Smart Dating


A simple date is typically a brief, prearranged meeting between two people who have just met (as in the case of a chance encounter) or whose only introduction has been over the phone (as in the case of contact made possible through a friend). The meeting is usually done in a public place, perhaps at an inexpensive restaurant or coffee shop. Each person arrives at the simple date in their own transportation, sometime during the daytime. And the simple date is limited to a cup of coffee or a Coke-no full-course meals. The duration of the simple date should be no more than 45 minutes.

The purpose of the simple date is just for two people to become acquainted under non-threatening, comfortable conditions. It's that simple.

The simple date is so easy to get someone to agree to, that even a stranger will do it if they are interested in you at all. In fact, if someone won't do a simple date, you can be sure they will not be inclined to accept an intimate dinner date.
Another advantage of a simple date is that once you have had the simple date, you can decide at that time if you are still interested in dating the person with whom you just became acquainted. You can also use the simple date to screen people (that is smart dating).

Like anything else in life, there is always a right way and a wrong way to do something. Here we'll cover how to approach someone for a simple date.

Asking For A Simple Date-The Wrong Way
Having asked for a date the wrong way many times, I illustrate below one example of how not to ask for a date:

Man: "Hi! Would you go out with me sometime?"
Woman: "I don't know you, what do you have in mind?"
Man: "How about dinner?"
Woman: "No, I do not know you."
Man: "Ah, come on, we'll have fun!"
Woman: "No thank you, I'm very busy right now."

Asking For A Simple Date-The Right Way
Here is an example of how to get a simple date the right way:
You say: "Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee right now? I'd like to spend a few minutes getting to know you better."
They respond (most likely): "I don't know you."
You say: "That's why I'd like to have some coffee with you and talk for a while so we can get acquainted."
They respond (perhaps now smiling): "Sure, I have a few minutes."

You can see that the difference between the wrong way and the right way to ask for a simple date is in the approach. A man or woman asking for a simple date, who is prepared beforehand, will come off more confident, mature, and convincing. Furthermore, the person being asked for the simple date is more likely to feel comfortable and inclined to respond favorably to the extended invitation.
Here are a couple of things a person should bear in mind when approaching someone for a simple date:
Keep the person you're interested in comfortable at all times by not being pushy or overly aggressive. Know what you're going to say ahead of time before approaching any person you're interested in. Just ask for a simple coffee date.

These two tips make it a lot easier to get a date. I also believe in practicing in front of a mirror, especially if you are unsure about approaching strangers. Admittedly, you may not get a date every time you try, but you will definitely improve your chances.

Women Approaching Men
For the woman readers, you, too, can approach men in the same way. This is a safe approach even though the man you may be interested in is a complete stranger. I can even give you an instance when that happened to me, and which may be encouraging.
Some time ago (before I was married), I was at a local grocery store to pick up a few things for dinner. As I walked down an aisle, I was delighted when an attractive woman smiled at me. We eventually exchanged smiles again as we passed each other in different aisles. Finally, in one aisle, the attractive woman began talking to me. She said that she had noticed how I wasn't buying much food and that I must be single. I told her that she was quite right, that I was single. She then pointed to her almost empty basket and chuckled. The implication was that she, too, was single.
She was bold, but very friendly, which made me feel quite comfortable. Furthermore, she knew just what to say to create something common between us. This gave us occasion to talk to each other. Ultimately, she said she would love to talk to me more but had to run. She went further to say she did not want to seem overly forward, but asked if I would like her phone number to talk more later. Naturally, I took her number and we eventually became friends.
This woman handled the situation perfectly as far as approaching me. After all, had she done it any other way, I might have thought she was some sort of flake or nut I should avoid. The only mistake I think she made was being so free about giving me her phone number. To be safe, she should have asked for my phone number first, before giving me hers. I strongly advise against any woman giving away her phone number so easily. It is also safer and smarter to take the phone number of a man and perhaps talk to him over the phone a few times to get to know him a little better. This gives you a chance to screen the guy.
I have observed that many women just can not ask a man out on a date. But remember, it isn't a date I'm suggesting here. It's actually just a get-acquainted time, to see what you think of each other. After 30 or 40 minutes of conversation, you are going to have a gut feeling about a guy. If you're interested in getting together again, don't hesitate to say so. Share honest feelings-be yourself. If you are not interested in seeing him again, tell him so. Tell him you don't feel you have enough in common.
When I'm on live call-in radio shows, I talk to many different people across the country. I often ask married people who asked who out for the first date. It is common for the happy couple to answer that the woman did.
One woman called in while I was airing on a radio show in Reno, Nevada to tell me that her loving husband of 15 years and herself still disagree as to who asked who out on the first date. But, as we talked, she admitted that she had first invited him to a barbecue at her house, along with many other single people. Subsequently, he took the initiative to invite her to join him at a sports event. She felt the sports event was actually the first date. But, of course, I pointed out that the barbecue served as their get-acquainted time; therefore, it was really the first date, as she had taken the initiative to send an invitation to it, a simple date.
That is why simple dates work and why almost anyone will join you on a friendly, comfortable, get-acquainted simple date: there is no commitment pressure, no sexual pressure, no time pressure. Then, after some friendly, relaxed conversation, you can decide exactly how you feel about this new friend. Do you want to get better acquainted, or just be friendly from afar? The neat part is, this is an informed decision, based on your time talking to each other.

