Sunday, March 26, 2006

Q39: We had a fight - how do I know if he still likes me?

Via Email:

I STARTED GOING OUT WITH THIS GUY AND ONE NIGHT I GOT REALLY JEALOUS AND PISSED OFF, AFTER THAT HE HASN'T TALKED TO ME OR ANSWERED MY PHONE CALLS. BUT I HE STILL HANGS OUT IN THE SAME PLACES I DO AND HE'S BEEN TOTALLY NOT ACTING LIKE HIMSELF, HE NOW DANCES AND SEEMS TO WANT TO BE THE LIFE OF THE PARTY HE NEVER DID THAT BEFORE, HOW CAN I TELL IF HE STILL LIKES ME?
-OOPS




Hello!
He's probably pulling the "I don't like you, so I'm ignoring you" rigamarole. Or perhaps he's trying to make you even more jealous, and show that he doesn't need you. The best thing to do is to talk to him and ask him straight out what he wants to do. Be prepared for him to say that he doesn't like you anymore, but also be prepared for what you'd say, whether he wants to get back together or whether he wants to break up. It sounds like you two have had a fight, so decide if the relationship is something you want to salvage or keep going, in which case you probably should apologize to him, depending on what made you jealous or pissed-off. If it's not, then just ignore him right back, and don't worry about it.

You could also try talking to his friends, but that can often be misinterpreted, and seen as insecure and silly. A direct confrontation is probably the best/quickest/most honest way to go.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again. :)]

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Q38: Which is better for a resume -- one page or two pages?

Via AIM: [Screename has been substituted w/ a "Q" to protect the innocent.]

Q: holy crap! it's askthebeaver! hey! I got a question...
Q: I have this friend who has a 2-page resume
Q: "what!? are you smoking crack!?" I asked him
Q: but he said that his business writing professor (he goes to a different school) said that that was the way to go
Q: what do you have to say about it?
Q: I mean, I've ***always*** heard that it was supposed to be one page
Q: here's what he said: My Business Writing professor said more people with 2 page resumes get hired as opposed to 1 page



First off, I think it depends on what's on the resume. I've heard of people who have a bunch of info, so they split their resume into two pages -- the first page depicts "experience" and the back page shows a "Summary of Publications" or something along those lines.

In general, I've heard that companies like clear, succinct, concise, one-page kind of resumes that point out the important facets of the applicant. That way, when they're skimming through oodles of apps, the applicant can snag their attention with his major accomplishments.

Though your friend's business professor claims that people w/ two-page resumes get hired as opposed to one-page, I think that's due to the actual stuff the people have done, as opposed to the length of their resume.

I recommend taking the resume to a business counselor, or perhaps the Career Office, and have the professional people there look at his resume. Alternatively, make two versions of the resume -- a single-page one with significant accomplishments, and a two-page one with more details and experiences -- and ask companies (either at a career fair or at an interview) which one they'd prefer. Perhaps you and your friend should have a contest -- if you have a one-page resume and he's got a two-page resume, see which one of you gets into more jobs. Let us know the result! :)

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again. :)]

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Q37: How can I help a friend who might be in a too-intense relationship?

Hi Beavers,

I need advice on how to handle a situation with my friend. She's in a very serious relationship with a guy who I think is a little too intense. She's not doing well in school right now and has lost touch with her other friends because she spends all her time with him. I had started to think he was an ok guy, because she says he is really supportive of her, but now it seems like he's completely taking charge of her life. It might not be any of my business, but how can I tell her that I don't think she should be in such a serious relationship?
- Confused friend



From Beaver #1:
This is serious, so I'm just going to write something down real quick...

For me, I generally prefer a direct approach--she may not like what you have to say, but it sounds like you really should say it. Relationships in which one person is in complete control can quickly become abusive. Hopefully, that hasn't happened and won't happen, but either way, a relationship should not alter someone's life to the point where their future could be affected -- I'm particularly thinking about school here.

