Listen to Episode #96 here
All Your Single Friends With Daliya Karnofsky And Avra Friedman
Our first guest is Daliya Karnofsky. Daliya is a comedian, performer and dating coach. She works privately with clients on everything from online dating profiles to breaking up and moving on. She hosts the podcast, Not Your Therapist, which is one-on-one dating coaching for guests both anonymous and not, and she’s the Cocreator and Cohost of the live show, All My Single Friends, which is half comedy show, half live dating app and occurs once a month in Los Angeles. Welcome, Daliya.
Thanks for having me.
Our next guest is Avra Friedman. Avra is a comedian, actress and writer. She plays a recurring role on Steven Soderbergh’s new comedy series Now Apocalypse. Her acting, writing and stand-up has been featured on Late Night with Lily Singh, This Giant Beast, Lifetime, TruTV, Adult Swim, BuzzFeed, The New Yorker, Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaha and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. Avra is the Cohost and Cocreator of All My Single Friends. Welcome, Avra.
If you two weren’t working in comedy, writing or coaching, what would you be doing with your lives?
I would be baking cookies. I had a baking and love advice show, but now I bake for fun. I’d probably be baking. I always dream about living on a farm, making truffles, barefoot, having a child on each breast, milking cows and doing that thing. There’s also a world in which I would be a therapist, which isn’t that far off from what I do already.
You’re on the edge of therapy. If you had to choose between baking and therapy?
Baking is therapy, maybe baking as therapy. I don’t love the idea of owning a baking business and having to make a profit, but I love baking and making a mess in my kitchen. My ideal is baking while doing therapy, which is how it all began. When I was in high school when people would come over, I would bake cookies. They would tell me about their boy problems and that’s been my life ever since.
There is something about that comfortable space.
Yeah, like therapy in a kitchen. I’m giving you chocolate and sugar and you’re pouring your heart out to me. Some world of that, which honestly isn’t very far off from what I do right now.
Do you give your guests on your podcast treats?
Yes. There’s always a plate of treats in a box of Kleenex because we talk about those kinds of things.
There are coincidentally some napkins here. I wasn’t anticipating that. I haven’t thought about having treats.
Always got to have treats for your guests. That’s how you get stuff out of them and make them comfortable eating. It makes everyone comfortable and they’re willing to open their hearts to you.
That’s a hard question for me. If I had to stop midway through, I would leave the country and never talk to anyone again.
You would exile yourself?
Absolutely. I would not give anyone warning. It would probably be to Asia, specifically Thailand. If I had to start over, that feels too hard of a question to ask. I can only ask my version of the question, which I hope was your version too. I don’t know.
No one has ever said that they would check out completely. There are a lot of people who would say, “I’d be dead.”
That sounds too scary for whatever causes that. I can’t think about that. I think like a smooth exit. I wish everyone did it. I wish it was so acceptable.
We need to teach the world to Irish goodbye.
We need to spread that on the billboards.
For the readers, will you please define your Irish goodbye, what it is?
Irish goodbye is when you’re ready to leave. Instead of making your rounds that you do not want to make and no one probably wants you to interrupt their conversations for you to make is you exit without telling everyone or anyone.
Do you send a follow-up?
Sometimes I feel like I have to send one the next day, “Thanks so much. Sorry, I didn’t say goodbye. You were talking to other people,” but I’m like, “Is that worse?” They know. They get it. I shouldn’t have to do that.
I text Irish goodbye to people so that they know that I’m gone and they know that I’m okay and all that.
I like to pretend that I didn’t do that and maybe they forgot because they’re hosting a thing. They’re drinking. They said goodbye to so many people. Why do I stand out? I can’t be like the main person they were hoping that would say goodbye. That’s very selfish.
I’m known for the Irish goodbye. I have this thing, which I wouldn’t say that I’m a particularly stealthy person.
You’re too tall.
I have this thing that if someone turn their head 45 degrees, I’m out of their sight. I can be gone. My thing is I’m sleeping by the time they recognize that I’m gone. My reason for the Irish goodbye is not the awkward goodbyes. It’s that people don’t want you to leave. Hence, the Irish part of it. You try to say goodbye to a drunk Irish person. They’re like, “Come on, one more pint?”
It’s not awkward. It’s almost the opposite. It’s like, “We’re all having fun again. You can’t leave during the fun parts.” You have to have fun parts with everyone and maybe you don’t want to have fun anymore hence you trying to leave. I wish it was awkward. Clearly, we’re both feeling awkward. Let’s end this now.
You would Irish goodbye your life is what you’re saying.
I had never defined it that way, but I’ll use that in the future for sure.
Let’s talk a little bit about your show, All My Single Friends. It sounds like a very solo-focused show, at least temporarily.
