10 DOs and DON’Ts For Dating, From Professional Matchmakers

Find someone who likes the things you like.

The founders of Project Soulmate, Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher, offer guys some (free!) advice on the subject they know best!

  1. Be positive and warm. Always smile. Do not be a downer and check out when you are not feeling chemistry, as it can come back and haunt you later. It is a small world and everybody knows everybody. Be your own PR person, because you never know if she will introduce you to her sister, cousin or friend. You always want to leave a good taste in someone’s mouth about you.
  2. Be present and discuss. Nothing too deep. Ask about her hobbies and interests and keep it light. Do not interrogate a woman and act like a private investigator (where are you from, what do you do for a living, etc.). Never talk about the future because it will guarantee no future. Topics to avoid: getting married, having kids or inviting her to a wedding in 6 months when you barely know each other.
  3. When you are having a great time, do not stay too long. No more than an hour and a half should suffice. Too long will turn into too much information and too much alcohol. Leave her desiring to see you again. Always leave on a high note. If there is a connection she will pursue you.
  4. Be thoughtful and initiate a plan. Most people appreciate the attention and someone that is thoughtful.
  5. Compliment a woman. If she looks good and smells good, tell her! Everyone wants to feel good about him or herself. Look at her eyes and not her cleavage!
  6. Dress casual but nice! Show that you made the extra effort to look and smell good. Don’t come in a suit, and don’t wear sneakers unless you’re going bowling.
  7. After a great date you can send a thank you text, but that is it! Do not smother a woman and over-pursue. No one likes desperation in a man.
  8. Do not drink too much. Two drink maximum!  Any more, you become sloppy and no one likes that. A turn-on is someone that can hold their own and still carry on a conversation.
  9. Do not talk about yourself and/or work too much. Always be engaged in the conversation! Also, don’t repeatedly mention ex-girlfriends or ex-wives.
  10. Always pay the bill on the first date! After all, if you ask someone out, it’s only polite to get the bill!

General rule of thumb–know your target audience. Know your type in terms of looks, personality, goals, interests, etc. Do not date a partier if that is not your thing, do not date a bore if you need personality, and do not date a religious zealot if you never want to step foot in a church. You will just be wasting your time and will likely be doomed from the start. People really just do not change much!



Lori Zaslow loves a good project.  Especially the kind that requires a little initiative, creativity and some serious networking. Now, if a project involves making someone happy, or perhaps making two people happy, Lori will use her expert matchmaking abilities to take on this mission! Lori had spent 12 years as an executive recruiter, most recently for the powerhouse family of companies including JBCStyle- focusing on the fashion and retail industries.  With an unlimited source of energy, optimism and dedication, she has put hundreds of women and men into their dream jobs. Now it’s her time to focus this talent on connecting two people on a more personal level.

Outside of work, Lori juggles motherhood, an amazing 11 year marriage and hundreds of friendships from every life experience.  Lori has formed lasting connections with everyone she’s met in life and in turn, they’ve connected her with others, and so on. Lori approaches Project Soulmate with an old-fashioned business sense.  There is no substitute for face time.  Relationships need to be nurtured.  Honesty and integrity are important.  And everyone deserves a shot.

You can follow Lori on twitter: www.twitter.com/lorizaslow


Jennifer Zucher believes she has the best job in the world – She spends her days finding people the love they deserve, and does it alongside her best friend and closest confidant. She mixes honesty and enthusiasm with keen interpersonal and negotiating skills. With a bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Management from New York University’s Stern School of Business, Jennifer mastered the Manhattan real estate landscape for over 12 years as a principal at Plaza Real Estate Group. Beginning Project Soulmate with her childhood friend feels like natural extension of that endeavor.

Jennifer’s passion for matchmaking was inspired by her obsession with asking how couples met.  She has been the inciting force behind many relationships in her personal life and loves to give advice to her friends, family and most importantly her clients. Jennifer currently resides in New York City with her husband, Ron Zucher and two children. Outside of work, she is a passionate philanthropist and donates any free time to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.

You can follow Jennifer on twitter: www.twitter/com/jennzucher


photo courtesy of Flickr/ExperienceLA


About Project Soulmate

Founded by Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher, professional matchmakers and BRAVO TV’s Love Brokers, Project Soulmate is Manhattan’s premier matchmaking service for elite singles. We are distinguished by our proprietary database, meticulously screened and personalized introductions, honest and kind feedback, concierge services and expert relationship support. Our priority is to deliver high quality, meaningful matches that have a genuine potential for love. Whether this is your first real romance or a second chance at love, Project Soulmate is passionate to help you. Follow us on Facebook and <a href="www.twitter.com/projectsoulmateTwitter.


