Have you ever dated someone and thought ‘this person has their sh*t together’ and not just their personal life, but their dating life? They know how to communicate interest. They know how to build attraction. They’re vulnerable yet mysterious, leaving you both satiated and wanting more. They just date well. We’ll call this individual Person A.
Then there are others who appear put together, but are a train wreck when it comes to dating. They’re hot and cold. They take the path of least resistance. They pull back after moments of intimacy. They seem confused about their interest and hell-bent on romantic self-sabotage. How could someone so seemingly interesting be headlining for dating amateur hour? Let’s call this individual Person B.
For the past year or so I’ve observed this phenomenon and wondered WTF is actually going on. I think I’ve finally figured it out. By *it* I mean the delta between Person A and Person B. What makes someone crush it in dating vs. someone on the chutes and ladders board of love.
I present to you: How To Date Like A Jedi.
The six (no longer secret) weapons to a dating life you love ❤
Be Purposeful & Forthright.
Date with purpose. Know what the heck you’re looking for and seek alignment early (& often). If you’re looking for something casual, be up front about it. If you’re looking to build a life with someone — provided you meet the right person — communicate that. Whatever you’re looking for, be candid and date within that lane. As you’re dating someone, what you want might change. It happens. Communicate that too.
The challenge with dating today is everyone is trying to ‘play it cool.’ They’re interested, but they’re trying not to show it. They want something more serious but they’re pretending they’re okay with just casual. When you ‘play’ at dating, you’re making it a game — which is so high school. Plus, when you play games, you lose. Except Monopoly — I always win at Monopoly. Want to stand out in the dating pool today? Be human and authentic. Express when you’re elated, sad, turned off, or interested. It’s refreshing. When you’re forthright, you give the person you’re dating the permission to be so too.
Have A Filtration System.
If your visceral reaction to initial romantic interest is “Yay! Someone finally likes me!” you’re doing interest wrong. Being so thirsty won’t serve you. Your initial reaction should be, “Great, but do I like them?” If you have an incredible, magical life, you’ll naturally be protective of it and not want to let trashy people into Disneyland. Who does? They’re loud, they’re rude, and they generally wreak havoc on the park.
Dating Jedis have systematic *checks* to filter out the unworthy. Here are just two of mine:
- Phone calls to set up dates. I will not go on a date with someone I haven’t at least talked with on the phone first. When a man asks for my number, then endlessly texts me, I say Call me, mister. ? It’d be fun to hear your voice. Or when a man asks me out over text message, I respond I don’t set up dates via text, you’ll have to call. ? In either of these scenarios, when he calls, it communicates that he is responsive to my needs, which is incredibly hot. If he doesn’t call, it shows he is either lazy, insecure, avoidant, or just not that into me (which is fine, btw). These are all good things to know before I’ve invested my time. And that’s just it — filters protect more than your life, they protect your time. My time, like most people, is at a premium and you best bet I’m going to spend it with people who have earned the right to have it: my parents, my sisters, my best friends, and yes, interested men who are putting forth genuine effort.
- Kind behavior. Remember this: a person is on their best behavior on the first few dates. If you’re seeing red flags in the early stages, it’s best to end it before your heart is invested. Thoughtfulness is very important to me. If I see signs to the contrary on the first date, there will not be a second. My red flags: he’s rude to the waiter, he’s late for the date and doesn’t apologize, he doesn’t hold open doors for people, he doesn’t walk me to my car or front porch. Guys, I’m sure you have similar red flags that trigger disrespect. When you see shitty behavior in the beginning — behavior you wouldn’t want to live the rest of your life with — it’s time to move on.
Your filters should reflect what you look for in a partner. For me, it’s certitude, intentionality, and responsiveness. For you it might be different, which is fine. Take the time to think about what you really value, and how you can filter for it early on. It’ll save you a ton of time and heartbreak in the long run.
Side note: when you filter people out, it doesn’t make them a bad person. It just means they are bad for you. We have to get over the concept that everyone has to be our cup of tea, and that if they aren’t, there’s something wrong with them (or us). It’s not a healthy mindset: it kills our self-confidence, as well as our ability to approach each new person without imputed baggage. Both of which hold us back from genuinely engaging with the right person when we do meet them.
Re-frame Your Insecurities.
We all have elements of our life we are self-conscious about telling a potential partner. Maybe it’s a health limitation. Maybe it’s kids from a previous relationship. Whatever it is, we don’t like to bring it up because we think it is a limiting factor, a check-mark on the List of Reasons Not To Date Us. The reality: other people will only see something as a limiting factor if you see it that way. We need to own every part of our life and stop orphaning elements we see as ‘undesirable.’ We need to re-frame the negatives as positives. Having a health limitation has developed my resilience. Having kids makes me more responsive to the needs of others. Take a hard look at your greatest insecurity and start seeing it for the good it has brought to your life and why it actually makes you a *better* partner. You may not have control over the specifics, but you do have control over the story you tell about it. If you see it in a positive light, the people you date will too.
Treat Online Dating Like Passive Income.
We’re living in a time right now where there really isn’t the stigma attached to online dating like there used to be. Many people are meeting online and developing lasting relationships — and that’s great. It’s one of many options. Key word: many. Online dating shouldn’t be your only way of meeting potential partners. If it is, chances are you feel depressed and saddened at the choices out there. It’s not that there aren’t great people online, it’s that they tend to be few and far between. Or maybe it’s the shopping cart culture of the whole thing — who knows.
I *do* know this: if you’re doing the online dating thing, a filtration system is more important than ever. It will help you weed through the riffraff to find those high-quality people quicker. And don’t let it take over your world. I’m not currently on the apps, but when I was, I would usually only check them once a day or every other day. It gave me a much needed reality check and allowed me to keep my focus on things that I love.
Online dating should be the dessert, not your main course. Your primary focus should be meeting people in person during your day-to-day life: at the coffee shop, at the bookstore, on the train, in line at the grocery store. Make it a habit of engaging those around you and you’ll never run out of interesting people to date. And if you happen to meet some amazing people online? Icing on the cake 🙂
Have A Solid Friend Group.
When you have a solid group of friends, it gives you the confidence to date with abandon because you are treasured to begin with. You won’t settle for stupid shit because you are already getting the royal treatment. You won’t be afraid to say the hard thing because if it goes downhill, your tribe will still be there. People who feel loved are able to love others more freely. Close friends provide much needed relational security and are bedrock to dating from a place of strength. It’s critical, too, to have close friends of the opposite gender. They can be a good sounding board as you try to measure up a potential suitor. They also provide some safe male/female attention, which, let’s be honest, feels incredible.
Have A Life You Freaking Love FIRST.
Fix up your damn life first. If you don’t like your life right now, you have no business dating. Period. We should go to a relationship to share a life, not to get one. Relationships will enhance your life, but not if your life sucks to begin with. In that case, dating and relationships will only make you more miserable, and you’ll end up hurting people along the way.
It’s so important to build a life you love before you start dating. Things to get passionate about: your job, your hobbies, your family/friends, trying new things, an upcoming trip, books you’re reading, little adventures in every day moments. Because when you’re busy loving your life you become *more* attractive, not less. We don’t want to rescue someone from their loneliness, we want to join them on an adventure that has already begun. Bethe incredible person you want to date and you will have no problem attracting high-value partners.