It’s for people who are solo but maybe don’t want to be solo anymore or maybe they want other solo friends. That’s the idea behind it, even you’re going to meet your soulmate and it’s a matchmaking experience. We heard a lot of complaints from people that are like, “All my friends are married. All my friends have relationships. I don’t have any single friends to go out with, have fun and meet other single people.” The biggest idea behind it is creating a community of single people who can wingman each other.
I’m so excited about this because one of the themes of Solo is how important friends are if you’re going to live a single life. One of the striking findings about single people is they’re typically more connected and more broadly connected than people who are partnered up.
What do you mean by connected?
They have more friends. They’re involved in a broader range of community activities.
It’s typical when you’re single, you’re trying to meet people. You’re out in the world, having new experiences, adventures, going on trips, doing things. Once you got into a relationship, you’re like, “Found it, don’t need to do anything anymore. I’ll sit on my couch for sure.”
What you end up doing is when you don’t have one person to rely on for a variety of things, you might have a suite of people to rely on like, “This is my friend I go out for drinks with. This is my friend I go hiking with. This is my friend I call when I’m down and out,” and so on. The question you get is how do I go about developing that group, recognizing how important it is so you’re not isolated and that you have this group? How do you go about doing it, especially as you get older and there are fewer and fewer people available? If you live in Los Angeles, you go to the monthly show, All My Single Friends. What happens in the show?
Single people come and anyone is allowed to come, so we get people in relationships, married people, people who are confused, people who bring dates and it’s like, “Are they single? Are they not?”
Should you not bring a date?
People will have their first app date be there. There’ll be like, “Do you want to go to this show with me?” It’s also something different and it’s more interactive than a comedy show. It leads to interesting conversations and helps people get to know each other. It’s something fun and different.
Speaking of bringing people together, I have this monthly event I do at my apartment called The Dilemma Dinner. It’s for people in the business of comedy where people bring a personal or professional. I invited a woman I matched with online. I invited her as a guest to The Dilemma Dinner.
Had you been on a date before?
Never. We had talked on the phone.
Did she come?
How was it?
She was great.
Were you like, “Let’s go on a date,” or were you like, “That was all I needed you for?”
We’re going to see each other again in some capacity because I thought she was an impressive person. The dinner’s not a great place to figure out a lot of things, but you get to know if you like someone or not, get to know if they’re smart or not.
You could tell from talking to her before that she was in comedy, has talked about comedy and you were like, “Come to this thing?”
I was desperate for another person and she agreed to do it last minute. I was on the phone with her and someone canceled. I was like, “What are you doing on Sunday?” I pitched the dinner to her and she said yes. It’s great.
People should do more things like that.
This idea that you would bring a date to this thing. It’s probably illuminating. What’s happening?
When everyone arrives, we give out these stickers that have numbers one through however many people come and taken stickers. If you’re single, you got a number and if you’re taken of any kind, you’ve got a taken sticker. We have had people propose, “I don’t know what I am. I’m maybe single. I’m maybe single for only tonight because this sounds interesting.” You have all varieties. We’ve had question mark as one, if somebody is feeling like they need to put that on their shirt.
We’ve had people in open relationships, open on their sticker, which is fine too.
[bctt tweet=”When you’re on your own, the experts in your life become even more important. ” username=””]
We ask them at the beginning if they want to be interviewed on stage. If they say yes, we put their number in a hat and we also have the audience at the beginning of the show submit questions that we interview the single people with. Those can range from truly anything from, “What’s your favorite color?” to, “What do you like in bed?” to, “What’s your relationship with your parents?” We’ve had all kinds including like, “How do you fold your toilet paper or do you crinkle it?” People have interesting thing. Are we compatible based on the fact that you do that? We don’t know.
Someone at our show was like, “What kind of questions?” I was like, “Questions you would ask on a first date like, ‘What’s your relationship with your parents like?’” He was like, “I would never ask that on first date.” I was like, “Questions you wouldn’t ask on a first date, but you would want to ask on a first date,” as the guide post for writing these audience questions. Those go in the bag as well.
This is a weird question, but do you sit on either side of the guest or you sit the two of you next to each other? Are you standing?
We’re behind a table. We check people in the front and we ask, “Are you single or taken?” They sign and they give us all their information like email, Instagram or however they would want to be looked up by somebody. Throughout the course of the night, we also have stand-up comedians. We have about four comics and in between each comic we conduct these audience interview where we call people up on stage. We do them one at a time. Avra will do two and I’ll do two. Generally, we stand in the middle and we have them on either side of us. We generally call up a male-identifying and female-identifying person, but sometimes we’ll do fours. We’ll do two of each. If we’re feeling frisky, we’ll do six.
