Everyone wants to give a good first impression, sometimes even if it’s not the most authentic impression. I need to be confident, but don’t be cocky, be honest about myself, but don’t brag. Plan and take control, but don’t be overbearing. Commit to a relationship, but not too fast. Be present and engaging, but don’t be clingy. Be generous, but don’t get taken advantage of. Don’t be afraid to speak up, but let them speak…and of course, wait for the perfect one, but don’t be too picky.
Dating definitely has its pros and cons for the quarter-lifer. There are some really great things about dating today, but here are some of the not-so-great:
Ghosting: You may have not heard of this but if you’ve done any relational exploring outside of the circle of people you normally interact with, you have probably experienced it. This is when you are interested or pursuing someone and think things are going great…only to wake up one day and have them disappear off the face of the earth. You don’t know whether they are dead in a back alley somewhere or drinking pina coladas on a beach in Maui with their new boo-thang. Either way, you will never talk to them again. Ghosted. The ghoster thinks they are doing the other person a favor by not verbally expressing their disinterest, but in reality it just makes the situation worse by not bringing any closure.
We are visually driven: eHarmony, Match, Tinder, Plenty of Fish, Zoosk, OkayCupid and my personal dating app of choice Coffee Meets Bagel, along with countless others. Everything is driven based off of the initial reaction of what the person looks like. “Nope, not attractive. Too short. Too heavy. Too thin.” This isn’t necessarily a new phenomenon but this is something that has been magnified in the 21st century. We tend to base our interest off of someone’s physical appearance and now we have found a way to say no in a matter of seconds. How many times has a person gotten more attractive after you’ve had the chance to get to know them? But, we may never get to see it because we immediately write them off. If the foundation of our relationship is based solely on what the other person looks like, our relationship is going to be pretty shaky in 20 years, if it still exists. The thing that brought you together may not be the thing that keeps you together.
Netflix and chill philosophy: Not the actual thing but the concept behind it. In case you don’t know what “Netflix and chill” is, it is a slang concept where someone invites a friend over to watch Netflix and hangout, but the real intention is to have sex with Netflix in the background. The fact that relationships have been so simplified that having sex is as simple as inviting someone over for a movie is a little disheartening. I’ll try not to get too noble here but
it’s sad that us men have dumbed down our pursuit of women and the pinnacle of physical intimacy to a couch and an $8.99 movie subscription. I promise, we can do better than that.
The competition is highly publicized. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat…and then there is ordinary me. I think competition can be good and even healthy, but this competition isn’t calling us into greater versions of ourselves who are striving for the best, it is creating unsustainable expectations by wanting us to be doing what everyone else is doing. Just in the last month of my social media feeds I have seen Caribbean cruises, European trips, engagements ranging from private airplane rides at sunset to a movie theater screening of a documentary highlighting the entire relationship, and everything else in between. We see glimpses of the fruits of everyone’s A-game, things that they have been working on for months/years, and yet we feel compelled to compete with that on a daily level. This is not a knock on the people doing those extraordinary things but a reality check that in the real world we don’t get to spend everyday getting hot stone massages in the Himalayas while our bathroom is being remodeled with this years hottest shower tile flooring, because that 2014 stuff just didn’t cut it anymore.
People have become disposable: Sometimes it’s as simple as swiping their picture to the left and they are gone forever. This mindset can legitimately callus the way we look at people if we are not careful. It’s easy to get caught up looking for the best option rather than loving and stewarding what we already have. Sometimes we have to face the very real possibility that the person we think we are talking to is talking to three other people as well. Relationships have become less about taking something that is imperfectly beautiful and nurturing into greatness, and more about looking for someone who is the best in hopes that it will require little work from us. This mindset results in an inability to work on the hard things, and then we are left scratching our heads as to why we can’t seem to get a happy relationship that lasts an extended period of time. We live in a culture where minimal work to achieve the desired result wins, even if it comes at the sacrifice of the product.
Two speeds; Interested and not-interested: Saying yes to coffee does not quantify saying yes to the dress. Just because he offered to buy you a mocha doesn’t mean you need to determine whether or not he is a compatible companion because he clearly wants to spend the rest of my life with you. I wonder how many good guys have been denied the opportunity to show a woman that he is actually exactly what she is looking for, but never gets the chance because her initial in-depth 41-second analysis of whether or not the deepest caverns of his heart are compatible with her soul was incorrect? And vise versa. We can sometimes categorize people into certain places without ever giving them an opportunity to show us where they belong.
The world we live in isn’t perfect and neither is the dating world. While these are some of the not-so-fun things about dating….lets be honest, there are a lot of really things too!
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