Survey Says…

Have Him At Hello – Confessions from 1,000 guys about what makes them fall in love…or never call back.

Yeah, how could I NOT go see a dating expert who wrote a research-based “relationship / dating advice” book with that title?  When Shannon emailed and asked if I would like to join her, I gleefully replied that I had already bought a ticket.

After pre-event drinks (hey, we girls gotta build up our courage!) at an old haunt, we headed over with my adorable bubbly blonde friend (who is available, if anyone is interested…) to see what the hype was about.  Rachel Greenwald absolutely did not disappoint, from our first meeting in her vibrant green sheath and sassy glasses through her presentation of tips and tricks and 7 Steps learned from her time at Harvard Business School to our brief discussion afterwards.

Sure, some of her advice is stuff I won’t be implementing.  Such as, during Step #1 (The Singles Cleanse) she has been known to shatter women’s coffee pots because we should be going out for coffee and to meet people, not sitting at home watching TV and sipping coffee while petting the first of our 26 spinster cats.  Besides my bleeding heart dirty hippie tendencies which cling to reusing cups (I know, I can bring them to the shop) there’s my financial brain that says “Seriously?! $2.10 for a cup of coffee?!  Daily?!”  That and the fact that, while I do respect and adore your ideas Rachel, I might seriously cut a b*&ch if she were to deprive me of quick access to coffee.  🙂

Don’t worry my dear readers, over the next few months I will be dilligently trying out the advice Rachel bestowed on us at One Longfellow Square last Thursday night. And writing how it turns out.  So that we can all learn together as one big confused singles family.

I decided to start where Rachel started in writing her book.  And that’s with research.  Rachel conducted her research via exit interviews with men who stopped seeing her clients.  Since I could only think of one guy in my recent dating past who stopped dating me (well, I think we stopped dating…he stopped talking and emailing and texting and seeing me and that seemed to send a pretty strong message) I decided to conduct my own dating research.

Using Rachel’s suggested script and questions, I asked 100 friends and acquaintances to fill out an anonymous online survey about my dating behaviors, personality and “dateableness.”

As soon as that survey was out I was living in a sort of quiet terror waiting to see what they would say.  With questions like “What qualities could Elisa most improve upon” and “What do you think is the main reason guys do not pursue relationships with her” and knowing the loving bluntness of my friends, I was anticipating the worst.  Sure there were a few questions about my good qualities, and what people like about me.  Those answers seem to give a heart hope for the harsh realities to come:

Accentuate the positive

This, along with average score of 8.21 on a scale of 1 to 10 of “dateableness” set me up for the down and dirty.  The stuff I could “improve on”

Eliminate the negative

and speculation on the main reason for my chronic singleness (other than, you know, my commitment-phobic terror of relationships for the past 10 years)

  • Too Smart
  • Too Intimidating
  • Not open/relaxed enough around guys she likes
  • Too Independent/Doesn’t “Need” Someone
  • Lack of available guys
  • One of the guys/always the friend
  • Comes on too strong
  • Too single
  • Thinks she’s not worthy


Now I know.  You are looking at all this thinking “What the hell is this girl doing, justifying her personality and behavior and worthiness based on the opinions of her friends.”  In fact many of the pieces of advice I received in the question “If you were her straight-talking best friend having a heart-to-heart, what one piece of advice would you give her for future dates” had shades of being myself and not changing based on what others think.

While I’ll admit, I had grand visions and ideas of somehow getting a cheat sheet to Elisa from this survey, I learned something much different.  The first being I’m not going to change the foundation “qualities” that make me “me.”   On the flip side, I really never had any intention of doing that.  Haven’t for 30 years, probably shouldn’t start now.  The second being that though I don’t want to change myself, there are probably some behaviors/mannerisms/quirks that I should look at cause I’m giving off some vibes that I don’t really like.  Seeing people write that I’m sometimes “kinda frumpy” or can seem “bitchy and a bit snobbish” gave me pause to wonder what I’m doing that gives off that impression.

Most importantly, in evaluating my survey, I’m learning about myself (the good and the bad) and that I probably need to be more aware.  Definitely not so that I can “change me” so that “some boy” will “just like me” but instead putting enough effort into it that I bring myself to finally meet someone at least halfway.

Maybe that’s why Rachel smashes the coffee pot.  Not because she never wants you snuggled up in your jammies sipping a delicious homemade latte while pouring over the Maine Sunday Telegram –  but because dating is a process that, for most, is much more mind over matter.

And sometimes you’ve just got to think about putting yourself out there instead of hiding where it’s safe.

What would your friends/acquaintances say if you surveyed them about your dating behaviors?  Or (even scarier but more truthful) what would your exes say?

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