We conduct these interviews and sometimes audience will yell out things. The comedians do their sets as a break from the intense getting-to-know-you portion. We also give out free tequila shots so that helps with the whole atmosphere. We give them a break in the middle to mingle a little bit more, talk to each other. At the end of the night when they leave, they write down the numbers of all the people they saw, who they were interested in. Whether they talked to that person or not, they can be like, “I like 10, 14 and 7 and the girl who was on stage with the curly hair.”
Do you do a matching thing later? I assume it’s both people say yes.
A person will get an email if they were liked by somebody else regardless if they liked that person back. It’s like, “Congratulations, you were spotted. This person was interested in you. If you’re into them, you can reach out on your own,” or you can say, “Please give them my contact.” The options are plentiful.
Have you had any major matches as a result of this?
We have at least one engagement that we’re aware of. We have a lot of couples. I won’t disclose the information, but a client of mine met a woman there. They are now fully dating. We’ve had six-month relationships, three months.
How about sex?
I think a lot of sex.
We give out free condoms that are branded by my single friends. One thing I will say and back to our previous point is we’ve been doing it a few years now and it’s become a community. If they don’t come to every show, they come to a lot of shows so people know each other. We had someone who because of our show had somewhere to go for Thanksgiving, met other people. Especially in a place like LA, which is lacking community in many ways. For a lot of people, it’s like, “These are my all of my single friends’ friends. I go to this with them, I met these people there.” We always get new fresh people, but there’s also always an element of people who are coming back and it’s nice.
How did you two get hooked up to do this?
We started it on our own.
You were friends before?
Had you collaborated on anything before that?
We were both doing stand-up and we did a lot together. We went to open mics together. We were in that world. We’re like, “We should start our own show.” We came up with this. At the time, I was in a different relationship than I am now. Avra was single. We were seeing all of our friends on dating apps and we’re like, “We want to create a space where single people can come. There’s also comedy. It hasn’t been done before.” We started the show together a few years ago.
It was in the height of the online dating craze when everyone was on an app and it was the biggest thing ever and the most talked about. It’s not much lower now, but it felt it was everything.
How do you two do? I can imagine you two getting lots of people putting your numbers in the hat.
I don’t wear a number for that reason and keep it very ambiguous if people are like, “What’s your number? I see that you’re not wearing a number, did I miss your number?”
For a couple of years, we wore numbers or wear taken stickers because we both were in various degrees of relationships throughout. At a certain point, we were like, “We are the orchestrators and the mother hands.” I do get a lot of people still writing down the hosts on the stickers. I got to give them credit for trying.
It’s also hard when you’re in a host position being like, “Are you having fun? Isn’t this great? Aren’t you so happy? I love your shirt.” It’s all honest and it comes from an honest place, but it’s like you are being the host and you are playing a very specific role. People can sometimes skew that as like, “We had that great talk where you gave me so much positive energy. It was so fun. We were vibing,” when I’m vibing with everyone.
There’s something about being on stage and doing that stuff that makes you even more appealing.
If you had to turn somebody down, you’re still like, “Come to my show next month. Are you on our mailing lists?” I wouldn’t want anyone to feel like, “I said no to you, but still come back and it won’t be awkward.” People ask that a lot. If you are in a relationship, they’re like, “How do you host the show though?”
I’m going to be doing this show when I’m pregnant, I’m pretty sure. I can picture it.
Everyone has dated, even if they are currently only dating one person or whatever. It’s something everyone can relate to.
It’s no good asking that question because it’s such an obvious question.
It’s obvious, but that means everyone wants to know the answer. You’re thinking of your readers, which is nice.
Let’s get into this dating coaching stuff because it’s adjacent to the show.
Avra keeps her private life rather private, as much as I would love to have her on my show. We could not be more opposite in that way. I’m obsessed with dating and Avra doesn’t date. It’d be like, “When was your last date?” She does have relationships more because they seek her out, but she’s never been a guy-focused or romance-focused person, whereas I’m obsessed. It falls in her lap.
You’re good compliments then, different perspectives and so on.
We’re very complimentary energies.
One of the things that comes up time and time again is this idea of single people need a team. Not just as group of friends, but they need experts in their life. Frankly, anybody needs experts in their life, but I feel like when you’re on your own, the experts become even more important. I’m taping what might end up becoming a series on therapy. I taped an episode about choosing a therapist.
Are you the host for that? It’s for solo people. How do you go about finding someone like this? It’s not easy to do.
People don’t know and should know.
Other people would be like some financial planner. I was talking about getting a fee-based financial planner, someone who can act in your best interest objectively and so on. The list goes on and on. Even having a barber or a hairstylist is an important thing on the reg and the value that they can provide for both the outside of your head and even the inside of your head. Anytime you have a major problem in your life, your car breaks down, you don’t DIY it anymore. You go see an expert.
People’s dating lives are breaking down all the time. I love the idea of having a coach. Why not spend the money, time, and effort and talk to a professional? You have a bunch of offerings. You have the quick fix, one session gets you up to speed. The long game, a monthly subscription now to get you to and keep your A game. Wing Woman, I love this one, we’ll go out on the town with you and help you in real life, your IRL. The App Queen, you’re going to help people with their profiles.
