The BIGGEST Mistake People Make In Dating
How to Start a Relationship from Dating a Stranger
Asking out a stranger is a great way to find someone, but forming a serious relationship with someone you’ve just met can be pretty difficult! It can be hard to tell if a stranger is even interested, much less if they’re ready for a potential relationship. Reading people’s cues, communicating openly, and spending time with the new person in your life will prepare you for turning a casual meeting into a real relationship.
Getting a First Date
Smile and make eye contact.If you see someone you would like to get to know, smile and make eye contact with them. If they smile back, they’re probably okay with you talking to them. If they ignore you or frown at you, they aren’t interested. Leave them alone and look for someone else.
Ask questions.Get to know the person by asking questions. Keep it light and friendly at first. Don’t immediately ask if they’re single or if they’re looking for a relationship. Ask if they’ve lived in the area for long, if they like the music that’s playing, or if they go to the same school you do.
Listen to their cues.If they’re answering everything with a single “yes” or “no,” avoiding eye contact, or paying attention to something else, they aren’t interested and you should leave them alone. Don’t take it personally--they might already be seeing someone, or just be having a bad day. If they’re asking questions of their own, sounding excited about what you’re saying, and maintaining eye contact, they’re probably interested!
Show them you’re interested.If your conversation is going well, start showing your romantic interest. Don’t come on too strong--this isn’t the time to be explicit or give them lavish compliments. It’s best to start out with small hints, like a compliment about their hairstyle or a suggestion that the two of you should hang out soon.
Call or text them the next day.Getting in touch immediately can look desperate, but waiting more than a few days might cause them to lose interest. Wait overnight, then call or text them.
- Give them something to respond to by referencing your earlier conversation. For example, if you talked about how great the music was at the club when you met, tell them that you heard the same DJ is going to be playing at a bigger club soon.
- If you don’t get a response within a day or so, try again. Don’t be angry or accusatory. If you don’t hear back, leave them alone.
Ask for a date.Ask them directly if they’d like to go out on a date with you. Be as specific as possible. Instead of saying “Do you want to go out sometime?” ask if they want to go to a movie on Saturday night.
- If they say they can’t make it and they don’t offer you an alternative time, they might not be interested. Don’t push them.
Act warm and friendly on the date.Don’t go overboard trying to be romantic--you barely know this person. Keep it friendly on the first date, but continue to show interest like you did in your earlier conversation. Ask questions and listen to their responses. Tell them directly if you’d like to see them again.
Learning About Your Date
Ask about their life.Once you’re on a date with a stranger, take the time to learn about who they are. Don’t decide you want to be in a relationship with someone without knowing what they do for a living, where they’re from, or who they live with--you should know basic facts about their life first.
Keep in regular contact with them.When you’ve just met someone, not talking to them for a few days can make them think you’ve lost interest. You should text, call, or meet up with them at least two or three times a week.
- You don’t have to have long, personal conversations every time you talk. Just sending a funny picture or asking how their day was can show them you’re still interested.
Pick a variety of date locations.Don’t just keep going out for dinner over and over again. Go on a variety of dates to get an idea of what this person likes and how they act under different circumstances. Avoid places that make conversation difficult, like loud concerts or movies.
- Hiking, playing board games, and trying a new kind of food together are all great date ideas for people who are getting to know each other.
- Make sure you ask what they would like to do!
Learn about their relationship history.Relationship histories can tell you a lot about a person. If they have had several long-term, stable relationships, that’s a good sign. If they have never dated anyone seriously, have a history of tumultuous relationships, or are still involved with another person, you may want to wait before trying to start a relationship.
- Don’t interrogate someone about their past. Bring up your own past first and keep the conversation casual, but pay attention to their reaction. If they join in, then they may be interested in talking about it.
Listen effectively.Getting to know someone requires a lot of listening. Show them you care about what they’re saying by maintaining eye contact, asking follow-up questions, and referencing what they’ve told you in your own conversation later.
- For example, if they said that they wanted to be an artist when they were a kid, offer to take them to an art museum on your next date.
Look for common interests and outlooks.Not every date will become a long-term relationship. Make sure that the person you’re interested in has enough in common to maintain a partnership. You don’t have to like the same movies or desserts, but it’s much easier to have a successful relationship if you have similar attitudes and lifestyles.
Watch out for warning signs.When you’ve just met someone, everything about them can seem amazing. However, rushing into a relationship with a stranger can leave you with a partner who disrespects or even abuses you. Before you make a long-term commitment, check for warning signs of abuse and other unhealthy relationship behaviors.
- If you caught them lying, felt unsafe around them, noticed them being rude or abusive to someone else, or had them get angry at you over a minor issue, don’t see them again!
- Coming on too strong is also a major red flag. Be very wary of someone you just met who immediately pushes you to form a relationship, declares their love for you, or contacts you constantly.
Forming a Relationship
Tell them how much you like them.Make sure they know how you feel without coming on too strong. Don’t tell them you love them or that you’re meant for each other--that can scare people off if you do it too early. Tell them what you like about their looks, personality, and interests instead.
- Try telling them "I've been having a great time with you. You're someone I really connect with and just being around you is great!"
Meet each others’ friends.Get to know each others’ friends by setting up a few casual get togethers at a local bar, restaurant, or shopping center. Ask their friends how they know your date, and encourage your friends to chat with them too.
Get involved in their life.If they have hobbies or interests they’re passionate about, show some interest in them. For example, if they love baseball, offer to go to a game with them. If they have a demanding job or school schedule, get involved by helping them de-stress from it.
Talk about your long-term goals.Get an idea of what they’re looking for in a relationship by discussing long-term goals. It doesn’t have to be a big discussion--you can casually mention your plans for the future and then ask what theirs are. If they want something similar to what you want, it’s likely a serious relationship will work out.
- If you have something specific planned for your future, then make sure to mention that to them. For example, if you plan to move to the other side of the country, then that would be important to mention.
Ask them to be in a relationship with you.Tell them that you care deeply about them and want to be in a real, serious relationship with them. Ask them how they feel about you.
- You don't need to make a grand, dramatic declaration. Try saying something like "I've felt so happy since we started seeing each other, and I'm starting to really care deeply about you. How would you feel about making this official?"
Continue to learn about them.Don’t just stop trying when you get into a relationship. Remember, this person is still relatively new to you, so it will take time to get to know them. Communicate with them and listen to what they have to say.
QuestionWhy would I want to date a total stranger?
Clinical Social WorkerClinical Social WorkerExpert AnswerLet's face it, everyone is a total stranger in the very beginning. Even if someone you trust fixes you up, the other person is still a stranger. The article is about moving from first date to possibly more.Thanks!
QuestionI'm trying to carbon date someone and I am not sure if they're interested. What should I do?
Clinical Social WorkerClinical Social WorkerExpert AnswerThe basics of dating and carbon dating are quite similar. Peoples' reactions to the relationship, though, might be different. There is more likelihood of certain others disapproving with carbon dating. But what matters is how you feel. Hold on to your dignity, don't pursue someone who does not show interest in you.Thanks!
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