Recently got a request for dating feedback.

Dating Feedback

A few things before getting to my response . . .

[fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][1]  I don’t think her request means anything about me, but I think it does mean something extraordinary about her heart, her desire and her humility. Not pathetic at all. All good things that I believe will serve her well generally in life and more specifically in dating and nurturing a relationship.

[2]  Pretty sure this has never happened to me before . . . that a date got vulnerable this way, asking for this sort of response. At least not at this early in the game. The rarity of the event is also worth noting.

[3]  The one and only date we shared was Tue, July 11. About an hour together. More like a casual meeting to determine whether a proper date would follow. Anyway, the math is then that her request came 7 days and a morning later. IMHO, a little long to ask, but that’s OK. No rules on that.

[4]  There was no communication between the end of our date and this message.


All right.


Why am I sharing the “dating feedback” I texted back?

I believe in sharing stuff that others may find useful.

I believe in writing my own story, including being clear on the ground where I choose to stand.

In November, I shared my first draft of The Pillars of Our Partnership and here’s a where-the-rubber-hits-the-road followup to some elements of that.

And because if I ever have the thought to ask someone after a first date / first meeting for feedback … I’m drawing a line in the sand that I won’t. And if I were to say to you or to my future self,

  • “I want to ask her why she didn’t call back . . . “
  • “I want to know why she blew me off . . . “
  • “I wonder what happened, it seemed to be going so well?!?!”

To all those situations, my present-self response to my future self is:

“Doesn’t matter. Continue the search, my search.”

It’s not that asking for feedback and pursuing learning about myself isn’t valuable. It is. And I would totally ask for feedback after several dates or well into a due diligence process. But I wouldn’t ask right off the bat because that sets up a situation where someone else’s POV and/or values become more important than mine.

Would I ask career advice from a recruiter who declined to grant me a second interview … and that was our only interaction?

Would I ask fruit advice from someone I ran into in the produce section who’s not a store employee and otherwise a perfect stranger?

Would I ask someone swimming in the lane next to me for pointers on my stroke, unless I were well aware of their approach to swimming and their history coaching swimmers?

Would I ask color advice from the paint clerk at Home Depot who hasn’t taken the time to ask many questions about my house/home/style/family?

No. No. No. and No.

In these situations and so many others, the other person has so little information about me and what I value that I would never put them in a position to suggest what I ought to be doing. They might know. They might have amazing advice … but asking for it at this stage is out of order! They don’t know me well enough. I don’t know them well enough. What’s most likely to happen in these scenarios is that I’ll get a summary of their biography, rather than seasoned, tested, sage counsel that is actually useful for me, given my situation and my values.

I recognize that through the voice of anyone the Holy Ghost can whisper important promptings, and I recognize an element of humility is willingness to learn from anyone. That said, I choose my teachers/coaches/mentors with discretion. I don’t spend all my time learning, so when I am learning, I seek learning from people whose lives I wish to follow, whose values align with mine, whose performance is consistent with what I wish to do, and whose followers/students/proteges conduct lives I wish to emulate or who are otherwise people whose company I seek.

So there’s that. I choose my teachers carefully and won’t ever expect someone I barely know to be aware of my values and therefore offer feedback / guidance / advice that works inside my value system.

And then there’s this:

I believe — and I think this is apparent in the dating feedback I gave — is that when I am crystal clear on what I am offering and what I am looking for (before going out to meet people and go on dates), then I don’t need dating feedback after a first date. I know what I want well enough to make a sound decision right away: “this isn’t a match” or “this is worth continuing to pursue.” YES I mean “this” rather than “she.” Why? Because I’m not acquiring a person. I am looking for a person who wants to work at “this” … a relationship. The “this” is the connection.

Also to Note: “this is worth pursuing” simply means I am clear it’s worth going to the next round of due diligence, or “getting to know someone”, or whatever label works for what is next. These are not the same as: “All in! Show me the dotted line, and I’ll sign today.” (When to do that, to formalize an agreement, is an entirely different conversation. This conversation is simply about dating feedback or other feedback being unnecessary at or immediately after initial contact.)

