Challenges Plaguing the Wedding Industry And How To Overcome Them

During this time, wedding-related businesses have encountered a host of challenges to sustain business as usual, however, on a brighter note, the industry has been quick to innovate, adapt and bounce back

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The $50-billion Indian wedding industry has definitely faced its worst possible slump due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, green shoots of recovery are now stemming and although, the wedding market has taken a hit, it hasn’t lost its sheen. All over the country, couples are opting for smaller celebrations with a limited guest list. To compensate for the diminished numbers, families are going all out to make the small celebrations as personalized and memorable as possible. During this time, wedding-related businesses have encountered a host of challenges to sustain business as usual, however, on a brighter note, the industry has been quick to innovate, adapt and bounce back. However, as the world moves forward, the industry is yet to overcome a host of challenges before it rises to its former glory.

Lack of investment in technology slowing online bookings for consumers

The future of most industries depends on its ability to adopt and embrace digital transformation. With COVID-19, most industries have embraced digital solutions and are building for the future. However, while there’s a huge appetite for growth in the wedding industry, the investment in technology in this particular industry has been relatively slow, thereby, delaying its trajectory to go digital for today’s and most importantly tomorrow’s fast-evolving consumer. Having said that, in today’s Internet age, some startups and tech investors are beginning to notice the massive scope of opportunities in this historically traditional industry. With modern couples taking more and more ownership of planning their own wedding, there’s a steady shift in preference for online channels for wedding related inspiration as well as discovery, mostly led by social media aspirations. While disruption is underway, there’s still a long way to go for the highly scattered wedding industry in India.

Lack of standardization and regulation of the industry

The wedding industry is a highly competitive one, involving several vendors and freelancers. Due to the absence of a formal system ensuring legally binding contracts for these wedding vendors, couples sometimes experience last minute cancellations or substandard delivery on initial promises made for products and services causing undue stress. This fragmented and disorganized sector is in great need for a standardized marketplace to bring in clarity regarding rates, 100 per cent transparency on services, quality deliverables and expectations, from both parties, so that each one benefits in the long run. In the current air of uncertain times, professional wedding planners and digital planning aggregator websites have set standard operating procedures to ensure seamless customer experience and ensure a level playing field for all vendors in the industry.

Smaller guest lists

During pre-COVID

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Businesses see holiday shopping challenges

A look at coronavirus developments around New England:

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CONNECTICUT

The marketing director of a New Haven theater who has watched the toll the coronavirus has taken on his industry is fighting back — by enrolling in a vaccine trial.

Anthony Lupinacci was among more than 43,000 volunteers across the world who have received the vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, its German partner. The 61-year-old self-described science nerd is the longtime marketing director of New Haven’s Shubert Theater.

He told the New Haven Register he downloaded the 21-page questionnaire from Yale New Haven Hospital and the Yale Center for Clinical Investigation and had his first appointment in late August.

He said he’s not sure whether he received the vaccine or a placebo but that he hasn’t experienced any symptoms. He files a weekly report through an app and will be monitored by Yale for the next two years.

The 7-day rolling average of daily new cases in Connecticut has risen over the past two weeks from about 1,503 new cases per day on Nov. 13 to 1,587 new cases per day on Nov. 27.

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MAINE

A brief memorial has been set up in Portland’s Longfellow Square to honor lives lost to COVID-19.

The tribute went up Friday, WMTW-TV reported. Organizers encouraged people who have lost friends or loved ones to the virus to bring flowers or other small remembrances.

The temporary memorial will be removed at the end of the weekend.

On Saturday, public health authorities in the state reported a single additional death from the virus, bringing Maine’s total to 191 since the start of the pandemic.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed cases in Maine has risen over the past two weeks from 170 on Nov. 13 to 186 on Nov. 27.

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MASSACHUSETTS

Small retailers across Massachusetts are adjusting hours, taking wares outside and buying hand sanitizer in bulk as the holiday shopping season gets underway.

Many businesses hoped for a boost on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, known as Small Business Saturday or Shop Local Saturday. But they’re having to make adjustments, just as many big retailers did ahead of Black Friday.

