A good  list of no nos on a first date was compiled by Lisa Lombardi for MSN and can be viewed by clicking here.

   A friend of mine after reading "How to Make Friends and Influence People: by Dale Carnegie decided to try out what he had learned on a fellow in an elevator.  He had learned to show interest in other people so he asked the fellow what books he was carrying.  The fellow replied "Mind your own business".  Another friend of mine was on a elevator when a beautiful foreign girl stepped on.  He said to her "Where are you from?"  He tells me that turned her off completely. 

  What did they do wrong?  They showed interest in the other person which Dale Carnegie recommended that they do. 

   I once noticed that I seemed to turn women off when I showed sexual interest.  I learned from this that I should keep my sexual feelings to myself and just be friends.  I figured that eventually they would become interested on their own and that if they didn't that it wouldn't have happened anyway.  I did this with a very attractive girl who eventually decided that she didn't have the time to spend with me.  Years later we had a discussion and I told her about how I had felt about her.  She told me that I should have told her.

    What did I do wrong?  When I showed interest girls rejected me, I adjusted my behavior to not show interest and then am told I should have shown interest.

   I think part of the answer is that one has to be able to evaluate where the other person is.  If the other person is showing signs of interest then it may be appropriate for us to show it.  If we are not getting any signs of sexual interest from the other person then it probably is a bad idea to show sexual interest.  The same with any interest.  Asking what books someone is carrying is more appropriate if one has some familiarity with another person.  When you just meet someone it's better to try and talk about a common interest than asking about them.  If the beautiful foreign girl my friend met on the elevator was carrying a ping pong racket for example, it would have been better to ask, are there any ping pong tables around here then the question where are you from.  People may feel you are a stranger intruding on their personal space if you ask them questions about themselves.  My experience has been that women who I try to strike up a conversation with by asking about them have generally reacted by avoiding me.  I have had better luck if I talk about something in our environment or something we are both experiencing, like they've got really good food here or something of that nature.

    I have an acquaintance who complains to me how she is mistreated and how one of her friends never calls her.  I spoke to that friend who explained that my acquaintance is unreliable when making plans and that she calls and criticizes her for not being more friendly or for saying things that are hurtful.   Sometimes people unintentionally say things that hurt us.  It's important to distinguish whether they hurt us intentionally or not.  If they didn't and we want their friendship it's better not to criticize them.  If necessary we can tell them that if they behave a certain way we are upset by it.

    I've gone to many singles party in the past and have seen mistakes made there.  Some men look for sympathy and support from the girl they have just met.  They talk about their problems, their insecurities, how they'll never amount to anything, how they haven't achieved what they want in live etc. etc..  I have no someone like that.  He is very lonely.  He has had a lot of trouble finding someone and his relationships all fall apart.  One day inspite of all this he found a beautiful upbeat warm kind girl who wanted to marry him.  He decided he didn't want to marry her because she had misbehaving children, because he didn't want to have to support the children etc..  So when a woman was willing to put up with his negativity he was so negative about her kids that he wouldn't marry her.  Many years went by afterwards of his being lonely and then one day it happened again, he met an upbeat warm girl.  She wasn't as beautiful this time, she didn't want marriage, but she wanted to be exclusive.  While they were together he was always negative about himself, complaining he hadn't achieved more and so on.  He told me that she would always be supportive.  He gave an example of how they were walking together on the Harvard campus he said "I wish I had gone here."  She immediately said, "Bill (not his real name) you are very accomplished.  Eventually she told him, I don't want to be exclusive anymore. After he told me these stories I told Bill, the reason she left you is probably that she got sick of having to argue with your negativity, a negativity that never goes away.  I told him that your friends shouldn't have to argue with your negativity, you should argue with it.  You are the one who should say, "But Bill, you're very accomplished."  Bill said to me, you're right, one of the reasons Michelle (also not her real name) said she doesn't want to date me exclusively is my negative attitude and that I always complain about my job. no woman wants a reclamation project.

   An interesting question is what would happen if you put two negative people together, would they hit it off because they have so much in common.   Bill did meet Sandy (another false name) and they both decided they didn't want to date the other.  Sandy was willing to use him for car rides to get to singles events but that's about it.  They both felt the complaining of the other was tiring and a downer (as if they could be more down than they already were).  They didn't mind talking about their own problems but listening to someone elses was too much.

