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