Said another way, I’m telling my future self that if I ever find myself wanting to ask for dating feedback at the early stage of a first date (or professional feedback after a first interview), my present-self suggestion is that doing so is a misdirected use of energy.

Instead of pursuing that angle, what I do and will do instead is use my “why didn’t this go forward?” energy to inquire more about myself and what I want/need/desire/am looking for so that I can make a sound judgment … “wait, what am I looking for? What am I offering? What am I looking for someone else to be offering? How will it be clear to me that that is what they are offering? What will they say? What will they do? How can I tell quickly and rapidly upon meeting someone whether there’s enough potential to pursue, or if it’s best to walk away?”

Enough. To my response.

My “dating feedback”:

Hey [her first name], replying here to your request for feedback. Mad props for your willingness and humility to open the door for it.

I’m hesitant to say much as I believe at the end of the day everyone writes their own book on love. Rather than feedback, I’ll tell you about my approach. I spent a good deal of time investigating what my values are. There are a lot of things I value, but I boiled those to a short list of what’s most important to me. These encompass my beliefs. That’s Part 1.

Part 2: also spent a lot of time considering my strengths. What am I good at. What am I inclined to do first or without thinking about it. What do I like doing. Because I value a relationship type & structure that is complementary in nature (vs reflective in nature — both being good at the same things), I also have a short list of complementary strengths I’m looking for in someone to date. I’m good at XYZ, she’s good at ABC…and together, we cover the whole alphabet. There are some behaviors that I watch and observe for as indicators of the presence of these complementary strengths I am seeking. And I trust my intuition and connection with God to help me see these in others, while also listening and looking for a presence of matching and similar values — AKA life priorities. What does she put first? Of all choices, where in the hierarchy does she place dating & creating her own family? (To me, this is a nuanced difference from participating and contributing to her nuclear family.) Is that position the same as mine?

So … I could tell you what I’m looking for. But it’s personal, and only valuable to me as I did the work to arrive there. Would be up to you to arrive at your own choices and short list. Also, I usually don’t share it as well because I don’t want to introduce observer bias … “I know that I am being watched for particular behaviors and because I know that and want to be seen as having them, I am going to perform them … but because I’m being watched and not necessarily because that’s what I what normally do.” You know?

There’s not a rightness or a wrongness about any of it. This is not a good-person bad-person situation. Or a “I like/ don’t like.” It’s a … “what’s the healthiest and strongest combination?” I’m impressed by the goodness of most people I meet, including you. And … that doesn’t mean that their strengths are a good match *for me*. Where I’m strong … I can help her. Where she’s strong … she can help me. If we’re strong in the same areas, we don’t need each other as much … and then we’re also mutually blind and weak in the same areas.

All I can really suggest with confidence is come up with your list of values for life. And put them in linear order … what’s #1, what’s #2. I max out at 5 right now. Everything else is on a tier below. No ties either, “these are equally important…” And then … think about your strengths. What do you want to contribute to a dating relationship / partnership / marriage … and what kind of strengths in a man would be complimentary to yours? What things would he not be good at (the things you are good at), so you can support him … as he supports you where you aren’t as strong.

Having that stuff crystal clear … what do I value, what are my strengths to offer, what complimentary strengths am I looking for … that’s all been a game changer for me. I meet people and I have a few things to look for rather than a huge picture of everyone else’s advice about what makes a good relationship work. And then I’m really clear and ok walking away from something or being OK if someone is non responsive or not interested. “She’s not what I’m looking for.” “I’m not what she’s looking for.” Or both. This is way more peaceful for me to handle than … “could this have worked?” “What happened?” “Why didn’t this go forward?” Or whatever other wondering thoughts I may have. Which I do have. Like anybody. And then I fall back on … “was she what I was looking for?” Or, “she gets to choose what she’s looking for. And it’s OK if it’s something other than what I’m offering.”

I don’t think I’ve answered your question. But this is what I have confidence in as a worthwhile response.

Fwiw, here is her reply: