It is astonishing how dysfunctional men can be when it comes to relating to the opposite sex. While dating, common sense often goes out the window and the ability to judge a woman’s reaction completely shuts down. A façade is raised that tends to hide a man’s inner qualities with a conceit of self-importance.
I pity the woman who has to suffer through this on a first date. (Imagine spending two or three hours listening to someone brag about all his exaggerated accomplishments, or his self-determined knowledge of just about everything, or just how great he is.) He may try to impress her with shop talk that she cannot understand, or perform a heated lecture on politics or some other subject of which he considers himself an expert. Or he may hide behind humor, launching a constant barrage of jokes and puns hoping to impress her with his wit.
One must admire the patience of women who put up with this and still manage to be polite. They smile. They nod. They restrain themselves from calling him a jerk – even when they realize that their polite demeanor encourages him to go on. While he is planning a second date, she is quietly preparing to change her phone number and move out of town.
Instead of getting tongued-tied or flustered with desperation, try to consider a date for what it is, an opportunity for two people to comfortably get to know each other. That stops when you make your opinions, your job or your esoteric interests dominate the conversation. It conveys the message that all you care about is yourself, and that you have no interest in the woman as a person at all.
Instead, encourage her to speak about her own life and what she feels is important. Show interest by asking friendly questions. If you really want to impress her, communicate as relaxed equals and show how you appreciate her insights. That suggests far more partnership potential than anything else. Take note of what you have in common.
Most of all, appreciate your date for the person she is.
Every woman you meet is a universe unto herself. Relationships are about experiencing the expanse of that universe, without flooding it. Be open to her ideas. If they contradict yours, show a desire to understand rather than argue. Do not belittle her view of life (or anyone else’s for that matter). She is more likely to listen to you with interest if you do the same with her.
Do not be loud or obnoxious. Do not talk about a subject unless you know she is interested beforehand, and enjoys a knowledgeable discussion.
Dating is the closest thing we have to a mating ritual. As in the wild, the male tries to prove his worth to a female he is attracted to. It seems only natural for him to prove how successful he is, how much money he makes, or how he knows everything there is to know about everything.
A contrived recital, however, will probably not form the connection that you are looking for. During a first date you may assume that you are competing with every man alive, and bragging does provide a measurable effort. You can exaggerate, overwhelm, even lie if it makes you look important.
The trouble is, you also make yourself look like a fool.
Chances are that a woman looks for a partner that she, as a unique individual, can feel comfortable with and rely upon. The man does not have to be James Bond or some other fictional hero. (Even when some women fall for that image, problems erupt once the illusion wears off.) Most prefer men who are friendly, quietly confident, reasonably compassionate, and steadily capable of dealing with life’s challenges. They should be honest, hard-working, gentle when appropriate and, most importantly, self-controlled.
Women may enjoy romance, but romance is only meaningful when it references a relationship that will continue long after the initial phase of courtship. Not all men seem capable of that. Listening intently displays the kind of sincere interest that builds trust.
Do not insult your date by treating her as a sex object, or instigating some tried and true routine that is “guaranteed to score.” She is a human being first, with a universe of perceptions that may be far more fascinating than your own. Develop a friendship first. Display the kind of respect that recognizes her as special. In her presence, keep your eyes from wandering to other women. Compliment her. Notice how listening expands your own understanding of the world from an entirely new perspective. At the same time, do not be afraid to share some of your insights. Just keep yourself from overdoing it. If all that both of you hear is your own voice, something is wrong.
Remember, you would not like to be sitting across the table from someone who does nothing but brag or throw out stale one-liners, or obsesses about something you have no interest in. If you would not like that, why would she?
When choosing a prospective mate, studies show that a compatible temperament is the most decisive factor to future success. Nothing contributes as much to a relationship’s failure than a constant tension and struggle for dominance. Good partnerships are built on mutual respect and congenial cooperation.
While it is important to take note of a potential mate’s temperament, it pays to be mindful of your own. After all, of thetwo, yours is the only one you have a right to control.
Images of the angry male are popular in Western culture. With very few positive images of manhood available, we fool ourselves into thinking that perpetual anger, no matter how unprovoked, is synonymous with manly strength. It actually reflects the opposite, the frustration that comes from an inability to feel comfortable in one’s own environment, which implies weakness. Such anger tends to be destructive rather than constructive. It leads to a clouding of judgment, crude behavior and an attitude of selfishness.
Complaining about and insulting what we do not like is easy. Building something positive that will survive the ages is not.
Unfortunately, the persona of the angry male attracts attention and even seems manly to those who are impressed by noise and posturing. Where it leads is usually disappointing.
During the American Revolution, it was not the mobs rioting in the streets that built a successful constitutional republic. It was the collaboration of well-meaning visionaries with open minds who were able to work and cooperate with one another. What anger they felt by injustice was controlled and directed by vision and a high degree of intelligence. Acting civilized was important to them, and the results were admirable.
Why would a potential mate, or anyone for that matter, want to be with someone who is angry all the time? Even if, for some dysfunctional reason, she is attracted to a childish display of power, no matter how impotent it really is, it will get tiresome very quickly.
The only benefit that comes from perpetual anger is the masking of personal insecurity – hardly a mark of strength and confidence.
The person of mature temperament feels no need to hide who he really is. Self-mastery gives him the security to engage the world comfortably. He sees the world as something to cherish and improve rather than tear down.
Never subject the woman you care about to adolescent temper tantrums. If you become someone that she can rely on, you become someone that you can rely on as well.