By: Laerke Nielsen
If you are single, there are a million different things you can work on to pave the ways to attract the loving and committed relationship you dream of. Just take a look at all the things you see on Instagram…
Some of this is indeed very good to focus on; letting go of the past, healing your relationship with yourself, getting clear on what kind of partner you are looking for, and stepping into the version of you who truly feels like the amazing catch you are and who knows that there are plenty of men who would love to go on a date with her!
All this is important – it’s the inner work that you want to focus on mainly before dating.
But when you get yourself out there – in the dating world – what really makes the difference between whether you continue to date until you meet the right match, or you quit the journey or decide to settle with someone you are not that excited about, is this one thing:
It’s if you know how to ENJOY dating!
Because the reality is that most women actually don’t enjoy dating. They’d rather skip the dating and go straight to the relationship!
They dread going into the dating apps and setting up a profile, chatting with the men in there, going on yet another date with “a stranger” that they don’t even believe will be interesting. And I get that, that’s how I felt for a long time. I almost expected it to be a waste of time.
The downsides of not enjoying dating is that you not only go on less dates, you go on them with a different energy, and you are not having a good experience. Going on less dates that are less fun, makes you withdraw even more from dating, most likely not meet the man of your dreams, and in the end you either quit, reminding yourself that you do already have a good life as a single woman, or you take a long break. You might even feel tempted to compromise your dreams and desires and settle with a situationship with a man you aren’t really that crazy about.
What if you enjoyed dating?
On the other hand – if dating was something you really loved – the process itself; connecting with new people in the apps, meeting them on a date, discovering this other person in front of you – while discovering new sides of yourself and how you can connect with a man – if this was fun for you – you wouldn’t mind dating until the day you met your Mr. Right.
When its all of a sudden a fun and exciting journey, you show up on dates in the energy of a woman who enjoys life and is less attached to the outcome of each date. This makes you come across as much more confident and attractive to a man, than when you dread it.
But what if I really don’t like it?
Enjoying dating is a skill that you can practise. It’s not about gaslighting yourself or using toxic positivity on yourself. It’s about seeing the potential to learn, grow and have fun on each date. To commit to yourself that regardless of the man – YOU are going to have a good experience. It might not be a great experience, but it will be good in the sense that you decide to set an intention and to learn something new every time.
Imagine I could tell you with 100% certainty that you will meet the man of your dreams on date nr 35. It’s going to be amazing, you will both fall in love and live happily ever after. But you can’t skip the line. You have to go through the first 34.
Now how will you make those 34 dates enjoyable?
Use a Discovery approach and see dating as self-development journey
First you have to step into owning that you can influence your experience a lot on a date. You want to keep your mind open to possibility – anything can happen in this new connection – you could be positively surprised and you want to practise curiosity.
So ask yourself what you need to think in order to feel open to possibility and curious to get to know the man?
And then you can decide on some fun questions to ask, or things to share about yourself and your life, that will live up the conversation.
Think of dating as a discovery process – you are getting to know a new person and you also discover new sides of yourself. You can learn a lot about yourself in dating, it’s actually a great possibility for self development.
I give my clients dating challenges; I give them something to focus on, or a skill to practise on their dates. You can do that yourself by setting an intention for the date.
For instance you could decide to observe your inner critic – pay attention to what self-critical thoughts run through your brain and prevent you from being authentic on the date. This can help you identify triggers that activate your negative self-talk.
Or you can also get curious about how fast your brain is trying to make a judgement about the other person – especially on a date, we are wired to assess and judge instantly, and it’s a fun challenge to try to keep the door open and not make a decision about the other person that fast.
Observe your mind as a scientist and notice the thoughts that make you want to either hide your true self or make a quick decision about the man in front of you. This can bring you a lot of insight and self awareness.
Practise being present and listening
Another intention could be to practise deep listening; listen to understand, not to respond. Get really curious about what is behind the surface, what is driving this man, what are his dreams and fears etc. Ask questions and set aside your own desire to talk for a moment.
This can have the bonus effect that he feels inspired to open up even more – and you might experience a side of him that you wouldn’t if you had both been busy talking and trying to impress each other (as we normally are on dates).
Being able to be present and listen to understand is such a rare skill – we live in a time of constant notifications and distractions. If you can become really good at being present and just listen, you give one of the greatest gifts that you can possibly give to another human being.
But the real reason you want to do this is for yourself. You want to give yourself a chance to see that side of him, because otherwise you could be missing out on a really interesting man, without knowing it.
And then after each of your dates, you can evaluate by asking yourself:
How was this date an important step in my journey – even if he wasn’t someone interesting for me – what did I learn?
I call this approach a discovery mindset. This will allow you to enjoy dating – so you can stay in the “game” until you meet your ideal partner, and avoid feeling drained or bored!
It’s a skill I highly recommend you to develop, and if you want my support on how to actually do this, I invite you to book a free consultation call with me on https://www.laerkenielsencoaching.com/
You can also listen to my Podcast; Smart Women’s Dating Podcast: https://smartwomensdatingpodcast.buzzsprout.com/share
or follow me on Instagram @laerkethelovecoach.com