Dr. Pepper Dating Answers > Dating Etiquette > Master The Coffee Date
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Q:

Could you give some tips about “coffee behavior”? You know, when meeting someone in person for the first time, after the online talking? How do you reduce the awkward atmosphere, and encourage this person to unwind so we can start getting to know each other?

 
 
Dr. Schwartz’s Answer - January 4, 2007
A:

Great question and one almost everyone should think about before meeting someone for coffee. My approach would be to think about what the goals of this coffee outing are and craft your conversation around this agenda. From my experience, it seems most everyone has at least a few of the following goals:

First, you want to let this person know who you are. If you are interested in this person, give them a chance to be impressed, intrigued, and maybe even awestruck! This means you need to talk about experiences which are meaningful, reflect well on you, and give a good idea of the kind of person you are. You want your sense of humor, values and fun to get expressed, and understood. You want to establish you are worth getting to know.

Second, you want these same factors to be expressed in the person you’re meeting. You want to find out what are some of the things this person finds important, moving, interesting and/or gripping. You want this person to talk about recent exciting experiences, hopes and plans for the future. You want to find out what they are looking for in terms of their future commitments, lifestyle, or even love style.

Third, you want to see this person and decide whether or not you're romantically or sexually attracted to them. This goal requires an up close and personal assessment of how they look and how they act. Talking for a half an hour or so should give you an idea about whether any chemistry, or any chance for chemistry, exists. By closely reading the member’s profile on Perfectmatch.com, you’ll be better prepared with an excellent preview of the member you’re meeting.

This is only a "hello" meeting, but it’s also likely to be "good-bye" meeting if you don't talk about meaningful things. You should give – and receive – a strong sense of personality and character. You can't get this important information by talking about sports, the weather or your child's latest accomplishment. You need to talk about what your life is like, what you are like and what they are like. So, resist the temptation to chit chat about your day and ask some serious questions, for example: “What are the most important things in your life?"; “What's your work like, and does it make you happy?”; “Are you planning to change your life in any way?”; “What things make you happiest?”; and, “Are you trying to avoid anything in your life?”.

Make sure you give the other person equal time to talk. Answer their questions openly and honestly. Think of every coffee meeting as a chance to learn something about another human being. This is an excellent opportunity, even if soon after meeting this person, you decide they’re not for you. Everyone, even someone quite strange, has something interesting about them. If you make it your coffee style to find out what this “something" is about others, you’ll gain invaluable experience, which will come into play when you find your long-lasting love.

 

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