Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Dating in Utah: The Importance of Being Earnest

There comes a point when it happens, you know the feeling, the feeling of I'm really interested in this girl or guy, you know I hate to use the "C" word but there isn't a better way to put it you have a "crush." Is there anything more stressful in the world than a crush? The constant pondering if there's any hope of development, or just wondering what she/he thinks about you? You toss and turn in your bed at night in anticipation of something developing. You go out of your way just to make sure you run into them and what seem like serendipitous moments to hopefully ignite the spark. OK maybe I'm exaggerating a bit but when you have feelings for someone the one thing you hope for more than anything is that the feeling is mutual. But how do you know? How can you delve into the psychological depths of their soul. My experience as a "licensed psychology major" has taught me that unfortunately there isn't a magic formula to read people's minds but I can at least talk about some hints that I've learned and that can help you in the future.
1. Quality time
Nothing is a bigger indicator to me that someone is interested in you than someone going out of their way to spend time with you. It's also the best way to build a secure relationship on top of that. Even if the person does nothing more than sends you a text to ask how your day went out of the blue, it's a pretty indicator that he/she might be interested in who you are at the least.  If a person seems to have excuses every time you try to do something chances are it's just not the right time at the moment or they aren't into you. Either way, it's probably better for you to spend your time else where at the moment,  if it's supposed to work out, you might just have to be patient and wait a bit to try again. 
2. Body Language
You can tell a lot about how people feel about you just by watching the way they interact with you. Like I said in my blog about first dates, unnecessary touching is always a good sign. You can also tell a lot by the way he/she is interacting with you. If a person is comfortable with you and wants you to be comfortable with them, they will often "mirror" your actions to try to convey a message of understanding and affection. Most people aren't aware that they are doing it so it's a pretty good indicator of how they feel. Other indicators include their tone of voice and facial expressions like excessive smiling and laughing. Understanding body language can go a long way to helping you understand if a person is interested in you.
3. If at first you don't succeed, just ask!
I know that some people love "the chase" and the games that come from the uncertainty of dating but it never hurts to have that constant inner conflict resolved. If you have feelings for a person and can't tell if the feeling is mutual, do your best to let them how much you care about them, and if that doesn't get your answer, ASK THEM! There is no point wasting countless hours stressing yourself. I speak from personal experience, I can't how many times I've sat around wasting time thinking a crush because I was too scared to open my mouth but if anything is ever going to happen, you're going to have be open with your communication at some point so why sit around playing pointless games and to top it all off you might save yourself an ulcer down the road! Any opportunity to save your stomach from eating itself is worth, words of wisdom to live by!
Anyways I hope this helps, I know that it might seem like common sense but I understand that dating isn't easy especially when you really want things to work out. Just remember to be yourself and the rest will follow!  If a person can't respect who you are, then they probably aren't worth your time! just remember that!
Now a special treat, an auto-tuned version of me singing "The Lady in Red" by Chris De Burgh, just another great self promotion tactic

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Dating in Utah: The Wonderfully Awkward World of Online Dating

I don't know what's more pathetic, the fact that i'm writing this blog or the fact that I actually have material to write this blog with, so with that caveat being aforementioned, these are "my confessions". When I started this blog about three weeks ago I asked everyone for ideas and someone had the great idea, hey why don't you write a blog about online dating vs classic dating. To be honest, I had never really even considered the whole online dating thing before, it seemed weird to have your first real connection with a person come over the internet; it seemed insincere or at least superficial so I had always been weary. So when that same person suggested that I talk about my personal experiences I was sick to my stomach. Nevertheless, I took her advice and took the biggest leap of faith I had in a long time. So about two weeks ago I voluntarily joined the world of online dating. The fact of the matter is that the whole thing still felt superficial, I felt like the girls at the beginning of "The Social Network"(fantastic movie if you haven't seen it) who spend the night comparing their dorm mates on Hot or Not for hours, I found myself saying things like "I'd date that" or asking my eleven year old sister for her advice on who I should date. Little did I know that everyone's profile I looked at could see that I was for lack of a better term, Facebook Stalking them...   It was kinda humiliating to say the least, granted it was probably Mark Zuckerberg's fault for making Facebook stalking your crush so anonymously but needless to say I was a bit more careful about who's profile I was looking at. So my first couple of days were unfruitful, the experiment was off to a rocky start. Then I got a few flirts, I was intrigued, some of the girls were pretty cute but I didn't know how to really establish a connection with a "flirt", come to find out flirts are nothing more than the equivalent to a poke on Facebook, a farce to get attention(Sorry Destiny and Rachel, I still don't get why poke me) so I was once again frustrated with my options. In the middle of my dark confusion, I found a ray of hope a message from a girl we'll call "Ashley" mainly because it's the most common female name for girls in the their early to mid twenties. I came home on a Sunday after I had rudely been interrupted from my Sunday football nap to go to the weekly rounds in the ward. I checked my e-mail and lo and behold I had a message on my singles website, problem was I hadn't paid yet, so after a quick $15.00 investment, I read the message from "Ashley". It turned out that contrary to online stereotypes, she was completely forthcoming and outgoing, and attractive on top of it. I gave her my number and she even went out of her way to send me a text message. Maybe this online dating thing wasn't so bad, I mean I had put minimal effort but I was already having more success than I typically would pursuing people I already knew. So I focused my attention on a first date with "Ashley", which came pretty easily. She was different than most girls that I've dated in the past but in all the right ways.  The truth of the matter was that if we would have met under any different circumstances, we probably wouldn't have ever tried to date each other but because of the online setting we had a good time and there's definitely potential for at least a second date. It was completely worth my time and money to have the opportunity to meet people that I would otherwise have never had the chance to get to know. I really hope to get on a second date soon with "Ashley", she opened my horizons a lot and kind of renewed my hope in dating, which had seemed to be hopeless cause as of late. So obviously this experiment is still in the beginning phase but so far I've gotten past the awkward phase, and probably most importantly I've came to realize that there are good girls that are worth dating anywhere you look, even on online dating sites.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Dating in Utah: From First Date to Beyond: How to Turn First Dates into Third and Fourth Dates