I have had clients in the past who also wanted me to swipe and talk for them. I do everything like I’m them. That was interesting.
We’re going to get back to the app stuff because in the Solo bonus material, I have brought two dating profiles for the two of you to critique. One of them is mine. We have to get to that. The thing is where are the pain points in dating that you both see most often? I’d like to make this beyond LA.
I get a lot of people being like, “LA, it’s so hard to date.” I’m like, “Maybe slightly harder than anywhere else, but my general feeling and from what I see, and I have clients all over the country, it’s hard everywhere.” This will lead me to what is the major pain point is isolated in their homes and looking for finding this person on a device the same way that they order groceries. They think that’s how it’s going to work. It’s not that the apps are inherently bad. It’s that people think that’s the only thing they can do. If it doesn’t work there, they’re not trying in real life anymore. They’re not getting off the couch. They’re not going out and talking to people. They’re not doing things like our show, interacting and putting themselves out there. People have grown afraid of rejection and “wasting their time.”
I don’t want to spend an hour of my life meeting someone unless I know that it’s “worth it.” I’m like, “The only way you’re going to waste your time is if you’re trying to not waste your time and trying to evaluate if something is worth it.” It’s worth it. You will learn something. You will have an experience. You will grow from it. It could be your best friend. It could be your new business partner. It could be a funny story. The idea that I’m going to sit at home, on my phone and not put myself out there and it should come to me somehow and fall into my lap like it does in a romcom is hurting us. We have to get over the idea that dating should be easy. It can be fun, but if you were trying to get fit, you would go to the gym. If you’re trying to get better at something, you have to do it more. You’re not going to get better by sitting at home and narrowing and narrowing your parameters that you’re using on the apps. That’s not going to bring you the results that you want.
We know you don’t need the apps because Avra doesn’t need the apps.
They do fall into her lap, but she’s an outlier. Don’t think of her as an example.
To me, the apps are sufficient, but they tend to be necessary.
They can expand your network. If you do them the right way, it’s being in a bar with 2,000 people.
I’ve met wonderful women that I never ever would have met otherwise. That’s the argument for it. I also liked that idea that narrowing may not be the solution. This came up in episode one and I had some people reach out to me about it where I said that my dating life became way better, way more interesting when I got rid of a checklist. I ended up having two requirements, which was do I find the person attractive and do I like talking to them? I have also the great advantage of not having a strict goal. I have an anti-goal. I don’t want to be married with children. Anything but that is on the table. An enjoyable coffee is a win all the way to have.
That’s how everyone including people who are looking for marriage and children need to be approaching it. The checklist is not helping you.
I don’t know about you two, but my checklist was wrong. My checklist looked like me. I realized very slowly that I don’t want to date myself. Often the women who I was happiest with weren’t as sporty as I was, weren’t as extroverted as I was and all these kinds of things.
What I say to my clients a lot is if you look at the people that you’ve gotten into relationships with in your past or people that you’ve had a crush on or whatever, very rarely on paper where they probably someone you would date. We think by putting everything on paper in our minds for the apps, that’s going to lead us to the right person. That’s not how it works. It’s simply a matter of timing and chemistry attraction and do you like this person as a person? You figure out if your goal is lined up, if you have goals. Some values matter, but that’s not something you’re going to find out for a while. Avra, feel free to jump in at any time because you’re still experiencing this more than me. When I get people saying like, “I want someone loyal, kind, hardworking, family man and upstanding.” I’m like, “Those are qualities of a relationship you have with a person. Those are not qualities of a person.”
Thank you so much. You’re only as loyal as you like someone.
As the person you’re with. A cheater is always a cheater, but generally you build a bond and a shared sense of humor. Whatever else is important to you about someone, all you need for a checklist like you said is do you like them as a person? Are they a good person? That is important or do they have a strong character?
I can run my standards for a friend. I probably should say it’s more than, “Am I attracted and do I like the conversation?” It’s these four things. Plus, I want to have sex with you. Here are the four things. One is trustworthy, reliable, energizing. When I’m looking at friends, I can trust them. They’re reliable. I find them energizing. Maybe you could say the sex part is an extension of that. The last one is, and I haven’t put a word on it yet. I stole this from someone else. I can share good and bad news with them. The good news, they want to celebrate and the bad news they to commiserate. They’re not competitive essentially. They’re not like, “That was good. Wait until you hear my good news or you hear my bad news.” Some of it maybe about empathy. I haven’t worked that fourth one out yet. To me, that is about reactions to who they are versus finding them. The big pain point is people are expecting that it comes to them.
It’s isolating themselves in general and not wanting to put themselves out there and take a risk.
