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5 Effective Dating Skills

1. From Small Talk to Meaningful Conversation

With so much texting during the pandemic, people got out of practice with chatting and small talk. When we text, we can always erase and re-type. Now, as we slowly go back to more face-to-face interactions, people are starting to realize that they have lost the art of conversation. They are not used to talking face-to-face and not being able to re-think and edit what they want to say.

During this pandemic, people were likely to share meaningful thoughts of fear and hope. This allowed them to quickly learn vital things about a potential partner.

Psychologists report that this self-disclosure, the revealing of intimate feelings, attitudes, and experiences resulted in an easier road to intimacy, love, and commitment. These are the cornerstones of a solid partnership. Research shows that men were just as likely to reveal their personal feelings as women. The question is, can we all be as comfortable face to face as we were texting and zooming? Meeting that challenge and being more open in your conversations can be worth the effort.

Spending time to answer the conversation prompts within your dating app will give you information for future conversations. Don’t forget to listen when your date speaks so that you can follow up with questions.

2. Know How to Present Yourself

So, what is your dress style? Are you well groomed? Are you more Boho and relaxed with your presentation? Your date is your audience, and your audience is going to notice. Sometimes guys, you miss the importance of that visual presentation. I have seen a forty something male wear dirty sneakers, work pants with stains, and a crumpled shirt to every one of the meet-and-greets I used to host. It always confounded me how someone expects to attract a partner without putting any effort into their appearance. If you are thinking like that, it's time to review your personal presentation. It is obvious that the person mentioned above preferred a more casual style and no one is saying to change that. Just clean up the act! Put some effort into it. You may also want to get a few outfits set aside for your dating adventures.

On this topic of makeup, opinion polls were conducted among men more than once. Most often, representatives of the male gender agree that they do not like large amounts of makeup on a woman's face. Many men like a stylish sophisticated look and some prefer more of a just washed face look (and girls you know it can sometimes take make-up to pull both of those off). However, from the guys’ point of view it is better to be completely without it than a "layer of plaster".

3. Location, Location, Location

Planning the first couple of dates can be taxing. Sometimes the woman wants the man to plan the entire date. They want the specifics of the date be a surprise. Other times, she wants to participate in the planning to make sure that you are going to a location that she is going to enjoy. Since this person is new to you, their preferences are unknow to you which can be cause for anxiety.

Ideally, you could find a place where you both are thoroughly elated about going to. That is not always the case. Checking out their profile for clues can help in developing choices. If the person has written an informative profile, you should be able to glean a clue from re-reading it. Many times, people are very straight forward about their preferences. So read that profile.

Don’t make the date a chore. When you keep taking dates to the same old coffee shop, the dating process starts to feel mundane and boring to you, more like work and less like play.

If you cannot settle on a location that you know your date will definitely like, choose one that you will enjoy. Maybe a location you have been wanting to try. Let them know that you have been waiting to try this spot and thought you would share it with them.

The bottom line in setting up the first several dates is to follow the clues you find in the profile.

When you are considering a location, you might want to start with a date that will allow you to spend a short amount of time like lunch, café for coffee or a park. Consider the accessibility of your location and the transportation options. Often people who live in the city do not have cars. If you or your date are driving, don’t forget to check on the parking and the cost if any.

4. Manners and Etiquette

Etiquette is not a topic of conversation anymore. However, it still has a powerful influence on how we perceive people. Not a lot of fluff here. Just some basic rules.

Don’t ask for or give your address Don’t ask for a person’s address upfront. This is just plain creepy. Doesn’t matter if you want to feel gracious or want to send flowers. This new date does not know you. They don’t have a way to connect you to the real community. Conversely, don’t give your address to someone you just met. It doesn’t matter how good their reason is. Safety first. As our resident relationship counselor, Focus from the Focus of Love says, we are not in the Little House On the Prairie Era. So, safety first!

Don’t be late. It is rude and makes the other person feel that you are not taking this seriously. If you have to be late, text or call and give your date a heads up. People can be very picky about wasting their time. This is one way to get a bad start.

Don’t chew with your mouth open or talk with your mouth full Enough said. It’s just gross! And, rude as well.

Don’t talk about your “ex” anything. Remember your dates are not therapy sessions. So don’t spend time talking about old relationships. The person you are with wants to feel like you are focused on them for the few hours you are together.

Don't be afraid to open doors. This is just a generalization for be courteous. It still shows respect and consideration. And, if doors are open for you, be gracious about it. Hopefully, you will have plenty of time to discuss the politics of such choices in the future.

Make sure your table manners are on point. Check out YouTube for table manners. It doesn’t hurt to make sure you are on point. I recently met person in their thirties that did not know how to hold their fork. People will drop you in a hot minute if your table etiquette is lacking. They start projecting future embarrassments in front of friends and family.

Don’t get drunk. Getting “trashed” or too high on your first date can leave a negative impression. People read this as a red flag. You will definitely be talked about after the date. Trust me, it will not be in a flattering way.

Bring a token. No, not a bus token, but a small gift. This makes the other person see you as

thoughtful and sees themselves as special in your eyes. Now, what am I talking about?

Examples: Flowers are an old standby. Try a keychain with a special meaning or a wristlet/bracelet.

Just google small thoughtful gifts. You might want to hold off until the second or third date to do anything other than flowers. For ladies, you also can do this. The author used to bring coupons for things like ice cream or entrance to a museum. Keep in mind these are not expensive gifts but just something different and fun.

5. Determine Your Dating Goals

Why are you dating? Is it just for fun? Are you looking for a long-term relationship or the immediate gratification of a hook-up? It is important to know what you want out of this process before you start. You want to find dating sites that meet your expectation.

Pay attention to the type of dating app you choose. Make sure you are going on the ones that match your goals. If you choose a website that is strictly for hooking up, this is what you are going to get. So don’t expect the person you meet on this site to call you every evening and text you sweet words of affection.

The last thought we want to mention is to be safe. Look for dates who have been verified. Go to places that are public. When I was dating, I never went anywhere I could not easily speak to another person or hail a cab. First and foremost, keep your personal safety in mind.

Good Luck!

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