Just like when knowing someone is worthwhile and a good match for you, and you can just feel that tingly feeling in your bloodstream when they walk into the room, it’s also important to make the distinction who NOT to date. Or more importantly WHEN not to date.
On the one hand, there is a lot of pressure if you are single to date. Because maybe, just maybe, the next blind date you go on will turn out to be the one. Now, I’m not saying that they won’t; just that sometimes you might feel pressured into going out on dates you don’t really want to be on, with people you don’t really want to be with. Worse yet, you might convince yourself, for any number of reasons, to give people a chance – just one more date, and one more – when they aren’t really right for you.
The problem is finding a balance between not dating at all, and not getting “out of shape”.
Well, dating isn’t exactly a muscle, but it does require exercise and growth. If you never go out on dates, or form relationships while waiting around for Mr. or Miss Right (that person who will be the right fit for YOU), how will you know what to do – hell, or what to look for when they come along? The fairy tales that nourished our mind’s as children perpetuated this myth that when the right person magically appears, everything will just fall into place. But what we tend to ignore is that fighting the dragon was a hell of a hard job.
The only way to build a relationship is with a lot of hard work. The only way to know if the relationship isn’t working for you, or if this person isn’t working for you, or if the dynamic between the two of you is just not right, is experience! And unfortunately for us, experience demands quite a bit of sweat, tears and heartache!
While some lessons are best learned the hard way (you hopefully won’t repeat mistakes that burned you the first time around after you refused to heed the sage advice of others), This may be of help:
1. Don’t date unless you feel like putting the effort into this person. Because if you don’t feel like investing your time in them to “see where it can go”, there really isn’t any point in starting something up. Mostly because this isn’t fair to them. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give people a chance, but if you do decide to give things a go, then do it properly.
Sometimes. it’s also important to recognize potential. If you meet someone special, or have a click with someone new, give it a chance and see where it goes. It might not work out, but you will have learned something new. Every interaction, be it good or bad, teaches us something, provided we are able to look deeply into ourselves and the relationship and reflect on it. And I promise you this (cliche warning) – when that someone does come along, you will be glad that you learned all those lessons beforehand.
2. Don’t go on a date with someone you intend to dump at the end of the evening! Whatever your motive is, pity, pressure from your mum or even the prospect of a free dinner, just don’t.
3. Go on dates with people you feel you already have things to talk about, or in common. If you already have a good starting point, be it attraction or things in common, there is probably a greater chance it isn’t going to be a complete waste of an evening.
4. The less you get out, the more you are not going to want to go out. Because let’s face it, the thought of staying in your warm bed with a hot water bottle, and all the episodes of the shows you haven’t caught up on, is way more tempting than having to make small talk with a stranger. But you have to break this cycle! It’s time to stop dating your laptop (even though it may very well be better company than your prospective date) and go out!
5. Maybe it’s time to un-friend zone that really cute guy/girl that you have been constantly flirting with for months (or just admit they were never really in the friend zone to begin with)! You already know you have tons to talk about and that you will both have a good time. You probably shouldn’t come to this decision lightly (not to mention out of desperation), but it’s probably worth considering.
6. Learn to open up more to people. Not dating for ages will probably make you suspicious of new people, and make it harder to open up to them, connect on a deeper level and form a relationship. My advice is to make some new friends as an exercise, or open up more to your old ones; it’s important you learn how to trust again, even if you were hurt in the past. You need to learn to be vulnerable with people, because let’s be honest, it’s vulnerability that is the basis of a good relationship.
7. Go out with friends more! No I don’t mean necessarily to pubs and dancing, but rather to social events. House parties, concerts, singles mixers in the religious denomination of your choice. There is a much higher chance that you will run into new people with whom you have more in common if you already share a social circle, community or some interests, like God or your favorite band.
8. Reclaim your mojo! Chances are that if you haven’t been on a date in a while you probably don’t feel all that secure about the whole thing, so do something to reconnect with yourself. Try salsa dancing or yoga or buy that new dress or those new shoes you’ve been salivating over, imagining how jaw-droppingly good you would look in them. Getting in touch with your body, or just plain pampering yourself, will make you feel much more confident in you – and by extension, with that special someone.
9. Sometimes it really isn’t a good time to start a new relationship (stress from work/family issue and so forth). It’s perfectly fin to put your foot down and tell your pestering aunts (yes, even the ones that only exist in your head), that now is not the time to start something new, because you just don’t have the emotional and mental capacity for it. That said, “I’m focusing on myself/my career at the moment” is sometimes not just an excuse we give to someone we’re trying to blow off, but a line we may be constantly repeating to ourselves in order to avoid putting ourselves out there.
You just have to accept that part of dating is risking getting hurt, but that isn’t an excuse not to try!