Disclaimer alert: You might not like what I’m about to say if you’re someone who is, um, e-x-t-r-e-m-e-l-y uncomfortable with the whole dating process. The truth, however, is that disliking or even hating dating is a sign that you have some sort of mental block that is getting in the way of you having a good experience dating.
True, dating ushers in all sorts of unknowns: Will he be funny? Is she attractive in person? Will he be an awful jerk? Will she like my weird little quirks? But dating shouldn’t unleash rabid insecurities; if it does, it’s a sign that you haven’t done your part in dealing with your issues so that you can put them to bed for good. While it’s normal to have some minor insecurities and anxieties, dating shouldn’t be an awful experience. If it’s awful for you, it means that it’s high time for a mental shift.
I divide these two opposite groups of people into those who like dating (the likers) and those who hate it (the haters).
Looking for proof that you’re attractive vs. knowing it – and I’m not talkin’ ‘bout appearance.
From a rational, bird’s eye view, being attractive isn’t just about appearance. The likers of dating don’t focus on things they can’t control, such as physical beauty. Listen, we don’t all look like Brad and Angelina, but we simply don’t need to, either! Yeah, if you’re trying to star in the year’s summer blockbuster, you probably need to be a 9 or 10, no doubt. But most daters are looking for someone normal – and within a normal range of beauty, intelligence, and so forth. People who like dating – or, at least, don’t hate it – have a self-esteem where they see themselves as an overall composite of characteristics. The dating liker thinks to herself, ‘No, I’m not Gwyneth Paltrow-thin or Sofia Vergara-beautiful, but I’ve got a good job, I’m funny, and I know how to have a good time.’ The goal is to see yourself as having characteristics that attract others, characteristics which make you attractive overall as a person. That attitude is the attitude that not only gets phone numbers – but gets suitors to call you back again and again. In a nutshell, it’s a person’s personality that keeps someone interested; physical appearance merely attracts their eye in the beginning or keeps them interested for a few weeks.
Haters, on the other hand, don’t like the stress of knowing whether a new date is going to find them attractive. That’s a lot of pressure, which is why so many people hate dating. Readjust your mindset to tell yourself, ‘I’m going to manage to have some kind of fun on this date, no matter who shows up!’
Meeting ‘The One’ vs. meeting a new character on the periphery of your social life.
Simply put, the likers are open to new social experiences. They view dating as a sort of public happy hour, one where you get together with someone new and converse with someone you might not otherwise have the opportunity to get to know. Likers aren’t dead set on meeting a deadline to find ‘The One,’ as they tend to accept that meeting people you like happens in a more laid-back, organic way. Likers live by the motto, ‘If it’s meant to be, it will be.’ This approach to dating is much healthier because it takes the pressure off everyone involved.
Haters, on the other hand, tend to be rigid, overly focused on a set physical type, and picky to a fault. (When the music stops, it’s the picky ones who will find in the end that they don’t have a chair.)
‘It’s a numbers game’ vs. ‘Two people are destined to meet and fall in love.’
Though they may be perfectly kind people when you get to know them, Hollywood producers of silly, far-fetched romantic comedies have totally messed with the minds of our culture. The idea that love is destined or fated – well, if that’s been your experience, you need to start to doing infomercials and selling that magic potion. Likers of dating don’t overthink things, understanding that dating is a numbers game: the more people you meet, the higher your chance of connecting with someone you like. Likers approach dating in a sort of disciplined, gotta-do-it-for-your-health mindset. Instead of focusing on the negatives, they say to themselves, ‘I’m sure if I keep putting myself out there, sooner or later I’ll meet someone and feel a click.’
Haters hate dating because they tend to be overly emotional, at times, and impulsive – they want to meet The One right.this.minute. No, no, no, ladies and gents. It takes time to figure out if someone is right for you, so get out there and meet as many people as possible!
If I had one wish at this moment – and that wish couldn’t be spent on me, let’s be honest! – I wish for all the haters a new, let’s-drain-the-swamp mindset. If you’ve been one of the millions of dating haters who’s suffered through what could have been a pretty decent experience, I wish something different for you in your future dating. I wish you romantic patience with a touch of – wait for it – cockiness. A little ‘cocky’ never hurt, so feel free to think, ‘I know I’m worth it, and that – I never second-guess.’
Are you a liker or hater of dating?
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.