Here are a number of do's and don'ts when you ask for a simple date, whether you are a man or a woman. Study these points carefully. They should become second nature to you.

Things You Should Not Do
Don't get too aggressive in your attitude or conversation. (A rule of thumb here is that the person you have approached may not want to be bothered. Sometimes it is not what you do or say, but the timing may be wrong. Be alert to this possibility.) Don't stand too close. Everyone has a comfort zone that needs to be respected. Don't speak too loudly. Loudness makes you appear aggressive. Don't speak too softly. Too soft makes you look weak. Don't giggle or laugh as you speak. No matter how nervous you are, giggling or laughing gives you the appearance of being immature. A smile is better. Don't ever be discourteous. Being rude is never forgotten. Don't show too much disappointment if you are rejected. Maintain a level of maturity and courteousness at all times. After all, you never know if your next potential date may be nearby. I'll tell you what to say when rejected later.

Things You Should Do
Smile. Be sincere and mild mannered in your approach. Keep a comfortable distance between your bodies. Talk at a normal, conversational tone and sound level. Your voice can do funny things when you're nervous, and this may take practice, but is always important. Maintain eye contact. When you first meet someone, this is an important part of conveying sincerity. For an unknown reason, some people have difficulty looking other people straight in the eye. This may take some practice. By the way, women and men have both commented to me how impressed they are when someone can look them right in the eye. Be very courteous in your speech and with your manners. What you say and how you behave can be critical. Ask for a specific time and place for a simple date. And keep the arrangements simple!

Many people reading this may think: easy for him to do and say all this, but he's not shy like I am. The fact is, most people are shy about meeting new people. I used to be enormously shy. But when you think about it, shyness is merely a fear that others won't like you, or that you may be rejected in some way. It's natural for us to desire acceptance. Fortunately, the simple date approach I prescribe is the easiest and most effective way to get to know people. And usually, once people get to know you, they'll probably like you. This can lead to successful dating.
Yes, you can go and try to ask someone for a simple date, and get turned down. Big deal. Believe it or not, there are other people out there you can ask. There are about 5 billion people in the world, and the two genders are about equally divided. Surely one of them will go out with you if you ask enough of them. Keep in mind that since most people are shy about approaching strangers, you increase your odds of success by being among the few willing to risk rejection.
When I first started to implement my approach to dating, I was nervous and shy. But once I started getting favorable responses to my invitations to simple dates, I got over my shyness for the most part. Try it, it works. Remember, if you want a lot of "no's," ask for dinner dates for the first dates. If you want a lot of "yes's," ask for simple dates.

Now, I have mentioned at least a couple of times the need to find some common topic of interest when approaching a stranger you are interested in dating. When you meet someone while engaged in a hobby, you can at the very least talk about the hobby, and this can naturally lead to approaching someone about a simple date. Here are several things you can say when approaching a total stranger, perhaps literally out on the street.
First, try to find something in common. For example, the person you spot is at the same bus stop. You notice he/she is wearing a football T-shirt or hat, or whatever. You could say: "Hey, that's my favorite team!" Then engage them in conversation about football or other pertinent subject, and eventually ask for a simple date.
In the same situation at the bus stop, you may ask the person you're interested in what the bus fare is these days. This can get them talking with you. Again, before long, ask for a simple date.
Another example may be at the park. You happen to be walking in the park and you spot the person you're interested in walking a dog. You could say, "You know, I used to have a dog just like that." And then engage them in conversation about dogs and/or pets until you think the time is right to ask for a simple date.

Creating Conversation from Nothing
Okay, these situations and examples were pretty easy. But just suppose there is absolutely nothing in common for you to talk about? Or it doesn't seem real obvious at that moment? The only solution is to get real creative. On one occasion, when nothing in common presented itself, I noted how muscular this woman's legs were. I said, "I couldn't help but notice how well-toned your calves are. You must be into some type of sport; I run, what do you do?"
I decided to use the complimentary approach to engage this person. I often do this when I'm at a loss about what to say to encourage conversation. By the way, this worked, and I eventually asked the woman to join me for a cup of coffee, which she accepted.
Complimenting a woman on her hairstyle is also an effective icebreaker. They usually take pride in the way their hair looks. You might say something like: "Do you style your own hair- it really looks great!"
Now, this can lead to a conversation about hair in general and/or grooming, or a number of other subjects relative to this line of dialogue, but you have engaged this person. Then, if things seem to be going in the right direction, you can compliment the woman on her personality or her intelligence and suggest having a cup of coffee to get acquainted. Otherwise, at the very least, the woman will thank you for the compliment and each of you will go your separate ways. Compliments are no less appreciated by men either.
Here is another opening line that works for men and women: "Would you mind if I ask your name? My name is Don." This is very direct, but it works. From here, you can immediately engage the other person in conversation.
I can hear the skeptics saying: "Who does this guy think he's fooling? Who would go for anything like this?" Believe it or not, many people go for it. And if you think about it, you probably would go for it too. Why? Because it's unusual, because it's intriguing, and because it's hard to resist if you're single, lonely, and open to meeting new people.
In the end, even if it is a spur of the moment thing, always remember to think about what you're going to say before you say it, and be ready to specify a time and a place to have your simple date with the person you just met. Good luck!

You probably have noticed by now that I haven't given you a long list of so-called "pickup lines" to memorize. In fact, I only have three lines in this book that I highly recommend you remember. However, even those three "lines" are only a track to run on and guide you through a particular area of dating. These "lines" are not written in stone, so you can interpret the spirit of the lines to suit your "self."
Communication is extremely important. What you want to communicate most is who you are. That's why I don't tell you everything you should say and do. I actually just want you to be able to put your best foot forward and stay comfortable doing it. If you do and say everything exactly as Donald Black does, then you would be impersonating me, not portraying yourself. Just like the metaphor about helping a hungry person: we can give them a fish or we can teach them how to fish, but if we only give them the fish, they would remain dependent on us. And none of us desire such dependency. We all should learn how to be comfortable with ourselves.


Asking for a simple date:
1. "Would you be open to joining me for a cup of coffee?" or "I'd enjoy getting better acquainted with you for 20 or 30 minutes over a cup of coffee. Would you be open to that?"
By using the words above, we have created the friendliest invitation possible. "Would you be open?" These words allow the other person to make a positive decision. They are open, not "closed" minded. "For a cup of coffee." This setting is famous for friends getting together to enjoy good conversation. A relaxing picture has been created by the words.
When you don't get yes's with this simple date "line," you won't get them any other way.

