How to Get The First Date

by Brad Isaac on August 21, 2007

This is part 8 of my series Project Dream Dating 2007 your guide for going from single to dating the person you are compatible with in just a few short steps.

In my last post I presented an important point you should know before asking someone on a date. It is a story of a couple who met at a seminar. The woman spoke French and the man spoke English. I asked you if you could figure out the moral of the story. Most missed the nuance I had hoped to communicate.


Sammie got it right when she said:

I’d say the moral is learn to communicate with each other – all great relationships are built on good communication skills. Without them you’ll never get to know the other person properly and there’s a good chance there will be plenty of misunderstandings!

I thought for sure I had made it so obvious everyone would get my meaning and you’d be disappointed that I hadn’t made the puzzle more difficult. I guess my reputation as a merry trickster still holds true.

First a few things the story is not about:

1. It’s not about persistence or deciding on what you want and going for it.
2. It’s not about looking past someone’s jerkiness or behavior and finding love anyway.
3. It’s not about judging a book by it’s cover.
4. As Aldo points out, it’s not about living happily ever after (but that’s how we story writers end stories).

The story of Sophia and Josh is a fictional story, though I am sure it has happened countless times before. Sophia being French and Josh being American is not important, but what is important is the language they speak is different. The fact that they both literally speak two different languages represents that men and women (even from the same country) speak two different languages. In fact, two men who are meeting for the first time speak two different languages or cultures if you take their backgrounds into account.

I know it’s cliche to say that men and women speak two different languages, however, when you consider how many misunderstandings can arise from a first meeting you realize two different approaches to a first meeting are what happens.

The Fairy Tale Explained…

First, we’ll talk about Josh. For some reason, Josh had learned the way to a woman’s heart is through complimenting her. He’s a nice guy, someone compatible with Sophia, but he doesn’t know the right way to talk to her. Only through learning her language did he find the way to her heart.

Sophia, although confident, did not speak Josh’s language. And she was at a disadvantage because there was no efficient way for her to reach a common communication ground with him. Had he not been interested in her and learning French, the first meeting would have been the last. Only through learning his language was she able to see him for what he was.

You might say “But I speak English and the people I am trying to meet speak English too! But I’m still having trouble.”

The reason you are having trouble is when it comes to meeting and dating there are subtle language differences.

Bad Communications

Like it or not, men often learn via older siblings, friends, TV, books and media that the way to approach a woman is in a sexual manner.

Women conclude that men who approach them in that way are jerks, losers or psychos

So you can have a nice guy, decent citizen, maybe even a guy who donated a kidney to a stranger to save a life. But he’s a jerk because he parrots his older brother’s approach to meeting women. He is compensating for a lack of language by resorting to pick up lines or some other trick.

The woman’s language dictates that men who use pick-up lines, extensive flirting or the facade of artificial confidence are jerks. Women in this situation can react by communicating in what men might consider “wretched” ways. She might be a dream date, nice, kind caring and saved 35 lives in her volunteer work on a suicide hot line. But right now, her language presents her as a mean, overbearing tyrant.

Now, we could turn this into a finger-pointing session. “If he’d just do this, I wouldn’t have to be so mean.” “If women would just tell me what they want I wouldn’t need pick up lines.” But arguing the situation isn’t going to help matters.

Fact is, we can cut through that right now. If you can always be an authentic you, then you can learn other people’s language in a heartbeat. You don’t need the 8 weeks that Sophia and Josh took.

Guys: Pick up lines make you uncomfortable for a reason. It’s because they don’t communicate anything about you, they are not genuine and they project an image of yourself that is below what you consider your standards.

Women: You may have had a chuckle with a friend about how you totally crushed some guy’s self-esteem when he approached you inappropriately. But once the laughing has ended you realize deep down, you are still alone. You feel that you are right and they are wrong. Go too far down right & wrong lane and you’ll find yourself at a dead end.

Get Real

So how do we get past this communication gap to a point where real men and real women can exchange thoughts without all the BS getting in the way? I am glad you asked. I am sure you’ve been following along this whole time you know put yourself in the right place at the right time, haven’t you? You also know how to defeat shyness if it affects you. So what’s left?

Being real

Men: Being real means knowing yourself and being confident in who you are as a person. What this means for men in my reading audience is using pickup lines, tricks or buying drinks is a thing of the past. Saying “hi” and nothing else is better than that garbage. Although you shouldn’t be in bars at this point, lets say you are. Don’t offer to buy drinks, meals or anything else. Women are hip to the fact you might just be buying drinks to get to meet her or gain some leverage over her. It’s best to avoid it altogether.

Women typically want to be seen as your equal. Introducing money, complicates things. How can you be equals if you are always paying? How can you be equals if she feels like you are trying to “buy” her.

Women: Being real means being true to yourself. Are you truly a person who likes saying F***-off to people? There is no need to behave poorly just because someone else is behaving poorly.

If instead, you approach a guy you think is nice and your type, but he starts with some comment about how attractive you are, see it as a language issue instead of a personality issue. If he offers to buy you a drink, say “no thanks.” Men think on some level that a drink means something. Accepting the drink will result in him being anything but real with you.

If you find he is still resorting to pick up stuff, cut through it with class. “Listen, I thought you were interesting. If you think the same way about me, quit talking this garbage okay?” Personally, I’ve never seen a man not snap out of it when told those words or something like them.

All this talk about buying drinks and pick up lines makes me think we’re in a bar of some sort – which you should not be…right???

Get into your environment

If we go back to my prior article how to be at the right place at the right time you see that I don’t advise starting out in bars or dance clubs. The pressure is too high. Instead, sign up for classes you are interested in. Take up a hobby. Get out doing stuff you enjoy doing that might involve other singles such as yourself.

