10 Cheap Date Ideas That Won’t Make You A Cheapskate – Part 1

In this post, Find Keep Love looks at a few cheap date ideas that won’t break the bank and won’t make you appear to be a cheapskate.  You can show your date/partner a fun and/or interesting time without having to take out a loan to do so!

1. A coffee date

A date at a café can be an inexpensive way to get to know someone over a cup of tea or coffee (and even cake!). This is a great option for first/initial dates – it’s casual, and the bill shouldn’t end up being too expensive. It is also a suitable alternative to a pub, where alcohol can sometimes have a negative influence on a date (see our post on First Dates Dos and Don’ts), but you can also easily end up with an expensive bill if things are going well!

2. Visit a National Park & enjoy the great outdoors

England, for example, has 10 National Parks that cover almost 10% of the land area. There are 113,000 National Parks worldwide, which cover about 6% of the Earth’s land surface! Many of these are free/cheap to enter, so provided the weather is good, why not pack a picnic basket with yummy food and enjoy some beautiful scenery that have been specifically protected for us to enjoy. There are many ways to get in touch with Mother Nature, and it doesn’t have to be at a National Park. Besides enjoying the weather outside, you can watch the sunrise/sunset, watch birds and other animals, pick fruit, gaze at the stars, and so on.

3. Visit a National Trust property

The UK’s National Trust protects and opens many historic gardens, mills and monuments for the public to visit, and for a small yearly membership fee (even cheaper when you get a joint membership), you have access to National Trust properties and events, as well as opportunities to join local supporter groups. National Trust properties include something for everyone: grand houses and mansions, caves, lighthouses, gardens, beaches, castles and abbeys!

4. Go on a day trip on a bus or train

With advance/cheap bus or train tickets, you can take a trip to another village or city and spend the day there. Super Off Peak Day Return train tickets can let you have a day trip on a weekend for just over £10 to travel from Cambridge to London, for example, where a normal ticket would cost over £40. With megabus.com, you can get a bus from Cambridge to Oxford for as low as £1! For other offers and tips, check out Money Saving Expert’s post on cheap train & coach deals.

5. Go for a walk/jog/run/cycle somewhere together

Many cities have walking or cycling trails and getting some exercise together can be a great way to release endorphins. You could stop off at a village along the way to browse the shops, sample the local produce, have a cup of tea or coffee or a beer, and then continue on your journey. The exercise will have a positive impact on your cardiovascular system and have you both feeling (and possibly even looking) better, and with the help of Google Maps you can tailor your route/distance to your specific fitness level!

Stay tuned for the continuation of this post, where we’ll explore five more cheap date ideas!

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5 Worst Ways To Break Up With Someone

The act of breaking up with someone should never be taken lightly. Ending a relationship is never a pleasant experience, but it can be simply devastating for some and can have potential long-term consequences for your partner and their future relationships. Although for some, it can be a blessing in disguise and a potentially life-changing experience for the better. In this post, Find Keep Love looks at five of the worst ways to break up with someone and discusses the most humane way in which to be the bearer of bad news in the best possible light.

1. Break-ups using social media

Social media is great for keeping in touch with family and friends, sharing photos and videos, sharing important (and even meaningless) moments, and debating current issues. One thing it is not good for is breaking up with someone. You should never break up via a Facebook message or a Twitter Direct Message, but even worse is doing it publicly via a wall post or status update (or a Tweet, if using Twitter).

2. Break-ups via email or text message

There is a common theme forming – don’t use text to break up with someone. Even a voice mail is a big no-no. The only possible exception here is a heartfelt and thoughtful handwritten break-up letter. But definitely not a post-it note, like in this episode of Sex and the City:

3. Break-ups via a middle man

When breaking up with someone, never find someone else to do your dirty work for you. Children can get away with this, but not adults. There is, in fact, a “Separation Agency” in Germany who you can pay for them to break-up with your partner. Be a responsible, mature adult and deal with your problem personally and directly.

