How to Propose a Girl on Facebook – Part 1

So you’re dating online? And you’ve been so successful that you now want to propose a girl on Facebook? Great. I know you’d been waiting for some Golden Rules of Proposing a Girl on Facebook for quite some time (if the search phrases which bring you to this website are anything to go by ;)). And your day has finally come.

Today’s post is the first part of a two-part series on how to propose a girl on Facebook. But before going into the exact methods of proposing a girl on Facebook, I’ve decided to lay down some basic rules of Facebook dating. I cannot emphasize the importance of these rules enough when it comes to striking the right chord with a girl you’ve met on The Social Network.

I know, ’cause I got hitched through Facebook.  

How to propose a girl on FacebookPhoto by

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#1. Watch her profile

We keep a tab on our friends’ updates but we typically don’t check their “About” and “Liked pages” much. Go through every detail in her profile carefully. This would help her know her as a person – her tastes, preferences, beliefs and worldview. The rule of thumb is that you should know every piece of info about her that is available in public domain (The “public domain” bit is important. Stalking is not recommended. ;)) Use this info in online conversations with her. When your knowledge of her as a person shows through, she’d know you’re really – like really – interested in her. Talk about doing a thorough research on a potential employer before interviewing with them? ;)

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#2. Watch your albums

Go through you albums. If there’s any photo which you wouldn’t want her to see (e.g. those of your ex-girlfriend, or documentation of the effects of excessive amounts of alcohol on you. ;)), hide it. Disable your friends tagging you in photos if need be. Remember – this is not about painting a false picture of yours, but about making the efforts to impress her that she expects you to make. I for one would be disappointed if a guy expressing serious romantic interest in me lets his ex-girlfriend’s pictures hang out there. Does that mean I expect him to have had zero relationships in the past? No. It means I expect him to put in efforts to impress me, and he’s falling short.

How to propose a girl on FacebookPhoto by P@ttu

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#3. Don’t brag

One of the top dating mistakes men make is trying to impress her too directly – in other words, through sheer bragging. Facebook has come to provide the official bragging forum to many, but when it comes to impressing a girl “First promotion within the first two years – check!” is not the best status message to post. If you’re itching to post some recent development in your life that you’re proud of, don’t. Tell her personally instead. Being the first person to know about it will make her feel special.

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#4. Be who you are

An oft-repeated but crucial rule of dating – online or otherwise – is being genuine. Your Facebook profile – all public info, status updates, photos – should paint the true picture of you as a person. Now does that mean you make all your personal info public? No. If you’re uncomfortable sharing any info, remain silent, but don’t try to paint a false picture. A guy I’d met had a Facebook date of birth three years later than his real one. No prizes for guessing we didn’t proceed much. Painting a false picture gets you only till the first few face-to-face meetings, no further. ;)

Propose a girl on Facebook Rule#5. Stop random tagging

Don’t tag her on your aesthetically profound works of photography, performed with domesticated and wild forms of photography around you (i.e. photos of your cute dog and the creeper around your window grills). No one likes to get 47 notifications a day. The only thing over-tagging can earn you is irritation from her.  

Have you ever dated anyone through Facebook? How did it go? Share your experiences through comments as you wait for How to Propose a Girl on Facebook – Part 2

Does She Like Me? The 7 (More) Signs

There’s this cute guy/girl you’ve met at school/work/through friends. You two seem to get along really well together. They like you, but you’re not sure if they *like*like you.

If you’re a girl, we’ve already chat about this.

But then your male counterparts started asking the same question.
To all you guys, hoping to have won the heart of a beautiful maiden, here are some signs you should look for when trying to decide whether you’re right, or just another hopeful in her long list. ;)

Does she like mePhoto by 2-Dog-Farm

  1. The eyes: Have you noticed her eyes when she looks at you? What do you read? If things are going for you, you should be able to see an unmistakable glow of embarrassed happiness in there. If her eyes are unable to hold your gaze and flutters here and there as she talks to you, congratulations.
  2. The smile: If that was too confusing, there are easier giveaways you can watch out for. Those thousand splendid Suns for example. The unique smile she flashes you, not the book. This smile is not like the others. The next time you see a girl flashing you a custom light-up-the-whole-room smile, make no mistake – something is up. ;)
  3. The girly gossip: When she’s with her friends, she always finds some excuse to mention you every now and then.  They may not know “officially” that she has a crush on you, but practically everyone knows about it. ;)
  4. The diva: Suddenly she starts paying more attention to her appearance. Especially when she knows she’d meet you. But of course none of her newly acquired accessories adds nearly as much to her beauty as the glow of a new crush writ large on her face.
  5. The excitement: When she meets you she seems a bit confused. Like she doesn’t know what she’s saying. Mildly breathless. Mildly incoherent. Out-of-control excited but failing embarrassingly at hiding it.
  6. The stress: Have you ever met her just after you’d been talking and laughing with other girls? Did her face look like someone had died? Or like someone was about to die? Badly concealed green jealousy when you talk to other girls is one of the surest signs of a really BIG crush. ;)
  7. The hurt: Don’t call/ping/text her for a few days. If the reaction seems just a tad more intense than expected (i.e. starting with talking about how popular you are and ending in sniffles, possibly), there might be something just a tad more than friendship in her heart for you.