I'd say find a way to see her in a place where you both feel safe. Keep your cool, because she could get angry with you. It's also possible that she may need real help, especially if abuse has already started (emotional or otherwise). He may be threatening her, in the event that she leaves him. In this case, also be prepared to help her get the assistance she needs, possibly with mediating groups at your school, or more therapeutic groups in case she's depressed/anxious.

If things go well, you may just need to talk to her and help her realize that her relationship either needs to cool down or break off. But if things are more serious, be prepared (and possibly get other friends involved) to give her the help she might need.

At worst, she could shut you out completely. But it's better than never trying at all.

From Beaver#2:
If you don't think that it's gotten to the point of "possible abuse" yet, then you could try taking an exploratory approach, initially. First off, talking w/ your friend is key. Talk to her alone, tell her that you're there for her, and find out why she's letting this guy "run her life."

There is a possibility that you're worried over nothing -- quite a few people tend to "disappear" when they get into a relationship, especially if they haven't had a "serious relationship" before. However, if she's letting her academics slip, then you might want to find out exactly what kind of "support" her boyfriend is giving her. Be supportive, too. You could throw in a few lighthearted comments that she never spends time with you any more. Ask her about school, and tell her a few of the resources available. These can range from tutoring to extra credit projects, etc.

You could also talk to the boyfriend, or ask him to help her w/ her academics and such. Be VERY careful on that one -- if she's the jealous type, she might think that you're trying to steal him away, or that you're butting into her affairs. And whatever you tell him, he'll probably tell her. And you should definitely talk to her first before talking to him. When you talk to her, you could even suggest that she study more w/ her boyfriend. Then, if you run into him in the hall or something (I don't recommend writing him an email or seeking him out), then you could ask casually, "So... have you and [insert your friend's name here] been studying a lot lately? It's getting really busy for everyone. Maybe we should form a study group. Would you guys like to join?" Try to include her in more group activities, especially academic ones.

At MIT, if someone's failing their classes, he/she will receive an academic warning. If she's gotten one and refuses to do anything about it, you might want to talk with the Dean of Student Life, or perhaps one of the various academic or residential advisors on campus. They have more experience in dealing with sensitive or possibly harmful issues, and might also be able to give you more insight into the situation.

We wish you the best of luck, and we hope that your friend will be okay.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again.]

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Q36: How do I snag a smart guy?

Hey! I got this little bit of a problem. I like a smart guy. He's my senior by two years and I've been close to him for the past month. I've hinted at him that I kinda like him, and I've been asking him questions on my genetics lecture notes (he's a final year biology student doing a project on fish genetics, who always ace his exams, and I'm a second year biology student who still has no idea what to do for my own final year project, and I'm just an average student), even though I totally understand everything stated in the lecture notes. He didn't seem to get my hints and to tell you the truth, it's starting to drive me crazy.

I have no idea how to pursue him since he said he prefer Chinese girls over all other ethnic group. I've tried asking him out but, he declined me politely, telling me that he's too busy doing his project.

How do I pursue this smart guy? Is it similar with pursuing average guys?

Just another question, this is biology-related though (the subject, i.e.)

I'm supposed to be doing a final year project in two years' time, of which I've to make up my mind by next year so that I can plan on what to do. The trouble is, I just can't make up my mind whether I want to do field work or lab work.

I like doing field work since I like being in the rainforest, but I hate the heat and the fatigue of working in a rainforest, since I suffer from a controlled asthma which only attacks me when I'm feeling very tired and if I stay up until the odd hours in the morning. Meanwhile, though I am comfortable working in the lab, I don't really like it as much as I like field work, but somehow, due to my condition, almost all my lecturers discourage me from doing field work.

Please do give me some advice...

-Bio Babe



Here's what I'd say, without much editing done:

Although it's not true that all men are the same, well... they kind of are. Unfortunately, I have to say it means he is just as oblivious to any and all hints as any other guy. Sigh.

He's just got the added bit about being very driven academically. It's like asking if it's different to go after a sporty guy than an average guy, or a stylish guy. I think in some ways you're avoiding bigger problems by wondering if the issue is that he's "smart".

