It's time to answer a reader’s question from Formspring!
Question: I like playing the field and your Rules of Juggling. I pretty much commit to one date a night but don't want to be jealous. At a big party how I can give a lady space to meet people without getting served by other guys trying to pick her up?
Answer: Interesting question! My thoughts are as follows:
1. Are you and the women you date open about the fact that you both date other people? There’s nothing wrong with playing the field as long as everyone is playing by the same rules. The problems with juggling usually arise when the parties aren’t all on the same page. When that occurs, one person typically wants more or perceives the relationship as more serious than the other.
2. Is there a concern that one of your dates would actually reciprocate the advances of another guy while you’re in the same room? At a large party or event, it’s normal for your date to greet others with a hug or kiss on the cheek. She will inevitably talk to other guys and might even smile for the camera with one of them. And, fortunately or unfortunately, people are going to flirt, especially when it’s unclear whether or not someone is attached.
One quality that separates a woman with whom you might not want to go out with again from one you do is how she deals with such advances. Very few people – male or female – will be comfortable watching a person that they are on a date with truly flirting with another person. Even fewer will be okay with their date exchanging information with another person when they’re in the same room. (A business card at a networking event is appropriate. Exchanging cell phone numbers with a guy who wants to go out with you when your date is in the same room isn't.)
That lack of tact might be commonplace in college, but beyond your early 20s, that will be perceived as disrespectful. (For those of you in your late teens to early 20s who don't tolerate that behavior, pat yourselves on the back for learning at an early age that you don’t have to play games.)
3. With respect to these large parties, it might be worth evaluating how much space you are giving your date. If most attendees at the party are her friends, then it’s normal and kind to allow her the time to mingle freely. If the party is comprised of people that you know well, but she doesn't, I might stick closer to her, unless she’s more extroverted
4. Since you enjoy playing the field, are you openly flirting with other women in front of your date? A good rule of thumb is to treat your date the way you wish to be treated. If you are comfortable picking up other girls at a large party with your date nearby, realize that she is entitled to do the same. She might end up flirting with other guys coincidentally or with the hope of making you jealous. As long as you both are being honest and not playing games, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Guys and girls at events will continue to try to pick each other up. But, if you are on a date, then I hope that you and your date are spending most of your time with each other and leaving together at the end of the night. Otherwise, it's not really a date ;).
Okay, readers, what tips and thoughts do you have for the man with the question? xoxo