If you’re out there in the dating trenches, here’s a fun exercise for you that might be revealing for you too.

Take a stroll through your personal calendar and write down the names of the five people whom you most recently had first dates with, or think of people whom you might have met at an event or party. If you haven’t been “out” much, you can include on your list opposite sex people you’ve met recently through work or school. You’re looking to write down the names of people who recently had the opportunity to meet… YOU.  

Now… write down next to each person’s name five adjectives that you think this person who recently met you might use to describe YOU. It’s a tad confronting, isn’t it? Do you have any idea why I’ve asked you do this?

It’s because as a personal matchmaker, I find post-date feedback to be thoroughly fascinating to study. As I read through the post-date summaries that have hit my desk over the course of the past few months, I see some trends…some alarming trends.

Far too many people (both male and female) are giving the impression on their first date encounters that they’re just not really interested.  How sad is that? Two people take the time and energy to make a plan, to shower, shave, dress the part and drive across town to explore a possibility for a romantic connection with a new person who’s given the big Green Light to the meeting and then … they blow it by giving off the “I really don’t care” vibe.  OF COURSE they care – otherwise they wouldn’t be saying Yes to the date, right?

It’s a cardinal dating mistake to withhold interest. Sometimes we hold back until we sense interest from the other person, who’s holding back until there’s a green light from YOU… and so the chicken and the egg are both stalled out. Or we hold back if we don’t sense an instant romantic attraction, and we don’t want to lead the person on. In either case, we’re making a big mistake.

Here’s the secret. Whether you sense that this person you’re having a date with is The One for you or not, bring your sincere interest and attention to the present moment with this person in front of you. I want you to practice being present. Practice being interested. Doing so makes YOU all that more interesting. We know this intellectually, but the magic is in the practice we get in implementing this simple but powerful philosophy.

To demonstrate sincere interest in who this other person is – is to BE giving and loving. It’s an act of generosity on your part, which makes you a kinder, nicer, more thoughtful person. Resist the temptation to hold back your interest, attention, smile or playfulness because you might have already determined that you won’t be seeing this person again. Make it your mission to bring a smile to this person’s face and to give the sincere impression that this person matters. We all matter, after all.

Couple Bowling
Couple Bowling

The only way these partnerships come about is if both people are open to scratching the surface to see if there might just be surprises and gifts tucked away, below the surface, which might be worth investigating and exploring together. I’d venture to say that you wouldn’t want to be quickly “written off” by someone upon first glance. Am I right?

The most important thing for you to do in your love search process is to practice the art of looking for what’s right, lovely and worthy of note in the people you’re meeting out there in the world. When you catch yourself wanting to withdraw or pull back, look again – challenge yourself to see not what’s lacking or missing or wrong or off…but rather look to find the qualities and attributes in this person that are unique and special, deserving of your attention. Do unto others…

There are remarkable opportunities for character enrichment all along your dating journey. With each dating encounter make a new friend, develop a business connection, find the joy in laughing at the stories you hear. Practice the art of connecting, listening, opening your heart and giving the gift of your undivided attention, even if just for an hour. In other words, practice BEING a great date. When you do dating this way, only good things can happen, and you’ll have gifts all along the way.

Do you have any tips on things you've done to help you connect better on a date?  Have you experienced this yourself while on a date?  If so, let us know below in the comments.