Now, I think you're on the right track trying to engage him intellectually since that seems to be his thing. But I think you're already selling yourself short by placing him in a higher place intellectually than you are. He may be bright, but he probably doesn't need you to tell him that, and if you're really interested in him, you're probably better off talking about some subject in which you are "equals". By always treating him as someone "superior" to yourself, it's not anything like the beginning of a relationship -- it's like he's your TA.

Heck, that conversation about your fieldwork... might you be able to ask him about that? Or your final year project? Something where his input really *would* be valuable.

I think things will become a lot easier for you once you stop thinking about him as someone who is so much smarter than you, and really think of him as just another human being. He has faults, flaws, and embarrassing stories just like the rest of us. Changing the way you think about him may really help you interact with him better.

That said, we come back to what I said before about hints. Guys don't do hints. Definitely not subtle ones, but even clear and obvious ones can pass them by. What confuses me, though, is that you said you've already asked him out and he's said no. I think that is far more important than him being "smart" or "oblivious", because here I come back to where I said you may be avoiding the bigger problems with these labels: you are probably more worried about the fact that he seems "uninterested".

Put aside, for now, the fact that he is a "smart guy", the fact that he prefers Chinese girls... these things are only going to make you more insecure and less likely to catch his attention. The first thing you need to do is ask your gut if he's really too busy to go out with you (in which case he may not be the most exciting catch anyway), or if he's trying to politely let you down. Either way, you're going to have to change his mind, whether it be about making time for you or considering you at all. And that's going to take confidence. So put aside anything that might make you feel defeated and put on your game face! The right woman can change a man's mind about race, religion, class, or any preconceived notions he may have about who would be right for him. And when she can't, all that means is that the guy probably isn't worth her effort anyway.

So this is my long, convoluted way of giving a little tough love and giving you the bottom line: no more excuses (he's too smart, he prefers other girls), no more games (asking him safe questions about genetics), just be yourself and treat him like you would any guy that you genuinely like. Show interest in things he likes (academic pursuits) and also make sure you get him thinking about your interests (field work in the rainforest must be cool!). And if he says no, it's probably not because you failed to find the appropriate snag-a-smart-dude technique. He might just not feel the same way.

Now, as for your field work... I say, stick to your passions. Do your best to find a way to do what you love, and you will be happier than settling for something comfortable but cold. Like Hannibal, you'll find a way, or you will make one.

Hope that helps!

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again! :)]

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Q35: What to do if my girlfriend is infatuated with another guy?

What do I do if my girlfriend is infatuated with another guy?
-in need of Prozzak



Hey, Prozzak--
(And, in case ya'll don't get that reference, listen to "INFATUATION" by Prozzak.)

First off, what do you mean by "infatuated"? Is it a crush that she just likes to giggle over? Or does she drop everything she's doing to go hang out w/ him? Does she like him better than you?

Why is she with you? What do you want from your relationship with her, and what does she want? If you've got a fun and not-so-serious or not-committed relationship, then is dating around permissible? Does she want to do stuff w/ this guy and not you? Why isn't she doing stuff with him, then? Are you her "security blanket"? If it's her crush or you, who would she pick? Talk this over with her.

From another beaver:
In the long run, if you really want to be with this girl:
Re-seduce the girl. If that doesn't work, dump her immediately. Otherwise, you're wasting your time. Infatuation can be conquered by romance, but if that doesn't work, then it's probably not just "infatuation." Every good relationship starts with a crush. Make her crush on you bigger than her crush on the other guy. Also, you could try cutting her loose and letting her go after the other guy. If it doesn't work and she comes crawling back to you, would you want her back? Or is there a good chance that she wouldn't crawl back? Decide what you want, from her and from you.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again! :)]


Happy Holidays, Everyone! :)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Q34: Should I wait for a long-distance relationship with a friend?

