Love this post! The fact that more meaningful conversations early on in the dating process leads to a more efficient dating process is no surprise. However, to see this notion supported by research should encourage more daters to be open and honest about issues that *really* matter in a relationship vs. discussing only safe topics in the hopes of securing a second date.
Hey Singles… Are You Date-Worthy?
We’ve been there. You spot a cutie. You’re summoning the fortitude to approach, then…disaster. You’re overcome by the self-doubt that afflicts us all at one time or another.
“Will she notice my nose hair?”
“Will he care that I’m wearing a cardigan that my Mee-maw made me?”
While we can never endorse questionable hygiene or Grandma’s craft projects, we can provide a general checklist to determine if, when you approach that cutie, s/he’ll want to date you.
Are you wearing an article of clothing that you owned in high school and/or college?
You’re in tricky territory here. Ladies—if you still fit into those jeans you sported during Kappa Kappa Gamma’s 2002’s Annual Crawfish Boil, then bravo! However, be aware of what kind of guy has his eye out for girls in low cut jeans. (Read: girls with wayward thong straps). These are the perpetual frat boys who want to hook up with a feisty co-ed as a throw back to their beer-sodden, irresponsible years. They’re not going to take you home to Momma. Not in those jeans, honey.
Guys, if you’re not a professional surfer and/or skateboarder, please do yourself a favor—remove every article of Hollister apparel from your closet, laundry bag, and floor. Post haste. If we haven’t seen you on the X Games, then we don’t want to see you in any shirt that snaps closed.
Are you constantly on your Blackberry, iPhone, or whatever other piece of equipment you use as a buffer between you and the world?
Homegirls and homeboys, put the device DOWN. When you’re banging out texts in the club, or in the gym, or (gasp) under the dinner table, you don’t look busy and important. You look disinterested and disengaged, as though you have somewhere infinitely better to be. This is a turn off, especially when you do it in front of someone else. Even if you apologize profusely, blaming it on work or a terrible boss, the damage is done. Because your potential lovah will say to themselves, “If that boss is so terrible, why are you talking to them and not me? I am considering sleeping with you! Your boss won’t sleep with you. Oh, God, what if you’re sleeping with your boss…?”
Put the device down.
What are you talking about?
Are you talking about yourself? Unprompted? For a really long time?
Please stop talking. Endless self-promotion appears—at best—clueless. At worst, you appear like a megalomaniac. We know, we know, it’s hard to stop yakking about yourself, especially when you’re nervous (and so generally awesome!). Even if the conversation is as stale as last month’s Cheetos, ask a question. Better yet, ask two questions, one primary and one follow–up. An interest in the other person signals good things. Like, duh, you’re interested in them. Also, and perhaps most important, it shows that you’re comfortable in your own skin. Comfort means confidence and self-actualization. You’re asking questions, you’re secure, you’re poised. In the eyes of your love interest, you are NOT going to be a stage-five clinger once the relationship develops.
Are you being nice?
To your date, obviously. But also to the waiters, bartenders, and random passersby? Ostensibly you’re going to be on your best behavior when talking to a potential date. But you know what shows real character and class? Being friendly and courteous to everyone else. We can’t tell you how many dates have been wrecked by a companion who yells at the poor busboy because there’s bacon on their salad, and they specifically requested bacon on the side. Or something equally ridiculous. And let’s not even discuss the taste in our mouths when we encounter a bad tipper. No need to throw loose change at every destitute person you pass, or to be generous to a fault. But believe us, the fault will be yours if you’re mingy.
Ok, there you have it – the fundamentals you need to know to enhance your date-worthiness. Now go get ‘em, tiger. God speed!
Time to brush up on your Ps and Qs
Making a good impression on your date and his or her inner circle can be an intimidating challenge - especially if your interpersonal skills need some polishing. Naturally, your date’s (and your date’s crew) instinct is to guard against bad influences. Suspect social skills may cause you to be less popular with your date than other suitors, but a couple basic tips to multiply your magnetism can give you the confidence you need to charm the knickers off anyone you meet.1) R-E-S-P-E-C-T Respect is absolutely critical when you’re with your date. Always respect your date’s likes and dislikes, don’t speak to them like an angry parent or like they’re an idiot, and when you’re around their friends and family be on your absolute best behavior. If you don’t treat your date’s friends and family with respect, then you risk having your date think you don’t respect him or her. After all, friends and family are an extension of your date.
2) Enhance your “small talk” skills Small talk helps to establish relationships with people we do not know well. Below are some key points for engaging in small talk. Prepare your own memory jogger including some of these tips and begin using them in social situations.
- Prepare - Look ahead of time for topics of conversation. Current events, sports, and even celebrity gossip are good topics. Prepare some comments you could use in conversations about each topic. If ya got nuttin’, try the weather - unoriginal, but at least it will buy you some time to think of something better.
- Listen - Focus on listening for information you hear about your date’s likes, dislikes, hobbies, or interests.
- Encourage - Demonstrate your interest by using positive non-verbal behaviors (eye contact, nodding of your head, smiling, saying “uh-huh”) to show your date you are engaged and interested in them.
- Follow up - Use the information you gather to create open-ended questions that will facilitate conversation. Some sample questions are: “How did you get interested in lawn darts?”, “How long have you competed on the international circuit?”, “What shows have you seen recently?”, “Are you a fan of early Renaissance music?”
- Probe - After asking a question or making a comment, actively listen to your date’s response. Then, follow up with a comment or another open-ended question. The art of small talk is a balance of questions and personal comments. People may perceive they are in the middle of an interrogation instead of a conversation if you only ask questions.
Following some basic etiquette won’t transform you into Martha Stewart, but it will help avoid a major social faux pas that could cause your date to dump your Philistine ass.