I do a lot of dating, and I have certainly had my share of no-second-date disappointments. Sometimes the lack of follow-up is a mystery. The first date went so well and still, inexplicably, no second date. But, more often than not, I know exactly why my suitor and I never made it to an encore.
My guess is you'll relate to what I'm saying here. Too often we are more than happy to chalk a no-call-back up to "his loss" (which it very well may be). But what if it really was something I said?
Yes, facing up to your own dating faux pas could lead to crying over your Pad Thai takeout. But, at least you have something to learn from. So I decided to make a list of the reasons why I probably didn't get a second date, and I can say, it is really an interesting way to explore how compatibility (and the lack thereof) can manifest itself. More importantly, though, writing this made it clear how anything from nerves to height issues or excessive vulnerability can end a romance before it’s even started—and that’s okay.
01. I couldn't stop talking.
If someone forced me to write out a list of my greatest insecurities, “I talk too much” would be right near the top. Naturally, I gravitate towards guys who can keep up with me conversationally, those who can tell a great story and get me to shut my trap every now and then. So, when I found myself on a date with a soft-spoken lawyer who was new to the city, my natural but also nerve-induced chatter overpowered our conversation. I could see that he was overwhelmed, but I couldn’t really stop. When we parted he gave me a cursory hug, and we went our separate ways.
Pro Tip: We all fear the awkward silence. But everyone likes to feel like they have something to contribute to the conversation, as well. If you're a talker, it's important to give up the burden of conversation for a moment, and see what your date will do or say next. If you're a chatterer, come with some prepared questions to get them to open up. If your dealing with nerves, a small drink to help you relax usually makes for a quick remedy for nervous chatterers like myself, but beware of overdoing it. Long deep breaths, in through your mouth, out through your nose, should also do the job.
02. I made things too personal, too quick.
I’ve never been what you might describe as “mysterious.” I’m quick to share, and I don’t mind having personal conversations with new friends. Side-by-side on a deep, cozy couch, I found myself up to my neck in a very personal dialogue with a guy I had met through Bumble. He mentioned his collegiate baseball career was cut short by an injury. I pressed a little too much for more and quickly realized I had opened a can of worms. This one moment went on to impact his career, his confidence, his family…I heard it all, and then I never heard from him again.
Pro Tip: Going beyond typical first date questions is a great way to find out if you have an actual connection. But most guys are uncomfortable with vulnerability period, let alone with someone they just met on a first date. The trick is finding the sweet spot between banal banter and a therapy session. By needling this guy for more information—that I definitely didn’t need to know yet—I touched a nerve and made him feel more vulnerable than he was comfortable with.
03. He started dating someone else more seriously.
The thing with casual dating is that it (rightly) involves dating more than one person at a time. Last summer I went on a first date with a guy that went really well. We ate chicken wings and watched the Olympics, and I left feeling great. A few days later he texted that he was going on a weekend trip with another girl and thought it would be best if we didn’t see each other again. I thanked him for letting me know, and that was that. This was such a straightforward, honest exchange that I couldn’t help but give the guy props. I was so grateful that I didn’t have to waste a moment of my time wondering why he never called.
Pro Tip: So many of us don’t even bother to share the truth with people that early on, despite the understanding that making up an excuse or ghosting takes just as much effort. We could all take a cue from…Well, actually, I don’t even remember his name anymore, but he’s an inspiration.
04. We were the same height.
This happened to me on back-to-back first dates with two really nice, interesting guys last year. I can’t get into either of these guys’ heads of course, but I could sense from the moment we sized each other up that seeing eye-to-eye (literally) made them uncomfortable. This isn’t the case with every guy, and I’ve happily dated shorter men in the past. But when you meet through an app, for example, and neither person discloses their height in advance, surprises can ensue. Through both guys' body language at both the beginning and end of each date—that awkward hug where my chin went way over his shoulder—it was clear he was sure we had no romantic future.
Pro Tip: The way two bodies relate to each other is unpredictable! Sure, attraction is important, and if a guy can't get over your height/hair color/body type, good riddance. Excluding people from your dating pool because of an arbitrary physical attribute is a surefire way to make sure you never meet a wonderfully unexpected surprise.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Trahan