“How do I make a first date great?” This was the question posed to our group sitting around a table at a post-wedding brunch. There were five women – friends each representing a different decade, and Alex, a bright, young man, excited to be having dinner the following evening with a gal he’d met online.
Taking full advantage of the female focus group joining him for lunch, Alex sat back and listened closely. We were anxious to help this earnest 27-year-old make a good impression, so no sooner was the question tossed into the circle than ideas began to flow.
“Be polite and make sure you keep your phone on silent and off the table,” remarked the 80-year-old gal in the bunch. “Women want to know that you’re paying attention.”
“Ask questions,” offered another friend. “So many of the guys I date tell me all about themselves but rarely ask about me.”
Yes, be curious, I added. Women like curious men.
“But don’t be an interviewer,” cautioned the youngest woman in our group. Ask thoughtful questions, just make sure there’s a flow of give and take in the conversation.
“And please listen,” urged the 52-year-old. “So many people seem to want an audience these days. Give her ample time to talk.”
Finally, a friend in her sixties who recently started dating herself proposed a thoughtful suggestion: “I like to ask people to describe a really good day. It not only helps me to learn more about what’s important to them, it also gives me an idea of how self-reflective they are.”
As the conversation continued, Alex gathered our advice and promised to use it on his date.
Later that day, as I drove home from the brunch, I thought about what I’d heard and realized that the advice was really apropos of any relationship – skills we’d all benefit from using if we wanted to enjoy long-lasting, meaningful connections with others.
I want to be a good friend. I want to do what I can to create and sustain strong, loving relationships especially in my wisdom years because they’ve become such a source of joy and meaning in my life. To that end, I know I need to listen more. I’m eager to support and encourage the dreams of those I care about. I’m committed to nurturing friendships with consistent contact and reciprocal conversations. And I’m willing to get better at sharing more of myself even though it feels awkward because I’m much more comfortable focusing on others.
Soul family. That’s what friendships can become in our wisdom years when we invest in them especially when we treat each other like we would a first date 😉.
P.S. – Join us and make wonderful new friends! Explore what it means to age consciously and joyfully at Omega Institute for our Self Care for the Wisdom Years retreat the weekend of October 6th-8th. You can get more info and register here.