As a joke a while back, someone got me a note pad labeled “Rate-A-Date” where I could keep score for dates based on various categories. I was not particularly fond of the actual categories or the format, but I did like the concept, so I’ll admit that over the years I have kept my own scorecard for each person that I’ve dated, and I recommend that anyone in the dating world should do the same.

Whether we openly admit it or not, we all keep some running tally of points someone is earning or losing based on how they act on a date. Of course we all remember the first impression- was this person punctual, appropriately dressed, well-mannered? Then we start to decipher how easy it is to get along with the other– does the conversation flow easily? Do we share the same sense of humor? Was there any chemistry? In addition to all these questions, I would suggest that it is important to note the level of involvement in coming up with a plan (date, time, activity) and the level of follow through after each date.

We all take off points for different things, so I won’t even try to come up with a list of pet peeves– let’s just accept that mine would be several pages long.  The thing is, in the past, I would have told you that you have to pick your battles, and that you should not be too harsh in your score-keeping, but now I think I would say the opposite– if seemingly little things keep nagging at you, don’t ignore your feelings.  Don’t try to rationalize away your concerns.  Sometimes, it is not so easy to get a full view of the big picture problem, but something deep inside is trying to tell you that there is something off– and if that is really how you feel, go with your gut.

Now, if you really like someone and there are some issues that perhaps can be chalked up to a misunderstanding or mis-communication, then I think it is only fair to warn someone that they are hitting one of your buttons.  Something that might not seem like a big deal to you, may be major to someone else, so just address the issue by asking questions, without passing judgment.  People will be far more open and less on the defense about their views if you appear to genuinely show curiosity about how they feel or think about a particular topic.  And in the end, it may be that you just agree to disagree– as long as you each stay true to your own values and can work out solutions to issues, you don’t have to see everything exactly the same way.

In the end, especially in the early stages of dating, I think you should keep it simple– try to adopt a 3 strikes you are out rule. It is not meant to be harsh, it is supposed to just keep the game moving along.  If someone is getting on your nerves early on, that is not a good sign.  You should not have to keep convincing yourself to give someone another shot.  If you are not impressed after the 3rd date, what makes you think you will be impressed after 3 months, unless you just want to keep things casual, have some fun, but even then I promise you this person is going to keep getting on your nerves and the shelf life of this FTF relationship will have a limited shelf life.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.