Yeah … yeah… I know…I know…

Some of you are nodding your head and saying, “My girlfriend never showed any of these signs.”

Exactly. That’s what the comment section is for. J

Too Busy to Live? Romance for the Time-strapped

You open your eyes. You’re already late.

You rush to the restroom, kitchen, dining room all at the same time (OK you try). Eventually somehow you hop into something that moves and pray to the traffic to be nice to you until you find yourself at your workplace, thrown raw into the chaos of another crazy day.

I’ve been there. I’d be glad to remember my spouse’s name on days like those, leave alone “spend quality time” with him.

“Time-strapped” is a way of life today. For most of us, there’s no way to avoid it, irrespective of our profession. And in the race for survival, connecting with one’s family or spouse is often not the first thing on one’s mind.  

Is there any way out of this rut? Here are some tips for finding time for yourself and your spouse in the midst of the delirium.

Romance for busy couplesPhoto by hartboy

  1. Prioritize: In the mad rat race to the elusive “top”, we often forget the real important thing – people. Make sure you’re not making this mistake. Make a list of your usual day-to-day activities. Commuting to work, work, household chores, cooking, watching TV, going to the gym … include every tiny thing. Now take a long, hard look at it. Is every single item on that list equally important? I don’t know about you, but for most, they aren’t. Is it possible to cut-down on watching TV to find a little more time for things which are a little more important? … After this exercise many “busy” people realize they’re not busy at all. :D
  2.  “Us” time: When was the last time you talked about anything other than grocery lists, jobs, kids, the traffic and the latest Bollywood release? But Surprise! Surprise! These are not the best romance enabling topics of the world. “Us” time is meant to force you to turn the necessary off and the romantic on. It’s a tiny 10 minute block that you set aside everyday – only for each other, for romance, for talking about the little nothings of life, for connecting. No, that doesn’t include connecting with laptops, iPads, phones or other kids.
  3. Family dinner: Whatever you do, you can’t miss having dinner together. Every single evening. Rituals are powerful and a simple “family ritual” like this strengthens familial bonds – between couples as well as larger families with kids. Try keeping the TV switched off during at least one dinner per week. Being forced to talk to each other is a great way of bringing yourselves together.
  4. Romance for busy couplesPhoto by Thynk – Coaching en Alicante – Formación empresar

  5. Dinner dates: Go on a dinner date on a Friday. Instead of meeting at home first, meet directly at the restaurant. The anticipation of waiting for him/her, the excitement of meeting them at an enjoyable environment outside the home bring back the freshness of your initial dating days (besides saving commuting time ;)).  
  6. Lunch dates: In most cities of the world the business district is concentrated in a particular area of the city. If you’re lucky and your workplaces are nearby, how about meeting up for lunch? Besides scraping up more couple time out of your day, this provides you a much needed stress buster midway through your crazy workday.
  7. Stay in touch always: A simple “Have you had your lunch?” or “Just beat the deadline…done and dusted…” from time to time in the midst of your busy work schedule can give a sense of being by each other’s side all the time.

Are there any homemade strategies you and your spouse use to get rid of the too-busy-to-live syndrome? Do share with others by leaving a comment. 

Q&A: My Mother Feels Hurt by my Girlfriend’s Family. How to Make Things Work?


I don’t know how to start this story, but let me just start by saying I love my mother. I never had a great relationship with my father and it’s her hard work, dedication, parental love – whatever you call it – that makes me stand where I stand today.

Lion cub in mum's jawsPhoto by klehmkuhl

I now live and work in the US. Four years back I met my girlfriend (let’s call her AK), a half North Indian-half Bengali born and brought up in the US. Her parents ran away from home and married against their parents’ wishes, though later reconciled and now share good relations with their families. I’m glad to have them in my life – they’ve accepted our relationship fully and are very supportive of me.

Recently we started thinking of marriage. I arranged a meeting between my mother and sister and AK’s parents back in India. Neither AK nor I was present in this meeting.

Unfortunately the meeting didn’t last for even 5 min.  My mother was apparently outraged by the way AK’s mother treated her, and also by her attire which my mother deemed inappropriate for a public place.

Later I started hearing different accounts of the event from my mother, sister and AK’s mother. My mother is very angry at the moment and has gone to the extent of telling me to maintain a distance from AK and her family, suggesting they’re the “clever”, “bling-bling” type and not suitable for a guy like me. 

I really love AK and both of us have given a lot to this relationship. But on the other hand I have no clue as to how to placate my mother and start talking to her meaningfully about it.

I don’t want to hurt my mother by going against her wishes. Understandably, AK doesn’t want to force her way into an unwelcoming family either.

I can’t let either of the two people I love the most in this world become the biggest source of sorrow to the other. Please help me.

–          BG, North Carolina


Hi BG, 

Thank you for writing in. 

There are two important questions here:

  1. Should you get married to your current girlfriend?
  2. If yes, how should you proceed?

Let’s look at #1.

There are a couple of issues at play here.

First of all, AK’s family is settled abroad. Her parents are very liberal people, given the fact that they’re an interracial couple who ran away from home, one generation ago. Going by your description, your family seems to be quite traditional. Hence there’s a huge cultural gap between your family and AK’s. One of the reasons for your mother’s outrage is this.

