Be the day date, not the late night text

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I would describe myself as a nosy person. Always watching, observing, putting myself into situations I probably shouldn’t be in. Eavesdropping at the table next to me, telling the person I’m with to be quiet. Quietly observing the couple across the room to see how their first date is going. And awkwardly walking way too close to individuals sometimes. In addition to these observations, I have spent numerous hours helping people try and navigate whether or not someone is interested in them. Within these contexts, you begin to discover certain trends, how people operate, and even start to follow their thought process. I think sometimes we want to believe someone likes us, even when we know better.

We call any attention, good attention. Get hopeful. Get excited. “At least I’m on their mind.” “At least I’m attractive.” “At least I have something to offer that they like.” We downplay our strengths and start to compromise in areas we shouldn’t. We become a pro at making excuses for how others treat us. For what we allow.

This is just the world we live in today.
If you aren’t giving it to him, someone else will.
I have to go after what I want.
I can win her over- I like a challenge.
They aren’t sure yet, but I’ll make them sure.
Once they get to know me more, they’ll like me.
No one is perfect.

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, the late night text reaches our inbox for a reason. Someone is looking to boost his or her ego. They want your validation when the person they really wanted didn’t value them at all. They took a hit and are now doing whatever they can to make sure it doesn’t knock them down. They are afraid to talk to the one they are really interested in because they fear rejection so they reach out to the one they know will respond instead.

So be honest with yourself-

Are they keeping their options open?
Are they pursuing you without wanting a label?
Where do you fall on their priority list?
Are you part of their plans or do you they stop by and see you after?
Are you compromising in your physical boundaries?
Do you just hear from them when they are lonely?

And probably, most importantly, how does that person make you feel?

Because I think if we are really honest with ourselves, we know when we are being treated poorly, when we aren’t really valued. And over time, that begins to take its toll on our own self-worth, on how much we even value ourselves. We will slowly forget, that we are worth more than a late night text, more than a meet-up only when it’s convenient, more than the bones they keep throwing at us. We forget that there are still people out there who desire to show us to the world. Ones that want to show us off. People not only willing to make the effort, but ones that want to. Someone that values our character more than our sex appeal. Someone that likes us for who we are, not just how we make them feel.

So be with someone that is vested, not lonely. Be with someone proud of you, not keeping you his or her best-kept secret. There is risk in that, commitment that shows intention, and a realness that makes you feel safe. And quite frankly, I don’t think you should settle for anything less.

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Don’t go on fun dates

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When I first mentioned this blog title to people, I got some crazy looks. Why wouldn’t you want to go on a fun date? Who goes on boring dates anyway? But hear me out. I am afraid of how our minds work sometimes. If we go on a fun date, we naturally equate the fun to liking the person we were with. But, I do think it’s possible to have fun without really liking the person. I mean, how can you not have fun at Dave n’ Busters?! While these experiences are fun, they don’t exactly help when it comes to deciding whether or not we like a person.

We crave fun. But we also crave love. We crave love more actually. And we desire someone that can be there for us when life just isn’t fun. When we lose our job, when our kid is sick, when we have no money. We want someone that will be there regardless. Someone we want to be there with us when the hard times come. Someone we can lean on. Someone we can trust. Someone we love.

You might find out which dates you love, but you won’t necessarily find out if you love that person. The fun masks the red flags sometimes. And unfortunately, I think I’ve stayed in relationships longer than I should have because I equated my love for fun with my love for him.

I loved the new experiences. I loved the traveling. I loved the food. I loved the activities. But I didn’t love him. I didn’t love the way he treated others. I didn’t love how he spent his free time. I didn’t love his passions. I didn’t love how he had no goals. I didn’t love his outlook on life. And the fog of fancy restaurants and new adventures clouded my vision. I got so caught up.

So what do we do instead? Is the answer really to not go on fun dates? Yes. Sure you can go on them, but not all the time- at least not until you know whether or not you love the person. Spend time talking but even then, that’s not enough. You have to spend time watching. Watching their behavior. One of my best dates was when everything went wrong and we just had to wing it. Olive Garden got replaced with Wendy’s and our movie got replaced with looking at Christmas lights.

Do boring things. Crazy things. Weird things. Dates that don’t cost money. Hang out with family. Work on homework. Participate in each other’s hobbies. Volunteer together. Go to the thrift store. Dance in the rain. Help each other with work.

Do life. Real life.

And then watch and see how things go. Is it fun doing life with them? Or do you get easily annoyed? Agitated? Maybe you need to grow. Or maybe the one you’re with just isn’t the right one for you. And that’s okay. Be intentional with your dating. When we focus solely on our happiness, when we just want to have fun, we can lose sight of what really matters most.

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photo credit: Giulio Gigante DSC_0421 via photopin (license)