Have you ever brought your friend along on a first or second date? It might seem like a good idea. After all, isn’t it better to have two sets of eyes and ears paying attention to the pros and cons of a potential suitor?
It would make sense if we were in a culture where chaperones keep a watchful eye over a slowly brewing courtship. But, in a world where women are expected to be independent and make their own decisions, it sends a very different message. Let’s look at it from a guy’s point of view.
Ken is a handsome, successful, professional man in his mid-forties. I was surprised to hear that Susan, a woman who he met online, brought her married friend to their first date.
He laughingly commented that he didn’t feel like he was on a real date. Instead, he felt like a commodity, knowing that his every move was about to be inspected, evaluated and dissected by two women he’d just met.
Ken happens to be one of the good guys. He’s intelligent, thoughtful and ethical.
He makes good money. He takes care to plan dates in popular venues located in safe neighborhoods.
He is seeking a long-term, committed relationship with a compatible woman. He even invested in my coaching services because he’s determined to do things right this time around.
He’s looking for a self-assured, emotionally healthy woman who is open to connecting on an emotional, intellectual and romantic basis. Like most men, he enjoys the fun and flirtatious nature of courtship.
He found it almost impossible to woo Susan when a first date became a threesome. Rather than risking offending Susan’s friend, he took romance and courtship off the table. He couldn’t see a way to pursue her while meeting his obligation to be socially engaging with her friend.
Ken thought about asking Susan for a second date. He felt attracted to her and liked her personality. But he questioned what might be going on under the surface that would cause her to feel compelled to bring a friend on their date.
He reasoned that Susan might not be able to trust her own judgments and perceptions. Did it mean that she was insecure, distrustful or unavailable? He wondered whether she had the ability to authentically express her desires and make her own romantic decisions.
Susan would be better off if she realized that dating is a process that includes quite a bit of uncertainty. Even her best friend can’t possibly sense all of the nuances that she needs in a romantic partner. That’s up to Susan to figure out over time.
While the idea of being able to tell whether someone is right for you after just one date is appealing, it’s not realistic. A first date is just a time to meet someone and see if they’re interesting enough to meet again.
Susan needs to learn to trust the process and take things slowly. She needs to practice saying things like, “I’m not sure, yet,” “I’m not ready,” or “I need to think about it,” when she isn’t certain how to proceed.
In the end, Ken decided that he was going to pass on Susan and look for someone who is open to taking the emotional risks needed to move into a authentic relationship.
When you’re looking for love, you’re seeking a heart-to-heart connection with someone. If you bring another person along or introduce your date to your friends or relatives on the first few dates, you’re turning a potentially romantic situation into a social event.