Instead of one-day deals intended to lure large groups of shoppers, many retailers are spreading out their promotions throughout the holiday season, Retailers Association of Massachusetts President Jon Hurst told The Worcester Telegram & Gazette. Businesses are also offering more curbside and online sales.

Retailers often rely on a spike in end-of-year sales to boost their bottom line. That will be especially important following business closures prompted by the pandemic earlier this year.

“It’s not just support on Small Business Saturday, but the overall holiday shopping season,” Hurst said. “It’s best to think a little differently than in the past, it’s best to shop early, to shop at different times.”

State health officials on Saturday reported more than 2,900 newly confirmed cases and 40 additional confirmed deaths.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new confirmed cases in Massachusetts has

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Luxury fashion is surging on TikTok but brands face challenges

  • Brittany Xavier is a fashion and lifestyle influencer with over 3 million followers on TikTok where, with the help of her 13-year-old daughter, she has found a new way to reach younger audiences.
  • In general, luxury fashion content has begun to take off on TikTok, but brands still face challenges in navigating the app’s Gen-Z audience and converting views to sales.
  • For brands like Revolve and Hugo Boss, short-form video is a way to increase brand awareness among younger consumers, especially Gen Z. 
  • Business Insider spoke with Xavier about how she’s been using TikTok as a creator and how fashion brands can best use the platform and short-form video more broadly.
  • Subscribe to Business Insider’s influencer newsletter: Insider Influencers.

Fashion and lifestyle creator Brittany Xavier was one of the earliest adopters of TikTok among Instagram-native influencers when she joined last November.

“I originally got on TikTok … because of my daughter’s screen time,” Xavier told Business Insider. “And she actually got in trouble for this, but she had such high screen time on TikTok and no other social-media apps that I was actually confused.”

“I realized that there was no fashion on there, from what she was showing me,” Xavier continued. “And afterward, my husband and I were like, okay, we need to brainstorm this.”

Xavier saw the potential audience growth and the opportunity to reach Gen Z. She now has 3 million followers on TikTok compared to 1.6 million on Instagram.

And Xavier isn’t alone in the luxury and fashion space in turning to TikTok to reach new audiences.

In September, TikTok took its first major stride toward becoming a new destination for fashion brands by hosting fashion month events and campaigns on the app, including with Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent. And brands like Gucci and JW Anderson have seen organic success on TikTok with trends like the “Gucci model challenge.”

In fact, while luxury fashion content on social media has dwindled overall during the pandemic, it has surged on TikTok. In the third quarter of 2020, luxury fashion saw a 200% year-over-year increase in engagement and a 190% increase in active influencers on TikTok, according to data from the influencer-marketing platform Traackr.

But there are challenges for brands in both appealing to the Gen-Z audience that dominates TikTok and in leveraging that into increased sales.

To understand how to succeed on the app, Xavier tapped a new creative partner: her 13-year-old daughter, Jadyn. 

“I literally scroll through to make sure I am in tune with what’s going on with Jadyn’s age group,” Xavier added.

Xavier’s TikTok account took off in part because she paid close attention to the trends, according to CeCe Vu, TikTok’s lead for fashion and beauty partnerships.

“She listened to the advice and best practices we shared and started experimenting with different types of fashion transitions, handbag ASMR, and other trend-centric content,” Vu said of Xavier.

Brands have to be attuned to those trends, too, if they want to succeed on TikTok, said Evy

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‘Gift Outside The Box’ Challenges MoCo Residents To Gift Greener

GERMANTOWN, MD — Montgomery County officials are challenging residents to “gift greener” this holiday season as part of the region’s fourth annual “Gift Outside the Box” campaign.

The campaign, which kicks off Wednesday, focuses on five areas where residents can learn how to gift in a more environmentally-friendly way:

Buy Local

Gift Experiences

  • No need for a box when the gift features event tickets, Montgomery Recreation classes, music lessons, and time in nature and at parks.

