If we are asked what the most important thing in life is, dating and relationships are going to be the answer for so many people. It is human nature to seek relationships with others. Some may do it for fun and some do it to create a new life.
There are not many people in the world who can give better dating advice than top tier dating coaches. They are professionals possessing masterful skill in dating and flirting with all types of people. Not just that, they are best at interpersonal skills as well as philosophy and sociology.
Because of their knowledge, these dating coaches are well-known for bringing a successful dating life to their clients. And today we have a chance to interview Hunt Ethridge, currently CMO of LiveDatingAdvice.com as well as a co-founder and senior partner at International Dating Coach Association (IDCA). He has been helping hundreds of couples including the C-level employees of world famous companies, politicians, and even local celebrities.
Let's hear what he has to say about the life of a dating coach.
What life experience made you decide that you would like to be a dating coach?
Actually I was pushed into it! I was going to a psychiatrist over 10 years ago and she said this to me: “The men that come in here are broken and I can fix them. But the thing they want the most is to have a woman at their side and I can’t help them with that. You know more about this than anyone I’ve ever met, you need to figure out a way to monetize this and when you do I will refer all of my patients to you.” Wow! Hearing three such great comments from a female psychiatrist was meaningful.
I had always had a way with people, half of which are women, but I didn’t know others saw it this way. So I started looking at what I did, researched if there was a need, if there was a way to break it down, etc. And I then opened my first practice.
What was your dating life like before you became a dating coach?
Before I became a coach I led a pretty fun and busy dating life. Living and working in the New York City area gave me access to every sort of woman out there. Young, old, from this country or that country, tattooed rocker chick, sweet and kind fashionista and everything in between. So I was in no rush to settle down as there was such a variety to explore. And while I may have been a bit of a player, I prided myself on being and honest one.
Every girl that I was involved with knew exactly where we stood. I was never the guy that needed to lie or manipulate to get what I wanted. That’s not fun. You want someone to be with you because they like you, not the persona you are putting out there. But I had no real idea of why the things I was doing were working. It was just trying to be an authentic me and people, especially women, responded well to that.
How does being a dating coach affect your own love life? Do you apply the same rules and matching techniques to your own dating habits?
It absolutely affects my love life! I have had to learn and study all about human psychology, biology and sociology as well as the differences between men and women and the way they think. I am now married, so while I don’t use the information to find singles, I absolutely use it to continue to date my wife. Just because you say “I do” doesn’t mean that the dating or romance stops. In fact, you’ve got to up your game! Sometimes I will be discussing something about the philosophy or practicality of dating to someone and my wife will hear me and say, “Hey, that sounds familiar! Were….were you….practicing on me?!” “Of course I was, honey!” But I am the only person in a couple I know that voluntarily read dating and relationship books, so it can’t help BUT make my own relationship better!
What is the most important thing when giving relationship advice to your client?
One of the most important things when giving advice is making sure they hear you. Not if they are listening, but are they really hearing and understanding and getting what it is you are saying. You can’t just talk “at” someone, you have to talk “with” them. In order to get them to understand difficult concepts or realities, you have to put it into ways that they can understand and recognize. For instance, I tell my clients that the onus is on them to practice.
Just showing up for their one hour a week won’t do much on its own. Imagine I’m a tennis coach. At the first lesson I teach you a forehand. Then it’s your job to go and hit 1000 balls up against the wall. Then I’ll teach you a backhand and you have to go out and hit 1000 balls up against the wall again. Basically I’m telling them that you can’t expect growth without putting aside hours devoted just to learning about dating. Otherwise, you won’t get the most out of it.
Another aspect of getting them to hear you is to understand their own past. If someone is a virgin and never been kissed, I can’t say, “You know when you’ve been dating for a couple of weeks and you’re trying to figure out where it’s going?” They have no frame of reference for this. So I have to come up with ways that they can relate to. For the virgin I will have to teach it one way and for the 40 year-old widower, I need to come at it a different way.
Lastly, I have to know how they see themselves as well to know how to best have them hear and get me. If someone is very plain but thinks they are fantastic, I have to approach it one way. If someone thinks they are plain and are actually very good looking, I have to approach it another.
So, basically learning HOW to teach is the most important thing.
What is the most asked question from your client? And why?
Well this differs between men and women. For men, they want to know the RIGHT thing to say and the RIGHT way to say it and the RIGHT thing to wear and the RIGHT place to go. Which are all the wrong questions. There IS no right way. To each their own. I can use almost any sentence as my opening approach and make it work. It’s more about attitude and believing in yourself.
