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This is the one question you should be asking on every date

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Gary Ogden
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This is the one question you should be asking on every date

Going on a date, are ya? Having a drink with someone? Hoping for a kiss? Lucky you! It’s all well and good sitting opposite someone attractive, having a nice chat and all, but how do you know if they’re the one? Are you wasting your time? Is this whole thing a hiding to nothing? How do you work out what’s going on in their head? Are they a liar? A cheat? A literal actual lizard?

Well, you ask them questions - everyone knows that - but there’s a problem with this approach, and it’s finding the correct ones to ask. Like, saying “How many children do you want with me, specifically, right now, I NEED TO KNOW HOW MANY KIDS YOU WANT AND I NEED THEIR NAMES THIS INSTANCE,” on a first date, is a tad overbearing. In essence, it’s a minefield - come on too strong and you risk scaring your date; don’t probe enough and you’re none the wiser. So what to do?

You ask one very specific question - that’s what you do. You ask: “Why are you still single?”

According to relationship expert Dr. Robert Maurer, this simple, clichéd question has the handy ability to suss out “future relationship health”. He says:

“As they relate the stories of their last relationship(s) are they taking any responsibility for choosing poorly or not having the right skills at that point in their lives? Are they taking any responsibility for the last relationship not working?”

If, on the other hand, they acknowledge that they may have held some responsibilty for the end of a certain relationship, then they may be a better match in the long run. Unless of course every single ex they’ve ever had has burned down their house, but that’s only happened to one person I know, so chances are slim.

When asking this magic question though, care must be taken to ask it in the correct way. According to journalist Lisa Bonos - it can come across as insulting. In particular, some women may find it offensive due to pressure to settle down and have children, or simply because it’s glossing over the fact that some people simply prefer to be single for long periods - it’s presuming something is wrong with them.

So first decide if you want to actually ask the question, and if that’s an affirmative, then frame it in a positive way, as a compliment, if at all possible.

Or simply don’t overthink things, and just, you know, try and have a nice time? Calm yourself down, have a normal chat, ask the important questions later (or never, in my experience). You’re ripping all the fun out of it, P.I. Killjoy.

(Image: Alex Holyoake)

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Gary Ogden

Shortlist writer and "the least woke person in the office", Gary Ogden, likes horror movies, Cheestrings, tapping his leg under the desk, "having a drink", hiding from responsibility, screaming into the mirror whenever he is alone, and assorted other things. Mainly the screaming thing though. @garyblogden

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