Gift Greener

  • If you want to purchase brand new items, make sure that they encourage green living and, when possible, help people lower their utility bills. Consider LED lightbulbs, smart thermostats, and reusable materials such as water bottles, metal straws, and cloth napkins.

Give Back

  • Among the most appreciated gifts are donations to local charities in the name of a family member or friend. Also, consider setting aside time to spend with friends and family by volunteering together.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

  • Reduce waste by buying gifts made from recycled or reused materials, regift items not used from last year, and recycle all of paper (minimize wrapping all together by using reusable gift bags and cloth).

“The difficult times created by this pandemic gives us an opportunity to think about supporting our local businesses as a way to give greener this holiday season,” said Adam Ortiz, director of the county’s Department of Environmental Protection. “DEP and our partners are challenging residents to reduce waste by thinking differently about how they shop for and give gifts. Together, we can reduce waste, save energy, and build a strong local economy.”

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DEP will host a series of new virtual events to highlight ways residents can gift outside the box this holiday season:

  • Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Wednesday, Nov. 18, 10-11 a.m.

  • Gift Greener: Thursday, Dec. 3, 5:30-7 p.m.

  • Gift Experiences: Monday, Dec. 7, 4-5 p.m.

  • Buy Local: Tuesday, Dec. 8, 5:30-7 p.m.

  • Give Back and Give Thanks: Wednesday, Dec. 16, 5-6 p.m.

More information is available at the Gift Outside the Box website at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep/gift-greener.html.

This article originally appeared on the Germantown Patch

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European Producers Tackle Challenges for Co-Producing in COVID-19 Era

While international co-productions have for years been trending upwards across much of Europe, the coronavirus pandemic has forced many of the continent’s producers to rethink how they finance and shoot in an era of uncertainty. With government support schemes varying from one country to the next, and no clear sense of how cross-border travel will fare in the months ahead, many producers are thinking outside the box as they adapt to changing circumstances.

The challenge for producers moving forward was the subject of “The Current State of Co-production,” an online panel on Monday, which brought together eight leading women producers from across Europe. Presented during the Thessaloniki Film Festival, the discussion was hosted by the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA), with the support of Greece’s National Center of Audiovisual Media and Communication (EKOME).

The upside—for 2020 at least—is that most European producers appear determined to keep the production pipeline flowing. “We haven’t seen a great drop in productions coming to us,” said Susan Newman of Eurimages, the European co-production film fund, which offers support to roughly 200 projects a year. Conversely, because financing has tightened across the continent, the organization is seeing an increased number of applicants from the producers of lower-budget films who might not have applied for Eurimages funding in the past.

The financial impact of the pandemic has nevertheless taken a toll. “We do see changes on bigger projects that were already supported and were ready to go into production at the time of the first lockdown,” said Newman. “We can see a big increase, maybe 6-9% in costs, coming in the country where the shooting is taking place.”

Where government support has been introduced to offset rising costs due to COVID-19, as in France, the relief scheme only covers spend in that country, putting a stress on existing co-production agreements. “I think we’re going to face a lot of difficulty in designing and accepting co-productions at Eurimages over the next while,” said Newman, “because the basic structures will become a little unbalanced and hard to maintain.”

In Germany, the first wave of coronavirus infections in the spring put a halt to production, and the staggered restart has made it all but impossible to resume a normal workflow. “In the worst case, you prepped three or four times before you could actually [shoot],” said producer Bettina Brokemper (“Melancholia,” “Nymphomaniac: Vol. 1”), who estimated that COVID 19-related costs had increased her budgets by roughly 30%.

In Europe’s wealthier capitals, governments have stepped up to provide some measure of relief. Just days into the pandemic, Germany’s federal and state film funding bodies announced a €15 million ($17.8 million) emergency fund for producers and distributors hit by the crisis. France has bolstered production with the help of a €100 million ($118 million) indemnity fund to cover shoots during the pandemic, and the government continues to put new relief measures on the table, said producer Laura Briand.

In Italy, where the culture ministry raised tax credits for productions from 30-40% of

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Jakarta Fashion Week embraces digital challenges and changes – Lifestyle

Dubbed as the largest runway show in Southeast Asia, Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW) 2021 is set to present the latest fashion trendsetters in clothing and accessories on a digital platform.