I want to hear it from both of you about this more important than ever for women to do. Let me tell you why this is the case. There are a lot of men in the world who are scared, concerned. By the way, these are often the guys who are most thoughtful about how do you go about approaching a woman asking her out? There was a time where that was the only way you met people. There were people who wanted you to ask them for their number and people who didn’t. The only way to find out was to ask. There’s a concern that if you ask and it’s not wanted, then you’ve done something wrong. Guys are playing it a little safer in real life, so it helps to have some encouragement.
There was a time, and maybe I’m misremembering the past, I had girlfriends who I met at the gym. I would meet people at the gym. I’d meet people in my daily life thing. You were looking for signals, but at some point, you had to walk up and start talking to someone and you had to say, “This was fun. Would you like to meet for coffee?” There never was like, “I might be crossing a line by doing that.” It might be mildly uncomfortable because the person doesn’t want to go to coffee with you and they have to find a way to let you down. Having listened to the podcast and thinking about it is this idea that the apps are safe because you never have to risk too much but in real life, there feels like there’s a moment of risk.
Apps are safe. You have to go meet a person out in the real world at some point. I do think people are not doing a great job of that. They’ll spend a lot of time chatting because that’s how they feel safe and comfortable instead of getting out on the date. A huge part of what I do is encourage people to go meet people in real life. I’m on a crusade to get women to handout their phone number because that’s what you’re talking about. I always tell them it’s like the dropping the hanky moment where they’re like, “Shouldn’t the guy come up and approach me?” I’m like, “Guys are terrified right now. What we can do for them is let them know it’s okay.” We’re not doing the work for them, but we’re saying, “I will not run away screaming if you talk to me.”
It’s always been hard.
[bctt tweet=”We have to get over the idea that dating should be easy. ” username=””]
That’s why they drop the hanky moment exists. It’s from many centuries ago.
I feel a lot of people don’t even understand where that originates, which is when we used to live in these very small communities. To approach someone and to be rejected was terribly embarrassing because everybody knew it. It hurt your chances with your second choice, but in a world where your second choice doesn’t know they’re your second choice or your 100th choice. It’s a tough world, these small communities.
I had a lot of images that came to mind that were negative.
What is the dropping the hanky exactly? What does it look like?
I tell women to have their phone number written on a scrap of paper in their pocket at all times and that way, they know it’s there. If they see a man who they find interesting, appealing, make eye contact, whatever, you can do it on your way out. You walk over, give them your phone number, “You’re cute. I’d love to get a drink some time, let me know.” Walk out. You don’t even have to make conversation because you’re letting them know. I encourage similar thing with the dating apps. If they’re not picking up the thing, if you have to start the conversation or if they’re mindlessly chatting, it’s not going anywhere. You can say we should get a drink sometime. I’m encouraging women to give that little bit of encouragement and saying, “I’m not going to immediately reject you,” because I do think men need that right now.
They always have. Avra, do you have a piece of paper in your purse right now with your phone number?
No, but I don’t have a lot of stakes. A lot of people could be my person. I could maybe not have a person or have one and my life will continue.
There’s this new podcast that you would be an excellent listener for. I have my own version of that. My solution has been I like real life because you get a feel for someone. You don’t like real life because of the problem we’ve been talking about. I have a business card. I will do that with the business card. I know it’s not perfect.
It can come off as professional, which is fine. It’s okay for a guy. With women, I encourage them not to do the business card thing because there can be that confusion of is this romantic or isn’t it? The business card is more like, “This could be a business networking thing,” or it seems a little too preplanned. I had a listener to my podcast who I ended up having on the podcast and because of what I had said she had these cards made that said like, “You are attractive,” and had a phone number on the bottom. She was handing them out. I was like, “That’s a little far in that direction because it seems like you’ve preplanned it and people don’t feel special.” You wanted to see him a little more off the cuff. What a guy can do is the same thing as a girl. You can have it on a slip of paper like this napkin from the bar and you happen to have five of them in your pocket. That is also safer for guys right now than being like, “Can I get your phone number?”
I gave it a lot of thought. If you don’t hear from someone, that’s fine. They don’t ever have to do it. I would usually say, “You’re cute. I’d love to buy you a cup of coffee or a drink,” or something. I’d give them the number and I’m out of there. I’m going hit you two up with a few things. Let’s try to do a little rapid fire. Divorced people getting back into the game. You think about a Solo listener who might be in search of a remarkable life, who might be struggling a little bit as someone who’s been out of the game for 7, 10, 20 years, what comes to mind for the divorced person? I always say this. I would say this is for people who are single for now or forever. It may be a temporary state, six months, 1 or 5 years, but they know eventually or they might be like, “This is my life and I like my life the way it is.” Because someone is single for an hour forever doesn’t mean they don’t want a date. It doesn’t mean they don’t want to have the company of someone else. They don’t want intimacy and so on. They might not have the same goal.