Hi, I am a male and I just turned 22, and I have been talking to my friend who lives about 5 hours away from me and I really like her and we talk to each other everyday for about the past 3 months. We never go a day without talking to each, She tells me she likes talking to me and i like talking to her. We have talked numerous times about a relationship. But i'm confused because I asked her if she would want to be more serious but, she always says she needs to think about things. So I am just wondering what I should do? How long do I wait for her? I like everything about her, I think we make a perfect match, but if she's not interested, how do I know?
-Thanks




Howdy, "Thanks"!
I think my main advice here would be to get yourself involved in whatever she is "thinking" about. In relationships, there is rarely an instance where the "ball in is her court"--even though you shouldn't try to force her decision, it's always good to know what she's feeling and what is making her feel that way.

Long-distance relationships are hard--REALLY hard--and I've known of few that have worked. One thing in common among those that have worked, though, is open communication. It's hard enough to communicate while far away from each other; not being open about thoughts and emotions will only make it worse. So... Step 1 in this case, I think, is to really try and get at what she means by "thinking about things." Is she worried she'll be too busy? Is she concerned about losing the friendship if things get sour? Something like that would indicate that it's not about you or being interested in you -- instead, it indicates she's got practical concerns. but if by "thinking about things" she really means "thinking about you", then interest might really be an issue. Perhaps you can ask her what she's looking for in her next relationship, or if she wants one in the first place. Or you could ask what she thinks about you, and ask for openness.

If she doesn't want to talk about it, then maybe that's a sign that the long-distance thing could get ugly pretty quickly. That whole sharing-your-feelings bit, again. Be prepared to go either way, and think about what you'd do in either case. If you like her, decide why and how far you'd like to go with it. Why do YOU want a relationship? Do you honestly think it would work out? How much are you willing to sacrifice for the girl, and what would you do if she's not willing or ready for that yet? Would you want to sacrifice your friendship? Diving from a friendship into a relationship can be double-or-nothing: double the fun or getting nothing from a cold shoulder. Think of the various scenarios and different options for yourself in those scenarios.

For more advice, check out these entries:
Q1: I like my friend, but he just broke up with his g/f...how long should I wait?
(http://askthebeaver.blogspot.com/2005/01/q1-i-like-my-friend-but-he-just-broke.html)
Also: be careful. Many people use the "I like you, but..." as an excuse to say "no" politely. Let her call the shots if you want, but don't get your hopes up. And remember: "Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but gone too long and it may wander." Be cool, somewhat sweet, but not desperate or clingy. And if she doesn't start makin' the moves on you, move on. Or make her jealous. ;)

Q22: Does my coworker like me?
Q15: How do I know if he loves me?
Q11: I like this guy -- what do I do next?
Q10: We're friends, but I think I want more...

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again! :)]

Q33: Where Are The Boys?

I'm a Junior at Wellesley College and I am distraught at the lack of opportunities to meet guys in the area (obviously). Granted, there are plenty of frat parties to attend, but I don't believe I'm going to find someone who I'm compatible with at a place like that. There's also the MatchUp but I've tried that, and I'd prefer to do it a different way. Any other suggestions?

-Tired of estrogen




Ah yes, a classic in the cahier de doleances of young single creatures everywhere: how to find that potential mate... or at least someone who isn't your roommate's younger sibling who is just visiting for family weekend and who, due to your 3-year monk-like hermitage in your ivory tower, is starting to look like a yummy prospect despite the fact he is not quite yet legal by Massachusetts standards. But I digress. (Tommy, if you're reading this, I LOVE YOU! We can make it work. I'll wait for you, honeybumpkins! See if your mom can drive you up after trombone practice. We can meet on the Quad...)

Ahem. Right. Point being, how does a fantastically single hetero-inclined girl attending an all-girls college meet a boy. Now lucky for you Miss Tired, you happen to be at Wellesley, and Wellesley happens to be not an hour from Ye Ole Boston, the breeding ground for crazed Red Sox fans and home to a bevy of colleges. I mean seriously, you can't fire a potato gun in any direction without breaking some stuffy prof's window or knocking a hot TA unconscious. Count your lucky stars you are not in the boondocks of Maine, my friend.

