First Date Tips for Male Boomers
Seven clues to help you make the most of the first date
Author’s note: this post was written in 2015 during a difficult period when my wife and separated — for 3 years. We are now back together (April, 2020)
Yesterday a 48-ish-year-old work colleague said to me over lunch that he found it difficult to imagine how to start dating again and frankly didn’t think that he had the confidence to do it.
He didn’t need to actually worry as he has a long-term inseparable soul-mate — in contrast to me, being nearly 3 years since my marriage dissolved, and 2 years into dating at the age of 67.
We were chatting about it because I value his advice on “life” and we often chat about such things. He’s 20 years younger, but perhaps wiser than me.
What I do now know, is that dating is a skill which can be learnt.
And I also know that many of my baby boomer acquaintances do face the prospect of dating again with some trepidation.
Firstly they have to overcome their scepticism about online dating, and then they face the fear of turning up when they find a date.
I’ve found a few things that help me really enjoy every first meeting.
Don’t be nervous, be excited
Here are my top 7 clues to help you and the woman that you are meeting get the most out the opportunity.
I’m talking here about meeting someone that you potentially might date for a while — whatever “a while” may mean.
I’m not the guy to ask about pick-up lines and one night stands.
Clue #1 Don’t be nervous, be excitedly curious
Don’t expect your date to like you — don’t expect anything of her. Just clear out all your expectations, clear your nerves, and arrive with an open mind.
Feel excited about the opportunity to meet another human being and to learn something about their life story.
Fear shows, so does excitement. Better still, be excitedly curious.
Clue #2 Stop playing movies in your head
Don’t just clear your mind of expectations, clear it of your movies. Don’t clutter your mind with what might go wrong, or what might be the hopeful consequences of what might go right.
Delete those movies from your brain Netflix and just be clear and in the present. Be totally in the present when you walk in and say hello, not in your head.
Clue #3 Let her story flow around you
As your date kicks off then make absolutely sure that you let her words and story “wash over and through you” in the most positive sense.
This means letting yourself be engaged with it and feeling it. Let her words and feelings ignite a relevant short response from within you.
Do not sit there outside of her flow of the story just thinking about your own story and when you can next speak.
Clue #4 Smile through your eyes
Smiling through your eyes is a powerful signal to engage her.
This takes a little practice. But after a while, it becomes more natural and it works in many other settings to produce a little warmth in a passing encounter.
Clue #5 Don’t be overzealous
We’ve all had experiences of overzealous first dates and it does make people uncomfortable — particularly women (in my experience of failing this test).
Relax, pull back, give her space.
Think of this as a journey of a thousand steps and this is step 1 — not step 100!
When you get better at it you’ll be able to judge whether your date is comfortable to be accelerated to step 20 or if she needs to take it 1 step at a time.
Clue #6 Tune in to her passions
When all the above is working for you — you are relaxed, tuned in, and not anxiously overzealous, then listen to the parts of her story that reveal her passions and emotion. For example:
- Did she really just tell you that her first husband died? Hold that thought to see if she is going to open up and want to discuss that.
- Did she really just mention that she has been on hormone therapy for 20 years?
- Did she really just say that she’d been living by herself for the last 15 years?
- Did she really just say that she hasn’t got time for the movies?
- Did she just mention her sister’s cancer?
- Did she really just say that she has a personality clash with her oldest son?
- Did she really just say that she’s a different person to her parents?
Or did you miss all these clues while you were ogling at the waitress?!!
The above are all the vital clues you need to create a serious human connection, irrespective of whether you may ever see her again.
The “chemistry” is out of your control, but the ability to share stories and grow is not.
Chemistry: dating, what is it?
Almost every dating profile I see - as a "man seeking woman" - expresses the hope of finding "chemistry" on the first…
Clue #7 Don’t wish that your date will like you
We’ve all done it, gently wishing that this new person will like us because she seems great so far.
But let’s face it, all the messages, texts and phone calls still only mean that you know zilch about her.
Wishing is not only making yourself needy, and setting yourself up for failure, but it means you are very unlikely to have fun and enjoy the date if the chemistry isn’t there.
Set your expectations to neutral and enjoy the experience.
Take advantage of every date
Don’t write off anyone or any meeting due to your perceived “incompatibilities”. One of my dates told me that we were “body type incompatible” because her thigh was as big as my waist (she was a world champion rower) — but we still had a great first date.
You are not going to marry 99% of the people you date, right? But you can learn the skills of engaging which will make it more likely that you will attract the person you desire.
What you put out is what you’ll get back.
Practice putting out the affection, presence and genuine human interest that you expect back.
For example, if you can be sure that if you do 80% of the talking then there will not be a next date.
On the other hand, if she does 80% then not only will she have an adequate feel for you but importantly you’ll have enough of an understanding of her to decide if you’d enjoy meeting again.
Good luck, and please tell me your tips. We typical psycho male boomer daters need all the help we can get!
PS If she says “let’s talk about you” — don’t
PS If she says “let’s talk about you” then be grateful but DO NOT talk the next 20 minutes about you. Find a connection via Clue #6 and return the conversation to her through an open question i.e. one starting with “why,” “how”, “when”, “what if”, “what” etc.
Let me know your tips, below.
If you enjoyed this post then you might also enjoy my Secret purpose of meditation is to help you escape your addiction to neuroticism and Mindful Passion, Poise and Posture and Not Minding Leads to Confidence, Not Caring to Disengagement and Depression and Optimism is important but it is not the choice between it and pessimism that will help you succeed
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I’m Walter. I write articles on fitness, health, and motivation for men and women over 50. However, curiosity is my main distinction. I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced a bolt of lightning hitting me in Korea, crash landing in a 747 (LAX), being sucked into a thundercloud at 4,000m in a sailplane (Australia), jumping freefall from 3,000m on my 1st ever parachute jump (Florida), and two different lethal cancers. In 2000 I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes which sparked my interested in exercise, nutrition, motivation and cognitive fitness. University qualified in mathematical statistics, and computing science (Masters); have a professional diploma in sports nutrition; certified social media strategist. Feel free to message/email me with any comments, questions, or collaboration ideas. Blog: walteradamson.com