I’ve often talked about the number one killer in dating being snap judgments but oftentimes there’s another silent murder taking place that a lot of people are unaware of: the fear of leading someone on when you’re undecided about them. So many potential romances fall to the wayside because someone was not entirely convinced after their first date so they just ended it there. Don’t ever be afraid if you need to take your time getting to know someone to get to that “Hell Yes!” or “No thank you”. Our motto is: if you’re unsure, go explore!
Here are a few tips to help you stay grounded and remember why you’re dating in the first place:
The whole purpose of dating is to collect information about another person to see how you feel about them. Imagine if someone spent an hour with you (where half of it was trying to get comfortable with you) and decided after the hour that they knew all there was to know about you and determined you weren’t right for them?
You are not leading someone on by exploring your feelings about them. You are supposed to take your time getting to know someone. There are no rules or time limits here. You are allowed to decide after 3, 4 or even 5 dates that they’re not the one for you. Even if someone takes you on amazing dates, you have no obligation to them other than treating them with appreciation, kindness and respect.
Leave room for pleasant surprises. We have many happy ending stories about neutral first dates that turned into full-blown relationships, engagements and marriages. The consistent factor was always that one person was unsure and the other was ‘all in’. Eight times out of ten when I convinced the unsure client to explore, stay open and go on a low-key / activity second date, it turned into a relationship. Staying open gave them the chance to see more qualities in the other person AND both parties were more relaxed and authentic which made them seem more attractive.
Learn the Sandwich Technique. This is the easiest and most elegant way to let someone know that you’re not feeling it. For the top layer, you might say: “It’s been so great getting to know you. I love your (name a specific quality or two)”. Then, the meat is the truth, softened: “I feel more of a friendship connection with you than anything else…” The bottom layer is the sweet good-bye: “It’d be great to get together if you’re ever in (name your neighborhood )” or “Let’s stay in touch as friends”.
Don’t be afraid of disappointing someone. Disappointment comes with the territory in dating. Just be true to yourself, kind with others and take all the time that you need.