In anticipation of Season 3 of Ted Lasso (which has not disappointed as of yet!), I decided to re-watch the first two seasons. And, while the show is an obvious comedy, there are some nuggets of wisdom in there that I certainly couldn’t have written as well as the writers did, even if I tried. And one of these nuggets is, “All people are different people.”
You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, obviously,” but in the context, it was just the right thing to say. Ted was lamenting about his distrust of the new team psychologist, Dr. Sharon Fieldstone, because of his own sub-par experience with his former marriage counselor (no spoilers, but he had good reason to dislike the marriage counselor). Regardless, the rest of the conversation went as follows:
Coach Beard: Do you remember what you said when I got dumped by that cruise ship dancer and swore I would never date another dancer again?
Ted: “Can I have your tap shoes?”
Coach Beard: “All people are different people.”
Ted: I said that? That’s pretty good.
Coach Beard: Yeah.
Ted: You went out with another dancer, though?
Coach Beard: Many. Too many.
When it comes to dating, people are often so inclined to lump everyone with a certain, often arbitrary, attribute into the same bucket. It usually sounds something like this:
“I went out with a younger guy who was so immature. I’ll never date younger men again.”
“I got stood up. Dating in Seattle is the worst.”
“My last date wasn’t born in the US, and he snapped—literally snapped his fingers—at our server, so I’m not going out with anyone foreign anymore.”
“They spoke so poorly about their ex that I’ll never go out with someone who’s been divorced again.”
These are all real things clients have said to me. But we all know that immaturity transcends age, rude people come from every city and country on the planet, and some people just don’t know when to bite their tongue.
If you find yourself having this generalization mindset when dating, try to turn the tables a bit and think about yourself. What are a few—say, five—basic characteristics that describe you? For me, let’s see… I’m from New Jersey originally. I’m Jewish. I’m an entrepreneur. I used to work in finance. I don’t have children.
Now, let’s say someone had a date with an entrepreneur, and that person, unfortunately, used the term to indicate unemployment. Or, let’s say someone had a date with a woman from New Jersey who ordered everything on the menu and then only took one bite of each dish. (This one I made up!)
Neither of those things—using the word “entrepreneurship” as a decoy or being an indulgent food-waster—describes me at all. But if someone made a generalization about “all entrepreneurs” or “all women from New Jersey,” then they would have excluded me from their life with no good reason.
Preferences in dating are A-okay, but if you find yourself taking one “thing” about a person and extrapolating that onto strangers, then it’s time to pull a Ted Lasso and remind yourself that all people are different people. As are you.