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When you first start dating someone, you may or may not realize you are putting that person through a series of tests. Sometimes they are planned tests or they may be subconscious. Either way, it’s good to see how this person reacts within different situations.

Obviously, it takes a long time to really get to know a person, but you can try to speed up the process a little bit. Here are a few tests I have done with a guy that might be potential relationship material to see if he can go the distance.

1)      The Mall Test – For a first shopping excursion, you might want to keep it short and sweet. You don’t want to completely torture the guy. Ease him in by stopping by a sports-related store first. Or lure him there by doing what I did to the guy I’m dating and saying you want to go pick out a Red Sox shirt and you want his opinion. Of course, use some team he follows. Obviously, don’t say you want to buy a Red Sox shirt if he’s a Yankees fan. You might just end the relationship right then and there! Do some research first. After you browse the sports gear, take him over to Macy’s, NYCO or another department store. See how long he can stand watching you pick out clothes and trying stuff on. Does he get agitated easily or is he happy to hold your purse for you? Hold up a garment that’s truly awful and ask his opinion. Does he lie and say it’s wonderful or is he honest with you? If you’re going to be in a long-term relationship with someone you each are going to have to compromise your time and do things that may not be on your top of the list of fun stuff to do. Make sure he’s at least willing to be a good sport for you.

2)      The Alcohol Test – This one you probably want to wait until you know the other person fairly well. I’m not talking about getting totally smashed and blacking out around your date. You really don’t even have to drink that much. You can pretend you’re a little tipsier than you really are. Act a little foolish, do something kind of stupid in public and see how he reacts. Is he completely embarrassed and ridicule you like a child? Or does he take care of you like a gentleman should?  Not everyone is perfect all the time. There may be times when you’re sick, emotional or a little tipsy. You want to know that this guy has your back. Marriage isn’t puppy dog tails and butterflies 24-7. You don’t want a guy who’s only going to be around you when you are perfectly proper. On my last birthday while I was with my ex-husband, I had a little too much wine and was having a little too much fun with my friends. He got upset and said I was making a mockery of him. I got upset and starting crying. His way of dealing with it was to basically throw me outside of the club, put me on a bench and leave me there all by myself. I was so upset and crying so hard slouched over on the iron rod bench, which was already on a tilt, and it flipped over and fell on top of me. Embarrassing to say the least, and it left a big nasty bruise on my thigh for a month.  He obviously didn’t win husband of the year.

3)      The Friend Test – I think pretty much everyone does the friend test. I wouldn’t do this one right away either. I want to make sure I’ve had enough time to get to know this person before I introduce them to my friends. If you don’t take time to be alone with your date first to make sure there’s a connection, your friends can cloud your judgment. I would say go on at least five or six dates prior to them meeting your friends. I don’t advise bringing friends along on first dates either. It makes for a really awkward situation. They’re not going to get your group’s inner jokes and are going to feel left out. Once you decide you do like this person and want to introduce them to your friends, start with a small group setting as to not overwhelm them. See how he treats your friends. Is he talkative, nice, and social? Or does he try to flirt with your girlfriends? Don’t have a blind eye to mischievous behavior. I had this scenario happen with a girlfriend and myself. Every time I hung out with her and her boyfriend, she would get really tipsy and her boyfriend would hit on me. It made me very uncomfortable and she never realized it even though it was happening right in front of her! It got to the point where he got my phone number and started texting me asking me out. At that point I had hard core evidence and showed it to her. You can’t argue with a text message. This guy was obviously a douche.

4)      The Pet Test – Animals have great instincts. They can sniff out a jerk and can also sense a caring person. If you have a dog, cat or something else, bring your date home sometime and introduce them to Fido or Fluffy. Watch how he interacts with them. Does he screech and runaway? Or does get down on his knees and play with him? I personally have a cat and she does not like men much. Most likely because she was around my ex-husband for too long. Though, it’s funny because she’ll be nice to some men and not to others. I’ve even noticed she’ll get snippy with some of my girlfriends that turned out to be not-so-nice people. Animals can tell. If your pet really doesn’t like a certain person, the animal’s instincts are probably right. Plus, I love my cat. I’ve had her for three years now after adopting her from the humane society. They said when she was four months old she had feline leukemia. I adopted her anyway and three years later she’s leukemia free. If someone doesn’t get along with my cat, well I’m sorry, I choose Callie over him.

These are just a few examples of tests to see if your potential date can go the distance with you. There are many more small tests you want to implement throughout the relationship process. I will go more extensive into this topic in my next book, “10 Rules to Survive the Internet Dating Jungle” which will hopefully be published by the end of 2012.

Tara Richter

Tara Richter is an Internet Dating Coach in Tampa Bay. She is the author of “The Dating Jungle Series” and an Internet TV Show Host.