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This article was prepared for the March 17, 2004
issue of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Susan E. Race knows what it’s like on both sides of the singles fence
– B.D. (before divorce) and A.D. (after divorce). A certified coach,
consultant, and author, Race started speaking on workplace and
relationship issues in 1998. When she got divorced in 2001, she says,
"I had to relearn myself how to cultivate and grow rewarding
relationships. After a divorce, all your social circles change. I
recognized the things I was distressed about in observing other
singles, which compelled and propelled me to be more effective in the
way I approached being single."
Her observations also prompted her to retool a seminar she had been
giving on building powerful relationships into "The Magic of Authentic
Relationships," which she presents at the Radisson Princeton, on
Saturday, March 27, at 7 p.m. The seminar will be followed by a dance
social in the hotel’s grand ballroom hosted by Professionals and
Business Singles Network, at 8:30 p.m.
A native of Long Island, the daughter of a self-employed salesman,
Race has the same no-nonsense, wake-up-and-smell-the-coffee moxie as
radio psychologist Dr. Laura. She doesn’t waste any time zeroing in on
the core issues plaguing singles today. "What I’m seeing,
unfortunately, is a desperation that comes from fear, loneliness, nad
frustration. With the media touting statistics about a 60% divorce
rate, people are running scared. There’s a doom and gloom approach to
relationships now, singles are saying ‘what’s going to make this
She says too many singles complain about the singles life. "The
universal law of attraction says we get what we put out. All these
singles are drawing to themselves is more negativity. If you look at
singles who have a more positive approach – they tend to attract more
people who are happier being around that kind of person."
Race doesn’t take the sympathy route and her strategies aren’t for the
weak-kneed; she advocates hard-core soul-searching, proactive change,
and celebrating – instead of criticizing or blaming – the differences
between the sexes. "There’s fingerpointing and blaming by both sexes,"
she says. "We can’t ignore the gender dynamic. Men are driven by
physical prowess – sex – and women are driven by relationships and
tend to be more verbal. They hang on to every word a man says like
gospel. When he says, "I’ll call you," the woman hangs around and
waits. When he doesn’t call, instead of looking at herself to see if
something might be wrong, she says, ‘Oh, the man is so horrible.’
"Men say, ‘I just don’t understand women.’ Well, it’s true, women send
confusing messages – we are unclear about what we want," Race says.
Her strategies are founded on well-known psychological theory. Race
earned her bachelors in education and psychology from the University
of Massachusetts in 1973, her masters in human behavior and
development from Drexel University in 1976, and her professional
coaching certificate in 2001. At her seminar, Race uses Maslow’s
heirarchy of needs as a foundation for helping singles turn their
"Maslow’s heirarchy of needs says that, in order to live successfully,
we first have to come from a point of integrity – living your own
beliefs; if you want to be respected, you need to let (your partner)
know your needs, you need to speak up for yourself. Those needs, in
order, are food, clothing, shelter, safety, security, social needs
(inclusion and acceptance), and self-actualization. If these basic
needs aren’t met, we die; if you use them metaphorically in a
relationship, if your needs aren’t met, the relationship dies, and
your needs will keep haunting you. They will bite you where it hurts.
"When singles say to me, ‘You just don’t understand,’ I say, ‘Take a
deep breath and relax. Look at yourself: what is it about you that’s
preventing you from attracting the relationships you want?’ Her
seminar focuses on three core strategies for helping singles become
more productive and positive.
1. Distinguish your needs and wants. "For example," says Race, "being
with other people is a human need; the want is the kind of people and
the kind of relationship you want. The irony is that since we need to
be accepted, we’re always looking to others for validation, when most
of us loathe a part of ourselves. That’s what we should be looking at.
We have to accept ourselves first – that means being honest and
listening to yourself; monitor and observe the thoughts that go
through your head – thoughts create your beliefs, beliefs inspire your
actions, your actions produce results. If you’re holding a belief that
you’re ugly, no matter who you meet, you’ll repel people."
