Today’s guest post is written by Dennis Hong.
With all the dating advice I’ve been doling out recently, I find myself reading the same stories over and over again, which only reinforces the fact that we’re not all that different from each other. Maybe this could be a lesson for a more harmonious humanity:
We all share a common ability to fuck up — and to do so repeatedly.
One scenario I see quite a bit is the woman who goes on a fabulous first date, only to find her reality shattered when the guy never calls again. So, she’s left to wonder what happened….
The date went so well. They had so much fun together and clicked so amazingly. He would make a fabulous father to her unborn children. Why didn’t he call back?
Invariably, people chime in that the guy is obviously a douchebag. Or, if they’re being forgiving, they suggest that maybe he just got out of a serious relationship and realized that he’s not ready to date.
As difficult as these answers may be to accept, they generally drive the point across: For whatever reason, he lost interest.
I’m not sure I agree.
I think the issue might be something different. I think the issue might be a problem of perception. Because my perception is that the guy was never interested in the first place….
I’ve written before that when I’m with someone I really like, I become more difficult of a person around them. See, it’s not that I purposely try to be difficult. It’s that if I find myself developing strong feelings for someone, I want her to see the real me, idiosyncrasies and all. And I’m kind of a difficult person in many ways, not the least of which is my ability, as you are about to witness, to render judgment on people.
On the other hand, if I’m not particularly interested in her, I have no problem maintaining the façade. It’s not that hard to “go with the flow,” so to speak, and if doing so makes for smoother sailing on the dating seas, I’m all for that.
Either way, I’ve been dating for long enough to know how to maintain a pretty damned good façade. I know how to be witty and charming. I know how to plan a good time. I’ve had years and years to practice it. It’s not that hard (anymore).
So, maybe I’m on a first date. And maybe I realize I’m not all that into her.
At the same time, she’s still a nice person, and since we’ve already committed to the date, I might as well make the best of it. So, I smile and nod along, and I muster up whatever enthusiasm I can.
Unfortunately, she’s not thinking the same thing. She’s thinking, “Wow, this guy must really be into me. He’s such a good listener and truly interested in everything I have to say.”
In reality, though, I’m only smiling and nodding along because I really don’t have much I feel like adding. (Or rebutting, as it were, since that’s more often the case.)
So, I come across as way more cool and laid back than I actually am. And she loves it.
“Now, hold on a second, asshole,” you say to your computer screen. “I think you’re full of shit. How would you know these women are having a great time? Maybe they’re going through the motions, too.”
Sure, it’s possible. At the same time, I’d like to think I know the difference between a nonchalant “well, that was fun” and a glowing “I had a great time” at the end of the night.
Look, I know when I’ve put out… a great date. I know when she’s having fun. And honestly, I’d say most of the women I’ve dated know when I’m having fun, too.
It’s just that, every once in a while, I go out with someone who probably hasn’t dated all that much. Maybe she was involved in a serious long-term relationship for most of her adult life, so she hasn’t quite picked up on all the social cues that first dates demand. Or, maybe she’s incapable of picking up said cues because her head occupies its own tiny little universe that rarely intersects ours.
Either way, some people just aren’t that good on picking up those tiny little nuances that we call social cues. I’ve certainly dated some of these people, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they gushed to their friends afterwards about how amazing our first date went.
It’s really a shame that’s not how our first date went for me.
Point again, it’s all about perception. One person having a great time doesn’t necessarily mean the other person having a great time, especially if one person is of the clueless variety.
So, if you fear you might be one of these people, I have but one suggestion: The next time you go on an amazing first date, before you go gushing to your friends, do a little self-check and look for any hints that your amazing first date kind of sucked for him.
If you do, you could save yourself a lot of heartache.
Tags: facade, first date, he's not that into you, perception, reality