   One example of self destructive negativity in relating to the opposite sex, is when men tell their dates how bad their ex-girlfriend or ex-wife was to them and so on.  No matter how true that may be and no matter how much sympathy they may need, that's a bad idea.  I have heard women complain to me more than once what a turnoff it is when men behave like that.  My girlfriend told me about a terrible first date she had in which the man constantly told her how awful his ex was.   She said that it made her think that someday he would talk about her that way.  

     In nature the female is attracted to the dominant male.  Women throw themselves at power.  A male with problems hardly qualifies as a dominant male.  A successful happy male does.  Note by dominant I don't mean domineering.  Women, likewise shouldn't come across as depressed or insecure.   I have a woman friend who constantly asks me for reassurance about her figure etc.  and I can't stand it.   Insecurity is a big turn off.  Why would I want to get involved with someone who is always asking me for support?  I want someone who brings happiness into my life, not problems. 

    I also am turned off by women who are too dependent.   If someone I'm dating keeps asking me to do things for her and tells me that she's afraid to do something herself that's a real turn off.  I'm turned off by women who can't get control of their lives.  I dated a woman who was overweight and whose excess weight was causing her diabetes.  I encouraged her to diet and she kept telling me that she was trying but every time she saw a bag of potato chips she had to have some.   This helplessness is a real turn off to me.  I am attracted to women I admire.

    If one is rejected a lot one becomes insecure and that in turn causes rejection.  As a man I don't want to go out with a depressed insecure woman.  I want one who is happy and who will make me happy.  If she's depressed I would be concerned that she would make me depressed and her problems would become my problems.

    I think it's important to have fun in social situations.   When people are having fun they smile and they are easier to talk to. It's better to be laid back than uptight and serious.  Being uptight and serious gets other people uptight.  If one is desperate for a girlfriend on is likely to be a lot more serious and uptight. 

    I know a guy who a lot of woman are interested in and I could never figure out why.  He was quiet, and not particularly attractive although he wasn't overweight.  I asked one of my friends who was very interested in him and she thought about it and finally told me that there was one thing all the men she was interested had in common.  "They knew how to flirt".  It's very hard to flirt if you're serious and uptight.

    Recently I have been dating someone and going to singles events and yesterday an attractive woman asked me if she could give me her phone number.  That was a shock because in the past when I asked women for their number they often said no.  I think because I am dating someone I treat other women differently.  I think it is because I behave more normally when I'm not desperate for a girlfriend.  

    Her asking if she could give me her number was   lot more comfortable for me than if she had asked me if I would give her my number.     I feel threatened if I give out my number.  For all I know the woman could be some kind of Kook who could call me all the time when I don't want her to.   I think women also feel more comfortable accepting a man's number than giving out their own.  On the other hand many women feel the man should do the calling and the pursuing.  A diplomatic way may be to offer one's number and then if she wants to she will offer hers back.

    There's another reason that I think this woman asked me if she could give me her number.  This was the first time she was at the singles event and she didn't know anyone.  She had trouble finding someone to talk to.   I make it a policy at these events to talk to people, both men and women, who have no one to talk too and introduce them to my friends.  I do this because I've been in that situation and I know what it feels like.  I did this in her case and since I was the only man she talked to and she wanted to leave the singles event with a boyfriend or at least the possibility of one, that might have been the reason she asked me if she could give me her number.  One's chances at singles events may be best if one talks to people who are by themselves.  Often people who are already in a conversation resent intrusions by others.  If a man found a woman he was interested in, the last thing he wants is another man joining in the conversation and walking off with her.  I had a man do that to me.  He joined the conversation, diverted it to what he wanted to talk about and monopolized the conversation with the girl I was talking to. 

    Sometimes even women who are talking to each other resent men joining in.  I once joined in such a conversation and one of the women became angry.  I found out from the other woman that the reason was they were talking "girl talk" and didn't want a man listening in. 

    The general lesson I've learned from this is that if I try and initiate conversations with strangers it should be with strangers who are not in conversations with other people. 

 


Self Help Home Page
images/peopleTalk.GIF (6042 bytes)
Social Skills Home Page

c o p y r i g h t   ( c )   1 9 9 9 - 2004 Karl Ericson Enterprises.  All rights reserved

Table of Contents