever I want to.” I like to think of affirmations as secret weapons you can pull out whenever you need them. Say them before, during, and after the date. They are great little reminders of your boundaries and how amazing you are. 

    Manifest a great date
    It may sound a little cheesy to manifest a great date, but hear me out. Manifestation is the act of turning your thoughts into a reality. Now, it’s not as simple as just wishing for a great date and hoping it comes true. You have to intentionally live out your dreams in your day-to-day life. In a broader sense, manifesting a great date might look like getting clear about the kind of partner you hope to have one day, then writing down those characteristics and being intentional about the people you choose to date after that. It could also look like letting go of any preconceived ideas of the type of person or relationship you want or should have and being more open to the people who come into your life (a Charlotte and Harry situation here for all the Sex and the City fans). Manifesting a great date really breaks down to manifesting a great love life, and when you live openly and intentionally, you allow yourself to have both.

    Set clear boundaries
    I’ve always disliked the phrase, “You have to kiss a few frogs before you meet Prince Charming,” because you actually don’t have to kiss any frogs if you don’t want to. Before you go on any date, get clear with yourself about what your boundaries are, and then don’t be afraid to be open about them. Boundaries are there to make us feel safe and comfortable, and whoever you are dating should be respectful of those boundaries. And if they aren’t, then they’re probably not a good fit.
    Taking some time before each first date to set clear boundaries makes navigating any situation that may arise on the date easier. For example, you’ll already know how to answer questions like, “Do you want to come back to my place?” or “Can I kiss you?” You should also feel fully in your power to change your boundaries as the date progresses or for different people. They are your boundaries to set and change as you like.

    Create and practice a “getting-ready” ritual
    Part of the reason we feel so nervous about first dates is because of the pressure we put on them. There’s the pressure to look your best, be outgoing and fun, all the while deciphering if they are “the one,” or at least worth going on date #2. This makes dating not only nerve-wracking, but also exhausting, and the whole point of dating is to have fun. Creating and practicing a “getting-ready” ritual before a first date can help ease some of that pressure. Your ritual should be something you enjoy doing that helps you relax and get in a good mindset before going on a date. Maybe your ritual involves a Bravo show and your go-to cocktail while doing your makeup or simply a cup of coffee and a kickass playlist. 

    Yes, You Can *Actually* Manifest a Better Love Life More

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    Yes, You Can *Actually* Manifest a Better Love Life–Here’s How

    Growing up, most of us learned about dating, sex, and relationships from an issue of Cosmopolitan or an episode of Sex and The City, not by knowing how to manifest. But a few years ago I was introduced to manifestation and it quite literally changed my life (which, by definition, is the whole point of manifesting). As more and more people started to swear by the Law of Attraction for increasing their wealth, popularity, or happiness, it only made sense that it would be used to improve love lives too. 
    After all, some of the biggest questions throughout human history are matters of the heart (“They love me; they love me not”), and everything from Shakespeare’s sonnets to Nancy Meyers’ rom-coms tries to explain the secret to a happy relationship. So could manifestation really be the answer to kicking ass on dates and dating apps, improving your relationship, or overall feeling more satisfied in your relationship status? I asked Dana Lord Lewis, a manifestation expert and founder of Energy Think, for all her tips and tricks on how (and why!) manifestation can transform your love life. Take a break from swiping and read on to achieve a fulfilling love life in 2023.

    Meet the expert
    Dana Lord Lewis
    Energetics Expert and Founder of Energy Think
    Dana Lord Lewis is a thought leader in the realm of manifestation and the founder of Energy Think, a science-based modality that coaches individuals to achieve their dream lives.

    What is “manifesting” and how does it work?
    Manifestation is all the buzz across TikTok and The New York Times Best Seller list, but the concept of the Law of Attraction is nothing new, rooted in ideas that come from various philosophical and religious traditions. The idea of manifesting has been covered in dozens of self-help books and discussed by thought leaders around the world, from Oprah to Deepak Chopra to Iyanla Vanzant. The concept is essentially creating reality or bringing something tangible into your life based on attraction and belief. For example, if you think it, believe it, and then act on it, it will come (the key words being “belief” and “action,” since hoping for something alone isn’t enough). But that’s not all. 
    “When people talk about manifestation, it typically has to do with bringing something intentional to fruition,” Lewis explained. “But manifestation also comes from potentials of the unconscious mind. Many people do not realize that they have, on an unconscious level, called it in.” In other words, manifestation does not only come into play when you want a dream promotion, relationship, or house; whether consciously or unconsciously, our thoughts, worries, and beliefs can become our reality too. 

    How can manifestation affect your dating life?
    Since we are constantly manifesting thoughts into existence (whether consciously or unconsciously), it can affect every area of your life—including your love life. Lewis said that she often sees the negative effects of unconscious manifestation in relationships because of worry and fear. “A lot of limiting beliefs play themselves out in the dating world. Our insecurities are triggered, and therefore, we feel fearful and we take action that comes from that fear.” Maybe this looks like sending a text out of insecurity or not sending a text to protect your vulnerability. Maybe this means you tend to date multiple people at the same time because it feels scary to get serious, or maybe this means you always need a serious partner because it makes you feel safe.
    All of our insecurities look different in our dating lives and relationships, but they can be holding us back from a happy love life. “What you do with your energy when you are emotionally challenged is the most important thing to ensure you aren’t sabotaging a love life you may want,” Lewis suggested. But just like we want to get out of certain thought patterns and behaviors to avoid the love lives we don’t want, we can also manifest what we do want.

