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Being an effective and “wise” dater requires that you balance several separate issues. You must be assured of your own emotional health and have created a list of qualities that you want and don’t want in a relationship partner. You also must have developed the ability to actively listen. “Active Listening” is a way of absorbing who a person is, by the things they say. It’s about asking questions and empathizing with their answers. This type of listening is the best way to quickly determine if the person sitting across from you is a good potential mate.
Tell Me About Yourself
During a first date, volumes of personal information are exchanged. As a person talks about their life, they reveal what sort of people they have as friends, what their hobbies are, their level of responsibility, their anger level, their opinions on the opposite sex, and on and on. These clues are usually wrapped inside stories or observations, but to the person who is focused on listening, they are loud and clear. It is usually best to arrange for a first date to be in setting where you can spend unlimited time talking and sharing. When you do, you can learn enough during the first date to decide if this is a relationship that should move ahead.
Is that Any Fun?
Dating should be fun. Life should be fun! This fact-finding attitude doesn’t mean that you “interview” your date, firing question after question to see if they make muster. Rather, in the course of natural conversation, be aware of what is being revealed. It is also important for singles to focus on the other person during the first few dates. We all want to make a good impression, but trying to “win over” someone makes it hard for us to tune in to the necessary information that is coming our way. Mature dating involves questioning deeper matters – matters that determine the likelihood of a healthy, long-term match.
Becoming an Expert Observer
The best way to get the maximum information from someone is to get them talking and then listen. Often times the most basic questions like, “Do you like your job?” are the most revealing. If someone spends 15 minutes explaining how they hate their job but cannot seem to leave, you can discern some very valuable information about their level of day to day happiness. We encourage you to start with the simple questions. “As you listen to what the person says, you can ask follow-up questions in a natural way, and you can move toward more meaningful topics. You want to discover what the person enjoys about his daily experience, whether he is happy and why.”
Pinpoint the Family History
Perhaps the most important indicator of whether a person would be a good relationship partner is their relationship with their parents. By directing the conversation to family history you can quickly learn a great deal of information about how this person will behave in an intimate relationship. Also important here is information on the marriage of this person’s parents. It is a natural tendency for individuals to re-live the marriage that was modeled for them as children. A traumatic childhood would be a warning sign worth considering.
Acts Speak Louder Than Words
While some people are skilled at talking in ways that hide their true natures, their actions invariably reveal a great deal about whom they are. By the end of a first date you have witnessed: a person’s phone manner, their punctuality, their manners, their respect for service employees, as well as an entire host of other behaviors that reveal their values and beliefs. It’s crucial that you assess your date’s judgment. If the individual knows how to make consistently wise decisions, he or she will almost certainly contribute consistently to the strength and health of the relationship. So your task becomes one of “judging your date’s judgments.
Lastly, intuition plays a part in deciding if this person is someone you would like to continue seeing. Do you feel comfortable around this person? Can you be yourself? Even if nothing you have heard during your date seems to be a warning sign, you must still honor that feeling that says something is wrong. With some people, you feel a need to live up to their expectations, preference and strongly held opinions. With others, you experience a kind of total acceptance and unconditional affirmation that sets you free at a deep and fundamental level. Attention not only to what the person says and does but how you feel at the end of the evening is the key to making a wise relationship decision.