How To Have A Great First Date (& A Second & Third)

How To Have A Great First Date (& A Second & Third)

You're so excited! You have a first date. You've met him/her—through online dating or friends or work, etc. You've already emailed a bit, talked on the phone, and now—finally—you're going to sit across the table from each other and get acquainted. But by the end of the date, there's that familiar disappointment. What happened? Did he spend the entire night talking about themselves? Or was it like "pulling teeth" to get her to talk?

New coaching clients often tell me how awful their first date was. They say, "The other person did all of the talking and didn't seem interested in learning anything about me" or "I had to do all the talking and ask all the questions because getting them to talk was exhausting."

When you have a great first date, it's usually because both people are able to find out about the other person and at the same time communicate things about themselves. Because how else will you know if you want to go out them with again? Learning a few simple techniques can help change these frustrating scenarios and ultimately lead to more great first dates.

Like I do for my clients—I’m going to give you super powers, which actually means insight into how the other person thinks. The only thing I ask in return is that you only use these super powers for the good.

Looking at a first date from his point of view. Men often tell me their first dates feel like job interviews. The woman asks a lot of questions about his life, job, hobbies, family, etc. Typically, the man feels obligated to answer all these questions. He wants her to learn important information about him so she'll consider him for a second date. He also thinks it's impolite to interrupt her questions to ask some of his own.

So ladies, here is one of those super powers (and remember, you promise to only use this for the good)—if a man has asked you out for a date that means he's attracted to you. However, he doesn't necessarily assume you're attracted to him—he thinks he needs to impress you (by answering all your questions) so you'll want to go out with him again.

As a dating and relationship coach at The Perfect Catch, I appreciate that men are frustrated by those first dates where women ask so many questions. It does feel more like a job interview than a date! To reduce this frustration, I try to explain to these men how women think and feel, and how this affects their first date behavior:

  • Women talk to feel connected.
  • Women ask questions because they're genuinely interested in finding out more about the men.
  • Women ask questions often with the expectation that the man will ask them some of the same questions. Men are surprised to hear this. That's because, as a man, he thinks if she had something to say she would just say it (because that's what he does).

Once men clearly understand these basic principles, they're better able to create a successful dating strategy.

Here's another interesting thing I've learned from men. They feel mentally exhausted after those first dates where women ask so many questions. Additionally, the man is disappointed because he didn't learn much about her (because she was asking questions and he was answering them). And now he doesn't know if he wants to go out with her on a second date, because he hasn't learned enough to know what he thinks and feels about her.

Looking at a first date from her point of view. The two complaints I hear most often from women about first dates are: (1) he did all the talking and (2) he didn't ask her anything about herself. When this happens, many women feel obligated to keep asking questions and carrying the entire conversation. Frequently, they don't feel the man is very interested in them because he isn't asking questions about them. (I'm sure you're seeing the common thread.)

Okay men, here's a super power for you. When a man asks questions and shows genuine interest in what a woman has to say, a woman feels cared about and will be more inclined to go on a second date. This is because:

  • Women generally talk to feel connected with the people in their life. So, keeping the conversation going can be easier for them.
  • When women converse with each other, they typically take turns.
  • When a woman wants to show interest in another person, her inclination is to talk because to her this conveys genuine caring and respect for the other person.
  • Some women find silences uncomfortable, so they'll continue to fill in the spaces with questions and conversation. Ironically, while all this is happening, the woman is wishing her date would ask her something about herself.

Women with these beliefs and habits probably leave the first date feeling like they have acted interested in their date. However, because their date didn't reciprocate, the woman feels like the man isn't interested in them.

When I explain to a woman why her date was answering questions but not asking them, she's usually relieved because it tells her he really did care about what she thought.

The solution. Here are two techniques to try:

  • Women: When you ask a man a question wait until the end of his answer and then tell him a story of your own that relates to the topic. Most men are relieved to stop talking and happy to listen to what you have to say because this is how they get to know you better.
  • Men: When a woman asks you a question, answer it and then ask her the same question. Just the fact she chose this question probably means it's an important point to her and she'll be happy to tell you her point of view.

Using just these two techniques (and there are so many more) will help create great back-and-forth discussions where you'll each be sharing information and learning about each other. The result? Definitely more fun and interesting dates.