    3 steps to manifest a better love life:
    1. Develop self-awareness
    The Laws of Attraction are not about stating what you want and expecting to get it like a spoiled kid in a toy store. Instead, the Laws of Attraction state that the way you behave or feel about yourself attracts certain energies to you. When it comes to dating, that means the energy you’re giving out is what you will attract in dates or a partner. “How you treat yourself internally is going to be projected out onto others,” Lewis explained. “This means what you put out, you will get back, perhaps in a different form but with the same character.” So the first important step is to know what you are attracting by developing more self-awareness. What do you do when you feel under pressure? How do you handle insecurities? Why do you want (or not want) a relationship?

    2. Shift out of energy habits that don’t serve your goals
    Once you’re aware of the energy you’re giving off and what you truly want, you can make adjustments to get what you want. For example, if you’re looking for a healthy, lasting relationship but have rooted insecurities that cause you to be jealous or controlling, you may unconsciously attract partners who will give you reason to be jealous or controlling. Work on your own insecurities and prioritize self-love, and you’ll begin attracting partners who will love you like you love you.

    3. Take ownership of your life
    Lewis said the most powerful step is the last one, which she calls “Radical Self Ownership.” You must truly believe and realize that your life is in your control. Life doesn’t happen to you; it happens by you. “The third step is where you realize that you are the creator of your reality, both its pleasure and its pain,” she explained. “When this power is recognized and embraced, everything changes—especially the way you relate to those closest to you. Ultimately, the more you can learn about yourself and accept yourself, the more you will experience love with others.”

    How to improve your love life if…
    You’re single…
    If you’re feeling exhausted or stressed out about the dating apps, online profiles, and planning IRL meet-ups, don’t push through in hopes you’ll achieve the love life of your dreams (because you won’t!). PSA: Dating does not have to be tiring and should be enjoyable if you’re going to manifest a better love life. “Dating feels tiring when there is fear experienced around it because fear is immensely draining,” Lewis explained. “When you take away fear, dating is a source of energy.” In other words, dating should be fun. If it’s not, you might be dating out of fear of being alone or feel too much fear of rejection in order to actually enjoy the process (more on that below). 
    Instead of dating from a place of fear, date from a place of enjoyment. “There are so many benefits to this phase of life,” Lewis said. “If you are single, it is a gift. If you’re single and want to be in a relationship, singlehood is a gift that won’t last forever.” Lewis recommended spending time getting to know yourself better and to try something different to “shake up your current understanding of the world.” Also, remember that all situations exist to benefit you—and yes, that means even single phases, bad first dates, or hurtful ghosting. “Take this opportunity to go beyond the desire for a relationship, and connect to the part of you that feeds this idea that being ‘alone’ is negative.”

    You’re in a relationship…
    So you’re in a relationship but looking to kick it up a notch? Maybe you’ve been together forever and it’s feeling a little complacent, or you’ve recently coupled up but your communication is off. There’s a lot you can do to manifest a better love life too, and—no surprise—it also starts with getting to know yourself better. Lewis recommended getting to know how you like to cycle energy, which can cause patterns in relationships. For example, if you’re a very giving person, you may fall into a pattern of putting others first and yourself last, or if you’re a perfectionist and self-critical, you may be overly critical of your partner or relationship as well. Also, if you have the mentality that your relationship is holding you back from other dreams (like moving across the country, having kids, or getting your dream job), it can lead to disconnect and resentment.
    Lewis explained that (as long as there are no toxic behaviors) the areas where your relationship needs improvement is a reflection of your own energetic state and the way you see yourself. If you give too much to your partner, work on giving more to yourself (instead of expecting them to give more to you). If you’re critical of your relationship, work on being kinder to yourself, and the way you talk about your partner or relationship will follow. “There are so many things you can do to make yourself more in alignment, which will bring happiness and improve all relationships,” Lewis said.  But beware: Since the work is coming from working on yourself, it can be tempting to think that you’re “doing all the work” and fault your partner for not doing the same. Lewis claimed the best advice she has for couples is to not have expectations of your partner to better the relationship to the same degree that you do. In other words, don’t keep score, which can manifest a relationship you don’t want. “To depend on someone else for your better life (even in a relationship) is a losing battle and puts dependency on them for your happiness,” Lewis explained. “To be truly happy in your relationship, the utmost priority should be your own alignment, independent of all others.”

