• Confused About Dating? 5 Tips to Making It Easier

    Dr. Gary Brown, relationships, dating in LA, therapy in LAThe scenario plays out over and over.

    As soon as a date is set, whether is the first or third, the cycle starts.

    Nervousness.

    What do I wear? Is my favorite shirt clean?

    Will they be interested in my day?

    Will they be happy to see me or staring at their phone the whole time?

    Should I bring a gift? Oh God, what would I bring?

    Is the restaurant I chose ok? What if they have food issues?

    And on and on…

    It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

    Each foray into dating can be scary. There is an important question to ask though. How much of this pressure are we putting on ourselves?

    Nobody wants to be emotionally tortured by dating. Each date doesn’t need to be backed by hours of anxiety and worry. Ultimately, this stress will come through on your date. He or she may not say anything, but they will notice your unsettledness during the course of the evening.

    Here’s what I want to share with you: don’t try so hard.

    I hear your reply, “Oh sure! Easy for you to say!”

    I didn’t say it would be EASY to not stress and worry about your dates. But consider, what do all that stress and worry get you in the end?

    Not much. Breaking the stress-out habit can be tough at first. It’s become a habit or ritual for you now. Habit can be changed! It’s a process to become a bit more at ease when dating. But man, is it worth it!

     

    Five Ways to Make Dating Easier

     

    Treat dating like your life is a movie and you are the Casting Director

    Many clients, friends, and family have found the following tip to be very helpful when dating. Think of dating in this way: your life is really like a play or a movie. In the movie of your life, there are going to be certain characters. You are the leading lady or leading man. Dating is simply the act of you auditioning people to play the role of your partner in life.

    Dr. Gary Brown, relationships, dating in LA, therapy in LA

    Your job as the Casting Director of your life is to continue auditioning until you find the right person to fit this crucial part. This helps take off some pressure because you know that you are probably going to need to conduct more than one audition to find your leading man or woman.

     

    CALL the person prior to the date…even if you’re afraid!

    Calling your date before you go out can be a great ice-breaker. I know. In today’s world of texting and messaging, sometimes an actual phone call becomes a lesser priority, but it shouldn’t.

    So why do I suggest this? Simple. Hearing each other’s voice is a great way to get over nervousness and feel more comfortable when you are together. Sometimes it’s just a little thing like a phone call that can ease a lot of inner tension.

    But you ARE nervous! Well, that’s ok. Reach down deep inside and grab your bravery and get to dialing anyway! The person on the other end of the line may be just as nervous as you, or shy, or worried about making a good impression, or, or, or…. You get the idea. Consider this phone call an olive branch of connection for your relationship. Sometimes someone just has to do it first and great things can follow!

     

    Be your true authentic self because you are good enough as you are!

    It’s not unusual, especially if you’re younger, to worry about “Will I be liked” by the other person. And, in an attempt to avoid them NOT liking you, parts of your personality may change slightly, or you aren’t as honest with your opinions. This is a disservice to you AND your date.

    Despite the temptation to try to make yourself more appealing by being aggregable to something (even when you really don’t want to be), don’t do it. Your authentic, honest, real self is infinitely more attractive to someone in the long run. Simply being yourself will relieve some of that pressure we talked about at the beginning of this article. It’s easier to be ourselves than to be a chameleon – constantly changing to adapt to what we think the other person wants us to be.

     

    Keep an open mind

    It’s so easy for our imaginations and expectations to run away from us. Especially if you are really wanting a potential suitor to end up being “the one.” You’ve read his or her profile numerous times, interpreted anything you can possibly interpret for hidden meaning and nuance. You may have even stalked any other social media accounts you’ve found. All this causing you to form an opinion about the person before you’ve even had a real, in-person conversation!

    Dr. Gary Brown, relationships, dating in LA, therapy in LA

    If you have too many expectations going into the date itself, you’re sure to be disappointed. Whether it’s the location, or the other person’s looks, or behavior, or intelligence. If you have the interaction all planned out, then it probably won’t end up being what you thought.

    Instead, go with the information you’ve been provided and resist the temptation to overanalyze. Let the person speak for themselves when you meet, so to speak; let their behavior and personality influence your impression of them. You might be surprised with what you discover! Listening makes for a better audition!

     

    Keep some perspective: Not all dates are worth writing home about

    Sometimes they just aren’t great. There can be lots of reasons for this – stress at work, fatigue by one or both of you, some other distraction. It could also be a compatibility issue. After one or two dates, it may become clear that the chemistry just isn’t there.

    Don’t internalize this. Simply because the date didn’t go as planned doesn’t mean it reflects on you personally. Consider that an option that didn’t happen to work out. Moving on! Next audition! Be persistent and you will very likely find yourself in a situation where you are both giving it a “two thumbs” up! Which leads to my final point…

    Dr. Gary Brown, relationships, dating in LA, therapy in LA

     

    Be Optimistic

    I know that dating can be tough. I totally empathize with this. I have had many clients in my office over the years who need some encouragement navigating those rough waters. Every person and every circumstance is different, but there is one thing they ALL have in common. Once they got the hang of going with the flow, having more confidence in themselves, and not viewing each date as a do-or-die situation, they all enjoyed the journey so much more!

     

    I would love to help you enjoy the journey more. Please reach out to me! I’m happy to have a free 15-minute phone call with you about your experiences and perhaps see how you can make dating more tolerable and even FUN!

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