Yet most dating advice is gratingly superficial, focusing endlessly upon the power of seduction and tight glutes. Here are three exercises which approach dating as an adventure of self-discovery. They are eye-opening and fun, and they will help you grow in self-respect while opening up new possibilities in your dating life. At a time when I had become particularly sick of my failure-ridden dating life, I began to ask friends for tips and help. I was finally coming to the conclusion that I would always remain miserably unsuccessful in the finer skills of seduction.
It was time to stop trying to be someone I wasn't. I had a close friend who was immensely skilled at bring humanity into his dating life, and I asked him to take me on "dating-clinic" trips. I also enlisted the help of a wise therapist , telling him I wanted homework in mindful dating. The tools I learned from them had a huge impact upon how I dated. Mindfulness , compassion, and kindness—who knew those things had anything to do with successful dating!
I was happy to learn that in fact, they have everything to do with successful dating. For these exercises which I describe in greater detail in my book Deeper Dating , I strongly encourage you to enlist the help of a friend. Best of all would be a learning partner —someone who is also single and who will join you on your mindfulness dating-jaunts, or at least discuss them with you by phone both before and after the trip. Notice Your Patterns The next time you go to a party, bar, club or a gathering where there are single people, try this exercise: Change nothing in what you do.
Simply notice your behavior and your feelings. Whom do you talk to? Whom do you avoid? Do you approach people you are interested in, or wait for them to approach you? Do you approach people you are very attracted to? Do you approach people you are only moderately attracted to? Or do you focus on finding your "someone" to the exclusion of spending time with friends?
Do you drink a lot? There are no wrong answers. Just notice your patterns of behavior, and the flow of your feelings. Afterward, do a post-mortem with your learning partner. Now pick one small change you'd like to experiment with in your next outing. Perhaps you choose to drink less. There are countless possibilities for small shifts in behavior.
Choose one which interests you most. Even a slight change will open up new insights and give you a liberating sense of movement and possibility.
Jill decided to try this field trip exercise at an upcoming birthday party where she would be the guest of her friend Dana—who was also her learning partner. She knew that she would only know a few people there. Here are some of the things she noticed: I felt shy when I arrived.
Dana, my learning partner was coordinating part of the event so I was on my own. I went straight to the food and drink table. I felt embarrassed to be alone, and I felt like I was standing out like a sore thumb. I know it wasn't really true, but I felt that way. I found another woman standing alone, so I smiled at her and we began to talk. We talked for the next two hours—it turned out that we had some interesting professional connections. Meanwhile, there were two guys I would have liked to meet, but I had no idea how.
I kept planning ways to meet them, but I didn't go through with any of my plans. I realized that this is a pattern of mine. I simply avoid the risk of interacting with guys who might be single and available. In speaking with her, I became much more aware of this pattern and how it was holding me back. Here was the new goal I set for myself and shared with Dana: Next time, I would make a plan to meet her in the middle of the party, and I would have to point out one or two guys I was interested in.
If she knew them, she'd help make an introduction. Dana is a real estate agent, so she knows lots of people. If she didn't know them, we'd strategize about how to meet them, but even if I wasn't ready to follow through, I'd at least feel like I was being more proactive than usual.
Plan a second trip with the support--and hopefully the company--of your learning partner. Try the one shift you described. Afterward, speak on the phone or go somewhere fun with your learning buddy, and share what you did, how it felt, and what you learned.
Dana set this goal for herself: At the next party, I wanted to simply notice my attractions. So far, all of them have had drinking problems.
Not surprisingly, both of them drank too much. I was glad I saw this happen. I was also really interested in seeing if there were any women who are closer to my age; women with a quality of depth which had been lacking in my other partners. However, there were two lovely women who were closer to my age.
In the past I wouldn't have thought of them as dating material. They weren't exciting enough. Yet as I watched them interact, I found myself imagining how different life would be if I were in a relationship with someone more stable.
By the end of the party, I even thought one of them was interesting and attractive enough to want to date. This gave me a feeling of hope and possibility. Want to up the ante? Decide to approach two or three people. See if you can make eye contact and smile before walking up to them. This may be deliciously scary, or it may be terrifying. Remember, your goal is not to get a single expression of interest! And it does get easier.
As with any area of our lives, bringing more mindfulness and compassion to the way we date almost always opens new doors. And as we deepen our insights about our dating life, we find that the kind of people we meet and date begins to change in surprising and hopeful ways. Please try these exercises and write to share your experiences with them.
Enjoy tackling your dating life as a journey of growth and discovery! All Rights Reserved Source: