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5 Ways To Decode Your Date


Wish you could get to know what your date is really like, sooner rather than later? Try these fun activities to suss out the truth.

By Amy Spencer

o ahead, Google your date all you want. But the fact is, you can find out even more about that special someone by sharing a few particularly telling date-night activities with them. Certain activities, you see, bring out the best or worst in people—and contain hidden clues about how they’ll treat you. Suggest doing one of these things during your time together and you’ll have plenty of private info.

Activity #1: Share a communal meal
Instead of choosing standard dinner fare, take your date to a place that encourages — or better yet, requires — that you share what you order, whether that’s fondue, Korean barbecue, or Spanish tapas.
Take your date to a place that encourages you to share what you order, like fondue or Korean barbecue. It’ll give you the scoop on how well they compromise.
Suddenly, the “I’ll order mine, you order yours” rule is out the window, so you’ll get the real scoop on how well they compromise. When you suggest something exotic, does your date seem open to it or make a face, then steer you toward something else on the menu? Once the food arrives, there’s more to learn. Those who get territorial about the dish “they” wanted or seem leery of infringing on “yours” or “your half” all suggest that the give-and-take that relationships require won’t come naturally to them, warns Ian Kerner, Ph.D., author of the upcoming DSI: Date Scene Investigation. The true keepers are those who will voluntarily dump the last morsel on your plate and won’t mind if you’ve double-dipped. (After all, if they can’t handle swapping a little saliva over nachos and salsa, how are they ever going to handle more intimate moments involving the exchange of bodily fluids?)

Activity #2: Play a game
Want to know how your date plays the game of life? Pit yourself against your partner in pool, ping-pong, miniature golf, or stay home and have a battle of the Xbox. As you’re playing, ask yourself: Is your date playful or serious about scoring? Does this person curse when losing or gloat when winning? “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to win, but you’ll learn a lot if your date has to win,” points out Sharyn Wolf, Manhattan psychotherapist, and author of Guerilla Dating Tactics: Strategies, Tips and Secrets for Finding Romance. If your date’s got a serious competitive streak, you’d be fooling yourself to think it doesn’t carry over to other areas—like his or her love life. “These people will see arguments as win/lose propositions, too, and they won’t quit until they’ve won,” warns Kerner. If, however, your date cheers you on when you score a point, that’s a sign of a truly supportive partner, so take note.

Activity #3: Put on your dancing shoes
The next time you’re out, consider dragging your date on the dance floor—and fear not, this isn’t about having a dance-off. In fact, seeing
Play a game of pool or ping-pong. Does your date cheer you on when you score? That’s a sign of a truly supportive partner, so take note.
your date do the boogie-woogie isn’t even about the dancing; it’s about their willingness to dance in the first place. “There’s nothing that makes a person more self-conscious than dancing—especially men,” says Wolf. “If your date dances, this shows the person’s good at surrendering, at not being in complete control in front of others, and that your date is less concerned about what others will think.” Which is all good information!

Activity #4: Take a stroll
Instead of sitting down for a movie or coffee, step outdoors for a walk through a park and see what happens. Can you two keep the conversation going away from music, alcohol and people watching? “It’s life without props,” points out Kerner. See how your date can handle lulls in conversation: The longer this person can wait before filling the silence, the more comfortable your date is with him or herself—and the lower the chance that what you’re seeing is a “front” put up to impress you.

Activity #5: Go for a drive together
The next time your date offers to drive you somewhere, pay attention to how they react on the road. “Driving is very, very revealing,” says body language expert Patti Wood (Pattiwood.net). “Years ago, I was on a first date with a man who’d turn left at yellow lights, and take lots of risks on the road. That told me he was a person who would always live a little on the edge.” Other insights from Wood: Lane-changers will probably always be on the lookout for someone better-looking, smarter, or richer than you. Picky parkers who always want to go around one more time to see if they can snag a closer spot probably have problems with commitment. Herky-jerky drivers who accelerate and brake so quickly they leave your stomach queasy may have poor sense of pacing in all areas of life. Plus, if you’re driving, see how they handle it—nagging that you should slow down, speed up, or otherwise do things differently is a sign this person probably won’t love you just the way you are (starting with your bad driving).


Amy Spencer writes for Glamour, Maxim, New York and Real Simple. And she can’t wait to see how well the trick for “getting men to communicate in a car” works.
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