How to Avoid the Urge to Overcommunicate

SerriaSerriaby SerriaSays for HowAboutWe

I recently got an email from a client who wanted to set up a date for Thanksgiving night. I coached her to be slightly aggressive and asked her to invite a guy out for drinks. (I have always thought that Thanksgiving is a great "date" holiday for singles and I had all the ladies I coach go out this week.)

Everything was going great, and she told the guy (based on my coaching) that she would set up the date. The plan was to Yelp some bars and find a good place, something fun; we even found a cute outfit for her to wear.

The day before Thanksgiving, she still hadn't found a bar. So Thursday comes, and she sends a text to the guy telling him her schedule, and asking if he wanted to cancel because it's a holiday, or something like that.

He didn't respond right away, and she began to panic; she called, texted and emailed him, and he still didn't respond. I asked her to put her phone away until her family dinner was over. I didn't see the point in ruining her holiday over a stranger that she won't even remember next month. When she finally checked her phone, she saw a text telling her that he was going to continue hanging with his family.

With so many different modes of communication, sometimes we are tempted to use them all. I ask you to resist the urge: it will only give someone else the power to ignore you through various channels. There were a few places this date went wrong, and I'd like you to examine these actions in your own dating life.

Plus: 9 Annoying Things You Should Never Say to a Single Person

Lessons from the trenches:

Make decisions.
In this story, the girl said she would pick a bar and let him know. She did not pick a bar nor did she cancel the date; instead, she left it in a gray area that put her in a position to be stood up. It was her job to research a bar and pick a time at least one day prior to Thanksgiving to give her date the opportunity to plan his day. If you say you are going to do something, do it.

Allow for an easy reply with a yes or no.

In this situation, the communication sent prior to the date didn't have a call to action and was unclear. If you are in charge of planning the date and would like a reply, make it simple: "Does 8:30 at the Cheesecake on Main Street at the Grove work for you?" Now your date only has to text back a confirmation. Remember, they don't care if you might have to work overtime, or pick up your dog; share that on the date, but for now just plan your date and stick to it.

Plus: How to Dump Someone Without Being a Jerk

Solidify or cancel the date the day before, at the latest.
I prefer phone calls because texts messages can get lost. That said, even if you call, it's fine if your date confirms via text.

Follow up with one method of communication.
If your call is ignored, don't text, or email, or wait outside their house, etc. Sometimes while dating, people will disappear. Just allow it; it comes with the territory. But sending so many forms of communication are annoying and a turn off. When in doubt, wait it out.

Most important! Never have a negative attitude in communication.
In the situation above when they guy responded to her text the next day, her response was pathetic because in her mind she was stood up. In the dating world, you never want someone's motivation to be pity. Be happy, not in a fake way but in a "glass half full" kind of way.

Plus: Why You Should Try Dating Below (And Above) Your Standards

I am a big fan of clear communication and keeping my word. If you don't want to go on a date with someone, tell him or her. Avoid standing people up or strangling the ones you do like with affection, because similar to a kid squeezing a dog, it will bite you and run away.

The Bunny Tail (The bottom line, what you should do next):

In dating, please remember that you cannot control the other person. No matter how much you reach out, that will not make them respond. You can only be responsible for yourself, but rest assured the shoe always switches feet.

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