“This year, all content will be prerecorded and fully digitalized. We also shorten the [event] from the usual week to four days,” JFW director Lenni Tedja said at a virtual press conference.

JFW 2021 is to be livestreamed this year from Nov. 26-29 on JFW.TV, a microsite on the event’s official website, jakartafashionweek.co.id. The event will also be aired on the JFW’s social media accounts as well as the websites of event partners.

Meanwhile, the production will be run from Senayan City, the South Jakarta shopping mall that is one of the city’s fashion hubs and the official venue of the JFW.

This year’s event features as many as 16 shows to showcase the designs of 61 local labels and designers. It will also host a special tribute to Barli Asmara in the Dewi Fashion Knights runway show, which is to be presented in a different format. 

Barli, a seminal figure in Indonesian fashion, passed away in August from a chronic illness. He was 42. Among Indonesia’s pioneering designers, Barli was known for his closing number, which was always worth the wait for its fresh and quirky concept.

Among the lineup are Rani Hatta, Restu Anggraini, Batik Chic, Tities Saputra, Wilsen Willim, Amot Syamsurimuda, Albert Yanuar, Kami, Yosafat Dwi Kurniawan, Lekat, Calla The Label, Cotton Ink, Jenahara, Bateeq and Rinaldy Yunardi with his foowear line, Refounders.

JFW 2021 is also collaborating with international partners so it could accommodate foreign labels and designers to take part in the fashion week. Its eight international partners are the British Council, the Department of International Trade Promotion Thailand, Erasmus Huis, the Dutch Embassy, Institut Français d’Indonésie, Istituto Marangoni, Japan Fashion Week Organization and the Korea Creative Content Agency (KOCCA).

“Aside from the [prerecorded] runway shows, [our foreign partners] will also hold webinars and screen documentary films during the event. The digital platform has actually enabled our foreign partners to create more [content] for the event without physically coming to Jakarta,” said Lenni.

Acknowledging the difficulties in arranging and managing multiple online activities, Lenni said that the JFW 2021 team had to adapt to the transformation in a short time while strictly complying with the coronavirus health protocols.

The team started organizing some activities amid the height of the global health crisis as part of its Road to Jakarta Fashion Week 2021, including the Menswear Fashion Competition (LPM Menswear) 2020, and the biennial Accessories Fashion Competition (LPA).

The 10 finalists of each competition will present their creations at the JFW as the final stage of the competitions, along with the incubated designers from the Indonesian Fashion Forward program.

Streaming shows: Singer Alika performs during the Cotton Ink runway show at the Revival Fashion Festival, held in Jakarta in August to introduce virtual solutions to present fashion shows.Streaming shows: Singer Alika performs during the Cotton Ink runway show at the Revival Fashion Festival, held in Jakarta in August to introduce virtual solutions to present fashion shows. (Courtesy of Jakarta Fashion Week 2021/Nicoline Patricia)

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Women 20 (W20) Challenges G20 Leaders to Close the Gap Between Imagination and Reality on Women’s Equality

W20 Communiqué provides recommendations to expedite economic recovery through the empowerment of women

Women 20 (W20), the women’s engagement group to the G20, challenged G20 leaders to live up to their promises of the past and make women’s economic equality a reality.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201021005766/en/

W20 Chair Dr. Thoraya Al Obaid and G20 Chair of Trade and Investment His Excellency Dr. Majid Alqassabi with the final Communiqué of the W20 Working Group (Photo: AETOSWire)

Laying out measures to expedite the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, the W20 presented its Communiqué to H.E. Dr. Majid Alqassabi, Minister of Commerce, Chair of G20 Trade and Investment, representing the Presidency of the G20.

The pandemic provides an opportunity for G20 leaders to reset G20 economies based on the full and equitable participation of women.

“Unless urgent action is taken, the pandemic will continue to exacerbate gender inequalities, expose vulnerabilities, and roll back gains made on women’s equality. Women will be disproportionately negatively impacted and left to bear the brunt of a multidimensional crisis,” said Dr. Thoraya Al Obaid, W20 Chair.

