Dating doesn’t have to be so damn hard.
Be brave. Be bold. Be courageous.
I’m a single 30-something man, and I know I’m not the only one who has noticed a lack of bravery in our dating culture.
You may have asked, what happened? We’ve grown in to a passive dating culture. Terrified of rejection, we treat it as a personal attack instead of part of the process. We have paralyzed ourselves – and in doing so, we miss out on many opportunities to “meet someone.”
Let’s take a step back from “dating,” and look at “friendship” (which in my humble estimation is the foundation for a healthy romantic relationship anyways.)
Friendship doesn’t just happen. You don’t just wake up with new friends, in the same way you don’t wake up with a new love. You have to take a risk meeting new people for friendship, and it’s not easy. As with love, building a friendship takes vulnerability. It takes letting another person into your world, and boldly showing them who you are.
So why is it only in romantic affairs that we believe we don’t have to put ourselves out there and be direct? Yes, there is a real possibility that if you approach her, or talk to him – your efforts will be dismissed – but what if they weren’t? What if you missed out because you let the fear of a possible rejection derail you?
One day, during this past summer, I was at the beach with some friends. I was listening to music and romancing the sunshine. That afternoon, a flirtation developed between a woman and myself – she was parked a few blankets away. We were singing along to the same song, smiling – a rapport was definitely developing. She even said, “I love your singing voice!” (which I unfortunately didn’t hear, and I only found out she had uttered that compliment later.) The day began to wind down, and she packed up her things and left. If I had been braver in that moment instead of passive, who knows where we’d be now – but instead I let her leave without saying anything – and regretted it since.
The silver lining of that story is that I learned a valuable lesson. I realized that I’d rather try and fail, then eternally wonder what if? Regret is a mystery that remains eternally unanswered – but if we’re brave enough to try, we might fail – or we might fly – and to me, that possibility makes trying the more appealing option.
If we’re not willing to risk the pain of a no, why would we deserve the ecstasy of a yes? In life and especially in romance, it is the brave, the bold, and the courageous who reach their dreams, as they push through fear into joy.
Relationships require bravery to begin and to be maintained. Relationships require those who are willing to put themselves on the line. They need those who are willing to look the fool, and those who are willing to be brushed aside.
Relationships also require bravery when it comes to ending them. The ghosting phenomenon needs to stop, and it’s a big part of the passive dating culture we’re in.
It is through your bravery that you inherently give permission for others to be brave. The first step is the hardest, but once you begin to practice it – like anything else – you’ll get better. And you’ll find an authentic approach, one with no head games, no bullshit – just a genuine interest.
Most of us can tell apart those who are being authentic from those who are putting on a show.
If you are true to who you are, and your intentions are honest, then you can walk away with your head held high no matter what the outcome.
Sometimes, it doesn’t work out at the time – but you could bump into someone again later in life and a rapport will have already been established, and your previous bravery remembered.
Here are a few tips to get past fear, end the passivity, and start being braver out there in the dating world:
1. Remember that it’s ok if they say no. You’ll live if they say no! Repeat that to yourself, and believe it. Your life will go on, no matter what. Yes, your ego might sting a little, but you’ll be proud that you tried – and that sting won’t last long.
2. Check your intentions. What I mean by this is put yourself out there for the right reasons. If you’re just looking to fulfill a lustful desire, or playing the numbers – more often than not, that vibe will come across and you won’t come across desirable.
3. Find something relatable to talk about. Common ground is a great place to start a conversation from.
4. Be confident. Be confident. Be confident. I can’t say it enough – be confident. People can tell when you’re unsure of who you are, so be sure. Carry yourself knowing that you’re a great catch and act accordingly. If you act unsure, they’ll be unsure, too.
5. Accept that you might look like a fool. And that’s okay, at least you’re a brave fool.
6. Be authentic. Sincerity is an extremely attractive quality.
7. Listen, and listen with intent. Focus on what they’re saying and respond. Conversation is a lost art – so be an artist.
So I say my friends: Be brave, be bold, be courageous – because who knows, you might fall in love tomorrow.
You can follow Elliott Slinn on Instagram @Elliott_Slinn or visit his blog at http://elliottslinn.weebly.com/