When you define single, does that mean unmarried or does that mean not in a relationship?
Let’s say unmarried or you might say unpartnered fits best for Solo listeners, maybe someone’s dating and so on, but someone who’s unpartnered. That could be by way of being widowed, it could be because of divorce. It could be because of a choice or not a choice. My point about this is there’s a lot of growth opportunity and that it can be a rather positive part of one’s life. We shouldn’t treat it as this liminal state that you’re somehow less than until you achieve some status. Let’s look at advice for the person who is solo forever.
How do they know forever?
This is a tough thing is that if at the moment you go, “I don’t want to get married. I’m not interested in that.” My own personal experience is I feel that it is unfair to say, “I don’t want to get married,” but never say never. I might change my mind.
It’s unfair to say that as a person. People aren’t going to do that in their hat anyway.
They can’t blame you if you say, “I don’t ever want to get married.”
They can’t blame you, but they still will.
At least you can manage your own guilt.
I fully approve of setting the right expectations from the beginning.
Let’s say the solo person who’s not looking for that partnership, what advice do you have for them in terms of how to date approaching dating? Do you think it’s any different is my point?
I don’t think so. I’ve had people ask me if they should put things like that on their dating profile. I say no because we have enough barriers to get to a date as it is. I don’t think it’s leading someone on to go on one date or two dates or three dates and not say that. If you were starting to regularly date and it was getting relationship, you still hadn’t said that. You don’t need to put on your dating profile because you do want a date. You want to be on dates and that is going to stop a lot of people from wanting to go on dates with you. There may be people out there like you or there may be people who are totally happy to date you while they look for someone more long-term or whatever it is. Why add another barrier for yourself?
Avra, what do you think?
I’m also not divorced, so I don’t want to be that person that’s like, “Look at your divorce. Get back out there,” because they probably don’t feel like that. I hate when people shove it down your throat because it’s not nice. It could be an interesting time too when asked the questions that you don’t get to answer every day in your life when you’re on a date. Those are the questions being asked because you haven’t done that in a while. Learn what your answers are and to hear yourself answer things that no one ever asks you and you aren’t required to ever say. You’re like, “I do say that.” When you go out in any way with a person and another person and that person is your best friend. Yet when they’re asked questions that you’re not asking them, you’re like, “Do I even know you? I’m learning so much about you.” That feeling is so cool.
To have that about yourself and to be like, “That is my answer to that. I’ve never thought of it that way.” To learn that much about yourself is cool and wherever that leads to, whether it’s with the person that you’re going out with or the next person or none of those people. You are on this solo journey and you’re focusing on yourself. You’re the solo person in the Solo podcast. I’m not going to go home and be like, “Where are the questions that I would be asked if I wanted a date?” I’m going to go ahead and answer those.
“No, I’m never going to answer those.” The only way to find out is if you’re forced to answer them in a setting that like what you can do and be like, “I’m not answering any of your questions.” You’re probably going to answer them. If that leads to a person being interested in you and you have like a thing, great. If that leads to solo, LOL back on that like, “You have solo-ed the crap out of that moment.” Those answers and that learning about yourself will take you on a positive solo journey. I support it. I also understand that if they’re like, “This is hard right now. This sucks. This feels overwhelming. This feels hard.” It’s like validation. I haven’t been their support. Those are the feelings, fight through them with my spiel of yay-ness, but no judgment.
Hearing you two talk about this, there’s something striking. There’s a script that most people are accustomed to, which is you go out with someone and you’re trying to assess your compatibility oftentimes for some long-term goal. Which what you’re saying Dalia is it’s hard to do on date number one or two or three. It takes a while to do this. Now, if you are a person who first of all hasn’t read that script or run that script in a long time because you’ve been in a marriage for twenty years, you need to figure out, especially because the script has probably changed since the ‘80s or ‘90s. If you are a single person who doesn’t have that long-term goal, then it feels like the script is altered also. You can feel some discomfort with doing it because of a lack of experience or a lack of clarity of how to do this.
Avra, what you’re saying, and I like this a lot, is dating should be fun. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but in the same way that exercise is uncomfortable, it’s also fun. Those of us who like to go to the gym are lucky. Those of us who like to have coffee or meet someone for a drink or a bite to eat or invite them to Dilemma Dinner are lucky. It’s so fortunate. You view it as an opportunity rather than, “Can we hurry up and get to the point where we can get married or pee in front of each other, whatever that comfort level is? Is it fair to say that the idea of being open minded, getting rid of the checklist, trying to see this as an opportunity not only to grow as a person, but also to then explore your identity? What person do you want to be in the world of dating? I do think these divorced people need a special help. I’ll tell a story of a friend of mine.
