The Rational Basis® of Happiness Podcast

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Some ways to meet potential dates - a short interview with Dr. Don Kieffer.



























(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)



Some ways to meet potential dates -

a short interview with Dr. Don Kieffer.

(this is raw unedited text transcribed directly from the audio)


Dr. Kenner: You want to go back into the dating world, or you're already in it, but you don't think your methods are working for you. You may be sitting at home, sitting on the couch, and thinking, "Why doesn't someone call me? Why is it another Friday night or another Saturday night? My buddies have dates and I'm sitting home again, watching TV," and just feeling burnt out. How do you go about meeting someone? Where do you meet them? You may have heard about cyber dating or other things, but we have an expert with us today. His name is Dr. Don Kieffer and he is a clinical psychologist and he's a department chair at the New England Institute of Technology in the psychiatry department at Rhode Island Hospital. He has extensive experience as a corporate psychologist. He's had his own matchmaking service. He's one of those people that have a lot of things you can say about him, and he's also given workshops for professionals and for just people who want to know about it, becoming your own dating coach. How to learn the skills required to go out in the dating world armed, instead of disarmed. Welcome to the show Dr. Don Kieffer

Dr. Kieffer: Thank you.

Dr. Kenner: So good to have you on. Now, when I think back to my own dating years - which is probably about 35 or 45 years ago - I dated a lot and we didn't have cyber dating back then. You relied on friends of friends and meeting people at parties and you'd join clubs at school, French Club, and you'd meet someone and go out or you'd go to a football game. Now it's a whole different world out there for dating. If someone is newly divorced or just a teenager - I get emails from teenagers asking how do I find a partner - what advice would you give in terms of how and where to meet people?

Dr. Kieffer: You know, Ellen, whenever I give a workshop, I always like to start them off with an activity where I go around the room and I ask people and I go on the board. I say, "Tell me the mechanism with or the circumstances under which you met your current or your most recent significant relationship?" It is so fascinating, because inevitably, I get such a wide range of responses. It's such a powerful demonstration of the fact that people forget that there are so many different ways to meet people.

Dr. Kenner: Could you give me a little bit of a range of some of the types of answers you get?

Dr. Kieffer: It's everything from an office party, from my neighbor in my apartment complex, my college roommate introduced me to somebody to going to a single's club. It just goes on. Somebody recently, I was sitting at the beach and somebody came up to me. It's all over the place. I would say in a group of 30 people, probably there are typically I might have 20 different mechanisms that go up on the board.

Dr. Kenner: Which is absolutely fascinating. I went into my dermatologist and one guy said, "I have to wait so long for my dermatologist," and another older man said, "The last time I was at a doctor's office, two people met here. They had to wait so long here and they ended up marrying."

Dr. Kieffer: Isn't that wonderful. It's so encouraging to really appreciate that and understand that.

Dr. Kenner: The range can be anywhere. It's not just cyber dating. It's not just video dating. It's not just sitting home waiting. I know you've underscored - because I took one of your courses - that you can't sit home and be passive. You can't just expect - 

Dr. Kieffer: I always say people think about the fact, if you think you're going to sit in your house or apartment and have somebody come ring your doorbell, hello, I'm here for you, it's just ridiculous. They'll either have that attitude or they'll bury themselves in work. They'll either stay at their office a whole lot of time or stay in their apartment and not get out there. I'm always pushing about the importance of getting out there.

Dr. Kenner: Tell me a little about cyber dating.

Dr. Kieffer: it's very controversial and I have to say that I know a lot of people, in fact several. I just went to a lovely wedding of two psychologists who are friends of mine who met through cyber dating. It can be a wonderful, helpful, fruitful experience, and yes it can also be disastrous.

Dr. Kenner: Can you give us an example of disastrous?

Dr. Kieffer: Disastrous could be, for instance, hooking up with someone who is married. The reality is that there are people that do go online and they just lie about themselves. They're looking to have a quick affair or something like that. There definitely is the element of lying that goes on that you should be watchful for.

Dr. Kenner: Like a cheap thrill, you have to watch out for those type of people. The people who could present well but their pedigree -

Dr. Kieffer: Right. There are techniques to minimize that kind of risk.

Dr. Kenner: What would you recommend?

Dr. Kieffer: The first thing is I really encourage people to not jump into the actual, from the moment that they first make that connection, to the action potential first date. I encourage people to sort of drag that out a bit, to really do some degree of email communication over a period of a few weeks or so, and then move from that to maybe phone calls. It's particularly helpful to keep the phone calls on a cell phone, but most people who are into a quick affair will not have the tolerance for dragging it out like that.

Dr. Kenner: Interesting. So you rule them out, screen them out?

Dr. Kieffer: Yes. Another thing that happens with that is it's a wonderful way to get to know the person through their email communication, like how they express themselves, do they know how to spell, what kind of emotional person are they or not, so that by the time you get to the first date you have a lot more information that if you just kind of jumped into there after, like hooking up.

Dr. Kenner: And should they put pictures on the web or not?

Dr. Kieffer: You know, I do actually recommend that. I think that's something else that happens a lot of the time. I encourage people to deal with the fact - that's a fact of life, that people do care about appearances. Why not just get that out, on the table, so that it's not going to be that awkward moment when you walk into a café or something and there's like, "Oh, my goodness, this is not my type at all." I think its' really important to go ahead and do that, as uncomfortable as that might be for some people. The statistics are you have a much greater chance of getting "hits" as they call it in the cyber world on your profile if in fact you have a posted picture. It's really important to use a real picture. I mean, that's another thing that people do sometimes lie with. They'll sometimes post pictures that are 10 years old and that kind of thing.

Dr. Kenner: Thinner or don't look as old. Right. You also mentioned that mostly men are on the internet. 

Dr. Kieffer: The good news is that all these women who complain all the time - the singles chances and the ratio might be five women for every one male - but the good news is that in cyber dating, it's a total reverse. That most of the statistics are that for most of the sites, I think it's 5:1 the other way. 

Dr. Kenner: A lot of men are more computer savvy.

Dr. Kieffer: They are more computer savvy, they like the shopping concept, they like the privacy of it, they like the price. All those things that sort of fit more with the male personality more easily.

Dr. Kenner: Women really have their pick of the litter.

Dr. Kieffer: They do. Again, I also think the ratio is different because I think there are a lot of women that are scared. I think it's unfortunate, because the ones - as I said - if they do it appropriately, the right way, in a safe way, they often could reap a lot of rewards for it. A lot of good matches that happen through various services.

Dr. Kenner: Thank you so much for joining us today on dating, and cyber dating. Thank you Dr. Don Kieffer.