When you write a book, what do they tell you? Consider your audience, no? When you write a speech, what do you they tell you? Consider your audience, no? Well, dating is no different, friends.
For conversation’s sake, let’s assume you were married for at least two years, engaged for one year and dating She Who Would Become Your Wife for at least another year. For conversation’s sake, at the bare minimum, we are going to assume that you have not been on a date for at least four years, 1,460 days or 28 dog years, whichever metric you prefer. For many of you, that estimation is on the low end. For those of you whose number is a bit higher, stay with me as what I’m about to share is just as applicable for you. As my grandmother used to say, there is no expiration date on good advice.
If you are newly divorced, your inclination may be to want to discuss your situation. After all, you’ve just been through a life changing experience. Depending on the severity and circumstances, the violent overthrow of a small government may pale in comparison. I call this the train-wreck syndrome. You just passed an accident, time slows as you pass, gory details stand out. You have the natural inclination to want to discuss what you just witnessed as it is still fresh in your mind. It may still very visible, either in your peripheral or in the rear view mirror.
While you may still be swimming in a sea of emotion that you feel the need to share and discuss in great detail, bear this in mind: those of us who were not witness to the scene would rather not hear the gory details. In politeness, and because we know you need to talk about it, we may smile and listen. On the inside, however, we are cringing. On the inside, we are the emergency personnel on scene urging along the rubberneckers trying to keep traffic moving. Please. Keep it moving.
On the map of life experience, your divorce may very well be that accident, or just the town you most recently drove through. In any case, it is fresh in your mind and therefore the easiest thing to reach for in your conversational grab bag of tricks. Kindly bear in mind that easy does not equal interesting. Not to your audience anyway. The good news is that with a bit of foresight, you can cue up a few other tales that will make a date much more enjoyable for all involved. You are an intriguing guy after all. You have stories which will amuse, entertain and even awe. Decide how you want your audience left and give some thought to the personal stories you can share that will achieve just that.
If you are feeling as though you have zero inventory from which to pull, phone a friend. Phone three if you must. The stories are there, even if you can’t see them. No need to feel overwhelmed. A date is not and should not feel like the Spanish Inquisition. It can and should flow. It can and should be effortless. But authors and speakers have achieved that level of flow on purpose and not by accident. It looks easy because the author and speaker were prepared. While I’m not suggesting you set up a video camera and film and critique your own delivery, I am suggesting that you consider sitting down and rehearsing with a friend a couple of times. Fight through the dorky awkwardness of speaking to yourself in the mirror and get to the point where the story flows. Watch your face. Watch your delivery. Remember, you’re after the key points, not the memorization of the details. Remember, you’re not looking for an award winning performance, you’re looking for flow. You’re looking to leave her exactly how you intended. Entertained. Amused. Happy. With a piece of you she didn’t have before. You’re laying out breadcrumbs, not going after a golden statue for your delivery. You’re going after the next date. You’re going after being comfortable in your own skin again. You’re going after being the great guy you’ve always been, you just need her to understand that. Little by little.
One of the finer points of your delivery, which is going to seem counterintuitive, is going to be your ability to be quiet. Not only quiet, but an active listener. Doing the Two Step to easing back into dating. Without using your left foot.