I was a matchmaker for over 5 years and now run a dating site. Here are some positive habits I’ve consistently seen people (including myself) appreciate while dating:
- In planning a date, offer the other person a few choices for time and location. You want to show you’re considerate and flexible.
- We’re all busy, but we choose our priorities. Respond to someone’s texts or calls within a few hours so they know you can make them a priority. Playing games generally backfires. Just don’t go overboard in the other direction.
- Be on time for meeting them. If you’re running late, give them at least 20 min. heads up, and more if you think they’ve already left. You don’t want them to think you don’t respect people’s time or don’t care at all.
- Don’t talk about exes on a first date, unless it’s a brief explanation of a divorce/separation situation, like “we split amicably and co-parent well”. If the other person asks about a previous relationship, try to keep it positive and succinct, and move on.
- Ask them questions about themselves so you don’t end up talking mainly about yourself. You want them to know you’re a self-aware and considerate person. Ask follow-up questions that get to more thought-provoking answers. If you start with “what do you like to do outside of work?” and they say skiing, you could follow it with “Cool, I’ve never been skiing but would be open to trying! Where do you generally go, and what do you like about skiing?” Try having a few interesting questions in mind ahead of time, like “If you didn’t do your current career and money wasn’t a factor, what else would you do?”
- Give them a compliment or two each time you see the person in the first few dates, but don’t feel pressured to do it right away. Let it come naturally as you talk. Compliments lead to the positive association of them feeling good about themselves when they’re around you.
- Don’t check your phone or answer calls or texts on a first date, period. If there’s truly an emergency, excuse yourself, apologize and explain the urgency and that it’s a rare occasion. After a first date, continue to avoid using your phone while at dinner or having “quality time”. Use your judgment to make sure you’re responding only to things that are truly important and time-sensitive.
- This is mainly for the men – don’t get too “handsy” or aggressive. Your #1 goal is to build trust with her. Even if there’s a lot of chemistry, give her the impression that you know she has boundaries and you respect them. If you’re not sure if you should make a move, let her lead. Great things to do: hugging when you meet or say goodbye, placing your hand on the small of her back while you’re walking to a table, gently touching her arm, shoulder or hand when at some point while talking. The “no” list: putting your hand on her leg at a table, zooming in quickly for a kiss at the end of date just because it’s the end and anything that you’re unsure if she will be receptive to.
- In general, you don’t want to swear/cuss, talk negatively about other people or proactively complain about anything on the first few dates. Keeping it happy is helpful in creating positive energy and connection.
- Text someone after the first date saying you enjoyed meeting them and thank them for drinks/food if that applies. It makes you look considerate and interested, which are both requirements if the relationship is going to take off. Without showing genuine interest, the other person may more actively pursue other options.
- If you decide you’re not interested in moving forward anymore, be clear and don’t a ghost. If it’s early on (a first month or so), you can text the person to let them know you don’t think they’re the right fit but you had a great time getting to know them and wish them the best. If it’s been longer than a month, a call is better.