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Dating Secrets: Pay Attention and avoid Office Chat

Men should avoid talking about work and listen to women more if they want to succeed at dating, scientists at Stanford University have suggested.

A study of 1,000 speed dates found that women did not need to try very hard to impress men as there was little they could do to turn them off.

However the research found that women were more likely to be impressed with a good listener who was sympathetic to their problems. But they switched off if their prospective partner started to talk about work and if they appeared socially awkward.

Scientists at Stanford University recorded the four minute conversations between couples who were asked to meet 20 potential dates.

They were then asked to rate on a scale of one to 10 whether they thought each person was awkward, friendly, flirtatious or assertive, and the answers compared to the language used by each participant.

From the data the team were able to work out the most successful speech strategies for dating.

“When it comes to speed dating the women are the deciders,” said Dan Jurafsky, professor of linguistics and computer science at Stanford University.

“In the main, they do say that women are more selective so we can imagine that the woman is going to be the more empowered party.

“We found that in successful dates women talked most about themselves and men talked about women more and were more supportive and sympathetic about a women’s problems.”

Men who are wondering if a date is going well should also pay close attention to the pitch of a woman’s voice. If she is interested her pitch is likely to vary and her voice becomes lighter, higher and softer. She is also likely to laugh at herself.

In contrast, women should look out for their date teasing them.

Dr Jurafsky said the findings were likely to apply to other forms of dating.

“Being a good listener appears to be a good take-home message in general,” added Prof Jurafsky

“For women it doesn’t seem much turns off men. We know that men pick women who are slimmer and women pick men who are taller, but body mass did not seem to make a difference in this study.”

However the team found that daters were not good at picking up the intentions of their prospective partners, often thinking their own behavior matched their date.

The research was presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Jose, California.

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