    You’re worried about rejection…
    And now for the majority of us: the ones who avoid going on dates because we’re worried we won’t be liked, or the ones who put too much pressure on our relationships because we don’t feel secure. When you’re worried about rejection, you are literally manifesting a negative love life. Instead, shift your perspective to believe that rejection is not real (no, really). “When we experience the feelings of rejection, we are experiencing it because we have rejected ourselves,” Lewis explained. In other words, everything you know about your relationships to other people is from your own perception. Therefore, you can shift your perception of a bad date, break up, fight with your partner, or Tinder match who never responded to not include rejection at all. 
    All it takes to make this shift is a few key changes. Lewis recommended spending more time on the people and things that fill you with joy. For example, maybe limit the happy hours with the coworkers who complain about their relationships or gossip about the office and spend more time with the friend who’s really into yoga (and is good at motivating you too) or your sister who is so passionate about her non-profit. Beyond the people you spend time with, spend more time on your own fostering your interests, taking care of your body, and making the effort to heal wounds by going to therapy or gratitude journaling. We only experience fear of rejection when we believe our worth is tied to whether we fit the bill of what another person thinks of us, so work on your own worth. “When you live in alignment and are nourishing yourself, it genuinely won’t matter to you if people vibe with that or not,” Lewis agreed. 

    The Everygirl’s Guide to Manifestation and Achieving Your Best Life More

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    You Don’t Need a S.O. To Take You Out: 6 Solo Date Ideas to Add to Your Calendar ASAP

    Too many times we get caught up in scrolling for our next beau or babe on Bumble, spicing up our romantic relationships, or maintaining the platonic ones (especially over long distance). And since we’re always making space and time for our loved ones, sometimes we forget the most important person through it all: you. Ask yourself this: how many times this year have you actually thought about some solo date ideas? No, I’m not talking about a Trader Joe’s run (although it can be quite the self-care), but a real moment of dating yourself. 
    To some, this may sound absolutely outside of the box. How does a date work if it doesn’t have at least two people? This isn’t some ploy to force you to be anti-social, I promise. It’s a push to take better care of yourself, find your love language, and treat yourself accordingly. If that doesn’t convince you, remember this: If you spend your entire life waiting on other people, you’ll be waiting forever.
    You know that cute cafe you’ve been eying for months now? Grab your laptop and just go. That trip to the West Indies you’ve been pasting on your mood board for the past three years? Buy that ticket and make sure you get a window seat. Although the journey may be terrifying—introverts, I’m talking to you—there is something absolutely magical in doing things alone. All it takes is a little push and a long bucket list. 
    Here are 6 solo date ideas that’ll have you clearing your calendar for the rest of the year.

    1. Go to a Museum or Art Gallery
    Connecting with history and art is as therapeutic as it gets. Head to your local museum or art gallery and lose yourself in it all. When you’re alone, you can stare at a piece or dawdle in an exhibit for as long as you want. Nobody is there to rush or ask for your commentary.
    Use that time to think introspectively. How does the art relate to a similar experience you’ve had? Do you feel inclined to do more at-home research on a specific culture you came across? How do the brush strokes of a particular painting make you feel? Kudos if you head to a different city or state for this one.

    2. Book a Yoga or Fitness Class
    Working out with friends can be fun, but pushing yourself to do it alone can be extremely rewarding. Have you always wanted to try pilates? Maybe hot yoga? Head to your nearest studio and start sweating!
    Without being swayed by the commitment of others, you’ll be able to focus on your own goals and stay consistent, and you’ll be able to mold your regimen around your own schedule, too. Besides maximizing your flexibility, the intrinsic gratification you’ll experience will be much better than hearing a compliment from anyone else. And if you’re still wanting an accountability buddy, make friends at your gym or studio. 

    3. Have a Mini-Photoshoot
    Ready to start your trek to 1M followers? Even if you’re not eying being the next big-time influencer, grabbing your camera and taking pictures of yourself is sure to be a confidence booster. How many times did you find the perfect background on a girls’ trip, but the pictures just weren’t turning out how you wanted? Take this time to figure out new poses, your best angles, and some of the most unbelievable locations.

    4. Take a Cooking Class
    We can all admit that ordering out always beats cooking in, but it doesn’t hurt to sharpen your skills. If you’re exhausted with your current rotation of meals, find a local (or online) class that caters to the cuisine you’re obsessed with or want to know more about. Besides being a great way to connect with family and loved ones, it’s an amazing way to constantly treat yourself. There’s no better feeling than knowing your recipe tastes just as good (if not better) than it does at your favorite restaurant.
    If you’re out of luck with chefs that inspire you, Pinterest is always a faithful option. Here are some of my favorites I’m sure you’ll fall in love with: 

    5. Get Dinner and See a Movie
    Going back to the basics is always a great idea. Although there won’t be any moves by your date getting pulled on you (bummer?), it’s a great way to show yourself that these places aren’t only reserved for twos. For dinner, proudly request your table for one, and bring along your laptop or journal if you feel uncomfortable. It’ll become easier the more you go.
    If you’re an avid moviegoer or just an occasional one, challenge yourself to see a movie you haven’t heard of. The thrill just might be the beginning of your love for a new series, actor, or director. And who knows, you might even be pulling moves on yourself by the end of the night. 

    6. Be a Tourist in Your Own Town
    For many of us, home is our happy place. The idea of going outside might seem unappetizing, but I challenge you to throw on your favorite outfit, put your cellphone on DND, and treat your city like foreign territory. Check out all of the hidden gems, try new restaurants, and support some small businesses. You never know what you’ll find. 
    If you’re really feeling up for it, walk, roller skate, or bike ride throughout your city instead of driving. Too many times we use our cars as shields to not have to really be within the city we reside in. Take a new path and put yourself completely out there. It’ll be worth it. 

