What It Means to Actively Engage in Your Love Life
Video #1: Dating Strategies
Video #2: Relationship Skills
1. Dating isn't about going out and finding someone. Having that idea is what makes it hard. Dating is about having a thriving social life.
This might sound daunting at first but our process is designed to make it easy. There are so many ways to meet new people without doing anything that you don't actually want to do. Now, this may require you to break some routines and be more engaged in your life than you usually are, so we're not saying it's easy, but it will ultimately make you happier.
Whatever you Love to do, there are great people that also Love those same things. Find ways to do things you Love in a way that involves other people.
If you like outdoor activities, join groups that do that. If you like to read, join a book club. Instead of going to the gym alone, join a fitness class or a yoga studio. Try a social app to find groups that connect you with people that share your interests--art, theater, movies, games, food, fitness, etc. Some examples are Nearify, Foursquare, Meetup, Nextdoor, MeetMyDog, etc, among the many online resources for connecting people with shared interests.
Take your existing interests to another level--become more committed to things than you usually are. Find what you Love and find ways to do it on a social level. You'll grow personally and socially at the same time.
Two things happen: you increase your network and your confidence. You are fueling your passion, bettering yourself, and taking action to make a significant change in your Life. Most people just talk about doing things like this and never follow through. Following through with this, in itself, will make you feel great about yourself.
There is a subtle but very important aspect to this part that should not be overlooked: You aren't doing this because you're trying to meet somebody. You are doing this because you are living your Best Life.
If you do it for any other reason it will be inauthentic and people will sense that. The best thing you can do for your future Love is to be the best person you can be when you meet them. You do all of this for you, not for them. Do it because you authentically want to better yourself.
In doing that, you will authentically connect with people that are also working on bettering themselves--the kind of people that you want to date.
2. Don't expect to find Love, expect to make friends.
When you're out there and engaged in activities that are exciting and fulfilling to you, you're also surrounded by people with similar interests. You're all growing and expanding your lives together.
This is an excellent environment to create friendships.
Not the kind of friendships in which you sit around and gossip together, but real friendships. The kind of friendships that support you in being the kind of person that you want to be in Life. The kind in which you have conversations with each other about what's really important and you get to know each other on a real level.
Dating is simply about being with people--you want to be around a lot of people. You want to meet a lot of people and practice having relationships with them. It doesn't really matter if they are men or women; ideally, you'll have a good mix of both. It doesn't matter if you're attracted to them or not. Clearly you're not going to marry someone you're not attracted to, but that doesn't mean you can't have an amazing friendship.
We treat dating like it's a mad search for "the one" in a massive sea of people. In this mad search, we become so concerned with "getting" someone that we forget to simply be a good friend and a good person--the kind of person someone would want to marry.
If you want to have an extraordinary Love, simply be an extraordinary friend and someone will fall in Love with you.
3. Don't make such a BIG DEAL out of it! Dating is really not a big deal.
If you are socially connected, becoming a better person every day, and being a great friend to people, you will effortlessly be surrounded by people and opportunities. You'll meet a lot of people that you like, and you'll find that often, they like you too.
In that environment, asking someone if they want to spend some time together for a cup of coffee or a meal or calling them just to say hi is not only easy but expected. You're going to receive invitations and be included in things. When you people invite you out, say "Yes" and go. If you're not romantically interested, be honest about that and go as friends.
You'll make friends, you'll meet their friends and their friends' friends.
When you meet someone you're attracted to, treat them the same way you treat everyone else, like a human being worthy of equal respect (not more or less). Never over-respect anyone, we are all equals. When you carry yourself in this way people will be attracted to you because it's attractive.
When you're interested in someone, meet them for coffee, spend 30 minutes with them. If there's chemistry, stay for another 30. If you like them, tell them you enjoyed their company and that you'd like to do it again. If they say yes, great! If they so no, NO BIG DEAL--there are plenty of people in the world.
People are people--they want friendship, connection, and Love. You know this because it's what you want too. Learn to give that and they'll give that right back to you. Keep doing this, and you'll have a full dating schedule that will continue until you meet someone that makes you want to stop seeing everyone else.
Like most people, you've probably had a few relationships that if you had known early on what you know now, you could've saved yourself a lot of trouble and heartache.
We know the feeling of being so into someone, trying so hard to make it work with them, and then in retrospect saying, "What was I thinking?" or "Why couldn't I see it then?" Most likely, it's because you didn't know what to look for.
Some people know exactly what to say and when to say it to keep you coming back for more, and sometimes you have to meet with a lot of pain and disappointment before you finally decide to move on from them.
The truth is that people are giving you signs telling you exactly what you can expect from them from the very beginning. Once you know what to look for and can recognize these signs, you'll never have to waste time with the wrong person ever again.
You must learn to test every potential relationship before investing too much energy into it and that's what these "Relationship Skills" are all about.
In a nutshell, this comes down to 3 things: Communication, Boundaries, and Commitments
The idea is not to get someone into a relationship with you and then try to make them want what you want. The idea is to meet someone who wants what you want and you create that with them. Don't be afraid of someone telling you that they don't want the same thing--that just saves you so much time!
If you get in too deep with someone without discussing if you're heading in the same direction, you're only setting yourself up for pain down the road.
You need to know sooner rather than later if they are interested in or even open to having the kind of relationship that you are looking for. And they shouldn't want it for you, they should want it for themselves.
You may think that telling someone you want a marriage and a family comes off as weak and needy--we say it's weak and needy not to tell them. You're basically saying, "I'll subordinate my heart's desires to try and get you to like me." That is not powerful at all.
The first test they have to pass is they have to want what you want. Without passing this first test, there is no reason to move forward in the relationship.
Create your boundaries, stick to them, and see if they respect them. Someone who is not willing to respect your boundaries is revealing a lack of emotional maturity that doesn't work in a real relationship.
Many people in the dating world just want to have a good time and meet new people. There is nothing wrong with that but more is needed for a real relationship. Most people will easily go for a good time, but don't let yourself believe that they actually want a relationship. Boundaries are how you know the difference--they separate "the men" from "the boys" in a sense.
This is how you create the framework for a relationship that will last. People who can't have boundaries with each other can't have harmony in their relationship.
For example: If you tell someone you're not open to sleeping with them until at least the 4th or 5th date and on the 2nd date they're trying to make you reconsider, they are showing you that they don't honor the commitments you've made to yourself. They are more interested in their good time than in what you are asking for in a relationship.
If you say, "I can't stay up late on a weeknight" and they are constantly trying to keep you up on the phone, fooling around, or going out, they are showing you that they don't respect your life and your lifestyle. How could that really work long-term?
Someone who understands and respects your boundaries shows the maturity that is necessary for a healthy relationship. If you don't have boundaries or you allow them to be compromised, you will never know what kind of person you are dating.
We tend to think that commitment is something we ask for "down the road" in a relationship, but this misconception will cause many challenges in your Love life that could easily be avoided.
It's not that you have to wait to ask for commitment, you just ask for different levels of commitment at different times.
Something as simple as them committing to calling you after a first date, someone's willingness to make even a small commitment and follow through with it, shows you the character of a person. How often has someone told you that they would call and then they didn't and you let them off the hook? The signs are there but you have to actively look for them.
Never allow vague and ambiguous commitments. Ask them, "Will you call me tomorrow?" And if they say they will and they don't, call them out on it!
Simply saying to them, "I asked you to call, you said you would, and you didn't. If you're interested in dating me it's going to be important that you do what you say you will do" works miracles in terms of framing your relationship with them.
People who do what they say they will demonstrate that your relationship (or the possibility of one) is important to them. People who don't are blatantly communicating that you are not important enough for them to keep their word to you.
If they can't do something simple like call you when they say they will, how could they possibly honor the commitments that really matter?
Actively implementing these simple Dating Strategies and Relationships Skills is enough to make an entire 180-degree shift in your Love life. The instructions are simple but not easy. In the Session 2 homework, we are exploring practical ways to implement these changes that you can start working on right away.
Still, we understand that this does present real-world challenges, that's why Session 3 is all about the actual application of these steps and the likely obstacles that you'll face. See you there :)