First date

by singlemomseeking on December 22, 2008

I’ve recently plunged back into online dating. Without naming names, let’s just say that this whole process has reminded me: social skills really do matter.

It’s one thing to “chat” with a potential date by email. But what happens when you have that first phone call? And how about when you meet in person?

For that initial phone call, I do my best to carve out a quiet, space with no interruptions for 10 minutes. (I see you laughing. Ten private minutes without interruptions as a single parent? Ha!)

I’m extremely sensitive to a man’s voice. If he’s nervous or awkward, it shows right away. You can practically read someone’s aura by listening to the way he talks. Do you agree?

When you meet a date for the first time, eye contact is crucial. If I’m walking up to a man, and his eyes immediately dart to the ground, that’s not a good sign. Are you with me?

Then, there’s the greeting. I’d love to know:

Do you shake hands when you meet a date for the first time? Or, do you give each other a hug? (I’m still figuring this one out, but for now, I listen to my gut about which one to do.)

Once we start talking, I seem to have this uncanny sense for seeing a man’s pain right away. Perhaps this is because I’ve had my share of painful experiences — and the hurt in his eyes mirrors back to me.  Because I know my pattern of trying to “fix” men,  my challenge right now is to recognize the neediness, say “thank you,” and move on.

Tell me:

How much does someone’s voice matter to you, when you speak to him/her for the first time?

How do you greet a blind date when you meet him/her initially? (Hug? Handshake? Big old kiss on the lips? Just kidding!)

What are you super-aware of on a first date?

And no, I DON’T wear my “Single Mom Seeking” T-shirt on a first date!

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{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

PT-LawMom December 22, 2008 at 9:48 am

I’ve noticed that a lot of men tend to hug on the first date. I just take my cue from them. It’s either a hug, a handshake or awkwardness (bad sign). As for super-awareness, I read once that men reveal a LOT about their true selves on the first date almost in warning and that women often miss the flags because they are too gaga or nervous. So I try to stay calm and pay attention to his words, committing them to memory for later.

PT-LawMom´s last blog post…Content

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T December 22, 2008 at 10:06 am

These are all really good questions!!

I can tell plenty from a man’s voice on the phone too. And detecting pain… sheesh girl. Me too. I know we’re supposed to run…run away fast from “fixing”… but gosh, its just SO who I am. I am really trying to clue in to negativity. We all have our pain but if a man isn’t negative about it, I feel much more comfortable.

I agree with PT-Law above. I’d see what’s offered regarding hug vs. handshake. But I need to really be aware of my own body language too!

I can’t wait to hear about your first dates Rachel!!

T´s last blog post…Projections, Presents and Presence

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Phil December 22, 2008 at 10:15 am

Yes, the first phone call is brutal. I’ve been dumped on the first call, which I didn’t feel was fair, but it probably was the right call.

Be careful about what your are reading in a date…you might not be as accurate as you think! It’s possible that he is just nervous.

Don’t go for the handshake – it’s too impersonal. If you don’t want to hug, it’s better to say ‘Hi’ and put your hand on his shoulder…in my opinion.

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mc December 22, 2008 at 10:25 am

The most important thing when internet dating is to meet ASAP! Then you don’t have time to build up unreal images and expectations of each other. Which are inevitably disappointing. Also it tends to screen out the married liars and men who are too insecure to ever meet women in person–they just want an online fantasy.

Also carefully crafted flirty emails, sometimes cribbed from cheat sheets, are not much help in determining what someone’s personality really is like.

In addition, how in the world to you judge “chemistry” without meeting? He may be perfect on paper, but if he doesn’t float your boat in person, you be better off giving him the “friend” lecture soon and moving on.

I’m in favor of greeting the blind date with a little kiss on the lips (but brief, and no slobber, no roving hands, and no tongue, obviously.).

No man has ever complained!

I think a little kiss shows that you are taking the meeting seriously in terms of it’s potential for romance (very reassuring to men, who I’ve found seem to feel more awkward in blind date situations than women), and it really breaks the ice and cuts down the formality of the occasion, getting them talking. Which is what I want, because I want to get to know what they’re like!