He got divorced. He was starting to think about getting back out there. We had to have the talk. The talk was about his look. His look had been frozen the day that he got married or even probably even before that. I made it a little bit dramatic, but it came from a place of love. He needed a haircut. He needed some new clothing. He needed to fix up his apartment. This is a good-looking man, a charming man, a funny man, a successful man, and the guy who women love because he has this masculine, athletic, fit, but also sensitive, compassionate, easy. The person who you feel fabulously special when you’re around, energizing and so on. That Zack Morris haircut that he had was brutalizing his dating life. He went and got a real haircut. I have a podcast I’d already launched called Dude, Get a Haircut. He got this haircut. It was jaw dropping. It changed everything about him. He got rid of the dad jeans and all this kind of stuff. Some of these people who’ve been out of the game for a while and even some of the people who are in the game need a little of this. What are your reactions to that idea?
He’s very lucky to have a friend like you. That’s probably very true that people need to come back out there and start from a strong place. They should hire me obviously because I can help with this if they don’t have a friend who will be as honest with them as you will.
Let’s suppose we have a reader who has this problem, doesn’t know they have this problem. How would you go about doing it as a coach?
I have more freedom to be pretty straight forward. Have you ever tried a different hairstyle? Have you ever tried different clothing? I’ve been to client’s house and help them pick out outfits. You’ve got to be real. You’ve got to say the apps are very superficial. The first thing you have to do is get everything in order so people are going to want to swipe right on you, first and foremost. If you don’t get past that point, you’re not getting anywhere.
Avra, have you ever done this to someone, helped them spruce up their look?
I am a very big fashion person. I love clothes. Probably when I’m bored in a class, which doesn’t happen anymore because thankfully I’m no longer in college. I picture outfit combinations in my head. I like colors, patterns and shapes. I feel like that’s not what we were talking about. I need to come back.
She does have great style. I’ve asked her to help.
I’ve lifted people up in ways and told them nice things about their best qualities and pumped them up for moments where maybe they felt like, “This isn’t going to go well.” It’s like, “Yes, it is. This is what’s great about you.”
What if it’s a friend? When you’re a coach, you have license.
As a friend, similarly you can say, “Have you ever tried,” which is a good suggestive way to do it or like, “You would look so good with this or like, “I saw this dress that you would look so good in.” Another good way to frame it is that it’s more fun for them. If you’re like, “I know you’re not enjoying the same thing. Have you ever thought about getting a new outfit or getting a fresh haircut so you feel sexy again?” You should have fun. You should feel sexy.
I teamed up with a female friend of mine many years ago. We did a makeover of one of our friends. She pitched it. It came as a little less. She pitches this fun thing. That’s the thing about makeovers is like when people need them, they work.
Bringing it back to all my single friends also, if that person had other single friends, because what might be hard is if you get divorced and say you were married with kids. All your friends are married with kids. It’s like, “How do you relate to people that have never been on a dating app, aren’t on dating apps, aren’t single, don’t know what it’s like to try attracting people when they have been not trying to attract people for 10, 20, 30 years?” Surrounding yourself with those type of people because it’s almost more like swampiness and not like, “You’re the higher power that I have to listen to or I’m trying to relate to somebody who isn’t even in this.” I also do have to say this is very similar to the plot of the film, Crazy Stupid Love. Get a Ryan Gosling. Hook it up and you’re good probably.
I’ve done this a few times now. I tell my own personal story of how I spruced myself up, how it matters. The other thing is as an aside to anyone reading, you should do it for yourself to begin with because when you look better and you dress better, you then start to be better. The world starts to treat you in that way. I took care of my looks for my own confidence and people then treat you like a confident person. I like this idea that maybe your first step as a divorced person is not to get right back out there, but to seek out single friends who are going to become a support system and the veterans.
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In a broader sense, it’s great if you feel different in any way from the people you’re surrounded by or different in general to find people that are different in that same way. That’s like Prozac, but in live form without a psychiatrist.
Part of the reason that I’m doing this is to try to institute a new norm. There are other people out there who think this way. I’m going to cover a couple other quick things before we get to this. Everybody cares about this dating profile review. I want to talk about Peter Pans. I’ve heard you use that term. Avra, did you use the term, Peter Pan?
No, but I can guess what it is based on having seen the films so many years ago.
I wanted to ask your definition of a Peter Pan.
To me, Peter Pan would be someone who doesn’t want to grow up, who is enjoying their life. I don’t necessarily even think it’s a negative thing. It’s negative when they’re not communicating that expectation to whoever they’re dating. I coach a lot of people who have experience with Peter Pans and they’re always like, “I’m going to be the one to change his mind.” It’s like, “That’s not on the table. He doesn’t want that. He’s having a great time with you. He has no reason to change the trajectory of his life.” It’s people who are enjoying their life, don’t have that need, at least not right now or maybe once in a while. The right person changes this mind. For the most part, they’re like, “I like being young and fun. I want to stay young and fun. I don’t want to conform to the societal thing that I have to go settle down and have a family.” They stay young forever.
