The phrase, “I don’t get how you meet all these people and have these fun experiences all the time.” comes out of my friends mouths when I tell them about the latest date I’ve gone on. “It’s because I make it a priority to put myself out there.” I tell them, and it’s true.
When I ask friends (or strangers on Instagram) why they aren’t going out on dates, these are the most common reasons:
- I’m too busy, I just didn’t want to go out.
- I cancelled. I just couldn’t bring myself to go on a second date even though I think we had chemistry.
- I’d much prefer to stay home with Netflix after a long day.
Ok, well, wouldn’t we all? But Mr or Mrs. Right isn’t going to walk-in your door. Unless you’re into burglars, then maybe it’ll happen but even then chances are SLIM. Dating is hard work, there is no question about that. It just comes down to priorities. Do you want to find someone to be a goof with and really get to know? Then you gotta put in the effort. That’s before and during. Will you make the time after you meet this person to see them? Because if you’re too busy to do that then it’s no wonder you don’t even want to get off the couch to make an effort. Prioritizing is number one.
I have a hectic life. I work full-time as an event planner, I write for a magazine, I have other freelance side-hustles, am active in the KC Social Scene, have an adorable dog who needs my attention and friends who I like to see. That said, meeting someone and developing a real connection is important to me so I work that into my life. There have been weeks where I have 3 first dates and maybe 1 or 2 seconds from the week before! That’s a lot! I don’t do that all the time but if I use my time wisely and make discerning choices, it’s actually pretty easy to do.
This means scheduling to meet for drinks right after work or agreeing to meet at 9 p.m. for a cocktail after I get my chores and other tasks done. Sometimes it even means meeting someone for a bite in between meetings and friend dates. It’s not that I’m rushing it, but I’m finding the time where it makes sense and fitting it in which bring me to my next point: The One Hour Non-Date .
This One Hour Non-Date has been so valuable to me. What this means is you plan on meeting someone for 60 minutes. No less and no more. In an hour you should know if you want to see this person again, moreover, if you want to sit across from them at a dinner table. Should you have a lovely time, extend that date another hour if you so desire. A drink can always lead to another or to getting dinner. However, anyone can fit an hour or so into their life to meet someone. If it goes well, schedule the next time you want to meet right then and there. I’ve had quite a few “non-dates” that have turned into dinner or a second, third date and so on. It also keeps the mystery and intrigue that’s important to keep in the early stages.
So now that you’ve got your date locked in, what should you discuss in this first hour? Depends on your previous convo (and hopefully you haven’t been pen pals for too long) but if you haven’t yet asked these questions then I suggest the following:
- Asking about their worst date or their dating experience on whichever app you met on (great ice breaker)
- Where they are in their life right now and what they want (or don’t want) currently
- Don’t be afraid to get a little deep. My least favorite thing is small talk. I’m not going to discuss childhood trauma or past relationship drama but asking about what their passionate about, something exciting they are working on this week or something exciting coming up in their life or big goals they have – is more fun to talk about then their work day!
Flirty banter, charisma, openness and thoughtful questions will make this hour FLY by. It might be tempting to continue hanging out (and you totally can) but I would steer away from the 8 hour date at first. That’s not always as good a sign as one might think. Keep it to 2-3 hours and part ways, hopefully already adding the next date in your calendar.
In summary, to maximize your time and increase your potential second dates remember.
- Don’t take too long to plan a date. We all get busy, if you are even a little interested and communication has been flowing – book it!
- Suggest meeting somewhere that you enjoy that is ideally in a central location for you both.
- Keep it in your mind you will be there an hour, 90 minutes at most. Ask good questions and try to leave with an inside joke – this sets the stage for the next date and give you both something to bond over.
- Part ways with another date scheduled.
- Don’t be afraid to follow up with a text. I don’t obey these rules. I may text later or the next day and thank them for a nice time (add in something hilarious) and state that I am looking forward to seeing them again. Bonus points if they do this before you get to.
Dating is work but it’s rewarding when you make a connection. Not everyone is for everyone and not everyone is going to be a gem, but no experience is ever wasted – even the bad ones. A lesson can be gleaned from it and at the very least help you to solidify exactly what you do not want. Make time for what you want to make time for. I’ve gone on dates I was dreading – not for the person – but because I was cozy in my bed or tired after a long day, but those dates are usually the ones I have the most fun on! Take a chance, make the time and you can thank me for it in the comments.