The following is the transcript of this podcast episode.:
Jodi: Welcome, Rachel. I am so glad to have you on the podcast today.
Rachel: Thank you. It’s great to be here.
Jodi: I know you’ve got lots to share with us. I want to talk about you first. You are a woman in her late 40s. What field are you in and how do you spend your workdays?
Rachel: I am in Human Resources. I work for a consumer products company and I spend my day like most people who work in an office, either behind a computer typing away or interacting with various clients that I support.
Jodi: When you’re not typing on that computer, what do you do for fun?
Rachel: I love to be outside as much as I can. I enjoy Pilates and traveling. I love to cook and spend time with my friends and family.
Jodi: Have you been married before?
Rachel: I have not.
Jodi: What’s the name of the guy who we’re going to be talking about today?
Rachel: His name is Matt.
Jodi: How did you and Matt meet?
Rachel: I have a very close girlfriend who tends to set me up with a lot of people and she set me up with her cousin Matt.
Jodi: Is she very close with her cousin?
Rachel: She has a fairly close relationship with him.
Jodi: Had she tried to set him up in the past, or was this the first time she had tried to do this for him?
Rachel: I think this was the first time she had set him up. He had been previously married for 17, or so, years.
Jodi: Oh, okay. That means he had just gotten divorced when you were set up, or was he still separated?
Rachel: He was already divorced. I think they had been apart for about 5 years.
Jodi: So she’s a good friend, but you and the cousin had never cross paths?
Rachel: We had never met.
Jodi: When she suggested this to you, what did you think?
Rachel: I am always open to meeting people and I thought it was thoughtful of her to think of me.
Jodi: What happened next? How did you hear from him?
Rachel: He first texted me and then we set up a time to talk. We then had a couple back and forth texts and various phone calls. We definitely had some banter between the two of us!
Jodi: By banter, you mean it was a fun exchange?
Rachel: It was fun and exciting and he appeared to be very interested.
Jodi: What were some of the things that he texted you? Do you remember?
Rachel: It was just witty conversation. I could tell we shared similar backgrounds. We had similar interests and a similar religious background.
Jodi: Are you and he about the same age?
Rachel: I believe we are within a couple of years of one another.
Jodi: Does he have kids?
Rachel: He has one daughter.
Jodi: How did you feel about that when you learned that he had a daughter?
Rachel: I had no feelings either way. I was happy for him that he had a daughter and that he seemed to really be close to her and had a good relationship with her. But I didn’t think that that impacted me one way or another. She is in her late teens, which is probably why I didn’t have a more visceral reaction.
Jodi: Got it. You had a phone call with him?
Rachel: We had a couple of phone calls.
Jodi: Oh, you had a couple phone calls before he asked you out. So how did you…?
Rachel: Which is actually, I guess, one of my policies because I don’t like to spend a lot of time on the phone, or guessing a lot of time in the back and forth interaction, until I meet somebody.
Jodi: But you made an exception this time?
Rachel: Yeah. There seem to be a natural flow and I think we both, at the time, had other situations that were preventing us from meeting right away.
Jodi: You are both busy people, it sounds like. How did the date get set up?
Rachel: This was in the summer. We left it on one of our phone calls that he would call me early in the week to set up a date. But I never heard from him again.
Jodi: Never heard from him during that week?
Rachel: Never heard from him again.
Jodi: Never heard from him again? He never followed up to actually book the date that he told you the two of you to go on?
Rachel: At that time.
Jodi: At that time. Okay. What did you do? How did you handle that?
Rachel: I did nothing, because his cousin, who’s my friend, proactively let me know that he had met a woman and that he had started dating her.
Jodi: I see. All right. Well, you had never met him. That can happen.
Jodi: What happened next?
Rachel: So, fast forward to the fall, and I had learned that he had broken up with this woman who he was seeing. His cousin said, “Would it be okay if he reaches out to you again? Would you be up into that? And I said, “Sure, I’ve nothing to lose.”
Jodi: Then what happened?
