We’ve all been there: dates that just didn’t cut it. Dates that barely felt like dates. We’d rather forget about these flops, because the last thing we want to remember when engaging someone from the opposite sex is the memory of our last bad date.
But then again, it’s important to keep learning from our mistakes. Our bad dates are actually passageways to better dates – in the future. If you keep forgetting everything that’s happened in the past few bad dates, you are going to have a lot of trouble fixing your approach.
Is It All About You?
This is probably the worst approach to dates: making it all about you. By all means, make the conversation interesting. The girl is there to find out more about you, that’s the point.
She’s trying to figure out what kind of person you are. But there’s a catch: when you make the conversation all about you, you miss a vital opportunity to let the other person reveal what kind of person she is.
This means you are not really establishing a crucial connection with the other person. In addition to impressing the other person, it’s vital that you show your date that you are interested in what she has to say, and who she is.
What’s the solution?
There is a singular solution and it’s called active listening. Active listening is a communication technique that works wonders in all situations, not just dates. The principles are easy to follow:
1. In active listening, you listen more than speak.
2. The star of the conversation is the subject (your date) and not the speaker.
3. You calibrate your responses or feedback based on what the other person says.
We know what you’re thinking: would it be all about the other person? Not at all. You are still going to put your best foot forward to impress your date. But, you will not be leading the conversation – not in the way that we normally think we should lead.
Instead of just making the conversation about you, you are going to listen very closely to what the other person is saying so you can match your responses accordingly. This way, you will be able to provide the type of information that the other person wants to hear, as opposed to shooting in the dark.
Are You Using Feedback?
This is connected to active listening, but it’s another aspect of the communication process. Eliciting feedback means you are going to build your fortress of attraction on the basis of what the other person is communicating as opposed to just saying. When you elicit feedback, you forget your own preconceived notions of what makes a good conversation and hone in on what the other person is interested in.
Remember: if it is the first date, the other person will be wary of how you perceive her. Your date is going to be uncomfortable in some moments, simply because there is no rapport yet.
What is rapport?
The simplest definition of rapport is harmony. Harmony between two people is when they complement each other, like music or dance. When there’s harmony, there is no conflict or friction, and the flow energies between people are excellent. This is the sort of state that we want between two people who just might have the right chemistry to become partners.
Unfortunately, people usually fail to establish rapport in the beginning of the interaction and they end up thinking that the lack of rapport is due to absolute lack of chemistry. This is largely not true. Two people can have chemistry, but to rely on the first interaction for this chemistry to manifest is a tall order indeed. In order for chemistry to manifest, there has to be harmony between two people, first.
How can you establish rapport?
The simplest way to establish rapport with the other person is through the process of mirroring. Mirroring is different from mimicking or mechanical copying. Mirroring is allowing the other person’s verbal and nonverbal signals to influence your own. Think of how two old friends talk. One person smiles, the other one smiles, too.
One laughs, and the other reciprocates with laughter, no matter how old or corny the joke is. Unless the two are talking about mathematics or physics, the accuracy of the information involved in the interaction is of secondary importance. What is more importance is there is instant rapport between the two, and it shows with how they mirror each other.
The best way to begin the mirroring process is to think of the other person in the interaction as someone you know for a long time. This is an important junction because what we want you to do is to communicate as naturally as possible, without showing any fears or anxieties.
Sadly it’s easy to feel uneasy when you are out on a date, simply because you keep thinking that you are not doing enough to be “interesting” or “likable.”
By projecting the image of a person who is familiar or close to you onto your date, you will be able to ‘switch off’ the part of the brain that has something to do with anxiety and defensiveness.
This will definitely have a broad, general effect on how you communicate with the other person. You can be the most intelligent and astute speaker, but bear in mind that 50% of what we truly communicate does not pass through the verbal channel.
It’s been established that more than half of what we are communicating is projected by the body through nonverbal and vocal channels.
How your voice sounds, how you hold your body while speaking – these all have an impact on the final message that your date then receives before she is able to decode what you are communicating. So you can be talking about how great your Asian adventure was, but if your body is expressing anxiety, there is going to be a huge incongruence between what she sees and what you are saying.