Contemporary women are far more assertive and independent, especially financially, than their mothers or grandmothers. They tend to have more education and to be more used to making independent decisions. The way they relate to the opposite sex has changed as well.
The following post is the working material for the workshop on dating I will lead tomorrow. I post it here in the hope that more people will find these thoughts on strategic dating, useful. I will follow this post with feed-back from the participants in the workshop, but please feel free to add your own feed-back regarding this very imortant part of our lives: dating and romantic relationships.
In this workshop, I plan to discuss with you ways to make yourself more empowered and in control while dating. While there are many things out of our control in dating, there are some that we can definitely influence. Using the method and skills of Better Than Cured-- psychotherapy techniques, life coaching, medication (if and when needed) and personal creativity--I am hoping you will all have, by the end of this workshop, your own Better Than Cured Dating Plan.
Why do we need a dating plan? When we prepare for an exam or for a promotion we first re-evaluate the knowledge or the qualities we have and find ways to improve them the best we can so as to give ourselves the best chances to succeed. Dating is no different in this regard. The stronger we emotionally feel, the more confident in our appearance and good qualities we possess, the more successful at dating we become.
The following Dating Plan is just a blueprint. Please feel free to add to it or to subtract, as you see fit for you. We will discuss these points during the workshop, so if you don’t know exactly what to put in your plan, you will hear some ideas from others in the group.
The Dating Plan
1. Reevaluate your image—give a boost to chemistry: while the way we look isn’t everything, we do feel better when we know we look good. The goal isn’t to become a sex goddess but to look fresh and hip. After all, the first encounter is usually visual. Also that when a woman knows she looks good, she feels happier and that always makes her look younger.
a. Look through your closet and update or rethink your wardrobe. Does it match with who you are today? Is it fashionable enough or does it need some upgrading?
b. Look at yourself in a full length mirror. Do you see anything you could improve? Perhaps getting more toned up or losing a few pounds?
c. Is your hairstyle flattering? Even if it is, would you like to try something new for a change?
d. Is there anything in your image that you would like to refresh somehow?
List 5 things you can do to bring your image closer to what you would like it to be:
2. Match your behavior with who you are: We imitate others badly, but we play ourselves well. Being ourselves is not a drawback. Playing games or pretending to be something or somebody other than who we are is short lived, and it usually feels uncomfortable. Besides, it is only a matter of time before our date figures out our true self. Why waste everyone’s time? Be yourself from the start!
a. Reevaluate your interaction style. Does it match with who you are? Do you come across the way you think you do?
b. Pay attention to the verbal and nonverbal communication. Are you giving the clear message you intend to give? Do you understand his messages clearly?
c. Carefully evaluate your level of neediness. One of the most common reasons a man backs away is a needy woman.
d. Become as comfortable as you can with being single for a while.
e. How good are you at establishing eye contact?
f. How good are you at small talk? Most of what we say, especially when we don’t know someone well, is not important in content but in the underlying message. Everyone is attracted by someone who seems open and friendly, without placing too much weight, at least not at first, on her being an Einstein.
3. Get your emotional house in order: Are you ready to date? Have you ended all other relationships that you needed to end, or you are still hanging on some false expectations? Do you have a lot of fear of moving on or anxiety about starting something new? Is this anxiety overwhelming? Do you need help in dealing with it? Do you need to work out old issues about intimacy or fears of allowing someone in your life?
List 5 things you can do to bring yourself in emotional balance:
4. How and where you plan to meet your type? Identify activities you enjoy and that can be used as opportunities to meet men you are attracted to. The best way to meet people you might like is to find some common ground: a passion for something, a game you both play, an activity you both enjoy. Not only will these activities place you in direct company of men but they will also expand your knowledge, entertain you and enrich your life. Make it a win-win situation. It helps when, especially on the first date, you keep the conversation light and easy, centered mainly on things you both like but which are also neutral.
Some examples are:
a. Take classes in which men are also interested.
b. Join an athletic group (tennis, golf, biking, and running), or find volunteer work.
c. Make sure you set a time frame to begin these activities--and keep to the time frame.
List 5 activities you enjoy doing and that would likely introduce you to men you would like to meet:
5. Figure out how to handle rejections: As dating is played in 2s, you need to be prepared for when dating a particular person doesn’t work. Dating could go wrong, or simply not going anywhere, for many different reasons. Usually, when a relationship doesn’t work, ending it saves you more disappointments down the road. It also saves you time and energy you can use to move on to the next date.
Here are few good examples of ways to handle rejection:
a. Choose someone with a judgment you can trust to help you get a reality check whenever you deal with rejection.
b. Learn how to take rejection as a fact of life.
c. Cultivate a healthy sense of humor and try your best to take rejection in stride. Laughter has a special quality of diminishing emotional pain.
List 5 ways you can use to handle rejection:
In closing, a few universal dating tips:
Never lose your sense of worth and your sense of humor. We are talking about dating, not the end of the world.
Sunset over Bora Bora