Grindr, Tinder, Zoosk, PinkCupid, whatever.… So you’re going to meet. Or, you already met somewhere and now it’s the first real date.… What do you pay attention to? What gives you the feeling this is good? Or really bad? Signs to keep going, or bail out?
Malcolm Gladwell, in his recent book, Talking to – Strangers, discusses the how, why, and why not of trusting and believing other people. To each new situation and encounter, we bring our own beliefs, opinions, and views. How we approach a person is affected by those existing mental sets. For example, if you are introduced to another by a friend, the level of trust will be higher than if you met that person on a dating site. In general, though, one principle to keep in mind is just how much disclosure you want to deal with – from you or from the other. If a new date (or you) talks about all previous relationships and how and why they ended, it just might be too much too soon. If you find that this is what you do, challenge yourself: Why do I do that? Want to impress? Want to be seen as open and accepting? You will have time to show those traits later – once you know a bit more about the other. Which brings up the issue of how you interact. Do you ask open-ended questions? How much is too much? Aiming for some kind of a balance in how much you engage and how much you let the other do so is the trick.
One faux pas that holds for any kind of meeting is not being late. Unless it is totally unavoidable and unexpected, make sure you get to the date on time. It makes people feel unimportant and that will not help the cause. Another cardinal rule, again for any type of connection, is to observe how the prospective partner treats not only you but also others, wait staff, cab driver, and the like. These are character giveaways that are universal.
And then, when or how soon to hook up. There is no general rule on this. Sometimes the chemistry is so strong that all bets are off. Other times, one person is ready, the other is not. Pressure of this kind does not work well.
Sometimes it seems as if establishing a connection has become harder because we do not have the old rigid rules of behavior. Along with that, our expectations of a new date have become higher in the age of swipe right of left with so many choices. Yet, the allure of the unknown, the giddiness in that exciting sense of joy when you “click” keeps us all at it, doesn’t it?
As a psychologist in private practice since 1979, Janan Broadbent, Ph. D. offers individual, couples, group and family therapy, in addition to conducting workshops on topics such as stress management, communication skills and assertiveness. She writes about current issues relevant to relationship building and conflict resolution in LGBTQ and minority populations, with emphasis on health, fitness and education.
Born in Turkey, Dr. Broadbent earned her undergraduate degree in psychology in 1965. At that time, first as a Fulbright Scholar, then as a CENTO Fellow, she received her master's and doctorate degrees in psychology and education from the University of California at Los Angeles. She has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in psychology at St.Mary's College of Maryland, Mt. Vernon College in Washington, D. C., Johns Hopkins University and the College of Notre Dame in Baltimore. From 1981 to 1988, she was also the Director of Counseling at Notre Dame College.
While in graduate school, Dr. Broadbent worked for the Voice of America radio program, writing and recording materials on the cross-cultural college experience. She has been interviewed on various news programs on TV and has received media training.
Dr. Broadbent is a member of the American Psychological Association and has served as the chair for the Public Affairs Board and as a member of the Executive Council of the Maryland Psychological Association.
Dr. Broadbent's office is located at:
Village of Cross Keys, 120 West Quadrangle, 2 Hamill Road, Baltimore, Maryland 21210-1847 phone: 410-825-5577