Dealing With Rejection:
2. "No problem, what a pleasure to meet you, anyway."
By using the words designated above, we create an comfortable atmosphere for the person rejecting our date proposal, and allow ourselves to come off as under control and not embarrassed. This "line" is much better than saying, "If you're not going to go out with me, then get on your broom and fly away!" It's also much better than dropping to your knees and begging, too!

Refusing a Date:
3. "At this time, for personal reasons, I am not available, but I'm flattered you asked."
By using these words, we have created a comfortable atmosphere that allows you and the other person to keep your dignity intact in a potentially awkward situation. And they can't question you as to why you will not go out with them, because you said, "personal reasons." If they try to push past "personal reasons," they are being rude to do so.

Wouldn't it be just stupendous if everyone in the world could communicate exactly what they mean at all times? And wouldn't it be awesome if everyone understood exactly what was communicated every time? Of course it would. But wake up, that's not how it works in real life.
Effective communication is an art that few people really master. In fact, I've only known a handful of people I consider effective communicators. How important is communication to dating? Effective communication is critical to successful dating. Why? Well, if you think about all that I've explained about approaching someone for a simple date, and all that's involved to get acquainted with someone, it revolves around one basic thing: the ability to communicate. The more effective you are at communicating, the more likely it is that you will succeed at dating and in developing relationships.

There are four most likely responses you will get when asking someone for a simple date or when asking someone for the first date (these four responses can also apply when you ask for a person's phone number). Knowing what the four most common responses are puts you in a better position to anticipate what someone is attempting to communicate to you. This is where you have your first chance at applying your communication skills, in the initial contact with a person, or early on in your relationship with them. When asking for a date, you talk to someone in person or on the phone, and most likely the response will be:
1. "Yes," which means they are interested in you and they want to go on a date with you.
2. "No," which means they are not interested in you and they do not want to go on a date with you (although "no," as I have indicated above, could mean something else).
3. "Maybe," which means they are not sure. This usually means you have to convince them. This is almost like "yes," and requires further explicit clarification about what you have in mind, especially if you just met them and offered a simple date arrangement.
4. "Give me a rain check," which means "yes," but not right now, later for sure!
It is really quite interesting that most of the responses you will get to your invitation for a date will fall into one of these four categories of responses. Also note that three out of four of these responses are positive. And even "no" could be turned around to your advantage. This should be encouraging to you.
Try to put your responses in their appropriate categories of responses. It is easier to know how to deal with each one.
If you are on the receiving end of an invitation for a date, or perhaps someone just asked you to dance, be as clear as you can be, especially when you say "no." It makes it easier to avoid an awkward situation later. Clear communication is very important even when you are rejecting someone.
Let me show you how communication skills can help you in starting a relationship. Let's assume you just asked someone for a simple date, and out of shyness they turned you down. To know that this refusal is out of shyness is something you'll just have to feel. There really is no other way to know. Of course, to someone who refuses the invitation because they really do not want to get to know you, you can respond by saying, "No problem, what a pleasure to meet you anyway."
You may have to memorize this response for just such an occasion. By the way, the reason for a polite response to a rejection is that:
1. The person you have approached will feel more comfortable in saying "no." They will appreciate this and remember it. You never know the next time you'll meet them again.
2. Such a response actually allays the feelings of rejection you may have, just because you were polite. This may seem strange, but it's true, and really works.

By having my rejection response memorized, I have found I'm not as afraid to take a chance.
But if the person you have approached refuses your invitation out of shyness, it may be necessary to communicate more clearly your intentions. You may explain to them that you want them to take their own car and meet you at a coffee shop or restaurant, just for a few minutes to relax and get to know them a little better. You may even go further to point out:

You don't want their telephone number. You don't want to meet them in a private place. You don't want them in your car. You don't want them to feel uncomfortable. You really do want to get to know them better.

