How to survive dating
Dating. Yes. Used to be so easy to do. My grandmother and grandfather met during WWII. As they were introduced to each other, he gazed straight into her eyes while shaking her hand, holding it in his a bit longer than it was appropriate. She smiled back, and did not withdraw her hand. That, for both of them – was a clear sign – I like you. And so they started dating. Got married as soon as the war was over. And stayed together forever. Simples!
Not any more, as we all know. The dating scene has become ever more complex since the days of our grandparents – and today it’s a maze of uncertain signs and behaviour we have to struggle to decipher and interpret properly, and often fail. The rules have changed, primarily because more and more people take dating much more casually. Not only you don’t have to marry the person you are dating – you don’t even have to call them back after a date. Even if you went much further than holding hands on your date, it is perfectly fine to pretend like nothing ever happened next time you bump into each other. You can invite a love interest to tag-along with your friends and pretend it’s a date, while you are checking them out in a “safe” environment, and you can date multiple people simultaneously – to “keep your options open”, provided that you have enough time and energy to do that.
As the rules of courtship are becoming almost non-existent, dating etiquette of today can only be described as one big mess. Nobody knows what is appropriate any more, and many people don’t even bother showing their dates some respect or just plain common courtesy – like, telling them they are not interested in seeing them any more, rather than just leaving it to the other side to figure out the “signs” by themselves. I guess there is nothing wrong with making our own rules, but the problem happens when we fail to communicate them to people we are dating – it creates (unnecessary) confusion, hurt and heartbreak.
As a result – even though today we have so many options to meet people – we have online dating, speed dating, dating agencies, blind dating, not to mention just plain old normal meet-you-somewhere-random dating, we don’t seem to be better and smarter at actually meeting the nice people we want to date. So we have dating experts and dating coaches who tell us how to get better at dating, flirting and seduction. That is, meeting new people and getting them to like us. Yet, what they rarely tell us how to actually survive all that dating. How to protect our hearts, how to stop wasting time on people who don’t deserve our attention or affection. How to minimise that “dating-waste” and actually get to the point – meet one special wonderful person that we actually want to be with long term, not just date. Someone who will not be playing dating games with us – but will just be happy to be around us.
I don’t have a universal answer to successfully managing the dating game, but I will try to share with you a strategy I believe can help. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post – the right choices will come to you more easily when you love and respect yourself fully – but, in the meantime, try this:
Go on dates, with as many or as few people you want, as casual or as serious as you want. As long as you enjoy the interaction with others and their company – there is no harm in trying, and putting yourself out there. But – keep your expectations very very low at the very beginning, and try not to involve your heart too much and get over-excited about the possible future with this person, before you are sure they want you, and want only you, and want you for real.
Easier said than done, I know, but if you go to dates with this mindset, it can help you not to get your hopes up too high, and subsequently – avoid disappointment and heartbreak. You don’t have to miss dating opportunities, or stop being open and genuine with your dates – just try not to imagine things that are not yet there, and curb your expectations until your date’s behaviour has proved itself worthy of them. In other words – to determine if someone is really into you: look for solid, consistent good behaviour – and not flimsy bits of here-and-there positive gestures mixed in with lots of bad and hurtful ones. That way you will not only minimise getting hurt – but over time, you will learn to differentiate between people who just want to play a bit without any particular end in mind – and the ones that are actually into you and will make an effort to get you.
Unless somebody has shown you multiple times in a row they are serious, they want and crave to see you, they will make time and space in their life for you, they want to see you that badly that they will rearrange their busy days to make it happen – they are not really into you. If their behaviour is indecisive and inconsistent, and you keep questioning yourself whether they actually care – I am afraid, that has to be – no, they don’t.
LET ME HEAR YOUR THOUGHTS
Any thoughts on dating… ? I am sure you have some!
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