Evaluate This: Dating and Constructive Criticism
Last week, I met someone who told me that while he had not met his wife through JDate, but that the process of going out with (200!) women from JDate had made him a better dater. Well, that figures, right? I mean, practice anything 200 times and you’re going to get better at it. He noted that the process had made him better at his job, too, had trained him to listen better to people, even if he wasn’t overly interested in the subject matter.
But I was more intrigued by his description of his process – that he had obtained feedback even from dud dates that made him able to improve to the point of being able to meet his soulmate. He told me that after any woman told him she didn’t think a next date was a good idea, he told her that he respected her decision, but that if he had done anything that annoyed her, he’d love it if she’d tell him what it was.
I was fascinated, and tried to imagine myself as one of these women. How honest would I be? How sincere would I have thought he was in his “desire to learn”? It made me think of the tongue-in-cheek suggestion I made to friends years ago about handing out evaluations (or sending a surveymonkey link) to dates to enable honest feedback on dating technique and reactions to compatibility based on the dating experience.
While it’s very easy to joke about this, many people do a “post-game” analysis (let’s be optimistic and NOT call it a post-mortem) of their dates: this could include self-assessment (“did I talk/fidget/play with my hair/order/eat too much?” etc.) or sociological observations about behavior of the other person (“did s/he like me, or just tolerate me?” “was that banter or arguing?” etc.). But all of this assessment happens internally: is there a value in externalizing, vocalizing, concretizing this analysis as a way to evaluate performance and potential, and perhaps as a learning tool? And are we all man (or woman) enough to accept the criticism?