  1. All good & agree up to number 10 which is total nonsense. A decent self-respecting woman will never expect you to pay from my experience. Make it clear from the start & if she still agrees to go on the date, know that you’ve found a good woman willing to sacrifice equally as much time & money as yourself in the pursuit of happiness.

  2. Project Soulmate

    Thanks for the advice. But you should also acknowledge that dating is more difficult for men

  3. Interesting tip to not stay too long if it’s going well. It IS good to leave us ladies wanting more.

  4. To me some of this reads as how to avoid a relationship.

    #2 – Don’t talk about deeply personal subjects
    #3 – If it’s going well, run away!

  5. Dating advice, to me, seems pointless unless you have serious issues understanding social clues, i.e. if you are autistic. If you’re an angry, bitter person, please! Be angry and bitter on that first date! Hopefully one day you will meet an angry and bitter woman, and the best of luck to you both! I don’t understand why people want to waste their time being nice and fake so that . . . what? You get a second date? Why? So you can make cutesy small talk for another hour and a half? Ugh. Sounds awful. As an introvert, I like to spend as little time as possible making stupid small talk. I’m totally fine if, within an hour, we are talking about politics or moral issues or whatever. I actually prefer spending time by myself, so to me, the interaction has to be WORTH it in order for me to expend the energy. I want to know if it’s worth it. So as cliche as it is, be yourself. You won’t waste your time and you won’t waste my time.

    I think people hate the “be yourself” line because it doesn’t help you get laid. It doesn’t. That’s true. I wouldn’t know about that, it’s not at the top of my “to do” list. Mostly I just want to meet people who seem interesting. And if we’re talking about our hypothetical future weddings within a half an hour because the topic somehow came up, so what? I think I told someone at some point that I was going to get married in my back yard in jeans with a week’s notice to all my friends. It didn’t seem to freak out anyone.

    Geezus. I thought I overthought things.

    • That goes for women. But men do need some dating advice because women aren’t just naturally gonna be attracted to a guy. Men need to do something above and beyond. Thats why so many men struggle at dating.

      I think people hate the “be yourself” line because it doesn’t help you get laid. It doesn’t. That’s true. I wouldn’t know about that, it’s not at the top of my “to do” list.

      You wouldn’t know that because you’re a woman.

  6. Vironika we couldn’t agree with you more. Our motto has always been “there is someone for everyone” which is why we got into this business.

    Thank you Sarah for your comment.
    FlyingKal, soullite, Erik we may touch upon your POV here as well.

    Our idealism wore off fast in this biz when great guys and great girls weren’t connecting because of some strange 1st date phenomena. What we discovered is there is a formula that works best for finding someone’s true love. We always recommend being more of yourself in your life – joining groups around your passion, hang out with people and in places that are very “you”, etc., to find people who like you for you, faster.

    But, on a first date – animal instincts seem to override. First impressions are the gate keeper for the rest. We don’t encourage you to say you love to do things that you don’t just because the other person does. You should tell the truth. But there is an attractive way to state that truth and a hurtful way to speak your mind.

    EVERYTHING is case by case. We give personalized advice to our personal customers.

    However, in a general setting such as an advice list – we give advice that we found MOST people need to at least get past the initial dating phase. The real getting to know each other obviously takes a lot longer. Be yourself. But ideally alway be your BEST self, especially AFTER you fall in love and commit. (which we all need to work on)

    It is immature to think taking a stand means putting half your best effort into finding love such as looking so-so amongst a pool of other single people looking more put together, or being resentful and closed off & calling it self-acceptance / liberal, or being stingy and defensive instead of open and generous. In most cases it just won’t breed or attract healthy love.

    Don’t let your past make you bitter and close you off to the true love that never ends.
    All this tension is just the same old battle of the sexes, thanks to the ex’s.

  7. I really feel like “dating advice” is pretty dangerous. We’re so bombarded from every direction to be this, say that, and do the other. Nowhere on this list is the most useful and solid piece of advice – be yourself.

