The stories people tell have great power.
Cultural myths are how we learn right from wrong, good from bad, and what behavior is acceptable. They teach us how to thrive, what to believe, and how to get along in our world.
But sometimes myths are not based in truth or they have become obsolete. Here are the top five limiting myths that we tell ourselves about online dating.
- The online dating world is like American Idol—full of judges waiting to reject us. Rejection is a feeling that begins in you, not in the other person. Think about it. You are picking out couches in the furniture store and you shuffle past a bright blue couch, a beige overstuffed couch, a rose print couch with floor ruffles, finally choosing a simple brown leather couch. Are those couches you hastily walked past as not right for your living room crying inwardly and feeling horrible? Of course not! They were simply not right for you. Your choice, or another’s, does not “reject you.” How we respond to another’s choice can feel like rejection. Don’t let it.
- Normal people like me will never be attractive enough to catch someone’s eye in the Instagram world of online dating. It is true that our world is steeped in perfect images and we are brainwashed to perceive an unattainable ideal as the very thing we must strive for.
Right…forget it. And do two things:
- Look around at couples on the street holding hands, on the subway with their legs pressed together, walking through the park or sitting at dinner in local restaurants. Do they all look like a Ralph Lauren ad? Not hardly.
- Look at yourself in the mirror. Smile. This is who everyone sees. You are the one person most likely to tear yourself apart and pick away at perceived imperfections. But STOP! That reflection in the mirror is the perfect YOU.
- One of us is going to be boring, or even worse, bored. You are not boring – everyone is just not the right fit. I would be bored if someone wanted to talk about the “excitement” of the stock market; but to someone else, that IS exciting! Remember that online dating is about seeing what is going to work and what isn’t.
There ARE things you can do to enhance the experience of those first conversations.
- Keep the conversation light and upbeat. An easy way to build a connection is to talk about something that you can both relate to.
- Find out about your date—and, just as importantly, share yourself. The stories each of you tells will help you discover if you are compatible. Those stores about work, friends, and family can reveal much about how we interact with other people and the world.
- Avoid talking about past relationships or significant trauma in the beginning. There is no need to go heavy and deep to find out a lot of good information, and keep things from being boring.
- And remember the usual tips that can help you listen sincerely, and show interest through body language and responsiveness.
- The online dating world should actually be called “booty call on a phone” because people don’t want relationships, they just want sex. Yes, there are people out there who only want to hook up. Yet there are millions of people who are seeking a real human connection, just like you are.
There are things you can do to avoid the hassle and stress of getting mixed up with the “daters” who want only sex:
- Be sure you have an authentic online profile that conveys YOU
- Set and keep physical boundaries when you meet someone for the first time. Make sure the message is clear that you are interested, but not ready for sex.
- Though you don’t want to talk about commitment during your first phone call or date, it’s okay to be honest about what you are dating for—to meet someone compatible for a serious relationship.
- Disappointment is inevitable. WRONG! Stop saying and thinking that! If you believe that that “disappointment is inevitable” with all your heart, you will act accordingly and end up attracting the disappointment you fear. If you fear rejection and believe rejection is a likely outcome, you will come across as someone who expects rejection. People who expect rejection are not so attractive, right?
Remember that dating is a process with a beginning, middle and end. Not every first date will lead to marriage. UGH, right?
The process starts with meeting and getting to know many people. Next comes the part where you date for a while to get to know one another. But if you see every first date that does not lead to a second date as “disappointment” you will become depressed, and fast!
Rather, see it as another stepping stone on the way to the right person, and be grateful you are not wasting time on someone who is not right for you. Who wants to be bogged down in a “not right” relationship when that right person shows up!
It’s can be true that embedded in a myth there is a germ of truth, or maybe a basis in someone’s experience. Please – any myth that is defining you and controlling your online dating outlook and actions – LET IT GO!