While you may be settling abroad after marriage and your wife may not have to interact much with your mother, are you sure your traditional upbringing and her liberal upbringing will not lead to clashes at some point?

You might consider yourself liberalized. But we can never fully overcome the influences of our childhood even if we want, and deep inside you might hold traditional beliefs, attitudes and worldviews which neither you nor AK are aware of today. Your long relationship would of course have helped you understand each other to a great extent. But you need to do some soul-searching to find out such possible points of disconnect between the two of you (Why not start with listing down the things about AK’s family that you don’t like?). And she needs to do the same. Also discuss this with her parents openly, if you think they can help. Marriage is a BIG decision, and being uncomfortable now is better than making a mistake.

If after the exercise you’re still convinced you’re made for each other, we can move to Question #2.

We know your mother’s reaction to the whole situation.

I understand your parents are either separated or not very close to each other. Your mother loves her son (you) more than anything else. All her life she’s struggled to make sure he reaches where he is today. Naturally, he’s the core of her life.

In such a situation it’s most natural to feel paranoid – at least subconsciously – about someone else (AK) assuming importance in his life.

Inside, your mother is feeling insecure. She’s afraid she’d cease to hold as much importance to you as she holds today, if you marry someone you’ve fallen in love with (as opposed to someone chosen by her and/or the rest of your family). Add to that the fact that the girl’s family is very modern, enlightened, etc. This is intimidating to your mother. She’s afraid you’ll get so enamoured by their sophistication, progressive attitude etc. that you’ll draw closer and closer to them, forgetting her. Of course she also has the real fears of you experiencing a culture shock if you marry into this family (the concern I mentioned earlier).

Saas bahuPhoto by Shrihari

Let me tell you first off that arranging a meeting between the two mothers as a starter to this relationship was a mistake. You should’ve told her four years ago that there’s someone you like. You should have gone on to talk about her with your mother over all of your calls over the next one year. Eventually you should have let AK and your mother interact telephonically over the next couple of years before you let the girl’s parents meet her. Check this: How to Impress your Girlfriend/Boyfriend’s Parents

However what’s past is past. Now your job is to allay your mother’s fears. You can try the following:

  1. Empathize: Do not mention anything about AK to your mother for a few days now. She’s hurt (quite understandably). Right now your responsibility is to be by her side. For the next few days call her more often than usual. Talk to her very lovingly. No need to bring up the girl’s mother incident (that will lead to more negative emotions on the part of both of you) but ask her often how she’s feeling, how her day was etc. She must feel her pain is as much yours as hers.
  2. Explain: Whenever you think your mother has recovered from this incident, apologize profusely for it. Subsequently tell her gently that she’s totally justified in her reaction given the impression of the girl’s family that she got, but you’ve interacted with them for years and they’re very good people (I hope that’s what you believe ;)). Give her a few instances of the care for you that they’ve shown over the years (may be you have dinner with them often, or they help you with your settling down challenges in a new country… ). In the end repeat to your mother that you’re very disappointed by the way things turned out in their very short meeting and you’re trying to understand why the girl’s family acted in the way they did (even if you’re not doing this ;) ). The objective here is to make your mother believe that you understand her pain and are not suffering from the “son is a son until he takes a wife” syndrome.
  3. Help them become friends: Your mother will not react favourably to the above approach the first time. Keep trying it from time to time (Don’t do it in every conversation – you’ll lose her trust). In the meantime keep mentioning AK casually every now and then. (AK topped her class… AK makes such delicious cakes… AK gave me a beautiful sweater, I’ll send you photos of it… ). Also get AK to say hi to your mother sometime. One very important word of caution – do not make up nice stuff about her to impress your mother, highlight only the real positive aspects of her. Otherwise there will be expectation mismatches and severe strains within the family later. On the same note, encourage AK to be herself – instead of going out of her way to be impressive – while she’s on call with your mother.
  4. Don’t overdo it: Always remember, half of your battle is already won. Your mother, at the end of the day, wants your happiness more than anything else. The very fact that she’d agreed to meet the girl’s family in spite of the fact that they’re settled abroad and are – well – very different from your own is a sign that she’s at least OK with the marriage in principle. So just make sure you take it very carefully from here on. There is no need to put in unnecessary extra efforts – just let things flow naturally while ensuring no further damage occurs.

Let me know how things go. All the best. :)

How to Impress your Girlfriend’s Parents

An overwhelming majority of the counselling requests I receive deal with parents not allowing their children to get married to the guy/girl of their choice.

Picture this. Your daughter is approaching marriageable age. You’ve been thinking of starting to look for a suitable partner for her. She suddenly announces, “Hi mom/dad, meet my boyfriend X. We’ve known each other for three years and we feel we’re made for each other. I’m completely convinced he’s the one for me. You might get a bit worked up over his caste though. Think it over. We’re not in a hurry. We’ll get married only with your blessings.”

Your daughter’s “marriageable age bracket” has already started shrinking. You have to come to a decision fast. Generations of conditioning makes you feel anxious about giving your daughter up to a guy you haven’t chosen yourself. Add to that the beliefs you hold about the likely dangerous consequences of inter-caste marriages. Tell me honestly – do you feel gung-ho about your daughter’s marriage to such a stranger? We all know the answer.

