Whether you are dating in hopes of finding your first love or are back in the game after healing from a breakup or divorce, dating is a whole world of its own. There are unspoken rules and plenty of personalities in the mix that make the waters less than clear for all of the players involved.
Dating has changed a lot in recent years with the development of online dating sites, apps, and matchmakers. I am often counseling people recently separated or divorced who want to re-enter the dating scene. Faced with these new options, they tell me that a process that used to be intimidating and overwhelming has now also become very confusing.
Beyond the ‘how-tos’ of finding a date are the ‘how-tos’ of behaving on a date. In an area where self-doubt and insecurities can get the best of you, fostering some level of self-confidence is crucial to finding dating success.
To increase your odds of success, take a look at these four common dating mistakes and evaluate yourself. If you might be making any of them, then follow the tips on how you can avoid them.
1Putting on a show
What you’re doing: We all feel the need to present the best of ourselves to a date and, in a way, perform for them. We understandably want to make sure that we come across as likable and leave a great first impression. With this, it is easy to cross the line and give a false representation of who we truly are.
How to stop: Rather than focusing on how you are coming across to your date, just try to be present in the moment with them. Be yourself, listen to your date and be engaging. This will help you to be able to decipher how you feel about your date instead of just wanting them to like you enough to go for a second date.
What you’re doing: Putting too much emphasis on a person’s looks or income won’t build a lasting relationship. Superficial things will eventually fade away and the relationship won’t have enough of a solid foundation to stand on.
How to stop: Take the time to learn what your date’s core values and morals are. Being able to have a great conversation, along with similar goals and life ethics, will set a better groundwork for a mutually enjoyable and lasting relationship than most other qualities.
3Ignoring warning signs
What you’re doing: In the beginning, we tend to ignore the obvious red flags about our date, either because we really like that person or because we really want it to work out. However, it is important to pay attention to their behavior and trust your instincts when dating.
How to stop: If your date is rude to the waiter, talks about himself the entire time or gives you a bad feeling in your gut, trust that as a warning sign and don’t continue seeing them. If something bothers you on an early date, it will really irritate you later on in the relationship.
4Putting too much emphasis on chemistry
What you’re doing: If sparks are flying, then that is great, but don’t equate chemistry to love or compatibility. Things like physical attraction and charisma can all lead to chemistry, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the two of you will make a good pairing in the long run.
How to stop: Take the time and ask questions to find out more about the person you’re dating. It’s great to laugh and have a physical connection. Just make sure you are also getting to know who the other is as a person and that the things he cares about are also things you care about.
Early dating should be a fun and a pressure-free experience. The purpose is simply to get to know the other person and learn if the two of you could connect on a deeper level. Don’t worry too much about ‘the rules’ of dating such as when to call the person or the right way to ask for a second date.
Focus on just being yourself and having good conversation, and you’ll make yourself a much more attractive date and potential future partner.
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Author: Dr. Kurt Smith
Dr. Kurt Smith is the Clinical Director of Guy Stuff Counseling & Coaching, a Northern California counseling practice that specializes in helping men and the women who love them. His expertise is in understanding men, their partners, and the unique relationship challenges couples face today. Dr. Kurt is a lover of dogs, sarcasm, everything outdoors, and helping those seeking to make their lives and relationships better.