Dating Advice

5 Reasons Not to Look for Love in your Office


Dating for professionals can be so much easier if you look at dating other professionals – but not those based in your office. Overall, much better to search for a date somewhere else. It can be hard if you are a working professional – where do you get the time to meet new people if you are concentrating on finishing that project for Friday’s meeting? The answer is, you guessed it, a professional dating site. Just think, you can browse profiles while commuting on the train or last thing at night between brushing your teeth and slipping beneath the duvet.


Check out our list of the top five things about dating someone else in your office that could turn your date from fun to fired in so many flirtatious emails…


1) People are attracted to power.


Who fits into that category at work? Oh yeah, the boss! This is a bad idea. No matter how much you find your boss attractive, or how much you think they might be flirting with you when they tell you to have that report on their desk by 5pm…let me repeat. Bad idea. In 1% of cases, this might work out into a long term relationship with a fun anecdote about how you met, but the majority of cases end up awkward, difficult and unbearable. How would you like your ex telling you what to do on a daily basis? Didn’t think so.


2) The temptation to flirt at the office.


Email monitoring is not a new invention. It is also perfectly acceptable for a company that pays you money – based on the idea that you spend your time working for them – monitors your outgoing mail, to check that you are in fact working and not describing tonight’s big date plans in intimate detail to your colleague across the room. Not to mention that committing such details to email, which can be easily shared, is pretty silly. This leads us to…


3) Got a juicy secret? People just love to gossip!


The moment anyone else at your office gets wind, even it is the smallest suspicion, of your dating a co-worker…Well, remember the expression ’round the office watercooler?’ It’s not fun to be the centre of focus for pointed looks and elbow nudges. Just think, if the relationship turns sour you’ll have to deal with the rumours for a long time. If you’ve already started dating someone in your office, it might be wise to check with HR that there is nothing in your contract forbidding such behaviour otherwise your job could be a risk.


4) Harrassment


So you had a fling, it was fun but then you broke it off. If your co-working ex isn’t feeling so great about this, do not underestimate the possibility of a messy, humiliating time of it at work. You could be sued for sexual harassment, brought up on all manner of charges. It is not just women who can be seen as the victims here either. A female boss breaking up with a subordinate male colleague can still be in for a league of problems, both professionally and personally. These types of charges don’t just resolve either, they’ll stick around for a long time and may cost you your job.


5) Acting professional at work


Ever been in a relationship where you never chat, hold hands, kiss or hug? I didn’t think so. Imagine how your credibility instantly sinks when you pitch an idea to your boss while holding your colleague’s hand? How the gossip bubbles up in your wake once someone catches you giving each other a quick hug and a smooch in the elevator on the way up to the office. How you get fired after getting jiggy with it in the stationary cupboard. Unless you can completely ignore any unprofessional feelings while at the office, having a relationship with a colleague cannot help but affect your work.

Single parents. You’ve been alone, you’ve felt what it is like to come home at the end of the day and have no-one to vent to. Sure, maybe you have a great network of friends, or a supportive family. Maybe you pour your feelings into art or the gym. It’s never exactly the same though, as having a real, live, actual person who chooses to sit and listen.


Of course, you’re never actually alone though, are you? There is always your child, (or children) to think of, to keep active and happy. You end up in a weird limbo, part of you longing for adult conversation with someone really close, and the other discussing why it is not okay to paint on the hallway walls.


Do you ever really get time to just sit, think and be you? To start becoming the new you, the one who gets to have both a glass of wine in the evening with the life partner and to read the storybook at bedtime? Are you a parent looking for love?


There are three key steps in moving on after becoming a single parent:


1) Learn to Love Yourself Again

Put a little effort into you – beg and borrow favours from friends and family to get a an hour here or there to yourself when they babysit. Take the time to do something you love; whether it be a zumba class, a ps3 marathon or chilling out with a good book. Once you can see yourself as a person again, instead of a parent, you’ll start to feel better about moving onwards with your life. I love this awesome blog on the trials and tribulations of dating as a single parent for some real stories from single mums – inspirational and really uplifting to know there is a light at the end of the tunnel.


2) Leave the Past (and Ex’s) Behind You

Nothing good comes of dwelling on the past. Remember the good times and prepare for the great times you have ahead of you. Note down somewhere why you and your ex broke up in the first place and don’t be tempted to revisit old territory for the sake of your kids – you deserve to be happy and your children will be better off in the long term if you don’t resent them as the reason you stayed in an unhappy relationship!


