We all hate to be wrong, but in reality we are wrong often.  We just don’t want to admit it to ourselves or others.  That holds us back from successful dating.  When we can admit we were wrong, we can learn from our experiences.

mr_handSchool taught us wrongly
In school getting a wrong answer generally meant you were either not very smart or you didn’t work hard enough.  Either way, you were not enough, inadequate, and that’s a feeling we try to avoid. We tend to carry this way of thinking into all matters of our lives, and that may be our biggest mistake.  We should be able to be wrong without shame.

heatseekerHeat seeking missile
The simple but effective intelligence of heat seeking missiles comes from the ability to know when it is wrong. It changes course regularly to find its moving target. When its heat sensor says that any move has resulted in less heat, the missile knows it’s wrong and its guidance system moves away from the cool and back toward the heat. Simple but effective.

Be a match seeking missile
Missiles learn a simple lesson from being wrong, how to correct themselves. If you are going off course and not finding a match, correct that.  It’s simple. (not really)

Missiles feel no shame from being wrong.  Don’t get hung up on your so-called “failures.”  You can call them your “direction corrections” instead.   Expect that direction corrections will be an important part of your dating process. Recognized mistakes are not just excusable, they are desirable!

Missiles make many corrections before finding their target. Your chances of finding the right person increase dramatically if you are willing to cull through a wide group of wrong people.  If your match-seeking sensor is on, you’ll learn something with each wrong move.

“Your best teacher is your last mistake”    Ralph Nader

So, get out there, make some mistakes, learn some things, and find your target!

“The first duty of love is to listen”      Paul Tillich

If you have read many of our posts, you have figured out that we believe that the foundation of solid dating and relationship success is in giving to your loved one.   Each of us starts our lives and grows up wanting things given to us – a bottle, a toy, a smart phone, a car, whatever.  Kids are selfish.  That’s no criticism.  It’s nature.  As we grow into adults we realize that we are just wasting air if we don’t contribute while we take. We give and we take.  Hopefully, we give more than we take so that the world is better off by our being here.  One powerful way to give that costs us nothing is listening to another person.  Real listening.

students-paying-attention.150610Listening with full attention
I can be good at listening, but often I’m not. I know some pretty good listeners but few who are great at listening with full attention all the time.  It’s human nature for our brains to start processing and thinking about what we’re hearing so that we distract ourselves from our focus on listening.  We are mentally, and often verbally, responding to what we are hearing before the other person is finished speaking.

Active Listening
One old trick to be a better listener is to mimic back what the speaker is saying, to summarize what you heard.  Instead of our brains running down our own rabbit trails, we attempt to stay with the speaker’s trail.  It works because it gives our brain the task that supports listening instead of speaking our response.  This trick also contributes greatly to better communication because, in addition to better listening, it gives the speaker feedback that allows refinement of the thoughts being communicated.

Interrupting
The easiest way to listen better is to stop talking.  Nuf said.

If we were supposed to talk more than we listen, we would have two tongues and one ear.”  Mark Twain.

Win Friends and Influence People
My biggest take-away from Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book is that people find good listeners to be fascinating, interesting people. Why? Because everyone wants to be heard and appreciated, and listeners achieve that and create a bond with the speaker.

Listen with your eyescouple-having-conversation
Watch the speaker and you will pick up all the non-verbal communication that is often more important than the words being uttered.  Also, the speaker will know you are paying attention, and it will help you keep your mind from being distracted.  If you are looking at your phone or TV while listening, you give the message that what the person is saying is no more important than your other distractions.  Not good.

Use your memory (or forget it)
When I hear something that stimulates a strong idea in my brain, like when I disagree, I have a tendency to jump into the conversation.  What if instead I held the thought for later or just let it go?   What would I lose? Is it really so important for me to blurt out my thoughts?

listen2Get Smarter
You learn a lot more listening than you do talking.

Listening is loving
When you listen well you are communicating a powerful message.  You are telling the speaker that what they have to say is valuable to you.  Most of us don’t get a lot of that.  Listening should be appreciated.

Don’t you want somebody to love
Don’t you need somebody to love
Wouldn’t you love somebody to love
You better find somebody to love
             Jefferson Airplane

giveloveIt is in our nature to want to be loved.  We want it, we need it, we love it, we try to find it. There is no confusion about that.  It is the clear, yet often unspoken, drive behind dating.

Oddly, we don’t generally recognize a similarly strong desire to participate in the active side of loving, the powerful need to love.

The Joy of LovingAunt Joan
Take a minute and think about the most loving people who you know personally.  I bet they are not unhappy people.  I think of my Aunt Joan. The church at her funeral was overflowing with appreciative recipients of her love, and I can only remember her with a smile on her face. Giving love creates joy in both the giver and receiver.

