When you’re dating, especially if you’re over 40, you probably want to know as much as possible as fast as possible. Why waste your time, right? Especially those of us who are “of a certain age”; life is too damn short to be dilly dallying around to get to know a guy. Either he’s for you, or he’s not.
You’d rather check out his appearance, feel out the chemistry, spend 5 minutes talking about the weather and…if you’re interested…get to it. Why did his marriage break up? Is he close to his Mother and children? What’s up with his career? Does he share your political/religious/moral views?
I get it. I’ve been there. But the truth is that 9 times out of 10, this will not serve you well. Because not only does chatting tell you a lot about someone; when you’re not chatting you’re probably doing something you ought not be doing.
Here are six reasons why small talk counts:
1. Like you, men can be nervous, self-conscious, and even insecure. (Does that surprise you?) Idle chatter lets you settle in, get comfortable, and get a sense of each other. This can take some time – maybe the entire first date – but for the right guy it will be worth it.
2. Talking about non-consequential – i.e. non-threatening – topics will bring out his fundamental personality. You’ll see clues to his intelligence, well-roundedness, sense of humor, lifestyle, and general interests. This is the stuff you’re going to live with every day, and it’s important.
3. His body language and communication skills speak volumes. Does he make eye contact, listen when you talk, show confidence, have good manners? Again, very important stuff.
4. Context is huuuuge. Finding out about his illness or his bankruptcy on the first date will most likely send you fleeing. But what if you found that out after learning he was kind, confident, brilliant, and generous? (This goes both ways girlfriend. Hush until it’s right.)
5. Contrary to most women’s opinion, asking him about himself and then letting him talk endlessly is not a way to attract him. While grown-up men certainly look for deep connection in a partner, “someone who will hear my deepest thoughts” is far from first on their list.
- He’s not looking for a mother or sister. He wants an equal and a lover. How will he even know that about you if you just listened to him all night?
- Leaving a man feeling like he revealed too much is a recipe for disaster. Unlike us, being able to spill his guts isn’t a positive. If he gets home feeling like he told you more than he would tell his best friend, you’re not getting a call for that next date.
- Men are smart. He may not get it in the moment he’s enjoying yapping about himself, but looking back he’ll know you were secretly sucking out information. Rather than think you’re a fabulous great listener, he’ll think…he’ll know…that you were digging for what’s wrong with him. (And honestly, weren’t you?)
6. Your femininity is a man magnet. He needs time to “drink you in” and get a sense of that part of you. When you’re grilling him – and that will be his perception – trust me girlfriend, to him you are not in your feminine. (Or at least the part they like about it.)
So, when first getting to know each other, talk about what you like to do, where you like to vacation, where you’ve lived…this is where you should stay as you Date Like a Grownup™. Get a sense of his personality, intellect, and manner…and let him see yours.