As I thought about what precipitates a second date, I decided to call in reinforcements. For me, first impressions are everything. If I am not completely enamored with someone on the first date, I cannot bring myself to see him again. A mediocre date means I’m on to the next person. However, after years of asking men and women about dating, I know that in this I am the exception. To see how women as a group (not simply my own opinion) feel about what is necessary for a man to get to see us again, I hit the streets.
I asked thirty-three women ranging from twenty-two years of age to forty-two: “If you went on a date that was so-so, would you go on a second date?” Of those surveyed, 91% would indeed go on a second date.
To be clear, after a bad first date, women won’t go on another. You’re done. The top seven bad date traits include:
–Someone who talks about themselves the whole time and doesn’t ask you any questions
–A guy who has too much to drink
–Oversharing gross or overall weird things about themselves
–Making moves when the women has not signaled that she is ready.
When the date creates feelings of apathy, boredom, fear or worry for the woman, she is not going to go on a second date with you at all. Bad dates might also mean that there is just no chemistry, no interest or you don’t share the same values, future goals or significant similarities. Sure highlighting differences can create intrigue, but to create a solid connection, similarities attract.
On the contrary, a so-so date is one where a woman leaves the date thinking it was a fine evening but nothing too special. You didn’t actively turn her off, but you didn’t appropriately turn her on.
I recently went on a so-so date. My date took me too a nice restaurant, he was open about his life, and he made me laugh several times. He did not create much intrigue or mystery and failed to make himself seem terribly interesting. His questions were fairly generic. Had his questions been a bit more personal, I would have felt like he was more interested. A few times I was thinking of things to say, wishing he were a little more engaging. But he was sweet. I left feeling so-so.
Many first dates are so-so. With strangers, people have unconscious defense mechanisms in play often prohibiting full and authentic self-expression. Women recognize this, and after a so-so first date most women will give it another go. As long as there was at least one alluring trait – he was interesting, he was smart, there was attraction, he was funny, he was successful, he in some way indicated that he could be a solid potential life partner via values, financial status, similar family structure – women will give a second chance.
But on second date, there are expectations.
Of the women surveyed for this article, 91% said they would go on a second date. Of these yeah-sayers, 50% said they would agree to a second date and the second date better knock their socks off. To win a woman over after an initial mediocre encounter, the guy must be more interesting, more hilarious, and more fun than ever before.
“The second date has to be good,” one woman responded. “Good dinner. Good kiss.” Another said she would only go on a second date after a mediocre second date: “If I have nothing else to do and he makes really good plans.”
Two other women said they would “…likely go on a second date depending on what the date was.”
Translation: the second date matters.
In fact, the second date might matter even more than the first. Even the women who reiterated how valuable their time was and expressed reservations did agree they would indeed go on a second date. Women are forgiving enough to agree that maybe the guy had an off night on the first encounter. Or, maybe they themselves had an off night. Women understand that a lot happens in a person’s day and don’t want to fault a guy for one bad night.
Plus, the first dates are a little awkward – for both parties – and women wonder if maybe the second date might feel more comfortable. Women anticipate that men aren’t their most charming and best selves on a first date because they are “a little nervous” or “trying too hard” to make a good impression. Most women think that you only really know how you feel about a guy on the second date.
What to do on a second date?
On a second date, the women must get to know you, and it is in your best interest to create an environment where she can learn your best self. Make sure your location is one where the two of you can converse freely and where she feels comfortable. The second date is not the time to impress her with your extensive knowledge of comic books or college football. You will have plenty of time for that on the third and fourth date, if you nail get together number two. On date number two, focus on open conversation lightly laced in impression and intrigue. On the second date, it is important that you show interest in the woman and that she feels comfortable asking you questions that she wants to know by date number two.
Questions she wants answered on the second date:
–Is he genuinely interested in me?
–Is he going to treat me well?
–Does he treat other people well?
–Are our values aligned?
–Is he entertaining or intriguing?
–Does he leave me wanting more?
When you have mentally checked off more than half of these questions, make your move. On the second date, it is important to leave her wanting more. Sometimes this means an awesome first kiss. Other times it means tying her interests or values into your intriguing strengths. Weave her values into your interest in her. Use what you have learned on the date as fodder for deeper conversation. Validate her. Make her feel special. And in the end, conclude your date with mystery and intrigue – physical or emotional – so that she doesn’t have to take a survey to realize that she is game for date number three.
My commitment: to make this worth the read. Humorous, fun and introspective. I welcome your thoughts, ideas and feedback via the comments functionality below. You can find me on the web at www.emmadilemma.com.