At some point, we have all been halted by the big question, “How do I win the game of love?” Some of us are eager to jump in and play, while others find themselves at a screeching halt from analysis paralysis; what if I say something stupid? What if they turn out to be not what I expected? What if I like them but they don’t reciprocate?
It’s easy to get lost in the thoughts as if we’ve already experienced them, because our deepest fears are always there whispering sweet nothings in our ears. But because we listen to them, and believe them, we end up actually bringing them to fruition. The thoughts provoke the actions that bring our deepest fears to life.
So what do we do? How do we break the viscous cycle to our impending happily ever never?
We practice. Yes, I said it…practice. Think about it. When you decide you want to master a skill, like cooking, or basketball, or learning a new language, do you just sit there and hope for success by osmosis? No. You Google all the best recipes, you get to the gym and practice a few hours each day, and you grab a book with all the how-to’s and read it over and over again and practice some more. You get out into the world to give it a try! When we mess up, we go back to the drawing board—What went wrong? How can I make it a better experience? What do I want to change about that? Practice makes progress, and with progress comes success.
So how exactly how do you practice dating?
First, we want to make sure that the kind of practice we’re getting is the kind that enforces healthy dating habits. To do that you have to shift your mindset to a place of detachment to the outcome—the hardest part of the game, I might add. What this means is that what’s happening right in front of you doesn’t actually matter, therefore, whether the date initially goes well or not shouldn’t even be an expectation at the forefront of your mind. Instead, you want to be in deep connection to how you want to feel in this moment.
What do you value about dating? Get crystal clear on this (and if you’re not sure how, let’s chat). Once you’re clear on this, how can you walk the talk of this value on your own? Make a list of all the ways you do this, and then take note of how you envision your ideal partner responding in kind?
Forget the story of what is happening in front of you and focus on what the story brings you—that is the win you’re really after.
Once you’ve done that, there’s the easy part… putting it into action. Below are my recommended practices for guaranteed success, both for online dating and in-person:
For Online Dating:
1. Craft your profile as if you have already found your ideal partner.
Instead of making the list of the do’s and don’ts this person should possess, write about what you love about qualities they have, and what being with this person does for you. If you need help with this, grab my FREE eDate Toolkit here to get you moving in the right direction. If you’re not happy with the matches you’re getting from your profile, change up the content and go again.
2. Once your profile is set up, I invite you to flip through the app like a magazine.
Trust that the apps have at least some method to the madness, so if your profile is solid, you should be getting solid options. So trust the process, and just get to swiping. Give yourself 15 minutes, and just swipe right on as many as possible. This not only gives you opportunity to practice your communication style, but it teaches us to be less attached to the outcome of each individual, and more attached to the vision of our ideal relationship, which we talked about earlier. Once you match with a handful of people, pick 1-3 people to chat with and see what works for you. If none work, great, on to the next one!
For In-Person Dating:
1. When you’re getting ready to go on your first date, go do something fun to get the endorphins flowing before the date even happens!
Chances are the butterflies are still going to come up, and that’s okay. We’re human and we feel, so let’s honor that. But we also want to set ourselves up for success as best as we can, so start the date with some “me time”. Go for a walk, maybe treat yourself to a tiny little chocolate treat of your choice. This isn’t a test, it’s play time, so let’s set the mood.
2. Pick an outfit that turns YOU on!
The whole point is to look and feel your best right? Who better to know what that is than you?! When you’re turned on by you, your partner will notice.
3. Lastly, we want to set an intention for how we want to show up on the date.
Intentions allow one to perform at our best under pressure. Intentions must be crystal clear, and are best formed from the mindset that you have already achieved it. For example, a common intention I would set for myself was to be fun and free-flowing. Sometimes I’d carry a little note in my pocket with the phrase, “I am fun and free-flowing” so that every choice or move I made, I would do it in the spirit of having fun and uncensored. I didn’t want to be the girl who carefully constructed every conversation or walked on eggshells to please a potential partner. I just wanted to be me, and trust that it was enough. As a result, I had tons of fun on my dates, and they usually always led to more dates. And even if it didn’t work out, I STILL had a blast. I started enjoying not only my dating life, but my life in its entirety. I learned to be fun and free-flowing.
Practice—it’s a learned behavior. You can’t expect to be fantastic at anything unless you try and research and experiment to see what works for you. So get out there and make it happen!