On Dating and Social Rejection
Many singletons worldwide find themselves bouncing between dates, cripplingly self-conscious and eager to find the right person for them, only winding up disappointed and filled with self-doubt over and over again.
The dating subculture is notorious for being nothing short of demoralizing. That’s not to say that dating and relationships can’t be positive. But rather, our hopes of making other people like us often leave us feeling disheartened and asking many questions about ourselves.
When rejected by our romantic partners, we have a tendency to point the finger at ourselves. What did I do wrong? Why didn’t they like me? What should I change?
And so we try to change. We go to the gym or shake up our style, change our habits or seek to become better - so strong is our desire for social acceptance.
But perhaps this is the wrong way to go about dating. Perhaps the problem isn’t us at all, but rather, the ways in which we approach our relationships with others.
How to Become Irresistible
I once read an article entitled ‘How to Become Irresistible’ - something like that, anyway. It said that there were three main components to irresistibility - humility, curiosity, and empathy. That always stuck with me.
You see, we’re all running around trying to make our abs show, keep up with fashion trends and groom our beards. And while, yes, these things can help, they certainly aren’t enough when it comes to building deep and meaningful relationships with our dates.
Often, making people like us can be as simple as letting our guard down a little.
Approaching our conversations with humility allows others to see that we, just like those we meet, are flawed. I’m a firm believer that nobody likes a ‘perfect’ person. That guy with the six-figure income, gorgeous wife and fantasy life in LA - that guy sucks. Nobody likes him. And that isn’t because he’s a bad person, but because nobody can relate to him.
Nobody likes a perfect person because nobody feels comfortable around that type of person. They feel intimated and inferior, as though this fantasy guy has all of his shit in the right places and here we are struggling to get up before 11am and eat a piece of fruit every once in a while.
The first rule of irresistibility is to embrace humility. Let your guard down a little. Stop trying to be Mr. Perfect - he doesn’t exist, and nobody wants to be around him anyway.
In the words of Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
If there’s anything I’ve learned about social psychology, it’s that Dale was right on the money. Nothing warms a person’s heart like showing them genuine interest. Your date? Stop running a monologue about your business plans or career aspirations and ask about them every once in a while.
Sometimes, simply showing another person a little curiosity can be the first step towards building a long-lasting relationship. You should try it.
Empathy isn’t just telling people that you understand how they feel - it’s meaning it. It’s about genuinely stepping into another person’s shoes and seeing things through their eyes.
It’s one of the most endearing qualities a person can possess because it shows that they just get you. They know what it’s like to be you, and suddenly the two of you are united by a sense of familiarity in whatever it is you’re discussing.
As long as we continue to show warmth and understanding, making connections with others remains easy. When we open ourselves up not only to express who we truly are but to see things from our partner’s perspective, we invite one another to feel comfortable in each other's.
In simply displaying true empathy towards others, making a decided effort to understand their thoughts and feelings, we allow our relationships to blossom.
Our dates will feel relieved to finally be sitting opposite with somebody who truly understands, and suddenly, our and their fear of social rejection dissolves. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
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Written by Adrian Drew
Self-help blogger and freelance writer. Personal development writer and founder and editor of Mind Cafe (https://medium.com/mind-cafe), a Medium publication.