3) Embrace your Baggage as Experience, and Move On

Everything you’ve been through makes you, you. Think it through, come to terms with what happened and put it down as your own personal bit of history. Once you’re ready to move on, you’ll be secure in the knowledge that you have a substance of experience behind you and that you can go forth into dating again, excited for what the future holds.

Single Parents can be happy dating again


Do you feel life as an older person could be lonely? It doesn't have to be!

As a person with their fair share of years behind them, do you look to the future with joy for the potential it holds, or do you sigh and think ‘Never again will I…’?


Age means you probably have a good idea of what you like and what you don’t. You may be feeling open-minded about embracing what the future holds. You may even have contemplated doing something crazy, just because you can.


Being older means you hold a certain power you lacked in your twenties. You should have a job you enjoy, financial security, a home. When you were twenty, you were more likely than not pushing papers on a minimum wage, living with your parents and looking forward to that magical time when everything was secure and you could just live your life.


Well, guess what? That time is now! You may not still have your 24inch waist, but you have a whole lot more to make up for it. You see, dating for the 40+ can be wonderful. You get to bring all your interesting ideas to the table and to be appreciated by your date as an actual person. The desire to be desired, acknowledged and not ignored will stay with you throughout your life but this time round you can be fully appreciated for your personality and your looks, rather than objectified for your youthful curves or blonde locks.


Some people wonder; What if I’ve forgotten how after years of being with the same person? Well, for amusement’s sake, watch It’s Complicated and have a chuckle and then push the fear back and realise you deserve to find another person to share your life with. Just because you are older doesn’t mean you should be lonely or loveless. Give mature dating a go, and rediscover an entirely new lease of life. (I hear sex in your sixties is pretty spectacular too!)

Life after 50 can be better than you ever thought!



Your first date is mere hours away and you are a bag of nerves. ‘What ifs?’ run through your head, scenarios good and bad have you packing your bag with everything from spare lipstick to bandages. You know, just in case. Well, I have narrowed down the list of things you have to worry about by graciously removing at least ten things, leaving you with time enough to pile the contents of your wardrobe on the bed. Without further ado then, here are ten things to remember for your first date.





  1.  If you are in charge of organising the date, then have a think about it to make it relevant. You don’t want to be the person who takes a different date to the same restaurant every Friday night. Think of what you know about your date already and try to include these details into your planning. Know they love penguins? Why not surprise them with a trip to the zoo. Did their profile mention how much they adore chocolate? A trip to a chocolate factory with a pre-arranged tour could be your ticket to an excellent first impression and a great date as well! Always make a back-up plan – nothing says thoughtful like running from a soggy picnic in the park to reserved tables at a good restaurant in town.Give some thought to your date and always have a back-up plan!
  2. When it comes to getting ready for your date, one thing is paramount: wear simple, comfortable clothing that suits you. You want to make a good impression, so don’t choose this moment to wander far from your comfort zone and get a green mohican to appear more ‘cool’. Make sure you approach your date with an open mind and try not to fixate on tall, dark and handsome. Might be you have a thing for blondes you just never knew about.First impressions count...but stay in your comfort zone
  3. Having finally arrived at the crucial moment when you meet, possibly for the first time, pay attention to your date! This is not the time to become self-absorbed. Pay them a genuine compliment and show you appreciate the effort they have made for you. Try not to be so nervous you whip out a generic, ‘You look nice.’ Maybe even pre-prepare some compliments specially, to calm your flummoxed mind.Pay attention to your date!
  4. Listen to your date when they are talking! Try not to dominate the conversation, you want a good back and forth to get started. Ask questions about them. Have a few conversational gambits up your sleeves in case of lulls. Make sure you are up to date on current events so if all else fails you can discuss the economy intelligently.Listen. Ask questions. Your date doesn't want a monologue about your life right now.
  5. Try to keep yourself in the moment, enjoying the date. Reminiscing about the last relationship you were in or comparing your current date to an old paramour is the fastest way to ensure there is never a second date.Try to relax and enjoy your date, not plan tomorrow's grocery list
  6. Whatever you do, avoid your mobile phone. Everyone is onto the old ‘family emergency’ get out clause by now and responding ‘for work reasons’ is a terrible excuse. Give your date your full attention. Leave your phone on silent or vibrate, have it fully charged certainly for safety reasons, but don’t answer it or text while you are with your date. It is just plain rude.There is a reason it is called 'face-to-face' interaction. Put your phone away.
  7. There is no way to say this one lightly: don’t come on too strong. Even if you just woke up from a nightmare where you were the last person on Earth, alone forever and you believe this to be a portent there is absolutely no need to share this foreboding with your date. You will freak them out and put extra pressure on the outcome of your first date. Dating is meant to be fun people, not an audition for marriage or parenthood!First dates are no the place to discuss your future kids names and college plans
  8. Stay positive and show your good humour and relaxed nature. Treat others as you would wish to be treated. Shouting at the waiter doesn’t impress anyone, it just makes you look like a bully. No-one likes a bully.Treat others as you would wish to be treated
  9. Ah, the age-old who-pays-for-what issue. Here’s a solution: whoever initiated the date offers to pay. The other can offer to purchase the next thing, like going onto a bar for a drink or meeting up next week for coffee. Alternate paying can help you raise the awkward point of a second date, without appearing pushy. Make sure you carry some cash on you as well, in case you end up paying for your half or your cab home – or just in case the place you’re at doesn’t have a card reader.Money can be tricky, don't let it ruin your date
  10. Stay safe. Make sure you don’t drink too much. If you need to calm your nerves take deep breathes not shots of whisky. Let a friend know where you are and tell them to expect your call at the end of the date so someone knows where you are. If you feel uncomfortable with the way the date is progressing, either bring it up or leave. Stay in a public place and be cautious. If they are a nice person they won’t mind you taking precautions for your safety.Stay safe. Dutch courage is traditionally taken in small amounts...
Have a good time and remember, above all, to just relax and have fun!

