How to Decode Your First Date

Do you ever leave a date thinking, “So… what was that?!”

Did they like you? Will they text you back? 

From years of matchmaking, I can tell you that the secret in decoding a date lies in something I do every day: Date Feedback.

Here’s the behind-the-scenes date feedback experience: 

I set up two people up.

They go out.

They fill out a form on all the nitty-gritty details of their date: what went right, what went wrong, what they liked and didn’t like.

For the first few months of matchmaking, I would stay up late for client’s feedback, impulsively checking my email, fingers shaking, desperate for an awesome date for my client. The email would roll in, I would click on it (no matter the hour) and start pouring over the details. Usually, my heart would sink if the date was anything less than five out of five stars.

Did they like each other? Did he get up and walk out in the middle of the date? (It’s happened before.) Did she say something rude about his outfit? Or did they fall in love and make out? 

Now, years later, I can guess that date’s outcome before I even open their feedback. After hundreds of hours of experience, I have a matchmaker spidey-sense from date feedback that clues me in to how the date went (and what their reactions will be) before the date begins.

Here are my five biggest takeaways from date feedback, which you can use to decode your own first date (and to know whether or not there will be a second). 

1. You will make quick judgements… they’re probably incorrect.

What you see is not what you get.

This was a first date. So they probably said something weird or rude, which may have turned you off. Or maybe they made a stunning first impression, and you want to make babies immediately.

 The most important thing to note is that, regardless of your chemistry or lack there of, you are getting an adrenaline-filled person who is trying to impress and be themselves in an awkward circumstance.

You will make judgements which will color your experience. The trick is to not hold these judgements as truth.

One client came to work with me after years of unfulfilling, short-term relationships. After a lot of rejection and dating missteps, she was very afraid that her future dates would reject her.

I set her up with a really nice guy who fit her preferences well. But during the date he said something about getting dessert afterward and didn’t invite her. She immediately assumed he was rejecting her, and so she shut down.

On our feedback call, she had an emotional meltdown because of this experience. That sting of rejection (perceived or otherwise) is painful, and I totally empathized with her intense reaction to this date.

But the thing is, it was all a misunderstanding. He was actually waiting for her to say if she wanted dessert or not.  He was nervous, miscommunicated, and she was ready to believe he was rejecting her. 

We can torture ourselves all day about what the other person thought. What you really need are prescription strength first date glasses because what you see is, (most of the time) not what you get.

2. If they were into you… Wait, were they?

If your gut tells you that it was a good date, it was. They probably were into you.  

You’re hot, mama, and they thought so, too. Now, if you are wondering about a second date…

Matchmaker rule of thumb is: If you feel intrigue, a second date will be worth your time. 

After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. And every date is a chance to learn more about yourself, your preferences and your dating needs.

3. Wait, what if they weren’t into me?

If you felt that way, odds are they probably weren’t into you… 

Trust that your heart and body can feel if there was any sort of potential connection. 

HOWEVER my #1 piece of advice is you felt he wasn’t into you-- take a moment to check your story and reevaluate.

What do I mean by “check your story”?

 Like the client I mentioned earlier, is it possible that you are primed for rejection before you walk into that date? 

I get it, dating is hard. You are putting your heart out there often.

Most of us, before we step in the door, have created a story about how this date will go, or a story about our desirability. And I know that protecting yourself with low expectations can feel easier than being open to romantic possibility. 

But if you walk into the room with that heavy story strapped to your back, you might be ruining your chances before the date even begins. 

Give yourself a chance to rewrite that negative story. 

You are hot, mama. Play with what it feels like to believe you are the most desirable, amazing, gorgeous creature there ever was (btw, I believe that about you as you are NOW).

4. You’ll probably freak out about whether or not they found you attractive.

Unfortunately, most people are not very open minded on a first date. Plus, their past relationship stories and preferences just don’t line up with what you have to offer.

The downside of getting feedback on a date is hearing what we all dread in our dating lives.

They weren’t attracted.

I know from personal dating and matchmaking experience that this can cause a downward self worth/shame spiral of epic proportions.

It’s easy to give these moments power because they acknowledge what we fear and play into our rampant negative self talk. 

When I was training to be a matchmaker, learning to deliver this news was difficult to say the least. 

But after some real-time date feedback experience with this imbalance of attraction, I learned something key.

The fact that they weren’t attracted has everything to do with their story and past. It has literally nothing to do with you or your attractiveness.

I know this sounds dangerously close to “just don’t take it personally! 

But believe me, I’ve seen behind the curtain enough. And every time there is an imbalance in attraction, I always tell clients: You are making room for someone in your life who believes you are the hottest person around.

Again, it literally has nothing to do with you. And, their “rejection” makes room for someone who is chomping at the bit to be with you.

5. Odds are, it was a learning experience, not a love connection. 

You might agonize over this date for hours/days/weeks.

But here’s the truth: most dates are just learning experiences, gearing you up for the big leagues of connection.

If you are regularly putting yourself out there, this truth can feel cruel. I mean, you are doing a ton of emotional labor to even get your cute jeans on for this date… shouldn’t you be able to expect some sort of payout?

But I know from seeing so many date and fall in love that you want more of these clear cut learning experiences… because then you don’t have to waste your time on lukewarm romance.

You can learn so much about your ever evolving preferences while dating, and from that work, the right person will be attracted to you

If you want to develop this matchmaker did-they-like-me-spidey-sense, you need to start creating your own date feedback ritual.

Talking about your date through the lens of “what did I learn?” instead of “Wow that was horrible/great,” will transform your dating journey.

I’ve seen how clients who get in the practice of talking out their date feedback, discussing their “stories” and preferences (with a friend or a pro), see a real shift in their ability to trust themselves on dates. They actually end up with less date mystery and more surety. Because you don’t really need the other person’s date feedback, you can know exactly what went down all by yourself.   

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Do you have date-spidey-sense? What friends can you call on to help you work out your own date feedback ritual?

Lily WombleComment