Now I'm not trying to be patronizing, I'm just trying to warm you up to the idea that meeting people is a lot easier than you think.

So, where to start?

You don't have to be a party-animal to have fun and meet other fun singles. Really it's all just about saying hello. If you see someone on the street who looks interesting... go say hi. Chances are, they won't think you're nuts, and they'll actually talk back. I've accosted and been accosted by people out in the open air in Boston, and it's not weird. It's kind of exhilarating, really. (I mean, except for the creepy guy on Newbury Street that yelled at me, "Once you go Asian, you never go Caucasian.") I had a friend meet someone on Beacon Street and then go on a subsequent date later that week. It's not unheard of.

Be honest. Be open. Don't, for the love of all that is right and sacred in this world, don't talk about the weather or try a cheesy pick-up line or get desperate. (No one likes the pungent stench of desperation. Have confidence, mate.) I'm not saying this is a guaranteed surefire way of finding your soulmate, but once you get over any and all embarrassment about approaching strangers, the more chances there are for you to meet people.

Still sound too vague or intimidating? Ok, well let's talk specific venues then. Specific, unpretentious venues where maybe you can meet some cool cats without having to scream your name over drunken fratboy revelry. This might sound inane, but hey ever considered joining a club? You're in college, so take advantage of everything college has to offer. I know for a fact there are a few joint MIT/Wellesley clubs (like Counterpoint *wink wink*) and there at least you'll meet people who share the same interests you do. And while I loathe to suggest utilizing classes as a means of dating, Wellesley does offer cross-registration with nearby coed universities, and the classroom is a good, organic way of meeting people... as long as you aren't taking the course just for your daily dose of testosterone. And, if you take a class because you're interested in it, you'll probably meet people who are interested in the same thing(s) you are. You might be able to meet someone while riding the bus between colleges; if you see someone cool, say "hi" -- especially if you're sitting next to him. Why bury your nose in Wuthering Heights when you could dazzle him with your smile? Or at least get to know someone who might know someone else who might know someone uber-cute?

You could also always snag a friend and just go to a meeting at MIT. Or Harvard. You could find friends via Facebook and tag along, or just call 'em up if you're in the area. If you like the exploratory role-playing type, try The Assassins Guild. Entertainment and miscellaneous fun with Club Z. Dancers in Dance Troupe. If you like sports, then join a sports team and get shipped to other colleges. Perhaps reconnect with old high school friends at said colleges and get to know their cute friends. You could go to performances, via DramaShop or the Shakespeare Ensemble or MTG or the various acapella groups and hobnob with the stars. You could even hang around the T-stop on a Friday night. I once "met" a guy who made a silly face at me from across the tracks. We had a great conversation until the T whisked him away... but it was a good connection, really.

If you're more into the bar or clubbing scene, you can try out the students in Harvard Square (Redline, Hong Kong, the surrounding area, etc) or Central Square along Mass Ave (Middlesex, Enormous Room, Miracle of Science, All Asia, etc) or Fenway or Government Center or Landsdowne St. Dress to Impress, and you'll probably make an impression. (Check the dresscode first so you don't dress inappropriately.) I've had guys come up to me and just strike up conversations, either at the bar or while dancing. Perhaps they give a card. If you catch someone's eye and smile, it's quite encouraging. Then ask the name, where they're from, what they study, etc.

Don't forget that there are always plenty of cultural events to attend all over Boston (things like concerts, art shows, performances, festivals, etc.). Check out your school newspaper, the Boston Phoenix, or the Arts & Entertainment section of the Boston Globe to get some ideas. Even if you don't meet anyone, at least you'll have a fun and interesting time. (Bored and standing in line for your favorite cabaret punk act at the Middle East? Why not chat it up with that handsome, pierced fellow behind you?) You can also check out citysearch.com.

As a final thought, don't give up on the online scene just yet. There's always OkCupid.Com and MySpace in addition to MatchUp. You can also send people messages on those Networking applications, like Friendster or TheFacebook.

