Let’s assume you’re qualified to date. You effortlessly follow dating etiquettes. You’re a decent guy. You’ve narrowed the field via pre-date contact. You’re ready to meet.
No guy wants the women he dates to waste his time, imagine he’s someone he’s not, or completely misunderstand his intentions.
How do you minimise this risk, and stand out on a first date?
First, be clear about your availability.
What does this really mean?
To men, available is on a sliding scale, because you’re available for different levels of commitment at different times in your life (see Where Are You on the Dating Scale? below).
Many women imagine available means one thing: able to commit (sooner or later), respect, sustain and cherish a relationship.
A man who can’t express his reason for dating leaves us guessing. A man who can’t express the level of commitment he can give a relationship is a fool.
It’s not uncommon for women to fantasize, ‘If he loves me enough he’ll commit’. It’s a rude shock down the track when you say you simply can’t. You’re as responsible for this time bomb as she is, if you’ve never had the guts to tell her your true position.
If all you give us is charm, we might end up imagining you’re something you’re not.
If a good woman knows—as early as a first date—that you do, or don’t, have the qualities and willingness to meet her needs she’ll remember you as an outstanding first date.
You’ll win big points, whether or not you end up together.
Be clear about your intentions
Know why you’re dating.
It will have an important bearing on how successful your first date is.
Where Are You on the Dating Scale?
1. Ready to settle and looking for a life partner. You’re ready to fully commit and share your life, create a family and/or a home with someone you can cherish. You’re ready to be fully loved, accepted and appreciated. You’ve got what it takes to provide and receive it.
2. Unsure but open to it …and looking for a girlfriend. You’re happily single at present, but would be equally happy to commit to the right partner if you met her via dating. You’re not in a rush.
3. Not interested in long-term relationships, though you love being with women, and need them in your life. You don’t have serious intentions and you’ll walk away from someone who wants otherwise. You enjoy the companionship and physical benefits without commitment—for whatever reasons.
4. No idea why you’re dating and you’re unavailable in every way. Maybe your friends are doing it, or someone is pressuring you to find a partner.
All options apart from number 4 are valid reasons to date, provided you’re honest with yourself and with anyone you date. There are women out there who will fit your needs, and vice versa.
Every saucepan has its lid, as my mother-in-law used to say.
If you’re a number 4, stay away from dating. You’ll confuse those you date, and maybe confuse yourself. There’s always MeetUp if you need new friends.
Be honest with the woman you date
First dates are ‘sorting’ dates—so you can move to subsequent dates with women who do have similar goals to yours.
Women need to know why—why you’re dating her, why you don’t continue to date her, and so on. If you’re honest about why, they will respect you for it. If they don’t, walk away—they’re either disrespectful, or they don’t understand men.
First dates can be daunting for women looking for something serious. Many are aware of the dreaded biological clock. Give them as much info as possible about where you stand in regard to serious commitment, without offending. Respect their need to know. Do both of you a favour, and let her know if you’re not on the same page. Outstanding also means showing integrity, even if you’re not available to meet her needs. It could be as simple as saying you’re not on the same page. At least tell her. If you disappear without a trace, it doesn’t do you any favours.
If you’re ready to build a life with a wonderful woman, be upfront about your timelines. Don’t get too far ahead of yourself or overly besotted until you discuss the K-factor: kids. It mightn’t arise on the first date, but know your position anyway.
Are you building your career or security base? Prefer to wait before fully committing? Again, be upfront about it. Be upfront about being unclear if you must! Being unclear will waste your time and hers if you get too involved.
Being clear is easy if you know the stage of life you’re in when dating. If you’re unsure, get hold of The Amazing Development of Men, by Alison Armstrong. Even if your friends are all happily married, the stage you are in—for example, ‘happily single’—is also ok. Don’t be peer-pressured into commitment before you’re ready.
Being an outstanding first date should be easy if you know your position—with one exception.
Enchanting chemistry is awesome. Intoxicating chemistry is dangerous, unless the above parameters can—by some stroke of good luck—be met. If she’s so hot you can’t think or talk straight, forget it. If you touch her and you sizzle on a first date, beware. You’ll have great sex and make great babies but nothing else might work. Long term, other things have to work.
If you’re a number 3, you might play without damage. But beware the spell of chemistry—simultaneously a blessing and a curse. Our brains are incapable of rational thought when under the spell of intense sexual chemistry. If your other needs and hers are not aligned, forget it—no matter how addictively drugged you feel.
Pitching on your first date is as important as pitching in a business or workplace meeting—minus the formality and the PowerPoint.
Do your homework in pre-date contact—ask questions. Ascertain the recipient’s needs; know your desired outcomes; your ability to meet what’s required; and your ability to provide for a long-term collaboration. You’ll need to be the solution to her problem to be outstanding.
Know your subject matter: yourself.
It’s up to your date to know herself.
A first date is not all about you; it’s about both of you.
Don’t expect to win the contract on first meeting. Lose any overly high expectations. Be determined but not desperate.
To choose you from a level playing field of first dates, she will look at first date specifics. She needs to ascertain the genuine you: Did you effortlessly take care of her? Were you accountable and reliable? Did you make her feel safe and relaxed? Did she seem sure of who you are; what you stand for—enough to want to know more?
If she radiates and shines on the first date with you, it’s a good sign you’re outstanding.
And if that happens, you might be seeing a lot more of this woman.
Photo: Getty Images