Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dating 101 - Advice for the Guys

The other day an acquaintance of mine posed a question on her FB wall. She explained that a man who was interested in her, keeps calling her with last minute plans. She asked if she should just agree to go. She's interested, but annoyed with his methods.

As you can imagine, most of her female friends encouraged her to tell him she needs more notice to go out with him. Some men encouraged her to demand more respect, she's worth it. Then there were a few men, and one in particular who just didn't get it.

The guy who didn't get it posed the argument that if the opportunity just presented itself, she should be game. What's the harm, you're a fun girl.
I agree... concert tickets fell in his lap the day before the concert... why not?! Sure, go. It's spontaneous and exciting. Although I will say, his chances improve if he has taken her on at least one proper date already.

That doesn't seem to be the case. This guy is avoiding the effort it takes to date properly. 

As I read the continued conversation, HeDoesn'tGetItGuy asked why the potential dates tactics bothered her. She astutely explained that the fact that he's asking her as an afterthought, makes her feel that she's not important to him.
Which is completely accurate. Any man who can't call a woman up and  ask for a proper date three days in advance is okay with breadcrumbs.  Most likely, he doesn't want to invest in a relationship. He is trying to see what he can get with the least amount of effort.

The exchange became increasingly frustrating as HeDoesn'tGetItGuy chided our lovely heroine for not "explaining her feelings" to her potential suitor, and then devolved into "Don't force men to follow all these rules!"

I wanted to chime in and explain to the doofus, that he's mistakenly looking at this as a case by case situation.  It's not. This young woman is not building a wall of rules  --- and she's not actually dealing with feelings.  This is 100% about BASIC DECENCY!

She's not upset about this one guy's behavior. She's upset because men today no longer know how to date. They don't seem to know the basics about how to treat people.
It's not entirely their fault. Between the internet and texting and IMing, communication in general has turned murky.

Rest assured. Some things don't change. Share this with the men in your life who date.  We're about to get serious.

Asking a woman out

When she gives you her phone number use it. Use it to call her and have a conversation. Don't text! You can't expect her to agree to dinner or even coffee if she has no idea what it is like to have a conversation with you.  We're talking at least an hour, maybe three of her life she will never get back.  Like all great experiences, you need to build up to it.

Ask her out at least three days in advance. If you'd like to see her on Friday, call her Tuesday night. Maybe Wednesday if it's been a busy week.  If you ask her a full week in advance, you're really wooing her!

Call her again a day or two before the date to confirm details. Make sure she knows where to meet you, what time, and maybe a suggestion of what to wear.  I'm serious. If you say it's a concert, but it's actually a concert in the park, she's going to plan completely different outfits. Is it a long walk to the venue? She wants to be ready with comfortable shoes. If you don't do her this courtesy, don't complain when she says she can no longer walk in her high heels.  You didn't warn her!
About confirming the details: Do your best to have a plan for the date before you call and ask her out. Be ready with the where and when. These days, when a guy asks us to go out with him Thursday night, but doesn't say where and when - we're pretty sure he's going to flake out. We're not planning to go on that date. If you say you'll call again to firm up the plans - DO IT!  and don't text her the plans either.  If you do, we're sure you're still going to flake out. 
Communicate! Don't ask for a date and then stop communicating for the days in between right up until an hour before your date.  Come on! If you want her to be excited to spend time with you --- you're going to have to do some build up! No one wants to date a stranger. Are you interested in this girl? Then talk to her.
Are you just so nervous and don't know what to say? Here's a script, "Hi Jenny, this is Jerry. I just wanted to tell you I'm looking forward to seeing you on Friday."  Honestly, that's it. The conversation will build from there. Confirm the time and place. Chat a little but don't stay on the phone too long.

After the date

Call her!  Tell her you had a great time. Set up another date. Same rules apply. Rinse and repeat.

You should plan the first three dates. Yes, find out what she's interested in, but it's up to you to plan it. Even if she lives in another part of town, don't cop out with - "Why don't you pick a place, since you know the area better."  Oh my geesh, that is so annoying. You have the internet. Use it! Now, you can say, "Do you have a favorite restaurant?" or "Tell me your two favorite places." then YOU pick one. Seriously, you pick.  Oh and don't expect her to call you during this time period. She will return your calls, but she probably won't initiate a phone call. This is good.
After three dates, you can call with last minute tickets to her favorite band. Or, you just found out your friend is in town and bunch of you are getting together for dinner tonight. And she has the right to decline.
But always remember to plan dates throughout your courtship. 
You pick, you plan and you pay. You plan the first three dates - maybe four*.
This gives her time to determine if she wants to know you more. Then maybe she'll invite you on a hike, or an outing with friends, or she'll prepare a picnic in the park. But she should not treat you or reciprocate until you've taken her out three times.
That's right, she's not reciprocating until it's time. Now don't start whining about how expensive it is to date. I had lovely dates with a man who took me to street fairs. Two different street fairs two weekends in a row. No admission fee - just buy her a corn dog. Fun. It gave us lots of time to talk and experience one another in various situations.  (oh, but do tell her whether you're planning to stop for dinner, or if it's going to be fair food. She may want to eat before she leaves home if you're just planning on nibbling.)

