If a woman is out on a date with you, you’ve won half the battle. The other half is helping her like you.
I’ve never felt like I was asking for a lot when I was dating. Several men I’ve dated long-term, and even my current husband, have said to me, “You’re the most low-maintenance woman I’ve been with.” Maybe they lied to me about that, who knows.
What I do know is that I always gave my dates a lot of rope, but the majority of them hung themselves with it. Sadly, as a Relationship Coach, this seems true for a lot of other women too.
The biggest surprise to me, each time, was how many of my dates didn’t know they’d kicked the chair out from under themselves. They thought dates, even especially terrible ones, had gone well.
Let me tell you about pajama guy.
Pajama guy asked me out for coffee one day after I got off work. We scheduled the date a couple of days in advance.
Thirty minutes before the date, he texted me, “I’m wearing my jammies. I think you’ll like them.”
“Haha,” I texted back, thinking he was joking.
He wasn’t joking. He was, in fact, wearing a full set of pajamas and slippers.
I wasn’t wearing pajamas. I was wearing slacks, and a button-up blouse as I’d just left my professional job, as he had known I would be.
As soon as he walked in, I took a deep breath and looked at my watch. I was giving him 45 minutes. I was setting a time limit because I had no idea where things were going to go from here, and I didn’t want to base how I felt on a knee-jerk assumption (aka on him showing up in pajamas).
He gave me a quick hug, and then we got in line to order. He smelled like he was wearing the clothes he’d slept in last night…even though it was 4pm on a Thursday and he’d told me he’d been at work.
“Nice…pajamas,” I said to him, pointing at his Sponge bob Squarepants fleece bottoms.
“I thought you’d like them!” he said.
“Not sure I’d say that!” I said and laughed politely.
It would have been different — even cute — if we’d both decided to wear our pajamas out on this date, but this wasn’t that.
The date only got worse from there. While waiting in line, he snapped at the barista because his beverage was taking longer than usual. When I said to him, “She looks really busy,” he tried to convince me that she actually wasn’t.
We both got our drinks and sat across from one another. For the entire rest of our time together, he held the floor, not asking me many questions about myself, and whenever I tried to interject or otherwise participate, he’d bring the topic back to himself.
I could tell he wanted to impress me, but he didn’t seem to want to know me either. I, on the other hand, learned all about the Norse mythology he was using for his young adult dystopian novel and how terrible of a person his ex is/was.
When it’d been long enough, I let him know I needed to leave and he walked me to my car. There, it looked like he was about to try to kiss me, so I stepped to his side and gave him a hug instead.
“Sorry, I’m just not interested, but it was nice meeting you!” I said.
“Did I do something wrong?” he asked. “I thought that went really well.”
If any situation could represent #facepalm, this one would be just that.
If she’s out on a date with you, you’ve won half the battle. The other half is helping her like you, and these are easy things you can do to help her get there.
1. Be polite to those around her
Women notice how you treat others, and we assume that if you’re rude to servers, Uber drivers, baristas, etc. it’ll just be a matter of time before you’re rude to us too.
Hold doors open. Help others. Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’ Tip. Don’t complain too much or snap.
Be on your best behavior, gentlemen, the last thing your date wants to feel is embarrassed for your behavior, especially if it seems unwarranted.
2. Look and smell good
If it’s a date, treat it like one. Sorry pajama guy, you shouldn’t have worn pajamas, and you definitely should have smelled better.
I’m not saying you should wear business formal for every date, but at least try to match how your date is dressing up or dress appropriately for the venue you’re attending. If you don’t know, at least go for business casual. Your date deserves that.
The best advice I have for men who are struggling with this aspect is to look around for women in your life: do you know of any women around your same age? A friend, sister, co-worker, or a friend’s sister, friend, or girlfriend? Ask her for help with an outfit. Most women, including myself, love helping this way.
The other options you have are going to a clothing store for men and asking a salesperson what you should wear on a date or turning to Google. Google “business casual clothes men” to get ideas. Wear clothes that fit you and your body, so pay attention to your measurements if you’re ordering online.
Lastly, make sure you smell nice, even if you’ve had a long day at work. Purchase a cologne you like or one women have told you they like. Keep it in your car or bag if you need to make sure you smell fresh before your date. Don’t overdo it, but honestly, it’s better to smell too good than just plain bad.
3. Be confident
Confidence is a lot about the way you carry yourself. Stand up and sit up straight. Proper posture makes you appear confident.
Further, don’t be fickle. Be sure about your actions and decisions. Get and ask for her input, yes, but don’t debate with yourself in front of her if you should or should not be doing something.
You can also poke fun at yourself, but don’t wax on about how you have no idea why she accepted a date with you and it’s so amazing she’s out with someone like you. You got her. She’s on a date with you. She accepted for a reason. Don’t make her feel like she made a mistake!
4. Have a sense of humor
“Sense of humor” is often the number one thing that women look for in a potential mate. Women will often overlook a lot of physical imperfections for personality assets, and sense of humor is number one on that list.
How often a woman laughs at your jokes is an indicator of sexual interest. Be open to trying to crack a few jokes. Take things light-heartedly, poke a little fun at her or yourself.You don’t have to slay her, but you do need to show her that you don’t take yourself so seriously that you can’t crack a smile.
5. Actively listen
Actively listening is as simple as making eye contact, nodding your head as she speaks, and taking mental notes. Her favorite trail to hike is at some park she names? Remember that for later. She say a word you didn’t know? Ask her about it. Show that you’re paying attention and care about what she’s talking about.
6. Share yourself slowly
Your date is going to want to know about you, but you need to be careful not to overshare. People (not just men) tend to overshare when they’re nervous. We throw up emotional details much too soon, TMI-ing all over the place.
If she asks you a loaded question such as how your relationship with your parents is, say, “It’s not great, but I’m okay with the way things are today.”That’s sharing yourself slowly.
But if you were to say, “My mother abandoned me when I was 4 and now she wants back in my life plus my dad is currently in rehab” is the equivalent to throwing the whole plate at her face.
Opt for option #1.
7. Show that you’re secure
Have you conveyed to your date that you’re financially self-supporting or, at least, that you have plans/goals for the future?
I’m not suggesting you open your mobile banking app and show her your running balance or you pull out your resume and list of qualifications. It’s just simply never bad to convey that you’re a guy who takes care of himself, and/or WILL take care of himself.
Plus if she’s a go-getter, she’ll want you to be one too by having a list of goals for your future even if you are already self-supporting.
Security also refers to emotional security. If you are emotionally secure enough to share some vulnerabilities, you’ll help her feel like it’s okay to be vulnerable too. Real relationships are built on trust and intimacy, and intimacy starts with two people feeling emotionally safe with one another.
If it’s within your control, gentlemen, don't ruin it. Pay attention to body language, and if she’s not the gal for you, it’s okay. Just move along until you find the right one for you!