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Dating Tips

© 2001 by Dennis Neder

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author Dennis Neder

Being a Man in a Woman's World Book cover
Being a Man in a Woman's World
by Dennis Neder
Order on-line

First Date Checklist

First dates sometimes offer a range of emotion from thrilling to terrifying! Here are some tips that will help things go smoothly:

  1. Be on time! Timeliness is expected, but being late (or too early) makes a bad impression. If you can't help being a little late, call before the expected arrival time.
  2. (for men) Do a "personal check" before the date—are your fingernails clean, hair neat, clothes ironed, shoes polished, and any odors under control (including breath)? Women look at these things and are aware if they aren't in check. You should be too!
  3. (for women) Don't overdo the make-up or perfume! In most cases, a little goes a long way.
  4. Don't go to the movies, the theatre, or a concert on your first date—you want to be able to talk and get to know this person.
  5. Don't "pull out all the stops"—keep it simple. The first date is more of an interview than an event.—
  6. (for men) Listen! Don't spend all your time talking about things you already know. Your goal here is to find out about your date.
  7. Have something to talk about—read a newspaper or magazine of general interest. Try to find common things you both share.
  8. Keep an open mind and don't argue. You don't have to agree with everything your date says, but where you differ, offer an alternative idea rather than discounting it, and if you don't know something ask!
  9. Remind yourself that your not nervous, you're just excited. Calm confidence is very appealing!
  10. Have fun! That's the idea of the first date.

Meeting that special someone

You've met many people in your life. How many of them have been your ideal mate? Probably very few. You may have dated someone very attractive, only to find that they don't seem so wonderful after you get to know them. If you're going to find Mr. or Ms. Right, you're probably going to have to go through a number of people—possibly a large number!

Here are some ideas on how to increase your contacts and find your partner:

  1. Decide what you want in a partner. Most people spend more time planning their vacations than they spend planning their lives!
  2. Be open and aware of people around you where ever you go. You never know when you might meet someone that fits your profile. Also, be prepared to say "hello".
  3. Don't discount any particular method of meeting other singles. Chat rooms, personal ads, singles organizations, classes, etc., are all good ways. You're going to need a large number of contacts to find the few that fit your goals.
  4. When you go out, dress! This doesn't mean that you always need to dress like you're going clubbing—just dress decently. Don't go to the store in sweats with your hair in curlers, and don't go to the bookstore in ratty shorts and a t-shirt with holes.
  5. Practice saying "hello"—to everyone. When you're on an elevator, or passing someone in the street. First, make eye contact and smile, and then say "hello". This is great practice for when it will be needed.
  6. Let your friends and family know that you're looking to meet someone. They may know someone from work or socially whom they think would work well as a match. Don't be too picky—you'd be surprised how well your friends know you!
  7. Get a hobby! By having other things you're interested in, you become a more interesting person. As well, you'll find many organizations that provide information on those hobbies and might meet something through them.
  8. Be open—many people unconscientiously close themselves off to others by averting their eyes, crossing their arms, and turning themselves away. Be aware of your body's posture and use it to tell others that you're approachable.

Finally, always protect yourself. Remember that the person you meet on-line or in a supermarket may or may not be the person you first think they are! Be open to new people, but don't give people your home address until after you get to know them.

The Test

Whew! The first date was tough. The second was easier—and more fun. The third found you in bed with her. Somehow after 3 more dates, you two are a couple. Now, something has come up that directly affects or might even prevent your relationship from moving forward—what do you do?

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like A Man?

From birth, women begin studying relationships. This continues the rest of their lives. Men on the other hand get very little relationship training before "hitting the field". When relationship issues come up, women expect men to handle them at a woman's level. Frankly, men just don't have the tools to do this. So, they end up making a bad situation worse, committing to more than they wanted to or worse yet, lying.

"The Test"

"The Test" is that unexpected, unexplained, quirky situation inflicted on a man by a woman right about this time in the new relationship. It can take many forms—from not calling when she promised, to "forgetting" a date, to pulling something so egregious that it knocks the man right off his chair.

