A couple meeting in a cafe

How to go from 0 dates in 4 years, to 60 dates in 2…

‘So how did you find them?’, people ask me when I tell them I had 60 dates in 2 years. ‘How did you find all those fine, potential partners?’ The answer: I didn’t. When you search for a perfect potential partner, you will end up finding no one because basically, that’s the wrong place to start.

How can you tell by looking at an online dating profile, or scanning a room full of people, or walking past someone in the street that they are a potential partner? All you can see is roughly their age, height and gender. You cannot tell anything about their character, how caring they are or how polite. Let alone determine their values, belief system or their moral grounds.

So in order to establish whether or not someone is a potential mate you have to first date them. You have to meet them face to face, have a conversation with them, listen to their views on life and love. Getting to know someone – really getting to know someone, takes time. And lots of it.

How did I manage to have 60 dates? Simply by accepting every guy who asked me out, who was reasonably within my age range and had some sort of faith and who I deemed not dangerous. That was all I knew. I met them online, in church, at conferences, through friends, at parties and singles gatherings. Mind you, I never had a date between my 24th and 28th birthday, and then I went from zero to sixty in two years time.

I learned how to flirt, how to open up, how to start a conversation. I learnt how to deal with rejection, how to not be embarrassed or insulted when I got replies from only 1 out of 10 messages I sent online. I learnt how to say ‘hi’ to the guy sitting next to me at church. I learnt how to overcome my massive shyness at parties and to have fun without worrying whether or not the guy I was talking to was ‘marriage material’. It was all so freeing, and so very character shaping. I wish I had done it years earlier, but I hadn’t, and here I was, working on my relational skills and both dreading and loving the process.

I strongly believe that relational skills can be learned and developed. They help you to connect to another person, not looking for what they can bring you, but for what you can add to their life. Connecting like this is a totally different experience than looking for a mate, let alone looking for ‘the One’. It helps you to open up and smile, to be yourself, and to relax in the presence of someone you might find attractive in some way.

The funny thing is that when you do relax and open up, you may find yourself getting a whole lot more attention! Dates start to come more easily and you attract a nicer kind of person. Which is all the more helpful in finding someone you might actually want to spend the rest of your life with.

Attractive people are not beautiful people dressed in designers clothes and wearing lots of makeup or well-cut hair. Attractive people are nice people, gentle, friendly, engaging people who show interest in you as a person, not as a potential ‘may fit the list’ sort of mate. And those are the people you want to become friends with and maybe more for the rest of your life. It starts with being such a person.

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