Wednesday, 17 September 2014

6 Ways to Be More Present with Your Date

We've all seen it. There's a good chance we have all done it. The couple at a table at the local coffee house or sharing a table at the local pub. Instead of smiling and engaged in a lively discussion, the man and woman's eyes are glued to the screen of their smartscreens. They are reading wall posts, Tweets and RSS feeds from people miles away.

Time and again, in surveys and in raw feedback from clients, we hear about technology getting in the way of the dating process. Literally. This includes taking a call or answering a text during dinner. It includes sharing pics of your meal via social media. It includes picking up your digital lifeline every time there is a notification.

Do we need to be in constant connection with the world that we forget the ones right in front of us?

Technology has its place, but it doesn't have to be between two people trying to connect on a first date or during their 12th year of marriage. It's within our power to use it wisely.

To that end, here are six ways to be more present with your date:

1) When you are on a date, be ON THE DATE. Don't just put your phone on the table. Put it in your purse, leave it in the car or turn it off. Once it is out of site, it's less likely to distract you and it shows your date that they are a priority. Focus on the person sitting across from you.Make the evening about them and not just use them to fill the gaps between notifications.

2) Explain situations to your date. I know that there isn't a separation between work and personal time sometimes. Or perhaps the children are torturing the babysitter. Tell your date the issue. "I've been waiting on a call from my boss to see if I have to fly out on Thursday for a meeting in Toronto. If he calls, I need to answer, but it will only be a moment. For now, tell me about yourself (or your day)."

3) Create boundaries and keep them. Don't be on your best behaviour regarding phone etiquette for the first or second date before lapsing into your handheld obsession. Always put the other person first.

4) Ask open ended questions. Show them that you are interested in them and what they have to say. Ask questions about them, their likes or weekend activities that go beyond a one-word answer. It shows you are into them, and it will make them a bit more into you.

5) When your attention wanes, remember to respect the other person. Sometimes on a first date, there isn't much in the way of chemistry. Or perhaps you just aren't in the mood for another encounter at the token Italian restaurant. Instead of turning your attention to the TV over their shoulder, the girl at the table next to yours or even your phone, remember the Golden Rule and treat your date the way you would want to be treated. Being present for an hour may reveal that the two of you had more in common than you originally thought.

6) The eyes have it. Where your eyes are is where your attention is. Eye contact and a great smile will disarm many anxious dates.

These tips are really nothing more than manner reminders. If someone has made the effort to meet you for a casual dinner date, make sure they are meeting the best of you.