First date tips

Here’s what the science says about coming on too strong…

How often has the following happening to you:

Your great date has suddenly disappeared.

  • You always initiate contact with the person you’re trying to see.
  • You’ve heard “I’m just not ready” or “I think we’re moving too fast” within the first few dates.

If this sounds familiar, you’re probably coming on too strong. This type of oversharing can be attributed to the misalignment between how someone sees themselves versus how others perceive them. At University of Texas, researchers applied the self-verification theory to explain why people continually overshare. In an effort to get people to view them the way they view themselves, some people reveal too much too soon–overly personal details, traumas, and strong feelings.

To feel happier, people want to be viewed the same way they view themselves. The person who comes on too strong believes he or she is putting your anxiety at ease by confessing their own feelings. That person believes he or she is providing important information you need to have right away, because he sees himself as a romantic or someone in love. If the feelings are unrequited, or incongruence happens, the self-verification theory notes that the oversharer will experience a negative outcome.

People who come on too strong tend to keep doing so, because they believe–on a fundamental level–that they are doing the right thing and when incongruence strikes, it’s especially debilitating because it jeopardizes the way the person sees himself.

So, how do I know if I’m coming on too strong?

Take a minute to evaluate your date’s responses. Did your date ask you lots of questions? Did (s)he initiate kissing, touching, or contact of any kind? Did (s)he propose a time or place to get together again? If not, slow down the pace until you see reciprocal positive signs that invite attention.

But, what’s the problem with telling someone how I feel?

There’s nothing wrong with sharing feelings, but it’s in your best interest to apply some objective, non-emotional thinking to ground you. For example, it’s been two dates, and you’re feeling very interested. Understand that the other person involved only knows you as much as he or she has experienced with you to that point. That person won’t know that you’ve turned down countless dates or are hard to get; they only know that it’s been a short period of time, and that’s all it took to win you over.

Without having had to “earn” your affection with positive behavior or sufficient time to show you who he or she really is, the other person won’t be able to figure out a legitimate reason for you to have such strong feelings.

When someone says too much too soon, it suggests an immediate need to fill a void versus a well-considered, intentional selection based on someone’s unique character. Just as you wouldn’t want to feel like your partner could be with anyone, and that you were just the first to come along, you shouldn’t give any reason for the person you’re dating to feel this way.

So, when should I express my feelings?

There is no “right” time to voice strong feelings. The only “right” thing to do is to try to understand what your true motivation is for doing so. Are these strong initial feelings stemming from a place of neediness? Has it been a while since you’ve met someone halfway decent? If you feel a sense of urgency to share the love, spend time figuring out the why.

 

How to be yourself on a first date

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There’s a common misconception that dating is like interviewing. While both dating and interviewing tend to make people nervous, most people don’t enjoy being interrogated or talking exclusively about work on a first date. How do successful daters transition from formal work mode into a more relaxed dating mode? Here are some tips on how to be yourself on a first date.

Before the date

Research your date spot – If you have time, check out the date location a day or two before to get a feel for the setup, ambiance and menu. Identify the best tables in the bar or restaurant, determine which of your outfits would make you feel most comfortable in this location, and scan the menu ahead of time so you don’t have to worry about what you’ll want to order. If you are planning the date, pick a place you’ve been to many times before where you feel comfortable and confident. Your date will likely be impressed if you are on a first-name basis with the waiters.

Brush up on your date’s interests – If you have met your date through a matchmaker, friend or online dating service, you probably know a few of their interests. Do a quick Google search on their favorite sports team, the place where they volunteer or the location where they just went on a long trip. Having a few talking points on your date’s interests in your back pocket will ease your first date jitters and show them that you’re interested in getting to know them better.

Exercise – It’s hard not to be in a great mood after completing a solid workout while listening to your favorite energizing playlist. Make time to go for a run, pump iron or do a spin class before a first date to help you feel confident and refreshed. With endorphins flowing and a post-workout glow on your face, you will feel more relaxed after having burned off your nervous energy before the date. Let your date know that you just came from a workout, and they will probably appreciate your commitment to health and physical fitness. In addition to working out, or instead of it if working out isn’t your thing…

Do something you love – Do something that is SO YOU, whether that is getting fresh air at a farmer’s market, cooking something to feel accomplished, talking to a friend or relative, meditating and relaxing with a bath or book or watching your favorite movie. The possibilities are endless, but do something that makes you smile so you’re grounded in who you are before heading out. This will help the real you come out when you are face-to-face with your date.

