Who am I to offer “winning” dating advice you might ask? Good point! The only reason I make the fanciful claim I appear to is because I tend to define successful dating as a measure of how much fun it is as an experience, and not as a means to an end.
I also happen to feel that in most cases, what makes the experience enjoyable (in the present) also happens to be the best way to tunnel our way to romance. Does that sound a little naive? Perhaps. Nevertheless I urge you to judge me by the debatable force of these five points.
1. Humor Penetrates Personal Barriers
Dates, particularly the first couple of meet-ups, are usually a battle of civilized egos. And if it isn’t clear from what the words that are being whispered, then it is vividly portrayed by the other language that is being spoken. Yup, subconscious, non-verbal body language.
If we date based on the expectation of a win or loss outcome, and not by attempting to enjoy the moment, dating can suffer from the awkward advent of a job-interview style date.
While we may consciously put it down to a negative gut feeling, or poor compatibility, what really happens is that our social face is pushing our personal boundary too far out (in order to protect us from rejection or embarrassment).
Humor is, bar none, the best way to pierce the smokescreen of overly defensive personal boundaries, and to touch the soul on the other side. It also has the huge benefit of allowing us to enjoy the moment independently of how the date and potential romance pans out. Win-win!
2. Lead By Example
Here’s another great reason why putting our needs first, minimizing compromise and enjoying ourselves is a great dating advice (even if I do say so myself): You take the stress off your partner in crime.
Most of the time we’re far too busy asking ourselves whether our date is having a modicum of fun to actually weigh the import of what is actually going on. By enjoy yourself regardless of the outcome, you are removing that particular insecurity from the equation.
Without the fear of having wasted their, and our time, dating becomes an intrinsically liberating experience, devoid of insecurity and guilt. Admittedly, it does take a little courage to lead by example in such a transparent way. But the reward is the ability to always walk away with something, even if it doesn’t pan out.
3. Avoid The Trouble Talk
Being attractive can be summarized as our presence’s ability to elicit a desirable emotion in the object of our interest. When it comes to dating, we have a very small window to anchor (here’s an article about neurolinguistic anchoring) a positive state.
While your troubled past or your insecurities are important, there is a time and place to discuss them at length. However, I feel that dating isn’t such a great time to cut the onions due to the fact that trouble-talk is divisive, and not inclusive by nature. In short, work on closing the gap.
Being positive is the best way to demonstrate interior strength, and portrays you as an emotionally self-sufficient candidate that isn’t looking for someone to temporarily fill a void.
Should attraction bloom, the question of emotional support and existential interest will arise naturally, without having to force the issue. Let the relationship grow.
4. Perception Over Judgement
Using perception as a categorical tool rather than a judgement is a fantastic way of promoting brutal honesty without risking offense.
Here is an example of how a perceptive approach works compared to a judgmental one:
When they talk about having done something you disapprove of
When the opportunity arises to throw in your two cents, I would always advise shredding any semblance of judgment. Not only because you are encouraging your date to share their experiences on a personal level without fear of judgement (leading to a more honest and engaging discussion). But also because, realistically speaking, you may be jumping to conclusions based on misinterpretation. How well can we truly claim to know someone after a few dates?
5. Stand For Something
Something, but not anything. And certainly not something with the intention of bloating or manipulating our bubble of value. I say this because I am convinced that people continuously play dumb in order to avoid confrontation.
If you think your attempts at boasting subtly are going unnoticed, think again. I have lost count of the number of times my friends and acquaintances have complained about their date railing off about their perceived “strengths” as if their intent wasn’t pathetically transparent.
Does this mean portraying ourselves as humble personifications of passivity? Of course not, but it pays to be honest (and false modesty is almost as wearisome as arrogance). If we desire invoking passion, we need to be passionate. And we’re all legitimately passionate about something, there’s never any need to manipulate interest. You’re good enough as is!