    If you find yourself and love yourself, you’ll attract people who share your values and interests. Then, you’ll have lots to talk about and lots of things in common.

    I’m sorry if this comes off negative and I don’t usually criticize posts on here, but I really think that more men need to be told that it’s okay to be themselves, share their thoughts, and express their feelings. Just as more women need to be told that it’s okay to be themselves, share their thoughts, and express their feelings..

    In a culture where women are told to modify themselves in order to attract a man’s attention, let’s not level up by encouraging men to do the same thing. Dating is about finding a life partner. Life partners work best when both people’s authentic selves work really, really well together. Seems like authenticity is really the best route when dating.

    • FlyingKal says:

      Problem is that the “Be yourself” advice only works for those who already have the attention of the people around.
      I’ve found that when I am being myself, I am ignored, plain and simple.
      As a somewhat introvert or shy guy, you still have to take major steps out of your comfort zone to be at least noticed by other people, Even by people who themselves are in the same position.

      I’ve made countless efforts to try and strike up a converstaion with that “wallflower” girl watching her friends have all the fun, but they would still ignore the hell out of me…

      • The problem is that it doesn’t work at all. It’s the kind of advice women give men because it’s how they want men to act — it is not designed to make them successful in the romantic sphere.

        I could say “Don’t wear make-up, because I want to know if you’re really pretty, or if it’s just mirage’, and that would indeed be helpful to me. It would not be helpful to women.

      • Exactly. “Be yourself” is not useful advice for men, because it doesn’t work for men. I’d rather seek advice on dating from men who’ve been successful in dating, AS men.

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      Vironika, I think that better advice than “be yourself” would be, “find a place/group of people/activity” where you CAN be yourself.

      Because obviously, “being ourselves” hasn’t really worked so far. And I don’t think that it’s easy to just naturally attract people who have the same interests and values as yours.

      Especially in today’s video game, internet addicted generation, it’s becoming harder and harder to meet new people, particularly of the opposite sex.

      Therefore, what advice would you have for the average, nerdy shy guy who wants to meet a woman with similar traits?

    • “In a culture where women are told to modify themselves in order to attract a man’s attention, let’s not level up by encouraging men to do the same thing.”

      Are you under the impression that men do not already modify themselves in order to attract women? You say “lets not do this” as though it isn’t already a thing.

      • Earn more money, quit playing video games, man up, take “responsibility”, be successful, stop working dead end jobs and get that big career to pay for mah house and mah babies! I see a shitload of expectation for men to level up.

        • Toss in “go to the gym”, shave, be tall, get haircuts, wear expensive clothes or uniforms, and drive a nice car. Oh and learn to be outgoing, initiate conversation, be charming, funny, smart, attentive, just the right amount of confident but not too cocky, adventurous, spontaneous, and good in bed.

          Men do tons of things to be attractive to women.

          • Until they compare the payoff (if it ever happens) to the amount of time, money, and effort invested and decide this (ahem) *stuff* ain’t worth it. MGTOW makes more and more sense every day!

    • Steve R says:

      “In a culture where women are told to modify themselves in order to attract a man’s attention, let’s not level up by encouraging men to do the same thing.”

      Thankyou for your concern.
      Its sad how out of touch you are with the male perspective and how blinded you are by your own

      Its men who have to mold themselves in order to attract a woman’s attention. Its men who have to put in all the effort to render themselves attractive to women because we’re told there is nothing inherently attractive about us. Its men who have to supplement themselves with various qualities, traits and bring numerous “things” to the table in order to be acceptable, useful and RELEVANT to women.

      Women are attractive to men just the way they are. They get plenty of attention from men …attention that they can be seen complaining about in various forums and blogs and comments. attention that is largely unwanted. Here you are talking about how hard it is to get men’s attention !

  8. “Be positive and warm. Always smile.”

    The research shows that to be counterproductive:


    High testosterone males are the most popular, especially amongst the most attractive women, and they smile the least.

    • First of all, this study only ranked first response sexual attractiveness, not life partner seeking (which is the goal of matchmaking).

      Secondly, how do you think our sexual responses are conditioned? Are our responses the same as the responses of our ancestors or of the people of 500 years in the future? Of course not. Our environment shapes our responses. Look at some popular fetishes as an example. Would we have Furries if we hadn’t been shown cartoons of anthropomorphized animals as kids?

