Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Dr. Seth Meyers, Clinical Psychologist

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Looking for a Significant Other: Find an “Asker”

One of the most consistent frustrations I hear from people looking for a partner is what I call the ultimate bad date – one in which their date doesn’t ask them any questions about themselves. Any come to mind?

Recently, my friend Ally told me about a date that started fairly typically. She and her potential beau-to-be went to a nice, quiet restaurant, and ordered a tantalizing drink and dinner. What happened next? Ally did the usual and polite thing – she asked the man who sat across from her questions about himself and his life. She had a healthy curiosity to know who he was and to establish a connection.

Not long into their dinner, she found herself asking and listening, but soon realized he wasn’t asking doing any of the asking back. At first, she felt a little dissed – was he not interested? Was he thinking, instead, she’s not very attractive and that he could not imagine asking her out again?

Soon, however, her feelings changed to frustration – would it be so hard for him to ask her about her life? What the heck did this mean, she wondered, as she drove away that night feeling empty and alone. When, she pleaded in her mind, would she find what so many of her friends already had – a good guy and a relationship she could count on?

Ladies and gentleman, you have to be on your best behavior when you are cast adrift in the dating sea. You must work to show your date that you are not so wrapped up in yourself or so riddled with anxiety that you can’t perform simple appropriate dating behaviors, such as showing interest in your date. You have to ask your date questions about his or her life 1) so that you can figure out if the two of you are compatible and 2) so that you show him or her simple respect.

Asking your date questions shouldn’t be that difficult. You don’t need to go through a laundry list of first grader questions (What’s your favorite color?) but ask a few questions that will establish a connection. Ask your date about his or her family (do they live close or far away?) or about what kinds of things he or she likes to do when not working.

Whether your date asks you questions is a critical characteristic on the path to finding an appropriate partner – it shows the ability to give-and-take and shows the ability to begin to establish intimacy. If, in the future, you find yourself on a date in which your date is only talking about himself or herself and has not asked you any questions about yourself, address it in the moment. Make a joke and smile, saying “Ok, do you have any questions for me? I don’t want to feel like I’m conducting an interview!” Sometimes calling people out can help them see what they’re doing and they can redirect their own behavior.

No matter what, make sure to put this question on your silent checklist on your next date with a new potential partner: How easily did they ask me questions and show interest and curiosity about my life? You will be more likely to find a good partner if you approach your dating relationships with such consciousness.

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