How To Stop Wasting Your Time Dating The Wrong People
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When you stop chasing the wrong people, you start giving the right ones the chance to find you.
If you feel like you’ve fallen victim to negative dating patterns in the past, rest assured that you’re not alone.
I have worked with and spoken to so many people who feel like they’re spinning in circles when it comes to dating.
Where are the good men/women? Is anyone even interested in commitment anymore? How can we filter out the wrong people so we improve our chances of meeting the right ones?
Here’s one common thread I find: Focusing on the wrong qualities.
We live in a highly image-focused society. Our social media feeds look like magazine spreads. Our Instagram Reels look like blockbuster movies. Our selfies are carefully angled and lit to achieve an ideal look.
This, among many other societal factors, has caused a shift in what we look for in our partners. Subsequently, we see the degradation of the “LTR” (Long term relationship) and it seems to become more difficult by the day to find someone who we can actually take seriously.
What if – then – we begun shifting what we were focusing on?
I never advocate for lowering your standards and I’d certainly never advise a reader nor a client to settle for the wrong person just for the sake of being in a relationship. The wrong relationship will make you feel lonelier than staying single ever will.
That being said, if we continue focusing on shorter-term qualities and traits, we could easily overlook the things that will actually help us build and maintain a healthy relationship over time.
We must really begin taking the time to be honest with ourselves when getting to know someone new.
How do they treat their friends and family? What are their past relationship patterns like? Do they keep people in their lives for a long time, or not? Do they respect servers, bartenders, baristas, and those they’re not trying to impress on a date? Do they display compassion and empathy? Do they share your inner-most values and vision for the future?
How do we shift this perspective and change what we value in a teammate?
I have a great friend who is a very successful businessman. One of the interesting things he always says is that sometimes the least sexy businesses are actually the most successful.
A lot of high-revenue businesses don’t hold the visual prestige one may expect. Construction companies, manufacturing plants for consumables supplying people with things they need, rather than things they would gaze at longingly through a window on 5th Avenue.
Just think about the constant demand for paper towels, hand sanitizers, or trash can lids.
The truth is, he’s right — but not just about business. This same concept translates into relationships as well. When we chase after the pretty things, we often lose sight of the less exciting traits of a person that will actually make a relationship work. We often talk about the importance of honesty, trust, or mutual respect — but I want to pay homage to the less sexy, but more essential qualities of a great romantic partner.
They are reliable.
Reliability, how boring. Reliability is the reason you buy a Toyota Corolla, not excitement. It’s not glamorous or sexy or particularly interesting — but you know what? When you walk outside in the morning and turn the key you know that sucker is going to start up without a flinch no matter how much it has been through.
A great romantic partner is someone you can count on without having to worry about it. You know they are going to be there for you when you need it. You know they are going to stand behind you when you need support, beside you when you need a teammate, and in front of you when you need protection. You don’t have to wonder if they are going to do what they said they are going to do or if they are going to flake out on you last minute, because they are reliable.
They are thoughtful.
In relationships and in life, I believe many of us overlook the importance of thoughtfulness. Life is fast-paced and we often get so wrapped up in our day-to-day that we lose sight of how important it is to work to make our significant other happy as well. This includes learning one another’s likes and dislikes, supporting each other during difficult times, and encouraging each other during the good times.
It includes paying attention to small details and doing special things accordingly that we know each other will like. Being thoughtful helps us live, connect, and love more deeply with others.
They have integrity.
C.S. Lewis once said “Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is looking.” While this holds true in all aspects of life, having this as a quality is of paramount importance in an intimate relationship, as we are trusting our heart, feelings, and emotional well-being to this person. A person who talks one way and acts another will be nearly impossible to build a real relationship with.
They’re intellectually curious.
A person who is intellectually curious about the world around them will never become boring or run out of things to talk about. They will hold our attention as well as challenge and motivate us to learn and absorb more as well. This is an important, but unappreciated quality that helps to keep relationships fresh and exciting.
Happiness in relationships stems from the ability to be honest with each other, which in turn stems from the comfort of knowing you can open up without being judged. Being non-judgmental is not a quality you will find on one of Cosmo’s “10 steamy things that turn him/her on” lists, but it is even more important.
They’re socially versatile.
It is not realistic to think that every person will always thrive in all different types of scenarios. A situation you love to be in might mortify your significant other. But, that being said, I believe it is important to develop a versatility in ourselves that allows us to be comfortable in a variety of environments.
They’re supportive of your interests.
While many people think that sharing common interests is important to a relationship [and it is, to an extent] it is not that high on the list. This is because as two different individuals, we can discover new things through each other when we experience each other’s separate interests — and also partake in them with our partner because we know it is something they enjoy.
If you are with someone who puts on a sour face or wants to leave early any time they are doing something you want to do, but you are happy and willing to do everything they enjoy, one can easily see how this would quickly become an issue.
Optimism is not being blind to reality, it is choosing to see the positive side of a situation regardless of how hard you have to look for it. Someone who ignores the silver lining because of the dark center will become emotionally exhausting — particularly if you always have to convince them the bright side exists.
They’re willing to communicate.
Communication is the backbone to a relationship. Without the ability and willingness to be honest with each other, there will be conflicts due to secrets that should not be secrets. If we are unable to tell our significant other what makes us happy, what bothers us, what is important to us, or what our concerns are — how can we ever expect them to learn and adjust accordingly?
Passion for us, yes. But also passion for life. Passion for a purpose, or a hobby, or a business, or a charity, or something. When someone lives with passion, they bring that excitement and curiosity with them to all areas, including their relationship with you.
Patience is a virtue, as they say. Being patient allows us the ability to make those around us more comfortable with us by not rushing them or making them feel pressured to do, be, or act a certain way. It is the foundation for being more easy-going and amicable. Not to mention, being patient reduces stress because we understand that certain things are just not worth stressing about.
We already value honesty, but we don’t usually talk about qualities like sincerity which are often an underlying trait of the honest. When someone is sincere, they are naturally truthful and don’t just tell you things [ie., compliments], they make you feel what they mean.
They’re open minded.
Raise your hand if you want to try to build a relationship with someone who is so stuck in their ways that they refuse to do, learn, or try anything new…
No matter how kindhearted or giving someone is, lack of appreciation for their efforts will, eventually, cause them to walk away. A partner who is appreciative of things we do for them [no matter how big or small] is one we will continue to want to do those things for.
They’ve got depth.
A deep connection can really only form when two people have the depth necessary to cultivate it. Physical attraction is important. A great smile is important. Someone who takes care of themselves physically is important. But it is not important enough to bring a couple through hard times. It is not important enough to build a foundation on. It is not important enough to actually make someone want to commit to you.
We, as a society, spend too much time emphasizing the importance of improving the body and not enough time discussing the importance of also improving the mind and personality. Too much of one or the other, and our relationships will flounder.
The balance is the key.
Maybe — just maybe, if we started valuing these qualities in each other and looked further beyond the surface, our love would be stronger and our relationships would last longer. I think if you give it a try, you’ll be glad you did.
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