(NEW YORK) — Paul Carrick Brunson left a successful career as an investment banking analyst to run his own nonprofits. Now he’s a life coach and matchmaker.
Brunson, the author of It’s Complicated But It Doesn’t Have to Be: A Modern Guide to Finding and Keeping Love, appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America Tuesday to talk about “flow dating.”
It’s a style of speed dating created by Brunson in which daters use games and activities to break the ice and ease anxiety.
Brunson said he has found that people learn more about someone when they have to move and work on activities, rather than just talking over dinner.
Indeed, he said that dinner could be the worst first date. People learn about each other through action, but getting to know a prospective romantic partner at dinner can feel too much like an interrogation.
The most important thing to do on a first date is to learn whether the other person meets your most important criteria. For example, if one person wants children but the other person doesn’t, that’s a deal-breaker, Brunson said. And if one person smokes but the other is asthmatic, that, too, is a deal-breaker.
Top 7 Mistakes People Make on Dates
Brunson shared the top 7 mistakes he has seen people make when they’re out on dates:
1. Showing up late without a call or a text
Now, if you’re going to be later than five minutes for a date and don’t call or text, it’s a fail on your part. Showing up late starts the date off terribly and might even set the tone. It conveys a lack of importance on your part. We prioritize what’s important in our lives by how much time (and money) we dedicate to it. That being said, either aim to arrive on time or just call the moment you realize that you’re going to be late.
2. Dressing inappropriately
Underdressed, overdressed, or inappropriately dressed equals pretentious, not fun or easy. On a date, especially right after work, many women often forget to dress sexy. Your business causal outfit is not hot. Conversely, don’t wear close to nothing. Just because he’s salivating doesn’t mean he “likes” your attire. Lastly, if the date is an activity like a hike, forgo the heels and mini-dress because you think they look cute. Always dress appropriately. This, like a lot of the things that I’m going to advise, also applies to men.
3. Having poor eye contact and a fake smile
Poor eye contact plus fake smile equals not confident and/or stalker alert. The saying goes, “Eyes are the windows to our souls.” If you limit eye contact because you’re looking away, you simply don’t look confident. Also, fake smiles are fairly easy to spot. Too many inauthentic smiles and you enter the “looks like a stalker” category. Eye contact should be focused on the person with whom you’re talking. Be sure to mix in a few nods and eye blinks. The rule of thumb is that short single nods are most effective, it shows that you’re listening. Double or triple nods make it seem as if you’re trying to speed the person up.
4. Using your cellphone on date
One of the biggest mistakes made on a date is using your cellphone or placing it on the table and glancing at it every time you get a message. This can show that you are disinterested in your date. When you’re on a date, please keep your cellphone in your purse or pocket. Your date deserves your full attention.
5. Being rude to others
If you’re rude to others, it shows that you have poor social skills and aren’t nice. Nothing makes a date want to run away like a rude and impolite person. If you’re on your date and the waiter forgot the extra lemon wedges … and before the waiter is out of earshot, you shout “Stupid M****…” Hmmm … that ain’t nice. It will make your date wonder how you will treat him or her in a relationship. As in life, treat everyone the way you would want to be treated.
6. Talking about your ex
By making frequent mentions of your past relationships, you might be conveying that you’re not over the ex. Living in the past is extremely dangerous. If you can’t stop talking about how great the old flame was or how you enjoyed the things you both did, chances are you still wish you were in that moment. Do yourself (and your date) a favor by admitting you’re not yet ready for a new relationship.
7. Not knowing BBR!
It’s the B.B.R. — The Belly Button Rule. This is my favorite rule and one I talk about in-depth at my coaching sessions. It is the most telling and compelling of all body language tactics. The direction our belly button faces reflects our attitude and our emotional state. When we face our navel toward someone, we’re subconsciously saying we’re interested in the person or the conversation. Face your navel away, and you’re saying “get me the hell out of this.” Most people do not know this rule, so learn it, master it, and you’ll be able to better read and control your interactions. Not listening shows disrespect and is the most passive-aggressive form of disrespect. Listen to your date.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio