Dear Monica, I feel like I am constantly making mistakes when I am on a date and this is preventing me from moving forward in relationships. How can I be a savvier dater? —F.C., Philadelphia
No one has a perfect dating record, so don’t feel bad. We have all made blunders on dates that make us cringe upon reflection. Sometimes the dating mistakes will lead to the end of a relationship, or perhaps just a moment of embarrassment. Either way, everyone wants a smooth ride when out on a date. There are things you can do to be in control. When you are smart and savvy about dating techniques, chances are higher that you will get to a third and fourth date in order to evaluate the potential for success for a long-term relationship. The way to avoid the dating slip-ups is to recognize them before they happen. Now is the time to reevaluate your M.O. so that you can finally settle into a long-term comfortable relationship.
Once you go on a date, do not hound him like in Fatal Attraction. He does not need to call or text you every day or ask you out again immediately. Slow and steady wins the race. If you come on too strong, he will run.
If a guy wants to get in touch with you, he will. If a guy wants to ask you out again, he definitely will. It is fine to call or text him after a date to say that you had fun and hope you can see him again. After that, lay low and wait. If he is not in touch, his loss, move on.
If you meet a cute guy at a bar, do not throw yourself at him and act overly interested. On the same note, do not shut him down right away. Innocent chit-chat is not a commitment. If you find that you do not like him, excuse yourself to use the bathroom. If you do like him, make sure that your vibe is positive and offer your email instead of your cell phone number if that is a more comfortable first step.
Forget about the stigma that successful women intimidate men. Do you really want to be with a guy who isn’t impressed by your career and accomplishments? Most men are attracted to women who are intelligent and passionate about their careers. Men also want to have intelligent conversations about politics, the environment, the stock market, sports, but certainly not shopping. Do not play dumb so a man can feel better about himself. If he can’t handle who you are, then good riddance to him.
Don’t let social media and electronics become your primary source of communication. Yes, it is fun to get a flirty, sexy text during the day, but once at home, there is nothing like a good conversation. If you become Facebook friends, make sure your photos and wall are PG-13. Try not to make too much of every woman that he is photographed with or every wall post he gets. You want to exude confidence and calmness, not your insecurities.
On your dates, don’t talk about yourself the whole time. Certainly, do not bring up an ex or a reason for him to think that you are a wounded soul. Men, by nature, are not as talkative as women, so you want to make him feel comfortable by asking questions about his work, his family and his hobbies. You don’t want to intimidate him with all that you do or make him feel competitive about your achievements.
You always want to look your best, but don’t over do it. It is not necessary to be bejeweled, to be overly generous with your cleavage or to be dressed in your haute couture. Save something for your future encounters. You do not want to scare him off with too many trappings.
Offer to pay. It is a fact that men don’t want to feel like they are expected to always pick up the tab. In the beginning, make overtures like paying for the movie if he got the dinner tab, or buying a round of drinks when meeting at a restaurant. Reciprocity goes a long way in letting a guy know that you can stand on your own two feet while being a lady as well.