The book It’s Just a Date by power couple Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt is by far the best dating book I have read for smart and successful relationships. Not only is it easy to read, but the husband and wife team (who I have to say is probably the coolest couple I know) gives you a HIS and HERS approach to dating and rocking it “correctly” so that you value yourself and the choices you make. It is fresh, witty, hysterical and shares their own personal life lessons alternating between both of their dating lives before they met. I just happened to be lucky enough to get to know this fabulous couple because I became a part of their lives through their incredibly beautiful and talented daughter True.
I had told Amiira how much I loved the book He’s Just Not That Into You that was co-authored by her husband Greg Behrendt. We all remember the blockbuster movie that the book was made into in 2009 that grossed over 180 million dollars. Every girl in America was clamoring to buy that book. Amiira so kindly gave me a huge collection of all of their books and CD’s, even Greg performing his stand-up comedy gigs on HBO. What she didn’t know is how much this meant to me. This book, It’s Just A Date, was like candy to me….what she had given me was free therapy and a kick-ass way to reset my thinking. This amazing duo also co-wrote It’s a Break-Up Because It’s Broken: The Smart Girl’s Breakup Buddy. I vividly remember reading this book holed up in a London flat over Christmas in 2004. I bet most people can remember when they read these books too due to what was going on their lives at the time.
Since I had several copies of It’s Just a Date, my girlfriends and I read this dating Bible together and were highlighting, dog-earring the pages, and sharing them aloud on the beach. We loved sharing with one another what stuck out for each one of us and had us rolling in laughter. The book is organized into two sections – “Prepare yourself for Dating Excellence (8 Principles)” and “Carpe Datem – Seize the Date! (Essence #1 – 6)”.
Why does this book rock? It is a guide to help you put the strategies of dating into action. It is like a resource, one that should be taken out each week or each month as a refresher. Here are just some of the highlights I found we all need to remember. Many of the items below I have paraphrased or directly quoted from the book.
One of the ideas that is still lingering in my mind from this book is this – Why would you pick anyone else that doesn’t honor the very essence of you? You want to be happy and be in a relationship where you can feel comfortable with who you are. You should set standards that are attainable for people striving for greatness – forget hair color, height, income. Live by a set of standards because they teach people how to treat you. Page 163
See YOUR value. Make good choices. Consistency is key. Don’t settle for less.
“Isn’t the goal to meet someone who values himself as much as you value yourself?” Isn’t is about shared or common interests? I loved how they said how you are in charge of your time and company and you get to set the value of your time and company; no one else chooses this but you.
Also, you can’t make someone love you. Either they do, or they don’t. “Why does someone else hold the key to your self-esteem?” So many of us try to act better, look cuter, play games, and so on, to try to make someone want us or like us more. There comes a time between being crazy and holding on to something that may never happen and being confident in yourself to realize if they don’t adore, respect, and admire you, you can’t hang on forever. I think many of us in some ways like to be beaten down or like it to be hard because we think that the challenge is worth it – ugh!! Move on. NEXT! I have learned in my old age what matters to me most is someone who makes me feel good about myself when I am with them. Of course, you have to love yourself first.
“It is hard to be in a relationship where there is an imbalance of feelings. You are in denial if you are participating in this stabilizing game.” How many of us have felt this before where one person is way more into the other person? Thus, one person has way more control. I think it is a rare experience when two people feel the same for each other, and often it is hard to keep that balance because I’m sure the balance will shift and you will have days where one feels stronger or perhaps less. I think you should hold on hard if you find yourself in a situation where both people feel the same joy for each other. It is priceless.
Guys will cherish you more, in most cases, if they have to earn it. Of course guys like to hang out with you and hook up, but if you are constantly rewarding them for minimal effort, then that’s the relationship you will get. It is OK every once in awhile to accept a casual or group date, but not in the beginning. They share a strategy for how to date right and do it right. If a guy is interested, he is making plans. I always said, “The man with the plan wins.” Amiira states you start to reach a level of maturity that wants more that just “hanging out.”
I like how Amiira says on page 140 that the right relationship won’t make you a crazy needy person. This is the first clue that the guy is not right for you. If you are feeling insecure and needy (most of the time), HE wouldn’t want you to feel that way.
There are sections on how many dates or how much time should pass before you know what happens. Their Principle #7 is Don’t Show the Movie Before the Trailer. Need I say more?
“People arrive at their true feelings at their own pace” – Page 193. How many times have you been scared off because someone declares something that you weren’t ready to hear? Perhaps you scared someone off because you were thinking so far into the future you weren’t concentrating on the present moment, the here and now. It is very important to not focus on the end result but the present reality. This can be very hard for girls to do, but I often have to remind myself to “Be present. Enjoy the moments.” Isn’t that what it is all about?
This part floored me – absolutely floored me. This is why I am in some way scared of commitment and marriage in my constant quest for adventure and new experiences. The authors remind you: Don’t rush. If you rush through the beginning to get to the middle of a relationship, you miss so much of the good stuff to make a relationship last. When you first meet someone that you like/love, the Behrendts remind us that every experience with your loved one feels like opening a package on Christmas morning. Thus, when you are in a long-term relationship you don’t get a lot of that “experience something new feeling” except for the big events in your lives typically. So, when you hit a rough patch or are in a bad place in a relationship, you often want something different or new, but the reinforcement you need to get through these times is to recall and remember the times you had together when you did feel so much excitement. Having those experiences, Greg and Amiira say, is what gets you through the tough times. I have to admit I can only hope I find someone in my lifetime that I can have this kind of relationship with because I would feel truly lucky.
I also enjoyed hearing about how Greg and Amiira took things slowly while dating. They both had their share of insane heartache through tumultuous exes. Since they both were dating others when they met they continued to date others, but eventually started to see more of one another, and Greg never said to Amiira that she couldn’t see other people, but he allowed the relationship to grow organically. He actually said that when she was ready, he would like to date her exclusively when SHE was ready. Eventually while they are dating Greg tells Amiira that he loves her, but she doesn’t have to say it back, just that he wanted her to know and that he understands she might not be at the same place emotionally. Their experience of having a relationship in real time inspired them to write this book.
In the end, Greg Behrendt reminds us – “Whatever my relationship was with myself, it was directly reflected in my relationships.” It is all out there for you, just go out and live, but go for your dream first. Sort out what your dream is if you could wave a magic wand. Greg says, “That’s the person you are waiting to become (when you are following your dream) and that’s the person you need to be or on the path to becoming to attract the right person to you. If you attract someone while not in pursuit of the dream and then you suddenly want to go get it they may not want to come with you or, worse, try and stop you. Go for the dream first.” Pages 234- 235
If you are single man or woman or even newly single or recently divorced, I highly recommend this book. It is the best dating and life advice I have ever read.
Buy this incredible read It’s Just a Date! How to Get’em, Read ‘em and Rock ‘em by Greg Behrendt and Amiira Ruotola-Behrendt at www.amazon.com . Visit www.gregbehrendt.com to learn more about Greg’s band the Reigning Monarchs, his numerous stand-up comedy appearances, and his stint as the only male consultant on Sex in the City for 3 consecutive seasons.