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Dating Skills


Introduction

The following is a script of an audiotape of a conversation between two counselors who are talking about dating skills. The script gives some tips on how to plan for a date, how to ask someone to go out and how to make the dating experience more satisfying.

Tape transcription

  1. Hi. I’m Shandra.
  2. And I’m William and we’ll be focusing on dating skills. Let me begin by giving an overview of what we’re going to be talking about. First, we’ll suggest some ways of making asking someone out easier. Next, well look at some of the things to keep in mind when you’re talking with someone. Shandra will start.
  3. OK. First, let’s say that we feel like what we’re going to talk about will apply equally to men or women, straight or gay. We are not going to make distinctions based on gender regarding dating behavior. However, we do realize that individuals need to make their own decisions about how they want to date and we do believe that it’s important that each individual make his or her own decisions. William, let’s talk some about important things to consider before asking someone out.
  4. Well, perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is that asking someone out isn’t always easy. It can be really hard for some people. However, it can be easier if what you ask someone to do is something casual as opposed to a more formal date. With something casual, there doesn’t have to be a lot of heavy planning. There is not as much at stake to worry about. It can be more spur-of-the-moment and doesn’t have to involve a lot of expense. Examples would be to ask someone to have coffee after class, to look at pictures in a gallery or go play tennis at a public park. That kind of request may be easier for someone to say yes to than a more formal kind of date like going to dinner or a concert. Shandra?
  5. Yes, I agree with you. I also think that the person being asked out is going to feel much more comfortable about saying yes to a casual date because it is much less pressure on her or him. So I think someone would tend to accept more often. And this leads to our next topic, which is, "Once you’ve decided to ask someone out, what’s a good way of asking?"
    I think there are several important things to keep in mind. First of all, I think it’s important that you preplan what you want to do, where you want to go, and when you want to do it, before asking the person out. And I think this is true whether you ask the person out in person, like walking out of a class, or over the phone. Secondly, if you do ask someone out over the phone I think it’s important that you make clear just who you are. There are a lot of John’s or Mary’s in the world and it’s hard to distinguish who you are just on the basis of a first name or the sound of your voice. And the final thing that I can think of is that it’s important to make some sort of personal connection between you and this person when you do ask them out, like reminding them of conversations you’ve had in the past or in what other context you know them. This makes it a little more personal. William, can you think of anything else that’s important?
  6. You seem to have covered most of it. However, another thing to do is to make sure that you tell the person what you plan to do. For example, saying "Would you like to play tennis on Thursday?" lets the person know what he or she might be saying yes to—both the activity and the day of the date. And it’s also good to let the other person know why you want to go out with him or her. For example, you’ve had good experiences with the person in the past, or you found it very interesting talking with her or him.
    This more direct approach we’ve been talking about is more likely to be successful than something as indirect as saying, "What are you doing Saturday night?"
    Finally, if the person you ask does say no, don’t necessarily think that it means that he or she doesn’t ever want to do something with you. Take into account the tone of the conversation and any past experiences you’ve had with that person. For some people, the timing isn’t right because of other commitments or because they are preoccupied or stressed about other things. For some, the activity you are proposing might not be something they have interest in. So if you presume that the only reason you’re being turned down is that there is something wrong with you, you may be making a very big mistake. It is true, however, that some people just don’t hit it off together and there may not be anything you can do about that except to look for someone whose interests are more like your own. You also need to also keep in mind that a person’s accepting a date may not mean anything beyond the acceptance of that given date. You should keep your focus on having an enjoyable date rather than planning for any particular future with that person based on their accepting the date.
    Shandra, what are some other things to consider or that you consider when you’re on a date and talking with someone?
  7. Well, once again, I think preplanning is important. It helps to think about what you’re going to say before you go out with that person. That is, think about what topics and interests you have in common. Another thing is not to start by asking a lot of questions of the other person because this tends to put the other person on the spot. Instead, it’s best to give information about yourself. Talk about what you’re interested in, what you are into and then ask a question or two about them to get the conversation going.
    You may also want to get more personal with your date at some time by sharing something that’s more personal for you, like what you’re feeling or thinking about something. This allows your date to share in a similar way so that you’re beginning to communicate on a more personal level. Another way to do this is to share the response that you’re having right at the immediate time and I think, in this instance, it’s best to be honest even though sometimes honesty may make you uncomfortable. For example, if you’re at a movie that’s boring, if you can turn to your date and say, "This is a really boring movie," chances are they are going respond by agreeing with you. This might even provide a good laugh for both of you and really ease the experience and make it more pleasurable.
  8. I think that’s a really good point. What you’re talking about deals mainly with being a good speaker and I guess the flip side of that involves being a good listener. So often we’re concerned about what we’ve said or what we’re going to say next that we don’t really listen to what the person is saying and pick up what it is that is being conveyed to us. Listening involves paying attention to what the person is saying and trying to tell you--how a person feels about what he or she did. It’s important to let the person know they’ve been heard and understood. You can demonstrate your understanding by saying back or paraphrasing what was said and, if you’ve been in a similar situation, letting the other person know how you felt. Maybe it was the same as they felt, maybe different. Also, you can ask a meaningful question about what was said and this is particularly important if you really don’t understand what the other person is talking about. Finally, you can talk about yourself, either how or when you felt similarly, so they can know about your feelings, too.
  9. Well, William, we probably haven’t covered every possible thing about dating, but I think that people will find some of these tips useful. I guess a final thought about developing dating skills is that you need to try out what you’ve leaned and learn from each experience you have. Nobody is perfect at this process, but you can have a lot of fun meeting new people, so the effort can pay off if you give it a try. And, like with any skill, you can get better at it with practice.

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