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Mike December 22, 2008 at 10:29 am

Oh come on. Wearing that shirt will definitely get me a second date.

The voice? Not much since I always imagine it differently.

I shake hands since some women aren’t touchy feely to they know you. So I stay safe instead of sorry.

If there is any chemistry.

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mc December 22, 2008 at 10:38 am

And I personally haven’t had luck with men who ask on 1st or 2nd dates all hangdog for a “hug” (before they’re comfortable kissing me).

They all turned out to have mommy issues.

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singlemomseeking December 22, 2008 at 11:00 am

MC: Are you serious about “greeting the blind date with a little kiss on the lips”? I’m trying to re-read and look for the joke… but you seem serious? I can’t imagine! I can envision an Italian kiss — on both cheeks — but on the lips when you first meet a guy! Do tell.

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singlemomseeking December 22, 2008 at 11:09 am

T: I actually had you in mind when I wrote that “detecting pain” bit because we seem to have that trait in common… oh, help us. But I love what you add: There is a difference between recognizing your pain and faces it… and running from it blindly.

Mike: Interesting that you stick with the handshaking rule!

Phil: A man’s nervousness is a big red flag in my book. Of course, we’re all a bit nervous, right? But when a man is incredibly nervous, the mother in me just wants to hold him and say, “It’s really going to be okay”… Not a good sign for a relationship, yes?

PT Law Mom: I have a habit of opening up/talking too much on a first date (me??), so thank you for this:

“…men reveal a LOT about their true selves on the first date almost in warning and that women often miss the flags because they are too gaga or nervous.”

I’ve got to learn how to lean back and observe.

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Susan December 22, 2008 at 11:22 am

I’ve learned to trust that first phone call BUT, that said, my BF is much better in person than he ever was (and probably will be) by phone! So, if you have enough in common and connect even remotely over the phone, go for the in-person date before saying “no”.

Susan´s last blog post…A little bit of B.A.D.

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Schvach December 22, 2008 at 11:24 am

I’m no expert – I’m far from it, having given up dating in college, but this whole on-line dating ‘thing’ strikes me as absurd. You’re absolutely correct when you assert that social skills really do matter; how about interpersonal skills, like the sort that allow one to provide for the emotional needs and psychological well-being of one’s ‘significant other’ (not to mention one’s own)? And talk about one’s significant other, how’s that supposed to develop from an on-line connection? Fooy!

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singlemomseeking December 22, 2008 at 12:29 pm

So, Schvach, how do YOU meet people?

Any suggestions?

Susan, you’re using the “BF” word. Woo hee! How sweet!

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kevin December 22, 2008 at 12:40 pm

I try to feel things out on whether or not to hug a woman or shake her hand when meeting on a first date. Its usually a hug, though. I mean, we have been corresponding/phone chatting enough to wanna meet in person, so there must be some kind of attraction. I pay attention to the little things on a first date. Fingers/toes; smell; etc. (I stopped seeing a girl once because she had bad feet – i know. stupid. this was a longgggg time ago, when i was in my early 20s).

kevin´s last blog post…Advice from the marathon expert(s)

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dadshouse December 22, 2008 at 12:53 pm

If someone’s a little nervous on the phone, I don’t hold it against them. But a truly bad phone call where we are struggling for things to say is a bad sign.

I usually hug women when I meet them. Kiss on the cheek if they are European. Handshake if they seem uptight.

As for what you look for in a man – if you truly want to get away from “fixing men”, stop looking for things to fix! What I mean is, rather than sitting down and trying to find the flaw in the guy, the clue that you should run – instead of that, focus ahead of time on what qualities you truly want him to have, then look for those qualities when you meet.

It’s sort of like using “The Secret”. What you think about will manifest. If you keep thinking about “fixing men”, men who need to be fixed will keep manifesting.

dadshouse´s last blog post…Hamburger Meat Recipes of the Relationship Kind

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Schvach December 22, 2008 at 2:32 pm

SMS:
I meet people all the time, but not for the purpose of dating. Meeting people can be quite effortless. In NY, the best place (I think) is the Metropolitan Museum of Art -for real.
As for dating, I wouldn’t know where to begin; as I commented in an earlier post of yours, I regard dating as an activity for adolescents and young adults. If
one is past the age where one can be trusted, then one is too old to date.