Try and treat them how you would want to be treated in this situation


First off, I have to state – I have absolutely no patience for ‘The Rules’. My stand is if you like someone, you tell them. If you don’t, well, is it more or less awkward than the first option? Doesn’t matter – still, in my guidebook, you tell them.


I am a proponent of tact however, so if you don’t feel that your first date or meeting or skype chat or whatever illicited anything other than a wasted portion of your life, grow up. Everyone we meet and interact with gives us something of themselves. Even if they were the most abominable bad date you have ever experienced, just think – now you know exactly what you’re not looking for. Many people haven’t had a chance to narrow that down yet. It’s all about the silver linings, people!


What to do about it:

So, back on track, if you’re feeling less than enamoured of your date, don’t lead them on. Sleep on your decision and when an invitation to the second date turns up, turn it down.

  • Don’t offer to stay friends if you really didn’t click.
  • Don’t give them a pity date.
  • Think of just one good thing, however insignificant from your failed date, cite it in thanks and then turn them down.

Even if they know what you’re up to, they’ll appreciate the sentiment of you not ripping out their heart and stomping on it.

‘Thank-you very much for helping me discover that fantastic little restaurant, but I don’t think we really connected enough for a second date.’

No need for embellishment, or the addition of further compliments. Say your piece and scamouche – no hanging around for a rejection coffee, no one likes that! Instead, wander on home and log in to your Free and Single account to have another try and see who else is out there.

Have a great date at the seaside, check out Fit Free and Single for beach bunnies


With all this rain we’ve been having it seems appropriate to have a list of inside activities you can do away from your own home – after all, meeting someone you’ve met online should, for the first time at least, occur in public. If you have any ideas or wild successes, do please send them in!


For the Young Free and Single, Summer automatically calls to mind long, warm, balmy days that you can spend outside at the beach or the park. However, if its rainy, the lure of the parental residence is not so appealing. Instead of turning to cinemas, which are entertaining but not exactly great if you are trying to get to know someone, look outside the box. Try an indoor ski slope and try your hand (or should that be your feet?) at learning to ski or snowboard. Learning a new activity together really sparks off the conversation and makes sure there are no awkward pauses! If you’re looking for something a bit more chilled, why not sign up for a baking class and make each other cupcakes while brushing flour off your noses?


Free and Single Parents have a double whammy to think of new activities – more likely than not your kids will be involved in the outing. A visit to a historical site can be perfect. Jousting tournaments and characters entertain the kids (often there will be kids-only crèches or activities) while well-deserving parents can take a stroll through the grounds, learn a bit of history or just sneak into the café and enjoy a cream tea. If your kids are a little bit older, why not try a fun activity day like ‘Go Ape’, where you all get harnessed up and swing through the trees, teasing each other and motivating everyone – it’s a great way to forge bonds and encourage interaction.

Summer fling or blossom into a full relationship?


While Summer has not exactly been a blast of hot air this year (more of a damp squib!) there are still great things you can plan to make your days off from the daily grind that bit more exciting. How best to experience new adventures, than with a new person to help explore and shine a new perspective on things?