Mutual Love Giving
Now imagine your relationship with the person with whom you share the desire to give your love more and more every day. Your joy in the relationship comes from the other’s joy, and your loved one feels the same way about you! It’s like a snowball rolling downhill and gathering mass.  You love more, so they love more, so you love more, so they love ….  It happens.  And it can happen to you.

xmas2Mature Loving
How old were you when you noticed that receiving Christmas presents wasn’t as much fun as giving them?  Kids are all gimme gimme. Nothing pleases a parent more than seeing their kid light up with happiness when opening the well-chosen present.  It’s the same with love when we learned that the giving is the best part. ( We all need to be good receivers too.  When the other gives love, take it in with gratitude)

And in the end, the love you take
Is equal to the love you make             The Beatles

Settling is not a bad word.
For some picky people there is a need to accept some deviations from the long list of date requirements.  For some who don’t expect much there may be a need to be more selective.  For most of us both settling and selecting will help us find the best mate.

Organic Applesapples_2327493b
Organic may or may not be your thing, but it’s pretty clear that they are better for you than conventionally raised apples. The conventional apples will probably be bigger and have amazingly perfect skin. As to which taste better, the organics may hold an edge. What kind of apples do you buy? You are both settling and selecting when you choose.

With your dating you have similar choices. Are you looking for the pristine conventional red delicious or the sweet, slightly-flawed organic fuji. There are always trade-offs. Always.

Consider the importance of your Date Criteria
Being a lawyer (and maybe just too damn picky), I can get hung up about grammar. Rose is very intelligent, but she hasn’t lived in a world where the precision of grammatically correct speech is as highly valued.  If we weren’t together because of that mismatch, I’d be a fool of the first order.  We have other mismatches that we consider relatively insignificant because the areas where we do match are so nice.  For example,  healthy eating was a criteria for my dating, but I had no idea how wonderful it would be to find someone who really loves to feed me better than I ever expected to be fed.  And with love!

selectingOverly tight requirements may overly eliminate
Maybe height is a big hangup for some people, but if you found the perfect person for you and booted them for a few inches of altitude, in my book, you would be foolish. A graduate degree may generally indicate more intellectual firepower. So what? There are plenty of really bright college drop-outs.

Some traits are very important
Simple matching criteria like height, income, and education may generally help get matches in the ballpark, but the important things for really good fit with couples are primarily about personality; things like kindness, generosity, sense of adventure, attentiveness, and the like.

Rule for selection criteria
Those criteria that are easily measured and stated like multiple choice questions for online profiles are generally less important than the criteria that can not be easily stated or observed.   Example – height vs honesty.  You have to get to know someone before you can have an idea if you two are a good match.

Settle with little stuff  –  Select for the big stuff!

We all have been around the block a few times (or a few thousand times).  That will be a good thing for your dating future if you gain wisdom and insight from where you have been.

Learn from your past
“Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
George Santayana

pina-colada-yolo-rum-beachWhat worked? Why did it work?
I could probably have a good time with just about anyone if I was sitting on a beautiful beach getting a little hazy on pina coladas, but those kind of times don’t define relationships that work. Relationships that work do it day in day out through the sun and the rain. Good relationships make the hard stuff more bearable and the good stuff more fun. Who has done that for you? What was it about them that made it happen?

What didn’t work? Why didn’t it work?
Flip the coin over and consider what was messed up about parts of your experiences with past partners.  Try to be as specific as possible.  Merely concluding the other person was a jerk doesn’t help you much.  Maybe that person was self-absorbed and had very little interest in your well-being.  Maybe you want a more intimate relationship than you would have settled for in the past?  Maybe just the opposite?

bright futureStay in the present on first dates
Your past is a big part of who you are today, but keep in mind that dating for long-term relationships is acted out in the present with some focus on the future. You will eventually need to know each other’s past to know what to expect from each other, but work into that gradually, particularly with past relationships.  Focus on the present experience of your date. Observe, and know you are being observed. Enjoy the time together as best you can.  Some people fall easily into griping about past relationships.  Eek! Please don’t, and don’t encourage your date to do so.  Stay present and positive to develop the expectation that the future is bright.

No one knows you as well as you know yourself (presuming basic mental health). You know where you’ve been, what you’ve done, how you feel about things, what you dream about, etc. elizabethanYet, we all find it challenging to classify ourselves into personality types with confidence.

Know Yourself
As you get involved in the dating game there are definite benefits to knowing generally what kind of person you are.
Know what you are offering
Not everyone wants the same things from a mate.  Haven’t you noticed that with some happy couples one is a talker and the other tends to be less talkative. The less talkative one probably likes it that the talker brings that to the table. Do you like to touch? Listen? Debate? Cook?