2. Ask yourself, if you were a member of the opposite sex, would you
be attracted to you? Race says this is a great way to open up the
gender difference issue and get singles to focus on their strengths.
She gives an example of a highly-paid professional she was coaching.
The woman had such low self-esteem that she was uncomfortable to be
around. She had many male friends and every time they introduced her
to their female friends, the women didn’t like her. She was extremely
needy, a chronic complainer, and constantly blamed others. "How many
of us enjoy being around chronic complainers?," asks Race. To get out
of this kind of negative rut, she recommends that singles shift the
focus of their attention on remembering a successful relationship or
personal or professional experience they have had. What were the
components of that relationship or experience? What went right? What
are your strengths?
3. Take the humanitarian perspective. Race is a firm believer that
when singles participate in volunteer work for a cause they really
care about, they not only take their mind off their own problems by
seeing others who are worse off in different ways, but they exude a
more positive aura. "When people do something they are excited about,
that creates a different persona and puts them around people who share
Race’s bottom line: "Get a life and stop complaining. Stop kvetching."
This includes singles who are divorced, who she tells to stop talking
about their divorce. Her message to all singles may smack of tough
love, but it’s delivered from the heart: "Get over yoursel, and get on
with your life. It’s not always about you. We need to look for a
positive way to ‘feed our hunger.’ What are you hungry for and how are
you feeding yourself?"
"The Magic of Authentic Relationships," Saturday, March 27, Radisson
Princeton, 7 p.m. Free. Followed by dance social in the grand
ballroom, sponsored by Professionals and Business Singles Network. For
directions, visit www.pbsninfo.com.
Race is also hosting "Relationship Breakthroughs," a group coaching
series for women via tele-conference for eight Mondays, April 5
through May 24. Preparid registration $240. For more information call
Ralph at 888-348-5544.
Among Friends, 609-915-4788. Among the oldest and largest singles
groups in the area, for ages 45+. Social get togethers for an evening
of relevant discussion, music, dinner. First Friday of every month,
the Unitarian Church of Princeton, 50 Cherry Hill Road, 8 to 10 p.m.
$10. Contact: Bonnie Williams.
Book and Movie Club, 609-587-7265. Small informal discussion groups,
biweekly trips to movies, ages 40+, meetings alternate Fridays, 8
p.m., P.J.’s Pancake House, Nassau Street, Princeton. E-mail:
Central Jersey Singles, 732-723-1585. East Brunswick-based
organization that meets in private homes for buffets, speakers,
dancing, and mingling. Age range varies. No membership fee, but events
cost approximately $25.
Dinnermates, a dinner and networking group for business and
professional singles that meets Friday and Saturday evenings at fine
restaurants. Mates are grouped together according to age (20s to early
40s) and there are roughly 200 members to date. Www.dinnermates.com.
Fifty Something Singles, 215-493-6494. Buffet and discussion at the
Princeton YMCA, second and fourth Thursdays, at 7 p.m. $1 if you bring
a dish, $5 if you don’t. Contact: Steve.
Mercer County Single Volunteers, a non-profit with the motto: "Connect
by Helping Others." Meetings held first and third Tuesday of each
month at the Hamilton Township Library at 7 p.m. Upcoming events:
Wednesday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day celebration, Sweeney’s Saloon,
666 S. Broad Street (Adeline Street), Trenton; Sunday, March 21,
Brunch at General’s Quarters Restaurant and Lounge, Mercer Airport,
11:30 a.m. Www.mcsvnj.org.
Music and Art Lovers’ Connection, Kimmel Center, Verizon Hall,
Philadelphia, 888-348-5544. Singles nights start with a buffet at
Toto’s followed by a concert of the Philadelphia Orchestra.
Princeton Singles, PO Box 1457, Princeton 08542. A 50s-plus social
club with more than 100 members who meets for pitch and putt, house
parties, dining, and dancing. Dues are $25 a year.
Professional and Business Singles Network, 800-537-3859. A
30,000-member organization that hosts nearly 50 activities per month
at locations between Philadelphia and Central Jersey. House parties,
dances, seminars, barbecues. Also Voice Personal Ads and an
introduction service for shy singles. Median age is late 40s; 60
percent are women. Newcomers welcome. Events hotline: 800-537-3859.