4. Break-ups on important days

As mentioned earlier, a break-up can have potentially devastating effects on your partner, so if you are really committed to ending your relationship, consider their feelings and never break up with them on an important day. This includes birthdays, Valentine’s Day (whether you “believe” in it or not), right before or during exam periods, after they’ve had a significant loss (career-wise or a loved one), or while on vacation.

5. Break-ups in public

As part of most break-ups, there are tears, possibly shouting, and sometimes things are broken/destroyed/thrown. I’ve seen several public break-ups and it never looks good. You can make your partner feel horribly embarrassed by the situation – public humiliation is never nice – and there is a good possibility of causing a scene. So, if possible, have your break-up discussion in a private place with just the two of you.

Sitting down with someone face-to-face (even Skype or FaceTime works) and explaining your feelings is the best and most humane way of breaking up with someone. By being honest with your partner and getting out your feelings, you not only leave them less confused (and possibly less heartbroken), but you may find that talking about an issue that has been plaguing you and working on a resolution may in fact rescue the relationship. The best relationships are formed around mutual trust, honesty and love.

Do you have a bad break-up story as either the bearer or receiver of bad news? Share it with us in the comments below!

Myths About Love And Finding A Partner

In this post, Find Keep Love investigates a few of the misconceptions people have and myths about love and finding a partner.

There is only one true love… I’m a firm believer in “there are plenty more fish in the sea.” After all, there are over seven billion people on the planet and about half of them are of the sex you’re looking for (or even more if you’re bisexual). Even if you narrow it down to your particular age group and those who are unattached and looking, that still leaves millions of potential partners. If you know what you want (Find Love. Step 2. Know Yourself) and have a certain level of standards, this certainly narrows down your choices, but it also ensures you look in the right places. Often we end up with the kind of partner who fits our expectations.

There are also a number of theories on mate selection, including Parental Image Theory (Freud proposed that a child forms a deep attachment to their parent of opposite sex, and chooses someone similar to them as a mate), Homogamy Theory (based on ‘like attracts like,’ i.e., people choose mates based on similarities they find in each other), Propinquity Theory (two people who spend a lot of time together in close proximity are likely to develop a close relationship), and Complementary Need Theory (Winch proposed that a person seeks a partner who complements his/her own personality, i.e., a partner who complements their own weaknesses).

Every day is rosy and lovely (and only couples in bad relationships argue)… all couples have disagreements and arguments, especially when living together in close proximity and dealing with joint finances, looking after and raising children, and so on. It is not so much your disagreements and arguments that define you as a couple, but the way in which you deal with them together. When (not if!) these disagreements or arguments occur, deal with them appropriately like adults, and not in public or involving others. Be honest with your feelings and respect each other’s needs, wants and opinions. It is often said that couples who argue together last longer together and form stronger bonds together than couples who do not argue very often. A relationship based on mutual respect, honesty and trust will survive many disagreements and arguments, but it is a difficult skill to be able to accept and embrace disagreement.

An amazing sex life lasts forever… Seeing the daily habits of your partner, and seeing them at their worst (the bad breath and other smells, bed hair, grooming and toilet habits, mood swings, and so on), does have an effect on how sexy they appear and how much lust we feel towards them. In the initial stages of dating, you generally only see their good side. Living together changes your viewpoint dramatically – you see your partner in ‘lazy mode’, experience their toilet habits, and smell their morning breath. This is life, after all, but it doesn’t do much for our sex lives! Every now and then, you should both get dressed up, meet up separately (say after work) and treat things like a first date again – it might just be the spark you need to rejuvenate things and keep that lustful flame burning. Try surprising your partner with one of Find Keep Love’s 10 Ways To Surprise Your Partner. For some more related tips to maintain a healthy relationship, check out Modern Day Dating & Scheduling Dates and Relationship Maintenance & Avoiding Relationship Ruts.

You can follow Find Keep Love on Twitter (@FindKeepLove), on Facebook page or click the ‘Follow’ button to get updates via email.

10 Ways To Make Yourself More Attractive To The Opposite Sex – Part 2

In the previous post, 10 Ways To Make Yourself More Attractive To The Opposite Sex – Part 1, we examined the first five of ten ways to attract the opposite sex and increase your chances of attracting the right people in your life. In this post, we examine the second five of ten ways.

6. Be unique, interesting and dynamic

How can you stand out (in a good way) to gain attraction in the first instance? What sets you apart from the other potential dates out there? Some of the same rules apply to daters in the dating world that apply for businesses marketing their product or service or when you’re applying for a job. You want to give your date (or potential date) the impression that you would be great to be around more often. Work on a unique talent, skill, interest or hobby that sets you aside from the rest (and allows you to show off a little).

Instead of clichéd date ideas, try something different and original – push yourself outside of the comfort zone of dinner and drinks or a movie. You want to stand out from the crowd and be memorable – you could do something outside (weather permitting) or something cultural or something active. You could plan a date that reflects you and your interests – for you to enjoy without pretending you’re someone you’re not – and let your real self shine through. Life is to be enjoyed, so do something fun and/or enriching. See our post on First Date Dos and Don’ts for some more tips.

7. Be confident

Confident people are generally more positive and have a strong self-belief and a healthy ego. Confidence can be a powerful trait – it can make you more successful and can attract the attention and respect of those around you. There is a fine line, however, between someone who comes across as confident and someone who comes across as arrogant or cocky, so don’t push it too far.

Insecure people often feel jealous and this can put unnecessary strain on relationships, so it is important to come across as being comfortable with yourself (see Step 1. Love Yourself). Knowing what you want before you start looking for it is crucial, too (see Step 2. Know Yourself)! Knowing what you want and not compromising your own personal standards will come across as a confident and powerful statement, and possibly avoid heartache with the wrong person.

8. Be trustworthy

One of the most desirable, attractive traits in a long-term partner is their trustworthiness. Trustworthy people are honest, loyal, dependable and consistent, and these are all great things to have in a long-term partner. Finding someone you can share everything with – your secrets, your hopes and dreams, and your ups and downs – without judgement or fear of them sharing this information with others is something everyone hopes for. For more on this topic, see Find Keep Love’s post on 10 Ways To Become Trustworthy & More Trusting.

9. Be emotionally stable and available

We all need to get things off our chests occasionally – and this, of course, is healthy – but no-one wants to date someone who’s always complaining about others or whinging about past relationships. Bringing emotional baggage to a new relationship can be detrimental to the chances of it achieving its full potential. Emotionally stable and available people appear solid and dependable, and having someone as a mate who can provide rational, emotional support is very attractive. Being available emotionally allows you to engage with others emotionally, and emotionally available people don’t run away from true intimacy, allowing deeper bonds to form quicker.

10. Be sexy (and use your sexuality)

Women have perfected over many thousands of years the power of being sexual and using their sexuality/sex appeal as a powerful tool to attract men. Men can be sexy, too, and can use their own sex appeal to attract women. Men and women think quite differently (see our post on 10 Things Men Want Women To Know & Women Want Men To Know for some great examples), and this is especially true when it comes to sex and sexuality! Acknowledging and understanding the difference between men and woman and what motivates the behaviour of each sex is the first step to understanding the rules of the ‘game’ and to knowing what the right things are to say and do for attracting (and turning on) the opposite sex. ‘Sexy’ is defined differently for different people, and like #6 above, everyone has their own way of being sexy, and it doesn’t just mean physical sexiness! The mind is a powerful thing – being interesting and passionate about something can be sexy, and intelligence can be sexy. A good sense of humour and wit can also be sexy. As a man, being sexy can mean being strong, brave and/or confident, and your masculinity can be used to your advantage. The most important thing is to use your strengths to your advantage to be the sexiest person you can be.

