“Remember the magic within you,” advised last night’s fortune cookie. My reaction was probably the same as yours: “What does that even MEAN?” But after pondering this for a few minutes, I realized there might actually be something here. Just as there is a grain of honesty behind every lie, there is often a glimmer of truth behind every cliche.
Working for the largest online dating site in the world has its perks (no, I don’t get first dibs at all the ladies); more interestingly, it’s given me a unique perspective on how our users interact with each other. Without getting too horrendously detailed about things, it’s safe to say that the rules of engagement between men and women have never been so blurred! It’s time to get back to basics folks. Without further ado, I offer you five cliche, yet powerful, dating tips:
1. ‘Don’t play games’
Leave the scripted dialogue at the door. The nature of these games is to artificially create the “thrill of the chase.” They were created by someone because they figured you, as yourself, were not good enough to do the job in the first place. By using smoke and mirrors to attract someone, their attraction is rooted in someone that you are not. Needless to say, this is setting a dangerous precedent. We’re compelled to hide our true identity out of fear of rejection, or not being approved of, and this is very human of us. Rather, be fain in expressing your interest in someone. So, the next time a girl gives you her number, get a little wild and call her and speak easy. And women, if he calls, pick up the phone for Pete’s sake!
2. ‘Love like you’ve never been hurt’
Whenever we meet another person we bring our context with us. Our context is defined by our own stories, experiences, cultural and social conditioning, and even which side of the bed we woke up on that morning. Our context has the power to dictate how we behave and respond to people. Most notably, this also includes our dating history. When it comes to dating and relationships, we often carry the tresspasses of a past lover and place them between us and the person we’ve just met. This could manifest itself in the form of lack of trust, the feeling of being closed or distant, or even a physiological response such as tightening of the body or uneasy breathing. The lessons we’ve learned from the cautionary tales of our past are worth noting, but not at the cost of creating preconceptions of a person we’ve just met. This hampers the possibility of creating a genuine connection. When you meet someone, approach them with the likes of your freshness and curiosity. Paint a beautiful picture of them as you get to know them more intimately. Check your past relationships in at the concierge, pull up your socks, grab your Orange Crush, and run amok!
3. ‘You’ll find them when you stop looking’
Alright, you’re going to try a completely different approach to finding someone: you’re going to stop looking. When we place all of our focus into looking for that special someone, we create an aura of desperation that people subconsciously pick up on. Understanding the graceful difference between looking and being open is the key. When we are looking, we create an expectation. There is a pressure that comes with this expectation which can keep us from focusing on ourselves. When we stop focusing on ourselves, we stop taking care of ourselves. This could be you not going to the gym; procrastinating; saying no to invitations; or listening to Coldplay and looking at pictures of your ex. Taking care of yourself means to re-engage with life and taste all its zesty flavors. Go to plays, movies, concerts, hikes, read, and enjoy the company of your closest friends. Make a conscious shift from looking to being open and see what happens. You’ll create a new aura and attract new kinds of attention because people will sense that you’re living for you and not for them. There is another word for this and you’ve heard it enough times that it doesn’t need explaining: positivity.
4. ‘You have to love yourself before you can find love’
Many of us struggle with thoughts that are self-deprecating; these thoughts are hazardous to our health and serve only to make us feel like lesser beings. We’ve been culturally conditioned to recognize a paradigm of what a man and woman should look and act like. We are constantly in a state of comparison which prevents us from recognizing and embracing our true essence. You have to start within and recognize your gifts, talents, and quirks – celebrate yourself! Loving yourself means you’re comfortable in your own skin, you appreciate your gifts, and have respect for yourself. When we’re feeling lonely, we often seek a relationship as a means to “completing” us or to fill a perceived void. We have to be mindful not to place our happiness and self-worth in others because should they exit our lives, they take that misplaced happiness and self-worth with them. Look to yourself for your own happiness and acceptance and notice how people will start to swarm.
5. ‘Be yourself’
The cornucopia of cliches. The one that embraces all and everything yet tells you absolutely nothing. How do you “be yourself”? Allow me to reword this to contextualize its true meaning: Being yourself means being authentic. Being authentic means to show up for the other person without the aid of personality and perception altering magic. It’s offering yourself to the other as-is. For most of us, this is a very vulnerable position to be in because we don’t want to run the risk of being rejected. It’s easy to mitigate these fears by being inauthentic because we want the person to think that we’re their ideal. Here’s the kicker about you being authentic: nobody does it like you! So, shelf the games alongside your Collector’s Edition of Connect Four; wear your heart on your sleeve (it looks good on you); and celebrate who you are. Be yourself because everybody else is taken!