The more you date, you start to develop a pattern. A comfort blanket. Maybe it’s a bar you visit, or a story you tell. Maybe it’s a dress you wear or a friend you check in with. Some of the patterns are good for you – the more comfortable you are, the more confident you become. But sometimes the dating patterns we create can be our own undoing.
I say this particularly with regards to time. Yes, we all know dating takes time and effort. You get what you put in. But more specifically, a good date requires time. And this is something not everyone appreciates. Particularly, dare I say it, older daters.
We live in a culture where we think we know what we want. The very nature of speed dating has taught us that we can identify attraction in a matter of minutes. In fact, at the start of the year, when I launched the Time Out Global Dating survey, singles all over the world unanimously answered that they knew whether they fancied someone within 2-3 minutes.
But that’s wrong …
Because dating isn’t an interview for ‘The One’. It’s an audition for a best friend. After all – that’s what a boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife will become. Your best friend. And did you decide who your best friends are in just a few minutes? No.
In two to three minutes, we can work out if we find someone automatically physically attractive. But those two to three minutes aren’t definitive. Often it’s only when we’ve got to know someone, that we work out whether they are truly attractive. Yes, on face values they may have qualities which we find attractive or unattractive, but it’s incredible how much someone’s personality affects the way we see them. How many people do you know, who when talking about their other half will say something like ‘I don’t normally go for gingers / blondes / brunettes / tall people / short people etc … but then I met him/her’.
In my experience, talking to literally thousands of singles, the older we get, the more stubborn and set in our ways we become. And one of the biggest errors I believe older daters make is not investing enough time in potential dates. Whilst older daters will spend longer chatting to someone online before they meet than younger daters do, when it comes to the actual date, they cut dates far too short.
Unfortunately this is the wrong way to approach it, if you want to date successfully.
1) Meet Up Quickly
The problem with getting to know someone too well online before you meet up, is that you end up setting unrealistic expectations. No matter how great they are in person, they are unlikely to be the exact same person you imagined from a series of emails, texts and online photos. By meeting up quickly, you get to find out who they really are, before you become too over-excited.
2) Make the Date Count
Dating makes people nervous – it’s awkward, and makes you feel vulnerable, and so people tend to try to cut and run. Maybe they just organise a coffee or a quick drink – thinking this is the easy option, and they can quickly decide if they fancy someone or not. But this fails on two counts. Firstly a simple drink date is actually really pressured, as there are no distractions. It can end up making you both feel more nervous, as suddenly the date feels like an interview. Secondly, if you’re nervous, your first impression is not going to be your best. Give yourself some time to warm up, and to let the other person warm up!
Personally I would never recommend a date shorter than 2 hours. Yes, our spare time is precious, but you’ve committed to spending time with the other person, so spare two whole hours! Don’t just go for a drink, use your time wisely and do something you actually wanted to do anyway, so you’re not wasting your time. And make the date about the activity, not the person. That way it won’t necessarily be a bad date, even if you didn’t come away fancying him or her. By doing an activity, ideally side by side, you can relax, and actually be yourselves. You never know, you might change your mind in the second hour!
How do I know all this?
Because I used to think I knew whether I fancied someone in a matter of minutes …
Thanks to 30 Dates, I began to appreciate the value of an active date, and so when I went on a blind date with The Rugby Boy, I suggested he choose something a bit different. We went to Urban Golf, and the first half hour of our first date was incredibly awkward. I didn’t fancy him at all. If we’d just been there for a drink, I would have left then and there. But we had the golf booked, so I stuck it out for two hours, and by the end of those two hours, I was the one suggesting we head elsewhere for drinks. By the end of a bottle of bubbly in a pub nearby, again, it was me who asked if he wanted to go and grab dinner.
Five months on, and I’m extremely grateful for Urban Golf!
Give yourself, and your date a chance … and take your time. What have you really got to lose?
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx