Today I found myself thinking about relationships and more precisely – relationship/dating advice. It seems that everyone on the dating scene these days is obsessed with what they should and shouldn’t do in order to attract/keep a partner. It’s enough to look at the articles flooding glossy magazines or visit a self-help/psychology books section in the nearest library. The tempting titles promise to teach you what and when to say, what to write in a text message after the first date, how to spend the dates, what to wear, how to gaze at the person, when and how to initiate a sexual intercourse. The myriad of bestselling book titles will range from “Dating Guru’s 101 Conversation Starters” to “The New Rules for Love, Sex, and Dating”.I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like this is starting to go way too far. I find myself asking: what happened to being authentic? Brought up by the pop culture, have we lost our sense of identity so much that we need to turn to it for advice on how to live our lives? Can’t we even start a conversation or come up with a creative way to spend time on our own, without the advice of the “experts”? Have our lives become nothing more but a played out theater, a lie in order to get what we want and who we want? Have we played the society’s game for so long that we have forgotten how to be true, authentic, vulnerable selves?
I’m honestly the last person to be treated as an authority in this particular subject, but I think that true love and a strong, long lasting relationship should start with both parts acting how they feel and being honest about who they truly are deep down. After all, isn’t it so that these small quirks and flaws are exactly what makes us cute and special in the eyes of the other person? Let’s face it – these books and articles which keep on repeating the same advice or on the contrary – contradicting one another, turn us all into a mass of identical, almost “factory made” robots. If every guy/girl coming up to you acted in the very same way and said exactly the same words, wouldn’t it be completely and utterly boring? There wouldn’t be much differentiating them one from another, would there? It makes me wonder whether the world of our grandparents and parents was in this aspect better since no one seemed to need all this advice in order to find a partner or get married.
In the end, the best advice you can ever get is to simply be real. Be your true, honest self and sooner or later, you will find someone who will love you for who you are. What’s more, you will feel good and relaxed with that person because you will know that you don’t have to pretend to be someone else when you’re around them. My biggest problem with the advice on seduction and dating was always that after acting in accordance to it for some time one has to finally grow tired with it and show their true personality. And once they do – the other person will inevitably feel fooled or even tell us that we’ve “changed” and there the problems begin.
If you’re single and you want to find someone, trust me, don’t go on a spiral of search and desperation Bridget Jones – style. Learn to embrace life as it comes and find what truly makes you feel happy. Build your own life before you invite anyone else to it. Nobody wants to enter an empty life that someone else is expecting them to fill in. It can never end good because sooner or later the other person needs to take a breath and indulge in their own passions for a while. You are already whole. You don’t need to find any lost part of your self or a second half. Romantic love is just one of the nice things life has to offer and finding a “partner in crime” who gets you can definitely be a positive experience. All I’m saying is that perhaps it shouldn’t be treated as the only and ultimate goal of our existence.
I love the article and you are so right!
Thank you! 🙂
I totally agree Magdalena. How long will you keep up the front of being someone your not if you start out that way. The person falling for you will not even really be in love with you, but with the fake picture you painted!
Great article Magdalena, but I would like to offer an opposing opinion. There are several truths that I would like to begin with. Often times, when we first meet somebody, we are putting effort towards representing our “best” selves. It doesn’t matter whether or not it’s a prospective lover, friend, boss, co-worker, or anybody else. I feel that in these situations we act like what we think an ideal person should act like, as we are likely seeking the approval of this new person/relationship (yes I know we shouldn’t “seek the approval” of anybody, but the reality is that we all do this to varying degrees). Second, we as humans are constantly changing and adapting. College in the early 20’s, a broken heart endured while 27, an amazing professional triumph when 35, the addition of children at age 38, death of a parent at 50, and other events throughout our lives are always modifying who we are and the lens through which we view life. With these things in mind I feel that striving towards learning how to better meet, attract, and get along with people is only an approach to improving ourselves. I believe you are right in that we shouldn’t use purely scripted material to meet and interact with each other. Even if we did, our cover would be quickly blown as the interaction continued. What the methods and techniques that these “experts” do is to open us up to the interactions in the first place so that we may then see what this other person is really about and determine whether or not they are a match. It also goes a long way towards abolishing anxiety about meeting new people, being rejected, and possibly never meeting the man/woman of your dreams.
Furthermore, this advice, when used properly, can help to maintain a long term relationship. We all consist of mostly the same desires and needs. We want our relationships to be exciting, fresh, passionate, trusting, caring, etc. etc. Well if the dating advice that we come across helps us to understand how to be that for other people (i.e. how to gaze in a lover’s eyes, what to say to make them feel cared for, what to do to make a date electric, etc.) then we are simply improving our inter-relational skill set and thus our overall effectiveness as a friend, intimate partner, and overall human being. Practicing these “dating skills” soon turns into habit and ultimately who you are. Love discussing this stuff and thanks for your thoughts!! : )
“Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.”
― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
Honesty is always the best policy. Everything you said is right on, Magdalena.
I loved what you said! As a woman who has gone through a long term marriage with kids, and then was divorced by her spouse, I can truly see the difference in what some say is ‘love’ and what isn’t. I love the idea of everyone knowing and being their true self and then joining up with someone who is his or her own true self with common interests. There is such power in a relationship like that. I would have to say on this second time around for me..I met my best friend while we were NOT at our best selves. We watched each other go through some horrible circumstances as our marriages both fell apart..both of us divorced by our spouses of 17 plus years. I always tell him that we have dated ‘backwards’. We had all the reality of life coming at us, and then, once that all calmed down, we began to date which led to a relationship. I would rather ‘see’ the other person and all their quirks right up front…it’s better that way. Good post!
So unbelievably true. Honesty is the real deal. Love how you’ve written this 🙂
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Wonderful writeup. I concor with with your idea and the fact that we should always discover who we are first before entering a relationship. In my article ‘what a man need’ http://oyelakindotun.com/what-a-man-need/ I highlighted the basic needs of a man or a lady before dating.
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Amen! Fab article
great idea but I never date anyone before lol