Why Dating Tips Might Not Work For You
Out of all the dating tips and advice out there that you might have tried, have you found that it kind of…does not improve your love life?
If we just follow dating advice, which is mostly a set of “rules” regarding what to do / not do, we are only resorting to a particular behavioural intervention which might not necessarily be coming from our core and be our organic way of being (meaning it is not a normal part of our repertoire of behaviours, rather a tip given to us on what to do in a given situation).
This “behavioural intervention” will not however work if deep down we have beliefs such as “I am unworthy”, “I am unlovable”, or “I am invisible”, as ultimately our subconscious beliefs will govern our behaviours.
If we follow a dating tip and do something to get a particular outcome (e.g. you try to “act distant” but you cannot really stop focusing and thinking about the person), it will not be an authentic, organic way we show up and will lead to us dating inauthentically. If, however, we are in our power centre, we would naturally set boundaries, express our feelings and needs, and negotiate around what we need.
Dating gurus often say “don’t be needy”, “stay focused on your life”, “be yourself and be relaxed”. All true. Let´s however examine how these tips might work in practice:
Dating scenario 1
You are a woman and your date says “I will call you on Monday at 5pm” and he doesn’t do it on Monday. He calls you two weeks later without mentioning the promise to call you two weeks earlier on Monday.
I have just put in Google “What to do when he doesn’t call you and he said he would”.
I have found this excerpt on the first page that came up:
“More than anything, be yourself. He will pick up on the fact if you are not. Be natural, relaxed and friendly. If he doesn’t call you and he said he would, give him one benefit of the doubt. If it happens again, be done with him, he’s not worth your time and energy.”
Essentially, this tip tells me to be “cool” about it and act “as if” nothing happened. I am supposed to be natural and friendly, and relaxed (but the truth is I have been worrying and fretting for two weeks that he did not bother to call me).
So I pick up the phone when he rings and … start pretending that nothing happened. I chat with him, laugh, I am friendly and I am really, really trying to come across as relaxed (but deep down I have squashed my true feelings inside me and never revealed them to him).
This is how we become inauthentic.
Also, if I push away my feelings, not only am I not true to myself, I am also not authentic to my date and in fact, sooner or later, he will pick up on the fact that I am pretending to be someone else. Along the way, I have also trained him that I have no boundaries, that it is OK to make a promise to me and break it, and that I have low standards around how others can treat me.
What's the alternative reaction to this scenario? Instead of acting like you aren't bothered, you could try simply making it clear how you felt about it rather than making him guess by covert “signals” such as acting in a distant manner or as if you have been hurt or, like in the above scenario, pretend that you are fine. Such behaviours are confusing.
Instead, simply say:
“Regarding Monday, I felt sad and disappointed that I did not get a call and I don’t like to feel like this”.
This way you are:
- Expressing how you felt about the situation
- setting boundaries (in this case the boundary would be “I like when people keep their word and I can rely on them doing what they say they would do”)
- avoiding the blaming
All you need to do is signal to the other person what is and what is not OK for you. Of course, again, the exact wording has to feel right to you.
Once your date knows that it matters to you that he does what he promised he would do, he might either:
- choose to respect this and be true to his word
- continue disappointing you and saying one thing but doing something else
And if he chooses to not follow through, this does not reflect on you. What often happens in the scenario above is that we become anxious and start having thoughts such as “There is something wrong with me”, “why does it always happen to me”, “maybe I am unworthy of his attention”. These show that what probably operates is one of the subconscious beliefs such as:
“I am unlovable”
“I am unworthy”
“I am invisible”
“I am not enough”
“I am not good enough”
“I am not wanted / needed”
These very beliefs will make you want to rush into action and please someone, turn a blind eye when they don’t contact you or are late, weaken your boundaries, lower your standards, all in the service of trying make the other person like you (in fact you will get the exact opposite reaction as low self-worth and self-respect are unattractive).
Whereas if we operate from our power centre, we know what our needs, feelings and boundaries are and we would probably think “He did not ring and I do not like it. It does not feel good. If this continues, if he says things that do not translate into actions, I don’t have time for this person”.
So what does it mean?
Well, this means that you can be in the driving seat! Dating advice is not a bad thing and I never said we should not read it. For example, research confirms that if we respond to someone´s text message very quickly, the attraction is decreased. The uncertainty, an unusual response or a lack of response actually increase attraction. And all this knowledge is useful but … it is only useful if we have done the work on the inside.
Once we know which beliefs we operate by and how we actually play them out in our behaviours – we are halfway there! The rest of the job is in challenging our thoughts and our patterns and start showing up differently. Once you have experienced an internal “makeover”, I assure you that you will show up differently, easily eliminate flaky and unreliable people from your life and miraculously and organically start attracting quality people into your life.