Let me tell you a story about my girlfriend Marilyn, she is a physician’s assistant & single.

Like others in the medical profession, her career is very important to her. Recently Marilyn was having a martini with her girlfriend Lily when one of Lily’s friends John came to say “hello.” John and Marilyn started chatting and decided to go on a date.

That night Marilyn called me immediately and told me all about John. She seemed very excited. According to Marilyn, John was good-looking, intelligent, and seemed nice. She was really quite eager to get to know him.  The day after their big date, Marilyn and I met for coffee.  

She started the conversation with, “The date was a disaster”.  Of course, I asked “Why?” 

As our conversation continued, I learned she had more than one reason.

First, rather than picking her up, John suggested that they meet at the restaurant. While Marilyn doesn’t expect dinner at “The Ritz”, she was a bit surprised when he said, “let’s meet at Chili’s”.  She agreed.

They met, had a glass of wine, and then John announced that he really wasn’t hungry –perhaps they should just have appetizers? Marilyn agreed –what else could she do?  Once the appetizers were finished, Marilyn ordered a second  glass of wine. “Oh I guess you like your wine.”  John had said. 

Finally, when the check arrived, Marilyn quickly offered to split the checking and  John answered, “Well I guess so.”  And that was IT. Marilyn was done!

Marilyn proceeded to tell me that within the first ten minutes, she knew there was “no chemistry”. 

While I’ve heard that term often, I could never quite understand it.  I actually looked it up. According to Webster in this context, chemistry means “the interaction of one’s personality with another.”

According to Webster in this context, chemistry means “the interaction of one’s personality with another. Click To Tweet

I asked Marilyn, “How did you know so quickly there was no chemistry?”.

“Well first he didn’t volunteer to pick me up.  Next, of all places, he decided to meet at Chili’s. Next he made a sarcastic remark about my drinking.  Last but certainly not least,  he made me pay half of the check!”  Marilyn was in no mood to have me ask questions or make comments.  So,  I dropped it. 

It did, however, get me thinking about how “perception” is reality.  

Perception is Reality


The next day, I called Marilyn for more details. After chatting,  I found out the following:

  1. Marilyn had suggested that they keep the date low key and very casual—hence Chili’s.  Not John’s finest moment but perhaps Marilyn should not have said “very casual” or even given a couple of suggestions.
  2. Marilyn  told him that she was “on call” that evening and that she may have to leave abruptly. That was probably the reason John said he would meet her rather than picking her up. Further I suspect he wondered if that was a “Pre-cuse” –my word for having an excuse ready if needed. 
  3. During the previous conversation she had with John, Marilyn mentioned that she loved red wine. Maybe that was the reason for his comment –who really knows if it was a commentary or sarcasm. She immediately took offense in part because she had already decided there was no “chemistry”.
  4. Marilyn volunteered to pick up the check immediately.  Clearly, she didn’t want to stay with him any longer. And I believe it caught John “off guard” so he said “I guess so.” We have no idea what would have happened if Marilyn did not reach out for the check so quickly. 

In my opinion, Marilyn’s reaction to the entire night had nothing to do with chemistry. It had more to do with “her standards” for a great date. And that’s OK. We all have the right to determine what is important to us, on a date, in our career or in life.

We all have the right to determine what is important to us, on a date, in our career or in life.


However, if we go back to the “chemistry” of the date, I’ll just bet if John had picked her up in a Porsche and ordered a bottle of Dom Perignon Champagne –she would have “felt the chemistry”.  Well, perhaps Chili’s does not have DP!

Stated simply, in my opinion, this date was a disaster because there was no communication. 

Marilyn and John were just on completely different pages.  The misinterpretations were significant.  They were important enough to immediately end any possibility of a relationship or even a friendship.

When it comes to dating, I believe that unless someone is totally obnoxious or abusive or downright nasty, I think every single person should “date” someone 3 times before they make a decision on if there is any “chemistry”. 

In fact, I think we should all be more open to getting to know someone before we make a conclusion about who they are.  I can personally attest that I have met people who I initially thought were fabulous—only to find out later that there was nothing appealing about them. Conversely, I have met people who were “boring” only to find out that in fact,  they were fascinating.

While first impressions are important --don’t necessarily let a first impression be the last impression. Click To TweetTJ

Bottom line: Whether your single and looking for “Mr/Ms Right” or you are meeting someone new in a business or personal setting, don’t be so quick to judge. While first impressions are important  –don’t  necessarily let a first impression be the last impression. 

In Marilyn’s case – I think she judges very quickly and certainly may have standards that few can meet. Why would I make that assessment? In the last 3 months,  Marilyn has ended two friendships and dated 5, yes 5 men and guess what? All the dates were disasters.

I think it’s time for Marilyn to “look at herself first” and recognize that while every man out there is not Tom Brady or George Clooney…..a Bill Gates might not be so bad. 

Leave a Reply