Some dates are easy to evaluate. Fall asleep in your bowl of spaghetti, and then wake up to discover your wallet’s gone? It’s pretty clear how that date went. Go home at the end of the night wearing someone else’s underwear? Again, not hard to deduce the quality of your evening. You may want to rethink some personal choices, but all in all, you probably had a pretty good date. Or a very very bad one. But most Internet encounters are not so clear cut. A lot of them, in my experience, are…pretty good. Not great. Not terrible. But pretty good. You laughed a little, drank a little, nobody lost an eye – it was an entirely fine evening. But you’re not sure if you want to repeat it. So what do you do? Do you ask them out again and see if there’s more of a spark, or do you cut bait and search for someone else to trade underwear with? A lot of you have been doing neither. You’ve just been emailing me, and asking what I think you should do. And what do I suggest? I suggest you use The Test of 5 Questions.
The test of 5 Questions is incredibly simple, and honestly, I use it myself all the time. Here we go – get out your pencils, because it’s about to get complicated. Should you see your date again? The only thing you need to know is: did they ask you 5 questions? That’s it. Pretty simple. I don’t care about if they’re an Aries or a Cancer, if they smiled when you touched their arm, or if they smelled like pineapples and morning dew. Did they ask five questions, in total, by the end of the night? That’s all I want to know. If they asked you five questions — what you thought about politics, or where you like to go drinking, or what you think the Oompa Loompas smelled like — any quandaries at all, then you’ve got yourself a keeper. Because five questions means they’re genuinely trying to know you. They want to know what you think, who you are, what, essentially, is your deal. And someone who cares about your deal is a lot rarer than you think.
You’re probably thinking, “Come on, five questions? That’s really all it takes?” Well, five questions is actually quite a lot. Since I devised this little technique, I’ve been keeping track, and easily half of the women I’ve met don’t ask five things about me. There’s always plenty to discuss, there certainly aren’t any silences, it’s just that everything’s about them. And I don’t care. In fact, I’m happy to learn about them, it’s what I’m on the date for. I don’t need to hear my stories, I’ve heard ‘em, they’re pretty much all about my cat. But when I realize my date doesn’t wanna hear ‘em either, that’s when I know we’ve got a problem. Because no logical person is gonna go out with a stranger and not try to learn everything they can. They could be a murderer, or a religious fundamentalist, or, you know, your future husband. And if you don’t wanna know which one of these is me, chances are the reason is you don’t particularly care. (Answer: They’re all me. Yippee!)
Here’s another way to think about it, in case surreptitiously counting off questions on your fingers isn’t your idea of a good time. Could your date write a paragraph about you when the evening concludes? If he or she can’t, then they’re really not trying to date. There could be a million good reasons – they get nervous, they start talking and get caught up with the story, they’re so eager to make a good impression they forget to give and take. All fair, all understandable, and if you like a person, I think it’s great to give them a second shot. But if someone doesn’t want to know enough about you to fill a third of a page, why do you want to know anything about them? Even if hanging with them was a pretty good time?
Look, some dates have their own flow. A night can take off and the chat gets so great that you finish and find you have no idea how you got where you are. That date is a success, and the Test of 5 Questions isn’t for you. But if you’ve just had a hug and a peck on the cheek and wondered, “what exactly happened back there?”, then the 5 Q’s may be the answer you need. Try it. Then email me and tell me how you did.