In a recent coaching session, my client, Alexa, asked a question that I’m sure every woman who’s dating has contemplated at one time or another. Alexa is a young mother with a beautiful baby boy. Here’s what she said: “Lisa, I’m really having a real dilemma because I realized that I don’t want to take time away from my son if it’s not for a really good reason. If I go on a bad date, I get bummed out. I’d much rather stay at home with my little guy. It’s making me feel burned out with dating. Is there a way to vet these guys before I go out with them?”
I’m sure most of you can relate to her dilemma. Whether you’re a single mother yourself or a busy professional, your time is precious. I mean, who wants to go out on a bunch of dates that wind up going nowhere, especially if you could have prevented it. You need to be able to suss them out first, right?
A few things emerged from that coaching session that I thought you… and, really, any woman in the dating world should know.
#1 Get Him On the Phone and REALLY Listen to His Tone of Voice
So first things first. You know that thing you hold in your hand much of the day? It’s called a smartPHONE for a reason. I know a lot of you don’t like actually using it to talk to people, but when it comes to dating, you are making a HUGE mistake by not speaking to a man before you meet him, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Why do you want to do this? Because you need to hear his tone of voice. Does he sound up or down? Happy or depressed? It is extremely important that you listen to the way he ends his sentences. When someone is depressed or negative, his voice will go down at the end of a sentence. If someone is happy and positive, his voice will go up at the end of a sentence. When you hear a man’s voice, you are able to get a sense of his energy and vibe right away, and if you don’t like it? Don’t go out with him.
I decided not to go out with several guys because I didn’t like the tone of their voice and I thought they sounded negative. I remember one guy who asked me how my dating was going and then proceeded to tell me HIS bad dating stories. I finally interrupted him using my favorite line, “Can I pause you for a second?” And then I said, “I’m sorry you’ve been having a hard time, but you just don’t sound very optimistic about dating and I don’t think it would work with us.”
He was shocked and said, “So you’re not going to go out with me?”
I kept my tone light, but I said, “No. I’m not, but I wish you all the best.” Another bullet dodged!
#2 Vetting Questions
Okay, so you talked to him. His voice and his energy didn’t turn you off. Now what? I suggested to Alexa that she come up with three questions she could use to sum up a man quickly. These questions should be based on her interests or values.
Part 1: Interests
You an your future partner will be spending much of your free time together, so you want this person to be your ultimate playmate. After all, you are going to be spending a lot of playing together. I’ve coached many couples who didn’t have shared interests and struggled to find fun things to do together. This created a lot of stress on their relationship.
With that in mind, I asked Alexa to think about her personal likes and dislikes, the things she loves and hates to do so she could quickly determine whether their interests line up.
For example, you might say to a guy, “Hey, if we were going to go away for a weekend, would you rather just throw some stuff together, pack up our car and go camping or would you like to go wine tasting in Los Olivos?” You want to chose something you love to do and something you could never see yourself doing. So, if you like doing things like going wine tasting for the weekend and he picked that option, you might go on a date with him. But if he jumped on that camping idea, no way.
Personally, I’m not into sports. I would not be interested in going on a date with a guy to watch a football game or a baseball game. It will never be and has never been how I want to spend my time. So, I would say to a guy, “Hey, imagine it’s Sunday afternoon. Would you prefer to catch a Clippers game or go out and have cocktails by the beach?” I’m more of a “cocktails by the beach kind of gal” than the type of person who goes to watch a sporting event of any kind. It’s just not going to happen.
If a guy is into sports, he can go do that with his friends. If he is into sports AND camping, I would feel safe saying we’re not a match. And it’s not just about the activities themselves.
Part 2: Values
Another important thing to consider in your vetting process are your core values or fundamental belief. These are issues or topics or values that define who you are. Maybe it’s something political. A good question would be about choosing church over Sunday brunch. So you might ask him, “Hey, on a Sunday, would you rather go to church or go for brunch?”
If the guy picks brunch and you’re a regular church-goer, you may think, “Well, this guy doesn’t share my same priorities.” And you just saved yourself time from going out on a date with someone who doesn’t share you same values.
These should all be either/or questions. Do you prefer option A or option B?
Separating the Studs from the Duds
Alright, it’s your turn. Go grab a pen and paper or a seat at your computer and create three either/or question based on your interests or core values that you can use to vet your dates. There’s a reason why you want to have three questions. If a guy is into sports, he can go do that with his friends. If he is into sports AND camping, you would feel safe saying we’re not a match. You are looking for at least two out of three. Two “yeses” and you give the guy a chance. Two “noes” and he’s out!
Now with your three questions, you no longer have to worry about wasting time on another date again!