Steve Nakamoto, a relationship expert and iVillage.com's Mr. Answer Man, shares some of the signs you should watch out for to determine who has long-term potential -- and who does not.
1. Is he being himself?
When deciding where to go on a date with someone, it's important to choose somewhere comfortable where both parties can be themselves. "When you both have your guard down it allows you to see if there's a natural connection," says Nakamoto.
Many of us typically choose nice restaurants for first dates in hopes of making a good impression, but these more formal settings can create an unnatural environment that makes it hard for people to be themselves. If you're trying to judge whether a new person has potential, Nakamoto suggests going somewhere casual or even planning a nice walk. "This way he can show the side that's more revealing of who he is."
2. Does he initiate plans?
Does he call you? Does he make suggestions about things you could do together? Someone who is interested in developing a long-term relationship will be proactive, says Nakamoto. He doesn't want to risk the chance that someone else might come along and take his place, so he'll book dates with you in advance.
Having said that, Nakamoto adds that, just like women, "men don't want to get rejected and look stupid." If the guy you're dating is worried about rejection, he may test the waters with a more casual or ambiguous invitation (i.e. he may mention a new art exhibit coming to town or a band that he thinks you might enjoy) in order to gauge your reaction so he doesn't overdo it, Nakamoto explains.
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3. Does he try to impress you?
If the person you're dating has a skill (sports, writing, art, etc.) that he wants to share with you, it's a positive sign. "Men like to demonstrate that they are good at something. They like to impress women naturally," says Nakamoto. This shows you that he wants to include you in his life. If he's sharing this part of himself with you, realize that it's a step in the right direction and, if you're interested, play to his ego in a subtle way so he knows he's won some points.
4. Is he concerned how he's coming across?
A man who is always apologizing is one who has potential for longevity, Nakamoto advises. This doesn't mean he's apologizing for breaking plans or being flighty, but rather that he's apologizing for his character not being up to par. "He is trying hard, but he knows he's coming across a little stiff. He's trying to be at his best and it makes him a little awkward," says Nakamoto.
This person wants to make sure you know that, although he might be coming off as less smooth than he had hoped, he's still a worthwhile catch. By apologizing for his character he is showing that he wants to impress you, and his apologies should be seen as endearing and flattering, Nakamoto explains.
5. Does he have good character?
Observe how your guy acts around others. Is he a good person? Does he treat other people well? If you're looking for someone with relationship potential, it's important to make good judgment calls and to pick men with good character. "If he's not good enough to be a good friend, or has a track record of being a lousy person, chances are he won't be a good candidate for long-term love, but might be more of a short-term romance," Nakamoto says.
The more time you spend with someone, the more you learn about them. Although the signs mentioned above can help lead you in the right direction when it comes to navigating a potential new relationship, it's also important to look out for red flags. No matter how great things might seem, be cautious, warns Nakamoto. "Three strikes and you're out," he says.
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