Is Your Love Style Blowing Your First Dates?

So recently I mentioned that I met a perfectly cool chick at a 4th of July party and also that I had a first date with her for the following weekend. The first date went 100% awesomely. I nailed every single one of my goals on the list, including the tipsy ass-grab and intense makeout session at the end of the night. It was lovely. Teri is a great gal and I’m super stoked about this one. I’m getting kind of a chub thinking about it.

Post-date, I did a lot of thinking about how first dates and the early-early stages of dating are so volatile. By volatile, I mean there is little stability and that anything can happen at any time. The other person could decide, for whatever reason, to flake out and never respond to another email, call, or text after a perfectly good date (even with a makeout) and how things can be so unexpected. Not only that, but on a minute-by-minute level during our first dates, things are fluid and there’s a lot of non-verbal communication and jockeying for position. The best way for me to break that down is with an example…

After my date with Teri, we met again at a backyard BBQ at a friend’s house that same weekend. I figured things would progress nicely and we’d move to stage 2, whatever that is. But, for various reasons, we took a step backwards. I tried all my normal tactics and got absolutely nowhere.  At the end of the night, I was barely able to illicit a terse kiss goodnight. Remember, this is someone that I had had a fantastic first date with only 48 hours ago and that I was certain things were going somewhere. What happened?

It took me awhile to figure it out, but what I realized was that she was uncomfortable indicating our connection or showing affection in front of our friends, for whatever reason. It’s possible she was concerned about her social status among the other females of the group, or even that she didn’t want to be questioned about a new love interest. So what it felt like was that I was flirting with a  statue. Displaying affection in a social setting isn’t something I think about at all, but for her it was really important, so she shielded herself, and it took me by surprise.

Taking this a step further. There are small but significant differences in the way that we express affection and the way that we go about establishing a connection with another person. I’m loose and nutty and ready to get close early on. I’m also very touchy and I would describe my love style as affectionate. She’s not. Teri’s deliberate, tighter, she tests a lot, does a lot of takeaways, and only gives out compliments and positive signs after you pass a test or earn a giveaway by doing something clever. As you can see, it’s complicated and there is a lot of potential for missteps and failed communications.

My point is this. All that stuff I said in the last paragraph isn’t something that you talk about on a first date or even a second date and sometimes it’s not something you talk about at all. Some people may not have thought about their love style ever or have the vocabulary to even have that conversation. The only way that I navigated through it was because of the skillz I’ve built up over the years and having gone on a ton of dates. I’ve seen every love style under the sun. I know which chicks are wide open and which ones are tight. I know the ones that like touchy-feely and the ones that are shy about touching. I know the ones that are humorous and can take teasing and the ones that are sensitive and get huffy when you bust on them.Three years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to get through those first two dates without fucking up something wildly. I would have gotten turned off because she wasn’t giving me enough or I wouldn’t have had the skill to navigate all the little testing, and it’s possible I would have given up on a perfectly good prospect. If you don’t have the skillz, how do you make it through those early dates?

I have two ideas:

1. Get the reference experience by going on a ton of dates and seeing what love styles are out there. Develop your skill. Read a bunch of high quality PUA theory. Try different stuff and make mistakes. It’s critical to be able to identify and calibrate to a person’s love style, energy level, and mood immediately.

2. Try discussing each other’s style on the first date. Be smooth and don’t just throw it out there and be creepy and expect results. Have a few drinks, kino escalate like normal, warm it up, and then throw in a “so, what’s your love style?” question somewhere during comfort. This is completely not field tested by me, I’ve never done it, so I don’t warrant the results, but I bet you can get a bunch of information about how she connects and how she likes to be connected with. Calibrate and proceed. Come to think of it, having this conversation is probably good to have at any point in a relationship, from first date to LTR.

Last couple of thoughts. How many dates with perfectly great partners are we blowing because we don’t have the skill to navigate the subtleties of each other’s love style? Probably a lot. It’s very rare that two people will have instant chemistry.

Speaking of chemistry, I think chemistry is bullshit. When someone says they are looking for great chemistry, what they actually want is someone with the skill to move from opener to rapport to comfort and create a fun environment while at the same time presenting well–dressing well, having an image–and projecting an aura of confidence and attractiveness.  Not only do they want the complete package, but they want it to come naturally, like the other person was born that way and that the connection happened organically. Yeah, right! Chemistry isn’t something that happens naturally, unless you happen to be a Natural, which most people are not. Chemistry is understanding the opposite sex and having great game.

If you have the skillz to navigate a first date, you might also like these fine posts:

  • Peekaboo

    I agree with you on *almost* everything you’ve written. However, personally, I do feel that chemistry is something natural & is the building block to discovering love styles.
    .-= Peekaboo´s last blog …Bobby Dickface =-.

