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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

Dating is My Job

I recently had a bad, or good, revelation. It depends on how you look at it, but either way, it hinders my dating life. Some people’s jobs interfere with them dating, but mine just screws me over. I’m serious.

In recent dates, with different people, they’ve been okay, but I was kind of bothered by the fact that the guy talked non-stop and I pretty much sat there while they barely inquired anything at all about me. Of course I wanted to know more about them, so I would further prompt questions about their work or hobbies, and they might pop in a question about me, but then it would somehow turn back to them. I’m all about getting to know a person, but not someone who just talks about themselves the whole time.

While in the past I’ve been a little shy and reserved at first, I’ve kind of gotten over that and am fine at holding a conversation and it’s not too hard for me to answer on the spot. But when any second of silence came, it was always me asking the question, and then him answering and continuing to talk about himself…for-e-ver.

I ended up coming home, just kind of shrugging off the date, realizing it was not all I had hoped it would be. I had higher expectations, but do I really want to continue to waste my time with someone who is that focused on himself? Not so much. Dating should be about getting to know each other, not both people doting on him. Back to the drawing board.

But then I started thinking…these guys seemed so happy to be talking about themselves. Were they conceited? They seemed like nice guys. Maybe they just really liked their work? Their hobbies? Or maybe no one had really asked about it before…or pretended to be interested in it. Hehe. Wait a second. When else do I ask a lot of questions about things or pretend to be interested? (Well, am, interested, of course). My job!

As a journalist, I have done countless interviews. Asking questions, receiving answers, acting amused, and then prompting them to elaborate and then asking more questions is my job. It’s what I do. But has my job taken over my life, or more importantly, my dating life?

I began worrying—had I turned my dates into interview sessions? Maybe I was at fault for the reason they weren’t asking me questions about myself. They were too busy answering the questions I was asking them. And while during interviews, it’s common for me to not answer too much about myself, on a date, it should be a two-way street. But it had been kind of one-way recently, and on a date, no one wants that. The dates had been lacking, and if it was my fault, I felt doomed. What could I do?

I thought my practice as a journalist had given me decent conversational skills, but apparently, that’s just for keeping the other person on their toes when it comes to answering my questions. They must have been shocked at how interested I was in everything they did. I could go out with a guy who collects fly swatters for fun and keep him talking about it for a half-hour, and seem engaged. But really, be bored out of my mind. He could think, this is going great! But I’d be miserable.

How can I resolve this and make it work for both of us?

I guess for all people whose jobs interfere with their dating, I just need to learn to separate the two. While I’m not talking about my job the entire date, I am letting it take over the date. Because I’m not used to being the one answering the questions, I think I need to make myself more aware on the date, and focused, and when he’s talking, maybe comment on something, and then, maybe he’ll ask me something. What a shock! And then I can’t just run through the answer quickly. I should take my time answering and create a conversation about something that I’m interested in. Who would’ve thought? We can talk about ME on a date. I think it’s possible.

This all probably sounds simple, but when you’re consumed with a job that revolves around asking questions, it takes over in unexpected places. While a date might be happy to have someone so interested in him, if you’re doing all the asking and no answering, it’s going to get burdensome quite quickly. And that can be a bummer, especially if you did like him, but he didn’t get to know you, because you were too busy asking which fly swatter works best for pesky house flies, and which color he prefers. And he might have really liked you, because you were so interested, and then he’ll be hurt. It’s a no win.

So in the game of dating, as I have learned, remember to ask, and to be asked. And when you answer, nothing too short or too long. A conversation should flow and should focus on both people. You should learn about each other, and that is the fun part about dating. Though you might be surprised to learn a little something about yourself while you’re at it.


Dating Triumphs and Tragedies is published every Sunday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Nicole Roberge. She can be reached at

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