In summary, in addition to the five ways in Part 1, the ten ways to make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex are

1. Have good personal hygiene
2. Dress appropriately to make yourself feel good about yourself
3. Eat well and exercise
4. Smile (but check your teeth!)
5. Be kind and helpful to others
6. Be unique, interesting and dynamic
7. Be confident (without being arrogant or cocky)
8. Be trustworthy
9. Be emotionally stable and available
10. Be sexy (and use your sexuality)

You can follow Find Keep Love on Twitter (@FindKeepLove), on Facebook page or click the ‘Follow’ button to get updates via email.

10 Ways To Make Yourself More Attractive To The Opposite Sex – Part 1

In this post, we examine the first five of ten ways to make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex and increase your chances of finding your ideal mate.

1. Have good personal hygiene

Beginning with good personal hygiene, looking and smelling fresh and clean can go a long way to attracting members of the opposite sex, so don’t feel too guilty about an extra minute in the shower (and bathe daily). In the shower, take care of your hair and scalp to keep them healthy, smelling good, and free from lice or dandruff. To prevent body odour, use an inoffensive deodorant, and before leaving the house lightly spray on your favourite cologne or perfume. Choosing a good cologne or perfume that matches you can be tricky, but the most important thing is not to overdo the quantity of scent you apply. Wear clean clothes, which can be a source of contamination and bad smells – dirty clothes can irritate the skin and can cause serious skin problems.

Good personal hygiene can also improve your health (in addition to the tips in #3 below). Bad breath can be a huge turn-off for your date, but can also be an indicator of poor oral health. To fight bad breath, drink plenty of water, brush and floss your teeth regularly, chew sugarless gum (chewing gum is additionally is good for the brain), check your diet is providing you with enough vitamins, avoid tobacco products, and try to avoid teeth-staining foods and drinks (like red wine, tea, coffee and cola). Soft drinks, and sports and energy drinks, are highly acidic and can do significant damage to your tooth enamel.

2. Dress appropriately to make yourself feel good about yourself

Your appearance can tell others a lot about yourself – how you care for and feel about yourself, and your attitude – and our first judgements when meeting others for the first time is a visual one. The way you dress affects how others may deal with you in a multitude of settings. The way you dress can also attract certain types of people, so you may, in fact, be attracting the wrong people with your appearance.

Think about your own image and what it is representing – is your image betraying the person inside? Is it hiding something you should be showing off to the world? If your appearance isn’t as good as it could be, you might be fighting an uphill battle to gain someone’s interest from the first glance (as a task, next time you see a stranger on the street, consciously think about the judgements you make of others at first glance). This goes for attracting dates, in the workplace (or when going for job interviews), and in social settings. But you should ALWAYS dress in a way that compliments you.

3. Eat well and exercise

Most people are attracted to members of the opposite sex who are healthy looking – calculating your BMI can assist in telling you whether you are under- or over-weight. A healthy diet and regular exercise will make you look good on the outside, feel good on the inside, and feel good about yourself, improving your attitude and making you feel happier. This positivity will project itself onto others during your daily interactions and improve your interpersonal relationships. The NHS provides good information on healthy eating and on fitness and exercise. There are so many advantages to staying active and eating well, and your social life will thank you. Men with healthy-looking, ‘glowing’ skin can be more appealing to women than masculine features, which tends to be an indicator of good health.

4. Smile!

As they say, smile and the whole world smiles with you. A friendly smile can make you feel good and can make others feel good and at ease, too. Smiling – even a forced smile – can trick your mind into feeling better, even when you aren’t feeling so great. People are more likely to trust and cooperate with people who smile. Appropriate eye contact and a nice smile can grab the attention and interest of the opposite sex, especially if you are a woman trying to attract a man. In one particular study, three fifths of women were approached by men at a bar for eye contact and a smile, compared to just one fifth for eye contact alone. Smiling can even help get you out of tricky situations, too, when you might have been a little naughty in one way or another.

