Written by: Jenny Smith
How to approach dating…
Dating is often a time in our lives that we look back on and wish we’d known then what we know now. There is currently a huge dating industry with online, speed and mobile being just three versions of this thing that we all hope will lead us to true love.If you are currently dating or considering trying it here are some tips for dating that are very useful to become aware of and put into practice.
Keep calm and enjoy
Firstly make enjoyment your priority! Living in a culture that promotes co-dependency and being saved by your prince it’s all to easy to start feeling desperate about meeting the right person in time. Someone once said to me, ‘this might be the last phase in your life that you are single, why not enjoy it’ and it really woke me up! Do whatever helps to calm any anxieties about not meeting Mr or Ms Right, being rejected or worse of all actually meeting someone that you really really like!!
- The more responsibility that you take for your own feelings and insecurities on this front the healthier relationship you will manifest in the long term. Don’t give yourself a hard time for feeling insecure, remind yourself that it is very common and validate yourself for having recognised this pattern. To counteract it, start a practice of self-appreciation where each night you either say or write down ten things that you genuinely appreciate about yourself.
- Make sure that dating is not the only thing going on for you at the moment. Spread your energy between finding a partner or playmate and doing other things that you enjoy and that develop you as a person. If your life is just focussed on relationship it will put too much pressure on potential partners.
- Confide in friends that you trust and who you believe want the best for you. Tell them what you are doing, how you are going about it and ask for any advice that you would find valuable. Listen to their opinions about people that you are seeing and weigh up their perspectives with what feels true for you.
- Watch for the trap of trying to get someone to think you are good enough for them. This attitude comes from a place of low self-esteem rather than confidence, so instead increase your self-appreciation practice and turn your attention to how easy it feels to hang out with the person and simply spend time together. Similarly, take notice of any warning bells that you get about a potential partners behaviour. As a rule of thumb ask yourself what you would say to a friend if she reported something similar and apply the same counsel to yourself.
- Stretch yourself out of your comfort zone and take yourself on dates by going to films, exhibitions and out for dinner on your own. Learn to enjoy your own company more and more and more. This way you will be meeting someone from a place of fullness in yourself rather than an emptiness waiting to be filled place.
- Keep your perspective on a first date, it is not a marriage audition! It’s a meeting to see if there is enough connection to warrant making an arrangement to meet again. If you are unsure, see if you can work out whether it’s to do with genuinely not knowing or an intuition that it’s not right for you. Suggest meeting in a neutral place with other people around, watch your alcohol intake both for your own safety and for how you come across to the other person.
- Be aware of how nerves affect you. With some people nerves increase chattiness with others they become clammed up. If you are the latter have two or three areas of conversation planned so that you can fall back on automatic if you get stuck if it’s the former and you end up talking for England when you are nervous put something in place like a message coming on your phone that reminds you to slow down and breathe every hour!
- Include a mixture of communication, ask them some questions and be prepared to share some information about yourself. Try not to dominate and try not to take it all too seriously. Make a follow up phone call date with your best friend so you know that you’ve got somewhere to spill your whole experience afterwards. If you do meet someone that you feel really keen on, enjoy the feeling yourself and let it land in you before you share it with them. Falling for someone can be delicious when taken slowly! If things don’t go the way you hope, let yourself feel the feelings first rather than trying to plaster over them with a different person. Disappointment and feeling rejected are tough, but if we let ourselves experience them we often learn something valuable for next time.