How to Survive and Enjoy (!) a Blind Date
by David LeVine
You may not agree, but it seems to me that blind dates are high on the list of things that everyone loves to hate. I have just one question - why?
Apparently, there are a number of myths about blind dates that are ruining their reputation. If you're interested in exploding those myths and learning how to make blind dates productive and even enjoyable, this article is for you.
Myth #1: Blind dates are silly because you can just as well meet someone spontaneously. Fact: Let's face it. If you're working full time, how many opportunities do you have to suddenly meet a potential dating partner? The majority of married couples will tell you: They did not meet at a club or in college. Someone introduced them. The sooner you accept that a blind date can be the most valuable tool in searching for your soul mate, the sooner your whole outlook on blind dates will take a positive turn - and so will your ability to utilize them.
Myth #2: Your first impression on a blind date is usually correct. Go with it. Fact: The area where first impressions count least might just be blind dates. Anyone can be nervous on a first date, or have had an awful day at work. Be honest: Do you show who you really are inside on that first, blind date? Well, neither does your date. Instead, look at it as an icebreaker. Don't make any decisions if they're based on mere impressions. Just relax and enjoy the evening as much as possible. Don't let first impressions get in the way.
Myth #3: If you don't click right away, then you aren't right for each other Fact: Although many of us expect to click instantly with the person who is right for us, in reality that doesn't happen too often. Instant connections are rare, and for most people they take several meetings to develop. So if you find that you have a few things in common, or some aspects of your date's personality appeals to you - that's enough to go out on a second date.
Myth #4: If you don't feel physically attracted very early on, you never will. Fact: Even though physical attraction is an obvious requisite for marriage, it does not necessarily come instantly. If a man prefers women who are tall, dark and exotic looking, then when he goes out with a petite, blonde, blue-eyed woman it will take him another date or two to appreciate her looks no matter how beautiful she is. The thing is that, when you begin to like a person for who they are, you find yourself appreciating their physical appearance, too.
Now that we've dealt with the myths, we can get down to some practical advice: How to survive and enjoy (!) a blind date - and how to set the stage for date number two.
- Don't spend more than a few minutes talking about your job. Your date wants to see who you are, and if you have the personal qualities they think are important in a future spouse. You are not going to impress the other person by showing them what an accomplished business executive you are. A date is not a job interview. Show the softer side of your personality.
- Be a good listener. Remember, you want to get to know the person you're with. Show a genuine interest in your date by picking up on a hobby, interest or project that she mentioned. Let him know that you're interested in what he's saying.
- Keep the conversation light. You do not want to reveal your deepest secrets to someone you hardly know and are not sure if you will ever see again. And they don't want to hear you pour your heart out over whatever may or not be going wrong in your life. A good rule is to stick to "airplane talk" - the kind of information you would share with a complete stranger who is sitting next to you on a flight.
- If it's hard for you to make small talk, practice beforehand. Not everyone has the gift of gab. If you don't, then practice ahead of time by going over possible topics of conversation. If you're really shy, then role-play with a friend and walk yourself through that first date.
- Some ideas for conversation on that first date: These ideas will help you stimulate the kind of conversation you want to have on a first date - conversation that will help you learn a little bit about each other's values and way of thinking, and will also form the basis for more conversation on the second date. Who do you most admire? How did they inspire you? What has been the most satisfying achievement of your life? Is there something you've dreamt about doing for a long time? What is your most treasured possession, and why?
- Don't stretch the date out for too long. There is a limit to how much conversation two people can sustain when they go out for the first time. The ideal first date should last between two and two and a half hours, and should give both of you the opportunity to talk in a pleasant and relatively quiet atmosphere; a walk through a beautiful park followed by a good cup of coffee and dessert is great. Men, if you are dealing with social expectations that demand that you take her out for a costly evening, take this advice anyway. Don't go for a five course meal. And if you're going to a concert, make sure you have time either before or after to talk with each other.
Now that you've exploded the myths and gotten some great advice, you can put it to work. Next time you have a blind date, keep all this in mind and see the difference!