Just remember, you're in the greater Boston metropolitan region, and the place is teeming with collegiate singles. Say hey; see what happens. Happy Hunting!

[Note: This was a joint posting between "Marsupials Unite!" and "Beavers, Inc." If this entry didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/post again! :)]

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Q32: Is it toxic to have a threesome in a committed relationship?

Is it wrong to have a threesome in a committed relationship, it it toxic?
-Curious and Committed



Hello!
Honestly, it depends on why you want to have a threesome in the first place. Is your girlfriend (or boyfriend) not satisfying you? Are you satisfying her? Are you just curious? Have you talked to her about it?

Generally, the negative emotions from having a threesome arise from jealousy. Your significant other will probably wonder why you want a threesome, if the third person is better than she is, if you'll leave her for that third person. If you truly trust your girlfriend, and if she truly trusts you, and you're both just curious about it, make sure that you iron out all the details beforehand. Set rules. "Don't do it in this position -- that's our special position." Or "Don't call her ever again." Or "If I want out, then we stop right then and there." You also have to consider the third person's feelings. Why should he or she hook up with you both? Are you and your girlfriend going to be fine watching each other have sex with another person? Or even just make out? The third person can leave after one time, but you'll have to deal with repercussions and memories and whether it was good or bad or not.

Also, if you are curious, then what makes you sure that you want to be in a committed relationship? If your significant other doesn't want to do it, and you push for it, then this difference or distrust could warp your relationship into something different. Don't pressure each other into doing something you don't want to do. Define what you mean by commitment and what you both expect from each other. Weigh the pro's and con's -- is experiencing a threesome worth the hassle or the changes that would happen in your current relationship? Is your relationship worth keeping? Could either of you look at each other in the same way afterwards?

From yet another beaver: It depends -- if we were just dating and the relationship was mostly physical, then sure -- I'd try it. I think that having two people in the room might be better, though -- that way, no one gets left out.

From another beaver: Personally, I'd kill any other guy who stuck his penis in my girlfriend.

From one more beaver: OK, the thing with threesomes is that you need a mutual attraction to the person you want a threesome with. The whole threesome idea has to be a mutual decision. You also have to read your partner well: Will he/she be very upset at the idea of "sharing" you? Or maybe they'll be excited, or relieved? It's all a matter of personal choice. My guess is that if you have to ask us if it's toxic or not, then it's probably not a good idea. In this situation, it's better if you only go for it if you're COMPLETELY sure.


We hope that helps! Let us know if you've got more questions.

...Sorry for the late reply, by the way -- we've been out of town, so there's a huge backlog of messages.

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/IM/post again! :)]

Q31: Dating tips? Looking for success...

Hello -
I'm a gay guy. I go on tons of dates, but I don't really seem to be having much luck. Any advice?
-Queen of Bums



Hey, Queen --
Depends on the "luck" you're looking for, really. We're going to use "they" b/c these suggestions could work for guys or girls. Here are a few general pointers for getting to know people and/or getting them interested in you:

1. To get to know a person, just start talking to them. Ask, "What do you like to do for fun?" or "What fun things are there to do around this city?" If they recommend something that you like, then ask for more information about it: "Could you send me an email about that?" or "Can I get your number so I can ask for more information later?" or "Would you let me know the next time you go?" You can also use the common-interests card to arrange for a second date.

2. If you're picking up a girl or guy in a bar, saying "I want to dance with you" usually makes 'em feel flattered. If they're interested, they'll probably say "yes." (Especially if you're cute.) And you can also say, "Come dance with us," and drag them over to your group of friends. Or meld groups together and get to know even more people.

3. You're a great catch. Know your own good attributes and be comfortable talking about them. If you're good at salsa dancing, then take the person out salsa dancing, or recommend places to go, or talk about your experiences/funny stories/beginner's mistakes. If you're smart, then talk about your research, your job, what you're interested in, or what you want to do. If you're a sexpot, introduce that into the conversation. Don't be arrogant -- that can often be a turn-off. If you're really good at something, it's okay to be somewhat cheeky or cocky about it, but don't come off as a snob -- instead, be more teasing or just plain confident.