Back in my single days, I took some singing classes.

The professor would have us pair up with a partner for practice after class. Gosh darn it, since I was one of the only men in the class, I always had to pair up with a woman. ;) For 2 years I suffered through this fate. Had I known this any earlier, I might have made it 4 years… Who knows?

But as my voice partner and I practiced this hobby together, communication was easier. Practicing a craft with another person is give and take. You make suggestions here, help there, and get help on something else. By following a common interest together, it comes close to how you will behave in a relationship. I excelled at supporting my partner so she could let go during the performance and give 110% to the audience. Mostly, they just kept me in tune as I miss the right notes occasionally.

What started as a common hobby, often lead to dating. Not always, but on the occasions it did, it was natural. There were no gaps in communication because we started out in the same place. Therefore, by deleting the language barriers up-front, communication was natural. Since we both spoke the same language, we could find common ground with each other.

After finding common ground comes…

How to Get the First Date

Can you see how simple dating people you are compatible with can be if you do a little self-analysis and get into your own environment? If you are out and about continuing your hobbies, you’ll meet people who you are compatible with. How can you not? By interacting with others you will spot opportunities to get together.

How do you ask someone out? Provided you’ve done everything right up to this point and the other person is single, it is time for you to ask for a date.
Personally, I am unconventional in my first date locations. Keeping in mind I want to 1. Be real and 2. Not try to use money as an influence, I recommend being creative for your first date.

Here are some suggestions to spin your hobby into a first date:
1. If your hobby is gardening, meet at a farmers’ market to gather ideas from the pros
2. If your hobby is pottery, find a local sculptor who is having a show.
3. If your mutual hobby is Karate, meet at one of the karate competitions sponsored by your dojo
4. A friendly amateur baseball game.
5. A daytime stroll in the park.
6. An art show.

The key is keeping it natural, nonthreatening for either of you, inexpensive or free and someplace where you can talk and interact without feeling self-conscious. If you are the one being asked out on a date with someone it may not be as easy as the person who does the asking. But you’ll want to steer the date toward a neutral place. If he says dinner and a movie on Saturday? You can say something like, “that would be great but since I have family coming into town Sunday why don’t we do an afternoon walk out at the pavilion?”

If she says “We should go to dinner sometime.” You can counter with an invitation to go to a baseball game on Saturday to see your nephew play in a little league.

Of course, you will need to do your homework and know what’s going on ahead of time.

If you read 10 first date blunders that blow it every time you’ll know how I am a fan of talking a lot during the first date. A first date is like an interview where you want to see if this person fits into your personal corporation. Is he dependable? Is she easy to get along with? Is he overbearing? Is she selfish?

I’m not recommending you be firm like an interviewer or ask machine gun like questions you’ll check off a list. But a walk in the park or a casual baseball game offers you many opportunities to talk and get to know the other person.

Some Last Advice

Keep it light and fun. Your first date is not the place to announce your deepest darkest secret. It is also not the place to pry into your date’s personal background. Your first date is an opportunity to get to know someone you share common interests with. If you don’t have any common interests, you haven’t laid the groundwork as described in prior installments.

This will probably be the last article in Project Dream Dating 2007 unless I think of something else.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this series. If you have any questions or if you use some of these tips to meet your Mr. or Ms. Right, please drop me a line and let me know.

-Brad Isaac

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August 21, 2007 at 9:51 pm

That was an awesome series, nice job. I am a single guy, normally not shy, however, I am past the point of wanting meaningless relationships. It is surprising how much tougher it is to meet someone and want it to be more than a one-night-stand.

For instance, there is a woman that frequents the coffee shop I stop by every morning. I have bought her a cup of coffee (I know all the people that work there and had them buy it for her when I wasn’t there.) She did come up and introduce herself to me afterwards, but I didn’t follow through. I have said “good morning” to her for about a year now. I just have no idea how to initiate that conversation without looking like that “pick-up guy.” I do know that we have at least one thing in common, we are both Christian’s she routinely reads her Bible while there. I just didn’t want her to think that I was using that to get to her. Anyway, I am on vacation next week, and I have made a commitment to myself to talk to her.

Sorry for the long story! Thanks for the articles, very well done. FYI, I will be putting a link to you on my blog, it is very new and I am trying to get in a groove, but hopefully, I will send some people your way!

August 21, 2007 at 11:43 pm

Good post! I will recommend this series to some single friends. *=)


Brad Isaac August 24, 2007 at 2:36 pm

@Terra, thanks for the note and the referral :)

@Chad, here is my suggestion. Without giving specific wording for what to say, I would recommend speaking about something in the environment. You might ask which book in the Bible she is reading. If she has a drink or dessert you’ve never tried, you might remark that you’ve been wanting to try one but is it too sweet? Too chocolatety? too____?

One of the benefits of doing the shyness buster #2 is you get so used to talking to people it becomes natural. Picking up on environmental cues you hardly ever think about it anymore.

Since she introduced herself, do you remember her name? If you do, it would lend some familiarity to the conversation.

Let me know how it goes.

August 27, 2007 at 11:15 am

I wish I knew some of this before my first date :D

Ah well, best to learn through experience.

suzanne September 11, 2007 at 9:24 am

I get the gist of your lesson but sadly, I’ve seen folks fall head over heels for someone with whom they have nothing in common but the lack of a common language and call it love. Dating someone who doesn’t speak your language is very romantic and exotic. The time and effort required to communicate builds a strong bond but it’s not the foundation for a future together. Unfortunately, many people don’t get that. They get all wrapped up in talking to each other and forget to pay attention to what they are missing. Maybe you could include an article on figuring out who is really right for you.

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