Skip to Content

How to Get to Know Someone You’re Dating: 5 Little Things That Say a Lot About Them

It’s not easy to understand others. In fact, it takes time to really get to know someone. Sometimes we think we know a person only to realize after months — or even after years — that we actually formed a wrong idea of them.

When it comes to dating, we all tend to put on a mask and show the best version of ourselves, and for this reason it also becomes difficult to actually see the real version of the person in front of us.

What follows are five things that can tell you a lot about someone you’re dating.

1. How to Get to Know Someone You’re Dating: See How They React When You Can’t Do What They Expect

Last year, a friend of mine, Norah, was dating Mike, a guy she had met on a trip in Colombia.

In that period she was particularly busy as she was writing her thesis and working a full-time job.

So, on some occasions, when he asked her out, she had to suggest another day or time. She wasn’t declining his invites, just telling him she couldn’t see him on the days he was suggesting.

Every time that happened, he got upset and avoided her for hours, sometimes even for days. It became a pattern, and when Norah realized it, she stopped seeing him.

I don’t know about, you but I find the type of reaction Mike had a huge red flag.

If someone behaves this way when you’re still getting to know them, it’s hard to imagine a long-term, drama-free relationship.

How to do this the right way yourself:

Try not to take everything personally. And remember that you can’t expect to be the center of another person’s world.

Also, communicate how you expect to be treated and what you want; don’t try to get the attention of someone by punishing them and playing games — like giving the other person the silent treatment if they don’t do what you expect.

2. How They Treat Strangers

When Norah was dating Mike, she saw another red flag. One night they were in a nice restaurant, Mike ordered a portion of roasted shrimp with vegetables and Norah a steak with a salad. A few minutes later, the waitress informed Mike the dish he ordered wasn’t available as they had run out of some ingredients.

Mike started to express his disappointment and yelled at the waitress, who unfortunately couldn’t do anything to change things, only suggest other dishes on the menu. He clearly had an anger management problem, and Norah couldn’t believe what she was seeing — and hearing.

If someone treats a stranger poorly — especially if that stranger is someone who’s trying to do their job in the best possible way — it tells you a lot not only about them, but also about the way they’ll treat you as well, sooner or later.

How to do this the right way yourself:

Some people seem to be particularly talented in making you lose your patience. And some situations can really drive you crazy. I get it.

However, it’s good to always keep in mind we don’t know what the person in front of us might be going through. And it’s even more important to remember that while the person who’s making you lose your patience is responsible for their behavior, you’re responsible for yours.

Be kind. Always.

3. Do They Flirt With Other People in Front of You?

This happened to my friend Marta, when she was dating Anthony. On their second date they went bowling. Marta went to the ladies room for five minutes and when she went back to the bowling lanes area, Anthony was flirting with an attractive woman who was with another group of people playing right next to us.

And with flirting, I’m referring to not just talking to her, but even rubbing her back and standing very close to her. Marta immediately realized Anthony was not her type.

When someone disrespects you on a second date, they are showing their true colors, which is actually a good thing for you, as you can see who they actually are, and move on. Make sure you don’t make excuses for their behavior. Never ignore the red flags.

How to do this the right way yourself:

Simple. If you date with the goal of finding someone and starting a committed relationship with them, show you can be a good and reliable partner.

4. How They Talk About Everything and Everyone

Are you in front of someone who believes good things can happen to them? Do they think people are inherently good? Or are you in front of someone who struggles to trust others, because deep down they believe everyone is somehow selfish or evil?

When I was in college, I met a girl, Laia, who told me she didn’t have friends because she didn’t want to. She said she didn’t believe in friendship because the ultimate goal of everyone was using others for their own purposes. I struggled to understand her point, because I truly believe in healthy relationships and friendships; the sad thing of all this is, I also struggled to imagine a happy future for her.

People with these beliefs have a negative attitude towards life, and it can be particularly difficult to be in a relationship with them, as they can bring you down too, in the long term. Also, changing the mind of these people is often quite hard, if not impossible, because their core beliefs developed during their childhood and adolescence.

How to do this the right way yourself:

As explained in an article about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy published in Very Well Mind, everyone can challenge a negative belief. In particular, as my friend Dr. Marina Harris once explained to me, you can do it by questioning if your negative thought is helpful for you and replacing it with a more realistic thought.

So, if you think you have some negative, unhelpful beliefs that are affecting your self-esteem and relationships, work on getting rid of them. Work on replacing them with more accurate thoughts.

5. Their Level of Honesty

For example, you told your date you don’t tolerate infidelity in a relationship, they said they agreed with you, but later on you discover they’re actually married. In this case, you’re in front of someone who’s not being transparent with you. I know, this might sound as an extreme example, but you get the point.

Another example of this is what happened to my friend Lucas a few years ago. He was dating a woman who told him she was 33. A few months later he found out she was actually 39.

She lied about her age because she was afraid Lucas would find her less attractive if she revealed her true age. That was an instant turn off for my friend Lucas, even if he really liked her at the beginning. He knew he couldn’t build a long-term relationship with her, because he couldn’t trust her anymore.

How to do this the right way yourself:

Simple, be honest. Don’t hide things from someone you’re dating — and that you truly like. One day you might want to start a more serious relationship with them and they might find out what you’re hiding from them — I guess you don’t want to be in that position. Always be transparent.

Like I said, it takes time to really know someone.

However, when it comes to dating, as long as you know what you really want, there’s a lot you can learn about someone from just a few interactions with them.

Get access to exclusive self-improvement and relationships content, subscribe to my free newsletter here.

Image: iStock

The Truly Charming