Name: Monica DeBiase
Comment: Hi Moxie, this has happened to me and maybe to you as well:
A-I’m at Starbucks and there is an attractive couple, clearly on a first/online date. They seem well matched, age, looks, smarts etc. However, the guy will just not shut up. Anytime the woman opens her mouth he cuts her off and goes on forever. You can just see her eyes glaze over. I mention this story to my friend who lives in the area, describe the guy, and she has seen him in action at same Starbucks with same result.
B-Restaurant with nice retro type lounge. Very popular with first online dates/meetings. I observe two-The first couple is again, attractive, nice seem good match, but the guy will just not shut up. Also he gives her less comfortable seat, not major but to me sign of social awkardness. Funny because he got to lounge early to set up seating and talk to waiter etc, so clearly he cares.
C-The second couple is again attractive, well matched, on first date,they sit at the bar. The woman this time is the yapper, and she is loud enough we can hear her animated if one sided conversation-basically her entire gory life history, complete with stalking and restraining orders. When she pauses the guy says “So! How about those Red Sox!”
I’m not writing this to dis the yappers, I have a huge amount of sympathy for them, this behaviour is driven by loneliness and nerves more than anything.
My question to you is, have you ever done a first date intervention? Taken someone in this kind of a situation aside at an opportune moment and said something? Seems too invasive but yet I feel badly for them, with a little coaching I think they could overcome this. Maybe this is something you address in your classes? I know should keep my own (big fat) yap shut, and I do, but it hurts me to see people who otherwise seems decent but just can’t get get out of their own way. I think they go home wondering why they don’t ever get a second date.
I’m not really sure there’s a question here. So, I’m going to use this letter submission as a spring board to another topic that ties in to the theme of this letter.
Let’s talk self-perception.
We all like to think that we have various attributes. Many of us consider ourselves attractive, engaging and interesting. What we often times forget to consider is how others perceive or judge us. Which leads to people walking away from a lot of first dates very confused.
A distorted self-perception is probably at the top of the list of reasons why so many men and women can’t seem to find a mate. Either they believe they bring much more to the table than they actually do or they incorrectly place value on certain attributes that, to the object of their affection, means little to nothing.
Contributing to this problem is that these people typically surround themselves with people who will confirm their perceptions of themselves. Regardless of how many awkward first dates they have, no matter how many men or women blow them off, their friends will continue to tell them that they are awesome and that it’s not them.
I can say, with a very high degree of certainty, that if you continuously encounter the same situation over and over again, then that means the flaw lies with you. I know that’s not all warm and fuzzy and it might bother some people. But it’s the truth.
What I don’t understand, and what a friend and I were discussing last night, is why so many people are afraid to consider that possible reality. Why is it that so many men and women appear to rely on confirmation bias and seek out opinions that support their inner narrative, even though they never manage to have much success with their current belief system and approach?
Maybe they do. Maybe they think there is success because they “dodged a bullet” or “could do better” or “refused to settle.” Maybe the “success” for them is in the belief that they did not compromise? It seems like the definition of “dating success” is constantly being modified as a way to enable people’s distorted self-perceptions.
This, in my opinion, is a trap that many of us often fall in to. We choose to believe certain things about ourselves or others, even though there is plenty of evidence to support the opposite side of the argument.
So my question is…why do we do that? And why are we so afraid to change?