      Thirdly, don’t let science scare you, Erik. Happy women love happy men. Perhaps proud, miserable women love proud, miserable men as well. If you are happy and want to smile, you’ll find a woman who loves you for just that :o)

    • Project Soulmate says:

      Erik- do you want a woman who is attracted to happy, nice guys? Smile. If you scare off the girl who likes misery, then good for you.

      • Steve R says:

        That’s not the point, project soulmate. Sure a happy smiling man can also find a woman.

        But there is nothing wrong with talking about the “bigger picture”. And the thing is that men who are strong silent types are generally considered more attractive by women. They usually have greater success with women.

        I understand that thinking along these lines (seeing the bigger picture) is a politically incorrect thing to do and makes you sad.

  9. Though I think it’s unfair to say “always foot the bill on the first date”, I think you make a good point in “knowing your audience.” If you go on a date with an independent-minded person who may be uncomfortable with your chivalry, it’s a nice gesture to offer to pay but not to insist. It doesn’t make one any less chivalrous; in fact, it’s an even nicer gesture to acknowledge that you respect her/his values and agree to “go dutch.” Hooray for constructive (not restrictive) relationship advice. I’m always frustrated with advice that tells men and women “how to be” to “get the girl/guy” (like this advice I wrote about on my blog), but this is some solid advice with room for interpretation! Simple and helpful. Kudos!

  10. “Always pay the bill on the first date! After all, if you ask someone out, it’s only polite to get the bill!”

    I disagree there, go dutch and if she can’t appreciate it, too bad for her entitlement.

    • Since women have been surprisingly slow to adapt to the ‘downside’ of equality, i.e., paying your own way, I propose a compromise: announce that you’ll get the check if she’ll handle the tip.

      If she balks at even that much burden-sharing, she’s too far gone in entitlement to be worth your time.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        I propose a compromise: announce that you’ll get the check if she’ll handle the tip.
        If she balks at even that much burden-sharing, she’s too far gone in entitlement to be worth your time

        A good proposal indeed.

        Re: paying for the bill, I think it would depend more on what kind of woman I’m dealing with. If she’s very feminine, traditional and lady like, then I would be more inclined to pay the bill without any complaints.

        However, if she’s a feminist, then she sure as hell had better contribute to the check! Feminism and chivalry are irreconcilable concepts.

        Unfortunately, it seems that many American women want to have their cake and eat it too.

        • “Feminism and chivalry are irreconcilable concepts.”

          I completely disagree! Feminism is about working toward gender equity, including egalitarian relationships. Though chivalry does have origins in “protecting the weak”, a concept with which many feminists take issue, I argue that it has evolved into doing simply nice things for your partner – which someone of any gender may do. In an egalitarian relationship, so long as both partners are on close-to-equal financial standing, neither party should expect to be paid for or to pay. It’s about communicating where you stand and what kind of relationship you want.

          I am a feminist. I’m also very feminine. On my first date with my current partner, I let him pay and truly appreciated the gesture. On our one year anniversary, we went to the same (pricy) restaurant, and I footed the bill. We take turns. If it’s a special occasion and I am “taking him out” to celebrate a birthday, a promotion, or some other accomplishment, I pay. Same if he’s “taking me out”. It’s not about how feminine or “lady like” your partner might be. It’s about her values and yours. If she values egalitarianism and can afford it, she should pay sometimes. But that doesn’t preclude you from taking her out sometimes, or opening doors, or taking her coat for her. Just don’t be surprised if she does the same for you. 🙂

          • Bay Area Guy says:

            Okay, your position is reasonable enough.

            The problem is that lots of women put on he independent, strong act, but at the same time EXPECT guys to pay the bills for them, hold the door open, approach/initiate everything, etc.

            Your kind of flexibility is fine, since you don’t expect or feel entitled to chivalrous treatment.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              *the independent*

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              I still have a fundamental objection to combining feminism and chivalry. If one wants to be equal, then one must embrace equality, and not just when it’s convenient for her.

            • I always offer to pay my share. I usually make more money than the man. Which presents other issues, but I don’t need a guy for his money.

          • So… equality only matters when she wants it to matter?

            No thanks. Either all the way, or nothing at all. You don’t get to pick and choose.

    • Joanna Schroeder says:

      I think whomever does the asking on the first date should pay. That’s polite.

      That being said, whomever was asked out should offer to split or pay, too.