Rachel: He reached out to me probably a couple of weeks later. It was actually on a Saturday night and I didn’t have plans. He said, “I know you love music, would you be interested in meeting me and another couple that I’m friends with? I scored tickets to, it was a like a hip band, and would you be interested in doing this last minute?” And I said, “Sure.” As we were trying to arrange a plan, because we live probably a half hour or 45 minutes in different directions of where we were to meet, he said to me, “Why don’t we meet where two highways intersect and you can leave your car and I can drive us to the venue?”
Jodi: I’m curious. When he called you, did he say anything about how he never contacted you in the summer like he said he was going to?
Rachel: I don’t believe he acknowledged that.
Jodi: No apology?
Jodi: Okay. Here you are, you are going to meet him where two freeways meet. How did that go? What happened next?
Rachel: I think I actually sent him a text message that said, “Well, I am really excited to meet you and I think what you had planned was really fun. It doesn’t feel right to me to meet you on the intersection of a highway for our first date.”
Jodi: Was he thinking that you’d meet on the side of a road? Is that what it was? He wanted you to pull off on the side of the road?
Rachel: It wasn’t on the side of the road, per se. It was at the strip mall and I would leave my car and he would drive us to the venue.
Jodi: I see. So, you were to pull off the freeway at the intersection. There’s a strip mall there. You leave your car, you get into his? That’s how he wanted to orchestrate your first hello? How did he respond to your text?
Rachel: He understood completely and said that he felt like, in his words, “a jerk” and that he would arrange something later in the next couple of weeks.
Jodi: So, the date then didn’t happen that night?
Rachel: It didn’t. But I had another great date with a man that I had been casually seeing, so it all worked out well for me.
Jodi: So, you went out with another guy that night?
Rachel: I went out with another guy that night.
Jodi: Way to go woman! That’s great. Did you hear from Matt again?
Rachel: I did. It was six weeks later. He reached out and let me know that he wanted to meet for a drink in my neighborhood.
Jodi: Were you surprised to hear from him? Because six weeks is a pretty long time between being in contact.
Rachel: It is, but we traded a few texts and it was due to his… he was going to be away for an extended period of time. So I just said, “Give me a call when you find that you’ll be in my area,” because I was not going to go far to meet him.
Jodi: Got it. So, it wasn’t that there was dead air and no interaction during those six weeks. And you two eventually met!
Rachel: We met in my neighborhood for a drink. We had a really nice time. It was a fun evening. We had a couple of cocktails and a really good conversation. Like I mentioned, we had a lot of in common from how and where we grew up, and college, and similar age, similar generation, so conversation was easy and fun.
Jodi: When you finally met him in the restaurant, what did you think? Were you attracted to him? Was he as you had expected his appearance to be and his personality to be?
Rachel: Well, with our benefit of having Facebook, I knew what he looks like. He looked like his picture on Facebook and he’s the kind of guy that I wasn’t necessarily attracted to by his good looks, but had he had a good personality, and direction in life, and a different personality I would have found him very attractive. But what I learned was, he was a struggling writer who had never really had a career, who worked a bunch of odd jobs and, with him in his early to mid-50s, it’s just not what I’m looking for.
Jodi: Got it. You had a lot in common, but as you’re talking through things, learning about one another, this all comes out in the discussions.
Rachel: Right. It would have been something where he could be a great friend and we could have a lot of fun and go listen to live music and do activities. But since I’m looking for a partner, it was clear that he cannot even support himself, let alone someone else.
Rachel: And that, based on some of the stories he told me, demonstrated that he was immature in a lot of ways.
Jodi: How did you handle hearing all of that, with a drink in hand, at the bar?
Rachel: It was a natural interaction for me. I don’t judge him for that. I just was able to identify that it’s probably not something for me, but I did leave the date saying if he calls me again, I would go out with him because I think it’s good to be out and be social and to get the energy flowing.
Jodi: Put a lot of good karma out there and it sounds like you two had a really nice rapport.
Rachel: Oh, yeah, a really nice rapport. Yeah. We had a lot to talk about. There was not dead air to be filled.