They are hoping to find the “equation” to make it work for them. I have to disabuse them of this notion and get them to learn that there are no hard and fast rules and the best thing to learn is how to adapt and figure out what tools or skills to use in any given moment.
For women, the question I get the most is, “What is wrong with me?” They may have had lots of success when younger and suddenly find themselves alone. Or they continue to date men, yet the men ghost on them or stop dating them. And the women, unfortunately, take it very personally. Because they are also seeing other women that they feel are less accomplished having no problem getting men. I have to teach them this great quote, “Women are like apples on trees. The best ones are at the top of the tree. The men don't want to reach for the good ones because they are afraid of falling and getting
hurt. Instead, they just get the rotten apples from the ground that aren't as good, but easy.
So the apples at the top think something is wrong with them, when in reality, THEY'RE amazing. They just have to wait for the right man to come along, the one who's brave enough to climb all the way to the top of the tree.” It doesn’t make it any easier, but it helps them to understand what is happening.
Do you have some requirements for your clients?
The only requirement I have for my clients is a willingness to be open, to get ready to work. They have to understand that there is no magic panacea that will fix things. What will move you forward is a dedication to your journey, understanding that failure is part of learning and that you need to devote some time in your week specifically to work on your dating skills.
Is there a universal strategy that works for all dating advices?
Ha ha ha, I wish! I think that since the dawn of time, people have been looking for the universal constant. Plus everyone is different so what might work for me might not necessarily work for you. But I can definitely say that those people who are good with who they are as a person, faults and all and look at meeting people as a fun and exciting journey are the ones that have the greatest success. By far. It sounds a little cheesy, but no one is looking for perfection. What we all ARE looking for is someone with a good sense of self that doesn’t need us to “complete them.”
Is there a specific trait that prevents someone from having a successful relation?
The one obvious one is lack of communication. I am constantly amazed at the relationship issues that spiral out of control that could have been nipped in the bud with a little communication earlier on. Talk! Be open! Ask questions and don’t be afraid to address concerns, otherwise, how could the other person know that you are bothered?
Another trait is the thought that “I can change them.” NO! No, you can’t. And you shouldn’t. I mean, okay, a little bit of nudging is okay. Like learning how to be cleaner or to learn to cook a few meal. But fundamental behavioral qualities? They don’t change and if you try to change them, one of two things is going to happen. 1) They don’t change and you keep getting more and more frustrated with them until you blow up or 2) They get so annoyed with you trying to change them into something that they are not that THEY blow up. A person is the way they are. And if you don’t love them for it, someone else will.
How have apps such as Tinder and online dating sites changed the way of dating?
The easier it is to get a date, the less value we put on them. What this means is that we are becoming a society of disposable daters. In previous years, you met someone in person and got to talk with them. If that goes well you get a phone number and set up a date, etc. You are working a bit for and you are putting value on this interaction. With the way things are now, no one wants to work. Or, the tiniest little disqualifier (“Ugh, I hate the way they chew!”) can send someone for the hills because they think that they can just dial up another date, sometimes even that evening! And when it’s so easy, you have two other things that rear their head: paralysis of choice and trading up.
Paralysis of choice basically means that the more options, the more difficult it is to choose. If you needed to paint your room and someone gave you the option of green or blue, it would be easy for you to choose. But if I gave you a color book with 1600 choices, your brain would explode trying to figure out which one you want. Same thing in dating. And with the trading up, again, because it can be so easy, if someone meets a, say, 9.5/10, they might (stupidly) give them up in the hopes that a perfect 10 may come around.
If there’s one piece of advice you’d have for singles who are looking for a partner, what would it be?
“Are you interesting?” It can be summed up almost as simple as this. If I ask someone, “What did you do this weekend?” and the answer is “Not much, watched some Netflix and read”, I’m going to move on to the next person. However what if they told me, “Well on Saturday, I met my friend for coffee and then we walked around the city for a bit. That night I went to a movie I wanted to see by myself. On Sunday I did my **insert your hobby or pastime here** and caught up with some friends.” I am now very intrigued! I want to know more about this person!
One of the toughest things I teach is to reconnect with fun. Dating is SUPPOSED to be fun. That doesn’t mean it is, just that it should be. So go do things that you find fun! Your body language opens up, your energy rises, you smile more! And even if there isn’t anyone in that group that you would date, everyone there has siblings, friends, coworker that they want to say, “I just met this fantastic, dynamic person that you have to meet!”
Our dating coach interview does not end here. Check back our blog next week and read the dating and relationship advice from the CEO of Kezia Noble and the author of the bestselling book “Noble Art of Seducing Women”.