There are the guys who excel at first impressions and dates, and then there are the guys that may not shine at first glance, but who grow on you over time. These are the guys who slowly wow you with their opinions, tastes, and knowledge revealed with each passing encounter. The first group of men are the showers; the second group of men are the growers. Wait, what did you think I meant by growers and showers?
When we were in college we could encounter these types in equal measure as we strolled through night-long parties. You could choose the dance floor with the showers or saddle up to the guy on the couch for an awesomely awkward conversation about life. The showers kept you dancing all night long with their self-assuredness while the growers were the guys you confided in and gradually developed an attraction for as they revealed their depth.
In the online world, the growers fall behind. One date is all you get in a world where we administer judgment before someone even opens his mouth to say hello. You have a max of 1 hour and 15 minutes to impress her or you will be thrown to the curb for the next most qualified guy. My experience with this was an encounter about 8 years ago with a lovely, quiet man that didn’t lead to a second date. I now know this gentleman as a friend, having spent many hours discussing, conversing and pondering the world. He is the real deal. I see many pass him up, not realizing what they are missing. How could they? There are too many people to choose from online and people rarely want to settle into actually getting to know someone the way we used to. It is wham, bam, his nose isn’t perfect and I don’t like his shoes, no thank you ma’am.
What to do?
1. Give love a chance
Slow it down, man. Love takes time to develop. The idea that in the first two seconds you know he is the one is short-sighted. This might be true if we were walking around truly open to all experiences with no pre-conceived notions borne of past relationships. However, because we are so influenced by our pasts as we search for our future, it is wise to give more than two seconds consideration.
2. Listen a little
When you stop talking, you can start taking in what she is saying. This allows you to notice her laugh, her level of vocabulary, and her views of the world. In listening, you learn.
3. Give a second date
Some people definitely rub you the wrong way, and they can be pushed to the wayside. However, if you are intrigued but unsure, give them a second chance. Growers warm up over time. You won’t get to see his true stuff until after 4 or 5 interactions.
4. Interact briefly
A strategy to get to really know someone is to date small. Break up that 4 hour, 3 martini date into 4 small dates instead. Take a walk, search BullMoose for cds, drink tea, and visit a wine tasting at MJ’s. These smaller, less intense interactions will allow you to ease into the knowing of her.
5. Try some offline options. Growers, introverts, and the more introspective are often easier to meet in small group settings. Try these offline options:
Meetup.com (pick a topic, any topic). Get into writing or bird watching or skeet shooting. Try “Am I still single”, a group for single Mainers who want to meet people offline.
Wine wise, a group that provides wine tours in and around Portland.
Running or biking groups (check out meetup.com or bike shops to find them)
Take Action Portland (TAP) is a volunteer-run organization that coordinates monthly commitment-free community action projects and is a fantastic way to meet people.
6. Pay attention to people in your real world. The ultimate offline experience is right around the corner, at Coffee by Design, Rising Tide Brewery, or the produce section of Trader Joes, for example. Connect with the person standing next to you in line through a smile or a hello. Take a chance; make a connection. You never know what will happen.
Note: I addressed this article mainly to women because, in my experience, men are a bit better at this. In my dating phase, almost every single man I went on a date with was up for the second date. It was my choice to turn them on or turn them down.
Authored by Erin Oldham, Ph.D.
Erin is a researcher, relationship & divorce coach, and mediator. Erin works with people as they navigate getting into, sustaining and getting out of relationships. She also works with people as they negotiate divorce and the post-divorce world. Erin has a Ph.D. in Psychology and has been researching child wellbeing and the formation of healthy relationships among children and adults for 20 years. She is approachable, pragmatic, empathic and effective. She facilitates intriguing, engaging workshops on these topics as well. Contact her now at email@example.com or 207-200-3970. More information here. localflamesmaine.com