Dating! Who actually enjoys it? No one is probably the honest answer. No matter how young or old you are; or how new to it or long you’ve been at it, dating is no fun.
The unfortunate part of it all is that it’s absolutely necessary. It’s actually down right good for us. It helps us to get to know ourselves better, grow and expand in the ability to be more comfortable presenting ourselves to the world (hopefully your true self), and also get clearer about the things that we do and do not want in our lives.
Good for us or not, most singles don’t like doing it and those in committed relationships are too quick to offer that they are so glad they don’t have to do it any more. What is it about the dating process that is so undesirable?
I believe that one of the first things is that people forget that it’s a process. It’s not meant to be hard or easy. It’s not meant to be successful every time. We become incredibly attached to the outcome, and we often attach some sense of self worth or value to the experiences. I always advise clients to treat dating like a job interview. You may be totally capable, beyond qualified to “fill the position” but it doesn’t mean you are the right fit. This truly isn’t personal. What it does mean is that there is something even better and more worthy of all you have to offer and bring to the table still out there.
Second, dating can be an excellent way for you to practice really “showing yourself.” This person doesn’t really know you that well. If the date goes horribly wrong for some reason, you’ll probably never see them again and it’ll have virtually no impact on your life. So flaunt your stuff! Have you always felt like you had to wear floor length skirts and conservative tops, but there’s a hot momma dying to get out? Then go for it on a date. Do you often silence your opinions and ideas for fear that someone won’t agree with you and get upset? Practice dropping original thoughts and perspectives into the conversation on a date. You don’t have to go “balls-to-the-wall” with these new aspects of yourself. Just a little, as much as you are comfortable, until you get more comfortable with more. Don’t worry that your date will get the wrong impression of you or reject you because you let your real self come through. If this person was truly right for you, they’ll love the hints of the true you which you are willing to share. Part of why some of us dislike dating is because it feels like we have to put on a show, or hide parts of our self. News flash…you don’t
There are tons of dating tips and advice that I could dole out, but I think one of the last suggestions for taking the dread out of dating might be to remember to not play games. So many people get turned off to the idea of dating because they think everyone is playing games. Simply put…you attract what you put out there. So if you are fearing that people are being dishonest with you or playing games with you, bingo, that’s what you’ll get. If you yourself are worried about seeming to easy, or too available, or too interested and are contriving your responses, behaviors, or emotions to try and fit some old adage about dating “rules”; you will encounter others that are “playing the game” right back. Like it or not, this is universal truth. Instead, remember that you can’t screw up ending up with “the one”. If you are meant to be with someone, letting your feelings be expressed or showing the real level of interest that you have won’t mess things up. If you come on strong and authentic and revealing, and dude or dudette is turned off and runs the other way, GOOD! This just saved you both a lot of time and effort figuring out if you are compatible. Do you really want to date or end up in a relationship with someone who you have to constantly be monitoring your emotions and reactions with? My guess is no.
Dating, like everything else in our lives, is just yet another human experience we chose to have. Yes, you chose to have it. There is much to learn and help us grow from meeting these new people.
Sometimes there might not be a love connection, but perhaps a new friend. Or, they may turn you on to a new activity or organization that you really enjoy. Sometimes they show you all that you really do want, and sometimes solidify the things you don’t.
Treat dating as an experience that is meant to help you grow, and release the drudgery of dating.