A Shrink’s Take on Dating with Dr. Avrum Weiss

Published On: June 8, 2023|Categories: Advice for Men, Dating Tips|13 min read|

Video Summary

You’ve likely heard everyone and their grandmother’s take on dating, but have you listened to a psychologist’s point of view?

Dr. Avrum Weiss, author of “Hidden in Plain Sight: How Men’s Fears of Women Shape Their Intimate Relationships,” joins Master Certified Matchmaker Genevieve Gresset as they discuss the current dating climate, and how people are overcomplicating the entire dating game.

Video Transcript

Genevieve: Hello and welcome back. I’m Genevieve Gresset, the fairy godmother of matchmaking. Today, I’m here with award winning author, speaker, teacher and psychologist, Dr. Avrum Weiss. His groundbreaking book, Hidden in Plain Sight How Men’s Fears of Women Shape Their Intimate Relationship, stands as a testament to the chance formative work. For many years, Dr. Weiss has been exploring the depths of men’s internal worlds. He brings us a refreshing take on deep understanding between men and women, and we’re really excited to have him here as an expert with his insight to talk to us as to what it’s like dating from the inside mind of a shrink. So we want your perspective today and we want to sort of pick your brains and unravel a little bit more. So welcome and thank you.

Dr. Weiss: Thank you. See you again. Glad to be back.

Genevieve: Nice to have you back. So what’s the most important thing for you when it comes to thinking about men and dating?

Dr. Weiss: I would say not exclusively to men, but to people in general, dating has become a task for many people, and it’s hard to imagine attraction, much less magic happening when it’s a task. So the number one thing I try to communicate to people is if you’re if you have a date with somebody this Saturday night is rather than bringing out your list of things you think you have to say or things that you’re trying to examine, it’s not a job interview. If you’re going out with somebody on our Saturday, hopefully it’s to have a good time. I think if you approach it with that, a lot of good things happen. I think you’re much more likely to be your best self if you approach it.

Genevieve: I completely agree with you. I mean, people at the moment are generally describing dating as “miserable” and filling them with anxiety and with terror. What’s happened to make it become such a terrifying ordeal?

Dr. Weiss: I think that it’s the online programs that have happened. It’s like everything else. I think one of the great advantages of the work you do is that it’s personalized. I met my wife online, so I’m not just knocking online programs that worked for me, but it worked for me a long time ago. And I think it’s become so inundated and it’s also gotten reduced down to pretty much a picture of you. So what attracted me to my wife online was her description of herself. I mean, she’s a nice looking woman, too. It wasn’t the be all end all. I was trying to get a sense of who she was as a person, and she will say to this day that she knew from reading my profile before she met me, that we were a good fit. I don’t think you can know that from a picture. It’s like instead of reading books, reading Twitter, you know. I don’t think Twitter is a bad thing, but I don’t think you learn as much. If you want to learn about what’s happening in Ukraine right now, I don’t think Twitter is going to be your best source of in-depth information about that. So you’re going to have to read something that was written by someone who gave it a lot more study. People spend way too much time screening and not nearly enough time meeting. I would say if they’re not a serial killer and they don’t have two heads and they have never been arrested, you should meet them for coffee.

Dr. Weiss: And how do you know? How do you know all of those things? I was going to say, one of the problems is a lot of people online are not there because they want to date, they’re there to past time. They use it as a therapy in a lot of instances.

Avrum: Right. Because they’re used to that, but I think people are just overthink it. I think if you’re going to do it online, it’s just a way to meet people. It’s really not any different than a meetup. But of course, the advantage of matchmaking services, somebody is doing a lot of that work for you and hopefully the people you’re meeting there is a reasonable chance that you’ll be compatible. So it certainly saves a lot of time.

