You rose through the ranks of a Fortune 500 Company and now you are at the top of your professional game. You save people's lives through the practice of medicine. Your entrepreneurial spirit has made you wealthier than you could have ever imagined. You are a published author. And so forth.
But you are in the same boat as the person who has to make that awkward first date phone call this evening...and your intelligence and life experience should inform your understanding that the first phone call should not be scrutinized, fact checked or otherwise picked apart in ways that have helped your analytical, discerning mind succeed professionally.
The phone call has nothing to do with that person's professional success, resumé of accomplishments, or, most importantly, who they are as a human being. The first phone call is not limited to a demographic or exclusive to a certain class of individual. It's the great equalizer. So 'you' do not have to be any of the aforementioned masters to know what making that call is like. This involves everybody.
The first phone call is difficult. Yet, clients tell me it's critical. Vital. A deal-starter and even a deal-breaker. If that's the case, I think the first phone call's importance might have to be reevaluated. There's no easy ice breakers in the game of dating, and those who easily break the ice could be perceived as far too smooth and experienced and self-assured, crossing the fine line between confident and arrogant.
We are bombarded by lists of the 20 qualities of the confident people, the 10 qualities of the extroverted people, the 15 qualities of the optimistic people, but please point me to the list of the qualities needed to forgive another's first impression over a phone call.
I tend to work with remarkable and unique people whose talents might not be found on the first phone call before the first date. They clam up. They ask a question that the other person perceives as too intrusive. They speak too much about themselves. They speak too little about themselves. They talk about the weather and they are not meteorologists.
Whatever the wrong thing may be to the person on the other end of the first phone call, they are sure to say it. And the date never happens.
He or she who flubs the first phone call probably qualifies for all lists of optimism, success, empathy, confidence, physical fitness, erudition, etc....but boy are they talented at making the wrong and likely misinterpreted first impression.
It can easily be because there is no template for a first phone call. And maybe that's as it should be. The nerves of 'asking you out' are timeless. The Internet and technology might have made it easier but he or she still has to muster it up to address the elephant in the room. ("I would like to take you out Saturday night because I am attracted to you")
It simply is not that easy. I would propose that the person on the other end pause to acknowledge the awkwardness from the moment that stranger says 'hello' or 'hey' or 'how's it going' (is that the proper salutation?) in order to prevent the dreaded premature rejection.
I would implore people to save the other person by acknowledging that even exceptional you has not become a grand master in the art of the first phone call. And that exceptional you is layered -- hopefully not fully understood in five minutes. Or maybe exceptional you should have the empathy to know how difficult it is to break that ice.
I mentioned masters of the universe above, perhaps only to drive home the point that no person can comfortably and confidently write the book on how another will react to their phone call. It perhaps is for exceptional you to make that phone call easier and give that person the benefit of a single date.
Then let them flub...
As always, I would love to hear your thoughts.