Jodi: Not a lot of awkward silences, it sounds like.
Rachel: None at all.
Jodi: And then what happened?
Rachel: I never heard from him again.
Jodi: That seems to be his pattern. That probably wasn’t a shock to you at this point.
Rachel: It was not a shock.
Jodi: Did you cross paths with him again?
Rachel: I did. Fast forward, probably a year later, his cousin had a housewarming party. I went to the housewarming party. It was a fun time. I had a lot of friends there. As I was getting ready to leave….I’d asked her before “Is he going? Is Matt going to be there?” And she said, “I think he’s out of town. I don’t think he’s coming.” And I said, “Okay.” So, as I was leaving, there he was! So, I walked up to him and the woman that he was there with, and I said, “Hi Matt.” I gave him a big hug and said, “It’s great to see you,” and I turned to the woman that he was with and said, “Hi, I’m Rachel. It’s nice to meet you.” Then I turned around and I kept going. I said goodbye to a few other people and I left.
Jodi: How did you feel about that?
Rachel: I felt really great because I happen to look really good that night! It was like one of those nights where everybody says, “You look great. Oh my goodness! Your hair looks great. Your outfit is amazing.” I was wearing a sexy low-cut shirt with a pushup bra. So, I felt great about myself that night.
Jodi: Fantastic! How do you think he responded to that very warm embrace even though he had completely blown you off?
Rachel: I’m making meaning, but I think he was a little gob smacked about the whole way that the interaction happened. I don’t think he expected my behavior to be as warm and friendly as it was, and warm and friendly towards the woman. I think it that took him by surprise.
Jodi: It sounds like you did a little “killing him with kindness.”
Rachel: Absolutely. I don’t think that there’s any other way — no reaction is the best reaction. I think those are really important words to live by.
Jodi: Agreed. I certainly agree. Looking back on this whole experience where he asked you out to meet by the side of the road, it doesn’t happen, then you don’t hear from him…this whole saga…what are your takeaways? What have you learned from this whole experience that you can with the listeners?
Rachel: I think that my biggest takeaway is that there’s a reason why I don’t invest a lot in conversations ahead of time–in texting and phone calls and talking on the phone–because I really believe that you “watch the feet.” So, if a man wants to take you out on a date, he’s going to call you, he’s going to arrange the date, and he’s going to take you out.
Jodi: I guess you’re saying it’s important to meet first and decide from there?
Rachel: I think what I’m saying is, what I learned from it is that the fact that I have boundaries around not investing a lot of time talking on the phone and texting with somebody before I meet them is a good practice for me to keep. I invested a lot of time with this man, and through his actions he showed who he was. He wasn’t responsible, that he was kind of a little bit of a mess, that he couldn’t get his act together and I think that’s indicative. Now knowing more about his personal story, it’s indicative of who he is.
Jodi: By not spending a lot of time upfront with the texting and the calling and so on, you also are not setting expectations for yourself, or investing mentally and emotionally in the meeting, as one would if you were really engaged in conversations early on. Is that something that you think is factoring into your preference for not doing a lot of interacting before the meeting and the first date?
Rachel: It could be, but not consciously for me. Consciously for me it’s a waste of my time.
Rachel: It seem like a big waste of time. Why am I talking to you if nothing is going to happen? What I did get out of that?
Jodi: Okay. When all was said and done, what did your friend say to you about all of this?
Rachel: She, too, is somebody who dates a lot of men and so she just said she was sorry that it ended this way. But that was it. On to the next.
Jodi: It sounds like it was an experience that confirmed your approach to dating, at least the upfront getting-to-know-you part of dating.
Rachel: Yes. It was just a blip in the dating scene.
Jodi: Got you. That is a story and I thank you for sharing it. You feel that early for you it’s best to just quickly move to the meeting part if that’s intended to happen, if that’s meant to happen, and then see where things go from there.
Rachel: Very much so.
Jodi: Well, I wish you all the best in your dating journey from this point forward and I thank you so much Rachel for being on the podcast with me today.
Rachel: Thank you. It was my pleasure.