Tag Archives: dating

It all goes downhill after this

24 Nov

Whenever I greet a new stranger at the lobby of my apartment, they seldom ask me, “Did you just move in?” Or even a more basic, “Do you live here?” What they ask is, “Are you a tenant?” and, “How much do you pay for rental/the house?”


People in Singapore have a bad, bad habit of asking new acquaintances about their jobs, salaries, education, etc.

Most cultures don’t do this. When I travel overseas, or when I entertain foreign visitors, we talk about hobbies, friends, passions, current affairs, our respective awful climates. I don’t get asked (nor do I ask) questions like, “What company do you work at?” The closest I get to that is, “What do you do?”

I’m not saying this to bash local culture. I’m saying this because it’s an important boundary to respect when meeting new people.

Have you ever asked someone about their job, only to have them give a generic answer, like “Executive”? Have you ever asked been about where you study, only to have to answer, “Oh, just some neighbourhood school. You’ve probably never heard of it.” Did the conversation stop dead, right there?

Or did you ask, “Well… what, exactly?” and get a curt, “I don’t think I know you that well?”

Asking strangers and new acquaintances about their jobs, or salaries–or anything to which people attach social status–is bad because it’s often a direct assault on their egos.

Let’s reverse the roles, and suppose a date asks you what you do for a living. If you answer, “I’m a doctor,” she might think,  “Wow, someone’s boasting here.” Or she might think, “Does this mean I’m not good enough for this person’s company? What if he asks me what I’m doing?” Or, “Uh-oh, it sounds like he’s got a more interesting job than me… what do I say next?” If you answer the question directly, you can’t predict her reaction. If you avoid the question, she’d think you have something to hide.

If you’re at the receiving end of such an insensitive and ill-judged question, there’s really very few things you can do to keep the conversation from going downhill. To me, it’s not your responsibility to keep a conversation from turning awkward once the other’s party’s started down that part.

But you shouldn’t do it yourself.



How deep should you get in conversation?

21 Sep

Some men have the misguided idea that when on a date, revealing as little of themselves as possible will create an attractive air of mystery. No surprise that their conversations always run cold quickly.

Others go the other extreme. I have a friend who’s good at reading others’ emotional cues and mental models–too good. He can always tell when you’re unsure or uncomfortable about a subject–and he will grill you at that point. “Really?” “What makes you say that?” “Tell me more!” Talking with him sometimes drives me nuts.

I’ve seen him do the same with strangers–they were literally squirming in their shoes.

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No two dates are the same

9 Sep

Have you ever wondered why dating is such a chore?

You’re probably faced one of these two problems:

You’re running out of places to go. You’ve already seen all the good movies, eaten at all the nice restaurants you know of. This is a happy problem: It means you have someone to go out with.

The other problem is a more troublesome one: you can’t get women interested enough to go out on a first date. And if one did get interested, you’ve no idea how to get to agree to a second date.  You wish you had a plan that would guarantee a second or third date. A technique that would definitely impress the ladies. Continue reading

Never backpedal

8 Aug

I just received a brand new credit card in the mail. I didn’t apply for it. The payment card company welcomed me into their membership, telling me I had been “prequalified”, i.e. they had just given me the opportunity to try their service, while saving me the trouble of actually applying for it.

This notion of “prequalifying” is intriguing. It tries to flatter me (“Hey, you qualify for our exclusive membership!”) but it also shoves something down my throat that I didn’t ask for.

In fact, it intrigues me so much that I think I will be cancelling the card tomorrow.

Just as intriguing as “prequalification” is the practice of “pre-rejection”, which men here seem to like to foist on the women they date.

What’s “pre-rejection”? Continue reading

Help for the needy

11 Jul
Animals do it better.

Animals do it better.

“When interacting with people, don’t focus so much on what that person can do for you. Instead, think about what you might be able to do for them.

“It’s the difference between coming to someone with hat in hand, and coming to them with a helping hand.”

I recently came across these words on the web. While I can’t trace their exact origin, I agree with it wholeheartedly.

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