It doesn’t help that my name is Peter and that I live a fun life and I don’t want to settle down. The terms settling down, I don’t want to be settled down.
I changed it to settling in. I always say settled in.
What happens is the term gets thrown around. It is typically thrown around as a pejorative. It’s a mismatch between two people’s goals. I do think whether the Peter Pan is male or female, I don’t think it has to matter. I know there was typical gender roles when it comes to this. Does the Peter Pan deserve some blame for not communicating well? I don’t like that idea that a Peter Pan is not a grownup.
They’ve chosen what they want. They have to be clear that’s what they’re doing. I have an issue when they don’t know they’re a Peter Pan. They’re like, “I want someone. I haven’t found the right person yet.” I’m like, “Fifty-five and have never been in a long-term relationship.” At a certain point you have to take responsibility for your choices.
You own it and communicate it. Last question, what are you reading, watching or listening to that stands out good? Not run of the mill good.
I am reading Come As You Are, which is a book about vaginas. It’s good so far. I thought as having my job, I should educate myself more on sexual topics, how to communicate and all that. It’s a lot about the idea of sex drive and the components of sex drive, which are the accelerator and the brakes on for both men and women lead to all kinds of interesting discussions about who wants sex more and how to deal with that question. I’m reading that. I’m sad to say I’m watching Love is Blind. I have a one-track mind, so this is what I do.
Love is Blind on Netflix, I wouldn’t say it as good, but I would say it is somewhat interesting. Since everything I watch, I try and get something out of it that I can use, I do think there’s some useful stuff in there. Love is Blind is essentially a dating show where singles are put into pods. They go on first dates with each other without seeing each other. There’s talking. They narrow it down and over the course of two weeks, they talk to each other. They have a 6, 7-hour dates with each other, talking, not seeing each other. This is where it gets ridiculous. They’ll decide they’re ready to get married, that they found their soulmate. It starts following them. They go on a trip together and now they’re going to move back together, move in together and get married in three weeks.
That part is stupid. What I found useful that I thought was interesting was it’s on TV so everyone is somewhat attractive. There’s no one super unattractive, but typically objectively attractive people did the best on the dates and had the most success. You couldn’t see them. It said to me that those people have a definite confidence and they’re not used to getting rejected. They’re expecting to succeed. They’re carrying themselves like they’re attractive. They’re communicating in so many other ways. That was interesting. Same along those lines is they’re in these rooms with couches, tables, wine and other knickknacks they can play with. They’re walking around. I thought it was interesting how much easier it was for them to have a good time on these dates and be vulnerable when they weren’t sitting across from each other in a stuffy bar, staring. They could lie down, wear pajamas, walk around, drink their wine, lie on the floor, get under the table, whatever it is. I now have a goal for people’s dates to be able to do that. Move and do things. I found something good there. I wouldn’t call it quality television.
I’m reading the book called High Achiever. It’s about a woman who grew up super Type-A, got good grades, was a super high achiever and got into drugs and went to jail. It’s her journey. Incredible memoir. I pretty much only read memoirs. They are the most interesting. Not that I’m not open to other things, but I’m not open to fantasy or anything unrealistic. I only want real always. Same for television.
I’m sensing this is like a theme in your life.
That’s a good sense. I’m sensing you’re right.
You said TV too.
Do you mean reality TV or you mean like things that are taking place in the climate, but they can be fiction?
I wouldn’t watch things like Star Wars.
You might watch Veep?
Yeah. It doesn’t have to be true story. It has to like, “Could this have happened/be happening right now?” You’re still a great person if you listen to and watch those things, support you in all those endeavors. I would not watch them with you but would hang out after before and not during.
Thank you to both of you.
- Daliya Karnofsky
- Not Your Therapist
- Avra Friedman
- All My Single Friends
- Come As You Are
- High Achiever
About Daliya Karnofsky
Daliya Karnofsky a comedian, performer and dating coach. She works privately with clients on everything from online dating profiles to breaking up and moving on. She hosts the podcast Not Your Therapist, which is one on one dating coaching guests both anonymous and not. She is the co-creator and co-host of the live show All My Single Friends, which is half comedy show half live dating app and occurs once a month in Los Angeles.
About Avra Friedman
Avra Friedman is a comedian, actress, and writer. She plays a recurring role on Steven Soderbergh’s new comedy series “Now Apocalypse”. Her acting, writing, and stand-up have been featured on Late Night with Lilly Singh, This Giant Beast, Lifetime, TruTV, Adult Swim, BuzzFeed, The New Yorker, Elizabeth Banks’ WhoHaha, and Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. Avra is also the co-host and co-creator of All My Single Friends.
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