As the year ends and resolutions start up with the New Year, many singles find themselves hopeful that perhaps this will be the year in which they finally meet someone special. Many singles are ready to start putting themselves out into the dating world again. How you approach finding a partner and, more importantly, how you engage in relationships, can increase your successes in dating and make a huge difference the outcome of any relationship you start. With the advent of electronic communication and online dating, the process of connecting with someone is as quick as a single swipe of the finger. Technology is increasing the quantity of singles you come into contact with, yet the quality of emotionally available singles may not be there. Learning to sort through this begins with looking at yourself.
To understand your readiness for the dating process, you can consider the following questions: When you think about talking to someone one the phone or meeting up with someone for a date, do you get nervous and start becoming critical of yourself? Or do you find the process fun and you’re looking forward to getting to know the other person? If you are online, are you posting current pictures, being honest with yourself and others, or are you playing it safe by altering your online persona? Are you texting or are you having phone conversations with potential dates? Just because texting has become acceptable as a simple means of communication does not mean it’s the best way to get to know someone. Through texting alone, you can’t get to know another person fully. I see this time and time again with my clients falling into this false sense of knowing the other person based on sending a few meaningless texts throughout the day that require no investment of oneself or the date. Later, the clients wonder why they got ghosted. While most individuals fear rejection, avoiding it through text is also what creates the barrier to finding the relationship partner they desire.
After you come to terms with where you are at with your sense of self, if you are committed to working on your fear of rejection, then you can really give yourself a chance to meeting your future significant other.
If you want to get into a relationship this year, get yourself ready to do what I call the cold calling of dating phase: getting as many individuals on the phone as possible before you set up a face-to-face date. If the other person can’t talk on the phone, most likely they are not ready to date, much less be in a serious and rewarding relationship. Then, once you get out on the date, talk about things that are of substance and importance to you in your life. Ask questions about things that are important to you in a partner. If you’re not asking about things that are important to you, then you wasting your own time because this person might have answers which will determine whether or not they are the one you’re looking for.
Yes you may have fun, and that is great if you looking to just have fun. While that is important to have in a relationship, you need to go beyond just skimming the surface to get to know another person. Sometimes, things need to get serious.
Also, remember that just because you like someone or find them attractive doesn’t mean that you truly know them. Continue meeting other potential dates; don’t stop yourself from continuing to search just because you met one person you initially liked who made one good impression. Liking or having one night of fun with someone doesn’t mean you are in a true, strict relationship with them. Instead, see the date as someone you can continue to get to know over time. Too often, I continue to see clients taking it personally, as if something is seriously wrong with them when they really want things to work out with someone they barely know. Setting all expectations on one stranger can be devastating. Dating needs to be plural in the beginning stages, where it’s your time and chance to get to know many people until you and the other decide to stop dating others through mutual agreement. You do not want to assume this happens just because you slept together.
Individuals in the dating game have become too comfortable with digitally connecting with others and this becomes a very depersonalized way of interaction and a possible setback for singles; whether it be through Facebook interactions with friends, emails with co-workers, or swiping through strangers in a depersonalizing matter where you can swipe individuals you hardly know into or out of your life.
Remember to slow down and make the process work for you by having phone conversations before meeting potential dates instead of strictly texting them beforehand. Texting might work when you already know someone well in reality, but how well are you getting to know someone through text when you’ve never seen them face-to-face? Plus, if you can’t make time in the day to get to know someone by having a phone conversation, how ready and available are you truly to be in a relationship? Finally, stay away from browsing or searching for a person’s social media. Ask them what you want to know about them instead of making assumptions based on the pictures they post on social media.
So this year as the clock strikes twelve and you get yourself out into the dating pool, really put yourself out there. Personalizing and slowing down the process will give you the chance to be more than just someone’s swipe.
By Carolina Pataky, LMFT
Relationship Expert Carolina Pataky gives relationship advice on a wide range of dating and relationship issues. Get advice about online dating, first dates, meeting Mr or Miss Right, courtship, intimacy, the honeymoon phase, engagement, marriage, break ups, divorce or getting back out there.