Friday, October 7, 2011

Finding Love After Loss: The First Phone Call

If you are Internet dating, you have may have started off your interactions with a prospective date with a wink, an IM or e-mail correspondence. The two of you are now ready to move onto your first phone call.

This can be exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time, dual in nature just like the rest of life. 

You are looking forward to putting an actual voice to the one you’ve heard coming through your non-verbal connection and will be on the lookout to see if they are in sync.

This is really your first date, although there is no need to clean up, except if you video chat!

Here are 7 tips for this first interaction.

1. Set up a specific time to talk. This should be a time when you can have some privacy, have completed your household chores or have left your job at the office, and when you can be relaxed.

2. Have light-hearted conversation. Two taboo subjects: sex and money. No sexual innuendos either. Steer away from talk about former spouses and custody issues and late spouses who you’ve elevated to sainthood status.

3. If you are especially nervous and want to avoid the possibility of dead air, think about items about which you can converse before initiating the phone conversation. If you can’t think of anything, read the newspaper that day so you are up on current events of the day. However, it is probably best to stay away from politics during this first conversation. Additionally, questions may have been generated during your email conversations, so this is a good time to get some of them answered. Make sure not to make it an interview, though!

4. If the inflection of your voice goes up at the end, any statement you make can appear to be an open-ended question. This lessens the defensive position of the other person because you are asking his/her opinion rather than stating yours as a fact with a “take it or leave it” implication.

5. Be authentic. Remember: the two of you are already attracted to each other by virtue of your previous non-verbal communications. Don’t turn into someone else because you feel the need to impress or to play up your achievements.

6. Be open, enthusiastic and upbeat. Project your "inner smile" through the telephone line! Additionally, let your prospective date know that you have looked forward to speaking to him/her and, if the conversation is going well, that you would be very open to continuing to speak and/or meet to find out more about him/her. Keep in mind that enthusiasm is great, but don't go over the top and be thinking about how this person is your soul mate before you even meet him/her in person!

7. Closing the conversation. As you near the end of your talk, and it has gone well, you might want to ask this person out. You can just go for it, or a more subtle method is to simply mention that you are going to the movies, or going hiking, or attending a concert in the park during the upcoming weekend and that it would be great if he/she could join you. Because this is a little less direct, it can alleviate some of the pressure. Moreover, you've kept the date and time nebulous, so this provides an entree to ask questions, if he/she is interested.

On a personal note, during my first coffee date with my husband, I mentioned that I had read in the paper that a restaurant had just begun offering old movies on their rooftop. I asked him if he thought that sounded like a great date. He jumped right in and asked me if I would like to go with him to find out for ourselves. In this way, I provided an easy opening for him to ask me out. (I always try to be helpful!!) He already knew I was interested in checking this venue out and assumed I would not have mentioned it to him if I was not interested in going with him.

So with the first phone conversation under your belt, you are now ready to meet your date in person!

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