Your First Date Should NEVER Be Dinner

By Paul Carrick Brunson, MBA

Professional Matchmaker & Lifestyle Coach

Paul Carrick Brunson, MBA

 

It’s time to declare death to the dinner date.

It’s not that it’s a bad idea, per se, it’s just a rote, done to death to the point of irrelevancy idea.

Two people sit down, eat food and have a conversation but what do you really learn about someone from a dinner date that you couldn’t get out of a conversation over coffee in two-thirds less time and for only a fraction of the cost?

First dates should be kept simple, as in, you shouldn’t commit hours upon hours of time and hundreds of dollars to someone you barely know when there is a 50-50 chance you’re going to want to bail before they bring out the salads. Also, if your goal is to actually get to know someone and learn something about their character you need to step away from the dinning table and engage in some mutual activity. And by activity, I don’t mean sitting in silence for two hours in the safety of an air conditioned movie theater.

You need to engage.

Take a walk together. Go for a bike ride. Play Scrabble or some other two-person board game. Solve a puzzle together. Try out a new game or sport that’s new to both of you in order to level the playing field. But it’s important to do something that will get both your mouths to talking AND your minds and bodies moving. You learn more about another person by engaging in activity than you’ll ever learn over an overcooked steak and over-priced wine. Get out of the comfort zone and get into some real conversation starters that jolt both the mind and body.

You don’t need a big dinner production to make a lasting first impression. And you don’t need to spend tons of money on a date or in preparation for a date. You can get to know each other first before you move on to the fireworks and the fancy dinners and the big productions. Just do something small together, to get the juices flowing, then build from there. This way no one feels cheated. No one feels used. You just enjoy each other’s company and have fun, without the pressure to perform all that comes with a dinner date.

Dating doesn’t have to be a make or break situation. It’s about getting to know each other.

Thinking outside of the dinner date box can be rewarding if you’re willing to change your notion of what a first date is.

Paul Carrick Brunson is a Matchmaker and Lifestyle Coach. He can be reached at www.onedegreefrom.mefb.com/OneDegreeFromMe / Twitter @OneDegreeFromMe

Is Technology The Enemy Of Love?

By Paul Carrick Brunson, MBA

Professional Matchmaker & Lifestyle Coach

Paul Carrick Brunson, MBA

It’s hard to tell someone how you really feel in 140 characters.

I mean, you can try it. Sometimes it works. Accept when it doesn’t. Like when your significant other texts you to ask what you think of your date night plans and you only text back one word:

“Fine.”

Does that “fine” equal “Sounds like a great idea, honey! Can’t wait to tear up those chicken wings at Harold’s!” Or does that “fine” equal “I am begrudgingly agreeing to do this thing that I hate. Your obsession with Harold’s Chicken is grossly stereotypical and disgusts me.”

That’s the real peril of love via Twitter and text. You only get a brief time to get your point across, and without the visual ticks and clues you get from casual conversation a “joke” can quickly become offensive. An off-hand quip can become a heated fight. It’s easy to be misunderstood when such a small form of communication can be read in so many different ways.

But technology is not the enemy of love.

Yet you wouldn’t know that from the press. Stories of celebrity cheating scandals surrounding suspicious text messages abound, from the rumored affair of actor Ashton Kutcher and a 21-year-old, to golfer Tiger Woods and the 1,001 texts of doom that torpedoed his marriage to Elin Nordegren, to the embarrassing quartet of NBA star Shaquille O’Neal, Gilbert Arenas, his then fiancée, Laura Govan, and Shaq’s now ex-wife, Shaunie. You’d think Twitter was a swinger’s club. But before you low-jack your significant other’s Facebook page, remember – technology is a tool meant to make our lives easier.

It can work for you if you know how to work it!

Social networking can help you stay better in touch with those you love, can help quickly clear up potential understandings with its rapid speed of connectivity and, in the case of single folks, can help you get a date.

Right now, I’m matching Twitter followers up online through my “Modern Day Matchmaker Wednesdays” on Twitter. (Follow me @OneDegreeFromMe!) Every Wednesday, I take a bachelor or bachelorette, describe them in detail, field questions from followers then match them up with those who request to meet them after learning the details.

Also, a lot of dating sites, like OKCupid, utilize instant messaging, “winks” and other forms of micro communication to help people get to know each other easier and faster, so they can make better decisions about dating.

Social networking is your friend when it comes to romance. You just have to follow several keys in our age of abbreviated conversation.

Be clear.  Be concise.  Be nice.

Be clear in what you want. You can make your jokes. You can make your quips. But you have to get to the point and you better get to it fast. (You’ve only got those 140 characters. Maybe 160 in the case of most texts.) There’s not a lot of room for nuance and ambiguity so please, don’t put it there. Save it for the face-to-face.

Be concise. As in no one wants to read a book worth of texts or tweets. You need to be pithy and brief (but not so brief that your significant other is unable to tell what you mean. Re: “Fine.”)

And, be nice. As in if you have to cancel a date, a Facebook status update doesn’t count. An email doesn’t either. You need a voice-to-voice or a face-to-face to confirm your date or to verify that the significant other got the message loud and clear. While technology has made communication easier we can’t avoid classic IRL (in real life) communication if we want to make love connections that last.

Use technology to augment your love communications, but wield it wisely.

And never just text the word, “Fine.” You’re better than that.