For the health nut who likes to check on Fit Free and Single, why not charm a skittish athlete into discovering the joys of an early morning run? Indeed, a day trip could be created to visit a new area, take in a view, play Frisbee or mini golf and then partake in a tasty, well-balanced picnic. Even if the weather backs out on you, I find nothing can bring together new people like competition. Head to an indoor leisure centre for a frolic in the pool, a friendly battle in the squash courts or even head to the pub for a game of snooker or darts.


Summer for the Mature Free and Single can open up a whole world of opportunities. When you know there are places you wish to visit, but the appeal lessens without someone to accompany you? Find a likely compatriot on Free and Single and you can spend the entire season, (and beyond!) exploring new ground and reminiscing about previous adventures. I think a stroll along the coast in Cornwall or Kent, followed by fresh seafood and leisurely drinks is a sure fire way to entertain. Maybe you would prefer something even more cultural and could take a day trip to a local gallery or a hands-on craft activity such as pottery painting?


Come back for part two where I muse on date ideas for Young Free and Singles and Free and Single Parents!

We were asked on a recent TV show what it is that can make or break your online dating experience. Without hesitation, we went straight for that part of dating that makes your blood run cold. No, not that first date, but the dating profile. Although you may not know it yet, the free dating profile you set up at FreeAndSingle is the best thing you have in your armoury to ensure success when starting to date online. If it’s not up to scratch, then all those potential dates will simply pass you over.


We frequently get emails from members saying they’re not getting much success from all their efforts. They’re getting in touch with members on the site, but nobody seems to be getting back to them (more on getting that first email right later on). Then we take a look at their profile, and it’s usually the place where more work needs to be done, and some simple pitfalls avoided.


The good news is that putting your profile together is not difficult. In another article we’ll give you some tips on what to put into your profile, but here we’ll give you some of the Golden Rules we’ve picked up as a result of reviewing literally thousands of new profiles every week.


Get the Photo right

Bad Dating Profile Picture

Try and find a photo that you think reflects who you are. And if you can’t find one, have a friend take one for you. Remember, the photo should be about who you are, not how glamorous you can make yourself look. Here’s an idea – show the photo you’re looking to use to your best friend. Best friends are great at being brutally honest, and will give you valuable feedback on how your photo will be received.


Here are some types of pictures to be avoided:


  1. standing proudly by your supercar (or the one you drove for a day)
  2. uploading poorly-taken photos of you from your mobile phone
  3. photos of you with your children (you love them, of course, but people want to get to know you first. Your children will come later if things go well)
  4. photos of you when you were clearly much younger
  5. photos that don’t leave much to the imagination (if you know what we mean)
  6. mugshots, where all that’s missing is a prisoner number hanging round your neck. Be happy and let it show in your profile picture!

Be Honest

There’s been heaps written about people exaggerating, or telling downright porkies in their dating profiles. And that’s because it’s true! Women are more likely to lie about their age, men about their height. The fact is, this exaggeration makes no sense at all, as you’re going to be found out when you meet for real.


Be honest about yourself. OK, by being honest I don’t mean you have to go too far (whether you snore or dribble, why you’ve got smelly feet)…you just have to be truthful about who you are, what your values are and what you’re looking for.


If you’ve got kids, be PROUD of that and say so. Don’t say Children: None, only for someone to find out later.


Writing a truthful profile is what it’s all about.


Don’t moan!

Everybody likes to moan now and again. And that’s fine. But it’s not great if your profile is downbeat. People are dating online for a fun and uplifting experience. They’re not likely to get in touch with someone who’s headline is “Why do I never get a date?”, now are they?


Stay positive. You’re not a negative person, so don’t do yourself down by making people think you are in your profile. Try writing your profile with a smile on your face, and imagine the person reading it smiling back.


Don’t talk about other relationships

Ooh, a big no-no. However you’re feeling about a previous relationship, it’s best not to mention it in your profile….or on your first date, come to that. In fact, they’re best avoided until you’re totally sure it’s a safe topic of conversation.


Check your spelling & grammar

We don’t mean to get all school ma’amish, but one of the biggest issues people have with a profile is if it’s littered with spelling mistakes, poorly constructed sentences, and slang (yep, slang!) The logic goes that if you’re not diligent enough to check your spelling and re-read your work to make sure it all makes sense, then you can’t be that bothered about online dating either.


When writing out your profile, we’d recommend:


  1. reading it out loud to yourself to see how it sounds
  2. thinking to yourself (as honestly as you can) “If I was reading this for the first time, would I like to meet this guy/girl?”
  3. using a spell checker if you’re not too sure about any spellings (in fact, use one anyway).


Reading back through these, they do all seem like common sense. Which, in fact, they are. Take some time over your profile, and you’ll be rewarded many times over.


Good luck!


