We make a lot of things harder than they need to be -- and that often includes dating. To prove my point, I asked three single guys what they wish women would do differently on dates. Their answers? The most glaringly obvious tips ever. But, their advice is also so simple it's easy to forget. In fact, I've personally forgotten to do all five of their dating dos! So, the next time you're freaking out about a date, dial it down a bit and keep things easy. How do you do that? Well, it's really quite simple:
1. Listen Up
We fantasize dating to be fun, but in reality, it often feels like a job interview. There's the awkward moments of silence, the uncomfortable dry mouth, and the CIA-style questioning that goes on and on!
Jake*, a 30-something who runs his own tutoring company, says he's been on several interview-style dates, including one where he barely got the chance to speak! "The girl would ask me a question, but then start talking about herself as soon as I got the first sentence out. It was so weird; like she didn't even want to hear what I had to say."
Whether you over-share when you're nervous, or are constantly running through your relationship checklist instead of engaging with your date, you are guilty of not listening! The next time this happens, take a deep breath, look into your date's eyes, ask him a question, and then listen. Don't just wait for your turn to talk, but really listen. This is the only way to see if a true connection exists.
2. Be Patient
Eric, a Los Angeles-based screenwriter, jokes, "They say you know right away, sometimes even in the first five minutes of the date! Wow, really? You have that power? Am I on a date with David Blaine?"
Although most '90s teen movies suggest it takes a mere 17.7 seconds to fall madly in love, that's just not realistic. In fact, the first time I laid eyes on a future boyfriend in my yoga class, I used those 17.7 seconds to dismiss him as a "douche." Little did I know that "douche" would take me on the best first date of my life just a few months later!
Even David Blaine would have to admit: magic takes patience, and there's nothing quite as magical as falling in love.
3. Show Gratitude
Every guy I interviewed for this article said there's been more than one occasion where a date did not thank him for buying drinks, dinner, or even holding the door.
For those of you rolling your eyes and thinking, "I would never do that," I have a confession to make: the yoga guy paid for our first few dates and I never said "thank you." Not once. Not because I was playing hard to get. Not because I'm entitled. But because I forgot.
Look, I grew up in Minnesota where politeness is valued over swagger. Saying "thank you" comes as effortlessly to me as breathing. Yet, even I failed this "etiquette 101 test." So, even if you're caught up in excitement, don't forget to show a little gratitude... or your date may just "forget" to return your text the next day. By the way, did I say "thank you" for reading this yet?
4. Be Honest
Nate*, a 20-something tech recruiter, told me he wishes women would be more straightforward when it comes to dating. This one made me defensive at first -- after all, aren't guys the ones who typically play games? But, then I remembered when the yogi called to ask me out on a second date. The poor guy actually said, "I'm trying to ask you out again, but it's like pulling teeth."
You see, I let myself be vulnerable with him on our first date, but after that, I put on a "cool girl" attitude and acted like I couldn't care less if he called me again. I couldn't risk being hurt.
"What, you need to be pursued to the ends of the earth, and it MUST be tricky and difficult?" joked Eric when I told him the story. "Who are you, Osama Bin Laden?"
I quickly took down my walls after that "pulling teeth" comment and let the yoga guy know how much I liked him. He didn't have to pursue me any longer. From that point on, we were pursuing something together.
5. Have Fun
I saved the best (or rather, most obvious) for last.
I know what you're thinking, "Fun?! How am I supposed to have fun when I'm making horrible small talk with five guys a week and none of them are a good fit?! And when I find one I like, he disappears!"
It's hard to have fun when you've been let down so many times that you're more guarded than the White House. Still, how can you actually connect with someone if your guard is in the way? Spoiler alert: you can't!
Leave all your baggage behind and enjoy your next date, no matter what -- even if the guy is shorter than his online profile states; or if he has an awkward laugh; or hell, even if he's wearing crocs! You are stuck on the date, so why not enjoy it while you're there? You have nothing to lose... except maybe that frown when you see those crocs!
Ok, so even when a hot guy asks you out on a hike, dating is no walk in the park. However, there's no reason to make it even harder on ourselves! Once I let go and just started enjoying myself with the yoga guy, I found a magical connection. It took patience and honesty, and I had to risk being vulnerable, but it was worth it. In fact, the yoga guy went on to become my husband.
So the next time you're wondering why dating has to be so hard, remember these five easy steps and let go! Who knows, maybe you'll click with that "douche" in your yoga class... who's not-so-douchey after all.