What’s REALLY the problem?
I am a retired professional dater. Or, I thought I was.
In hindsight I realized that I’m not really a “dating expert” just because I went on 347 first dates. I like to think it taught me a lot about dating ― in different cities, etiquette, expectations, and the behavioral differences from person to person ― but it doesn’t mean that I know how to nail a first date (no pun intended).
See, what all that dating did not teach me was about myself.
I had to have a lot of my own bad habits pointed out to me by my shrink: My closed off body language, that I often dismissed people too soon, my penchant to chase the “broken” guys, and more. Maybe you don’t think you can relate, because who likes to admit that they’re wrong? But take a gander at these common toxic dating habits and you might be able to help yourself out in the long run.
We all have certain criteria for dating someone, right? You have you standard stuff, like they have to have a job, not live with their parents, has a car. Then you get into the particulars like that they can’t be vegan, must love Game of Thrones, enjoys skiing, must love cats, is over 6 feet tall, makes six figures, etc. How long does your list go on for? Is it so long that it’s actually impossible for someone to fill every quota?
How to break this habit? “Go into your date knowing there is something you can learn from every person on the planet, and see what you can learn about this person,” Hendrix says.
Prioritize! If there’s a spark and your date is hilarious, caring, honest, and open, then does it really matter that they’re only 5’9? No, it’s not “settling,” it’s putting what’s really important in a partner first. Also, there’s no harm in a second date if you are unsure about how you feel. Sometimes people are nervous the first time around and need a second go.
So many of us are our own worst critics. We are way too hard on ourselves in so many aspects of life, including going a simple first date. “They become so self-conscious that it becomes impossible for their date to see the real them behind the tension and anxiety,” Fran Creffield wrote for eHarmony UK.
There’s so many things to notice on a first date: Facial features, voice, laugh, style, manners, language, fidgets, what they order, how they treat the waitstaff… I could go on. People start a ball of negative thinking and keep adding to it so it grows bigger.
How to break this habit? It’s hard and takes time. Practice. The more first dates you set up, the easier and more relaxed you will become. You’ll settle into being yourself, then instead of concentrating on what they think of you, you can focus on how you feel about them.
Also, I find it helpful to get to the location first to enjoy a few sips of my cocktail to relax me. Warning! Do NOT do this if it’s an afternoon date or you’re meeting somewhere besides a bar/restaurant. You don’t want to meet for 10 a.m. mini-golf smelling of Scotch.
Real life, who dis?
Have you ever gotten a nice message from someone on OKCupid or Tinder and said to yourself, “FINALLY! A cute one!” You look at their profile and they seem funny, smart, well read, sporty, cultured, and their photos are good and also shows a lot of personality? Of course you get your hopes up because this person is rare in a sea of scrubs.
Then you show up to the date looking especially cute and you can’t recognize them because their photos were from ten years and fifty pounds ago? We’ve all been there.
How to break this habit? You can’t. People lie. They probably also lied about their education, they are probably actually a smoker, and their real name is NOT TacoKing69.
If there really is no physical attraction, I believe that there is nothing wrong with saying “I’m sorry, I was expecting someone else.” or “I’m sorry I wasted your time coming here, good luck to you.” Personally, I am actually too scared to dip out of these scenarios so that I always end up having one drink and a little conversation before leaving because I can hear my mom calling me.
Flip it! Are you the type of person who posts old photos? I’ve heard people who do this say they think they can win over their dates over with their personality… but without physical attraction, you’re just going to be friends at best. Also, some people who use out of date photos still actually think they look the same.
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Original by Jordie Lee