      • But that’s not romantic, the guy has to pay!:P

      • In the current market of “The guy invites or nothing happens” its kinda unfair to then bill him for doing the only thing that won’t leave him celibate.

        Then he ends up “paying for the pleasure of her company”, while his company is free, worthless.

      • I think whomever does the asking on the first date should pay. That’s polite

        Which means the guy pays because as Kelle Sparta said, the Bible and the Constitution prohibits women from asking a man out. It is impossible for a woman to ask out. It is simply not an option.

        I want to be invited in. It’s your job to lean in 90% of the way and then wait for me to cover that final distance. If you don’t, I don’t feel like I have any choice in the matter,

    • agalhere says:

      I often insist on paying my share. The last first date I went on, I actually asked the bartender to split the bill while my date was in the bathroom. It was getting way too expensive and it would have been unreasonable to expect him to pay all of that. He caught me signing the bill when he came back, hopefully it made a good impression.

  11. “Look at her eyes and not her cleavage!”
    Stop displaying the cleavage then if it bothers you so much, sheesh. How about look mostly at her eyes? Telling men to never look at her cleavage sounds like some sick game women are playing to catch men out, I might as well walk around with my balls hanging out n yell GOTCHA whenever a woman looks. 😛

    • But Archy, suggesting that women not dress in a way that draws attention to parts of their body they don’t want attention toward… well, you may as well be suggesting they wear a burka! (By the way, women get raped in those countries too, since what you’re saying is just about the same as “If a woman dresses sexy she deserves to be raped”)

      She can wear what she wants, its up to him to control himself. Hell, she can go on the date topless and its up to him to have the self control of a monk and never so much as glance at her breasts (until and unless she decides he should, in which case he had better regard them as the most amazing breasts he’s ever encountered).


      • Why “Don’t look at her cleavage.”?
        Why not “Don’t look at her. Period.” ?
        You know, like they are supposed to behave in the regions where they actually use Bhurkas…

      • Gentlemen. Easy. Hold on to your spears.

        We tell our women ALL the time to leave something to be desired and dress classy. It’s rare that a woman shows cleavage and doesn’t want it noticed.

        Looking at boobs and rape are a far cry apart, obviously.

        But nonetheless, touché to the overall point. Men and women are both responsible for showing mutual respect. We know you can’t help but look…and it can be flattering when we catch you, as you catch yourself and look away.

        So lets rephrase it…if she dashed on a tad of cleavage, sneak a peek and then save it for fantasizing later. And then, be classy yourself and focus on her eyes and what she is saying for the rest of the date.

        She could be your soulmate and you might miss the signs of you don’t pay attention.

        • *shakes spear!* 😛

          I think that is much better to say, don’t stare, pay attention to her. I never have trouble keeping eye contact although I do take peeks, I get told I am a good listener though and how rare it is apparently for guys to actually listen…That always confused me since I thought everyone paid attention to others when they speak. Sounds like some people need to pay more attention to what others say if it’s that rare.

      • I don’t think you have to say “never look at her cleavage.” If a woman is truly dressing in a way that accents certain parts of her body, either she wants you to notice them or she has been conditioned/socialized to think that that’s how she’ll get your attention. That said, it doesn’t mean she’s asking you to gawk. There are very complicated notions of beauty in American culture and even more complicated rules for expressing one’s physical beauty. I think, rather that saying “don’t look at her cleavage,” the statement should be “don’t stare at her cleavage to the exclusion of paying attention to her eyes, face, or what she has to say.” What she doesn’t want is gawky, teenage boy “boiiiinnnggg” eyes staring at her chest – even if she’s showing a lot of it! She’s doing that because maybe that’s her definition of sexy, or perhaps it’s what makes her feel confident that she’s attractive. Other women (like women in burkas) have different definitions of what constitutes physical beauty. But I think the point the authors are making here is that what you want to show her – especially if your goal is to make this a lasting, not-just-one-night kind of thing – is that you are more attracted to what she’s saying than what she’s wearing. You can’t always take the way a woman dresses as an indication of what she is “asking for”. That’s how unwanted sexual advances happen. It’s more complicated than simply saying, “if she doesn’t want me to look, why is she showing me?”


  1. […] happy to present this story from one of our favorite sites, The Good Men Project. The founders of Project Soulmate, Lori Zaslow and Jennifer Zucher, offer guys some (free!) advice […]

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