Know what you want
Do you want someone to exercise with you? Or to leave you alone while you exercise?  How much time do you want to be alone, with your mate, or with friends? Do you want your mate to structure your vacations for you? Do you want to do it? Do you like unstructured vacations?

distortedjpgHow to learn about yourself
Sorry, but while introspection is helpful, it will rarely give you a clear picture of yourself. We all have biases about ourselves that make it difficult to see ourselves. You are trying to get past that cloudy thinking, not accentuate it.

Counseling
Counseling can be a great way to learn about yourself. Sure, it takes time and money, but a good counselor (not one who just tells you what feels good) can open your eyes to see yourself in amazing ways.

Personality Systems
An easy way to start seeing yourself better is personality test like the Myers-Briggs 16 personality types.  Google “personality test” and you will find a bunch.  Some folks like the Enneagram personality typing scheme.  Look for yourself.

baby_in_mirrorDon’t be Afraid to See Yourself
You are who you are, warts and all.  You are an amazing product of nature and nurture; a complex, wonderful human being. The more you know about yourself, the more you can appreciate yourself.

Words not to use in your Dating Profile or on your first date.

After that, have at it!
Apodyopsis – The act of mentally undressing someone.
Basorexia – A strong urge to kiss someone.
wordsConcinnous – Neat and eloquent.
Crapulous – Relating to drunkenness or drinking of alcohol.
Cryptaesthesia – A supernormal perception such as telepathy or clairvoyance.
Deipnosophist – A master at the art of dining or a good conversationalist at meals.
Deuterogamist – Someone who marries for a second time.
Echopraxia – When you mimic the moves of others whether consciously or unconsciously (i.e. yawning).
Epithymy – Desire, Lust. Not to be confused with epiphany.
Expergefaction – Waking up.
Fladge – Pornographic literature.
Hippopotomonstrosequippedaliophobia – The fear of long words.
Illecebrous – Pretty, Attractive, Alluring.leg
Kyriolexy – Speaking literally.
Nudiustertian – The day before yesterday.
Partouse – Slang for orgy. (Do you partake in partouse?)
Psilosopher – A person with a petty or shallow philosophy.
Quaintrelle – A well-dressed woman.
Rhathymia – Being cheerful, merry and optimistic.
Scaramouche – A cowardly buffoon (as in “will you do the fandango” – Queen)
Semiopathy – The tendency to read humorously inappropriate meanings into signs. Example: Wet Paint (so the person tosses water on it).
Sermocination – An irritating rhetorical device where a speaker asks a question and then immediately answers it himself!
Sprachgefuhl – A sensitivity to what is correct as far as a language is concerned. (guilty)
Typhlobasia – Kissing with the eyes closed.
kiss-eyes-closedTyrotoxism – To be poisoned by cheese.
Ustulation – Burning as in a powerful sexual desire; a lustful passion.
Wabbit – (Scottish) Exhausted or slightly unwell. (Elmer Fudd) Bugs Bunny
Wifthing – (obsolete) Sexual intercourse or a wedding (there’s more to this “wife thing” these days)
Ziraleet – A joyful chant uttered by a group of women in Muslim countries

We invite you to submit a paragraph that includes all (or many of) these words. You will be judged on your concinnity, but we promise to suppress our spachgefuhl. Ustulating fladge might not be postable (but go ahead and send it). If you can do it in alphabetical order, we will arrange a ziraleet!

Spellcheck didn’t recognize any of these words except Wabbit.  Thank you Elmer!

You would think that the number one “Deal Breaker” for dating would be something that we can’t easily control, but that is not the case. You might think it is something people commonly lie about in their online profiles, but that is not the case.

Messy

Messy  Sloppy  Dirty  Disheveled  Grubby  Grimy  Unclean  Soiled  Stained  Smelly  Unsightly  Bedraggled
Bad personal appearance, messy car, and cluttered home are cited as the number one dating turnoffs.  Both men and women do it, and both men and women are turned off by it.

Why so messy?
Everyone knows being sloppy will hurt their chances, but people do it anyway. Dates show up unbathed (and smelly).  Dates wear obviously dirty clothes. Cars have piles of trash from years of accumulation.  If you want to lose at the dating game, being a slob is a fine game plan.  It’s proven to turn off dates.

Do the work – Get the rewards
Anyone can be clean. It just takes a little effort. Forget the excuses.  Everyone knows that being messy just means you aren’t willing to make the effort, and that unwillingness is a strong statement of disrespect for your date.  We are sensual creatures. We are attracted or repelled by what our senses encounter.  Make your sights, sounds, and smells attractive on your dates. (You may then be able to offer touch and taste later)

“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”    Benjamin Franklin

People clean up wellsharp-dressed
It’s amazing how much better people can look when they try! Nice clean clothes, a haircut and a reasonable amount of grooming go a looooooong way.  Ever had an old car detailed?  It will amaze you how nice an old car can look. Good posture? Why not.

