The single life can be fun. But whether you are looking for a partner, or just enjoying meeting new people, dating is part of what being single is all about. The problem is that dating can be tough. It is sometimes scary, usually exciting, often disappointing. Some of this you have no control over, but here are some tips for being the best date that you can be:
Follow through on commitments: show up or call when you say you are going to. This shows respect for the other person’s time and feelings.
Take responsibility for your feelings and actions: that means that if something pushes your button, it is up to you to handle it maturely. Do not expect someone that you barely know to be able to know the complicated roadmap of you.
Know your strengths and weaknesses: be realistic and be able to laugh at yourself and embrace your quirks.
Be able to take the other person’s perspective: if you don’t do anything else on the list, learn how to do this! Show empathy and put yourself in his/her shoes. This helps you to connect with each other and get to know each other on a deeper level, and it makes your more likeable.
Respect people’s differences in taste, style, opinions, and preferences.
Be a good listener and ask good questions: this shows interest in getting to know the other person.
Disclose appropriately: it is important to let the other person see more than just a superficial side of you, so it is important to let your guard down somewhat. Value openness and build trust. Note: this is not the time to discuss your deepest darkest secrets.
Know how to handle your feelings of anxiety, anger, stress, arousal. Your date shouldn’t have to be responsible for managing your behaviour or emotions. Control impulses but be spontaneous.
Be assertive rather than angry and controlling or passive. State your concerns and preferences clearly, and do not expect your date to be a mind-reader or to be able to decipher what-you-say vs. what-you-mean. Just say what you mean.
Learn to negotiate and compromise. Things don’t always have to go your way and you don’t always have to be in your comfort zone. Who knows? You might be pleasantly surprised.
Handle conflict maturely and respectfully.
Learn to distinguish between your dates words/actions and your reactions/judgements. These two things may not be related at all. You are bringing your lifetime of experiences to this date and an innocent remark or behaviour may mean something completely different to you than it does to your date, so don’t react before thinking about whether this might be the case.
Be authentic. That means Be Yourself. Otherwise you are wasting everyone’s time. Also, most people have a sensitive radar for phonies and it isn’t attractive.
Learn these skills and use these tips, and don’t be discouraged if some of these are difficult for you- it is possible to learn how to be a great date- ask for help if you need it! And then clearly imagine your future with the partner of your dreams.
Dr. Gayla DeHart, from Vancouver, Canada, is a Professional Coach with a Ph. D.in Psychology. She provides coaching services to single professionals who want to hone their dating skills, and offers a special package that includes an emotional intelligence (people skills) assessment, review, and post-date debriefing. Click here to contact Dr. DeHart http://www.achieveexcellence.ca/contact