I'm pretty sure that everyone knows what it feels like to be on a first date. I'm pretty sure that there might not be a more anxiety-provoking experience known to man especially if you feel like you might really like the person you are dating. It can also provoke a different type of anxiety if you're absolutely dreading the idea of who is about to step onto your front porch. I think the reason that first dates seem to be a bit more stressful is because we don't really know what to expect because every first date is different. I can honestly say personally that I really haven't been on a bad first date but I know plenty of other people with horror stories about creepers trying to get them to move to their ranch in Mexico or literally saying two words the entire date. However there have been plenty of times that for whatever reason I've had a great first date but I couldn't get a second date to save my life. So I set out on a mission to find out what both girls and guys expect from a first date and how to get to a second date and eventually a relationship if the interest is mutual. So let's talk about some of the keys to a successful first date and how to know if a second date is on the way... P.S. thanks to everyone who helped me out by answering my questions so candidly, you guys gave me a lot more than I was looking for so this article practically ended up writing itself/
1. Keep it simple:
Like I was already talking about earlier there is already enough awkwardness going into a first date so don't put anymore pressure on the date by going somewhere expensive or elaborate. A lot of girls really feel like this is putting a lot of expectations on something that should be an opportunity for experimentation for people to test to see if there is any chemistry between the people on the date. Pressure usually just makes thing more difficult have something simple planned. You could try a picnic in the park or hiking during the summer. Girls do appreciate originality so try to make an impression however don't go over the top spending a lot of money.
2. Leave plenty of opportunity for conversation:
When I asked people what they considered a good first date an overwhelming majority of people mentioned that conversation is key to developing any sort of relationship in the future. You need to be open enough to make the other person feel important by sincerely showing interest in who they are. At the same time, perhaps more importantly, you have to be open about yourself. I'm not saying reveal deep dark secrets about your family on a first date, but I am saying that the standard yes/no answers and superficiality won't cut it if you want something to really grow out of the first date. Be honest and forthcoming about your plans and who you are as a person, it'll make your date feel more comfortable when you ask him/her about who they are and what their plans are for the future.
3. The "Spark"
I'm going to start this next section with a disclaimer, I think the "spark" metaphor is one of my least favorite metaphors in the world. It makes romance sound like a magic trick, like attraction is something that comes out of thin air but I digress. Physical, emotional and mutual attraction are definitely important factors when it comes to dating. If you don't have things in common or if you don't have similar sense of humor chances are that there won't be any further development in a relationship... Physical attraction is important, it's like the fancy label on department store clothing it draws you in, but in the long run if it's nothing more than fancy packaging it'll lose it's luster. It's worth putting a little extra effort into your appearance on a first date but it's more important to be yourself and confident in who you are. There is nothing more attractive than confidence and someone who is secure with who they are. Secure people are going to have more success dating because it's easier to feel comfortable with someone who feels comfortable with who they are. If don't feel secure yet, it's ok, "fake it til you make it" because eventually you'll get to the point that you really are secure with who you are. So bottom line if you want a "spark" then be the best you you can be.
4. Be Honest Please!
The only thing more difficult than a first date might be the next couple of days after wondering how the other person felt especially if you really think that there was some potential. Instead of sending mixed signals and constantly waiting for the text back or phone call just be up front. Girls if a guy says he wants to do something with you again and you aren't really interested be upfront and tell him the truth, that there wasn't that "spark" or connection, be kind but in the long run the guy will really appreciate your honesty. Guys if you aren't interested but you can tell that the girl might be, be honest please! If you want to avoid conflict or hurt feelings just tell the girl that you really don't see a romantic relationship developing, she might be hurt or depressed but what's worse leading someone on for months or being upfront with them and telling them the truth. This doesn't mean you have to stop being friends, most of the time it will make the friendship grow but you don't have to worry about the romantic feelings anymore if things are out in the open. Don't let your ego get in the way, if a girl/guy isn't interested in you, it isn't a personal insult on who you are or what you stand for, it just allows for closure so that you can move on in your quest for eternal perfection.
5. Quality Time
Once you get past the guesswork of the first couple of dates, make sure you take the time to really form a substantial connection, find out who the person you are dating really is, don't just make superficial conversation  but at the same time it doesn't all have to be super deep, the most important thing is to develop a real friendship where you care as much about them as you do yourself. Some of the best way to do this is to spend time with them whenever possible. You can study together, watch TV, play sports whatever your mutual interests are, take time out of your schedule to be with them. There is nothing that shows someone that you are really interesting in taking things further than trying to spend time with them just because you want to be with them! This is the key to forming a significant relationship
6. Body language
Finally if you find yourself on a first date and you think things are going well but you aren't sure how well, go out of your way to get a little closer to the person you're on a date with. Body language is the most important way we communicate because we say things through body language that we couldn't or don't want to express through our words. If someone is really feeling comfortable with you proxemics is one of the best ways to tell how comfortable. If a person lets you into their personal space it is a very important and powerful indicator that the person is comfortable with you. Don't underestimate the power of body language, if a person is laughing and smiling a lot during a date and you get a good hug at the end of the night, 95% chance they had a good time and would be interested in pursuing at least a second date. Just a thought to keep in mind.

 Well I hope people find this helpful and that this helps make your dates more successful in the future, make sure to check back next week as I delve into the wacky world of online dating for single LDS kids. Needless to say I'm scared to death...