Friday, November 27, 2009

No Whining!

If you’ve ever been in a long line on a hot, sweaty day, with a bunch of tired little kids, you probably know what whining is all about. It’s annoying, cloying, tiring, and, most of all, unproductive. Whining never gets you anywhere but on someone’s nerves. Don’t do it. If your date tells you he or she is having a rotten time, suck it up. Yeah, you’re right. It hurts, but no whining. It isn’t the end of the world. All of the following constitute the whine response:
  • “Just my luck.”
  • “My last date dumped me, too.”
  • “Boy, I sure do know how to pick ’em, don’t I?”
  • “This always happens just when I start liking someone.”
If you feel these words — or their ilk — bubbling to the surface, stop immediately, press your lips together and refuse to speak again until you’ve shed that whole sackcloth-and-ashes routine and are ready to respond like the mature person (not victim!) you are. The time to lick your wounds is later, when you’re home running a hot bubble bath, or calling your mom for a hug or a best friend for support or the bakery to see if they have any double fudge brownies left.

Getting More Info

When you feel disaster in your gut, or see it in your date’s response, bring it to your lips. I don’t pretend this is always easy to do, but, trust me on this:
It’s better to know than to stumble around in ignorance. If you feel like your date is not going well, here are some things you may want to say:
  • “I’m sensing you’re not having a good time. Is this true?”
  • “I’d appreciate your honesty. Are you having fun?”
  • “Is there something I’ve said or done to offend you?”
  • “Are we not quite clicking here?”
The truth isn’t always fun to hear. Sometimes it’s downright painful. But, when you give people the chance to be honest with you, they usually will in a kind and gentle way. You don’t want to date someone who doesn’t want to date you. It’s as simple as that. You don’t want to have to convince someone to like you, or ask them to hang in until chemistry kicks in. This is not an endurance test or some dating karmic reincarnation where you’re doomed to repeat every awful experience and where your cosmic score in each category is added up and totaled at the end before you can escape. A date is an organic process as much as it is planning and prep work. Mother Nature is in there orchestrating the event, right alongside your careful blueprint for the perfect outing. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to fate —this date wasn’t meant to be. Find out what went awry — don’t blame yourself or your date. Then move on. Don’t obsess about why it didn’t work out. Try not to take it too personally. Most importantly, no whining.

Reading the Signs

It’s easy to tell when someone hates your guts. They sneer, they scowl, they scoff, they storm off in a huff. They won’t make eye contact, they mace you, they call their Rottweiler and the fashion police. Unless we’re talking major meltdown or atomic winter, it is really unlikely that the clues will be so obvious. What is much more likely when a date goes sour is a slow process of disconnection, a major lack of chemistry that becomes more apparent as the date ticks on, rather than dramatic magnetic repulsion. Here are the six warning signs of potential date disaster:
  • Lack of eye contact: Eye contact is the very essence of connection, the “window to the soul.” If your date won’t make eye contact — nothing else will connect.
  • Sullenness: Your date is unresponsive and says as little as possible. Make sure that you’re not monopolizing the conversation or asking too many personal questions, but if your date consistently responds with “Yeah,” “No,” and “Don’t know,” you have a pretty clear sign that things are not going well. This doesn’t mean there will never be a gap of silence (or two or three), but when the gaps yawn like the Grand Canyon, something isn’t working.
  • The “I” focus: If your date’s conversation is focused exclusively on himor herself, without any apparent interest in you, it’s a sign of either no interest in you or a pre-occupation with self. Yech.
  • Emotionally out of sync: Have you ever been with somebody who totally “gets it?” Every nuance, every joke, every raised eyebrow? You’re in tune. Conversely, if you find yourself laughing alone a lot during your date, explaining punch lines, or finding humor where your date finds horror (or worse, nothing), you and your date are likely really different and are going to have a rough time finding any common emotional ground.
  • Physically out of sync: A body speaks volumes of feelings. Connected, interested people lean in toward each other or sit close to one another. If one body consistently says, “I’m out of here,” or “Not interested” and remains aloof throughout the date, it’s a fair bet the head feels the same thing.
  • Edgy or anxious or sad: A wee bit of nerves are understandable, but if your date is in an obvious emotional turmoil that doesn’t let up, it’s a sign that your time together is in the dumps, too.