Once you have communicated these things, and the response is still "no," then so be it. There is no guessing about it. You have made a complete detailed account of what you mean by a simple date. "No" will be "no," and "yes" will be "yes."
Most of the time all this detailed explanation is not necessary, but occasionally, you can encounter a person who misinterprets what you say. Effective communication is the only way to clarify your meaning. As you can see then, a "no" can quickly become a "yes."
I should point out, however, that "no" can be "no" for a variety of reasons, and not because the person you're interested in is not interested in you. And effective communication is the way to unearth any other reasons "no" may indicate. For example, the person you are interested in may truly have to go home right away, or perhaps they are with a friend who is driving. You won't know this unless such facts are communicated to you. Incidentally, in response to these types of situations, you might say, "If you don't have time right now, would you like to set aside some time tomorrow or at some other time more convenient to you?"
Again, in such a case, "no" means "no," and "yes" means "yes." And again, if they say "no," remember the appropriate words to say are, "No problem, what a pleasure to meet you anyway."

Well, there you are. You have just asked a good looking woman/man to meet you at Burger World for a 32-ounce cup of sweetened/unsweetened iced tea. Much to your amazement, she/he actually agrees to meet you. What are you going to talk about, and what are you going to do?
Should you sit there at Burger World and talk about yourself as fast as you can so this other person can get to know you better? No! No! No! Is it important that you fire out 100 quick questions so that you can find out all you want about this other person? Definitely not! I like to joke about this "100 questions" type of person. They might say to you, when you get ready to leave, "You can't leave yet, I still have 55 more questions to ask you!"
It is important that the other person learn all about the things you think are wrong with this world? Or worse: should you complain about your divorce or your last relationship? Good grief, no-o-o-o! Incidentally, should the topic of your divorce or last relationship come up, by all means, keep it as positive and as brief as possible. Such as: "Have you been married before?" A short, positive answer, "Yes, I was married for 10 years, but we were divorced 3 years ago. When I get to know you better, I'll share more about that, if you like. I have learned a lot about myself and relationships since then, so it brought good out of a bad situation."
If you want to come off as immature, just blame 100% of the failure of any relationship on the other person. Even if you have gripes, save the dirty details for when you are further along in the relationship.

What to Talk about On A Simple Date
So, what do you talk about during the course of your simple date? First, remember that how you conduct yourself is far more important than how much you find out about each other from the conversation. On this subject, I always think of this saying: "What you do speaks so loud, I can't hear what you say."
Here's the rule of thumb to remember: Always be courteous and exhibit your best manners during your simple date. Have a positive attitude. A smile and good humor are reflections of a positive attitude. Being positive really does tend to attract people. In fact, just being positive can attract people even when few words are spoken.

What Are Some Questions To Ask & Things To Talk About?
Remember how you wrote out your list of attributes in your soul mate? Well, that list will be a good starting point for knowing what you want to find out about your new friend.
First, while you're talking, observe the other's attitude about life, positive or negative. Also, notice how the other person presents themselves in terms of appearance. Ask about their social life. What are his/her hobbies? Do they read or only watch TV? Ask out about their occupation. Do they like it? What are their goals? You might want to know about their spiritual beliefs. Do they have children?
You can't learn all you want to know in just the first 45 minutes together, but you'll probably gather enough information (if you listen) to know if you want to continue to date them or not. For instance, if you asked about their marital status, what you hear might shock you. I don't shock very easily, but I've been flat out shocked sometimes. Let me give you two examples: On our simple date, a woman began telling me about the ten-year marriage she was in. When I asked her what happened, she revealed her infidelity, admitting to seeing her professor at the university on the side twice a week for the duration of her whole marriage. I calmly finished my coffee date with her, and never called her again. If you remember my list, I indicated I require that the woman for me value a monogamous relationship. I could never have trusted this woman.
Another woman, on a simple date, told me that she had recently come out of an eight-year marriage. When I asked why, she explained they had heavily abused drugs, and she admitted using drugs around their three children as well. I have seen the destructive impact heavy drug and alcohol use has on personalities and lives. I wanted nothing to do with it.
Remember this! If you are not sure you know how you feel about somebody after the simple date, do not go out on an evening date yet. Either experience a few more coffee or lunch dates, or just have phone conversations to get better acquainted. Wait until you are sure that the person has the character traits you want. There is no rush!
If you want to find out who they are, you must keep asking that person these two questions about any subject, for instance, their past relationships:
1. What do you want?
2. What is right for you?
I recall inquiring of a very nice lady about her failed marriage. I asked her if she (1) wanted the divorce. She answered no. I asked her what would she do if she could make it (2) right for herself. She answered that she still cried for him continuously, after three years, and that she knew she would perhaps never love a man as much as she had loved him again. It would make her happy if she could have him back. I, of course, knew that she wasn't over him, and that she wasn't available to me.
When I met Sandra, my wife, I asked her if she liked living in the city. She answered no, but that is where she owned a home at the present. I then asked if she would prefer, someday, to live in the country again (in other words, would that be right for her). She answered yes. I knew I wanted the same thing, so I was glad we were compatible on that issue.
That is how to get to know other people. Ask them questions about themselves, and then "listen," really listen, to the answers. Now, when asking questions about someone, you are showing them you are interested. And guess how you'll know if they become interested in you? That's right, they'll begin to ask you questions!

