Use This Questioning Method on Your Date

Using this interviewing technique will help you gain more insights from your date.
My human resource background has given me many experiences. One of the most influential things was learning to interview people and interpret the results. A great interview does not feel like an interrogation or even really an interview. The conversation is easy and free-flowing.

I always picture my worst interview. I was all dressed up and ready to go. However, the job title I was interviewing for is long-forgotten. The interviewer has not. The interviewer asked me boring questions from a piece of paper. I realized that this was not my job quickly, even though he continued to ask me questions. It was clear as he was reading another resume while he interviewed me. Rude!

I set out not to do this as I entered the world of professional interviewing. I learned etiquette and evaluation. The interview techniques recruiters use can be helpful in social and romantic settings as well.

Consider how you are asking questions and the image you desire in asking and answering.
Ask about personal experiences rather than direct questions. Save those direct questions for when you need them. In a job interview, we ask “behavioral event” questions. They are all fundamentally all the same. “Tell me about a time when you” leads them off. For example, tell me about a time when you worked with someone you loved/disliked/was lazy/was unethical.

Conventional dating advice says- do not talk about your ex. How you get around talking about your ex at some point baffles me. (OK, don’t over-talk about the ex.) Past relationships are educational. I need to know that the ex is actually an ex. Then, there is why they are the ex. And lastly, what damage was done by the ex. Evaluation comes from hearing stories and reviewing the events for relevance, considering the actions a person took and the outcome. History reveals character. Real love needs to form when you feel vulnerability, and the responses are genuine.

Great recruiters also go to some great lengths to put people at ease. They ask easy questions, to begin with, and slowly move into the more important ones. Even when a recruiter feels strongly that a candidate is not a good fit for the job, they continue talking for the duration remaining. This process provides the candidate an opportunity to show another side.

Dating is recruiting and selection on a social level. Therefore, asking your date, “so, what are your red flags?” is likely to get the same quality of response as “so, what are your greatest weaknesses”. There will likely be a canned, superficial answer. Asking for events from past relationships that caused the end is far more beneficial.

Early attraction phases in relationships have a foundation in asking questions. I am not big on structured dating questions. You are better off to ask your question than not ask it. Simply, think about what you want to know and create a “tell me about it” question. It may take a little practice. Nonetheless, this technique can help improve your conversations.

Let’s look at this question. Tell me about the craziest person you have dated?
  • This is an example of a soft question. It may even be an icebreaker question.
  • What can you learn? You can learn what this person thinks is crazy; what dating experiences are important; how past relationships ended; if the ending kind; should it have been kind?
Here are some additional questions for you to ponder.
  1. Tell me about your first love
  2. Tell me about someone you lost and regret loosing
  3. Tell me about a relationship you value
  4. Tell me about something you had a hard time talking about with your last relationship
  5. What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you?
Use your experiences or borrow experiences for a lead-in if you need to. Something like, I have a friend whose boyfriend was cheating on her for over a year. Do you have any experience of being cheated on? What are your thoughts about forgiving a cheater? Have you had an opportunity to cheat? And so on. Add in your thoughts as you go and only ask a probing question if you want the answer.
I want to circle-back to using the direct questions. Being very direct is efficient. In recruiting, we use it when we are looking for confirmation, and a yes or no response. Do you have a certification, reliable transportation, or a degree? In dating, use it for clarification also. So, you live with your parents? Oh, so are you actually five years older than your profile indicates? It can go the other way too. Oh, so the time you spend at the prison is to tutor convicted felons learning English, is that right?
There is nothing but time ahead of you. Take your time and ask event questions. Listen to the stories. Seek to understand before you make an evaluation. Listening with an open heart is a gift. Give it freely.