Impress girlfriend's parentsPhoto by mytkada

Hence, the key to creating an environment more conducive to parental cooperation is not being a stranger. How do you do that? By building a rapport with your girlfriend’s parents over time. Always remember:

A rapport cannot be built in a day.

Here are some tips to cultivate a relationship with your girlfriend’s parents which would make to easier to get a “Yes” out of them when it comes to your marriage.  

  1. Get introduced as a friend first: Start visiting her at her home as a friend. If that’s not possible, start as a part of a group of friends. The idea is to allow her parents to get to know you in a relaxed environment (without the pressures of a possibility of marriage).  Continue this throughout the period of your courtship, such that it gives them ample time to know you and trust you. (I hope you’re not planning to get married before knowing each other at least for three years.)
  2. Spend time with them: If possible include them in your chat with your girlfriend from time to time (of course all the while appearing to be “friends” with her :D). Watch a movie together (of course the kind you can all appreciate ;)). No matter what they might show, parents always like to be included in children’s lives. If you come across as the type of friend who values elders and likes to spend time with them too, you’d have earned a lot of extra brownie points. That will make it easier for them to visualize you as a possible son-in-law later.
  3. Drop inhibitions: Stop thinking of them as “my girlfriend’s parents” when you interact with them. Think of them as a friend’s parents instead. Drop inhibitions, relax and be yourself. If you try too hard to impress them you’ll feel strained, under constant judgement (when you’re not) and will be unable to sustain the show for a long time. Do not approach the whole thing with the objective of impressing them but with that of familiarizing with them.
  4. What to talk: Whenever you’re having a chat with them, steer the conversation to a topic on which they’ve got a lot to say but you have very little. Like her mom’s childhood, her dad’s work, vintage movies etc. This will serve two purposes. First of all, good listeners are hard to come by and everyone loves them. The more you come across as one, the better for you. Secondly, you can’t afford any bad blood between you and them, and there are always chances of disagreement and tempers if you discuss something of mutual interest.  You can avoid that by letting them speak about topics which you’re neutral on.  

What are your stories of interactions with your girlfriend’s parents? Let me know by leaving a comment. 

Q&A: How to Get Over a Devastating Break-Up?

Priya and I were friends. I loved her a lot. But she wanted a relationship. Gradually I fell in love too. I allowed myself, ‘cause she came across as an honest person who’d respect my feelings. But after only 4 months she broke up with me abruptly. Devastated, I begged for explanations but received none. Needless to say I have no words to describe my feelings in the months that followed, till I came to know that she had gotten engaged to someone else. I felt may be it was the lack of a formally spelt out commitment of marriage from my side which had broken her trust. To make up for this I confessed everything to my family and got my father to talk to her over the phone. I even invited her to my home to meet my parents (indebted forever to my parents for their understanding and support). She said she was embarrassed and of course, never came.

More than a year has passed since the break-up. At 25 I’m now an unemployed graduate. Sometimes I feel lonely – like I absolutely need someone in my life. I’ve tried getting close to other girls in recent times but whenever I start getting involved the past experience clouds my consciousness and keeps me from proceeding any further. I don’t know if it’s my bias or my bad luck – but whoever I meet comes across as less honest and commitment-worthy than I’d like. It seems having a boyfriend/girlfriend has suddenly become a pretty badge to be worn and flashed around – purely a show-off factor.

“Be positive”, and “one day you’ll meet the love of your life” are nothing but tiring platitudes to me now. I’m unable to find my strength and mental peace. Please help me.


How to overcome breakupPhoto by Heaven`s Gate (John)

First of all ,Dev, I think you’re approaching this the wrong way.

Stop “trying to find” love

You’re 25. Your “marriageable age band” hasn’t even started, going by Indian standards. Secondly you shouldn’t even let societal norms dictate your life at the cost of your happiness.

Why do you need to worry about finding someone now?? Always remember the time-tested cliché:

You can’t find love, love finds you.

Stop “looking for it” and “trying to find someone” altogether. Now is the time to concentrate on yourself. Take this time to enjoy your singlehood instead. Love will happen when it’s supposed to happen.

Now. Does that mean it always happens naturally like a bolt from the blue for everyone? If you look around yourself you’ll realize the answer is an emphatic No. But the time to worry about it is at least 5 years away, not now. And five years is a very long time, Dev. Today you have no idea about what your thoughts, feelings, beliefs would be five years hence. For instance if I meet the me of five years ago now, I wouldn’t even recognize her. ;)

The protective shell of emotional unavailability

Having said that, the reason you haven’t been successful in forming other relationships ever after your break up is because you have never been emotionally available ever since.

After we’ve suffered a heartbreak/any sort of emotional trauma, our heart goes into a protective hard shell. We withdraw ourselves emotionally; we come to a state where it seems we’re not able to feel emotions at all. I’ve myself been there so I know. Just as the body develops a scab on a wound to protect the raw skin underneath, the human mind, as its natural immune response, develops a hard, cold protective layer of conscious around its core emotions, ’cause those emotions are still too raw, too delicate after a devastative emotional bloodbath, so to speak.