    5 Things My Therapist Taught Me About Self-Love More

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    How to Have a Better Relationship, According to Your Enneagram

    Let’s be real: Relationships can be complicated. The good news? They don’t have to be. Thanks to the Enneagram, we can show up as our best and most authentic selves in our relationships while better understanding ourselves and our other halves, no matter how different they are. And the result is deeper connection, mutual respect, and empathy. Grab your partner and read on to learn the strengths, differences, and motivations of each Enneagram type and find out where you fit. 

    Type Ones are great in relationships because they always have a sense of their priorities. It’s rare you’ll meet a Type One who doesn’t have a grasp on what it is they want in a relationship and where you fall in line with their other duties and identities. They’re also known for being faithful, helpful, and dedicated in relationships, meaning you can expect them to be all-in. 
    On the other side, Ones are known for being perfectionists, which can mean they’re critical and have overly high expectations of a partner. Type Ones should be aware of their expectations and work on finding a medium with their partner. Instead of expecting your partner to have the dishes done when you get home (without asking first) or wondering why they haven’t asked about your weekend plans yet, ask for what you want. I know, this goes against basically everything in your nature as a Type One, but unless your partner can read minds (we’re all jealous), there’s no way for them to know what you want and, in turn, meet your expectations. 

    The Helper is all about doing what they can for their loved ones. They know how to make you feel loved and appreciated, and they’re great at validating the feelings of others (even if it means doubting their own). 
    Because Type Twos are so focused on what the other person wants or needs, they often struggle to get their own needs met in a relationship. Instead of worrying about what your partner wants for dinner or how they’re feeling after a fight, ask for what you need. If your feelings were hurt or you feel like they’re not taking your ideas into consideration, this is your chance to tell them how you feel and exactly how they can support you too. A relationship goes both ways, and because a Two is so focused on their partner, they often forget to prioritize their needs too. 
    Twos can also be possessive at times, causing them to show an excess of love to their partner in an attempt to woo them or keep them in their lives. Talk to your partner about how they personally want to feel love (might we suggest the Love Languages test?) so you can give them exactly what they want too.

    If you’re familiar with Love Languages, Threes almost always feel loved through words of affirmation. They like knowing their partner is proud of their achievements, whether it’s something big, such as a promotion at work, or small, like finding the best new restaurant for date nights. Threes love to feel appreciated, and because of this, they enjoy giving to their partner too. 
    Because Threes put so much of their worth into their career, they often bring that into relationships. Talking about work over dinner, being absentminded when you’re together, and putting your work-related stress onto your partner can make your partner feel like they’re not as important to you as your career. To combat this, create work-free times with your partner. Much like some of us are with our cell phones (guilty), Threes can often be that way about their career. Give yourself two hours when you’re out to dinner or just catching up on Bridgerton where you occupy yourself with your partner. No work, all play. 

    Fours are known for being creative, but in relationships, they are playful, fun, and spirited. They are open to new experiences and love getting to share their creativity and passion with someone else. They are typically emotional and have a strong idea of who they are. In relationships, this means they’re romantic and intuitive. They love sending love notes, cards, and gifts to their loved ones, and they feel loved when their partner understands and compliments their self-expression (such as their art!). 
    In a relationship, a Four can be a little overbearing at times. They can be moody and have a hard time separating their emotions from their day-to-day lives. As a Four, it is important to remind your partner that they aren’t to blame for your emotions. Fours do not like being called overdramatic or being told they’re overreacting in a situation; therefore, it’s important to talk with your partner about your emotions instead of closing them off. You don’t have to be alone with your feelings!

    Fives love to approach situations with data on hand. They’re natural teachers who observe their surroundings and analyze situations deeply before committing or speaking up. Unlike Fours, they take time alone to process and understand their emotions before acting on them, which can make a partner think they’re uninterested or uninterrupted by a conflict (which isn’t usually the case). They have a thirst for knowledge and love to learn, making them a great companion for intellectual dates, such as going to new exhibitions, museums, libraries, and events in your city. 
    In their quest for knowledge, Fives can seem somewhat withdrawn or even contentious or irritated with a partner. While they are generally introverted and prefer to stay in, they can get frustrated when a partner always wants to pull them out of their comfort zone. Similar to Type Three, create times with your partner to discuss your lives without judgment. Your partner wants to know what you’re learning and what is interesting to you at the moment, so don’t be afraid to geek out about your latest project. They love that side of you too!

    We all know Sixes are all about commitment, making them perfect for long-term relationships. They’re loyal and feel content knowing their relationships are safe and secure. They can be introverted and extroverted, so they’re easy to open up to but also to have fun with. Helping others is important to a Six, and they feel irresponsible when they think they haven’t fulfilled that duty. They are also independent, so they’re able to do their own thing once in a while without worrying about their partner.
    Sixes are some of the most trustworthy people; however, they’re not quick to trust others themselves. This can make them seem self-conscious, nervous, and even defensive in relationships where the other person doesn’t feel trusted or accepted. Trusting another person is hard at first, but it takes being confident in yourself and your relationship to get you there. Spend some time every day focusing on building up your own self-confidence. You can’t be the best version of yourself with a partner if you’re constantly worrying about how you look or if they still like you (you look great, and, yes, they do!). Then, start building trust by allowing yourself to be vulnerable at times. Open up to your partner about your insecurities in the relationship, and discuss from there.