Dr. Weiss: It does, and it’s safer. We know that they’ve already in a relationship and they’ve been vetted and they don’t have felonies and other things that we don’t know when we’re online, people take that risk. So we’ve had a lot of good and bad advice about staying calm before you meet a new potential partner. What’s your advice about managing anxiety when it comes to dating, and especially if you’ve gone on a first date, you’ve got on well and it’s coming up to the all important second date? I think this is where it often goes wrong. The first date you like each other, you make that connection and then the nerves start setting in. Your brain starts taking you into a totally different world. What’s your thought?

Avrum: I think the other thing that happens in that second date is, first of all, on the first date, you’re probably hear very little of what the other person has to say. You’re so anxious and so eager to make an impression. If I asked you right when you came out of the date, “What does she do for a living?” I’m not sure you could tell me. By the second date, you probably settle down enough to actually really get to know the person. So you have all of these hopes built up in the first date that are basically not based on a lot. You’re in a vulnerable position because all of your hopes are subject to meeting reality in that second date. I think that the thing is to limit your expectations. You have to limit your anxiety because, you know, anxiety happens when you’re doing something exciting, too. So I think you want a little bit of anxiety. How do you know the person you’re with is interested? Well, they’re a little anxious. They spill their water or they trip over the rug or, you know, their fumble-y. “Oh, they’re anxious. They’re excited about this.”

Genevieve: They’re wanting to make a good impression.

Dr. Weiss: Exactly!

Genevieve: But women are very critical, and men can be critical, too. Women in particular are very critical about men’s behavior on a date. That “fumblyness,” that awkwardness. What can we say to women to reassure them to give the guy a second chance? What can we say to guys to make them feel more comfortable about what’s just happened?

Dr. Weiss: I always suggest to people that unless things went horribly wrong on their first date, you should have a second date because nobody puts their best foot forward in their first date. When you meet people twice, you get more than twice as much information about them than just meeting them once. So if the first date was okay, then I recommend a second date because I think you get a much broader idea of who the person is. In terms of being critical, you’re just looking in the wrong direction. What you should be tracking is not his behavior or her behavior, but your feelings, how it is for you to be with this person, because that’s what’s really going to be enduring. If you come home feeling like a million bucks, and “I’m a great person” and “I’m so attractive,” that was a good experience. If that’s how you feel when you’re with this person, who wouldn’t want to repeat that?

Genevieve: Absolutely. I mean, we have a three day rule. On the first one, no one is ever their authentic self they’re there just to check out that the person is the person that they were hoping it would be. All I say to people is “look for the curiosity.” If you’re curious enough to go on a second date, that’s a good sign. That’s all you need, because some of the things that people get stuck on are the negatives and looking for negatives rather than positives.

Dr. Weiss: It’s also just a way to meet another interesting person. My favorite experience when I was dating is I met a woman online and we’re chatting and she says, “I’m a attorney for a big pharma company.” I said, “Wow, I might have a problem with that.” So we started talking about our positions on certain political issues, and I asked her about the Affordable Care Act. And she said to me, “Have you read it?” I said, “No, it’s a thousand pages long.” She said, “I’ve read it.” And we had an amazing evening. I mean, I’d never met anybody who read an entire piece of legislation. We did not see each other again. We were not romantically inclined, but what an enjoyable evening.

Genevieve: Absolutely, it is all about experiences because you never know where this experience is going to lead to. So I think having that open mind. That leads me on to vulnerability, because vulnerability is something that we know is needed to take that connection from the first, second, third date to a longer term relationships. So your advice about people tapping into that vulnerability and when it feels safe to tap into that vulnerability, how do they know?

Dr. Weiss: Well, safe is a loaded word these days.

Genevieve: I know, I know. Maybe I shouldn’t use that word.

Dr. Weiss: Well, no, I just think we have to be clear about how we’re using it, because I think safe has become used as a word that means uncomfortable. Safe and uncomfortable are not the same thing because when you’re in a situation that’s not safe, you should leave. When you’re situation that is uncomfortable, that might be a good thing. That might be a situation that you can grow from. That might be a situation that develops more resilience or strength. And so I don’t want people to go on a date thinking that they won’t be uncomfortable because they probably will be uncomfortable. I don’t want them to misinterpret that as a bad thing.

