Many people complain that they “hate to date”. Are you one of them? If so, it’s very likely that you’re afraid of just having to make “good” conversation.
You don’t want it to come off as labored, but you don’t want the awkward silences or misunderstandings and miscommunications either. If only early date conversations were easy and natural.
Well, they can be, if you know a few simple rules:
Rule #1 – First dates are “interviews”
While nobody wants to feel that they are being interviewed, especially on a date, that’s exactly what you want to do. To interview your date, you have to be smart about it. It shouldn’t seem like an interview! Avoid questions like “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” or “Tell me about your last date.”
On the other hand, one thing job interviewers have is the benefit of knowing exactly what position they’re trying to fill. Do you? Do you know what you’re looking for specifically? I’ll bet you don’t! Most people don’t. In fact, more people create goals for their health, their careers and even their vacations before they do the same for their relationships!
This is the first place to start. You need to know what you’re looking for, not just from a date, but overall. You need to set your own relationship goals and have them clearly in your mind. That way you can ask some simple, yet directed questions to determine if this person is a good fit worth pursuing beyond a few dates.
Rule #2 – Have an answer to the “least understood question” you’ll ever hear on a date
What is the “least understood question”? Simple: “What do you bring to the table?”
That’s a very difficult question to answer for almost everyone because we usually don’t sit around and think about it. The problem is, if you don’t know your value or worth; if you don’t know what you bring to the table, how are you ever going to be able to express it to someone else?
Is it enough to just be attractive, neat and be a good conversationalist? Certainly those things help, but far more important is to know what your real value is. What makes you a good girlfriend or boyfriend? Why should someone else date you? Would YOU date YOU? If so, why?
This is one of the first things I teach my students to ask people on a first date. (Of course, I also coach them to have their own answers to it as well.) It’s a tough question if you haven’t thought about it, but if you already know the answer, not only is it a breeze, but you get to make your case right then and there. This is the surest way to impress anyone!
Rule #3 – Talk about the one subject that is most interesting and important to your date
So, you just met this person and now you’re trying to get to know them. How are supposed to know what they are most interested in and what’s most important to them?
The answer is so simple that we don’t even consider it. The fact is; that everyone (including you) is primarily interested in one thing: themselves.
If you’ve been on more than two dates in your life, you’ve likely encountered this fact many times. Some people have absolutely no “sense of others” at all. They just seem to take a breath and start talking – speaking for what seems like hours about themselves; their jobs, their families, their cars, their work, etc.
These people become bores very quickly. Why? Because they’re not telling us what we want to know! They are simply bloviating about what they consider important or about what they want us to know about them.
Realize that their favorite topic is themselves, and use that to create fun, interesting, scintillating and intelligent conversation where you can learn a ton about a person at the same time.
Here’s how you do it: learn to ask “open-ended questions” (“OEQ”).
An OEQ is a question that has more than a yes, no or one-word answer.
For example, if you ask someone, “Do you like your job?” They can answer “yes” and then what do you do? You’ve lost all momentum before it even got started.
On the other hand, ask someone what they like most about their job and they’ll simply take that as a springboard to tell you all sorts of interesting things. You’ll probably find out not only what they like about it but how they got started in it, what they think about the company the work for and what their plans are for the next 3 years!
Add to this one more key: listening. If you really listen with interest and pay attention, you’ll never be without more conversation! All you do is take any point of interest you hear as they are asking the question and that becomes the source of another open-ended question!
For example: “Really? Your company only opened your branch two years ago? How’d you get picked to work there?” and “Interesting! What sort of education did you need to get into hydroponics in the first place?”
Do you know what the side benefit of all of this is? It’s that YOU come off as a great “conversationalist!”
Rule #4 – Build connections
Obviously, if all you’re doing is asking questions, you’re not going to build much connection with the other person. Thus, you have to share information along the way.
One of the best ways to do this is to pick up key points as your date is speaking and remember to share your own similar experience or knowledge about the subject. You don’t have to be an expert.
Just imagine that your date tells you that they are a structural engineer and you have little knowledge about the industry, but happen to know someone else in that line of work. You can bring that up as part of your own “self-disclosure”. For instance, “That sounds like an interesting line of work. I don’t know much about it, but my sister was dating a structural engineer a few years ago. She and I are very close and I’m sorry that she didn’t put things together with him because he was a great guy…”
Look at how easily and naturally you’re building rapport and connection!
The key to being a good dater is learning to keep good conversation going – and going – by speaking less and saying more.