5. Be kind and helpful to others

Being kind and helpful to others doesn’t just mean towards members of the opposite sex, but to anyone in general. There are so many positive ways that require little effort in which you could help someone or make them feel good. Not only do we help them, but it makes us feel better about ourselves. You could hold open doors to those following behind you, offer help to someone struggling with bags or luggage, or help tourists clearly lost and bewildered in your home town with directions. There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in your local community – we are slowly losing the sense of community and working together that was once the cornerstone of society. The movie Pay It Forward shows the exaggerated results of networking good deeds, where the recipient of a favour does a favour for three others, rather than paying the favour back. To summarise, kindness makes you happy, and happiness makes you kind. These are both positive traits to attract a potential mate.

Check out Part 2, which discuss five more ways to make yourself more attractive to the opposite sex!

You can follow Find Keep Love on Twitter (@FindKeepLove), on Facebook page or click the ‘Follow’ button to get updates via email.

10 Classic Love Stories & Romantic Movies

Continuing our series of posts on great movies to watch with a loved one or someone special, this week we have 10 Classic Love Stories & Romantic Movies. These 10 movies span a number of generations, but are all iconic love films that transcend the boundaries of time. Be sure to check out our other movie date idea posts:

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #10: Romeo + Juliet (1996) [or the older Romeo and Juliet from 1968]

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #9: Sleepless In Seattle

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #8: The Notebook

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #7: An Affair To Remember

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #6: Breakfast At Tiffany’s

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #5: Gone With The Wind

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #4: When Harry Met Sally

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #3: Ghost

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #2: The Great Gatsby [or the one starring Robert Redford from 1974]

Classic Love Story & Romantic Movie #1: Casablanca

Honourable mentions: Other movies that didn’t quite make the top ten include The Way We Were, You’ve Got Mail, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and Pride & Prejudice.

Agree or disagree with the list? What’s your favourite love story or romantic movie?

How To Flirt – Flirting Via Texting & Messages

This post addresses how to flirt with someone via texting and messages and to perfect your writing style to win the interest of the object of your affection. In today’s busy world, texting and short messaging is the most common form of communication. Therefore, knowing how to text appropriately, including flirting with others, has become ever more important.

Use appropriate language

There’s nothing worse than someone attempting to use language outside of their age bracket. I’ve seen parents, for example, try to text their children with modern-speak (think LOL, LMAO, and so on) and just look inappropriate and lame. There is a whole group of people out there who think LOL stands for ‘Lots Of Love’. Not only is what you say in your text important, but the language you use tells the recipient a lot about you. Don’t come on too strong or use overly sexual language, which along with sending explicit sexual photos, is a big complaint from many women (see our post on 10 Things Men Want Women To Know & Women Want Men To Know. Your photos can be forwarded onto others at the click of a button, and can embarrass you in front of your friends, family and colleagues. Sexting scandals have ruined relationships, families, careers and reputations.

Check your spelling and grammar

Along with the style of language used in your message, make sure you check your spelling and grammar. Sending messages that are incomprehensible or inarticulate with sloppy grammar or incorrectly spelled words makes you look like a fool and makes the recipient feel like you don’t care about them enough to put in effort for them. Your writing doesn’t need to be perfect prose, but at least give your text a once-over before sending it. Watch out for the auto-correct function on your phone, too – you may end up saying the wrong thing and end up on a website like Autocorrect Fail. And finally, before you press send, always check your text is going to the right person! These quick checks can avoid a potentially embarrassing situation – imagine a flirty message going to a family member by accident.

