Don’t Be a Debbie Downer

Jasbina Ahluwalia asks Rachel Greenwald, author of , Have Him at Hello: Confessions from 1,000 Guys about What Makes Them Fall in Love or Never Call Back: That’s excellent. There are 20 tips. I know that you have ten reasons in your book. Let’s jump down to the eighth reason that you give.

The number eight reason you give in your book as to why the guys didn’t call back, you characterize as the “Debbie Downer.” Can you tell us more about that?



Rachel Greenwald

This was a fascinating reason.

A lot of women were labeled by men as a “Debbie Downer.” In fact, the woman was shocked because she considers herself an upbeat and positive person.


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Snap Judgements

I started to probe with the men’s interviews. I asked, “Why did you say she was a downer? Was she negative, complaining, cynical or bitter?”

These are all of the words that they would use. They would make snap judgments. Here is an example of one that I remember.


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Real-Life Example

There was a guy who met a woman for a drink after she had just landed from a business trip. She came directly from the airport to a restaurant to meet him.

She arrived and the first thing he said to her was, “How was your flight?” She said, “Flying is just awful these days. I was in the back row next to the bathroom and it smelled. I was in the middle seat. It was a terrible flight.”


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Complainer

He used that as an example to talk about how she was a complainer. She was the person who saw the glass as half empty. There were a few other things on the date.

She made some negative remarks. It was nothing really serious. She wasn’t all roses and sunshine.

I said to him, “Let’s examine this airplane example. If you’ve been on a plane in the last five years, everything today about flying is terrible. What should she have said? Did you want her to lie and say that she had a terrific flight?”


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Find the Positive

He told me something that I’ll never forget. He said, “I understand that flying is terrible. I guess I’m looking for the kind of girl who finds the one good thing in a negative experience to focus on.

Even if the flight was terrible, maybe she could have said, ‘Flying is really challenging these days but at least they didn’t lose my luggage.’”

I thought that was fascinating. It underscores that everything you say on a date becomes a metaphor for what kind of person he thinks you are. He doesn’t have a lot of data on you.

A first date night be coffee for an hour at Starbucks. In one hour, he knows almost nothing about you.

All that he knows is an accumulation of little things that you tell him that you think are harmless. You probably don’t even remember the majority of the things that you said.


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Every Comment Counts

That is a great lesson to learn. Every little story you tell, every little anecdote, becomes something that he is going to project onto you as the type of person you are.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

I find that all of the time with feedback. An hour or two hours in a lifetime in terms of the database that the other person has on you is so limited.

It is really important to realize that there will be huge projection with what you’re saying. That’s fascinating.


Rachel Greenwald

Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Everyone Wants Positivity

This Debbie Downer category also highlighted to me that everyone wants a positive person as a life partner. Who wouldn’t?

Even the most negative guys want a balance and a positive person, even if they’re negative themselves.

It’s not like you have to pretend to be happy and positive every moment of your life. In the beginning, the first couple of dates are such a minefield.


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Importance

Women should know that one of the most important attributes that the majority of men are looking for is someone who is positive.

Later, when you get to know someone, you can complain about what a bad day you had. He’ll know that, in the grand scheme of things, you’re allowed to have some bad days and negative experiences.

Overall, you’re a happy person.


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Body Language

He’s had more dates and hours with you to know that one story about a bad airline flight is not reflective of your entire outlook on life. That translates into body language as well.

If you’re leaning slightly forward with your shoulders a little slumped, that is a symbol of your energy level. Throw your shoulders back and sit up straight. Have good posture.

Cue yourself to remember. Maybe every time you take a sip of your drink, it is a cue to put your shoulders back, sit up straight and smile.


Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Positive Signals

All of that signals to him that you are a happy, positive person. That goes such a long way into getting the second date and beyond so that he can really get to know you better.


Jasbina Ahluwalia

That’s great. Thank you for those concrete suggestions for our listeners who feel that they may sometimes fall into that Debbie Downer category.


Rachel Greenwald

Don’t Be a Debbie Downer: Color in Wardrobe

There is one more concrete tip. Don’t wear all black.

There are so many women, especially in New York, who love to wear all black clothing. Men think it’s like the Italian widow costume.

Putting a little color in your wardrobe signals that you’re a happy, positive person.


Tell Us:

Ladies, we all have Debbie Downer moments. How do you move past them? Share your experiences with us in the comments section below.


The above is an excerpt from Jasbina’s interview with Rachel Greenwald

The entire interview transcript is at: Rachel Greenwald Interview: Have Him At Hello!

Listen to the entire interview on: Intersections Match Talk Radio – Jasbina’s Lifestyle Show

Listen to the entire interview on Blog Talk Radio: Have Him at Hello

Listen to the entire interview on iTunes