Date Conversation Tip: The 80-20 Rule

Pastor Jim provides advice for singles regarding how to conduct yourself when conversing with a potential match, whether writing via an online dating service, or when meeting in person.


Someone has contacted you or you have received a response from someone you met on a dating service. Or perhaps you are about to meet someone face-to-face that you met on-line. You are VERY excited and your heart is racing. So many things flood your mind and you begin to share.

What happens next is often a big mistake by many people. The temptation is to fill the space with all the personal things that come to mind. It is easy to talk about yourself and in fact, very challenging to control the temptation. However, it is to your advantage to NOT spew everything that comes to mind. It is even more important to not control the conversation.

The 80-20 Rule of Date Conversation

This is where the 80-20 rule comes into play. Sales people are taught that they should ‘speak’ about 20% of the time and ‘listen’ 80% of the time. I want to ask you to try something for yourself. The next time you meet someone, for the first time or an old friend, I want you to set out to let him or her do the talking. Ask open-ended questions and then go quiet and see what they say. The object of the exercise is to see if they come away from the conversation thinking it was one of the best conversations that they have ever had? It is amazing and I urge you to try it.

“I cannot think of anyone who enjoys someone else dominating the conversation.”

Let me be more specific as it relates to dating. There is a time to share about yourself and answer questions. However, I cannot think of anyone who enjoys someone else dominating the conversation. People who are self-centered will dominate the conversation or pull the focus on to them. An intelligent person will quickly discern that you are not really interested in complementing someone else’s needs but are out to satisfy your own needs. It is a big red flag.

Great listening skills is an essential ingredient to a successful relationship.

Dr. Jim

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1 comment on “Date Conversation Tip: The 80-20 RuleAdd yours →

  1. Ok here’s the dilemma..If you talk 20% of the time the other person may feel later like they hogged the conversation and feel guilty. It should really feel fifty fifty in my opinion except when the other person is in stress of some sort and needs to offload. The 80/20 thing feels like either a salesman ploy or advice in a counsellors course.

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