Q: Let's be honest, that first kiss is supposed to set the tone for the rest of your relationship. Well, what happens when you start to date someone who is a TERRIBLE kisser but has all the great qualities you are looking for? I've just recently started dating "Matt" and we have a great connection, enjoy many of the same things, have the same sense of humor, etc. We were set up by a mutual friend who believed we would hit it off, which we did. Unfortunately, our first kiss was not what I had anticipated. He asked if he could kiss me in this sweet, romantic way, and then when he did. He sort of puckered his lips out and it was just a series of weird pecks. It was like we were strangely making out but without crossing the boundaries of respective zones. I chalked it up to the fact that it was late and we'd been at the bar all night. But the next kiss was the same. And so was the one after that. I truly do not know what to do. Kissing is a deal breaker for me! I want that hot, sexy, passionate kiss. But it's not coming. Do I ask our mutual friend what the deal is? I know he's had girlfriends (he's in his late 20s). Did they never tell him? Why doesn't he know how kiss?
– Tongue Tied, New Hampshire
A: First kisses do not set the tone for relationships, TT. They are often awkward and weird and we laugh about them later.
But third kisses should be nice. And fourth kisses should make you want a fifth.
I don't know why he's kissing you like a bird, but it's time to sit down on a couch and tell him how you like to be kissed. Tell him what you enjoy. You don't have to be critical. The talk should actually be sexy and sort of fun. You can even say, "Let me show you how I want you to kiss me."
If it's bad after that -- or if an honest conversation about your needs freaks him out -- please bail. But hopefully it will work. A hint: Sometimes it helps to show right after you tell.
As for whether you should tell your mutual friend, well, that depends on the friendship and whether he/she wants details. If I were the friend, I'd want to know -- and I'd want to be thanked for trying. Organizing a set-up takes courage.
Readers? Are first kisses important? Is he bird kissing her to be respectful because she's a friend of a friend? How have you helped a bad kisser? Is there hope here? Should she tell her friend about this? Help.
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Meredith Goldstein is a Boston Globe columnist who follows relationship trends and entertainment. She offers daily advice on Love Letters — and welcomes your comments. Meredith is also the author of "The Singles," a new novel about complicated relationships. Follow Meredith here and on Twitter. Love Letters can be found in the print edition of The Boston Globe every Saturday in the G section.