    The adventurers of the Enneagram, Sevens are all about a party. They’re upbeat and positive, knowing how to find the good in most situations. They almost always seem happy and carefree, which can sometimes seem stressful to a partner who’s another type. 
    Although Sevens are the life of the party, they can also seem narcissistic and distracted in relationships. They have a short attention span, which is great for having fun but stressful for discussing issues in a relationship. We know it’s hard, but Sevens, you have to slow down. Allow your partner to get serious every once in a while. Being an optimist doesn’t have to mean you never discuss negativity or the stress and anxiety each other goes through. However, make sure you’re letting your partner speak up. While they certainly love your center-of-attention personality, they also want to feel understood and heard too.

    Eights are confident and outgoing, but this can also manifest itself as arrogance and competition. They are natural leaders who view life’s challenges as exciting, and they’re never afraid of conflict. When issues arise in a relationship, they’re the first to be honest and ready to discuss what’s going on with their partner. 
    A reminder to Eights: It’s OK to show your vulnerable side. Eights feel like they have to have everything together all the time, and they can’t share the tender side of themselves without getting angry or frustrated first. To make this easier, practice active listening with your partner. No more trying to come up with a response before the other person is even finished (as an Eight, I totally understand this!). Listen to your partner as they speak, and empathize with whatever they’re going through, no matter how big or small it may seem to you. You’ll be able to relate to them on a deeper level while also prioritizing some quality time.

    Nines can often be mistyped as Twos because they are overly accommodating in relationships and can be people-pleasers. However, what makes them different from Twos is their drive to keep harmony and peace in their relationships. Known as the peacemakers, they are active listeners and sensitive to other people’s emotions. 
    Nines will do anything to avoid conflict, which can sometimes cause situations to never reach a solution (the opposite of Eights!). Instead of your usual, speak up about what’s going on with you and your partner. Whether it’s about your sex life, someone forgetting to take out the trash, or something bigger, be honest with your partner about how you’re feeling and what’s going on. Remember that not all conflict has to be disruptive; there is such a thing as productive conflict. 

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    17 Unromantic Signs This Person Might Be ‘The One’

    Everything from the classic love affair in Pride and Prejudice to the will-they-or-won’t-they drama of Ross and Rachel teaches us that love is supposed to be extraordinary, make it impossible to sleep or eat, and always ends with a “happily ever after.” As much as rom-coms and the Twilight Saga would have us believe, romance is not actually always about flowers and love poems or grand gestures and public declarations when you find “the one.”
    In real life, the rom-com doesn’t end at the “I do” scene, but it keeps going: through paying bills and tax season, through toddlers and newborns preventing your sleep for days, and through terrifying health scares, boring daily chores, and deaths of the people you love.
    The one you choose to spend forever with is not just your personal romantic comedy—it’s the most important interview of your life. A happy life is about more than love letters and PDA, so you better make sure there’s more to your relationship too. Here are 17 signs the person you’re with might be “the one” that have absolutely nothing to do with butterflies, grand gestures, or romance.

    1. You don’t have to pretend to be interested in them or wish they would be more interested in you
    It’s likely that you and your partner will have many different interests—in fact, you should, or else dating another you would just be boring! You may not always be interested in their passion or hobbies, but you’ll want to learn more because you know how much it matters to them, and you’ll genuinely want to be able to share what they love. You also won’t have to pretend you don’t love broadway musicals as much as you actually do or feel like you can never talk about the latest fashion trends that you know your partner couldn’t care less about—they’ll want to love everything you love and talk about everything you want to talk about.

    2. Errands are kind of… fun
    Going to the grocery store, picking up prescriptions at the pharmacy, and cleaning the house are all part of the mundane routine we have to keep up with through the rest of our lives (sounds depressing, doesn’t it?). But when you do it together, there’s something inherently fun and enjoyable about the tasks that are usually mundane and tedious. Something about your partner makes even the boring feel fun and the average seem exciting.

    3. You don’t have to think twice about asking them for help
    Whether it’s to pick you up from the airport, unclog your drain, or give you advice on a problem you need their perspective on, you don’t have to think about asking your partner for help—you just do it. You trust their opinion, their advice, and their desire to care for you without having to question it for a minute.

    Source: @jessiebbernhardt

    4. They’ll pick up your slack without being asked
    Maybe you came home to your clean laundry that they just threw in with a load of theirs or they bought you a new face serum from CVS when you mentioned you ran out a couple of days ago. It’s more than just the household chores the two of you divide up—it’s the little things they don’t have to do but do just to make your life a little easier and your day a little better.

    5. You can share annoyance, anger, and doubt without worrying about their reaction
    There are absolutely no more deal breakers, and you know it—you can be in a horrible mood without feeling like they’ll think less of you or not want to be around you, and you know they’ll be supportive of your feelings before being defensive of their own if you experience any doubts along the way. You can be more honest with them than you’ve ever been because bigger than anything you’ll ever say or do, you both have a shared understanding that you’re in this life together.

