So You’ve Been Seated in the Exit Aisle…

One of the questions I hear most often from my female clients is some variation of: “He seemed to be attracted to me/interested in me/having a good time/etc. so why didn’t he call me back?”

There may be a handful of reasons. Or there may be only one big one. Or there may be one that is the excuse he’s using to cover up or soften the real reason(s)! The thing is, you won’t know unless you ask. And since it would be kind of mortifying to do that, that’s where I come in with something called The Exit Interview.

The Exit Interview process is one of my most “in demand” services. It’s like this: when an employee at a large company is leaving her job, a human resources manager often conducts an Exit Interview to find out the exiting employee’s opinions of the company, the management, her coworkers, etc. This openness and honesty lets the company learn things that it can use to improve the way it does business and to retain good employees going forward. Wise managers will be receptive to the feedback and respond constructively – especially if they hear common themes come up over and over again from several employees who are leaving.

Often, a woman will make up a reason why her date didn’t call, email, text, or see her again after the 1st date such as, “It’s a bad time for him. He’s busy with (fill in the blank) work/his kids/his divorce/travel/etc.”  Or she’ll say, “He’s afraid of commitment/intimacy/a successful woman.” (Again, fill in the blank with the excuse that best fits.) Most of the time, the real reason a man doesn’t call a woman back is because by the end of the 1st date (or within the first 30 minutes) he perceives her as fitting an unflattering female stereotype. A woman says or does a few minor things (which I refer to as date-breakers) that lead him to pigeonhole her within an unappealing  – and perhaps undeserved — label.

Remember, a stereotype is an oversimplified, exaggerated image of a group. Stereotypes may be unmerited in many cases, but people use them to quickly make sense of the world and people around them when they lack specific, in-depth knowledge. On a date, a man may use a stereotype to evaluate a woman when he has limited information. Women do the same to men. Yes, it may be unjust if your date is trying to determine if you fit a negative stereotype rather than a positive one, but if you can recognize this reality and be aware of the most common stereotypes working against you, you can avoid them and improve your chances of securing the second date.

So, take control of the date – at least in terms of image management. Don’t just complain to your best friend that Mr. Full-of-Promise mysteriously disappeared without a courtesy follow-up call or without booking the next date. If you’ve had a string of first dates that went nowhere, do some honest self-analysis and reflection: what do you say, what do you do, and what do you wear on your dates? Sometimes it’s the most insignificant (to you) comment, behavior, or aspect of your appearance that dashes the hope of a second date.

Is it fair? No, not really. But if you’re reading this blog, you’re here for a dose of reality, not a sugar-coated pep talk or Pollyanna-ish pat on the back. As always, if you really want to capitalize on your dating opportunities, let’s start a conversation. I may be able to help. Today’s intricate dating world is only getting more multifarious. I’ll help you see through the flaky excuses (“I just wasn’t feeling it.”) to the real reasons you’re not getting the coveted second date.

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