Get Real
Should you become secretive and hide how you feel about something? Should you exaggerate to make an impression? Should you worry about whether they like and agree with you? No! Be honest and open, and just be yourself. These were the three things I did when I met my wife:
I didn't exaggerate to impress I shared honestly and openly I was more concerned about being the real Donald Black than I was that she like me. We were able to move quickly in getting to know each other intimately because we didn't play games. And when she fell in love with me, it was the real me. This was the first time I had been able to be the real Donald Black. And it worked. It will work for you, too.

Wait For Questions
I have made this mistake all of my life. I would start telling people about myself when I wanted to get to know them, and when what I really should have done was ask questions to get to know them. There is no need to offer information about yourself if they do not ask the question. People only listen to the answers to something if they first ask the questions. To offer information about yourself when the question hasn't been asked can make you seem boring. Wait for questions to be asked of you, then be open and honest about what you have to say.
However, it is appropriate to share your experiences with a person if they are talking about something they have done. You can show them how you relate to what they're sharing, and this can make them feel comfortable with you. Example:

Man: "I went on vacation to the Mexican Riviera last year. I enjoyed the cruise very much!"
Woman: "I went on a cruise once, and it was my favorite vacation. I went to the Bahamas."

Notice how she cued off his topic and shared how she could relate to his experience. Remember this, as it is one of the best ways to make a person curious about you.

Salt The Oats
There is an old negative saying, "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." I don't enjoy negative sayings, so I don't quote them unless they illustrate a point. But I enjoy this one saying now, because I learned how to finish it positively. Read again: "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. However, you can salt the oats!" In other words, you may be able to encourage the horse to drink by making him thirsty.
It's the same in conversations with people. You can't just start offering information about yourself if the person hasn't shown you they're interested yet. You'll bore them. But as they are answering your questions, you can demonstrate how you're relating to their story by interjecting something about your own experiences that might make them want to ask you questions (salt the oats). Here's another example:

Man: "What kind of hobbies do you like to do?"
Woman: "My favorite hobby is going horseback riding."
Man: "I took up horseback riding a couple of years ago, myself. I entered a ride and tie even and had a blast."
Woman: "Do you have a horse of your own?"

The man asked the first question and listened to the woman's answer. He then showed her how he related to her favorite hobby. She responded to his salting-the-oats method by asking him a question. If she hadn't asked if he had his own horse, no further discussion on the subject and his experience with it is necessary. She does not, perhaps, care to know that information at this time. Continue "salting the oats" in other subjects where appropriate.