 During the date

Be an engaged listener – Ask open-ended questions about travel, passions, family and what they did last weekend. “Tell me about yourself” is a great opener because it gives your date the opportunity to let you know what is most important to them. “Teach me something I don’t already know” is also a great way to learn about your date’s hidden talents. Ask questions about things you are genuinely interested in learning. And make sure that the conversation is not one-sided – if you have been asking your date a bunch of questions about their woodworking hobby, sit back and wait for him or her to ask you about yourself.

Give physical clues if you are interested – If you’re having a great time, make eye contact and consider innocently touching your date to let them know that you are attracted to them. Grazing your hand along your date’s lower back as you walk to your table or briefly touching their or arm after they make a funny joke will make your date feel comfortable and admired. Making great eye and physical contact during a first date lets your date know that you are interested in them and will help secure Date #2.

Be Vulnerable – Just because you don’t know a person well doesn’t mean that you should just nod and smile all night regardless of what’s going on in your head. Feeling anxious? Had a terrible day at work? Feeling butterflies? Worried about jumping into a new relationship so quickly after your last? Talk to your date about it. It’s more fulfilling to go on a first date with a real person than someone who doesn’t speak their mind. Vulnerability is sexy.

Be Flexible – Make a plan before your date, but be ready to throw it out the window depending on how things are going. If the date is going well, consider grabbing dinner even though you planned on drinks, or propose going on a long walk even if you planned on seeing a movie. Whether or not you planned the date, the proposed itinerary is merely a suggestion, and you should do what feels right in the moment. Dating is not a math problem to be solved – you need to feel your way through it stay true to yourself.

Most importantly, remember to to enjoy yourself and keep in mind how lucky your date is to be spending time with you. If you have a great time on the date, let your date know in person or in a text or call after you get home. Before, during and after a first date, be honest, be real, be yourself.

 

A Few Insider Tips | First Date Advice

iStock_000019428153SmallHappy New Years! We hope your New Year is off to an exceptional start and that you are starting to think about dating again after the holiday rush. Even the most seasoned daters among us can use a refresher course in the ins and outs of dating. Dating is a skill and preparation is key so you arrive confident, relaxed, and importantly enthusiastic! Here are a few key basic pieces of advice for men and women based on well over a decade of experience in matching thousands of Bay Area professionals.

For the Guys…

1. Call with a plan. When you call to schedule your date, have two or three restaurants in mind, as well as a few days/times that work for you. That way you don’t get caught up in the early planning stages. For those guys who are rusty at dating and get caught up with nerves when calling her, it’s fine to even script this out if you need to. Make a checklist. Whatever works best for you.

2. Seek expert advice. If you don’t know how to order wine or aren’t even sure what seems like the best dish on the menu, ask for advice. Restaurants are full of “experts” so let the server or sommelier direct your choices if you’re not good at making them for yourself. Women like men who are willing to ask for directions. 😉

3. Stay out of quicksand. We all have topics we’d like to avoid in a first date conversation. All of us. Instead of completely deflecting them and sounding evasive or sharing too much and allowing the date conversation to take a difficult turn, develop a quick sound bite to address the topic and move on. For example, if you have a difficult custody situation with your ex-wife, simply say, “I actually spend as much time as I can with my kids currently, and we’re still negotiating what makes the most sense for everyone. I’m optimistic this will have a happy ending.” This is a clean and concise way to convey factual, relevant details that is also positive and encouraging. Don’t air your dirty laundry on a first date; you have nothing to gain by doing so.
Happy couple in the city

For the women…

1. Be responsive. This one is really, really important. If your date calls you, respond to him quickly if you don’t get his initial phone call. And don’t start counting or matching days between calls in some sort of quid pro quo. You both want to go on a date, so make that happen. I repeat, you both want to go on a date, so make that happen. And make it happen sooner rather than later. A lot of great matches stall out because people get stubborn about returning calls instead of getting serious about establishing communication. I am continually amazed at the lack of responsiveness amongst many people I see out there dating in the wild.

