Friday, June 10, 2016

Senior dating issues: Two questions senior singles should ask on a first date

Senior dating issues: Two first date questions to ask

by Tom P Blake
I am impressed with the wisdom of our On Life and Love after 50 newsletter Champs (subscribers--I call them Champs). The most recent example comes from Champ Bob, who was a corporate recruiter.

Bob emailed questions he used in his work that he feels can be also used in the early stages of a relationship to determine whether two people have adequate compatibility to continue dating or not.

Bob said, “As a former corporate recruiter (head hunter, if you will), I heard a simplistic description of the hiring process. It boils down to two questions: ‘What have you got?’ and What do you want?’

“If a candidate can answer those questions, she/he is making progress toward getting into a job that ‘fits’ her/his needs and the needs of the hiring organization.

“Applying those questions to the relationship-building or dating process, the questions become: ‘What can you bring to a relationship?’ and, ‘What do you want from a relationship?

“My sense is if a man and a woman can answer those questions to each other early in the dating process, then informed decisions can be fairly readily made about proceeding or working toward a relationship.

“Some may find this basic model a little too much of the lowest-common-denominator.  However, I have road-tested these questions and achieved results – deciding to pursue a relationship or move on.”

Bob has a point: If two people who have just met—maybe they are even on a first date—can answer those two questions, they can somewhat objectively judge whether there might be enough compatibility that a satisfying relationship could develop.

Bob expanded on the first question when he added that it’s not only what a person can bring to a relationship, but, “What is that person willing to do to make the relationship successful?”

In my 23 years of writing columns, this third question is especially significant. Often, I have had men or women tell me they met someone they liked, who had the qualities they wanted, but that the person wasn’t willing to make enough of a commitment. When that happens, frustration and disappointment inevitably follow. In other words, both people must want to be in a relationship and be willing to work on it together.
Instead of giving advice, ask questions

Another thing Bob learned in his corporate career was what to do when someone—a client, friend, family member, or colleague—asked him for advice. He said he tried to avoid giving advice because doing so was fraught with pitfalls.

Bob’s statement piqued my interest because singles often seek my dating and relationship advice.

He said, “The advice-requester may or may not be giving an accurate picture of all the facts and circumstances, intentionally or unintentionally. Errors of omission can happen because the person cannot or will not admit he or she has contributed to the issue or problem in some way. The person may have a bias, selecting certain facts and leaving out other relevant information. The advice-giver is therefore not in possession of complete information on which to base the advice.

“Instead of giving advice, I had a backpack full of questions to pose to the advice-requester. At the end, he or she would thank me for the ‘advice’ after they had arrived at their own conclusions, solutions, and courses of action. I had not made one statement of advice; I had only asked many questions.”

Bob pointed out that by asking questions, instead of giving advice, he was assigning the responsibility of the problem and the solution to the person seeking the advice.

He said, “What if advice is given and it works absolutely perfectly?  What has the requester learned? Nothing, except to return to the advice-giver the next time a problem arises. A dependency (co-dependency?) has been created.”

He added, “What if advice is given and it crashes and burns, fails miserably? Who is to blame? Why, the advice-giver, of course. ‘You told me to do such and such. I followed your  advice and look where it got me? My relationship is ruined, etc.’”

That comment reminded me why I am not a matchmaker, opting not to fix people up, although I am often asked to do so. Fixing up singles seldom works and then the people are mad at me—the fixer-upper.

Also, Bob is right about people not including both sides of the story when asking for relationship advice. When people ask me, I usually hear only one side of the story. Getting the other side of the story is usually not possible.

In the future, I’ll likely be asking more questions, but knowing myself, I will still give advice. Old habits are hard to break.

Thinking about what Champ Bob has shared today, improving dating and relationships after 50 comes down to clear, honest communication between two people. It is as simple as that; unfortunately, people often make it more complicated.

No comments:

Post a Comment