If you have found that you didn't enjoy her company, don't leave her hanging.  Tell her you enjoyed meeting her, but there's just not a spark.  (this is universal code for "I'm not interested" - we all accept that. No spark. Fair enough.) You don't need to say anything hurtful or feel a need to BeReallyHonest - just thank her for her time and move on.

Make an effort to get to know each other. Yep, I'm talking about communication. Don't just ask a girl out on the weekends, without talking to her in-between. You're supposed to be interested in her. If you don't ACT interested, she won't think you are.

You should learn something in this step. If she is rushing you off the phone or sounds bored, she may not be interested in you. She may be legitimately distracted, and if she says so, believe her.
But if she is constantly tuning you out, move on.

Don't text. Now, this may be different for you younger folks - I understand that's how you communicate. Talk with her about it. Ask her preference.
My rule is, if you want to send a flirtatious hello, or tell her you're running 5 minutes late, you can text.  Do not text her to set up a date.  Do not text her because it's less trouble than calling her.
If you like her, talk to her. Texting is the least amount of effort you can put into communication. I suggest making an agreement not to text until you're "in a relationship".

These are not arbitrary rules.  This is all about common decency. 
Every woman will appreciate these efforts. Use them all, every date, every woman you date. 
Even if she seems a little uncomfortable with the formality. If that's the case, it's because she's been dating inconsiderate men before you. Show her she's worth it. She'll come around. 

If you are dating a woman who doesn't appreciate these efforts, you may find that you are not actually dating a lady. 

If these efforts seem like too much, or not worth it, then just face the fact that you're not really interested in the woman - or even dating for that matter. If you're really interested in someone, these are things you would WANT to do. Let that be your litmus test. 

* The three date theory is courtesy of Cynthia from Veil of Chastity. It's pure brilliance. We women tend to get excited and mentally planning our weddings after one good date!  I extend the idea to four dates because after dating Mr. ShouldBePerfectforMe, it wasn't until after four dates that he blamed God for his decision to stop dating me! I'm pretty sure God didn't tell him to share the revelation via email!!! 


Anonymous said...

Hmm, I like this. I was in a serious relationship with a guy for six months! and he failed at almost every single point you made. Oh I was not perfect at all. But now, I clearly know why I usually felt like, well, an afterthought.

TRS said...

It makes me wonder how much we ARE an afterthought, or if men don't know these basics?
Often the men who don't follow these common sense guides for dating, are dating a handful of other women. That's why they think a last minute invitation is acceptable, or, really, you really are second choice. (Universal you - not Ruth you!)
And it's okay to date a few people while you're getting to know them. Once things get intimate, one must be exclusive!

One thing I have learned,when a man is really interested and invested... This all comes naturally. He will make you feel special, seemingly effortlessly.

MrsK86 said...

I've found that if a man is only interested in one thing (sex with zero effort), he won't put much thought into the dates.

One red flag is if he suggests going for drinks as a date (with no food involved), because it usually means that he will try to get you drunk so that he can make a move. This is not the behaviour of a man who wants to get to know you as a person.

When I met my FI, he asked for my phone number, he called me the next day, and asked me on a date a few days in advance. He booked a table at a romantic restaurant, and treated me to a wonderful evening. He walked me home afterwards and asked for another date. This is what a guy will do if he's truly interested. Otherwise, don't give him any of your time.

TRS said...

Bingo MrsK!
Although, I will say that meeting for coffee or even dessert is an acceptable first date ( or first meeting if you are introduced online) because I know things are difficult finiacially these days for many people... And I think a first date shouldn't be a huge commitment. (Speaking too of a woman commiting 3-4 hours with someone who may turn out to be a bore, or a boar! ) I feel that we often know in 90 minutes if we want to see someone again.
Just get to know each other... THEN commit!

(My 90 minute rule comes from my experience, in which I am more willing to see someone one more time, if I find them interesting. But then they keep me for coffee for 3 hours and then never call again! Sheesh, if you just needed someone to listen to you talk, book a therapist! Don't waste 90 more minutes of my time!)

MrsK86 said...

I'd say a coffee date is fine if it takes place at lunch time. If it takes place in the evening, a nice meal is a must :-)

My view is... if he's not going to make an effort to impress you in the beginning, he's unlikely to ever make an effort.

I don't have any experience with online dating, so maybe in those cases it's best to keep it more casual at first, seeing that you've never spoken to this person face to face?

Genevra said...

"Sheesh, if you just needed someone to listen to you talk, book a therapist! Don't waste 90 more minutes of my time!"

That is my favorite comment TRS. :) I've had that happen on more than one occasion on a first date. Of course I know people causally and strangers, who treat any person they are talking to like a therapist, so it's not just men on dates.

TRS said...

Exactly MrsK.
Meeting guys from online is a real crapshoot. One wants to be able to have an easy out. ( I once got stuck with an ex con for dinner!) if after one drink, coffee, wine, beer, whatever, you can agree to have a nibble if its going well. If its not... Bail captain, bail!

TRS said...

Genevra! Right?
But it's more than guys treating a date like therapy. Often I think my burden as a god conversationalist, they're just so happy and comfortable talking to me, they don't stop. So I think they're interested in my personality... If you're talking to me for three hours.... In person or on the phone, I'm going to think you like me! I guess no one else will listen to them!

TRS said...

Ugh..GOOD conversationalist, not god!