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Thirty Minutes to Make (Or Break) a Date

What could you do with 30 minutes? Watch a sitcom? Get in some cardio at the gym? A survey from It’s Just Lunch reported in Parade magazine (May 1, 2011) found that 66% of people make up their mind about whether they would like another date or not in the first half hour of the date. Thirty minutes is all it takes to impress or distress your date!

It would seem that many daters are not using those thirty minutes to their best advantage. There are more failed first dates in the modern era than ever before, primarily due to the challenges of online dating, singles being more sophisticated, and sex being easier to obtain. Our options are many, our expectations are high, and rejecting someone is easy. We’re more complex than previous generations of daters, thanks to our greater level of self-awareness and having had more relationships (higher quantity) of more depth (higher quality). As a result, on average, we’re waiting longer to marry.

So, take heart: most dates won’t and shouldn’t grow into relationships. After all, dating is the filtering process that prevents you from ending up with the wrong person!

But that doesn’t mean you want to leave your dates to chance. First dates are much like job interviews, and just as you would want to be prepared, present yourself in the best light, and manage the other person’s perception of you in a job interview, you should strive to do the same on a date. Do your homework and gather the information you need so you can avoid elimination and advance to the second round!

This is easier said than done, of course. Let’s be honest: people behave a bit abnormally on first dates because they’re nervous, cynical, overeager, shy, guarded, having a rough day, or indulging from the bar a little too much. So, without trying to change who you fundamentally are and without pretending to be someone you’re not, focus less on allowing your date to discover the “real you” and more on getting him or her to want a follow-up date with you. Why? Because no one can accurately assess a person on a first date (no matter how sharp they think their instincts are), and one of the biggest pitfalls of the first date is “diarrhea of the mouth” – one or both daters share too much information and their dating partner is turned off. The goal of the first date shouldn’t be full and complete disclosure; the goal should be to get a second date. (After which, you can slowly, steadily, embark on the process of revelation…)

So, think strategically. Don’t just bitch to your girlfriends if that hottie you connected with on your first date inexplicably “lost your phone number.” Don’t throw up your hands in exasperation if you’ve had a string of first dates that hit a dead end. Do some serious self-analysis: how can you tweak your comments, your gestures, your appearance, to get more men to ask you out again? Of course, if you really want to maximize your dates, drop me a line. Maybe I can help. Today’s dating world is only getting more complex. I’ll help you get beyond the lame-o excuses (“I just wasn’t feeling that spark.”) to the real reasons you’re not getting the next date.

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