Hitting It Off
Every so often you will really have a good time just talking to your newfound friend during your simple date. That's wonderful. Of course, you may be tempted to stay more than the recommended 45 minutes. But I have observed that it was much better to limit even a successful simple date to no more than an hour.
I do this for some good reasons. First, you told your new friend that this meeting would be brief, a chance to get acquainted over coffee, iced tea, whatever. This demonstrates you are true to your word, which is important. Also, if the two of you are really enjoying yourselves, this makes the prospect of getting a big date (the dinner, movies, etc., type of date) more likely. Having a good time now implies having a good time later, even in a more intimate setting. Finally, the fact that you must excuse yourself to leave now, when the mood is upbeat and positive, makes it easier to take the next step: getting a phone number.

Getting A Phone Number
Man: "I've really enjoyed talking to you, Sally, and I wish I didn't need to go. But I would like to see you again. Would you be comfortable with giving me your number or taking mine? Whatever you're most comfortable with is okay with me."
Woman: "Yes, I've enjoyed talking with you too. Here, let me give you my number."

Or, the woman tries to get a number from a man:
Woman: "You know, Don, you're a really nice guy, and I've really enjoyed our conversation, but I have to get going. Look, I'd like to see you again. Why don't you give me your number and I'll give you a call."
Man: "Thanks, I've enjoyed our conversation, too. I would very much like to see you again. Here, I'll give you my number. I look forward to your call."

It is important to learn how to excuse yourself to leave and to ask for the phone number of your new friend. Here's how you can do that easily and in a way that will make your friend comfortable about giving you their number. Follow the examples below:

Let's examine the first example to understand what has happened in both examples. You'll notice that the exit begins by the man expressing his pleasure in the company he has had with his new woman friend (in the second example it's the woman doing this). In a very direct and gentle way, this lets the woman know that he likes her. If she likes him, she'll be gratified to hear this. This also makes it a little easier for the man to make his brave statement of requesting that they see each other again ("I would like to see you again"). In effect, he is setting things up for a full-fledged date. The clincher is asking for the number. If she gives him the number, he gets the da

te. If she takes his number, he may or may not expect a date in the future with her. I would say, however, if the conversation went as outlined above, chances are good that even a cautious woman who chooses to take his number instead of giving him hers, will probably call him, and they'll set up a date. It is imperative that the man remains sincerely amenable to either arrangement. Should the woman only take his number, any hint of anger or frustration on the part of the man could ruin further chances of him seeing her again. So, men, I said it before: accept that a woman may choose to be intelligent and cautious about giving out her number.

What If You Don't Hit It Off?
If you experience the misfortune of not liking the person during your simple date, for whatever reason, consider yourself fortunate you didn't have to spend an entire evening with that person. Beyond that, don't worry about it. You're entitled to make a mistake every now and then. Just remember to be polite at all times, even as you leave, thanking the person for the chance to meet them: "It's been a pleasure getting to know you, but at this time for personal reasons, I will not be available," and that's the end of that.

Men and women should consider the phone number a sacred thing. Nothing can be more annoying and obnoxious than when someone gets your phone number and then starts to harass you. There are all types of scenarios: lonely men who get drunk and call up a woman who is not really interested in them, jealous lovers or ex-lovers who call up in the middle of the night, guys who think they're being persistent in their pursuit of a woman, when in reality, they are just a nuisance to a woman who has difficulty saying "Go jump in a lake!"
The best way to use the phone number is sparingly. Always bear in mind that keeping the other party comfortable is important at all times, even when using the phone.
It just takes a little common sense and decency. For example, use the phone number only during decent hours, like between 10 AM and 7 PM, Monday through Saturday, and not on Sunday. Never call anyone in the middle of the night. And never, never, never call anyone to harass them or make a nuisance of yourself.

As for the phone contact you make after your simple date, always wait at least two days before you call your new friend, unless they specifically say they want you to call earlier. If you call the next day, you may make them feel smothered with your attention. In contrast, should you wait as long as three days, your new friend may think you're not that interested. Two days is perfect.

From Smart Dating: A Guide to Starting and Keeping A Healthy Relationship, by Donald Black. Copyright 1998. Donald Black. Excerpted by arrangement with Paper Chase Press. $14.95. Available in local bookstores, or by calling 800-460-8604, or you can click here.