Let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time, I was a 20-something and then 30-something single (I didn’t meet my husband until I was 34) out navigating the Chicago dating scene. I’ve always loved meeting new people, but when it came to dating I wouldn’t go out with just anyone—I had a pretty extensive list of requirements for my potential suitors:
My guy had to be at least six feet tall, nicely built with a full head of dark hair, he needed to be intelligent, fun, laid-back, and he had to like sports. Facial hair was a bonus! He had to look put together but not dress too nicely in a metrosexual type of way and…I think you get the point: I. Was. PICKY.
But then a friend introduced me to *David one night at a party and it changed my perspective for the rest of my dating life.
Even though I wasn’t physically attracted to David, when he asked me out, I accepted the date since we had a mutual friend. He took me to a lovely little Italian restaurant and the more we talked, the more I found myself feeling something completely unexpected for him. Upon taking a deeper look, I saw a good man with a kind soul who loved his family, and that was uber yummy and attractive to me. There I was in the middle of enjoying my rigatoni primavera, and I found myself enjoying him too… I was having an awesome time on the date.
It was a pretty eye-opening experience for me. Even though, in the end David wasn’t my Prince Charming, I’m sharing this story with you in the hopes that you don’t let someone pass you by because he parts his hair on the left instead of the right or she listens to country music and you like rap.
We’ve all heard the cliché, “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and I can see you rolling your eyes at me right now, but hear me out: if you can change your outlook on dating to become more open-minded, your life will change.
Are you the kind of person who has a list of everything your date must have to make it to a second date? Do you find yourself scrolling through profiles online and dismissing 99% of them because they just don’t make the cut?
Look, having high standards for your future partner is super important, and it shows you have a genuine respect for yourself and know what you deserve. But if you truly do respect and love yourself, then you will do what you can to meet the right guy or girl for you.
I’m not saying you should throw out the list completely, but let down some of those walls and be a bit more open to something or someone slightly different than you pictured. I promise you will feel lighter when you take away all of those restrictions.
So how can you do this?
· Pick your top three non-negotiables and stick to those—whether or not he has facial hair or she has never seen an episode of Game of Thrones doesn’t really matter in the long run.
· Say yes to the date. Allow yourself the opportunity to be pleasantly surprised—you never know!
· When you’re on the date, listen to the person and get to know their essence. Ask yourself these questions: How do I feel in his or her presence? Am I having fun? Am I intrigued and want to know more about them? Check in with yourself to learn more about what you like or don’t like about the person or the experience. Whether or not there is a second date, take those lessons with you into your next relationship.
I truly believe that every person is put in our path for a reason. So, give it a shot and most importantly….have FUN!