I received a question from a reader:
Dear Anita, I’m always single. I read advice online and my friends try to help me. What advice would you give me? I’d like to find love in 2015.
– Single in San Antonio
I frequently get asked about my top tips to singles when they go on a date. Here are a few:
- Do be prepared for the date. Think of open-ended questions to ask your date, and brush up on current events. Although you don’t want to come across as interviewing your date, being prepared can help lessen anxiety and make you feel more at ease, which will help the conversation flow more naturally. Also, try to remember fun facts from their profile, any funny stories or places that they travelled to or any hobbies they have. This will help break the ice and build commonalities between you two.
- Don’t talk only about yourself. A date is a two-way street. Sure, you want to “sell” yourself, but your date also needs to know about you. Be aware of how often you talk about yourself and how many questions you ask your date. Showing interest can be a turn-on!
- Don’t dismiss your date too quickly. I’ve heard from many of my clients that they haven’t given someone a second chance because their date seemed “awkward” and “weird.” In reality, they seemed nervous. A first date can be an anxiety-provoking experience – give people a break! Sometimes people aren’t awkward, they’re just shy or socially anxious. It may take them another date to feel more confident and secure. If you’re attracted to them and had some fun, give them another chance.
- Don’t have a marathon date. Sure, it’s great to be having so much fun and chemistry that you want to have a 9-hour first date. Don’t do it. Leave room for mystery and leave your date wanting more.
- Don’t ask your date to accompany you to a big event in your life, like a wedding or other family event. This will freak them out! It’s too soon and puts too much pressure on your date. Wait until you’re exclusive for that kind of commitment.
- Don’t be intrusive. Asking your date how many people they’ve slept with or how much money they make is inappropriate. The first date should be about having fun and getting to know the basics. Keep things light. Feisty and healthy debate can come later in the relationship.
- Do make your date feel special, if you’re interested. Keep eye contact, smile, don’t check your phone, and don’t talk about exes. Keep your focus on the person in front of you and getting to know them better. Be appreciative and say “Thank you” if they pay for you. Be in the moment with your date.
- Don’t stalk them before the first date. Your view of your date can definitely be skewed if you “Google-stalk” them beforehand. If you check your date’s LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, and like what you see, it can lead to the belief that your date “is perfect on paper.” You can then ignore or minimize red flags because of a pre-conceived idea of who your date is. Also, I find that people are too picky when it comes to dating. I’m constantly telling my single clients that they have to pick what they can live with, because they won’t get that perfect person. So if you Internet stalk a date beforehand, and find one thing you don’t like, you could be turned off and think, “This would never work.” In reality, what you found is only a small snapshot of your date. And if they were amazing in other important ways but you didn’t give them a chance, you could miss out on an opportunity for love.