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The Keys To Getting A Second Date

Missy asks:

I'm a attractive, slim, college educated, decent job, well dressed (I.e. feminine not showy) confident and modern woman who can't get a second date after a first from online dating.

I do all the right things, smile, be polite, keep it fun and light, have an genuine interest in the man , offering to pay and the conversation during dinner seems to go very well.  I thank them for taking me out and kiss them goodbye on the cheek. The men I have been on dates with are in a similar life position as myself, that is attractive, intelligent, educated etc. The only reason I think I'm not getting another date because they are busy exploring other options online because they are quality men.

I'm not sure if I am doing anything wrong, but I seem to not get any contact from them after the date. I also won't lower my standards as I get a lot of contact from the dating site and only agree to meet the ones I truly feel there is potential, otherwise I'd be wasting my and their time. I don't want to reach out first as many sites say that men do the chasing and I suppose I'd rather spend time with a person who proactively wanted to see me. Please advise ! What you're experiencing is the norm thanks to dating apps and other forms of social media.

The only reason I think I'm not getting another date because they are busy exploring other options online because they are quality men.

Boom. That's absolutely correct. I'm liking the self-awareness here. The men you are interested in likely have plenty of options. As a result, that fear of missing out thing the kids talk about kicks in. It's the jam theory aka choice overload. When someone is presented with multiple options, while they might only sample a few, they are less likely to "buy" than those presented with fewer options.

While this might not sound appealing, your best bet is to go out with the men you consider "Maybes." You might even want to revisit a few of those "No's" too. If your end goal is to find a relationship, you'll have better luck investing time in the people who don't have as many options. If I had to guess, I would say this, as well as a distorted perception of one's desirability, is why so many people struggle with online dating and dating apps. They go for the people in high demand, unaware that person probably has no intention of ever choosing just one person any time in the near future. It's not that they just want sex, it's that they just want sex with multiple people, you see. Which isn't a bad thing or morally or even ethically wrong. It's only wrong when they use the promise of a relationship to reel in unsuspecting people.

Moving on...

It's normal for people to want what they believe everyone else wants. That kind of demand gives the desired item a stamp of approval. In dating terms, that's called "social proof." From the linked article:

Social proof is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others under the assumption that those actions are reflective of the correct behavior.

In other words, if a man seems like the type to be successful with women, a woman is more likely to want him. Many dude-bro dating advice sites rely upon the stereotype that women are a monolith and are competitive with each other. They do not consider that we don't all find the same thing attractive. They believe that if men have a multitude of previous sexual partners a woman will want him more. Of course, that theory doesn't work so well in reverse. A woman with the same-sized pool of previous sexual partners is often considered damaged goods.

Gross double standards aside, your challenge here, Missy, is to widen your net. It's understandable that you wouldn't want to waste time unless you were pretty sure the man had relationship potential. The thing is, all the criteria you cite earlier - well-educated, good-looking, well-dressed - are indicative of, well, nothing. Nothing substantive, at least. The only men that would want you based on those criteria are men looking for someone to show-off and who looks good in their Instagram feed.You won't know if someone has true potential until you meet them.

Rather than focus on exterior qualifications, try to glean what you can about their values and personality from their bios or profiles. Do they have a sense of humor? Do they seem self-deprecating or like they don't take themselves too seriously? Do they show signs of being introspective or gracious? These are things that hint at their character, and character is what determines if someone will be a good partner.

As for the "men do the chasing" notion, please erase that from your mental hard-drive. Nobody wants to be with someone that "chases" them. People chase either because they're insecure or because they can't take no for an answer. One thing that will definitely help improve your first-to-second date conversion is an email after the date telling the person it was great to meet them and thanking them if they paid for any aspect (even just a portion) of the date. That Thank You text is huge. HUGE. That one gesture dictates when - and in many cases if - that second date gets on the books.

Good luck!

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