Now a disclaimer, I wasn’t exactly a dating queen in my 20’s, in fact, I think I could count on two hands how many dates I had in that decade! But as my friends may testify, shortly after I turned 30, my 4th serious relationship ended and I started to take a much more ‘proactive’ approach. Honestly, at the time I remember feeling more confused about love than ever, but one thing I was good at was getting back on the horse. My focus I decided now needed to be around how to stop falling off that horse. Please enjoy reading some of my dating fails. I hope they make you giggle at least, or at best offer some valuable insight and help on your own journey to love.
Fail #1 – Talking too much.
The truth is humans love talking about themselves. It makes us feel goooood. But there is such a thing as talking too much on a date. I remember once getting to the end of an hour-long date and I hadn’t been asked a single question about my family, job, hobbies… nada! He walked away literally knowing nothing about me except that I love fish tacos and Mexican beer. I even chimed in and threw my best and very hilarious travel story at him to see if he’d bite. Nothing. Back to him. Because I’m a decent human I smiled and nodded and made him feel heard. He was visibly shocked when I didn’t want a second date. I felt sad for him but this was a huge reminder for me too. I had been in his shoes. In fact, I still sometimes have to consciously stop myself and remember to pass the baton in conversation. When we’re nervous or ‘on a roll’ it’s common to get a little excited and over-talk. But if you often hijack the conversation and forget about your fellow converser, you might want to consider checking your strategy. What I learnt is great date conversation tends to play out like an epic tennis match – a bit of intensity, a good splash of enthusiasm, a beautiful flow back and forth, and most importantly humility. If you’re a talker, and your insecurities get the better of you. Stop. Breath. Get out of your head, and remember you’re on a date, with another human. And you’re there to explore whether you’re a good match. Ask great questions and make the other person feel comfortable and heard. After all, that’s what you want to feel back right?
Fail #2 – Telling white lies or big ones.
Don’t paint yourself as someone you’re not to sound more interesting or attractive. It will come back to bite you. “Yeah, I really love footy.” I heard myself say on a date once. UG. I’d blatantly added GST to that comment, and as soon as the teeeeny white lie had slipped from my lips, fear twisted in my stomach, and the next question came…“So who’s your favourite player?” I felt sick and went blank. The truth is I do love going to the footy. I love the vibe and atmosphere of 90,000 people in one stadium, the cheering, friend time, hotdogs, (and beer), but I probably couldn’t rattle off more than two players! I was trying to sound like someone I thought I needed to be and it backfired. I remember thinking how silly that was and vowing to never be so flippant again. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of GST in storytelling but when you’re looking for a best friend for life, be human. Be real. Your truth will come out eventually in any relationship so no point making yourself out to be someone you’re not. What’s awesome is by having the courage to be you, you will generally encourage your date to be more real too. In short, honesty is sexy and a offers a huge shortcut when getting to know someone. And if they don’t like your truth, well fuck them, move on to someone who does.
Fail #3 – Avoiding the important stuff.
You don’t need to divulge your imaginary first child’s name, your ideal wedding location, or how many hugs you need a day straight off the bat but if you’re objective is to build your own family, live overseas, or have a certain kind of lifestyle then share that with your date. Sooner rather than later. And share it with certainty, passion and authenticity. (If you need some help even figuring out what you want in life and love, I get it. Click here.) A date who has the confidence to share their dreams and desires is incredibly attractive. Don’t you think? I once waited four months to talk children with a boyfriend because I didn’t want to seem ‘pushy’, only to find out we were not on the same page. It was heartbreaking for both. The alternative, ask your date about their dreams for the future – work, family, travel, lifestyle etc. Make it light-hearted. A great question is “What does your perfect day look like five years from now?” If someone is mature and ready for a relationship, this type of conversation will not deter them. What it will do is uncover if they have a set of values that match yours. Kind of important! So save yourself a lot of time and heartache, and get the important stuff out of the way.
Fail #4 – Judging and checking out too quickly.
It’s extremely healthy to have a good idea of what we need and don’t need in a partner. However sometimes, we simply judge too quickly. Have you ever been really excited about a date, then they walk in and because they don’t light your pants on fire within 35 seconds you feel deflated and check out before it’s begun? Or perhaps they’re wearing an unironed shirt and you can’t stop staring at it. Or they have an odd laugh that makes you squirm. Now these things might niggle you sure, and maybe for you they are deal-breakers but in either case, if you check out mentally during a date because of them, the only one losing out is you. Not necessarily because your date might suddenly turn into the one, but because every date is an opportunity to flex your relationship muscles, to uncover more about what works and what doesn’t work for you, and quite honestly to just practise being a good bloody human. Never forget, no matter what the facade, there is someone in front of you on their own journey to love. Respect that. They have their own ‘stuff’, their own insecurities, their own talents, weaknesses, fucked up family, and weird habits just like you.
I remember so clearly seeing my now partner get off his motorbike on our first date. We arrived at the same time. I instantly felt uncomfortable seeing his bike, and remember thinking I’m really not sure about that. I started to judge. But I was smarter than that by then, and quickly squashed that thought. Only seconds later a huge big kind smile, the same one that had struck me in his photos, beamed back at me in real life and I softened. One exceptional date later (none of the above fails included!) and the rest is history. How much and how quickly we judge others is a direct reflection of how hard we are on ourselves, and that can very much hold us back from finding love. Quite simply, if we don’t learn to focus on all the good, we will certainly miss the gold. If you’d like to know more about the way forward, click here.