When we get ready to go on a date, most of us don’t take the time to think about our mindset going into it. We think about what we’re going to wear, what we’re going to do, and whether or not it will be like the last crappy date ... a complete waste of time. We cross our fingers, hoping that we'll impress someone.
But it’s actually more important to have the right mindset than the right shoes. Even if the person you're going out with isn’t “the One," you can still have a great time and learn something ... about others and yourself.
Here are three steps to take in order to have the right mindset when going on a date.
1. First, come in whole.
And by "whole," I mean complete, authentic, the most honest version of you.
“Honest” is a great word to use as a measuring tool when it comes to dating, and how you feel both about the other person and yourself. Ask yourself if you are being honest in the way you’re talking, thinking, and behaving. I think many times people have bad experiences or don’t get who they want because they are too busy trying to be who they think they should be instead of just being who they really are. This is like "false advertising," and will cause you to imprison yourself in authenticity. Because face it: eventually you will have to show your true self and they may wonder who that is.
2. Second, turn your dial.
"Dial" is a term I say a lot because it provides me with a good, concrete visual for thinking about mindset. I will catch myself when I’m falling down the rabbit hole of old patterns, and then can visually see myself turning a dial in my head like a gear, knowing it’s going to change a pattern and raise my growth and potential.
So, when it comes to going out on a date, turn your dial, from "Find the One" to "Know Somebody." If you go into a date thinking the other person may be "the One," you put too much pressure on yourself, the experience, and the other person going into the date. And especially if/when you realize he or she is not “the One," your expectations will be aggressively disappointed.
So go in without expectations, or at least not ones that are set so high. That way, you create a win-win scenario. If the date is sub-par, you protect yourself from disappointment; and if you find that there are sparks and another date, it’s a pleasant surprise.
One way to rid your expectations on dates is to turn your dial to "Know Somebody." That’s it. And leave it there through the entire date. This is not inauthentic, either: rather, you're basically telling yourself that all you want from the date is to know another person, which is an honest, but more realistic, desire. You want to hear someone’s story and experience the world through someone else’s eyes and they get to hear your story and experience the world through yours.
And through this experience both of you guys, whether you’re attracted to each other or not, will learn something if you’re open to it. Maybe you have a good time and realize what you don’t want in someone. Or maybe you find a friend that will play a huge role in your life. Or maybe you will never see this person again. But with this mindset, it doesn’t matter. The take away is the opportunity to experience a new person, and hopefully learn something about yourself.
3. Finally, focus less on your mental checklist ... and more on how the person makes you feel.
Many people get excited about finding a partner that seems to check the boxes of what qualities they are looking for in an ideal partner. But in thinking this way, most people also don’t realize that relationships are about creating new spaces for emotions and experiences, not meeting criteria.
And how someone makes you feel, even on a given evening, is a great indicator of their ability to create a space for you to grow. As long as they are being authentic on the date, you are getting a small taster spoon of what a relationship with this person could feel like. Note that many can present themselves to give you a picture of what something could look like (not feel like) But that picture can end up being very distorted. Remember, actually feeling what something can be is a lot more convincing.
So to sum up: Go into the experience as your authentic, honest self, turn your dial from "Find the One" to "Know Somebody," and toss your check list and focus on how someone makes you feel, the ability they have to create a sense of space in your life.
I will be doing a FREE Q & A webinar about relationships and how to relationship better on August 13th at 5pm PST.