Basic Listening

Communication
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Even though we join online dating sites to meet other people, a lot of the ‘prep work’ involved has to do with self-reflection. You have to figure out who you are in order to write about yourself well. You have to figure out what you really want in order to maximize the efficacy of your searches. And if something isn’t working for you, you can often help yourself by asking yourself tough questions.

However, such introspection can become problematic when actual outside people enter the picture, such as on the first date. Chances are, you’re still worried about yourself: the impression you’re making, how much to talk about your past, whether you have anything interesting to talk about if there’s a lull in the conversation. Plus, there are the additional nerves associated with any first date. So guess what’s probably not at the forefront of your mind?

Your date. Or more specifically, what your date is saying.

It can be easy to forget to switch the focus from ourselves to our potential match, but it’s vital to the health and potential success of the date itself. Consider: if you’re focused on your match, you’re probably less nervous, because you’re paying attention to what they have to say instead of whatever you’re obsessing about. As you relax, you’re probably more natural and attractive.

When you’re actually paying attention to the conversation, it’s much easier to have a back-and-forth. You aren’t casting about in your mind for conversation topics as much, because you’re simply following the natural flow of the conversation. There are fewer awkward silences. And since you’re focused on your date, it’s much easier to get a sense of whether you’re actually compatible. When you’re wrapped up in your head, your judgment is much more suspect.

Finally, there’s the most basic of reasons to focus on your date: it’s polite and respectful. Your date is probably just as nervous as you are; they’ve probably gone over conversation topics in their own head too. Giving each other the respect you both deserve is the perfect way to get a relationship going on the right foot.

So next time you go on a first date, don’t fret too much about your hair or the million tiny what-ifs that could go wrong. Instead, focus on listening and responding to your date - it’s the simplest, and best, way to get the ball rolling.