I ran into an old friend at a ball game, and as it usually happens, when he found out I wrote a column, he quickly swapped topics to his dating life. He confessed that despite going on several first dates a week, none of them had parlayed into a second date for months. Granted, this was mostly by his choice.
The statement resonated with me, as I have often considered myself to be a serial first dater. What is it that has us declining a second date? By his admission, the majority of his dates had gone well — nice people, decent conversation, but zero connection. When you’re fully immersed in the dating world, the first date can often take on a routine.
I myself have four first-date outfits, a handful of places I like to go to, and a list of questions that I’m sure to work into the conversation. I have on more than one occasion found myself answering monotonous conversation with a well rehearsed, perky response that I don’t have to think about — honed to perfection from parroting it back hundreds of times.
In short, a first date can be downright boring, which is perhaps why we look for an obvious spark when deciding if we want to see that person again. Of course, there is a fine line to walk between being memorable and being outrageous.
So what can you do to stand out from the pack, without turning yourself in to a disaster worthy of this column? Here’s a list of the top three things that happen on a first date that leave me wanting a second.
1. Keeping your phone hidden. I can’t believe it has to be said, but for the love of Pete (or Paula) keep your phone out of sight, and no, there is no exception if it’s to show off your photos. It’s our first date, you’ve probably posted them to Instagram anyways, and I’ve likely seen them from conducting ‘research’, (also known as a social media stalk).
2. Present yourself in the way you want to be remembered. Be aware of your body language, including facial expressions. Lean forward if you’re interested in what I’m saying, look at my face when you’re telling me a story, not at the TV behind my head.
3. Ask follow up questions. ‘Oh that sounds like fun, tell me more about that! This is a good way to see how effectively you communicate. When you respond to my questions, include me in the conversation, don’t launch into a never ending soliloquy about yourself.
And as a special addendum, avoid these topics:
Your bank account.
And my personal favourite — asking any question that you’re not prepared to hear the answer to.