Steven Burns: Five Dating Sins and How to Overcome Them
By Steven Burns
1. Attaching too much Meaning...
So as each day passes you're getting older, your friends are settling down and having kids and you start thinking... "Well if it doesn't happen soon, it's never going to happen... If I mess up this one them I'll be left on the shelf and no-one will want me... this is my last shot at love and happiness!!!"
Attaching too much meaning to a date is a huge mistake and virtually always an inaccurate assessment of our own life situation and opportunities.
When we attach too much meaning to something that we want we often buy into the notion that, if we don't get it, then it means we are in someway not okay. This, in turn, creates a tension that hinders us from being relaxed and in the moment.
For some reason we can often lock into the thinking that this is a 'boom or bust' opportunity and if we don't take advantage of it another one might never come along. This is hardly ever the case and the truth of the matter is there are lots of opportunities to meet people in this day and age... who knows... something much better may be just round the corner.
Rather than attaching a ton of meaning to a date try releasing and letting go of all your expectations. Still have an idea of what you would like to happen and keep your standards high but let go of all your expectations and what you feel you need to have happen. When you have little or no expectations you have nothing to lose and you will feel a lot more relaxed about the whole thing. If you keep your standards high and do your best at the same time, then you will go into that blissful place where the pressure is off, you're at your best and it all starts to feel rather effortless.
2. Premature Future Projection...
So you think you've found 'the one' or at least one you really like and are interested in getting to know a lot better. You start imagining taking them home to meet your parents, going on holiday together, settling down, perhaps even kids???
Whoa... slow down there. By prematurely projecting into the future like this you've just bought into an illusion (albeit a nice one) that will actually seriously affect your chances of ever making it a reality... In truth women probably do this more than men but men still do it frequently.
Projecting into the future like this, before you know that they feel the same, creates unnecessary pressure and will more than likely cause you to blow the full thing by coming across needy and too full on too early. Instead, no mater how much you like them, enjoy the moment and keep your options open until they start to show signs that they would like to stay with you long term... Then by all means start to reciprocate.
3. Buying into the Myth of Lower Value...
You've met that man or woman that quite simply takes your breath away. There gorgeous, sexy, smart, cool, intelligent and successful... You fancy them like crazy but every time you try to talk to them your mouth goes dry, your knees start to quiver and your stomach churns like you're some love crazed, infatuated teenager... When you do manage to talk to them you come across all needy and pathetic and, as a result, totally blow it.
You can relate to this right? We have all done this at some stage in our life. We see someone and start attaching all kinds of value to them, sometimes even qualities that they don't have...and this then results in us buying into 'The Myth of Lower Value'.
The Myth of lower value is where you start to believe that you are of significantly lower value than the person you fancy and, as such, get ridiculously nervous and start to act like a total idiot every time you are around them.
Of course there will be instances where they do posses way more value then you do but the truth of the matter is that what a person values varies greatly from person to person. Some value power, confidence, honesty, humour, looks, a caring attitude...So it makes no sense what so ever and it's usually not even accurate to decide ahead of time what they value...
Also it's very difficult to be objective about the amount of value that you possess so it's almost always the case that you actually possess a lot more than you realise...
So instead of buying into the myth that you don't possess enough value for them to be interested let them make there own decision. Also, start to look at yourself through the eyes of someone who loves you. Maybe it's your best friend, parents or children. That way you'll start to see the qualities you possess that are sometimes difficult to see.
4. Not Positioning yourself as 'The Catch'...
It's maybe an analogy that some people don't like but dating is actually in some way a bit like selling... except you are the product. If a product isn't perceived to be something that is high value and worth getting inevitably it won't be bought.
If your date doesn't see the value and worth in you then there's not much chance they will decide to be part of your life...Harsh but true...On a lighter note it is only the value 'they perceive' you to have over the course of the date so if they decide not to see you again then it's most likely because they haven't yet seen what you really have to offer or they value different things to you.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when dating is to not believe that they are 'the catch' or at the very least believe that they are 'a catch'. If you don't believe you are a catch then why would they want to get to know you anyway?
Rather than adding value to their life you will be leeching value from it and no-one is attracted to a leach... However, when you know on the inside how much you would enrich and enhance their life by being with them you give off a completely different vibe. One that is attractive and makes them want to be around you. The really good thing is that virtually everyone is a catch in some way. All it takes is a bit of objective self appreciation. A good place to start is ask yourself the following question:
"In what ways am I already valuable to this person. Such that, just by being with me, their life would be significantly enhanced and enriched?"
By honestly answering this question you will generate a whole list of genuine reasons why you are a catch to this person and you will start feeling and behaving a in a completely different way... one that will cause them to start chasing you rather than the other way around...
5. Pretending to be someone you are not...
You're out on a date with someone you like... If you are a guy you start being more macho than you normally would, hiding the aspects of yourself you think they won't like and grossly exaggerating your achievements. If you're a woman maybe you start being more polite than you normally would. More prim and proper... You don't take any conversational risks just in case you say the wrong thing and you portray the kind of image that you think he wants to see.
Most people have fallen into this trap at some stage of their lives as well... When we are dating someone we like we can often start to present ourself as someone that we are not.
We buy into the notion that there are things about us that they might not like or that we have to act in a certain way for them to like us so we put on a hugely distorted and inaccurate social face in the hope that we will be accepted.
This is a really bad idea that has two inevitable pit falls. Firstly, if your date has any reasonable level of social intelligence they will see through the act and start to wonder what inadequacies you are trying to cover up.
Secondly, if they do fall for it, they have fallen for someone you are not and, unless you keep the act up, they will eventually find out the truth...
So rather than radically change your personality and compromise your opinions and beliefs just be yourself. There will obviously be certain aspects of yourself that you will not always reveal straight away and you will occasionally have to put on a social face to navigate the many games of life, that's okay... Just don't forget it's a game and realize you don't have to do it to not feel ugly... That way you will start to attract the kind of people in your life that fit and compliment with your personality and lifestyle.
Steven Burns is an NLP Trainer from Scotland, well known as "The People's Coach," and has recently started specializing in helping people let go of social fears and become more socially confident. Check out his latest work at Solutions in Mind.