Contact: Ralph Israel, 888-348-5544. For a schedule of events, visit
www.pbsninfo.com. One-year membership, $65. Upcoming event: dance
party, Radisson Princeton, begins with seminar, "The Magic of
Authentic Relationships" with coach/ consultant Susan E. Race (see
story page 41), 7 p.m., dance at 8:30 p.m., Saturday, March 27;
Friday, April 2, dance social, La Villa Ristorante, in the ballroom,
2275 Kuser Road, Hamilton.
Rhythm and Bugs, Hamilton, 609-252-0502. A community-oriented social
swing dance held on frequent Fridays in central New Jersey. No partner
necessary; 40-50 participants, most of them single. All dances are
held at St. Matthias Episcopal CHurch, 2200 Genesee Street, Hamilton.
$5. Fourth Fridays have live swing jazz music, $10. Beginner lindy hop
lesson 8 to 9 p.m.; dance from 9 p.m. to midnight.
www.patmedia.net/rhythmandbugs. Upcoming dates: March 19 and
SingleFaces, 732-542-2200 (24-hour hotline). An upbeat upscale scene
that brings singles together at Top 40 dance parties in 30 different
north Jersey and Central Jersey locations, $12. Ages 30s, 40s, and
50s. Upcoming events: Saturday, March 20, dance party, PNC Arts
Center, Holmdel, with free seminar, "Secrets of Successful Online
Dating" with consultant Deborah Livingston, 8:30 p.m. Contact: Sy
Bassman. For a schedule of events visit www.singlefaces.com.
Single Gourmet of Greater Philadelphia, 215-732-0260. A
Philadelphia-based 750-person social club that hosts three to five
restaurant affairs per month, including a trip to Le Bec Fin during
the winter holiday season. Also organizes romantic getaways to places
like Santa Fe and New Orleans. Upcoming events and trips: Wine and
food festival in New Orleans, May 28 to 31. Contact: Florence Weltman.
One-year membership, $99. Www.singlegourmetphilly.com.
Single Women Friends Group, Mercer/Middlesex/Monmouth County area. A
lively club of single, divorced, widowed, and never married straight
women, ages late 40s to early 60s who enjoy dining out, the theater,
movies, and single events. To join or for more information contact via
E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Singles Speak-Up Toastmasters, 908-371-1323. Improve your speaking
skills while having fun, meets first and third Friday at 7:30 p.m.,
Kingston Presbyterian Church, Route 27, Kingston.
Widows and Widowers, Mercer County chapter, 609-587-8959 or
609-896-3818. Upcoming event: Monthly dance social Friday, March 26,
DAV Hall, 911 Arena Drive, Hamilton, 7:30 p.m. Refreshments will be
Yoga for Singles, 609-924-7294. Princeton Center for Yoga & Health,
Montgomery Professional Center, 50 Vreeland Drive, Suite 506,
Skillman. Second Friday of every month. $20; $15 if you pre-pay.
Princeton Indoor Tennis Center, 609-799-8214. Tennis parties first and
third Saturdays March and April.
Somerset Hills Single Hikers, 732-863-4909. Meets the first, third,
and fifth Sunday morning in the realtor’s lot across Hillside Avenue
from Willie’s Tavern, Route 202, Bedminster, 2nd light north of Route
287. Six to eight-miles hikes. Bring water. No reservations are
required; hikers are encouraged to just show up. Upcoming hikes:
Saturday, March 21, Ramapo Mountain State Forest, Oakland
Weekend Racquets, Brunswick Hills Racquet Club, 1020 Route 18 Shopping
Plaza (across from Seville Diner), East Brunswick, 732-432-7728 or
E-mail email@example.com. Sunday tennis parties for intermediate to
advanced intermediate players only, 6 to 10 p.m. Tennis balls and
liquid refreshments only. Mix and mingle on the courts. New price:
$20. Upcoming date: March 21 (no party March 28). Contact: Sherman
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