Smooth operator — on the phone

By Juliet O

“Hello Jane!”


“This is John. From Zoosk! How are you, Jane?”

“Hi! I’m good.”

“So I’m calling you cuz I thought your boobs looked really great in your photos.”


“I mean, I’m calling because I thought we hit it off and–”


Err… real smooth, John. Now Jane thinks you’re a total creepazoid. Right after she hung up the phone, she went to see if your name was on the national sex offender registry. It goes without saying that this is the type of phone conversation an online dater should do his very very best to avoid. But you already knew that.

While phone conversations seem unimportant, trivial at best, in reality they’re quite the opposite. For online daters, the first phone conversation is just as important as the first date. Why? Because, in the universe of online dating, the first phone convo is the first date. Particularly if you and your potential Zoosk match live at great distance from one another — in which case, phone conversations become a vital aspect of your whole relationship — chatting on the phone is a great way to mentally gauge whether you feel a connection with a person whom you have never met in real life. The phone is also a good ‘in between’ step to take after sparking some initial chemistry online, before making the decision to meet IRL (‘in real life’ for you online dating n00bs).

So you sent a few winks, then you started sending a few messages, and by the end of the week, message volume is at a frenzy and you’re already looking up one-bedrooms on Craigslist? Um, Quicky McDraw, before you rent that U-Haul, you need to pick up your phone. A diamond of wisdom for daters = take it slow.

The first phone conversation you have with a potential match is not just a social formality. The point of the phone conversation is to gauge the likelihood of a future real-life connection, right? We who date online do so with the hope that our online activity will lead to fruition, one day, with a tangible real life romance. The phone conversation should be a part of your personal dateability test (sometimes negatively referred to as your ‘freak location radar’) to judge if a real life romance is at all within the realm of possibility. Talking on the phone with potential dates is a smart use of your time. And your time is precious and ought to be used effectively.

Here are some tips on how to successfully use your phone conversation to determine if a real-life connection does in fact exist — and some tips on how to use the telephone as a way to attract potential matches, once you decide that the IRL step is one you wish to take.

5. The same rules that go for first dates also go for first phone conversations.

Treat this first phone conversation as a first date. Get exited for it! Take a shower beforehand and put your “I’m sexy” jeans (or your “I’m too sexy for my jeans” jeans) and your “I am so getting laid tonight” shoes. We even think it’s okay to drink during the conversation so long as the person on the other end of the line is drinking too. If they are not drinking, you should probably not drink either, unless you are really good at hiding all evidence so as to not come across as an alcoholic mess who can’t even have a simple phone conversation without reaching for the Wild Turkey. The point is, treat this like a real date and take it seriously. Expect that the person on the line will have the courtesy to extend the same treatment to you. And remember: no phone sex on the first date! You are not that kind of caller.

4. Stay calm.

The only really ‘physical’ thing this person on the phone has to go by, in your case, is your voice. And if you get all crazy nervous and your voice starts to tremble, you will come off as a scary, paranoid psychopath — and we guarantee this will make the other person uncomfortable. Trembling voices is a huge giveaway that you are nervous, and nervousness shows a lack of confidence, and a lack of confidence is super unsexy! Staying calm will also give you a clear head to navigate a conversation smoothly and naturally. Your oratorical skills are the first thing to go when you get nervous, and your explosively sexy skills at light banter will go down the toilet if you let your nerves get the best of you. So, simmer down now. Slow and steady wins the race.

3. Take some imaginary conversation Viagra so that you can last longer.

Think of your first phone conversation with your potential match as a bottle of expensive wine that someone just happened to give you, for free. In this case, would you shotgun that shit like a six-pack of Keystone Light during a game of flip cup? Hell to the no! You would savor it slowly, treating every sip like it were ambrosia from the gods! You have the chance to talk on the phone with a person who might end up being the love of your life. You have never met. Don’t you want to savor this moment of poetic blindness and prolong the sweet lingering feeling of blossoming love for as long as you can sustain it? Duh. Don’t jump into an IRL meeting after a 5 minute conversation. If you can’t even last 5 minutes on the phone with someone, how will you sustain a lifetime with them, through thickness and thin, IRL?

2. It’s okay to get personal.

Conventional wisdom says, don’t get personal on a first phone conversation. Conventional wisdom is wrong. We actually believe that talking on the phone is the easiest way to get personal, because you aren’t actually face-to-face with the individual in question, so you have enough physical distance to bridge an emotional distance. So many intimate, vulnerable conversations happen on the phone due to this simple fact. Just think about how much easier it is to ask someone out over the phone, as opposed to in real life! And we also believe that, because you are meeting this person on the internet where you can’t see them in person and have less ‘tools’ at your disposal to judge what kind of person they might be, it’s perfectly okay to compensate by asking questions of a more personal nature. Like, does this person smoke? Does this person have children? Roughly, what is this person’s financial situation like? Ask the questions that you need answered right away so that you don’t have to deal with them down the road, when you have more invested and there’s more at stake.

1. Flirt like it’s your job.

The first rule of a phone conversation is to flirt, flirt, flirt your little butt off. You are ultimately on Zoosk to get dates! And, in general, dates respond well to shameless flirting. Try your hand at charming banter, light teasing, and complements so smooth it’s like you put Astroglide on your phone. If you have questions on how to flirt, get a second opinion. Ask the Zoosk Community. Check out our many community boards, like ask a girl, ask a guy, and best/worst pick-up lines forums, among many more. If you want to learn some varsity level flirting skills, the Zoosk community is the place you want to go. Holla!

photo credit: leorelei