how to communicate on a dateLet me start by asking if you know the answer to the following question. What is the number-one fear a woman has after a date that goes really well? Do you know?

The most common fear is that he won’t call again. The woman is left waiting, wondering, and feeling frustrated. No, frustrated is the wrong word. It’s more like a feeling of exasperation.

You just want to pull your hair out! Your experience with the guy says, “Yes! This went great, and he already secretly loves me just a little bit. We had so much fun!” Yet the days pass without further contact. You start to worry.

By day three, you stop measuring the passage of time in days and start counting down the hours to each deadline you were sure he would meet. “He’ll call before 8:00 PM tonight. I’m sure of it.” The minute hand on your clock gets more attention than it has in five months as you watch it pass the 8:30 mark. You, on the other hand, get none of the attention you were hoping for.

Where does this problem come from? Why do so many women go through this agonizing experience? There are several answers to this question, but I want to get you thinking about one thing in particular.

I’ll come back to this problem in a minute. First, I need to tell you something interesting I learned from a man who consults with restaurant owners to make them more money. In particular, the man I’m referring to is a consultant to high-end restaurants with pricey menus and required reservations.

Take a moment to think about why a pricey restaurant would require customers to make reservations. The answer, it turns out, is the same as the reason airline companies require that you make a reservation (and payment) to hold a seat on a scheduled flight.

If you’re not going to show up, they want to be able to offer the seat to someone else. Empty seats on an airplane means less money earned from the flight (which costs just as much to operate with half the seats filled as it costs with all the seats filled).

If the airline does not require you to make a reservation, they cannot maximize the money they make from each flight. Even classy, high-end restaurants look like ghost towns at 10:00 AM in the morning. There are a limited number of seats they can fill during the dinner rush. They want to maximize the money they can earn from the tables they have available (and all the staff standing by to serve you). That means, each time a person calls in to reserve a table, and then fails to show up, the restaurant loses money by holding a table they could have offered to a paying customer.

So here is what the consultant tells the restaurant owners. “When a person makes a reservation, ask them if they will call if something comes up to change their plans.” By asking this simple, question, real-life research has shown the number of people who call ahead to cancel (rather than simply failing to show up) increases dramatically!

There’s a trick to it, though. If the person taking the reservation just says, “Please call us in advance if you need to cancel,” nothing happens. But if they ask, “Will you call us in advance if you need to cancel?” and then wait for the customer actually to say, “Yes,” the customer almost always follows through.

Why is that? Why does that simple question work so much better than a statement of expectation? Psychologists say it works because it triggers the human mind to visualize the action in the future. Plus, people don’t like breaking their own word.

Now, back to that guy who didn’t call before 8:30. He eventually calls, but not until two weeks later! I could explain why guys do that, but, to quote The Prince’s Bride, “No. There is too much. I will sum up.” And my summary is this: Guys are dumb. But with a little help, we can be less dumb. So let me tell you how you can offer a guy a little help with this problem.

Just ask him a polite question and wait for him actually to answer it. Before you go separate ways after a date, ask the following two questions with pauses for him to answer:

You: “Will you call me?”

Him: “Yes. How could I not?”

You: “Before Friday?”

Him: “Definitely.”

You: “Good. I’ll wait for your call. Goodnight.”

Him: (thinking silently as he walks away) Dang, that girl has some kind of magic hold on me!

And now, the worst thing to say at the end of a date: “Thank you. I had a really nice time.”

how to communicate on a dateWhy is that the worst? Let me explain it like this. You slave all day to make the best dinner you could possibly create in a hundred years, and you ask with anticipation, “How is it?” and he responds, “Good.” You say, “Just good?” and he responds, “No. This is really nice. Thank you.” It’s a letdown.

“I had a really nice time” is the ultimate cliche thing to say. It conveys nothing. Well, it might convey something like, “I guess I can’t think of anything special to say. You are bland, and so was the date.” Don’t communicate that by mistake. Instead, grab his attention with the question above. It says, “That was special. Chase me and you’re going to like what happens next.”

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