As a rule, dating advice is terrible, catchphrase riddled garbage that’s wholly unsuitable for most real world adult dating situations. In truth, most dating advice isn’t even applicable to humans at all. So, instead of rehashing the same old drivel, I thought I’d offer you a couple tips for dating actual people.
LET PEOPLE IMPRESS YOU
In dating, rejection is thrown around like singles at a strip club. Far too many people are quick to dismiss someone if the first words and immediate impression of someone isn’t awe-inspiring. Packaging is important and necessary but ultimately it's the product that you need to be happy with. A quick glance won't always provide you with all the information you think it does.
People aren’t songs; one can’t listen to a 30-second sample of a human and fairly decide if they’re worthwhile. A cheesy pick-up line, ugly hair or unfamiliar skin tone is not an indictment of someone’s character or their ability to be good for you. It is, however, one small part of a larger whole.
People are more than the silly things they do around people they think are swell. Most people are interesting, challenging, sexy and surprising, if given a chance. Give them a chance.
BURN YOUR CHECKLIST
It’s common for dating experts to say you should know what you’re looking for in a partner. They’ll tell you to make a list of qualities you want and stick to it. This is good advice; knowing what you want is the best way to get it. Unfortunately, these checklists tend to do more harm than good.
In general, people like to think that they’re deeply introspective and understand themselves well. In reality, most can’t even fill out an “about me” without falling back on clichés or otherwise over simplifying the complexity of their humanity. If describing one’s self is nigh impossible, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to draft a reasonable idea of what they want someone else to be.
The average person has no idea what they actually need to be happy and fulfilled in life. They know what they “should” want and build these lists based on that fantasy. Fantasies don’t exist but loneliness does and that’s exactly what they’ll be if they keep chasing them. Instead of pre-building criteria, why not enjoy the variety? Embrace the unknown and take chance at making yourself happy with someone you’ve never considered.
EMBRACE THE BAGGAGE
If you’ve lived a full life, you’ve got baggage. Whether it’s divorce, children, medical issues, childhood scars, a criminal record or history with addiction, everyone has something they’re carrying. Even still, common wisdom suggests that baggage is something to fear.
Baggage, on its own, isn’t something to be scared of; it’s a sign that someone is a full human being. More often than not, baggage makes people better. These sorts of experiences are what build a person’s character and make them worth dating in the first place.
Everyone has a right to decide how much and what type of baggage they’re going to accept; knowing one’s limits is important. It’s unfortunate, though, it seems many limits are based on heavily skewed, one-dimensional generalizations rather than individual reality.
Not all baby mommas are psychotic and hell-bent on destroying their ex’s future relationships. A criminal record does not make someone incapable of maintaining a mutually-fulfilling, long-term relationship. A disability doesn't always make someone incapable of banging someone so right. Every person and situation is different and should be judged on individual merit.