It’s officially Autumn! Which means Grande Pumpkin Spiced Lattes, Halloween movies, gloomy weather and watching the leaves turn colours. I’ve been away for abit tinkering with my business and have some really cool stuff to show for! But onto that later.
This post is gonna be about dating. As you might have already guessed.
Quite a number of people around me are dipping their toes in the dating scene – both friends and clients alike – after the summer break. A friend who has been on several dating apps for a couple of years now was recently lamenting the “awful” dating scene in her city. It was the “same old” – always the same old tired conversations with different guys, having to navigate the “who pays” conundrum and – deciding where to go for a date.
Here are some interesting conversations that I had with several friends about their dates. These themes seemed to pop up quite a bit in different contexts.
Coffee = Cheap?
Friend: If the guy suggests a coffee date (for the first date), I’m blocking him.
Me: Why? Coffee dates are low investment and it’s easier to just excuse yourself if the date isn’t going well.
Friend: It just shows that he is so cheap, the guy should be wining and dining me, I’m the prize, not bringing me to some cheap coffeeshop. Like I can buy myself a latte anytime.
Me: Okay…but you guys don’t even know each other much except a couple of text exchanges, why would you want to sit through an expensive 5-course meal with a guy you don’t even know you’d have chemistry with?
Friend: Well, at least he’s spending money on me when we go on that 5-course meal. A coffee is just too cheap.
Better dressed = Better person?
Here’s a sample conversation:
Friend: It’s so easy for guys to dress up, so turning up in a polo tee and jeans is just so low effort.
Me: Hmm…but I guess that’s alright? It’s quite normal “dress-up” attire? And the weather is pretty hot these days…
Friend: I went on dates with this other guy who seemed so much better – he wore a white shirt and dress pants at least – but he was coming from work and he was sooo late for our date. But at least he dressed up well!
Okay, you are probably thinking – so… what is wrong with wanting your date to be dressed well, wanting only to and wanting to be wined and dined at an expensive restaurant for your date?
Nothing. But judging if a date is a good fit for you or not mostly (or solely) using criteria like their dressing, where they rather eat and how they look is not a great way of assessing compatibility.
Instead the most important question to ask yourself on initial dates is – do you enjoy his/her company?
Because what is the point of fretting about what they are wearing/what you have to wear and what you are eating when you can’t even bear to spend 30 minutes with them?
Getting too hung up on superficial details can lead you to drawing the wrong conclusions and writing people off too quickly. Or even writing off the wrong people. The friend whom I spoke to in the above conversations just couldn’t see past the external image of someone. She rather the guy who was well-dressed but never took their dates seriously than the guy who dressed “in only a polo tee and jeans” but always took her on fun dates.
Also, this might be just me. But expecting to be wined and dined on a first date when you barely know each other is just overkill to me. I’ve been in situations eating, 5/10-course dinners with men I knew I had no chemistry with 30 minutes into the date, but had to stay because of how expensive the meal was (I always choose to go dutch).
This isn’t even about “lowering your standards” or “settling for someone”. It’s about focusing on what is important and what will get you closer to a partner that is a good fit for you.
Dating is all about boundaries and filtering, but we do need to be cognizant about what we are drawing our lines on, and what criteria we are using to filter people out.
Instead of drawing conclusions about someone’s compatibility as a life partner based on where they are taking you/how they are dressed, spend that time and energy really getting to know your partner.
- Do your values align?
- Does he/she ask you about yourself/get curious about you?
- Does he/she listen to you and respect your boundaries?
There is no “right” way of dating, but getting closer to the right partner means putting your focus on the right qualities.
And..if you are looking for a more guidance on how to date in a more confident manner that will bring you more joy, check out the guide + workbook I’ve designed – after years of talking to clients about their dating troubles. Click on the image below for more details 🙂