2. Change for the better. Even if you’re in the sort of job where your work wear transitions well to dates, make a wardrobe shift to remind yourself that this isn’t work and it isn’t an interview and you don’t do this every day. Frankly, it’s highly unlikely that your day looks are also great date looks, so don’t be afraid to slip into a colorful dress, throw on a great pair of heels, and let your hair down. If not now, when?

3. Be direct. If you’re out of practice with dating, you might have a tendency to make conditional statements about future dates like “I’d like to do this again if you would….” Don’t do that. Just be clear about it and say “I’d love to see you again. This has been a lot of fun.” The confidence will be incredibly attractive, and will make it easy for your date to ask you out again.

We have countless tips to share so if you’re someone who’s interested in hiring a date coach, inquire within amy@linxdating.com. As for matchmaking, we currently have so many successfully paired couples! In December alone, we celebrated engagements and learned about new Linx matches reaching exclusive status. Contact Amy today to learn more about our unique offline matchmaking services and how Linx can bring you multiple steps closer to finding “the one.” Our clients hire us and engage our service due to our gaining access to a pool of candidates they wouldn’t have access to otherwise. On top of this, our scrupulous vetting process allows Linx to reach new standards of excellence in the business.

Getting to Date Two Strategies and Advice

It might seem trivial but getting to date two can present its fair share of challenges. Last night I moderated a mock date. A mock date is a simulated date where I hire someone who has experience with dating to serve as my clients date for the night. My client (an early 30’s female in tech living in Silicon Valley) agreed to do a mock date after 4 hours of in-office training.

We worked together on many areas that she felt she wanted to improve on in order to be the best date possible. Topics we worked on pre mock date were: How to greet your date? What to talk about? How to flirt? What is off limits conversationally? What if your dates keeps talking and talking? How to battle major jitters? What if you are inherently a more quiet/shy person..how to stand out on a first date and *shine*? How to get to date two on date one? How to end the date (i.e., hand shake, hug, kiss…run the other way ;))

The mock date provides “real time” feedback and it is a very impromptu sort of format with no set rules or major guidelines. We pause if needed from the date, do “time outs”, and give the client essential feedback necessary in order to correct behavior and reprogram one’s approach. For instance, if a client talks too much about a subject that is sort of starting to go down a slippery slope, we will literally say “time out” and stop. Either the date or myself will explain our perspective and why the client should consider our approach. We will then resume the mock date and have the client practice. We will have the client do as many practice runs as possible till he/she gets it right.

The cool thing is that this client got powerful data straight from her date. Her date was unfiltered, honest, and shared what men want. Last night per usual, I was sitting right there on the “date” with them observing, taking notes, and giving my feedback as needed. Sound awkward with me there? It is for a bit then the client typically just fades me out. The client can also pause at anytime and ask for “on demand” advice as well. Where else can you get anything like this?

Here are some high level insights straight from her date that can be added to your dating arsenal of dating techniques too.

If you are a more quiet type, speak louder. Be very aware of your surroundings (i.e., table next to you is loud, don’t let their noise drown you out.)

Dating can be nerve wracking but try to make dating fun for you!

Keep your body relaxed and not stiff or robotic.

Don’t be afraid to speak up. If you really want the steak frites, order it.

For women, nonverbal flirting cues like playing with hair turns guys on. So do it more.

Men share they like a woman who has her own thoughts and opinions about a wide range of subjects. You don’t need to necessarily agree with your date. Who wants a ‘yes’ woman? Be someone who is bold in her convictions and speak your mind eloquently. That shows confidence. Confidence is sexy for both genders.

Right before you eat, bring it present and focused on the moment. Say “Cheers, so nice to meet you….thanks, really a lovely evening.”

If your date is dragging on and on about a subject that you feel is quickly going down a slippery slope, you must bring the date to the present….the here and now.

If you have butterflies and don’t want to eat…just order something small. Men will think you have an eating issue, are high maintenance, something is wrong, or worse yet you don’t like him.

Does the female pay on date one? No. If he asked you, absolutely not. It’s insulting if you insist on paying. If he accepts, run. Set the standard for yourself from day one.

Random things can happen on dates like you see an EX! Roll with the punches and be spontaneous. It is good for the soul. Be gracious and friendly and again focus to the present moment, i.e., your date. Versus getting caught up in unexpected stress.

Most importantly, go into the date with low pressure as if you are meeting a friend. If you go in with less expectations and lower pressure, you will end up being yourself and not trying being to someone you are not. And that is good!

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