4. Don't be afraid to tease. It's a form of flirting, and lets the person know that you're paying attention to them. If you do make fun of someone, follow it up w/ a compliment. Some common things to tease about: height (if they're tall, you can follow it up w/ "it must be great to be able to reach things..." or "Can you get that [thing on a high shelf] for me? Oh, I'm so glad you're tall..."), race (careful on this one; Asians tend to be open about being Asian, and you can usually tease white boyz about All-American stereotypes, esp if they conformed to the stereotypes, but some people can be picky about cultural identity). And tease kindly, so they know that you're just having fun, not making fun of them.

5. Ask questions. About the past (high school, college, family/siblings), present (stuff they do, stuff they like to have fun with, people they know), future (what they want to do w/ their lives, where they see themselves in 10 years, what they're doing to achieve their goals). Travels: where they've been, how it's different, where they want to go. Food: what types they like, what they don't like. Movies. Entertainment -- dancing, reading, movies, cooking, drinking, outdoorsy stuff like hiking or rock climbing. Comfort levels -- what they're comfy or not comfy with, in terms of relationships or touching or PDAs. What they find attractive, versus what turns them off. Find things you've got in common and things you don't have in common.

6. Depending on how comfy you are, you could open up a dialogue about the date itself. How it's going, how it compares to other dates, what the other person looks for in another person, what horror stories they've had. Determine what they find attractive versus what they don't, in general. Note: If the person says that he really doesn't like a particular thing, then avoid that particular thing.

7. Jokes! They tend to showcase your humor, and help you find similarly-humored fellows. Nerdy pick-up lines are great for the smarter crowd; see http://askthebeaver.blogspot.com/2005/01/q5-pick-up-lines_20.html for some ideas. Compare pick-up lines and stories and success rates. Usually, witty and quippy jokes work better than lewd or vulgar, at least for a first date. Depends on the company, though, of course. :)

8. Alcohol. Don't be a lush, but feel free to loosen the tongue and inhibitions a bit w/ a few light drinks. If you say something offkey, then you can always blame the OH groups. Ask what their favorite drinks are. Buy them something, either your favorite or theirs.

9. Take in your surroundings. Especially if you run out of things to say. Comment on something around you, but put a twist on it that makes it different, new, refreshing. Many people who go on dates are tired of the same ol', same ol'. So be different. Not uber zany or just weird, but be as original as possible. Make a unique first impression.

10. Be polite or civil. Hold open doors. Offer to pick them up. Don't be late. Listen. Don't interrupt. Dress well; no scrubbiness unless you're going to a place where you'll get scrubby, like painting or paintball or working out. Don't overstylize, and certainly don't overdo the cologne or aftershave. Also, the person who initiated/asked for the date generally does the paying.

11. If all signals point to "yes," then go for a kiss. If you talked about what your date expects from dates, you can lead into the kissing or not kissing. You might want to refer to some of our flirting-without-really-flirting techniques entries, also.

Link to previous questions and answers:
http://askthebeaver.blogspot.com/2005/01/links-to-questions-and-answers.html

Q10: We're friends... but I think I want more. What should I do? http://askthebeaver.blogspot.com/2005/02/q10-were-friends-but-i-think-i-want.html

Q11: I like this guy... what do I do next? http://askthebeaver.blogspot.com/2005/02/q11-i-like-this-guy-what-do-i-do-next.html

Q22: Does my co-worker like me?
http://askthebeaver.blogspot.com/2005/08/q22-does-my-co-worker-like-me.html

Q24: There's this guy in my French class... http://askthebeaver.blogspot.com/2005/08/q24-theres-this-guy-in-my-french-class.html

Hope that helps!!! Let us know of your success or unsuccess. :)

[Note: If this didn't answer your question, or if there are more details you'd like advice on, feel free to email/IM/post again! :)]