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On Dating Exit Interviews

HuffPost Live invited me on a segment to discuss the idea of exit interviews for dating. For those who are not familiar with this practice, it’s pretty simple:

Two people go out on a date. One person feels as though the date was good enough for a second date, but the other person declines when asked or just never bothers returning calls or texts.

What gives?

Asking this question to the person who has declined the second date would qualify as an exit interview question. The purpose is to figure out what was so wrong with you (or them) and why there won’t be date number two.

If you watch the segment (embedded at the bottom of the post), you will see I fall on the side of being in favor of exit interviews. I don’t know if this is a trend in the dating world, but in my life, asking for an exit interview has always been the wave and if any of you knew what was good for you, you’d do the same.

Of course, not all first dates are good enough or important enough to warrant some feedback. Every now and then I went out on a date where I felt so much nothing, asking the person why we weren’t going out again was a waste of her time and mine. The times where I have wanted an exit interview were when I went out with a girl who I could have sworn was feeling my style, feeling my flow.

When I was younger, I had a tendency to believe the reason why a girl didn’t want to go out with me again had nothing to do with me and everything to do with her. Maybe she saw right away she couldn’t handle me and all my charm. Maybe she knew her limits and thought I was out of her league. Maybe she had a man and wasn’t quite ready to take the advice of Vanilla Ice.

The point is, I had an ego that was out of control. Not only did I convince myself a woman didn’t want to date me because of her own hangups, I was also pretty sure I knew my own issues, and I didn’t reveal them on a first date. So even if I did have some undesirable traits, they were hidden beneath the surface..

Then one day I went out with a girl named Beth. Our date involved lunch, a long walk, me putting her onto some cool hole in the wall spot that sold rare teas and spices, which she said she loved to collect. I did all the right things, including paying for the lunch, etc. The date lasted a good four or five hours. Who hangs out with someone for four to five hours if they don’t like them?

Apparently, Beth.

The next day I sent her a text asking her if she wanted to attend an upcoming baseball game with me. I didn’t get a response all day. That night I tried to call her instead, I believe I was sent straight to voice mail. The next day I sent her another text, this one just a simple question mark. She finally responded:

“Can’t do that date, I’m busy.”

I hit her back and said, “Do you want to go out again at all?”

She writes, “No. I had a good time, but I’m not interested.”

I never had been confronted with such a straightforward response like hers. Of course, at the time, my ego being what it was, I didn’t have time to figure out what her problem was (there goes that ego again). Besides, I still had an extra ticket for this baseball game, so I had to find someone to go with me.

Weeks later, I ran into Beth at a party. I had enough drinks in me to approach her and cut straight to the chase; didn’t even say hi.

“What made you not interested in going out with me?”

Beth, stirring her straw in her drink looked down at her glass and chuckled. “Oh, Jozen, hi…” Frustrated by this I murmured, “Hi” back and then looked at her with a stare that said, “HELLO! My question, please.”

She lifted her head and still didn’t make eye contact with me, instead choosing to stare out at the crowd.

“What was your problem? We had a good date,” I said.

“Yes, that’s why I told you we had a good time, it was a great date, but you weren’t the best part about it,” she said.

This girl packed a punch. I believe my knees buckled when she said that, and I played it off by acting like I was dropping my drink.

“You know what your problem is, Jozen?”

“What,” I said, completely ready to defend myself against whatever she had coming for me. After all, no one was as self aware as me. I had a black belt in introspection.

“You think you’re easier to date than you really are,” Beth said.

Yo, I heard that, and I was like this:

Beth proceeded to verbally pummel me:

“I would say about 80 percent of the date was talking about you. You barely asked me anything about myself. I know about your mother, your sister, your niece. Do you even know who this is?” Beth pointed to a girl who, I admit, I had no idea who she was, but she didn’t even let me respond.

“This is my sister, who you would have known about if you asked me about my family or even to see a picture of my family after you showed me pictures of yours.”

Everything Beth said was right. Not only was I guilty of talking more about myself than asking about her, I was so self-involved, I didn’t even notice it until she brought it up. I thought by showing her a good time, I would get a second date and I could not have been more wrong.

After that, I started paying more attention to this flaw in my character, asking more questions, and making a conscious effort to talk about myself in small doses.

Ever since the run in with Beth I became more curious about how others see me. I wouldn’t say I went as far as trying to have formal, in-person reviews if someone didn’t want to go out with me again, but if I found an opportunity to get some sort of evaluation I was open to it, and I think I’m better off. It’s very important to know thyself, but it is equally important to learn thyself too and the best way to do that is through asking people for honest feedback. Sure, it’s just one date, maybe it’s two, and as I said in the segment, that frame of time may be too quick determine if someone likes us, and it’s also too quick to determine if they don’t, but who knows? We may not have been as on point as we thought we were, that’s why we deserve to know. Even negative feedback can be a positive thing.

On Wednesday, March 26, I, along with some friends of mine, are hosting a benefit at MIST Harlem for the victims of the East Harlem building collapse that took place on March 12 due to a gas explosion. The effects of have taken lives while leaving survivors homeless, and living in shelters. We are asking for everyone’s help, whether you live in New York City or not, but especially to all the NYC residents for these are our neighbors.

We are asking for suggested donations of $15-$20, gift cards will also be accepted. I, myself, am hosting a round of trivia for those who attend, and there will be dancing and drink specials as well. Come on out and enjoy yourself, have a good time, for a good cause.

Here is the link to donate and/or RSVP to attend:

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  • Nice Shock

    I think this WOULD be an awesome idea, however, one thing not being considered is the stigma for a woman that she is insecure by inquiring as to what was so wrong with her or the date to not warrant another. We’ve all seen the chick who is begging a guy to tell her “why not her?” and I think the exit interview would come off like that for a woman. And for a guy, I’m sure there are some women who would immediately title him as “desperate or thirsty” for even having the audacity to ask the question.

    But, like I said, I do think this would be a neat idea, especially if the criticism is constructive.