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Q I seem to be spending a lot of time on first dates, many of which don’t go anywhere. I’m frustrated because it seems as though either the kind of guys I keep meeting are really just not worth my time, or in those cases where I see potential I don’t hear from the guy again. Any suggestions?

A I’m sorry to hear of your frustration. As a matchmaker and dating coach to selective and commitment-minded men and women with limited free time, I can appreciate your concern. I encourage you to continue being the kind of woman who recognizes the worth of her precious time.

That said, I’m concerned that your frustration may be detracting from your investment of time and energies in the dating process. Let’s optimize the time you’re investing in dating, beginning with your approach.

I find that commitment-minded singles who understandably don’t want to waste time sometimes have a tendency to approach a first date with the goal of immediately determining then and there if their date definitively has what it takes be their future spouse.

This “fast-forward” approach can be counterproductive for a couple reasons.

First, such an approach lends itself to posing rapid-fire questions to one’s date, creating an almost “business or interview-like” exchange rather than an organically unfolding, playful interchange. This “fast-forward” approach is more likely to lead to feelings of pressure rather than a promising connection and chemistry.

Secondly, this approach reveals an unrealistic expectation with respect to the dating process, thereby enhancing the probability of disappointment, given that the vast majority of first dates statistically do not evolve into long-term relationships.

So what is a more productive approach? Dating tends to be most fruitful when viewed as an adventure. Approach each date as an opportunity to discover something life-enhancing. Be open to the possibility that you may discover things about your date, or experience a level of connection, which could lead you to believe in the potential for friendship and possibly a sustained relationship.

Even if you don’t see romantic potential, don’t shut-down and write the date off as a complete waste of time. Instead, challenge yourself to make valuable discoveries during the date. Perhaps you may discover a great new avenue to meet quality singles. Perhaps learning about your date’s interests, passions, or mindset may come in handy in interactions with other guys. Perhaps you may discover more about what’s important to you in a relationship. The dating process involves self-discovery as well as discovery of the people you date.

Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio, a monthly lifestyle show.

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