First dates and initial meetings can stress out the savviest dater. Text and telephone conversations are important in making the first impression a positive outcome. There is a fine line in crossing over into interrogation mode when trying to get to know someone. Innovative and engaging conversation should never feel like a job interview either.
Telephone conversations before the first meet and greet/date is a necessary step in determining if you may be compatible for any kind of relationship. If the candidate starts talking and doesn’t take a breath for 45 minutes, it may be a sign their favorite subject is themselves. Telephone conversations relay a wealth of information. You may be informed their number is a landline. In the current world, having a smart phone for anyone leaving their love nest, is almost a necessity. If you agree that your prospective love interest is just fine living in 1996 – be prepared to do anything technically specific to survive for them. An example would be ordering their “senior coffee” at the kiosk in McDonalds! We all wish for the caller using a movie star voice, a comforting attitude and an enthusiastic welcome to share words with you.
You may be an experienced public speaker, but occupational theatrics may not be your best bet when making a love connection. Your experience with outside sales spiels may make your clients roar with laughter during the 5-star lunch your corporate expense account is paying for. If you are the comedian in your bible study, gauge your new audience before delivering the punchline, “Jesus Christ, are you still in the bathroom”!
Consider the comfort of your date before shooting off closed-end questions, such as:
- Where do you live?
- How many kids do you have?
- Do you work?
A one- or two-word response stops the conversation. Open-end questions will open a conversation for a response of more than a “yes” or “no” answer. Conversation starters allow an extension for showing interest without being invasive. Instead of:
- Where do you live? What is the best thing about living in WhereTheHellAmI, AL?
- How many kids do you have? How grand of a production is the holidays at your house?
- Do you work? What interest keeps your heart happy during the week? Skydiving? Dating Coach? Map maker? Car jockey? Rocket scientist?
If you feel like you are sitting in a tiny room with a bare light bulb burning above your head, tell Sargent Joe Friday to step back with the rapid fire of questions. You are under no obligation to disclose anything which makes you uncomfortable. A great response is to just stare back at your date with a smile on your face. State in a firm tone, “I’d rather not answer that.” You are the judge calculating if the question is innocent or digging for private and unjustifiable nobody’s business but your own!
The interviewer/date may start off with where they grew up, in a nuclear family of five in suburbia and hula hoop lessons all the way around. The information may bleed into the college and employment resume. If every single one of their work titles and positions is stated, take a deep breath and excuse yourself to wash your hands. You will be in a position to re-direct the conversation upon your return.
The expectation is that you release the elevator pitch of your “Wonder Years” to determine if there will be a second interview. Your 30 second announcement, 75 words or less can be as vague or as specific as you wish. You are in the driver’s seat when it is your turn. Inserting humor can lighten the direction of the banter into a natural flow of getting to know each other.
Be authentic and true to yourself. If the initial dialogue did not meet your expectation, you may have a humorous story to share later. Remember, it’s a date not a marriage commitment – at least not yet!
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