“Accept me the way I am” is nonsense
We’ve heard people say they don’t think they should appear different on a date than they normally appear. That logic is flawed. There are only two conclusions to be had from that approach:  1) the date is not a significant event that requires special effort or 2) this is the absolute best the person can do.  People usually shave, bathe, and put on nice clothes for a wedding or job interview.  Why not for a date?  Telling your dates that they are unimportant won’t help you.

Packaging
One of the reasons Apple is the most valuable company in the world is their great packaging.  Their gear looks cool. Other companies have learned that too.  Appearances matter.   Ever noticed how much effort goes into a perfume bottle?  Champagne labels?

Number Two Deal Breaker?
Laziness!  Are you seeing a pattern?

Hi, I’m a lazy slob.  What about a second date?

Win the online dating game by doing it better!

bearRule # 1 – Keep ahead of the others
You know the old joke about the guy stopping to put on his running shoes while a bear is chasing him and his buddy. The buddy asks “Do you really think those shoes will help you outrun a bear?”  His calm response is “I don’t need to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you.”

The same logic holds true for dating online. Be better than your competition and you win, you get the attention.  Thank your lucky stars that most dating profiles are not very well done.  So, tie on your  running shoes and polish your profile to look better than the other ones.

Rule # 2 – Know what your “buyer” wantsbananas2
Which banana gets picked first?  It all depends on what the buyer wants from the banana.  Over-ripe bananas sell well for making banana bread.  Some people can’t put up with any brown specks.  Others want really green bananas to eat much later.  Someone may want just one that is perfectly ripe to eat in the parking lot.

Who’s your buyer?  What is it about you that your date wants?  When you can answer those questions, you can properly show off your assets and attract the attention you want.  Lets say you want a date who will appreciate your stability. You may want to mention that you’ve been following your hobby since you were a teen or that you’ve been elected to the position of treasurer in an organization for xx years in a row.  Facts speak much louder than the common simple brag statements like “I’m a dependable person” or ” My friends say I’m ……”
bad-appleRule # 3 – Know what your “buyer” doesn’t want
Some profiles are rotten apples.  No one in their right mind would pursue those people based on their profiles. If you’ve seen a few profiles then you will likely have noticed the rotten apples.

There are also some better approaches to improve good profiles. One thing people do all the time is say they are looking for someone who is honest.  We wonder if that distinguishes them from the people who are searching for dishonest dates?  Displaying a strong need for honesty is code for “I’ve been burned by a no-good lying ……”  It’s better not to disclose that early on.  Avoid the negative in your profile.  You may be justifiably bitter about your last relationship, but it doesn’t sell well. Also, most people are nervous about dating, but don’t say things like “I can’t believe I am doing this.”  You are doing it, so everyone believes it.  At least pretend to be confident.  It’s attractive.  Additionally, avoid nonsense. Saying things like “I like people” just makes potential dates think “Huh? Doesn’t everybody?”  Display your smarts.

Your online profile is like a tapestry of who you are.  Weave it with skill and care, and it will attract attention, desire, and collectors.

swift-silvertails-passing“SWIFT SILVERTAILS PASSING” by Ulrika Leander

So maybe your first attempt won’t quite be a masterpiece like Ulrika produces, but you can weave an image of yourself that is cohesive, coherent, and very appealing.

Design it
Your dating profile is an image of you that you have decided to present to the world.  Isn’t that worth composing well?  We are regularly amazed when incredibly fine people present profiles that make them look like clods of dirt. Maybe consider your first attempt at drafting your profile to be a “rough sketch.”   Re-read what you did and start to better develop the idea of who you are and how you can best be presented. Maybe crumple up a few drafts and file them in the recycling.  We’re willing to bet big money that Ulrika didn’t just sit down and start weaving with the vague idea that a flock of birds would look pretty cool flying through a forest of trees.

Weave it
It’s work. Creative work? Yes. Rewarding work? Yes. But nonetheless, work.  Invest the necessary time and energy into what may ultimately be one of the most important things that you do in your whole life. What if you were offered the deal of having a great mate for the rest of your life in exchange for a dozen or so hours of work creating your profile tapestry?  If you’re too busy watching TV to take that deal, it’s probably best that you just keep on watching Cheers reruns.

Get help if you need it. Would you fix the brakes on your car yourself without knowing how?

Profile bonus
Unlike woven tapestries, you can rewrite your profile to improve it at any time.  If it ain’t working, fix it.  You can and will learn what works and what doesn’t. Apply that knowledge.

Be a masterpiece!