Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation

Sheryl Sandberg on the one question every woman should ask on a first date


Beyond her glittering career as Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg has made her name doling out hard-earned advice on everything from getting ahead in business to coping with grief.

But one area the 47-year-old executive has rarely delved into is the murky world of modern dating – until now.

Sandberg, whose husband Dave Goldberg died unexpectedly while the couple were on holiday in 2015, started dating again after encouragement from her in-laws. (She is currently in a relationship with fellow tech boss Bobby Kotick.)

In a recent interview, she reveals what she believes single women should look for in a relationship – and how they can hope to find it.

Read more: Investigating the rise of dating burnout

Women, Sandberg tells Hannah Kuchler at the Financial Times, should aspire to date “the guys who want an equal relationship. Guys who want to support your career.”


Sheryl Sandberg with her late husband, Dave Goldberg, in 2011.

But how, asks Kuchler, is a woman supposed to tell if her date is one of these “good guys”? How can she know, in a relationship’s early days, whether a prospective partner will take her and her career seriously?

The businesswoman’s response is characteristically direct: just ask them.

“You ask and you ask early and you are not afraid of offending,” says Sandberg. “If they’re going to be offended… you don’t want to date them anyway.”

Read more: Why you should always say hello to your colleagues in the morning

Yes, it’s possibly a pretty intense question to ask on a first or second date – but hey, you don’t get to the upper echelons of Silicon Valley without knowing exactly what you want.

Sandberg adds that she doesn’t advise against dating people who you know, deep down, aren’t quite right – revealing that she once dated her share of “bad guys”. But, she says, a long-term relationship requires rather different qualities.

“You can date whoever you want,” she says. “But you should marry the nerds and the good guys.”

Watch: How to win a feminist argument at the pub

Sandberg recently released a book, Option B, about her experience of dealing with grief. Speaking to Stylist, she revealed how her friends supported her in the aftermath of her husband’s death. The couple had been married for 11 years when Goldberg died after collapsing and sustaining a head injury in Mexico, and had two young children together.

“The best thing my friends did was just be with us, whatever that meant at that particular moment,” said Sandberg. “When I sobbed, they held me. When I had nothing to say, they sat with me quietly. When my kids wanted to talk about Dave, they joined in the reminiscing with gusto.... Again and again, they showed up and they keep showing up.”

She also revealed the words of comfort she found most effective in helping her come to terms with her loss. “For me, [the best thing my friends said] was, ‘We will get through this together’,” she said. “Not ‘You will get through this’, but ‘We will get through this’.

“Through this tragedy, I learned the amazing power of the word ‘we’.”

Images: Rex Features



Why it’s time to stop avoiding the subject of grief

ryan reynolds blake lively.JPG

Ryan Reynolds says Blake Lively taught him to be a better person


How women are helping other women become firefighters in New York City


Here’s what to do if your work space is driving you to distraction

Do you function better amid the chatter of colleagues?

12 Oct 2017

Awkward job advert goes viral, and a lot of people are concerned

“Yikes, there are so many red flags in one posting…”

by Kayleigh Dray
04 Oct 2017

How women are blocked from speaking out about maternity discrimination

The problem is still rife – but many women are banned from talking about it, say experts

by Moya Crockett
03 Oct 2017

How to recover after crying in front of your colleagues

It happens to the best of us. Here’s how to bounce back

by Moya Crockett
02 Oct 2017

Why a creative side project could benefit your health and your career

We're on the brink of a ‘creativity crisis’ according to experts

by Helen Brown
29 Sep 2017

This is why we should be doing 3-hour workdays, according to experts

Print this, laminate it, and give it to your boss

by Helen Brown
29 Sep 2017

Career experts reveal the one important trait that will help you excel

Three tricks to harness the mindset that leads to success

by Helen Brown
28 Sep 2017

These are the best careers websites to find the job of your dreams

Is a change on the cards for you?

by Megan Murray
25 Sep 2017

This unexpected town has been voted the best place to work in the UK

We didn’t see this one coming

by Moya Crockett
22 Sep 2017

How to use Instagram to boost your career (and land your dream job)

It’s time to make your Instagram account work as hard as you do…

by Kayleigh Dray
21 Sep 2017