first date tipsA friend of mine went on a date the other night. He thought the woman was really cute and attractive. But halfway through the date he was staring at her.  Her lips were moving.  Words were coming out of her mouth.  And he thought to himself, “Oh my God, does she ever stop talking?

He called me the other day, and he says, “David, she was really amazing. She was cute and sweet and nice. But she never stopped talking.  She went on and on about her work…

Dancing with her friends…

Her home life…

Not once did she ask me a question.

Her stories were good.  But I felt attacked by words.  What do I do?”

Unfortunately this isn’t uncommon. My friend was worried that maybe he wasn’t being a good listener. Of course every woman wants a man who is a good listener. But listening doesn’t always come to easy to us. So, we have to work on it.

I assured him he is a good listener. Some women just vomit words, without thinking to ask a single question. It’s borderline painful. I know some ladies like to talk.  Contrary to popular belief, men like to listen, too. The solution is not to talk less, but to engage in conversation. So here’s my advice:

Be Concise

Whenever you share a story be concise. A story has a beginning, middle, and an end. Know where you’re going with your story. Avoid talking in circles, covering the same ground over and over. A single conversation can cover work, shoes, kids, high school, retirement, and politics without a transition. Men tend to speak in a more linear style. They want to know what happened in the order that it happened.

If you find your partner is fading during your stories, try planning out you’re next tale. Keep it as short as possible and see if this doesn’t change the outcome. When you reach the end, pause and give the person a chance to respond.

Listen – Don’t Just Hear

A common mistake people make is to wait for the other person to speak and then they jump right back into their story. They’ve got something they want to say and they’re focused on getting it out, they forget to listen.  Most people just hear. Hearing is inactive. You can’t help but hear. Sound waves travel to your eardrum and the result is a sound.

Listening is active. You have to think about what’s being said. You have to process each word and think about the context of the sentence. You think about the inflection or tone of voice used. When you’re listening you’re decoding a message. Decoding that message takes time.

Monitor Their Response

Be aware of how the person you’re speaking to responds to your story. If they’re engaged they’ll make eye contact, nod, or give short confirmations. Conversation is a two-way street. If at any point during your story, you feel like you’ve lost your audience, ask him a question. Engage him in the conversation. Good questions to ask might be:

How would you handle the situation?

Who do you think is right?

What are your thoughts?

Simple questions that often elicit powerful responses. Think about why you tell stories. Usually it’s to get an opinion from someone you trust. In order to get that feedback you have to listen. You have to engage your listener. If you find yourself talking too much, take a step back.  Start asking questions. A date will only go as far as the conversation between two people carries them.  If you don’t know if you’re talk too much on a date, record one.  In today’s world you can just put your phone on the table and record the conversation.

Go back and listen to it. Are you actively listening? Are you using transitions in your conversation?

You can evaluate yourself when it comes to dating. It’s pretty simple. Be more aware of what you’re saying. It’s good to become more self-aware.  You’ve worked hard to find someone you’re attracted to. You don’t want to talk your way out of that second date.