Expert Blog Compelling advice, stories, and thought-provoking perspectives straight from YourTango's lineup of Experts to you

The Art Of Going On A Great Date

Contributor

Some basic guidelines to conducting a successful date.

It may be yesterday’s custom, but dating is still alive and well. Perhaps not on college campuses, but, once you exit college and join the real world, you might want a relationship.

Since dating is nothing more than slow-motion relationship development, you are going to have to learn how to do it.

I’m sure you would like some guidelines. Even if you trust your heart so much that you do not want to hear from those who have been through it all before, it will not hurt to try to profit from their experience.

The first key to dating is non-verbal communication. The less you talk about the date, about your budding relationship, the better everyone will be.

Every woman knows what I am going to say here, but perhaps it is worth saying anyway.

If you are looking for a relationship, dress the part. I am not going to tell you how to dress or how to make yourself up, but if you choose to vamp it up, show a lot of skin, or flash sultry eyes… you are going to be treated accordingly.

If half the room is staring down your blouse or up your skirt, you are not going to impress your date. If you look like you are there to please everyone, he will understand that you do not much care about pleasing him.

If you say you want a relationship and are dressed like a vamp, you are going to confuse yourself and your date.

No good comes from such confusion.

While we are in the realm of the non-verbal, you could do a lot worse than to follow that outmoded book called The Rules.

I know that you are so charming and so beautiful and so liberated that you do not have to follow any antiquated rules. And yet, as I have often seen, if you don’t play by the rules, you are going to be played.

The choice is yours.

Among the rules, you will find this: if you are looking for a relationship you should expect to be asked out a few days earlier. A man who cannot plan a date with you is probably not very interested.

If he asks you out at the last minute or invites himself over at 11:30, he is not looking for a relationship.

He is also disrespecting you. If you allow yourself to be disrespected, you will lose your self-respect.

Among the other non-verbal gestures you should try to master is this one: don’t offer to pay. Yes, I know, men and women are equals; they make similar salaries; they should share everything.

If he can’t afford to take you out, then the chances are good that he is not looking to get involved in a relationship. If he calls at the last minute and asks to come over, think of it as his way of saving money.

As for the verbal part of the date, keep in mind that a date is a conversation. Savvy women can exercise a great deal of control over this conversation, if they know the rules and how it is played.

You have probably read, on this and other relationship sites, that a date is not an interrogation. Do not ask him probing, intrusive questions.

But, a date is not a pop quiz either. By that I mean that it is better not to ask very many questions at all. The key to seeing how well the date is going-- assuming that you care-- is to see how much information he offers, not how many of your clever trick questions he manages to answer.

On a first date, or even a second or third, do not ask him what his intentions are, whether he is ready for a relationship, whether he has gotten over his last girlfriend, whether he has been tested for STDs, and so on.

It’s only your business if he wants to make it your business. And besides, sharing information about previous loves is genuinely poor form. That applies to both of you.

If you ask those questions he will react as though you are trying to force him into a relationship before he is ready. It will spell desperation. If you accompany it with an excessively revealing outfit, you will have doubled down on the desperation.

If you look and sound desperate, he is going to think that you are not worth very much, and he will be less interested. Why would anyone want to get involved with someone who looks and sounds like a reject.

Of course, given the genius of the male mind, he might try to take advantage of your desperation.

Of course, you do not want to tell him how attractive he is, how much you like him, how much you want to be involved with him.

You do want to make him feel that he is witty, clever, accomplished, and a good, honorable, and decent man. You want him to make you feel like you are the only woman in the world.

You get extra points if you refer to him as a man. You lose points if you refer to him as a person. You lose a lot of points if you proclaim that you are a feminist. You might as well have douse yourself in man-repellent.

You should, of course, ask him to explain anything about any topic on which he is expert. If he trades bonds, you might ask about the bond market. If he loves sports, ask him about the pennant race. Hopefully, you will be reasonably well informed to begin with, thus will have an intelligent question.

While you’re at it: DON’T ARGUE. Being argumentative, combatitive, or contentious is a general turn-off.

If you have different opinions about a topic, try to find those areas on which you agree.

Asking probing questions is not only desperate; it’s lazy. There are other ways to find out about him.

Here, the rule is: don’t ask, offer.

Offer information about yourself, beginning with some facts about your day. Preferably, these will be facts that he can relate to. Ideally, they will show you in a positive light and will communicate your good mood.

Do not tell the story of your life; it’s not very interesting to a someone who barely knows you. Do not whine, moan, or complain. A man might want to take advantage of weakness, but he will not find it very attractive in the long run.

Of course, do not launch into an interminable soliloquy. He will interpret that to mean that you do not want to hear what he has to say. He will likely oblige.

Above all else, you want to give him the opportunity to reciprocate. If you offer something about your day, then you should expect that he will, sooner rather than later, offer something about his.

It’s nice if he asks you for more detail about your day, but if he does not reciprocate, he is not engaging.

If he tells you how beautiful you are, how happy he is to be with you, how much he feels your pain, and wonderful the date is going, but does not offer any information about himself, then you can be confident that the date is going badly. He is not engaging with you; you are being played.

Note that I have started with facts. Conversations include both facts and feelings. You communicate information and then you might say how you feel about said information.

Always keep in mind that men are not very comfortable sharing their feelings. Never ask a man how he feels. He will not know what you are talking about.

Thus, if you want a man to participate actively in a conversation, begin with facts. He will naturally feel compelled to reciprocate, and, in the world of facts, he will feel that he can both participate and show off his command of information.

Conversation will start out as an exchange of information, roughly like an exchange of gifts. Make sure that they are of relatiely equal value. If youl start with more general statements of facts, about the weather or your day, and then, if he reciprocates, you can move to the next level, offering some references to a friend, a roommate, a family member.

If he replies that your friend reminds him of a situation involving a friend of his, or something similar, you are moving forward.

If he changes the topic to something impersonal and anodyne, you are moving backward. If you have gotten too far out in front, take a deep breath, and take a step backwards.

By keeping track of what is or is not being reciprocated, you can exercise more control over the course of the date, without asking impertinent questions or looking desperate.

Author
Contributor

Explore YourTango