“G20 leaders need to act now. If not this year, that has exposed the fissures in our cultures, policies, and public services, then when?”

Key measures G20 leaders should take immediately to expedite inclusive economic recovery:

  1. Ensure equal representation of women at all levels of decision-making in private and public sectors.

  2. Adopt gender-responsive fiscal planning to foster an inclusive workforce.

  3. Increase investment in social infrastructure – like child and dependent care, healthcare, education and training – to create jobs and build resilience.

  4. Implement social and income protection mechanisms that capture all workers, particularly in low-income countries.

  5. Stimulate women’s entrepreneurship by supporting the starting-up, scaling-up, and sustainability of women-owned businesses, particularly in the digital economy.

  6. Increase access to digital technology for women and girls, especially in remote and rural areas, through infrastructure, high-speed connectivity, and skills training.

  7. Partner with public and private financial institutions to develop easily accessible digital financial products.

  8. Fund research and collection of sex-disaggregated data on the course of the pandemic.

The W20 is concerned about the lack of direct recognition by G20 Leaders of the impact the pandemic and national responses are having on women. So far, national relief packages fail to account for the specific financial and institutional needs of women. The delivered Communiqué addresses these shortfalls to achieve lasting change for women globally.

*Source: AETOSWire

View source version on businesswire.com: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201021005766/en/

Contacts

Omar Ahmad
[email protected]

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Jill Biden, Tory Burch Talk Challenges of Women-owned Businesses

If there’s one thing everyone agrees upon, it’s tough to be a woman-owned business right now.

Jill Biden took some time off the campaign trail Friday to talk with Tory Burch, executive chairman and chief creative officer of Tory Burch and founder of the Tory Burch Foundation, about what women-owned businesses need, particularly during the pandemic, and how a  Biden-Harris administration could help them regain their footing.

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The conversation, livestreamed by Glamour, was moderated by Melissa Butler, chief executive officer and founder of The Lip Bar, a Detroit-based vegan and cruelty-free beauty brand.

Biden opened up her conversation urging listeners to imagine the election of her husband as president.

“Small business owners are a critical part of this campaign,” said Biden. “Joe [Biden] knows that small businesses are the backbone of our communities. They create jobs. They enrich the character and culture of our towns and cities. They give back. I find that especially true of the millions of women-run small business across the country. While everyone is feeling the chaos of this time, women are feeling it more. Women-run small businesses, and especially those run by women of color, have been hit hard.”

Biden added that women are losing jobs, caring for sick family members, working two jobs, and often give up work to stay home and oversee remote learning. “We’re here today because women deserve better. And my husband Joe will deliver that,” she said.

During the campaign, Biden has spoken to many small business owners, from those running a restaurant  to those owning an oyster farm.

“Their stories share a consistent thread — that they’re struggling because of the pandemic. They’re worried whether their small business can survive this economic and public health crisis…they’re worried about how our country will recover,” Biden said. She said Joe Biden’s plan is to have half of future Paycheck Protection Program funds for small businesses for fewer than 50 employees. He’s calling for flexible grants for small businesses that have lost substantial revenue.

After they take that on, she said, a Biden administration plans to expand access to capital and remove barriers to government contracts and to provide technical assistance so those businesses, particularly those owned by women and people of color, can take advantage of these opportunities.

Butler then asked Burch what she hears is the one crucial element that these women-owned businesses need.

“I wish it was one crucial element,” said Burch. “There are so many hurdles that women are facing. Dr. Biden is absolutely right. It is tough to be a woman in business right now.” She said that after the COVID-19 crisis hit, her foundation pivoted to give women online webinars to help them manage through very difficult situations.

“We see three major challenges. Access to capital, 16 percent of PPP loans went to women, when women own 40 percent of business in America. That alone is a statistic that needs to change. The second challenge is we know that people of

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Latina women face unemployment challenges amid COVID-19

This report is part of “Turning Point,” a groundbreaking month-long series by ABC News examining the racial reckoning sweeping the United States and exploring whether it can lead to lasting reconciliation.