Genevieve: So that’s great, and actually I’m really glad that we’ve discussed that because a lot of people do say “I didn’t feel safe.” And when we asked them, “Why didn’t you feel safe?” Actually, what you’re talking about is that comfortability more than the safety side, because no one’s put anyone in an unsafe position, but they challenge them and they challenge their thought process, which makes them feel a little bit uncomfortable. But that’s a good thing.

Dr. Weiss: Or they may just feel uncomfortable because they’re feeling stronger feelings than they do on a daily basis. And that’s kind of what we’re hoping now. So if you haven’t met a new person that you were really attracted to for a while, it’s probably going to feel a little uncomfortable.

Genevieve: And I love that because people often misinterpret that uncomfortable feelings for “I’m not interested in somebody” or “This isn’t going to work for me.” People would rather focus on that as a negative connotation than look at it as something positive to step them into that vulnerable taking ownership journey.

Dr. Weiss: Yep, and then that goes to what you said earlier about people start to screen potential candidates on the basis of whether or not they think they might make them feel uncomfortable, and that eliminates everybody.

Genevieve: Well, it does. This is often why people don’t get past the first stage. When we look at patterns, it’s often their view and their take on what a date should be about rather than the reality of the situation.

Dr. Weiss: I worked with a guy once where every first date was a masterpiece. He spent hundreds or maybe thousands of dollars. He created these amazing experiences and he couldn’t understand why nobody wanted to go on a second date with him after he created his “masterpiece.” And I said, “Well, why were you doing that?” You haven’t met her. It’s completely false. That’s not you because there’s nothing between you. You’ve never even met. It’s off putting to people because it’s not real.

Genevieve: Get to know someone and make an authentic date for that person that’s around something that you’ve both talked about and you both enjoy rather than, you know, creating this fantasy world to impress somebody and.

Dr. Weiss: Yeah, the person on the receiving end does not feel comfortable with that.

Genevieve: Yeah, it’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelming.

Dr. Weiss: That’s a good way of saying it.

Genevieve: So what would you class as a great first date for someone to go on?

Dr. Weiss: The great first date to me is when you had a great time and you’re excited to see the person again. That’s, I think, fabulous, and it’s pretty straightforward.

Genevieve: And do you think people should keep the first date simple?

Dr. Weiss: I do. And I have mixed feelings about, although I’ve used the example several times, about a coffee date. That is really increasing the degree of difficulty by quite a bit because sitting and having nothing to do but talk with somebody you just me. If you meet somebody at a party, you have excuses like, “Oh, I’m going to go get an appetizer, I’m going to go do this. Oh, there’s so-and-so.” Two people having coffee, you don’t know each other. It might go well, but it’s a lot of pressure. I really prefer people go do something fun.

Genevieve: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more. I think if you can make each other laugh on the first date, you’ve got that connection. On a totally different level. You’re not sitting there. It doesn’t become this awkward interview, which so many people feel that they’re coming out of having had an interview with someone rather than a romantic date. Dating should be fun. It should be liked, it should be fun, it should be enjoyable. You should be wanting to spend more and more time with somebody once you’ve met them.

Dr. Weiss: I think also on a first date you can invite somebody to do something interesting that you know about and you like to do. Because then you’re providing an experience. I saw a great David Letterman episode where he did a an interview with Kevin Durant, one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and they ended up playing shuffleboard together and having a lot of their conversations. It was great. That was the best part of the interview. I don’t remember who of them was into shuffleboard. I think it was Letterman who is into shuffleboard and Durant loved it. He was really getting into it. You could see how the shuffleboard helped them to talk to each other.

Genevieve: I love that! So top tips, keep it fun. Keep it simple. Bring out the curiosity for both of you, and that should lead to a second date.

Dr. Weiss: And unless you have a really compelling reason, assume that this is part one of two or three parts because it takes that long to really get to know much about a person.

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