  • Jonsi

    Great post. I agree with Peekaboo that chemistry DOES exist, but I think it exists on a plane, and understanding the opposite sex and good game are one of the dimensions of that plane. The better game you have, the larger the area of that plane, and there will be more women you can have a kick ass time with because you aren’t waiting to randomly meet someone whose other dimension (on which I’d include hanging out and love styles) matches with yours.

    I like how you analyzed this girl without over-analyzing. It sounds like there is nothing you could have done to solicit a more warm response, but now that you figured out her style you can plan better logistics and move forward. Good luck!

  • lisaq

    Yep. I’m with the other two. I definitely believe in chemistry. That being said, I particularly like your ideas about discussing love styles. Nice ideas.

  • dadshouse

    I think it’s awesome you met at a BBQ. I’ve met pretty much all of my post-divorce girlfriends at BBQs, dinner parties, birthday parties, etc.

    I do think chemistry is important between a couple. If the ease of communication isn’t there, it will only get harder. That said, some move slower than others, and maybe she just thought you wanted too much too soon.
    .-= dadshouse´s last blog …Metaphysical Magic =-.

  • Janak

    I don’t really understand the idea of “calibrating”. If they’re not going to dig you unless you calibrate (and presumably stay “calibrated”) then what’s the point? Do you really want to be in a relationship with someone where you never get to just be yourself? Also, what happens if you’re both trying to “calibrate” to each other’s “love style”?
    .-= Janak´s last blog … review =-.

  • Lance

    DM, I’m totally stoked about meeting a cool girl at a normal venue. I’m so over online dating!

    Chemistry is super important, but what most people don’t think about (esp. woman) is how much skill goes into making chemistry happen. If you don’t know what you’re doing on a first date, your chances of blowing it go through the roof.

    Re: going too fast, that wasn’t the issue. She was concerned about appearances in a social setting and didn’t want to “reveal” that we had made a connection at that time. In retrospect, I don’t have a problem with it, because social status among women is super important.
    .-= Lance´s last blog …Is Your Love Style Blowing Your First Dates? =-.

  • Lance

    Janak, good question, I’ll probably have to write a blog to really address it. My short answer: during a first date, you’re playing an attraction game, that is trying to attract each other while not giving TOO much away, so there’s a fair amount of gamesmanship going on. Calibration is important because you want to pick up on the non-verbals and make adjustments on the fly. Does she like to be touched in a social setting, if so, how and when? How does she react to teasing? Some girls are insecure and take teasing the wrong way. You have to do a bit of testing to see where the boundaries are.
    .-= Lance´s last blog …Is Your Love Style Blowing Your First Dates? =-.

  • Hot Alpha Female

    I was thinking about something like this the other day.

    You know where you have this amazing connection with one person one day .. and then it falls in the ass the next day.

    Could because of two different ways of communicating love and affection.

    Yep sure. I hear ya buddy.

    But I was also thinking … could it be awkwardness the second time you see them … because the moment things don’t appear to be going as smoothly as the first date … you begin to think and wonder off as to why its not the same instead of focusing on the moment right in front of you.

    And if that is the case .. then would simply acknowledging that you felt a connection at the beginning and now you don’t essentially take that white elephant out of the room?

    Maybe im over analysing … but there’s a thought for ya.

    Hot Alpha Female
    .-= Hot Alpha Female´s last blog …The "Hes Just Not That Into" Rules. Do They Really Apply? =-.

  • Lance

    Actually, HAF, I think you’re absolutely onto something there. In my example, I carried several assumptions into our second meetup, which caused me to miscalibrate, which led me to having a minor negative internal reaction to what her situation was. Said another way, I assumed we were together and there would be a degree of comfort already, which was not the case.

    I think in the first couple of dates, really until you’ve established a “relationship” (whatever that is for the specific couple), you have to go into your meetups with a clean slate and calibrate all over again. As you said, live in the moment. That makeout from the other night? Pretend it didn’t even happen. That’s a little frustrating but it’s the reality of modern dating.
    .-= Lance´s last blog …Is Your Love Style Blowing Your First Dates? =-.

  • Ozgirl

    Lance I stumbled across your blog today and it seems timly.

    I have been reflecting on a past relationship and commented to a friend that i had let a good one slip through the net. She came back with “oh course you sisn’t stuff up he just wasn’t the right guy’.

    Now I agree in principle BUT – doesn’t this sort of comment imply that us women can do no wrong and that the guy is the only one to blame? Us woman CAN and do stuff up.

    And isn’t it better that i see this and make a mental note not to make the same mistake next time.

    I love her for being supportive but still in this case it wasn’t the right response and women can only damage each other if this is the constant advice we give out.

    Sorry but it had been bugging me all day.