First Date Blues….how self-absorbed is he???

first date

By Kenneth Justice

~I couldn’t help but snap a quick photo with my camera phone of this couple sitting across from me at coffee last night….they were on a first date.

Because I spend so much time at coffee shops I’ve been witness to so many first dates I’ve lost count…’s and coffee shops seem to be a good neutral site to get to know someone in a first date scenario….of course adding a couple glasses of alcohol can help loosen people up as well.

What always strikes me about first dates is the number of people who spend all their time on the date talking about themselves….but perhaps this isn’t merely restrictive to first dates; maybe we who live in Western culture simply love talking about ourselves?

Isn’t this the charm of social media; Twitter and Facebook posts are a way we can deceive ourselves into thinking; our friends and acquaintances really care about what I’m doing….my Facebook updates matter…they are relevant; people care about what’s going on in my life and what I’m thinking about….

However….in a culture of self-absorbed individuals….how many people truly care about what we have to say?

I wrote an article about loneliness and was mildly surprised at the wealth of responses I got; I’m slowly becoming aware of the simple fact that despite the connectedness which social media offers us, more and more people are feeling isolated from each other. 

 But… let’s get back to first dates…..

What should you talk about if not yourself?

Doesn’t your date want to know who you are?

And, isn’t talking about yourself the best way of letting your date know who you are?

A remark made by one guy I observed on a first date was,

“I don’t like talking philosophy….I did all my thinking about important things when I’m younger so now all I care about is living my life…”

While I can understand the apprehension toward getting into philosophical arguments on a first date which may lead to hurt feelings… yet, isn’t talking about things that matter good first-date material?

I mean….what’s wrong with saying, “I love how the Midwest seems to breed friendliness in people but I hate the fact that we seem to be so obsessed with our career’s in the Midwest….”

That’s a highly philosophical statement…but it tells you a lot about the person who said it;

It tells us that they value friendliness and that they don’t want to be a workaholic….

Thus, by sharing a philosophical statement… we’ve actually shared something about who we are without; talking about ourselves!

And isn’t that what we want on a first date…to get to know each other?

I heard a story recently about a first date via a young woman who met the guy at the bar…..they texted for a few days and then set up a first date in which they would begin by meeting at the guy’s house, a central location…

The young woman arrived to the guy’s house to find him lounging in the living room watching The Simpson’s

“Come on in” he said, and he led her to the sofa…..

She sat down and he silently went back to watching The Simpsons…..

Turns out; the guy had expected their first date to entirely consist of sitting on his sofa, watching television, and then hooking up in his bedroom later that evening….hows that for a first date! The young woman ended up excusing herself 10 minutes into the date and took off.

Is it just me or are some people getting a little bit too lazy in their first date preparations!

If I were on a first date I’d order a cup of coffee…..just like I’m about to do right now….


Categories: Culture & Society, relationships

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19 replies


  2. Hi Kenneth,

    I am Anca, a new reader of your blog. 🙂 It is true that dating scene seems like ancient history to me but, if I would be dating again, I wouldn’t mind listening to people talking about themselves. I guess I would be interested to see how they present themselves, how seriously they take themselves, how willing to have a laugh about themselves they are. For sure, talking about neutral topics can provide one with infos about their BELIEFS, VALUES, PREFERENCES. But only talking about what they have actually done/ experienced can give one some insight regarding their actual BEHAVIOURS. Just a thought… 🙂

  3. Dating can be fun, but lately I’ve noticed guys don’t even want to take me out on actual date. Most guys seem to think a date is just hanging out at his house. I realize that the economy sucks, but can’t we spend a few dollars and at least go get dinner?

    • that sounds lame. i mean im a poor ass college student & even i’d take a girl out to some place nice to eat or have some fun UNLESS SHE wanted to chill at my place. Otherwise I’d go some place I’d think she’d enjoy.
      Even if you’ve been friends for a while, you don’t end up hanging out at any house or apt until AFTER going out to at least a few different places (i.e. restaurants, movies, dance clubs, museums, etc BIG LIST)
      hope you have more interesting dates in the future miss!

