You talked all night! Well, one of you did. She seemed riveted by your stories and the details of your job as she sat quietly listening for hours. So what went wrong?
I have time and time again experienced a first date with a man who will just not listen. He prefers talking about himself, thinks that talking of himself will somehow impress me, or just doesn’t care about what I have to say or what I’m about. The fact is, I don’t really care which of these reasons is correct. The unfortunate thing is that after just one date, I am most likely never going to tell the guy that I don’t want to see him again because he was a horrible listener. I will simply say something vague about a lack of connection so as to avoid hurting feelings of someone I don’t know well enough to give constructive criticism.
The real reason I never want to see him again is that I believe his preference for his own voice comes from a) arrogance, b) insecurity, c) a lack or interest, or d) all of the above. Also, it’s boring!
Because I don’t let these guys know the real reason that they’ve struck out, I am bringing the issue to you, dear readers. Let’s look at the ways we might improve our communication and avoid talking our dates out of ever seeing us again! (And yes, that I may also air my indignation.) And for anyone who doubts that this is a serious complaint among women, see dating coach Evan Marc Katz’ recent post (and the comments): How Do I Handle It If a Guy Does All the Talking On Our Date?
But She Won’t Talk So I Have To!
Don’t get me wrong guys, I’m not saying that this is something only men do! Women also have their moments. I’m just addressing the men who talk about themselves too much because that’s what I have personal experience with. But out of fairness, I’ll let you know that I have been guilty, and of course I have a defense that many of you might already be thinking about. Sometimes you’re on a date and the other person is just so tight-lipped that you have no choice but to dominate!
I am usually a quiet, introverted person, but on this particular first date it was he who was terribly shy and not forthcoming at all. The date was awkward to say the least, and out of nervousness and the fact that he never led the conversation, I started running my mouth. At one point he managed to utter… “I think it’s okay to not talk sometimes.” I knew what he was saying, and it was utterly embarrassing.
The reason I mention this story is because I was acting totally out of character on that first date. So MAYBE, those guys I dismissed for being bad listeners were having a similar experience? They may have been nervous. Or maybe I wasn’t pulling my weight conversationally and they felt they had to fill the dead air. But the thing is, even a quiet date does not excuse any of us from rambling on or turning that first meet into a monologue. If I had armed myself with some advice about dealing with such a situation I might have saved myself from being such a Chatty Cathy.
The Best Way Ensure This Doesn’t Happen To You?
First of all, let’s assume your date isn’t a mute or too shy to engage in light conversation. If you notice that you’re talking way more than your share, slow down for a moment. Remember that even though your accomplishments and interests are fascinating and would woo any woman, if you don’t show an interest in your date’s own thoughts there’s going to be a disconnect.
Women love to be asked questions about themselves. They love to give their opinions. They want you to get to know them just as much as they want to learn all about you. And they want it to be obvious that you are interested in them – thoughts and all! And don’t be like my last unsuccessful date: ask questions, only to interrupt after 10 seconds and change the topic.
If you do end up on a date where the imbalance arises because she isn’t reciprocating or is super quiet, don’t let that signal you to keep blathering on. The trick here is to ask questions. Just getting “yes” or “no” answers? Go deeper. Ask her about her interests and when you see that spark when she mentions something important to her, go deeper with your questions on that topic. And hey, if she really isn’t receptive to talking at all, it’s okay to move on and forgo a second date. After all, finding a comfortable match that you can converse with is what it’s all about. That and well, you know.
Have any dating war stories to share? Been completely talked-at on a date? Please share in the comments below!