Make no mistake about it—women learn to "test" their men from very early in their relationship training. Think not? My friend, then you just the kind of guy that walks in front of the target! "The Test" is so pervasive in the dating world that it is even looked at with humor. In fact, it is so common that most people (men AND women) don't even realize that it happens! You've seen movies and television, read books and articles, etc. where it is dealt with as "that cute situation" a man is placed in order to win his woman.

Do men test women? Yes—it sometimes happens, but not very often. The reasons for this are:

  1. Men don't really know how to test women;
  2. The Test is designed to pre-qualify a love interest, and frankly, men aren't choosy in the same ways as women;
  3. Men use other techniques to win their loves; and
  4. Men often assume (incorrectly!) that women think the same way they do.
When men DO test women, it is usually because of a low self-image or they don't really have an interest in the woman in the first place. Women test because of a desire to be with the "right" man (Mr. Right)!

Women want men that can pass their tests. This shows them that their man is strong and capable and worthy of their affection. Fail the test and you're either going to get more tests, or lose the woman altogether.

Recognizing The Test

How do you know when you're being tested? Frankly it can be difficult—unless you pay very close attention. I recommend that men ask themselves first, "does this event make sense in the context of the situation?" and second, "would my best friend do this same thing?" If your answer is "no" to these questions you're probably being tested.

Tests take many forms but they all have the same pattern. If you can begin to recognize the patterns, you will see the tests when they come. Here are the things to look for:

  • Something that seems totally out of context for her based on previous behavior
  • Something that seems totally out of context for the situation
  • Your reaction (or lack of one) will likely lead to a critical relationship "event" or other drama
  • You are being expected to "jump through a hoop" unnecessarily or for no apparent reason
  • If you don't react, you're likely to loose respect by her, or by others that she includes in your test

There are far too many examples of tests to cover them all here. For specifics check my website at: Suffice it to say that, if an unexpected situation meets any or all of the above, you're probably getting The Test.

Passing The Test

Tests are not problems to be solved. They are situations created to determine how you will react. Thus, try to keep in mind the following:

  • You're not in the relationship to cater to her whims
  • You deserve respect and consideration in all of your dealings with her
  • You can expect that she will support you and not cause you to look bad in front of your friends, family, co-workers, etc.
  • If you get angry, or loose your head, you'll fail the test
  • Your goal is to deal with it and put the impetus on HER—let her next action be the deciding one!
  • Resolve up front to walk away things aren't resolved satisfactorily.

Whoops! You Blew The Test!

I've talked to many men that have failed their tests miserably. What now? First, review what happened. Don't get angry—understand that she wants you to pass, but you're going to have to work harder. Next, decide that you're going to be the leader in your relationship—the "captain of your ship" as it were. Thus, you'll be in position to steer the test the next time it comes up. Finally, be ready! You're going to get tested again!

Good luck!

The Art of Selling

Are you a good salesperson?

I used to teach selling skills and asked this question of thousands of people. Almost everyone doubts that they can sell. Then, I have to ask, have you ever been in a relationship before? Have you ever borrowed your parent's car? Have you ever talked a friend into seeing the movie you wanted to see? If you've answer "yes" to any of these, some selling has been done somewhere!

People misunderstand what selling is. Most think that it means convincing someone to buy something. Let me tell you up front—you can't convince people of anything. But that isn't what selling is anyway. Selling is about finding the people who want to buy what you have to sell, and then making it worth their while to buy!

When it comes to your own love life, you want to learn to sell. But, you want to do it the easy way. When a company creates a new product, they don't just rush out and ask people on the street to buy—they "market" the product. This saves them time and money. You want to market yourself too. Here's how:

1) Define your Product
What is your product? YOU! Look at what you have to offer. Are you comfortable with yourself? Are you interesting? Do you have hobbies? What makes you valuable to the opposite sex?

Don't be too hard on yourself. In fact, you may want to ask a close, trusted friend to help you here. Have this person help you list your assets. Don't dwell on your liabilities other than to ask, "What can I improve in the next 30 days?" Spend 80% of your time improving what you already have, and 20% working on correcting things.

2) Define your Market
Who are you looking for? The more specifically you can define this, the more likely you'll find it. You should take some time to consider exactly the partner you want. What does he or she look like? How old? Liberal or conservative? How much education? Does this person want children? The more specific you can be the better. Then, write it down!