    6. You both have your own thing
    Whether it’s Bachelor Mondays with the girls, painting classes, or hiking trips a couple times a year, you’re both supportive of the other pursuing their own interests and having their own time alone. Time apart doesn’t make either of you insecure, and you should feel like your partner supports you pursuing your passions over their own needs. Plus, you’ll be so excited to tell them about your time apart, whether it’s to rehash the latest gossip between your friends or what you learned in painting class (remember #1?).

    Source: Ron Lach | Pexels

    7. They’ll ask about your day every day
    Perhaps one of the most important pieces of advice I’ve ever received is to be with someone who will ask about your day every day and—wait for it—actually want to hear about it. If the first thing they do when they get home or the first thing they ask when they call is “how was your day?” every single day, you’ve found one of the good ones. Trust me.

    8. You can look at them and, for no reason at all, they make you laugh
    The best friendships are the ones that make you silly for no reason at all—where you just can’t stop laughing, right? If you’re going to spend your life with someone, it better be the best friendship you’ve ever had. If your partner brings out your silliest self and can make you laugh at nothing, you know they’re going to keep you laughing when things get hard, boring, or mundane. Life should be about enjoyment—make a lifelong commitment with someone who brings out the most fun in you.

    9. Bodily functions don’t make you blink
    You should be able to complain about your heavy flow or let out an *accidental* bodily function post-Taco Bell without it feeling like the end of the world. In fact, when you start doing gross things like shave their back or have them pop your pimples (it gets real) and you’re still just as turned on by each other as ever, that’s when you know.

    10. You can talk openly about money
    Besides just being a crucial conversation to have with the person you’re going to be spending your life with, if you’re able to talk about such a tough topic, it’s a good sign that you trust each other. While nothing is less sexy than the money talk (except maybe shaving that back hair), if you can share your financial past, goals, and current habits openly and honestly and you two share financial values similar enough that you don’t go into anaphylactic shock when you hear about theirs, you probably have a pretty strong foundation.

    Source: Ron Lach | Pexels

    11. They call you out when you need to be called out
    “The One” will be the person who is fully dedicated to helping you live your fullest, best, happiest life. This means that they will check you on your destructive habits and hold you accountable when no one else would. They’ll be honest with you—for the sake of making you better, not for the sake of putting you down. They’ll also stand by you, encourage you, and support you when you’re working through issues or going through hard times without any judgment.

    12. Your PDA is less PDA-y
    You don’t necessarily need to go make out on a park bench like you’re teenagers or feel the need to post collages on Instagram with paragraph-long captions about your oh-so-perfect relationship to celebrate every monthiversary. Instead of overt PDA, you display affection by mere accident—exchanging smirks across the room or holding hands under the table. Instead of the public make outs, fondling, or displaying your love all over social media, you publicly tease each other, brag about each other’s accomplishments, and maybe steal a kiss or hug when you don’t think anyone is looking.

    Source: @sassyredlipstick

    13. Date nights out are great, but you have the most fun at home
    When you can sneak away for a night out, of course it’s fun to dress up and go somewhere new or exciting. But if we’re being honest and if we’ve found The One, the most fun “date nights” are sitting at home with a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine, laughing at The Office, talking for hours, or playing the same card game—again. The things that would sound boring to anyone else are the things you find yourself preferring over those fancy dates.
    Anyone can get in the mood for romance when fancy clothing and candlelight are involved, but when it’s just the two of you, with sweatpants and take-out, and it’s somehow the best night ever, you know you could do it for the rest of your life.

    14. You’ve developed your own language no one else can understand
    If your daily conversations are laced with inside jokes or you consistently refer back to movie quotes or moments that will have you both dying with laughter, this person will certainly have you laughing the rest of your life. You share more than the same life and relationship—you share the same humor, and that can make all the difference in the length of a lifetime.

    Source: @hikarimurakami

    15. At the worst times, you want them there
    For most of your past relationships or crushes, it’s likely that they’re the last person you would’ve wanted to be present when you’re hunched over the toilet with food poisoning or crying in your room with a bad panic attack—so embarrassing! But if this partner is the right one, you’ll find yourself calling them when you’re having a panic attack or wishing they were there when you’re really sick (and not just because you know they’d clean up your vomit). Maybe you’ve even considered putting them down as your emergency contact—you know that when anything bad is happening, you’ll feel more comforted and protected with them there.

    16. You don’t question or second guess how they act when you’re not around
    When a friend’s Bachelor/Bachelorette party in Vegas comes up, you don’t feel a pit in your stomach or worry they won’t behave; you’ll just be excited to hear the funny stories when they get home. You also don’t doubt that as nice and wonderful as they are to you is exactly how they act when you’re not around too. You believe with all your heart that however they act, out in the world—whether it’s to other girls or people they don’t have to be nice to like waiters or servers—they treat all other people with the utmost respect and graciousness and will always do you proud.

