Friday, April 2, 2010

Recent Conversation and Springtime Pondering

Ofttimes we hear the phrase "Why don't boys date me?" "Why do the same few people get asked out all the time?" "Why is everyone so in love with so-and-so?" "How did SHE get a boyfriend, while I am still SINGLE?"

or, on the male end of things: "I'm asking girls on dates, but I can't seem to make it go on from there." "Why is it that the girls that I'm not attracted to, like me, and the girls I'm attracted to, like me--'as a friend, or a brother'?" "Why is it all the girls I want to date, are already dating someone else?"

And other such variations on a theme. Well, kids, here's a question for you:

How do you find someone you are attracted to, convince them that they are attracted to you, too, and then date that person?

(voice)I don't know. How DO you find someone you are attracted to, convince them that they are attracted to you, too, and then date that person?

The answer?

First, you must BECOME the person that someone you would be attracted to would date, thus attracting someone you would be attracted to, and then each of you get up the courage to enter that relationship of your own free wills.

(voice) Well, THAT'S not an answer to the question!

Well, did I promise you an answer to the question?

All poorly written allusions aside, I honestly think many of us ask the wrong questions. People are so focused on finding someone they want to date, of finding the one-and-only that will give them their long-sought 'happily-ever-after.' Truth is, they are only your one-and-only AFTER you've committed to get married. You choose your own soulmate. We've heard all this before.

I disagree that we need to (put on your best Mia Maid Instructor voice here) "BECOME the person we want to marry." I don't know about all y'all, but I'd like to marry someone who, well...isn't me. The key is to become someone to whom our ideal would be attracted.

So, that's great. But what does that mean? That sounds suspiciously like changing myself. Aren't we supposed to be loved for who we ARE?

Absolutely. We need to be loved for who we are, not in spite of or because of any characteristics of self, but simply for the whole of it. On the flip side, though, we have an obligation to be the best version of ourself that we can. On a brilliant social comedy called "Community," a favorite character of mine, Abed, explains it this way: "Let's face it; I'm pretty adorable. I got self-esteem falling out of my butt." (friend) "Well, if you like yourself, why did you change?" (Abed): "Well, when you know who you are and what you like about yourself, changing for other people isn't that bad."

Abed understood what many of us miss: That as long as he knew who he was, knew what he liked about himself, and kept those qualities, he was able to use that as a anchor point as he tried some new things. (Moving past the Community analogy now) As we apply this to the dating scene, we can start to ask those previous questions honestly, and actually expect answers. ("Why" questions are often statements in disguise rather than actual questions).

My "homework break" time is running out, but a few thoughts to consider (and will probably be expounded upon later):

--Dating is often about first impressions, and the initial contact people have with you. How close is your appearance (both physical and manner of conduct) to who you really are on the inside? If you come off as harsh or bullying and on the inside you're a marshmallow, are you accurately portraying yourself? Think of the person you want to attract. What are THEY looking for? Are you giving off that kind of image?

--Are you aware of social norms? You don't have to FOLLOW them, necessarily, but it helps to be aware of what's going on.

--don't fret about the situation. As a friend of mine put it once, "It's only a matter of yes, or no." For example: "Do I like her? (yes.) Does she like me? ('maybe' is not an answer-- it's merely saying you don't know the answer yet. So, "answer unknown") Should I ask her out? (yes) Will I ask her out? (if yes, then do it. If 'no', then move on)."
First date went well? Great. Now it's "Did I have enough fun to try this again? (yes--repeat above process; no--move on)."
It's really that simple. It gets a little tougher when it's "Do I like her? (yes) Does she like me? (no)." The only way to get things working again is to change one of the answers. It's a lot easier to change yourself then to change them, but that doesn't always mean changing your answer to "no." Sometimes that means understanding yourself enough, and wanting them enough, to critically analyze yourself and make some changes, in an attempt that their answer will then be "yes."
**This can be dangerous for those not grounded; however, if the changes are good ones, that make you a better person (as they should be, otherwise the person you are trying to date isn't worth it) it doesn't really matter if the relationship works out. You've been left a better person, and better able to attract you future spouse!

The fretting comes when a) we don't know the answers to the basic yes/no questions; 2)we try to figure out the answers ourselves and/or convince ourselves that it's one or the other without actually knowing; c) we aren't grounded enough/willing enough to refine ourselves into the person we know we COULD be; or 4) Some variation of the above problems.

Now, I'm not saying these are the only reasons people don't date, I'm simply saying they are common ones.

More later.

1 comment:

Trevor said...

This is very, very insightful. I will probably recommend it to other people.

I am impressed how you can take situations or things that can be frustrating, analyze them so clearly, and then make positive conclusions and resolve to just do well at life.