Choose an appropriate time to text

There are many good times to send a text, but there are also a few times when you should NOT text someone. One such time is inappropriately late at night or early in the morning. Many phones have silent or ‘do not disturb’ functions on them, but be aware of your recipient’s schedule, and when might be appropriate to text them. Another time not to text someone is when you are incredibly drunk – drunken text messages usually end in embarrassment or hilarity (see Texts From Last Night for some examples) – but not very often do they result in a positive impact on your love life. A couple of drinks can give you the courage to message your crush, but any more than a few and you should keep your phone in your pocket. Try not to message someone – particularly someone you like – when in a highly emotional state (angry, sad, annoyed) as you may say something you regret and turn them off seeing you. No-one likes supporting emotional baggage in the early stages of a relationship. Finally, for safety’s sake, don’t text and drive. Texting requires a decent amount of concentration, using both your eyes and hands, which will distract you from driving and put you, your passengers and other road users at risk. Use a hands free kit with a text-to-speech facility or use an app for your phone like Siri, Skyvi (Siri for Android), SMS Reader, and so on. Although, there are studies that show this is still distracting and risky behaviour.

Be casual, be cool, be creative

You should never go too overboard or come on too strong in a text message, so try to be as natural as possible. So many people over-think what they’re going to say that the text or message feels forced and unnatural. Some of the rules of flirting via texting or messaging are not so different to those in real life, and the best flirts come across as easy going and natural. Subtlety and balance are crucial, but also try to be creative. It is a much greater skill to be creative and come across as interesting when using only words as your medium, and they’ll be impressed if you can pull this off. Make them laugh, make a clever or interesting observation, or just be original in the best way that you can be (don’t try to be someone that you’re not). Don’t try too hard, though, and don’t try to be too funny or seem too eager or enthusiastic – it can be a major turn-off.

How to begin your conversation

One of the best ways to start a text conversation is to ask a question. It can keep a conversation going and you can learn more about the other person. Keep the questions simple and open-ended, which gives them more opportunity to answer, but don’t be too open-ended or philosophical in a way that might puzzle them. Ask them their opinion on a new movie, restaurant, band or news item (news that isn’t too controversial). Be thoughtful, too – if you know they were doing something important (a sports competition, a test or exam, or a job interview), ask them about it and show that you care. If they’ve been sick, ask if they’re feeling better. You could also write about an observation or something else that made you think of them. It may have been a place you visited or something you ate or a conversation you had – it informs them that you were thinking of them without being too direct.

Taking flirting to the next level

A little naughtiness or teasing can be a great way to take the flirting to the next level, but it requires subtlety, indirectness and MUCH CARE. As mentioned above, sexting can turn off many women, particularly sending in-your-face sexually explicit photos. Learn to read the nature of their replies to gauge whether or not a particular topic or level of conversation is appropriate at that point of time. Something like ‘TMI’ (= Too Much Information) as a response is good indication you’ve already said enough. Tease your crush lightly and be a little playful, but not too much. Sometimes an overly sensitive recipient, mixed with a lack of forethought, can end up with them being offended – see 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 2. Keep it light, make it clear that you’re joking, and show that you don’t take yourself too seriously. You could think about a silly nickname for them and use it when you contact them. Don’t forget to complement your crush either – find a subtle way to let them know they looked cute or nice, or that you like their new haircut or outfit.

Do I call or do I text?

Some people really don’t enjoy the cumbersome effort of typing out a message and prefer the relative simplicity of talking on the phone. On the other hand, some people find texting more preferable and hate talking on the phone. With texting, they can answer in their own time and can text more easily in certain situations, like when with others, when on public transport, when in a class or lecture, and so on. Try to gauge your interest’s preference early on and communicate with them in the way they prefer.

Treat texting for what it is – a casual form of communication

Remember texting and messaging for what they are – a casual, short form of communication – and don’t expect to build a meaningful, deep connection. It might be a great way for a little flirting, to learn a little more about each other or to make plans, but you can’t beat the connection that can be made in person. There’s less chance of a miscommunication via texts and messages, too, because you can read their body language and judge the tone of their voice.

With these tips at hand, it’s your turn now to try some of them out yourself. Good luck! And stay tuned for the next post on How To Flirt – Flirting In Person.