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Dating Triumphs and Tragedies
by Nicole Roberge

The Signs and Symptoms of Dating

Recently, a friend of mine went on a date.  He said that she gave him a huge hug at the end, which he thought meant good things to come, but then he never heard from her again.  He was a bit disappointed, because he felt she left him with false expectations.  After all, it was a huge hug.

I encouraged him; after all, if I were that way with a guy, I would think it would signal a good sign.  But I would soon came to find out otherwise.  I recently went out on a first date myself, and at the end of the date, the guy gave me a bear hug.  This was no regular hug.  We had a nice time, and he was busy with work but told me to call him and we’d get together later in the week.  I called and am still waiting to hear.


I think what I realized is that the bear hug is not a good sign.  Instead, it signals the end.  It’s the letting go.  Okay, we had a nice time, don’t feel bad, but it’s not gonna work.  Let me give you a giant hug instead.  Little does that person know how misleading that is.  And unfortunately for the receiver of the hug, can lead to false expectations.

I realized there are many things that happen on a date that can seem one way, but really mean another.

For example, eye contact.  I was recently on a date with a guy who was nice and we had great conversation, but the dude wouldn’t make eye contact with me!  Yes, there was a T.V. in the corner of the restaurant, but trust me, nothing on it was that good.  I noticed that when he was talking, he would look away, but when I was talking, he would look at me.  From various experiences, I have come to know this phenomena as shyness.  It’s not a distraction or disinterest in the conversation, but rather a shyness when it comes to one talking about themselves.  Are they interesting?  They don’t know.  But when you talk, they want to seem interested.  Nervousness on a first date can be quite common, so don’t take lack of eye contact too seriously.  Chances are, second date, he’ll be looking right at ya’.

He gets up and goes to the bathroom.  Yeah, I experienced this on a recent date, and I was being bold so I called him out on it.  Jokingly, I asked, “did you call for your getaway ride?”  He laughed.  “No,” he said, “I just really had to go.”  We laughed it off, but the joke was there about how some people do still get up and go to call a friend during a date, or even take a call during a date if they don’t think it’s going well.  I think this old pastime has diminished with the years, but you never know.  Keep your eyes open, and stay in tune with his bathroom breaks.

A beer or glass of wine is nice and fine on a first date, but a pitcher, just for one person?  Watch out.  Either they aren’t interested, or they are just interested in having fun…for themselves.  A drink is fine, but some people can go overboard and actually forget they are on a date.  Use caution when dating these folks.  They may still think they’re in college.  At least you remember, you’re not.  Move on to the next guy. There are many signs and symptoms in the dating world that can make you want to move forward, or steer clear.  Some things might just be a sign of nervousness, while others might be personality traits.  It’s up to you to decide.  Whatever you do, know and remember that dating isn’t easy, for either of you, and that yes, you will probably both be nervous, and each present it in a different way.  But it’s a first date, and once you get over the nervousness, will be able to adapt to each other, and hopefully, have a much more calm and successful second date.  Yes, quirks will come and go, but that’s what makes people, people.  Enjoy them, just, not with a pitcher of beer.


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

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