You can tell in the first 30 minutes

30 minutesWhen I first started dating, a family-counselor friend told me that I’d know all I need to know if a man is a fit for me within the first 30 minutes of meeting him. I was incredulous.

“Within only 30 minutes I will know if he is a fit for me? Not a full date?”

“No, you won’t need longer,” she responded. “You will be able to tell what you need to know within less than an hour. If you want to give him a full evening, that’s fine, but I think you’ll know pretty quickly.”

I’ve thought about this as I’ve been dating. Was she right? Could I tell if I wanted to know someone better and he’d be a good match for me within less than an hour?

The truth is, no I haven’t been able to tell if someone is a good match within the first hour. But I have known if a guy wasn’t a match before the end of the first date. When I’ve decided to see him again, even though I knew we weren’t a great match, it has ended, even though it may have taken 6 weeks to go through the process. Sometimes I thought I could overlook characteristics that meant we weren’t a great match. But so far, of the men I’ve let go – vs. the men who’ve let me go – I could tell pretty quickly.

So notice how you feel at the end of the first date and decide if you see enough of what you want in a mate to explore if you’re a good match. If you’re only seeing him again because you are lonely or bored or there’s no one else on the horizon, do both of you a favor and don’t accept a second date.

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5 responses to “You can tell in the first 30 minutes”

  1. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    30 mintes, wow, that seems like a pretty short time to be able to tell if someone is right for you, at least in my opinion. In my last LTR, we were friends for 3 years before we even started dating and then we dated for 4 years and were engaged for 1 year before we called off the engagement because things just weren’t working out between us. Neither of us was/is stupid, we both have graduate degrees and work in professional fields, and we spent a good deal of time together, yet we weren’t able to see our true incompatibility to make it over the long haul in less than 8 years.

    So, I guess I’m more than a little confused by the counselor’s statement. I’m assuming within 30 minutes you’d be able to tell if a guy knows which fork to use for salad (if you’re at a fine restaurant, assuming the food has been ordered and arrived within this time frame) or whether or not to use a tissue instead of a table napkin to blow his nose, (I had a date do this once, seriously! That was more than enough for me, ugh), but, really, at the 30 minute point I think you’re only beginning to scratch the surface of the other person’s personality. Unless he has a serious psychological condition and admits his idols are David Berkowitz and Mark David Chapman or attempts to set your shoe on fire to see if it’s really made of fire retardant leather or similar, I don’t believe there is any reliable method for gauging the composition of a guy’s true personality and whether that personality meshes with yours within a mere half an hour. Add to that the fact that most people are generally on their best behavior on a first date and I’d have to wonder just what your friend meant by her unusual statement. A few more details would be greatly appreciated, as I’d love to know what to look for that would give me a red flag or a green light to pursue a potential relationship without having to waste precious time (like, say, oh, 8 years or so)…

    I’m not doubting the veracity of your friend’s words, I’m just very confused as to how to properly evaluate whether a guy is a good fit for you within 30 minutes. Please do elaborate on this if at all possible. Thanks! 🙂

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  2. Dating Goddess Avatar


    She didn’t say much beyond what I wrote. As I mentioned, I think you can better tell if someone *isn’t* for you. You liked the guy you spent 8 years with and thought he was a good match. Only after a number of years did you discover he wasn’t. But if he was clearly not a match, you would probably know pretty quickly. You built your relationship on friendship, always a good thing. After really getting to know each other over years you discovered there were important things that weren’t a fit.

    I wish I had a way to save us all time and find out quickly if someone is really a good match. I’ve not found any way yet!

  3. NYSharon Avatar

    I think it is 30 min to rule out the person. Everytime I ignored my inner voice when there was no chemistry on the first date or I felt that little pang of disappointment when I met them for the first time–I found out later I should have trusted it. One of the things on-line dating did for me was to help me hone in on that. (as I have said before I am not a big fan the on-line stuff) It is hard when there are deal breakers and chemistry both. That is a judgment call and different for all on whether to carry on. I have continued with those I knew from the moment I met because I was bored and/or loney. Another lesson I have learned over the past year.

  4. Bookyone Avatar

    Hi DG,

    Oops, guess I didn’t read closely enough, sorry. I have never been on a date where I wouldn’t give things a second chance, even if there wasn’t any chemistry between us. IMHO, chemistry is not a good reason for starting a relationship – every relationship I’ve entered into based on chemistry has ended in mondo disaster, whereas those that began with a firm foundation of friendship, even when they ended, weren’t so painful. My ex of 8 years and I are still friends, which I can’t say about most of my other ex boyfriends.

    My feelings about second dates: I figure anyone is worth a second date. After all, first dates are nerve racking and anyone can make multiple boneheaded mistakes in the course of an hour or two, (I know I have!) By giving someone a second chance, IMHO, you might find out there’s more to the other person that met the nervous eye the first time around. And even if you don’t wind up dating, IMHO you can never have too many friends. 🙂

    Best wishes from bookyone 🙂

  5. NYSharon Avatar

    I usually give it a second try too. But there are times when you know within that 30min. I also avoid alcohol or limit it to one drink, which can sometimes minic chemistry/fondness.