Now that you’ve mastered Step One of the Dating Two Step, let’s set that aside for a moment and focus on Step Two. As mentioned in Step One, 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.

In Step One, you spent hours talking to your friends, getting comfortable telling 2 or 3 short stories about yourself and quite possibly walking around the house rehearsing. Step Two may leave you wondering why I had you jump through all those hoops in the first place as what I’m about to tell you will seem counterintuitive. In Step One you put together your stories in order to feel confident and to be able to draw from them when the time feels right. The overall success of your date, however, will not rely on your reserve of gripping tales.

When a woman decides she likes you, which she may for 1000 other reasons you may never be privy to, she will not disqualify you on the basis of your delivery. Even if your stories suck rocks, the success of your dating two step is going to depend in large part on your ability to listen. To her. In real time. Before you wave a dismissive hand in my general direction, bear in mind that listening is an art form. Listening is often aspired to, yet rarely achieved. Step Two then, is how to listen to learn. Master this and you are so in, my friend. So. In.

Consider that there is a story, in everything. You just have to know what questions to ask. An average listener will listen to what a woman is saying.  An active listener will listen to what she isn’t saying. The best stories are those in which the listener has a true interest. The best speeches given are the ones in which the speaker feels passionately. The best books written are those into which the author poured their heart and soul. How does this happen? They find what speaks to them, and they ride that like a rapid.

These stories can be thrilling, terrifying, calm, scenic or combination of a crescendo of a build if nature allows it. Become an active listener by finding something in what she tells you. Pick up the thread. Actively listen to what she isn’t saying. Start with a broad subject and narrow your focus until you find something she is passionate about as well. Often this will require two or three deeper questions before she understands that you are trying to get to the heart of the matter. The heart of her.

Watch her body language as she speaks. When she talks about a college trip, do her eyes drift away as she loses herself in thought? What is she looking at, so far away? What questions can you ask that will artfully, tastefully allow her to share her view with you? What do you really want to know? Pretend you’re back on the road map of life, only this time it’s hers and not the trainwreck of your divorce. What questions can you ask that will help walk her through it?  What questions could you ask that would show you the world in her eyes?

What questions could you ask that would help her remember her favorite dish the day she was in Paris? Or what happened the day she missed her flight in Topeka? Help her get there. But watch her signals, watch for her street signs, her emergency personnel may be waving their road flares asking you to keep it moving as well. Is she looking at you with wonder as if to say “wow I’ve never told anyone this before?” or is she looking at you with a pleading look in her eye as if you to say “if you don’t change the subject, I’ll change tables”.

Read her signs, she’ll tell you. Adjust as necessary. Ease in, toes first, then ankles. This is, after all, the art of listening. Not the art of the cannonball. Why did I tell you to have your stories at the ready if all you’re going to do is listen? Simple. You’re not. This is a one-two step, back and forth. A skilled, active listener understands when it is time to offer of himself. After all, your goal is another date. Your goal is to leave her feeling a certain way. A wonderful recipe of feeling listened to, understood, like she matters. Frosted with entertained. Sprinkled with amused and lightly dusted with a gentle touch of the hand, maybe a kiss at the end. The cherry on top will be another date. More time spent with this woman. More of the same. Connection. Understanding.

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