Dating Games: Less is more

Your life is not an open book just because you’re on a date.

Dating 521 (photo credit: Pepe Fainberg)
Dating 521
(photo credit: Pepe Fainberg)
Less is more in so many ways when it comes to dating. It keeps the mystery alive, and it keeps your guard up while keeping you wanting more. Reveal less information about yourself, spend less time communicating before a date, post fewer photos and so on. Keep some things to yourself and leave something to open up about at a later time.
It doesn’t matter if you’re single, divorced, widowed or if you’re old, young, middle-aged or if you’re a parent, an ex-con, a recovering alcoholic... talk about yourself on the first few dates, not your baggage – positive, fun, exciting or otherwise.
I have always advised limiting correspondence before a date. If you’re being set up on a blind date, simply make the plans and get together. The matchmaker has already told both of you enough about each other. If you met online, then you know way too much about the other person from his/her profile. The information the person supplies is what you would normally talk about on a first date, which is why I recommend waiting until you meet to start up a conversation. Already your first date is going to feel like a second or even third date. Again, limit the e-mails and phone calls to establishing mutual interest and making plans. If you met in person, then you already know there’s attraction and chemistry, so wait until you’re officially on a date to exchange pleasantries.
Talking too much too soon can build up unrealistic expectations and will only set you up for disappointment.
I recently fixed up two friends of mine but didn’t tell them too much about each other, nor did I encourage them to talk before meeting.
They each did some minimal research (asking mutual friends for approval), and then he called her to make plans for that weekend. She was so nervous beforehand, that she called me to calm her by reminding her what a great guy he was and why I thought they would work together and also that it wasn’t a big deal if they didn’t click.
But they did, just as I knew they would. They ended up spending five hours talking that night, got together the next two nights, and two weeks later they became “official.” There was enough of a confidence build-up since I had chosen them for each other, that they didn’t need to add any more pressure. It’s been nearly six months, and they’re still going strong.
They got to know each other in their own time and met without any preconceived notions.
On a recent episode of the TV show The Millionaire Matchmaker, matchmaking entrepreneur Patti Stanger was setting up a man who was divorced and had signed over custody of his children to their new stepfather.
Most people would have a difficult time understanding why or how someone could sever ties with his children, so when a date asked him if he had kids, he answered her honestly and she was turned off instantly. Stanger told the man that in the future he should wait until the fourth date before revealing this story.
Stanger is right. On the first few dates, you’re just getting to know each other and are looking for reasons not to like each other. Everyone has faults, but we’re more likely to accept them after we’ve gotten to know, and grown to like, each other. I’m not telling anyone to lie. Simply admit to whatever it is, but offer to tell the story once you’ve become more serious.
The gentleman on the TV show should have said, “Yes, I have kids but it’s a long story, and I’ll be happy to share it with you later on down the road.”
Your life is not an open book just because you’re on a date. You’re not obligated to share any information.
That said, don’t avoid answering every question or you’ll look like you’re hiding something. It’s your truth, and you should be proud of it no matter how crazy or how boring it is. But it’s when and how you divulge it that makes the difference in how it’s digested.
When it comes to posting photos on your online dating profile, you don’t need to use all 12 options – six is plenty.
Less is more with photos not just in quantity but in quality as well.
There is no need to post super-sexy photos of yourself. Less skin, less makeup, fewer “extras” such as friends, pets and family members. The photos you do post should show continuity, but you don’t need to post an entire roll of film. Let the few photos speak for themselves. If someone is attracted to you, he or she will know from those couple of photos plus your profile description. The chemistry will only be proof positive once you meet in person.
Basically, remember that although you are, in essence, selling yourself, it doesn’t mean you need to share everything right away. It’s nice to be an open book, but only reveal the first paragraph of every chapter, not the content or even necessarily the conclusion. The truth is, most first dates will end as a first date, and there’s no need to have so many people out there knowing the intricate details of your life.
Wait until you’re dating someone and in a relationship before exposing the skeletons – or the treasures – in your closet.