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November 2009

The results are startling, but not surprising.

Evan-web By: Evan Marc Katz, Author of "Why You're Still Single: Thing Your Friends Would Tell You If You Promised Not to Get Mad" 

In the latest It’s Just Lunch/American Way poll, 20% of respondents aged 21-39 felt they could determine within 5 minutes if a first date was worthy of a second date. 66% decide within a half-hour.

As a recently married dating coach who met hundreds of women during my bachelor days, I try not to judge such statistics. Naturally, if there’s absolutely no physical attraction, any relationship is a non-starter.

But can’t we all agree, that there are a ton of important things that can’t be discovered on a first date? And that maybe, just maybe, there’s something to learn from our elders?

I’m not going to stand on my soapbox and declare that you’re horribly shallow for making snap judgments on first dates. We all do. You’re busy, you know what you like, and you’ve got tons of dating options; what’s the point of wasting anybody’s time?

As a result, it’s easy to turn each lunch meeting into an audition. The problem with this instant-gratification model is that it doesn’t account for what’s truly MOST important in long-term relationships. What’s most important? Well, let’s ask someone who knows:

“Grandma, how have you and Grandpa lasted for so long?”

“Well, Emily, I’d say it’s because he’s smokin’ hot, I get weak in the knees around him, and we both really like Johnny Mathis music.”

Yeah, that’s probably not how that conversation would go.

Ask someone who’s been happily married for 40 years about the secret to her success, you won’t hear about looks, chemistry and common interests. You’ll probably hear a bunch of platitudes about trust, friendship, values, honesty, and laughter.

Yet these facets do not reveal themselves on date 1. It takes time for a person to reveal oneself.

In fact, I probably wouldn’t have gotten married if I’d taken my wife on a “conventional” first date. Because, in that first half-hour, I would have learned that she’s older than I am, a different religion than I am, and tells long, meandering stories that often don’t have a salient point.

But because I got a chance to get to know her, I was able to discover what makes her a keeper.

How she volunteers to give me a hip massage after I hurt myself doing yoga.

How she created a printed menu for an around-the-world wine tasting party on my 35th birthday.

How she drags me out of my office to make sure I eat her fabulous chopped salad with beets.

Her kindness, generosity, thoughtfulness and grace could not have been available to me on Date 1, and yet they are the qualities that seduced me above all others.

I’m not telling you that you should go out with someone who is rude or slovenly or inconsiderate or unattractive. I’m stating that you have no idea who someone is after a half-hour.

The way to connect is to give people a shot.

Keep dismissing everyone instantly and watch as they do the same thing to you.

Evan Marc Katz is a dating coach and the author of “Why You’re Still Single”. Learn to create your own success in dating by picking up his free eBook, “The 5 Massive Mistakes You’re Making in Your Love Life” at www.evanmarckatz.com/newsletter.html


Remember: there's a fine line between annoying and endearing.

Andrea-web By: Andrea Syrtash, Host of "On Dating"

Einstein said that the definition of insanity was doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Most of us are very stubborn about our dating practices claiming that we know what we know and even if our dating choices have not yet helped us find a successful relationship, we are not interested in challenging the way we date. Dr. Phil would certainly ask, "Well - how's that workin' for ya?”

Recent results of the American Way poll for It’s Just Lunch suggest that we are speed dating on first dates, dismissing the potential for more to develop before the bread basket even arrives.  According to the survey, it seems that we may as well request the check and end most dates after just a half hour or less!

In one of my first columns, I referred to 'Loud Sally' - a woman my friend initially wrote off as crazy and later pursued to marry.   My friend found this woman loud and rather irritating when he first encountered her, and never considered that her nervousness or the high noise-level in the room caused her to um...project...more than usual.  She was not at her best but he did not stick around long enough to realize there was a lot more to 'Loud Sally' than met the eye (or the ear, in this case). Interestingly, some of the quirks that this woman displayed the night they met later became my friend's favorite parts of her personality when he re-connected with her a year later. He once told me, "She hiccups when she's excited!" as if it was the cutest characteristic someone could have. Remember: there's a fine line between annoying and endearing.

How do you know, though, if, with a little time and patience, someone may grow on you? Here is a simple litmus test: If you look at the woman across from you on a first date and feel completely turned off and cannot see any shadow of a possibility with her in this lifetime (oh – the drama!) move on. If, however, you look at the woman in front of you and think, “She’s not a supermodel but I’m kind of enjoying this conversation…” hang in there. You may discover more about your feelings or the connection you have with her after the initial round of first date small talk…

Don’t get me wrong: I am not suggesting that you go on multiple dates with someone who turns you off – that is unrealistic and unfair. But - is it too much to ask for you to try to stay open-minded and present for the duration of a simple lunch date with someone you even moderately like? Like at first site is definitely underrated. Is it not worth the time and money you have put into the date to actually give it a fair shot? Doing so is not just for your date’s sake, but it is for yours as well.   If you are rejecting any possibility of a connection before you even know if you have one, you may be missing out on someone you have real chemistry with.  Too many happily married folks report that feelings grew through time together, and we all know that some of the blind date chatter is not always our best material.

Give your date an opportunity to show you who she is before you mentally check out. Give her more than half hour. After all, wouldn’t you want to be given the same chance?

Andrea Syrtash is a dating expert, life coach, author and host of 'ON Dating', produced by NBC Digital Studios. Her third book, "He's Just Not Your Type (and that's a good thing)" will be published by Rodale in April 2010. Andrea has made Google 'hot trends’, ranking in the top 100 things googled on particular days between 2007-2009. She has no idea how that happened, but appreciates the (very postmodern) honor. For more visit www.andreasyrtash.com