On paper, you’re impressive: educated, accomplished, independent, attractive, and have a great job. So, why didn’t he call you back after the first date? “I thought the date went well. I don’t understand why he didn’t call again.” I hear this often from clients who, like a hamster on a wheel, keep going on first dates but fewer second and third dates. With the prevalence of online dating, expecting perfection causes more failed first dates than ever before. It only takes a click of a button or swipe to meet someone perceived to be ‘better.’
More than this, I was curious as to what keeps a woman from getting a second date, or even a third. I investigated by listening to panels of men being interviewed on the topic and asking them myself. My query of men included friends, acquaintances, and a sampling of men I encountered in the course of my day over several weeks.
The Boss Lady, as Rachel Greenwald, author of “Why He Didn’t Call You Back: 1,000 Guys Reveal What They REALLY Thought About You After Your Date,” refers to her, is alive and well among us very competent and successful women. She is a stereotype, and the man walks away from the date thinking that he’s more interested in hiring her than dating her. He perceives her to be argumentative, competitive, not feminine, controlling, and not nurturing.
Despite this, your date is making assumptions about you based on intimations that you’re making without your awareness. A woman does the same with a man. With the recognition of how you’re coming across, tweaking the way in which you’re presenting yourself can inspire him to ask for a second and third date. Don’t change who you are; rather, I encourage you to modify what you’re putting out on this all-important first date to move you toward getting a second date.
Paging The Boss Lady! Do not show up in the suit you wore to work. Plan your date late enough that you have sufficient time to refresh and change. It’s easier to be yourself when you get out of work mode and into a social mood, and what you wear can make a huge difference with how comfortable you are on your date and how you are perceived.
Listing your accomplishments, including all of the trips you’ve taken, your house, talking ad nauseam about your job as opposed to mentioning your work is your ‘stuff.’ You don’t want to drone on so much that your date zones out and loses interest, and starting off a date like that can doom it from the onset.
On the first date, you do not need to share your entire life story or what you’re seeking in a relationship partner. When you do this, you’ve given him all the information he needs, so why would he ask you out again? Give him a little bit to start, enough to keep him interested and wanting more information. He wants the preview, not the whole movie.
Do you want to hear all about his ex-girlfriend or wife and all of his past relationships on a first date? No? Don’t assume he wants to hear about them either. Don’t refer to your former boyfriend or ex-husband by name or share your health history. There is such a thing as too much information. They want to get to know you, not your ex.
Being on time shows you respect his time. Plan for extra drive time if you’re getting somewhere during rush hour traffic. If you do run late for some reason, tell them right away. Basic courtesy can go a long way in showing the nature of your character, and being on time can be a key part of that, especially when it comes to a first impression.
It creates the space for the masculine energy to show up. Granted, depending on your area, this may not be the norm, but don’t be opposed to allowing him to plan and pay the first time out. If your date is successful, you’ll have future opportunities to reciprocate.
Share your passions and what makes you happy. Perhaps it’s painting, golf, or writing, as examples. Discussing the things that bring you joy can really show him who you are and what’s important to you. Not only will it help him to get to know you better, but you can see if you have common interests and even give you ideas for future dates.
Be the present that you are and let someone slowly unwrap that to the gift inside.
You can absolutely reveal something about yourself but make sure it’s something non-medical. When you do this, he thinks, “Wow, she trusts me. I’d like to know more.” It also gives him a little insight into who you really are and what is important to you. Finding common ground and mutual interests early on can save you time and heartache later if you find you really don’t have anything to talk about or do together.
Ask him about his passions and pastimes. It shows you’re interested and allows you to get to know a bit about him. The first date isn’t the time to find out someone’s life story, but you should know enough by the time you leave to recognize if he’s someone you want to learn more about and see again. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time.
Put your phone on silent and in your purse – not on the table. Giving him your undivided attention makes him feel important – it goes back to the idea of common courtesy. You should expect the same from him as well.
Have fun, laugh, and smile. It shows the playful side of you and allows you to relax and show your true self. Dating should be fun, not a chore, and if it feels like it is, you’re with the wrong person.
It may sound silly, but he wants to know that he pleased you, and it opens the door to bringing out his confident side and opening up his personality a bit.
It is appropriate to express appreciation for him for planning the date and treating you to dinner. Every man craves recognition for the effort he’s made, and hopefully, he set up something fun for you to experience together. Seeing the effort that he put into the date will show you how he will treat you moving forward, and you should expect the same courtesy from him when you make future plans.
A man follows up because of how the woman makes him feel. While not fair, instant judgments are being made. Information is being extracted from your gestures and comments. When you turn up the softer side of you for your date, it’s your femininity, and all that entails that stirs him to pursue you. You’re well on your way to getting a second date!
But if you do not get a second date, don’t beat yourself up. This is the first time you’ve met this person, and it’s not always easy to read another person you don’t really know. He may seem like he had a great time, but in reality, he gets home and decides he doesn’t want a relationship. Or he could be dating other people. You just never know what someone else is thinking or what they have going on in their life, so do yourself a favor and extend yourself kindness if he doesn’t call or text.