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Before You Leap: The Relationship Material Litmus Test

When it comes to new relationships, sometimes we fall so hard and fast we miss early signals – even deal breakers – that could have prevented heartbreak down the road. Many of us make mental lists of ideal characteristics we’re seeking in a partner. Some of us even attempt to force fit the person we’re dating into those parameters. But, what if I told you there is a more effective way to vet your love interest? By all means, proceed with that mental list, but also do this:

Observe Your Date from Multiple Points of View

When it comes to dating someone new, my rule of thumb is: See people in at least three different lights. Unlike trying on clothing, the first date isn’t a one-size fits all arrangement. You must observe your relationship candidate in multiple scenarios to –

  • Determine your compatibility.
  • Gauge your chemistry.
  • Get a read on the energy they bring to different experiences.

Someone might do really well in a phone conversation, for example, but next time go grab a coffee together. If conversation becomes a chore, you’ve gathered some helpful information that might suggest proceeding caution before taking the leap. 

Take a Moment for a Gut Check

  • If you can’t sit down and have a nice phone conversation that you wish didn’t end, why would you join them for coffee next time?
  • If holding a conversation over coffee with them is like pulling teeth, why would you venture out on the next experience?
  • If the first two experiences were positive, try stepping out of your comfort zone a bit on your third experience. It might be somewhat challenging for your date to maintain the appearance of their “best self”, but you’ll gain authentic insights on how they manage the situation, approach adversity and to what extent they value your interaction.

You need to make sure this person is a good fit for the fluidity of your life. Each dating stage helps you figure out if they’re worth the relationship investment.

Getting the Full Picture

Here are a few suggestions to help you build a fully informed view of the new person in your life:

Virtual DateSituation 1 – Introductions: First phone calls, or preferably video chats, are strong compatibility indicators. (Read why we think video first dates should be here to stay.) 

Situation 2 – Meet up, Grab Coffee: There are many more factors in play when meeting in person. This second view allows you to physically see them, smell them, gain a better sense of them and your chemistry. 

Situation 3 – Dinner Date & Event: Find out how you relate to each other in social settings – formal, informal, active, calm. What are your mutual observations? Do you share a similar sense of humor or perspective?

Situation 4 – Adventure: Go hiking, bowling or dancing. Sing karaoke. Take a cooking class. Do something playful …and slightly unpredictable! These scenarios provide better glimpses into your partner’s authentic self. 

Build your own series of dates to evaluate the things most important to you. For example, if you value spending time with friends,  you might introduce your friends — or theirs, in a double date. It may be telling if you new partner acts differently with a crowd. 

In observation of social distancing requirements, your scenarios might include a video first date, an outdoor hike using a video chat service or live streaming a movie, show or event together. Get creative!

It’s healthy to be unsure of a new acquaintance. It’s even healthier in the long run to see if they pass your personal litmus test – seeing your potential partner in multiple lights, before taking the leap for love.

For more advice on dating or how to vet a potential partner, contact us today.


David Fishman

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