    17. No matter what mistakes you make or how bad you look, you know they’ll still think of you the same
    In the end, you can be your truest self knowing that’s the you that they love the most. You can make a mistake or say something mean, and they’ll still think the world of you. You can wear second-day leggings and not wash your hair for four days and know they’ll still look at you the same as when you’re in a fancy dress with a blowout. The most romantic moments of our lives are often what happens in the most unromantic times—the bad times, the hard times, the gross times, the lazy times, and the boring times. The One will still see you in those times just as they would in the best times.
    Find the person who loves you for exactly whatever you are—good, bad, grumpy, bloated, messy, scattered, anxious, unfiltered—and to use the quote from Juno that taught me the most about love: “The right person will still think the sun shines out your ass.” Now that’s romantic.

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    10 Date Ideas That Don’t Involve Drinking

    Abstaining from alcohol has become the new normal for many millennials and Gen Zers, with health and hangover-related issues key factors in cutting down. But with “going for a few drinks” a go-to first date choice, is it possible to enjoy playing the field if you’ve chosen a more teetotal lifestyle?
    Whether you’re cutting down on your cocktail intake, playing designated driver, or simply keeping dry-January going for a few months longer than planned, there’s no reason that your dating life should suffer. Try out a few of these date ideas for inspiration the next time that you and your Hinge match decide to go alcohol-free.

    1. Go out for dessert
    Going out for dinner on a first date can be slightly intense—if you don’t like your date, then there can be a lot of courses to get through. Instead, suggest grabbing dessert together for a low-pressure and no-alcohol chance to get to know your date better. After all, their choice between vanilla and mint chocolate chip might be a deal-breaker.

    2. Take a walk
    If you don’t feel like sitting across from someone for hours without a glass of wine to break the tension, then try a daytime date instead. A walk or hike is a good opportunity to chat with someone and to find out if they’re the active and outdoorsy type. If there’s ever an awkward silence then your surroundings should offer a good distraction, and there will be plenty of isolated spots for a quick smooch should the mood take you!

    3. Check out a comedy show
    I always balk at the idea of going to a movie theater or a show as an early date—after all, sitting in the dark in silence is hardly a great way of getting to know someone. As an alternative, a comedy show is a more interactive way of enjoying entertainment with your date, sharing interests, and having a fun evening together. There are usually plenty of breaks between performers to chat about your favorite jokes, and you could grab a (non-alcoholic) drink afterwards to get to know each other better. 

    4. Meet for a coffee
    OK, this one might be standard dating fare, but I’ve always been a big fan of a classic coffee date. It’s easy to fit into your day if you’re busy, low-pressure, and (most importantly) a chance to load up on caffeine. If you’re unsure about a suitor that you’ve swiped right on, then a quick coffee hour is an easy way to figure out any initial interest, and you can easily extend the date into something more substantial if you find yourself feeling loved-up over your latte.

    Source: Hasnain Babar | Unsplash

    5. Find a local food festival
    Whether you’re a foodie or otherwise, then checking out a food festival offers up a fantastic variety of things to do and see, alongside plenty of opportunities to sit and chat. If you live in a city or large town, then look out for local events and choose your favorite (I’m a big fan of anything cheese-related). Share dishes with your date for an ultimate romantic experience and a chance to sample even more culinary delights.

    6. Visit a museum
    Museums and art galleries are perfect for sparking interesting conversation, ideal for ensuring that you and your date have plenty to talk about. Better still, museums are an affordable first-date choice, with many encouraging donations rather than having a set entry fee, showing that original date ideas don’t always have to be costly. Take your date to see your favorite local artwork or explore a shared interest that you have to build a strong foundation for getting to know one another and finding common ground.

    7. Go for a dog walk
    If you and your date are both animal lovers, then bringing your pets along for a first date can be a perfect way to share your passion and see how your puppies interact. If you don’t have a dog yourself but would like a chance to help out pet-owners, then consider signing up for a dog-walking app. Dating aside, this can be a great solo hobby, and could be a fun thing to do in future with a dog-loving date.

    Source: Nate Johnston | Unsplash

    8. Share your favorite hobby
    Are you an avid rock-climber? An aspiring yogi? Someone who hits the driving range every weekend? Sharing one of your hobbies with a date is a perfect way to showcase your personality doing something that you love. Keep it fun and relaxed, and offer to let your date show you their favorite thing to do on a second date in exchange.

    9. Play mini-golf
    Bring out your competitive side by challenging your date to a few rounds of putt-putt. There are plenty of often extravagantly themed indoor venues popping up across the country, and although many serve alcohol, abstaining will mean that you can keep score and show off your swing.

    10. Go to an alcohol-free bar
    If you really do love going to a bar on a first date, then the good news is that the nightlife scene is catching up with the trend for going alcohol-free. Venues such as Sans Bar in Austin and Listen Bar in NYC serve up zero-proof offerings crafted by mixologists so that you can enjoy a cocktail whilst remaining booze-free. With new options opening regularly, it’s worth searching what’s on offer in your local area.

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    I Fell in Love With My Best Friend…and He Didn’t Feel the Same Way

    I sat next to my best friend on her queen-sized, bed, surrounded by a mass of pillows doing what best friends do best: heart to hearts.Her words stuck.“As painful as it was, losing that friendship wouldn’t have mattered if you hadn’t learned anything.”We were rehashing the loss of one of my closest friendships. My best guy friend. (Let’s call him David.) A guy who in the course of our three-year friendship I realized I was in love with.
    We laid out the details like a deck of cards. What had gone wrong. Mistakes made on both sides. The scars it had left. What I learned from it. How I was planning to let go and move on.I had done the unthinkable. I had written an emotional note to David ending the friendship. To top it off, I sent a text. A text saying I couldn’t be friends anymore. The emotional, disgruntled note came later when I felt the need to explain my text. (A note, might I add, that was written while I was slightly tipsy. Something I highly warn against: drunken notes, texts, smoke signals, or really communication of any kind.)
    Rewind to 2016 when I realized that I had feelings for my best guy friend. After three years of a great friendship — of long phone calls, of making fun of each other, of seeing each other at our worst, of challenging each other to grow, of rooting for each other, of me calling him to come save me — I realized I was in love, and it scared the crap out of me.
    What scared me was that I knew. I knew how I felt. I knew what he meant to me. I knew if I had to choose, I’d always pick him. It was that feeling that older, more mature couples talk about, “When you know, you know.”Pause. Yes, you read that correctly. It took me three years to realize I was in love with someone. So yes, a really long time. I sat on my newfound knowledge of my feelings for a month, hoping I could will them away. I didn’t want to be in love with my best guy friend because I was afraid of losing him, but even more so, I was afraid of being rejected.

    It took me three years to realize I was in love with someone.

    So what did I do? I hard-core stuffed those emotions, deep, deep down in a dark tunnel that no one could find. I worked out to avoid feeling. I worked more hours to avoid emotions. I slept to avoid emotions. I shopped to avoid emotions. And guess what? The feelings were still there. They didn’t go anywhere.In the midst of my attempt to avoid reality, a friend gave me some words of wisdom. She told me that perhaps the first step is to acknowledge what it was. I had been running, stuffing, and avoiding for so long that coming to terms with how I felt seemed impossible. As we sat, talked, and sipped coffee, my heart began to ease and my lips finally released the words that I had been holding captive: I was in love with him.
    “Being honest about your emotions and being vulnerable won’t destroy you. In fact, it’ll only make you stronger.”
    One crisp, clear L.A. night with a glass of wine in hand, I took my phone to my apartment’s deck, and I made the call. With shaky hands and a trembling voice, I said the words that I had been trying so hard to bury: I have feelings for you. Fast forward to present day: the love that I expressed to my best guy friend turned out to be unrequited. He told me while he had felt the same way before, he didn’t think we were a good fit. It was my biggest fear coming true in real time. Falling in love with someone only for it not to be reciprocated. I felt embarrassed; I felt confused; I felt exposed; I felt stupid; I was hurt.
    We tried going back to being close friends like we had always been, but it didn’t happen that way. The phone calls stopped. The witty texts stopped filling my inbox. We saw each other once more in 2016 when we both were home. My heart wasn’t ready. I thought I could be his friend again, but my heart was still hurting. So when I got back to L.A., I sent him a text and said I couldn’t handle being his friend right now. He sent me a thumbs up emoji. We haven’t spoken since.

    When I got back to L.A., I sent him a text and said I couldn’t handle being his friend right now. He sent me a thumbs up emoji. We haven’t spoken since.

    Guess, what? I’m still here. Being honest about my emotions and being vulnerable didn’t destroy me. It didn’t kill me. While awfully uncomfortable, I am still here. To be honest, it was relieving to just be honest. It was like releasing pressure from a balloon. Once it was pierced, it all just came out.I fell in love with someone and that love was not reciprocated. OK. That’s what it is, but knowing that fact doesn’t destroy me. Oh, most certainly it hurts like all hell, but if it was love, of course the loss of it is going to hurt.Years later, I surely don’t have all the answers. I still miss David at times, and I wonder why he didn’t feel the same or why he didn’t choose me. I miss our friendship the most. There’s so many things over the last three years that I’d like to share with him: my job layoff, my freelance career, my crazy roommate stories, my trip to Italy, my half marathon. Yet, when I find myself on the train of thought headed to the past for too long, I kindly take my ticket and head to the exit door.
    I know now that I am enough, with or without this person. Just because one guy didn’t pick me, it doesn’t mean I am unworthy of love or not good enough. I am enough, just as I am: imperfect, beautiful me.

    I know now that I am enough, with or without this person. Just because one guy didn’t pick me, it doesn’t mean I am unworthy of love or not good enough.

    I am finding that part of being an adult and an overall emotionally healthy human being means allowing yourself to be real and vulnerable. While there are a lot of things I would go back and do differently, I am proud of myself for having the courage to be vulnerable. I am proud of myself for voicing my feelings. I am even proud of myself for saying I wasn’t ready to be friends yet because I wasn’t. I know now that that’s OK. I only wish I would have had that conversation in person and not sent a text. It deserved more care and so did he.
    Yet, I can show myself grace because I had some growing to do, as we are all in process, imperfect human beings. In 2016, I was a hot mess in more ways than one. I didn’t value myself nor my voice. 2017 saw a lot of growth, a lot, and boy was it painful. I grew to be more confident in my talents and gifts. I came to get to know and actually like the woman I saw staring back at me in the mirror. I learned to say no, to set boundaries with other people, and to make self-care a priority. 2018 allowed me to put those lessons into action and I gained a thicker skin. In 2019, I hope to only go up from here.

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