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Assessing your date's possibilities by the venue they choose
"Date" has become a word that is open to interpretation, as it means different things to different people. When someone talks about going on a date or dating someone, this could mean that they hooked up last night or hook-up on a more regular basis--or at the other end of the spectrum, that they went out for an evening of food, drinks, conversation, music, and/or a movie or show. It's not really an age-related difference as people of all ages share these experiences, even though for millennials casual dating is more acceptable and even expected.
The problem for daters begins with meeting available and compatible people that they are also interested in and vice versa. When they do, then it's the coordination of schedules that becomes the next hurdle. If their schedules line up, they can set a time and pick a place to meet, or an activity, etc. They might toss ideas around and then agree on one, or the person who initiates getting together might already have something in mind. However it works, the suggestions a prospective date makes contain information about their level of interest and intent in wanting to get together. Paying close attention to these could save people from wasted time and disappointment as they can be a great way to screen out someone who really doesn't have the same dating goals as they do.
The following are some examples of this:
The casual drink
You text back and forth a few times and he suggests you meet for a drink early in the evening. It's a place that is close to his work and is Ok for you as well. You get the sense he has something later on, but was able to squeeze this in. The place turns out to be nothing special, rather crowded and noisy and you do manage some conversation above the din. You really like him and enjoy talking with him, but the date ends in 1.5 hours as he has something later. He thanks you, says he has a good time and will get back in touch about getting together again.
This kind of date is often a first meet between two busy people. However, even with time constraints, this guy chose a place that was convenient for him, was in a place where conversation was difficult, and at a time that he had to squeeze in, as opposed to finding a time that allowed for the date to continue if it was going well. He mentioned getting together again, but nothing specific in terms of where and when. If you add these up, it says that he made little to no effort short of putting it in his calendar and showing up.
Had he suggested getting together for dinner the following Saturday or talking on the phone the next night to discuss a plan for a weekend get together, it would have said he was interested in something more and would make it a priority. Yes, it is possible he texts back and suggests dinner or another activity the following week. However if he doesn't contact her again or does and suggests a drink somewhere, his interest and intentions are low and he's just not that into you.
A nice dinner out
Two people meet and hit it off. He gets her number and sends a text. It took some back and forth, but they were able to find a night that both were free. He suggested a nice place for drinks/dinner, and maybe even asked her if she had a preference on where to go or what to do. They came to agreement and both were there on time. It was a great little bistro, conversation was easy and interesting and after dinner was over, one of them suggested they go out for a nightcap at an outdoor place in a scenic location.
A first date like this demonstrates real interest, effort and a real intent to try and get to know someone better. It doesn't have to involve spending a lot of money, or going to some over the top place. It's more about setting a scene that says I want to get to know you and then making the time to really do this. Showing up on time, leaving the evening open for possibilities, all speak louder than words.
Going to a sporting event, show, other activity
When something like this is proposed, it says the person is willing to invest real time, energy, and possibly cash into getting to know someone. They have put careful thought into it, chosen something they like that they want to share--and are basically saying that this is someone they hope they can share this with, who will like what they like. This person is demonstrating a real interest in something beyond casual dating/hooking up. They are seeking a relationship. If the other person has very low interest, this is a date they should decline, nicely of course.
Doing something outside the box
Now these can be great dates. Going canoeing, hiking, grilling out and catching fireflies as you look for shooting stars in the summer sky are all examples of outside the box dates. When someone suggests/plans a date like this, they are inviting you in to a special place--one that perhaps gives you a glimpse of a happy childhood experience or memory of theirs or perhaps just an activity that is special to them and they want to share it with you. We learn more about someone through even an hour of play than we could if we spent weeks around them at work or in casual socialization. Maybe it's no surprise then that many of our most treasured memories of early love contain scenes like one of these.
If you meet someone who catches your interest and imagination, consider skipping that routine drink/dinner/movie date and find an activity that allows you to spend some time just playing together. It's a great way to learn about someone and to see them without pretense and all the layers that formal dating can add.
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Toni Coleman, LCSW
© Copyright 2008 Antoinette Coleman. All rights reserved.
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