Dating is a topic that has been hot, hot, hot in my office for weeks. My young adult clients are seeking loving, genuine relationships based on common interests. This can be a tricky relationship to build, particularly for my somewhat introverted, shy, anxious, home-centered clients. Here are some tips to help with the Dating Project.
- Consider your natural talents and interests. What do you like to learn about, talk about, do with your free time?
- Take a realistic assessment of your friendship skills. How do you establish friendships? Where have you historically found your friends? How skillful are you at starting conversations, inquiring about others, being socially and emotionally reciprocal?
- Dating=friendship + romance, so you will need those friendship skills!
- Take a look at your physical appearance. Are you clean, wearing clean clothes, brushed your hair/teeth? Do you look neat or sloppy? Would you “hire” someone like you for a friendship position?
- What does your body language say about you? Do you exude confidence, or maybe self-defeat? If you lack confidence, what can we do to help you find your confidence once more? (That is where we return to natural strengths and finding ways for you to remember your strengths, talents, and ways you connect with others!)
- Do you have a job? I find that people with jobs attract mates more easily for lots of reasons: their schedules are busier (scarcity model), they have money to pay for dates, someone else already hired them – so they pass some sort of test, they probably have reasonable interpersonal skills, and they probably have some sort of financial stability/future – which can be attractive.
- Do you have past dating mistakes that need to be sorted through? Sometimes people tell me they made a mistake once, and they refuse to try dating again. Being in genuine friendships and dating relationships means taking risks, making mistakes, learning from them, being successful, and supporting others. Of course you made mistakes: you are human! Also, if you didn’t make mistakes, you weren’t trying hard enough.
- If mistakes haunt you, please talk to someone to sort that out!
- Have reasonable expectations. Don’t over-text, don’t expect to date models, don’t pay for everything/expect to be treated like royalty. This is supposed to be a reciprocal friendship, so it will likely approximate your other friendships.
In sum, if you want to date, you have to put some work into the Dating Project. It pays dividends, generally leads to emotional stability, and generally equates to more satisfaction in life. If you want to date, I say let’s make a plan and then go for it!