This is the most important step. Something magical happens when you commit your thoughts to paper. There are actual scientific reasons behind this that for lack of space, I won't go into here. Suffice it to say you need to write down the attributes of your "perfect" partner—and be specific.

3) Find your Customers
Where does your perfect match hang out? How are you going to find this person (or persons)? They're probably not going to come to you. So, why not use what you already have. Consider your hobbies—are there organizations or clubs devoted to your interests? Of course there are! These are great ways to meet other people that share your interests.

What about personal ads, singles clubs, and the Internet? You shouldn't limit your options when meeting people. You're probably going to have to meet a large number to find those that fit your "target market" (see #2 above). Also, let your friends and family know you're looking to meet someone special. They know you pretty well and have contacts that you don't.

4) Make the "Pitch"
Once you meet someone, you're going to have to tell them about your product. In the love market, this begins with "hello". You should get used to saying hello to everyone you meet. This makes it much easier when you meet a potential prospect.

The pitch involves breaking the ice as well as getting to know this new person. Once you've made the initial contact by saying hello, just comment on something related to where you two are. For example, at a wedding you might ask this person if they are friends of the bride or groom, and how they know this person. At a supermarket, you might ask for advice on a product. Try to stay away from pick-up lines. First, they are generally ineffective. Second, they make you look insincere. Just try to be honest and open. Also, center yourself and get your confidence up. Most people say that confidence—without being cocky—is a great turn-on!

What if you get turned down? Great! Remember—you're just working the numbers. You already know that you're going to get some successes and some failures. Don't worry about it. The more "no's" you get, the closer you are to your next "yes".

My book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World" has much more information on make your pitch.

Close the Sale

I can't tell you how many good salespeople make this mistake—they don't ask for the order! Somehow they expect their customer to do it for them! When you approach someone don't forget your goal—to get a home telephone number. Don't accept pager numbers, voice mail, etc.

How do you get the home telephone number? Ask! It is great practice to get this number every time you talk to someone. In fact, recent studies show that men get numbers at least 50% of the time. As you get better at it, your averages will improve. But, you've got to get started!

Breaking Up

Sometimes, things run their course. You may be at fault or not, but when its time to bring your relationship to an end you want to do so cleanly and effectively. Here are some suggestions:

  • If you have personal items at your lover's place, you want to begin getting them back. This is much more difficult to do after the breakup. If your lover has things around your home, put these in a box and have them ready to move. Be thorough—you don't want to have things left over for him/her to have to come back to get later.
  • Don't involve your friends, family, co-workers, etc., in the breakup. This is only between you two. Adding others increases the humiliation factor.
  • If you're afraid of a scene, breakup at a public venue such as a restaurant. However, don't "lure" your soon-to-be-ex lover there under false pretences. Explain that you want to "talk about your relationship".
  • Don't wait until a "good time". Do it as soon as you make the decision. Waiting only prolongs the inevitable and makes it even more difficult.
  • However, don't breakup on a day with special significance. For example, don't breakup on Christmas Day, Easter, or your ex-partner's birthday. This is cruel, and may cause ruin that day for this person for a long time.
  • Don't hedge—get to the point. Be clear and specific. Don't blame or argue, and don't prolong the event.
  • Don't breakup in stages! Some people; either through fear of losing someone, or a feeling that their sparing their ex-lover's feelings do the "series breakup". They start by getting distant, then, they suggest that both see other people, then, they stop answering the telephone, etc. This is just causes the pain to be extended for a longer time than is necessary. Remember, you wouldn't cut off a dog's tail piece by piece (would you?); you'd do it all at once.
  • Be considerate of or ex-lover's feelings, but don't back down. Also, don't promise to stay in touch, stay friends, or say that maybe you can get back together after you "get your head together". This leads to false hopes.
  • Don't unload your hurt or anger on this person. Be detached, unemotional and specific.
  • Breaking up is very difficult for both the person doing it as well as the person getting dumped. Always remember that you saw something in the person when you first got together. Regardless of what happened they are still the same person you met and have a right to their dignity.

    Dr. Dennis W. Neder, author of Being a Man in a Woman's World, is dedicated to advancing the arts and sciences of relationships. Start having the relationships YOU deserve!

    Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit my Web site at:


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