You don’t want to wait six months to weed out crazy people, right? In detective school we learn cognitive interview techniques that are meant for questioning suspects and witnesses of a crime. The tricks we use to get to get to the truth–fast–work equally well on first dates…
1. Treat your date like a friend. Don’t make them feel like they have to put you on a pedestal and play Prince Charming, because trust me, that facade will fade in 12 weeks tops. Don’t judge. If someone tells you that they ‘never see themselves getting married?’ and you answer with ‘But you’re going to commit someday, right?’ they will shut down and give you the answer that you want to hear (a.k.a the answer most likely to separate you from your underwear).
2. Use non-committal verbal reinforcements. Your date should now believe that he is your friend. Maybe he will start spilling secrets, or telling you alarming things about himself. This is good! Instead of freaking out, respond to rants with ‘Uh-huh’ or ‘I see’. You aren’t agreeing with him , but you want him to keep talking. Think about it: Wouldn’t you rather know that he’s a secret cross dresser/member of the Nazi party/head of Scientology now rather than finding out once you are picking your china patters?
3. Mirroring. Mimic your dates’s movements by touching your face or crossing your arms at the same time. This is used by both serious flirts and con artists–and it works.
4. Be skeptical of sob stories. My first love, a gorgeous French guy who should have been a Lifetime Movie of the Week, told me that he had a wife who died in a scuba diving accident in the South Pacific. If I had a do-over, I would ask him what the weather was like that day, or what he was wearing. Fuzzy memories around life-changing events are a red flag. Unless they claim to have amnesia…but that’s another post. 🙂