As a part-time tarot reader and someone who has a lot of v. close single girlfriends, I talk about dating A LOT. And, easily the most common frustration among the less-than-happily-single peeps in my sphere is that dating is just really freaking easy to put off.
We know that if we want a partner, we need to make finding said partner some kind of priority, but still, dating is often the first thing to get put on the back-burner. Why is this? From my perspective, aside from the fact that work is real and the need for sleep is real and we’re all busy, the reason I think so many of us talk ourselves out of dating is because we fall into the trap of believing that we can’t really be ourselves on a date. And that makes it just really off-putting or – or even scary.
How to take some of the unappealing aspects out of dating and thus, stop talking ourselves out of doing it is, IMO–to decide to do it authentically. Acknowledge your desire to find a partner and then say to yourself: OK, but only if it’s THIS WAY. You get to date your way. You don’t need to be anyone but yourself. Ever. In fact: You MUST be yourself, if you are to find a partner who can possibly have a shot at seeing you. Here are some ways to date more authentically.
Let Go of Any and All Ideas of Dating That Don’t Feel Like You
Tinder. Bars. Drinking at all. What parts of dating do you feel a crispy sense of resistance around? What would you LOVE to never have to do again? Pinpoint them and then detach them from dating as you know it. You don’t need to have tinder because you are a single millennial. You don’t need to avoid talking about family or ex’s on a first date. You don’t need to wait X number of dates before you kiss someone. The ways we connect with people is not one-size-fits-all, so our dating rules shouldn’t be. You are a grown-ass individual, and you get to choose how you date.
Do Only Activities You ENJOY On Dates
Agreeing to do something you don’t want to do is a great way to automatically get off on the wrong foot with someone. What do you like? Watching The Bachelor? Great. Watch The Bachelor with your date and if they say they hate it, then you know really fast that this will never work. (This might be an extreme example but I mean, you get the point.) When we connect with prospective partners while doing things we would naturally want to do, we have more of a chance of being at peace and being open. This is a win-win.
Be Present. Not Worried About The Future.
(Or Thinking About The Past)
They say anxiety exists when you’re living in the future, and sadness when you are living in the past. We can only be at peace when we are in the moment. How does this apply to dating? We have to be present to have fun and to be ourselves. Suspend your judgement for the entirety of the date. Wait until it’s over to analyze. Hindsight is 20:20! We see things clearly after the dust of our emotions has settled, and we can think clearly. Make dates for being present. Make post-dates time for review and assessment.
Don’t Assume You Know What The Other Person Wants
You don’t know this person (very well), after all. Don’t get caught up in any stories you might be telling yourself based on their hair, what kind of socks they’re wearing, etc. Instead, ask, engage. People will TELL us exactly who they are, with their words, when we ask them. This is a much more reliable source of someone’s actual truth, in my opinion. (We all had an ex who actually told us they weren’t ‘good in relationships,’ right?)
Say What You Need To Say
If you’re on a first date and all you can think about is the horrible meeting you just had, for example, get it off your chest. Similarly, if your date says something super condescending about astrology and you are a full time astrologer, or if you can’t handle how much they’re on their phone right now, or whatever–make it known! Say what you need to say! Otherwise you’re passing up an opportunity to engage in a real way. You never know what might happen after that.
Stay Grounded In Your Sense of Self
I know that for me, I can get in my head when I’m conscious that I’m making an impression and after a while I kind of get lost in there. If that’s the case for you know what brings you back to the present and grounds you in your basic sense of self. Maybe it’s simply talking more and interjecting yourself into the conversation, or asking a question. Maybe it’s taking up more space with your body and seeing how that feels. Reminding yourself who you are is grounding.
If You Are Awkward, Own It
So, it’s annoying when people say ‘we’re all awkward!’ because it really discounts like, how YOU might feel awkward and feel like it’s the end of the world in your on individual life, but LISTEN: No one knows how you might feel about your awkwardness. When you own it, it looks like confidence and confidence is attractive. Whenever I give myself permission to be the fidgety, perhaps unpoised, very sensitive person I know myself to be at any given time, I am able to feel easier in my body and focus more on speaking and listening. So if you feel awks, be awks. De-demonize your awkwardness and you literally cancel out the awks. It’s the paradox of acceptance and change, sis.