But that’s not the only change Sandra’s family has faced in recent months. Both she and her husband, a former house painter, unexpectedly lost their jobs.

“We both lost our source of income,” said Sandra, who asked to be identified by only her first name. “[The job loss] has affected us emotionally, I’m stressed, we can’t sleep.”

She also searches for new employment opportunities and works part-time cleaning homes when she can book a gig. The calls, however, are scarce.

“It’s hard to work part-time because [my kids] need assistance,” said Sandra. “I have to sit with them and help them with online classes.”

PHOTO: Sandra pictured alongside her two children in Portland, Ore.

Sandra is pictured alongside her two children in Portland, Ore.

Sandra, a native of Guatemala, said she immigrated to the U.S. in the hopes of providing a better life for her loved ones. Escaping violence and a lack of economic opportunity, she created a new home in Portland, Oregon.

“I was working in housekeeping in a hotel as my first job,” said Sandra. “After, I went to work in a barbecue restaurant part-time … [the customers] spoke English and I was afraid because I didn’t speak the language, so I couldn’t respond to them.”

The language barrier was difficult to overcome. Ultimately she sought other employment opportunities and within months Sandra landed a new job cleaning office buildings. The hours, however, were long.

A few years later, Sandra became a housekeeper providing cleaning services to a regular list of clients, which provided better pay and more flexible hours to care for her children.

But when COVID-19 struck, she could no longer work in those homes.

Now, the drastic loss in household income has made it difficult for her family to make ends meet.

Latina unemployment rates spike amid COVID-19

The unemployment rate rose sharply for Hispanic workers, particularly among Hispanic women, amid COVID-19, according to a study released by the Pew Research Center in August. It found that the unemployment rate for Hispanics increased from 4.8% in February to a peak of 18.5% in April before dropping to 14.5% in June.

Pew Research data show that Hispanic women have experienced an especially steep

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Common Dating Challenges for Women Over 40

Anybody getting back in the dating world will find they encounter many challenges. But for women over 40, the challenges are different. After all, things have changed since they were in their 20's, when life was more carefree and simple. Here are a few of the most common concerns when entering the dating world.

I'm not a size 4. Will anyone be attracted to me?
If you think like this you need to do the inner work to get to a place of confidence and comfort with who you are. There are many women who are not strikingly beautiful, long or lean and yet they are married to wonderful men who love who they are and how they look. Stop wasting your energy worrying about looking different and start being different! Radiate the essence of who you really are and you will start attracting smart, relationship-minded men who are looking for a sharp, compassionate, fun-loving person like you!

How do I meet singles around my age?
You have to put yourself out there, especially in places that are of interest to you – classes, sporting events, book stores, political organizations, gyms and clubs. Once you're with people, start up a conversation by asking a question, offering an opinion or seeking some kind of help. Be sure to make eye contact, smile and show you are interested in the conversation. You can do that by paraphrasing what's being said and by keeping your body language open and receptive. Remember, nothing gained, nothing lost if you don't meet someone. At the very least, you are socializing and honing your skills!

I can't seem to get past first dates. What am I doing wrong?
You must be doing or saying something that is turning off your dates. See if any of these ring true for you:

Are you coming across too needy or desperate? That would cause your partner to find you unappealing or intimidating.
Are you talking too much? It's always a good idea to limit your responses and be a good listener so you don't dominate the entire conversation.
As a woman, are you offering to pay your way too soon? As a man, are you expecting a woman to pay her own way? Most men feel they want to be in control of the first date and like being generous and chivalrous.
Are you picking a partner who isn't the right "fit" for you?
Are you sending negative vibes about what you don't like about him / her – and your partner senses it?
Is your voice tone or body language cold or stand-offish?
Are you overstepping healthy physical or verbal boundaries without realizing it?
Are you sharing too much about yourself and not leaving anything to your date's imagination?
Are you too negative, cynical or sarcastic about dating and relationships and letting that come across?

Dating should be a fun and exciting experience and if you plan ahead, are aware of what you think and how you feel and …

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