But the good news is, just as a scab falls off on its own when the wound is fully healed, the mind heals itself and sheds this protective layer around its emotions in due course of time. You don’t need to put in any special efforts for it. But unfortunately emotional wounds take a lot more time than physical wounds to heal. In your case, even after 1.5 years they’re still not fully healed. And you need to wait it out till it happens. Like they say, there’s no cure other than time for your emotional bruises.

Breaking up and what it means

Coming to the emotional pain of your break up, it’s excruciating. I know that.

A break-up is a one of the types of a wide and deep range of disappointments one can experience in course of a romantic relationship. And tell you what – disappointment is an inevitable part of any relationship. We’ve all had our hearts broken in some way or the other in course of our love-lives.

Yes, it happens to everyone. And it’s an unavoidable part of growing up.

Think of people who fall madly in love, get married soon, only to discover that up close their spouse is an entirely different person than what they thought.

You would’ve heard of the phrase “Before marriage men are slaves, after marriage they become slave-masters”? Think of those women who’re intensely wooed by a hopeful admirer, who then becomes her starry-eyed boyfriend upon her reluctant and almost pitiful acceptance, but after marriage undergoes a chameleon-like change to become a demanding boss, so to speak!

Think of those who after twenty years of marriage discover that their spouse had been having sex with their cousin for the last five years?

Now do you realize how easy it should be for your to get over your ex?

How to overcome breakupPhoto by meechellllle

Why your relationship was NOT what you think

You’ve only known her for 4 months. Sure, that doesn’t mean your pain is any less. In fact breaking up at such an early stage is what hurt you so much – because you were still in the initial heady phase of your relationship (called “limerence“). (Guess what – it has happened to me too! I know what the pain is like. Here’s my story: How I coped with being dumped and why that’s NOT going to help you.) But I urge you to appreciate the fact that in the long-term scheme of your life as a whole, you haven’t suffered any real loss.

You’ve not been in a relationship with her for long, so you don’t know if she was “The One” for you or not. (No. “Getting the feeling” that someone is “The One” basis a relationship of 4 months is not the real thing. Ask your married cousins and they’ll tell you – you get to know nothing about a person in that short a period of time, irrespective of what you might feel. There’s only one way to know if someone is The One for you and that’s through being in a relationship with them over years.) So there’s nothing to regret. Someone could have been “the one for you”, have not been and there will be hundreds of other options in the future. I know it’s difficult to dissociate your emotions from your thought process at this point, but when you grow up (no, you haven’t yet, at least not at an emotional level :)), one day you’ll realize this episode doesn’t really matter. It was too short, too insignificant to matter.

Focus on happiness

Always remember the following:

Life is too short to focus on anything but happiness. If it isn’t coming from one source, focus on others.

In this case other sources might include your friends, family, your hobbies, books you read, your everyday learnings from your job search etc. But focus on happiness, not one particular girl who you knew so briefly, who could have been a source of happiness for you, has not been and is hence not so important.

All the best and do write back whenever you want to share any pains/worries/concerns… anything at all. :)

Being Single: The 7 Principles of Enjoying Your Singlehood

“If you can’t be happy being single, you’ll never be happy in a relationship.”

I believe in sayings. I believe in clichés. ’Cause for an idea to attain cliché status, it has to be used gazillions of times, by gazillions of people, over and over through the ages, and that rarely happens for an idea that hasn’t passed the test of reality.

That one at the beginning is an exception though.

being singlePhoto by ghaith.alajmi

Yes. Unfortunately for us, that one is a commonly held misconception. Humans are social animals. Humans are programmed by Nature to be unhappy if they’re alone for a long time. There’s a reason why the concepts of family and social groups started taking shape, even among the Neanderthals. And I don’t believe in going against Nature.

Why am I writing this article then – if being single is really as bad as it’s made out to be?

Because humans are animals, but that’s not all that they are.

Our animal instincts push to us to crave mates. But we also live in a highly evolved human society which – fortunately – offers singlehood its own joys and that’s what today’s post is all about.

#1. Be conscious of the gifts of being single

Have you ever spent a Saturday sleeping all day, waking up only to gulp down pizza pieces before you dived inside the sheets again? Or a night devouring the latest book by your favourite author till you could see the first rays of Sun?

You wouldn’t have any more of those days when you’re married.

Savour every moment of singlehood while you have it. One of the best aspects of being single is freedom. Be aware that you won’t have as much of it when you’re with someone. Make sure you’ve utilized every last bit of it before that happens.

#2. Self-sufficiency is the best form of freedom

I recently read a book by true crime writer Ann Rule where she describes her feelings a few years after a divorce, “All of it was unreal. Only a few years before, I had been … a typical housewife, a Brownie leader. Now, I was off to Hollywood to write a movie, with the FBI waiting for me.”

While the instance here is a bit extreme for most of us, the truth is that being single forces us to do things we never thought we could do on our own. This is true especially for single girls. From fixing a bug in your laptop to taking a biking trip to the outskirts with friends – use your single-dom to develop capabilities girls with boyfriends/husbands would never know.  This way even when you finally find your Prince Charming you won’t need to be overly dependent on him – something most men despise.

#3. Couple-dom isn’t all that it’s made out to be

Let me take a leaf out of French novelist Marcel Pagnol’s book.

“The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the unknown better than it would be and the known worse than it is.”

Stop having those starry-eyed daydreams about the ineffable virtues of couple-dom. They don’t exist.

Being in a relationship/marriage is not about:

  1. Romance
  2. Sex
  3. An undefined fantasy called “true love”

(Those taken together make maybe 0.5 % of it).

Humans crave companionship and that’s what a relationship is all about – having someone to share your worries, sorrows, dreams, joys, anguishes.

It’s also about sharing responsibilities (dividing up family finances in case of marriage).

It’s also about sharing tastes (watching movies you don’t like).

It’s also about compromising (moving states to stay close to them).

Next time you feel all romantic about having someone in your life, order yourself to remember these aspects too. ;)

being singlePhoto by zsuzsa.palosi

#4. Watch who you hang out with

Stay away from people who might make you feel bad about your state of being single. Beware of those well-meaning “aunties” worried about your marriage-worthy age or snooty friends who presume to pity you for your singlehood.

Our society views being single as generally regrettable, and there will never be a dearth of people trying to remind you just how much. Don’t let yourself be influenced by their worldviews. It may not always be possible to avoid such conversations entirely. If you find yourself having one, politely but firmly let the other person know that you’ve decided to remain single for some time now (even if this is not true) to focus better on work, extra-curricular interests etc.

It’s all too easy to fall into the ocean of self-pity if you let yourself, and letting them pity you is the first step in that wrong direction.

#5. Being single is an opportunity to invest in yourself

Your future partner is going to be a very important part of your life, but they’re not going to be your life. While they’re away, invest in developing the other important aspects of it. Another great thing that comes free with being single, besides freedom, is time for yourself – like you’ll never have once you’re hitched. The best thing you can do with your single-time is to use it. Make a list of all the things you want to do and achieve in your life – reach specific career goals, travel to XYZ places, read certain books, learn French – write it all down. Use all the time you have to improve yourself – making yourself better placed for achieving these goals. Once you start doing it you’ll realize that the most fulfilling existence you can possibly have is one dedicated to enriching yourself, one that leaves you no time, energy or reason for self-pity.

#6. Being single doesn’t equal desperation

I know you’ll yawn when I repeat the following cliché:

“You can’t find love. Love finds you.”

But like I said, cliché’s are cliché’s because they’re usually true.  

The worst way to waste being single is to desperately chase couple-hood. It’s like ignoring the magnificent starry night sky in your desperation for daylight. Besides coming across as emotionally needy is a major turn off for most people.

#7. Take a mature approach towards future relationships

Instead of chasing and waiting for love, spend this time trying to understand your own needs from a relationship. Believe me, it’s not easy at all.

Observe couples you know. Talk to non-single friends about their relationships. Combine all that you learn with your experiences from past relationships, your future plans, parental advice – everything that you would take into consideration while choosing a potential mate. Then make a list of traits you want in your partner. Against each desirable trait, note why you want it in him/her.

Have you noticed that I haven’t used the phrase “ideal partner” while talking about your list of desirable qualities? That’s because no such thing exists. Take it from me – one person can’t have the looks of Brad Pitt, the brains of Einstein and the wealth of Bill Gates all at the same time – your likely dream combination (replace that with the looks of Bipasha Basu and the culinary skills of your mother if you’re a guy). ;)

 If you spend your single years creating a mental picture of an ideal partner you’ll either remain single for the rest of your life or set yourself up for a disastrous disappointment after you’ve finally fallen in love and the initial heady days are past.

No. When I say make a list, I’m not even thinking about the “nice to have” criteria, but the must have ones.

Are you a free-spirited open individual? Chances are you won’t get along well with a conservative partner, no matter how crazily you might fall for them in the future. Put that down in your list.

Do you believe in a “your money is my money and vice versa” approach, or you like your financial privacy and freedom? Observe, decide and freeze it.

Are you OK with living with in-laws (if you’re an Indian girl, that is)? Whatever the answer, make up your mind now and make sure to take it into account when the marriage discussions finally start.  

What are your own unique/quirky/crazy ways of enjoying the state of being single? Let us know by leaving a comment.


Romance, Colours & Taste: Artful Gift Ideas for Your Special Someone

Love is serious business.

Especially if you want to find that elusive perfect way to convey it to your special someone – as all those thousands googling “gifts for girlfriend/boyfriend” each day would tell you. ;) But apparently, my “original” and “creative” gift ideas are not cutting it for many a languishing heart which crave something more “real” – if their significant others’ testimonies are anything to go by. ;) So I thought I’d do some online research on the most thoughtful yet simple, intensely romantic “real” gifts available out there. And I found India Circus.

Thoughts, feelings, moods and emotions – this web-based lifestyle brand gives life to all that you want to express in its wide gifting range starting from notebooks and designer mugs to furniture and wall art.

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Now to me, the best gift is one that is light on the bling and heavy on the unique meaning that it carries for the two people exchanging it. The simple but special gift items I found here score a perfect 10 on that scale.