Tim, FreeAndSingle.

What do you think is a sure fire way to get someone's attention and a date?

When you finally take the chance and message that special someone you have noticed on one of the Free and Single sites, you want to leave an impression – a good one, favourably. So what to write? This is the internet equivalent of walking up to someone in the street and asking them their name and number after all.


It can be tricky to think of something, after all you want them to respond and not instantly hit delete or get the wrong impression about you and your purpose in messaging. Not only that, you want to appear witty, understanding, clever and fun. Maybe you want to add in some information you gleaned from their profile in order to show how well you paid attention…but not so much it looks like you creepily stalked them and memorised all their likes and dislikes.


It’s a minefield of misinterpretation and innuendo. What to say, what to do, not to mention how to keep up your chilled, confident and comedic genius should they actually reply – then you will have to write a second message. What if it goes on from there? You might find yourself desperately rehearsing lines the night before your first date, so as to appear the same nonchalantly witty person they glimpsed in the first message. Oh god. What if you get married and they finally work out that the smooth, hilarious, considerate you was all an elaborate ruse?!


Okay. Calm down. Breathe. It is the same advice you always hear from me – be yourself. The little bad dream scenario you just had? It wouldn’t occur if you just started out being yourself anyway. Sure, take a little time to think over a good opening message, but don’t have a panic attack about it – it won’t define your life, whether you get together or not.


Think about what you want to happen and engineer your message accordingly:

  • Do you just want a reply?
  • Do you want to work towards a skype or telephone conversation?
  • Maybe you are really convinced this could be something and you want to try for a face to face first date straight away?
  • Think through the ideal repercussions of your message and write.
  • Keep it to the point, don’t start rambling.
  • Say what you feel.

Unlike randomly asking someone out in the street, at least online if it all goes horribly wrong and they blank your message you can recover in your own time and move on, no hurt, no foul. It could be embarrassing, but at the end of the day – no-one else saw. You’re fine. You survive to write another message, another day.

Good luck!

Just what is she thinking?

Ah, the minefield that is the female mind. A mystery to menfolk everywhere, I am here to try and give you a basic hand in deciphering the riddles that women can effortlessly create for the haphazard confusion of men. Hopefully, this handy guide should help you out on your next date.


She Says: ‘I have nothing to wear!’

She Means: Do not respond with the obvious. You both know that she owns copious amounts of clothes. You both know that at least half of them are clean and either hanging up or folded neatly away (or strewn across the floor dependant on her tidying style). However, what you do not comprehend is that she is looking for a particular outfit, maybe one she just saw in a magazine, almost entirely possibly that she doesn’t actually own. She is not only looking for the clothes, but also for the exact way in which those clothes were worn in that picture, along with the hairstyle and make-up. Probably the lighting, props and surroundings. Sometimes, she is not looking for an actual outfit, but the feeling that accompanies the wearing of the right outfit for the activity at hand. Basically, she is trying to create the vision she had of what she should look like, realising it is not going to happen because she only has ten minutes left before the taxi arrives and no styling team to give her a hand, and then wailing ‘I have nothing to wear!’ because for some reason, that makes more sense than trying to explain what the actual problem is. Ideally, offer to pick something for her. Then she can snort with derision, tell you exactly why that outfit would be wrong for the task at hand, pick a better alternative and wear it all day having replaced the feeling of confusion with one of smugness. Everyone wins.


She Says: ‘No chips for me please, I’m on a diet.’

She Means: First off, instantly tell her she looks gorgeous. Then depending on how hungry you are, either order a larger portion of chips or allocate about 5 or 6 chips as lost to you in your mind. Then you can allow her to sneak chips off your plate without getting annoyed at her insane notion that calories from a different plate don’t count. Another method here would be to cover the chips in a condiment you like and she does not, but that can occasionally backfire depending on how much she really wants those chips and whether or not she ordered an actual meal or just salad. Be wary.


She Says: ‘How do I look in this dress?’

She Means: The key here is tact and distraction. If yes, feel free to shower her with compliments, but be aware that she is unlikely to believe any of them. You could try a favourable comparison technique, whereby you tell her you didn’t like the dress on the model, until you saw it on her. If the answer would honestly be no however – I repeat; tact and distraction! First off, say it looks good. Then, before she can say anything (but she has started pulling that face) pick a detail about the dress and point out how it doesn’t do her figure/legs/colouring justice and you think she would look even better in a dress that highlighted her figure/legs/colouring – get my drift here?


What other lines do the ladies give you that get you all confused? Send them in in the comments or tweet me @freeandsingle and I’ll have a go at translating!