Schvach´s last blog post…

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SDMktg December 22, 2008 at 3:30 pm

One of my friends gave me that tip several years ago about skipping the email chit chat and getting right to the meeting. It worked and it’s much nicer to meet people in person than email back and forth forever when it comes to dating.

I guess I’m lucky to have a deep voice because once I got them on the phone they were hooked and wanted to meet.

I always hugged on a first date. If that makes someone uncomfortable they aren’t for me. The primary thing I looked for is “do I want to see this person again and do I want to know more about them?” Sometimes the answer to one or both questions is no.

SDMktg´s last blog post…Christmas Dinner – Standing Rib Roast, The King of Meats

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Mike December 22, 2008 at 3:48 pm

I’ve broken the handshake rule a few times, but most of my women friends had said better to be safe than sorry. That the hug could come off to strong and put a damper on the rest of the meeting.

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mc December 22, 2008 at 4:05 pm

Sure, I’m serious!

I mean, just a little kiss, like a flirty greeting. Similar to a kiss on the cheek but not so sexless.

Maybe not for a totally blind date who you’ve never talked to before.

But for someone you’ve exchanged a few philosophical, and a few flirty emails with? Someone with whom you have some hopes that maybe it might actually work out? Why not?

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judy December 22, 2008 at 4:25 pm

I find each leap..email to phone and phone to face should be made quicker than I allow it to happen.

The longer you stay in one form of communication the easier to stay there for a myriad of reasons.

Intellectually I know the only way to know is face to face while building a real relationship….all that virtual stuff is second hand smoke.

I hug with a hello if I am attracted but usually shake hands, with a firm shake to show independence (left over women libber’s day stuff).

I say goodbye with a hug if I want to see you again.

I usually hear speech patters and grammar over voice. I try not to correct those adjectives that should be adverbs…(“sorry I am late the traffic was bad and I had to drive slow over the bridge.” “You mean you drove slowly over the bridge?” and the I, me, my errors which are too common for my tastes. I also am aware of speed of speech.

I am acutely aware of how much (or how little) and how quickly alcohol is consumed.

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MindyMom December 22, 2008 at 4:39 pm

Personally, I no longer do the online dating thing. I found that what was described in the profiles just confused the process for me – meaning it was often the best-case scenario portryal of themselves – maybe even who they wished they could be…but weren’t. I do agree that you should meet someone you’re interested in asap, as face-to-face is the only way to truly “read” someone. Good luck!

MindyMom´s last blog post…A New Look

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singlemomseeking December 22, 2008 at 5:08 pm

MC: Wow!

Dad’s House: Thanks for the reminder to stay positive. Very true.

Judy: You crack me up! That’s because I have to hold myself back from correcting a man’s grammar, too. So true.

SDMktg: You are blessed to have a deep voice. I’m a sucker for a deep voice.

Mindy’s Mom: Let me know if you have creative ways to meet new people face-to-face… that’s not at a bar. Thanks.

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judy December 22, 2008 at 5:28 pm

meeting people…
Of course the best way is just by living life to its fullest, accepting every invitation, being open to chatting to the person next to you on the bus, knowing that every connectin you make can lead to a plethora of other connections.

Do I heed my thoughts….no usually. Not only do I have to make myself go out, I have to commit to talking to at least one new person before coming home. That’s the tricky part for me.

Sometimes bars get bum raps. I will sometimes go to a bar to knit because it is not home and gets me out.

I just engaged and swapped phone numbers with a man I met at a bar. I was knitting and having a cocktail. He was playing chess and drinking water. (Ok, ok, he admitted to me the water was because he had hit his drinking limit for that night…2 beers and a shot)

It’s a strange thing dating…..those pre-arranged marriages did have something on their side..

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tanasie December 22, 2008 at 6:07 pm

I totally agree. A voice is important. I was playing voice mails of potential dates for a girlfriend just yesterday. One guy’s voice was so whiney and awful that I can’t bring myself to call him back.

