Originally published in The Hudson Reporter
Let’s face it: first dates can be trying! It’s almost like a job interview, both subjects putting their best face on for the other and hiding their scars. Sometimes it feels like you are just rehashing the same date over and over. Are you one of those people that has lots of first dates but not so many second dates? Did you feel your first date went well and then you didn’t hear from the person again? Maybe you fell into one of the following traps.
Did you just show up and ask her what she wanted to do? Not a good start. Get a plan in order. If you showed up at your dentist and she asked you what you felt like doing, how would that strike you? It probably wouldn’t fill you with confidence. Be a man with a plan. Tell her, “We’re going _____.” My advice is a coffee shop or something simple, but for heaven’s sake, find a cool, funky one. Avoid chains like Starbucks or Panera. Even if it’s not her preferred place, you’ll get points for having a plan!
Not being a leader
Genetics plays a big part in our interactions. Not your dad or grandfather’s genes; we’re talking 10,000 years ago genes. Back when we were hunters and the women were gatherers, our job was to protect and lead. It’s still the same way. Women want a bold man to lead them. “I want a MAN!” as you have probably heard women say. Not an overbearing man, but one who is confident. Open doors, ask leading questions and know where you’re going and what you’re doing.
A date that goes too long
Sometimes a date can be going so well that you don’t want it to end. This can also be a pitfall. Imagine going to a party where you’re having a blast. The music is great, the wine is flowing like, well, wine and everyone is talking and is interesting. You think about going but decide to stay longer. Then the alcohol runs out, the person who owns the iPod disconnects it and goes home and all the interesting people leave. There you are, with a warm drink, no music and everyone is just milling around. Once you leave, you have a sour taste in your mouth when you think of the party. Same deal here. We usually recommend an hour for your first date. Get in, get out, and leave them wanting more.
A too-complex date
“Okay, first we’re going to grab a drink at McDrinker’s but we have to leave by 8:45 so we can make it in time for the 9 show at the Comedy Club. You wait in line while I go grab movie tickets for the midnight showing of The New Action Movie and I’ll meet you at the table. Try to get one near the back in case the show runs long and we need to duck out early.” While I applaud your leadership skills, over-scheduling and over-committing is never a good thing. It doesn’t give her time to settle in and enjoy herself without thinking of the next thing. Make it fun but relaxing and stress-free. She is there for you; in fact, the whole first date is to get to know each other. If you are doing all this activity, guess what…? By the end of the date you will know as little about her as at the start. Worse, dating is emotional and when our energy and attention are unfocused, you are less likely to connect and get to know your date. AKA, it will be your one and only date with her.
Trying for a second date
Everyone wants a second date. Even before she shows up she is hoping there will be a second date in her future. But if you are trying to set up a second date before the first one is even over, it’s not going to look good. First off, you’ll come off as desperate. Like you are trying to lock her in before she realizes you aren’t worth one. Also, on the other side, what if she agrees and later you find out she’s a closet psycho. Leave planning the next date for a phone call a few days later. It is not an interview, and if you treat it as such, you won’t meet anyone of quality. Dating should be and is supposed to be fun and not too serious an experience, especially on the first date. Show your lighter side, enjoy the company and only after the date decide if you will call her or not. Guess what, you just might have so much fun together that decision has already been made for you!
If you would like to learn more of what to do on the first date, second date and beyond, contact me!