Journals which come alive with the spirit of your first meeting, for recording your sweetest moments together…

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Glasses from the roadside chai stalls you frequented in your college days exuding the heady excitement of romance in bold motifs …

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Quirky snapshots of life on everyday items like magazine racks and laptop sleeves making their  lips curl with your memories every time they look at those little mementos…

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India. That’s the simple yet intricate, straightforward yet mind-numbingly complex inspiration behind all India Circus designs, according to founder & design director Krsna Mehta (don’t ask me about that spelling :P). From heritage to modernity, grandeur to simplicity, solemnity to laughter – India is present in its diverse expressions across IC artefacts.

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Probably as an attempt to bring in a sense of order in the sheer dimensions of the artistic idea that is India, the designers at India Circus have divided their range in four distinct collections.

Neo Nawab – redolent of Mughal splendour and sophistication …

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Tamara – a reference to the bright natural colours in India’s landscape …

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Kuheli – commemorating the rich heritage of quintessentially Indian art and crafts.

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Last but certainly not the least – Jalebi. The only word I can use to describe the mood rife through this range is … fun!

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If you thought the last thing that could look like a romantic gift was an umbrella, India Circus urges you to think again. ;)

So many great options – but what if you have no idea what to choose for your special someone? India Circus stands out from all other similar shopping portals by helping you out there with iLike – an interactive wish-list which he/she can create on the India Circus website and share with you over email or Facebook. It’s also great for keeping track of home shopping between  the two of you if you’re married/living together, or during your wedding among various people.

With all those gifting treasures around I bet you’re already regretting the fact that Holi is over. Never mind, there’s always next time. :) 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

Q&A: I’m Married but Can’t Forget My Childhood Sweetheart. What to do?

When I was in college I was in a relationship with a girl. It was the first real relationship of my life. We were together for five long years – right from 11th standard till graduation. One thing led to another and we broke up shortly afterwards. Suffice it to say that we felt our life goals were not aligned.

Four more years have passed since then. I’ve settled down in a good job. I’ve also been married for almost a year now – to a girl I’d met at work and dated for less than a year.

Sometimes I feel I’ve made a mistake. I feel she was the love of my life (my childhood girlfriend from college, I mean). We’ve grown up together. We’ve spent our most formative years together. We were both part of each other’s families. She knows me more than my wife ever will. I feel I could give anything to rewind the last four years and go back to her.

It’s embarrassing to admit, but not a day goes by when I don’t think of her at least once. But I never contact her because I don’t want to disturb her life. (We’ve not kept in touch and I don’t know anything about her current life, apart from the fact that she’s alive – thanks to Facebook.:))

I wouldn’t exactly blame it on my wife. Her family was pressurizing her for marriage and hence we’ve gotten married without knowing each other for long. Of course there are gulfs between us which I’ve discovered after marriage. But we love each other and she’s quite dedicated.

What should I do?

-Shankar, Bangalore

Childhood sweetheartPhoto by Lightblb

Poignant question Shankar. Inside our hearts, many of us have been there and I’m sure all of us would benefit from knowing how others deal with it.

You think you’re telling me the story of your lost love, but I’m reading the story of a disillusioning marriage. It’s the disappointment with your marriage that is central to your emotions Shankar, not someone you’ve broken up with four years ago and haven’t thought about ever since.

Tell me honestly – would you have remembered her if your marriage had turned out to be exactly what you’d expected it to be? We both know the answer.

This might be disappointing, but let me state one of the hackneyed principles of life upfront – it takes a second to break something, but years to build it.

Your wife and you might have had an insufficient courtship, but you’ve still chosen each other – not had each other thrust down your throats like in arranged marriages. Moreover, in spite of differences you love each other and she’s even quite dedicated. You’re married – I hope you’re much more grounded in reality than a starry-eyed young romantic. Given that, are you even thinking of breaking something that’s in perfect working order? I’m sure you’re more mature than that.

So now that we’ve ruled out acting on your feelings, your immediate course of action is to understand them and to deal with them rationally.

Finding the grass on the other side greener is human nature. As you know only too well, if you let yourself fall prey to the kind of regrets you’ve described, it’ll become a never-ending, no-escaping black hole that’ll eat you up. Here are some points to consider.

  1. Relationships change: First recognize that no one is perfect, and there will always be moments when you feel, “She’d have been so much better than my wife.” But hey, a relationship (especially a non-live-in relationship) always changes vastly after marriage, like I’ve discussed here: Why Marriages and Relationships are like Apples and Oranges (Part 1) and Why Marriages and Relationships are like Apples and Oranges (Part 2). And while you know what a relationship with her was like, you don’t know what marriage with her would’ve been like. Who knows – may be while living with her in your day to day life you’d have discovered a hundred tiny but obnoxious things about her which you don’t know today.
  2. Childhood sweetheartPhoto by DaizyB

  3. You broke up, after all: Someone had said, “The reason people find it so hard to be happy is that they always see the past better than it was and the present worse than it is…” Don’t choose to overlook the negatives of that relationship which you consider ideal today. It wasn’t as perfect as you think. In fact, you broke up after being together for five years. Your “life goals were not aligned” then, right? What makes you think they’ll be aligned today?
  4. People change: People change over time. You knew her then. You’ve been out of touch for four years thereafter. Trust me, you have no idea what she’s like today – what her thoughts, beliefs, aspirations are like. They may have remained the same as they were four years go, but they may have changed drastically. May be if you meet her today you’ll feel you don’t know her at all.
  5. You change: In your case I’m more certain – certain that your needs and desires have changed substantially over the last four years, that is, going by the course of your life. You had certain needs then, which she fulfilled. May be you’re unaware of many other needs that you’ve now developed, which your wife must be fulfilling, at least partially. You don’t know if she would’ve fulfilled these new needs.

