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  • Writer's pictureElise Braunschweiger

Good Daters vs. Good Partners

Why is it that some first dates don’t progress into a relationship, even though you initially felt like it had potential? What is it about someone that makes them so enthralling to begin with, but ultimately undependable? 

the social and emotional skills needed to be an excellent date differ from those needed to be an excellent partner. 

While you might think that an excellent first date is indicative of long-term viability, my many years as a date coach have taught me that this doesn’t tell the whole story. In this blog, we’ll explore the qualities that make someone an excellent dater and the qualities that make someone an excellent partner, as well as the ways these social and emotional traits differ from one another. 

To begin, let’s examine what makes an excellent dater:

  • You’ll know right away when you’re out with someone who's an excellent dater. They’ll be charismatic and thoughtful, engaged and polite. You’ll feel like they took the time to get to know you and that conversation flowed easily. Maybe you two shared a few laughs or maybe you were able to talk about something quite personal without feeling uncomfortable. Either way, these dates stand out above the rest and leave a lasting impression.

  • People who are skilled daters often possess excellent social skills and are particularly competent in rapport building. They easily connect with others and have likable dispositions. They show genuine interest in you (a number of studies like this one show we tend to like people who ask us questions about ourselves). But none of these traits guarantee that this person will make a compatible, dependable partner - reliability, loyalty, honesty, and self-awareness are all qualities that take time to assess, but which are essential to healthy partnerships.

Now let’s discuss what an excellent partner looks like:

  • These are the people you call when you need someone you can rely on. They’re considerate of your needs and communicative about their own. They’re able to process difficult emotions without running away or having an outburst, and take a collaborative approach to problem-solving any obstacles you two face. They’ve done the internal work necessary to being in a healthy, happy relationship and are coming to the partnership equipped with an emotional “toolkit” to support their continual growth. Crucially, you two share values and life goals. 

  • Excellent partners are rare and precious for most of us. These are the people who we consider marriage with and who become a standard for what we’re seeking in a life partner. They’re excellent at meeting in the middle, perceiving your actions with positive intent, and scaffolding your relationship to reach new and exciting levels. They want to cultivate something meaningful with you, not just a fling, and you believe them when they tell you this because they’re honest and communicative about their needs (even when it’s not easy). 

The qualities that determine someone’s ability to show up in a relationship differ from the social skills required to be an exciting, engaging date. The traits that we need to assess in order to determine long-term compatibility can’t be effectively evaluated on a first date (or, usually, even a second or third).

It’s easy to show up your best self for a few hours, but what determines the success of a relationship is your ability to show up in the everyday.

It’s important to carefully weigh the significance of a quality first date when trying to determine the viability of a potential match. It’s all too common for us to get swept away by an exciting initial meeting and, conversely, for us to write off potentially compatible partners before giving them the chance simply because the sparks weren’t flying how we expected them to. Some of the absolute best relationships I’ve seen come to fruition were because two people decided to continue to get to know each other, despite some uncertainty around chemistry. Those things can develop in time (I promise, I have seen even the greatest skeptics live this out!) but you can’t wish a person into being compatible with you and emotionally prepared for a relationship.  

At Conscious Connection, we aim to provide the support and expertise needed in order to date with intention. If you struggle to determine who has long-term viability and instead seem to invest in all the wrong people, please don’t hesitate to contact us to learn more about how we might be able to help you optimize your dating strategy.

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