  4. You know, Mr. Justice…I’d order a cup of coffee too! There are many folks out there are so “disconnected” from reality…they don’t realize there is a world beyond themselves. Enjoy your coffee! 🙂

  5. First of all, thank you! I came to this conclusion recently as well – social networking is making us more isolated not better connected. We live in a “me, me, me” era, everyone wanting to stand out and get recognition. And first dates are an interesting byproduct. One of the worst first dates I had I felt like he was grilling me – where were you born? What is your degree in? What’s your favorite food? Favorite book? Do you like your job? I hardly had time to answer one before the next question came. Point is, even when people seem like they aren’t self-centered, they still are. He didn’t really care about my answers or about getting to know me. He was posing as an interested person while biding his time until the conversation switched to him. I think it will take a major shift for many to forget themselves and find genuine interest in others.

    PS The best dates I’ve had included a wide range of topics from art to politics (which I don’t even like), microbiology to philosophy. You can tell a lot about a person – and more important aspects – through these conversations. Much more telling than, “I grew up in X”…

  6. The “me” thing is rampant, and unfortunate. The best advice is to note how it makes you feel when someone does it to you and resolve to take a lesson from it and not make the same mistake.

  7. The same principles apply to meeting someone for the first time, ignoring the higher stakes of a first date. It is, I understand, a problem in churches. A visitor comes in and is essentially ignored by everyone. Or else tacitly condemned. I know churches are full of sinful people, but shouldn’t we be learning how to listen sometimes? Or board meetings (elder meetings, vestry meetings, etc) where one person takes and keeps the floor. I am way past the first date stage of my life – hopefully forever – but I still need to meet new people and get to know them and treat them kindly, and especially that would be true on a date, right?
    On the other hand, I do tend to go on and on when I leave a comment….

  8. What about a movie date there’s no talking there…and you always talk about the movie after 🙂

  9. okay how in the hell did i miss this beauty? shame on me; personally i’ve decided that there will be no more dating for this chick – apparently it takes talent to do that and i clearly suck at it lol so no more; that said – again you hit the nail on the head! when it comes to dating so many are so self-absorbed its very disturbing. while i would caution talking politics or religion on the first date (too controversial) it is worth talking about general values, etc., as you pointed out as a way to get to know someone and in a way better than the cookie cutter – these are my interests, i was born, etc., etc., yadda yadda. – one that’s boring like wordpress said but two that could sound like anyone and of course there is the self-absorbed aspect. if the idea is to stand out then listen for starters, for another talk about other sorts of topics – maybe it starts about how one’s day went or work but in that there could be a nugget of information that would lead to a wealth information from a conversation between two people and not just one listening as another rambles on about him/herself. i love your observations – maybe all that coffee is good for you? hmm 🙂

  10. I must say first and foremost that first dates can be awkward most time and for different reasons. But to have a self absorb guy can be a BIG NO NO, especially when he makes it known on the first date.

  11. So, I was wondering: have you noticed that, while agreeing that being self absorbed is clearly not desirable, we — however — kept ignoring each others comments, although responding would have been an option as well? 🙂

    • whoa anca! i replied to a comment from emma…so yeah! But that was one heck of an interesting observation cuz there are a lot more comments on this post since monday. Ur thumbnail pic is adorable btw. PEACE!

    • Oh well, Matthias, I guess you’re the exception that proves the rule. 🙂 Cheers!

    • Anca….you bring up a good point. I can’t speak for anyone else, but because I publish a new post every morning…it is often difficult for me to respond to everyone’s comments. I do read EVERY comment though, and the comments definitely contribute to the direction of my thoughts and guides my articles……

      The comments to my articles are regular coffee shop conversations that I have with my friends and I only wish that you and others could see how your comments often lead to very long dialogue at the coffee shops I hang out at and also the conversations I have at home with my family….

      Thank you!

    • Thanks for your reply, I appreciate it. 🙂


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