November 8, 2016
It’s easy to talk ourselves out of something, isn’t it? We usually do this when we don’t think things will go our way, so we “didn’t want it anyway.”
About 10 years ago, when I was still working in finance at Fannie Mae, I found an internal job I wanted to apply for… in California. Back then, I’d always thought I would move there to take a chance on a career in acting. (Turns out I’m a terrible actress. I’m great at playing the role of Erika, though! Good to know your strengths and weaknesses.) After a lot of thought, I almost didn’t apply for the job for a number of reasons: I’m not the right fit, I don’t have the right experience, maybe I’m really an East Coast person, and the list goes on. And then, what if I actually got the job? I might have to turn it down in the end if I didn’t want to move. I was talking myself out of applying, or getting in my own way.
But then I thought to myself—why not give myself the chance to at least think about it and then turn it down after I get the job? So, I applied… and I was rejected. But, I was still really glad that I gave myself the chance. It’s the same thing with the dating game—it’s good to give yourself the chance to turn something down if, in the end, it’s not what you want. But you might as well open more doors for yourself at the outset.
In addition to talking yourself out of dates, here are a few other ways you might be getting in your own way when dating:
- Focusing on the past.
It’s more than okay to reflect on previous relationships—in fact, it’s encouraged—but when meeting someone new, he or she wants to feel like you’re fully present and not dwelling on your last relationship, for better or worse. I remember I once met someone for the first time, and all he did was bash his ex-wife. That was our first and last date.
- Telling yourself that something isn’t going to work anyway.
People often try to avoid rejection by not taking a chance, as I mentioned earlier. Stop telling yourself that he/she isn’t for you. You don’t know unless you try. In other words, if you go into the dating scene with the preconceived notion that you aren’t going to find someone for you, you’ve automatically hurt your chances. It’ll become a self-fulfilling prophesy.
- Projecting a bad experience onto others.
Okay, so you went on one really bad date from Match.com. This does not in any way mean that Match “doesn’t work.” It just means that you had one really bad date! Don’t penalize everyone online for that one dud. And don’t let that one dud prevent you from putting yourself out there again. And look on the bright side—every bad date is a good story!
- Dwelling on every little flaw in someone.
People are flawed. It’s true. And the person you end up with will be flawed, too. What you have to figure out is which combination of perceived flaws you can live with and which you can’t. No one is perfect.
- Continuing to “shop” online rather than getting to know someone.
If the end goal is to meet that one person who makes you swoon, then you have to take the time to get to know this person, without the distraction of other people online. While it’s nice to know that you have other options, you might be losing out on the best option to make sure you always have someone waiting in the wings.
In the end, remember that nothing is guaranteed in dating… or in life. There will be rejection, and there will be joy. There will be obstacles you can’t avoid. But throughout the process, keep an open mind and an open heart and try, as hard as it may be, not to get in your own way.