I had a JDate recently who gave me a hug and kiss when we met for the first time which was a little awkward. I think a handshake is okay. No matter it’s pretty awkward and weird.

A friend told me yesterday that she thinks that Jewish guys make great husbands (I wouldn’t know) but as daters they’re often socially awkward freaks.

tanasie´s last blog post…Gifts From the Grave

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laurakim December 22, 2008 at 8:42 pm

Voice is a deal breaker for me! Seriously I can be put off instantly by the sound of a voice! I am VERY aware of it and VERY aware of the tones people use!

Greetings – depend on the person. Some dates have hugged me like I am their long lost friend, others a simple kiss on the cheek, some a full on kiss on the lips. I just go with it – I am not too fond of the shake hands greeting – seems a little to impersonal for me!

laurakim´s last blog post…Visit to the Lion and Rhino Park

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walt December 22, 2008 at 9:02 pm

I agree with Dadshouse that you shouldn’t be searching for the flaw in the guy, but I don’t agree about making a list of qualities you want in a guy. The nature of online dating is that we don’t have time to meet every person with whom contact is made, so we need to narrow the field a bit before committing to a meeting. Fine. But once you have committed to meet, I think you are much better off making a conscious decision to avoid an instant evaluation (unless of course you find him physically repulsive), and just let him unfold a bit first. These days I am very confident when meeting a woman, because I am so practiced. However, when I first started dating again, I was a little nervous. But I’m still the same guy as I was then.

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Zoeyjane December 23, 2008 at 1:18 am

Okay, so I’ve literally been on two dates, ever. And one of them literally was a group-friends thing that I knew at the end of the night was a date. I’ve always fallen straight into relationships.

I’m going to take notes, now.

Zoeyjane´s last blog post…On Late-Night Feasts

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Crazy Computer Dad December 23, 2008 at 5:58 am

Voices are important, but not necessarily everything. Sure, for a first impression over the phone. However, how many times have we been put off by some facet of someone we have just met, but later really come to admire the total person they are? How many times have we pursued someone because of some physical attribute, but later realize there were just too many other parts missing? What about the people that are really good at making great first impressions over email, the phone, and in person, but later you find they aren’t interested in any true relationship?

I see handshakes most often upon a first meeting. Maybe a hug at the end if it went well, maybe a light kiss. If I’m not given a hand or a clue I just give her a light hug.

What do I look for? How easy the woman is to talk to. How easily she smiles. How confident she is. Is she nice? How does she parent her children? What life experiences has she had? Not all at once, it isn’t an inquisition after all, but through easy conversation.

I honestly try to walk into every meeting with no expectations or fantasies. I try to be in the moment and be with them. I’ll either leave my cell in the car, or put it on silent. The rest of the world usually becomes a colorful kaleidoscopic blur. I can’t seriously make a judgment call about someone if I’m not paying attention right?

I also recommend not mixing business with dating. It is an instant turnoff for me when I ask someone about what they do and then they try to sell me a house. This has happened more than once.

Crazy Computer Dad´s last blog post…Christmas…. :-)

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Dan December 23, 2008 at 6:22 am

Light hug…unless she shoots a hand out first for a handshake. And shaking hands with a woman is a whole subject in itself…

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Lance December 23, 2008 at 6:57 am

SMS, these are some good points to bring up. I always speak firmly and confidently, hold eye contact, and hug. I do a Latin-style hug with a quick cheek kiss. I think this is the ideal greeting for a guy meeting a first date. The hug tells you several things immediately:

1. How comfortable and touchy she is. IMO confident, outgoing women will readily respond back with this type hug.
2. The smell test.
3. Her (body) tension level which tells you how to proceed with opening up the date, ie producing more comfort or going immediately into rapport.

Lance´s last blog post…Thought Leader Interview Series: Sinn

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great9124 January 9, 2009 at 6:46 am

One of my friends gave me that tip several years ago about skipping the email chit chat and getting right to the meeting. It worked and it’s much nicer to meet people in person than email back and forth forever when it comes to dating.

I guess I’m lucky to have a deep voice because once I got them on the phone they were hooked and wanted to meet.

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