Think very carefully. Keep these points in mind. I’m sure they’ll help you think more clearly and make the right decisions in your love-life.

To all other readers – have you ever pined for a long-lost love? Feel free to share your story (anonymously if you like) in the comments section.

Q&A: My Boyfriend Doesn’t Want to Spend Quality Time with Me. What to do?

My boyfriend and I are co-workers. We sit next to each other at work all 5 days of the week. But we’re busy and we rarely talk meaningfully during work. Even when we’re not working, I’m always the first to text. He doesn’t even reply to all of them. We meet only in the evening on weekends. Whenever we meet, either his friends are around and he keeps talking to them ignoring me, or we go for a movie or he wants us to make out.

I’ve tried telling him how I crave some quality “us time”, but it seems that he’s just not ready to listen. However, he’s always there to help out when I’m in trouble and I know for a fact that he has feelings for me.

How can I make him understand that I need more warmth from him to keep the relationship going?


Boyfriend ignoringPhoto by Synamingirl

I’d be honest with you Anon.

One possibility is he doesn’t love you at all and is using you not only for sex but also because it ‘feels nice’ to have a girlfriend (major brag-worthy factor with guy friends).

The only reason that’s one of the possibilities and not the only clear conclusion is the fact that he always helps you out when you’re in some real trouble. That’s the only aspect of your relationship which doesn’t fit the textbook example of a guy using a girl mercilessly by taking advantage of her typical feminine emotional dependence on him.

You can see for yourself – your relationship bears all the red flags which point towards such a scenario.

  1. In spite of spending the whole week sitting a few feet away from each other, you communicate very little during the week.
  2. You rarely text/call.
  3. You’ve tried to tell him that his apparent negligence hurts you but he’s “just not ready to listen”, which means he either doesn’t understand or doesn’t value your feelings.
  4. He doesn’t want to spend time with you alone. There are always either friends, or movies.

Now throw into this mix the aspect of him helping you out when you’re in need.

You have mentioned his apparently negligent behaviour, and you’ve given lots of details and specific examples. You’ve also mentioned he’s always there for you when you’re in trouble. But you’ve not given any instances which made you feel so. That tempts me to think – are you sure you’re not seeing what you want to see here Anon? Are you sure the reason you’ve stopped short of mentioning specific examples of his kindly behaviour is not that they’re too trivial and your subconscious knows that?

Answer that for yourself and you’d know if the first possibility is really the case here.

The second possibility is that he loves you and cares for you but the two of you have vastly different emotional needs and skills. He’s a lot less emotional than you. While it’s true that guys usually need and provide less emotional contact in a relationship than women, but going by your description your guy seems to fall far below the threshold of “normal” even for a guy.

Boyfriend ignoringPhoto by emersonquinn

In either case, your course of action is very clear here.

There’s one and only one step you need to take which will give you all the answers and bring about the change in your life that you need.

Stop showing your emotional needs.

You text him regularly. You crave time with him. You keep telling him how his negligent attitude hurts you. All that makes you come across as “safe” to him. Unfortunately, a bit too safe.

Stop all that. Stop texting him. Never call him. Pick up only every 3rd of his calls (if he ever calls that is). Accept only every 2nd of his weekend date invitations (if they can be called dates).

I know it’s going to be hard. But you have to do it.

Let me tell you a story.

I was with a highly negligent guy at one point of time. I was young, away from home and very dependent on him emotionally. When I realized I was in a destructive relationship I threw all my strength behind reducing my dependence on him.

When I had urges of calling him, I’ll call a friend/start watching a movie.

If he called me I’ll just plain let the phone ring and leave the room, ’cause I didn’t have the willpower to stare right at his name on the screen and not pick it up.

Just like you.

It wasn’t something I liked to do, but something I knew I needed to do.

Does that sound doable now? It has to.

This would achieve two very important goals:

#1. You’ll gradually wean yourself of your emotional dependence on him. Always remember:

A healthy relationship is a companionship, not a total dependency.

As I mentioned, men tend to be much less skilled in emotional exchanges than women. Research shows that when a woman reduces her emotional dependence on her partner, he’s highly likely to feel more drawn to her, ’cause this helps him see her as a complete and independent person, special for being who she is, rather than a burden of emotional clinginess to him. If he really does care for you, this approach is likely to turn a relatively unemotional person like him around and make him behave more warmly with you.

#2. If he’s in it just for fun, this approach is just perfect. He’ll most definitely sit right up and take note as soon as you start giving him about as much attention as he gives you. And when he does, waste no time in making it clear that you’re not trying to teach him a lesson for ignoring you, but just working on yourself. Once you’ve done that, he’ll either recognize you for the special person you are and start giving you the importance you deserve or gradually slip off your life. In either case, you’ll have a better life.

All the best.