We’ve all heard the expression, “you never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” This statement couldn’t be truer than when it comes to first dates. First dates are an opportunity for both parties to see if they have anything in common with the other person, outside of a physical attraction. First dates also serve as a gateway to finding love. If you are a professional single, you have to be mindful of how you communicate both verbally and non-verbally, so that your first impression is indeed a great one. Knowing how to separate work from the rest of your life is a big asset. Some of the wonderful qualities that contribute to your success might not translate so well, on the dating scene and in relationships. The person sitting across from you wants to get to know more about you as a person, not about your resume or job description.
Below are three chronic communication mistakes that professional singles often make on their first date. Take note and see if you’ve been guilty of any of these in the past. If you have, don’t be too hard on yourself. Simply make note of the mistake(s) and make plans to adjust your behavior, so you achieve better results on a future first date.
1.) Talking too much about work and about yourself
You work hard, if you’re a lucky, you also love what you do. In your mind, there is nothing wrong with talking about your work and sharing it with a new person of interest. This is true only to a certain extent. More often than not, professional singles spend way too much time on the first date, talking about work and their careers. Sure, you spend a lot of time at work, so it is a major part of your life, but it’s only one part. Be sure not to focus too much on it. You might think it’s interesting, but this might not be the case for your date. If you’re not careful, this can make you come off as boring, unavailable, and self-absorbed. It will also seem like you have no life. All of which are major turn-offs.
The same thing is true when talking too much about yourself. If your date asks you a question and you spend twenty minutes responding, it’s safe to say, you’re doing too much. Chances are by the time you finish; they will be one of two things; bored out of their minds or turned off or both. You’ve now spent a fraction of the date, making it all about you. Don’t do it to yourself or them. Give an overview and move on. Leave room for them to ask you more questions, which shows their interest. Even then, remember to do your best to be brief and redirect the conversation back to them, so that it is an even exchange. You’re there to get to know them too!
2. Not Listening
A huge missing part of effective communication in relationships these days is our inability to attentively listen to the other person. However, this is the only real sign of interest that you can give your first date right off the bat. Not listening comes off as rude, arrogant and self-centered. Don’t cut them off in the middle of a sentence, don’t fiddle with your phone, answer a call, or allow your eyes to roam around the room constantly. When it’s your time to listen, you are also communicating a lot in the process. So, don’t spend the entire time caught up in distractions and miss out on getting to the know them.
Listening is crucial to a successful relationship and important when wanting to really connect with someone. It’s best to put your best foot forward in this department from the beginning. If you need to work on it, here are some tips to help you become a better listener.
- When you listen, you listen with your ears of course, but also listen with your eyes, your body, and your mouth.
- Show you’re interested in them and what they are saying, by turning your body toward them, and leaning in their direction, especially if there is a lot of background noise.
- Listen to their words, but also focus on what they are saying and the messages that their words convey. This helps you follow-up with feedback that will help you get to know them better without seeming pushy.
- Make eye contact as much as possible, it shows they have your attention and you’re focused on what they have to say.
- Smile at them when doing all the other things above. J
Being a good listener shows, you’re in tune with them and that you’re caring because you made the choice to give them your time and attention. Being a good listener is very sexy and will make you much more desirable to a potential mate.
3. Talking at/talking down to your date
At work, you might be a manager or even the boss, and might be used to talking to people in a way that is authoritative and directive. This works at work, but not on a first date. Your date is not your subordinate, so be mindful of your tone and manner in which you speak to them. Be patience and open-minded. Don’t be so quick to be turned off or look for the flaws in them. Be respectful of the person, their time, and their interest. When you’re on a first date, if you feel like you aren’t interested for some reason, figure out a way to end the date quickly, but never result to talking at or talking down to your date. This is a major sign of disrespect, not only to them, but to you also.
My last words of advice — loosen up! The first date is not an interview or a police interrogation. Don’t bring the stressed out person you were that morning at the 11 a.m. executive board meeting. Don’t bring your inner detective/secret service self, and remember to leave all of your dating repellent at home. You’re not there to scare them away; you’re there to give them reasons to be more interested in getting to know you a little better. Be your best self. I’m not saying to be phony or send your representative. However, you don’t have anything to prove. So, relax and enjoy yourself. It’s the only real way for you to see if there is any kind of real chemistry for things to eventually blow up…in a good way! By avoiding these big communication no-no’s, you’re in a better position to go from single to taken.