So there was this guy (isn’t there always?)…
He and I met at a local coffee shop, even though no one meets anyone in real life anymore, and seemed to hit it off. We went on a few dates that I’d thought went okay, even though I’d been hesitant to begin dating again. And then he just … vanished. Texts became less frequent, phone calls stopped entirely and new dates were not forthcoming. WTF had gone wrong?
I did a little digging and found out through his friends that he’d pulled away because he thought I wasn’t interested. Now, my very first thought was, “Well I went on the goddamn dates with you, didn’t I? How is that not interested?!” But then I got to thinking and my heart sank a little bit. That defensive attitude I’d just displayed? That was part of the problem.
I replayed our interactions in my head and realized that, out of a misguided attempt to guard my heart, I’d been playing it way too cool. I’d acted aloof, not picked up the phone when he called, taken too long to reply to messages… At the end of it, I kind of didn’t blame him for backing away. I wouldn’t put in effort if it didn’t seem like the other person wasn’t, either.
And yes, I hear you all shouting, “The right guy will like the real me for me!” from behind your screens. But if the real you is a sourpuss who hates going on dates like I was, then perhaps you want to rethink whether you should be dating or not. I speak from experience, it will not work out well for you.
With that in mind, I set out to find out what it is in the first days of a fledgling relationship that really gets people hooked on each other. Here are a couple of things that make a guy want to keep dating you (or at the very least don’t make him not want to date you)…
1. First impressions are important
Remember when your mom said “You don’t get a second chance at a first impression?” Turns out Momma might have been onto something. Many relationship experts say the first two weeks are vital in ensuring your potential love interest becomes your leading man. If you don’t make a good impression in the first few weeks, no one will care how amazing you’re gonna be in week six or seven; you’ll be off their to-do list. Admit it, if someone didn’t pique your interest in the first few dates, you’d cut them off quick smart. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
2. Invest in the date
I’m not just talking about your time, I’m talking about your money, too. If he insists on paying the tab for dinner, or a movie, you should buy the snacks/dessert (or at the very least offer). Yes, I know some guys like to treat ladies (and I have pretty strict rules on when I will and won’t let someone pay) but he shouldn’t feel taken advantage of, or like you expect him to pay. Offering to pay for something smaller, if you’re not confident offering to pay for the meal, will allow him to feel like you’re investing in your potential relationship. You’re immediately telling him you’re a team player and you won’t take him for granted.
3. Pick up the damn phone
I have a hang up (no pun intended) when it comes to phone calls with people I haven’t actually met yet; they make me uncomfortable. But after you’ve been on a first date? Pick. Up. The. Damn. Phone. “But Liz,” I hear you say, “It’s not me who doesn’t pick up the phone, it’s the guy! He never calls! He only texts and even then he’s terrible at replying.” To these people I ask: are you comfortable putting your future in someone else’s hands by waiting for a text? Lead by example. If you have a few spare minutes, give him a ring. This sets the tone for the whole relationship and models the type of communication you want from him. It also gives him permission to call you back, because he might not realize that he can (and should!) yet.
4. Show your passion
No, I’m not talking about sexy times, get your mind out of the gutter. I’m talking about talking. The first date is not the time to play it cool and laid back (like me on my recent first date, oops). Too cool and he might think you’re either boring or totally uninterested, and neither bodes well for lining up date two. Put your passions on display and get excited when you talk about something you love, even if it’s only something small. Be expressive and don’t hold back when something makes you happy. When someone else sees your eyes light up, your passion can be infectious. They start imagining things they can do with you, just so they can experience your excited reactions. You’re saying to your potential partner, “I find the fun in ordinary things” and inviting them to find it with you.
5. Proper dates first up
There’s a way you can weed out fuckboys AND give yourself a high chance of longer-term relationship success. It’s this amazing thing called “Don’t give someone a Netflix and Chill date unless they’ve earned it.” That’s not to say if you just want to get laid you can’t jump right to naked time; have sex whenever you damn well want. But if you want to shoot for Relationship Town, perhaps a date or two in the real world will help you get to know each other on an intellectual level. If someone asks you to come over to theirs for a bit of a snuggle on a first date, you can let them know you’re cool with that, just not up front. “I love a good snuggle but I prefer getting out in the world with someone first. Shall we do coffee?”
Dating is tricky, and modern dating is a goddamn nightmare, but there are things you can do to improve your chances of success. Be real. Be honest. Be bold. And after all that if they don’t like it, they’re not for you.
Images via shutterstock.com and giphy.com.
Comment: What’s your biggest first date mistake?