If you are single and looking for love, it’s an exciting time. You have many opportunities to meet and interact with new people as well as figure out if there is a connection worthy of exploring. Every time you interact with the world, you have a choice to show up exactly as the person you want to be and to start fresh as a better, bolder, and wiser you. How cool is that?
I have heard women (and men) make snap judgments about a person they met five seconds earlier. This is not helpful. If you want a real chance, you have to give new encounters a real chance, which means going out on dates with an open mind and heart. Leave your baggage by the door. People generally mirror you. You have one chance to make a first impression so make it count. After all, men are observant.
If you want to make a good first impression on a date, here are some pointers, in no particular order, of what NOT to do:
1. Negativity: No one likes to be around a negative person or a complainer, especially if the person is someone you have just met. People like positive energy. Men want to know that you don’t blame your ex for all the mistakes in your previous relationship and that you have a positive take on life. Are you showing up hopeful for the future? Are you excited for each and every day? Or, are you complaining about your work, friends, and family? A positive perspective is not only good for dating but also for your career and life.
2. You’re disinterested: He asks you questions and you give him one-word answers. When he asks about your job or how long you’ve lived in NYC, you offer very little. Your narrative matters. It is what makes you uniquely you. On the flip side, if you want to seem interesting, you have to be interested in him. Asking thoughtful questions shows that you’re paying attention and want to learn more about him. Be interesting and be interested.
3. You lack confidence: When he asks what you want to drink or eat, you say, “Oh, I don’t know, whatever you want.” You have views so share them. Yes, be flexible, but don’t dim your own light in order that his may shine brighter. This is a turn off for men. Exuding confidence means that you are comfortable in your skin. Work on getting more comfortable in your skin every day; it will be a game changer for life.
4. Lack of effort: Confidence is also presenting your best self in every way, including your appearance. Taking care of yourself sends the message that you care enough to work on yourself. Did you show up to your date looking nice and put together? This has NOTHNG to do with buying expensive clothes or trying to impress. If you show up to a job interview with chipped and half-painted fingernails and you look like you just rolled out of bed, your qualifications won’t matter. You’re doing yourself a disservice. It is the same for dates.
5. You are rude: You’re nice to your date but rude to the waiter, the valet and everyone around you. Genuinely kind and big-hearted people are kind across the board, not selectively. If you’re friendly to the CEO but rude to the janitor, you may have entitlement issues. Check yourself.
6. You one up him: You’re not impressed by anything he says and you have a better, bigger story to counter whatever he tells you. Be humble. Put your ego in its place. Building an authentic connection requires vulnerability and showing parts of your inner self that lie beneath your exterior. Introduce that side to him, in doses at first. This isn’t a competition.
7. You don’t laugh: You don’t smile or laugh at his jokes and you take yourself too seriously. Even if the jokes are not funny, they show he is trying. This isn’t a job interview. This is an opportunity to have fun. Even if you know within the first 25 minutes that this is not the right person for you, you can still have fun. The minutes you spend with someone you like or don’t like are the minutes you can’t get back in life. Make them count for YOU and have fun. Life is too short.
8. You discuss emotional issues and lack boundaries: You talk about your ex, your dysfunctional family, your unresolved issues, why you think men lie and cheat etc. You’re not in a relationship with a person you have just met. There is a time and place to disclose more about yourself and your experiences. After all, the sum of your experiences makes you who you are today. When you are so focused on the past (something that can not be changed), it communicates that you’re still not over your ex; that you’re an angry or unforgiving person; or that you are stuck in your past and not looking into your future. Men do not want to deal with drama. Of course, we all have baggage from the past – that’s a given. Some have worked very hard to resolve them and today are at peace with themselves and the world. This does not mean they had it easier. It means they understand the value of being fully present and centered. Achieving this state of calm requires dealing with the past, even a painful past, and working on the present.
What do you still need to work on? If you don’t know the answer to this question, look back to see what reoccurring themes keep showing up in your life.
We talked about the three goals of first dates in previous blogs. A first date is not the occasion to determine if you want to marry him. It is simply an opportunity to figure out if there is enough of a REAL connection and MUTUAL interest to take you to date number 2. The most effective and accurate way to determine if there is a real connection is to show up and present your most engaging self. When you go into your dates with vulnerability (letting him see the real you), authenticity (saying and acting in a way that is consistent with who you are at the core) and interest in him, you have a better chance of connecting. If you have done everything “right” but you are still not connecting, then you don’t have to wonder. He is not worthy of date number 2. Is this resonating?
When you have an effective dating strategy, you have clarity. You’re not wondering if he is the one and you are not confused on where you stand or where he stands. From a place of clarity, you can achieve anything your heart desires. You might arrive at the same conclusion in three or four dates but you may also find out on date four that you have nothing real in common. The key to dating successfully is to vet quickly and strategically.
Why is this important?
Time spent on the wrong person is time taken away from meeting the right one. Please read that again. It is so important you understand this notion and put it into practice daily.
Now that you have an effective strategy for your first date, go and have fun!
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