Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The game of risk

My friend sent me this article and I really liked how he talks about minimizing the costs and risks of dating. (Actually, I like a lot of the advice he shared.)

We put SO MUCH pressure on first dates! Is he The One? How long has he been in love with me? Do his last name work with my first name? Why did he ask out half of the Relief Society before asking me out? Is he a player? Am I in love with him? We act as though we have to know by the end of the date whether we are going to marry the guy! Then, we come home from the date, plop down with ice cream and friends and analyze every detail. Then we mention the date to our visiting teachers, co-workers and classmates and within a week, everyone thinks you two are an item, but really, he’s been on dates with two other girls and wasn’t planning on asking you again! Suddenly, you’re feeling like an idiot and he is confused as to why your roommates are snubbing him.
A first date is just a first date. A second date is just a second date. Even a third and fourth date is just a third and fourth date. It’s a chance to hang out with someone, one on one. Nothing more, nothing less.

A huge secret to my dating success came when I finally internalized this critical principle! I actually went through a time period where all of my guy friends were guys I had first gone on a date with. We didn’t have chemistry, but we sure enjoyed each other’s company! During this time, I even went out with entire apartments and one time, a family! (the boys in that family were VERY attractive!) (yes, that was probably the high point of my career).

So what did I do? Okay, this is my personal secret, the method I used to calm myself down about dating. I’m not saying it works for everyone, but it did for me! Every time a guy asked me on a date, I convinced myself that he only asked me out because his first choice girl said no. I was his friend, therefore I was a great backup candidate. After all, he already had plans to go to the movie/dinner/play/bonfire, so why not take a back up? Occasionally (depending on how much I really liked him) I would even select a specific girl I knew and tell myself she was his first choice.

I’m actually pretty good at lying to myself (yet strangely, not very good at lying to others...) Telling myself this lie helped because I learned these incredibly important principles:

1. I wouldn’t talk about my dates with anyone else. I’m kinda prideful, so it was embarrassing to tell people I was only his backup choice! So I just wouldn’t say anything and if anyone asked, I would nonchalantly brush it off. Maybe I would talk and analyze if I was his first pick, but not second and definitely not third!

Years later, I heard a dating coach recommend only talking to 2-3 people about any dates you go on. It minimizes potentially painful and embarrassing moments if things don’t work out. Wait until you are in an official relationship to tell your classmates, hairdresser and random stranger on the street.

2. It helped emphasize friendship first. If I was his backup choice, he obviously trusted me enough to be there for him, even if it was a last minute invite. We were friends! Buds! Bros, even! (Bros of another gender!) When we were on a date, we were just two friends, hanging out and having dinner. After the date, he wasn’t the guy I had gone a date with. He was my friend who I spend time with last night! Our friendship would just continue the next time I saw him at church.

The one downside is I could get carried away with this attitude. He would lose interest because I treated him too much like a friend, instead of a romantic interest. But hey! I still kept the pressure to a minimum!

3. My world didn’t end if he didn’t ask me on a second date. After all, I was only his third choice. His first choice was available the next weekend! I was free to accept another date with another friend!

4. I wasn’t too physically easy. I’m not going to kiss him if I’m only his second choice! When I’m more of his priority, then we’ll talk! In reality, guys don’t like it when girls put out easily. Trust me, I know. When they say they like it, they mean in the way they like food. Taco Bell gets the job done. It’s cheap and easy. Cafe Rio is even better. There is a bit more waiting, it’s more expensive, but so good when you finally sit down! Red Iguana? Well, that’s luxury, right there! The waiting is atrociously long, the prices on the higher range for mexican food, but SO WORTH THE WAIT. Be a Red Iguana kinda girl!
5. I literally was his second choice, and it was easier to accept. If a guy is going on dates with four different girls a week, he isn’t a player. He is doing his dating job. If a girl is accepting three dates a week with different guys, she isn’t a skank looking for free meals. It’s her job to get to know different guys!!! At the end of the day, we have to be okay with that concept. Dating is about getting to know different people until you find one you like. When you kiss someone or agree to be in a committed relationship, THEN you stop dating others. If you continue to date others, then the labels “player” and “skank” become appropriate.

Once I calmed down about dating, it became less stressful. I was a chill girl and the boys noticed. I was still friends with Ryan, so Nick felt comfortable in going out with me. Boys want to minimize the risks just as much as the girls. So make it easy for them! Once you get this kind of reputation, the dates will come rolling in! 

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