External Link: “Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think”

For dating, confidence is key and one of the best ways to get that confidence is to live an authentic life. This means ditching the obsession of worrying about what others think, and getting comfortable with being who you want to be. This ultimately attracts people who like you for being you.

“Wait But Why” has an excellent post dealing with exactly this. It calls that obsession a “Social Survival Mammoth” and introduces the notion of a “Puppet Master”:

a person or group of people whose opinion matters so much to you that they’re essentially running your life. A Puppet Master is often a parent, or maybe your significant other, or sometimes an alpha member of your group of friends.
[…]
We crave the Puppet Master’s approval more than anyone’s, and we’re so horrified at the thought of upsetting the Puppet Master or feeling their nonacceptance or ridicule that we’ll do anything to avoid it.

It contrasts this with your “Authentic Voice” that:

knows how you feel deep down about things like money and family and marriage, and it knows which kinds of people, topics of interest, and types of activities you truly enjoy, and which you don’t.

The post explains why listening to the Mammoth and Puppet Masters – instead of your Authentic Voice (AV) – is so dangerous:

When you don’t know who you are, … instead of digging deep into the foggy center of what you really believe in to find clarity, you’ll look to others for the answers. Who you are becomes some blend of the strongest opinions around you.

Losing touch with your AV also makes you fragile, because when your identity is built on the approval of others, being criticized or rejected by others really hurts.

It describes ways to identify the obsessive thoughts that are running your life, by looking for these clues:

1. where your fear is — where are you most susceptible to shame or embarrassment? What parts of your life do you think about and a dreadful, sinking feeling washes over you? Where does the prospect of failure seem like a nightmare? … If you were giving advice to yourself, which parts of your life would clearly need a change that you’re avoiding acting on right now?

2. the way-too-good feelings you get from feeling accepted … Are you a serious pleaser at work or in your relationship? Are you terrified of disappointing your parents and do you choose making them proud over aiming to gratify yourself?

3. anywhere you don’t feel comfortable making a decision without “permission” or approval from others.

The post concludes with why it’s important to listen to your authentic voice, and be who you want to be, rather than being a people-pleaser:

Being approved of by one type of person means turning another off. So obsessing over fitting in with any one group is illogical, especially if that group isn’t really who you are. You’ll do all that work, and meanwhile, your actual favorite people are off being friends with each other somewhere else.
[…]
You can start to relish the feeling of being viewed as weird or inappropriate or confusing to people, and society becomes your playground and blank canvas, not something to grovel before and hope for acceptance from.

Ultimately, the “Wait But Why” post talks about being more secure in who you are and reducing your anxiety levels. This lets you live a more fulfilling life and also makes dating much easier.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

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How Dating Actually Works For Normal People – External Link: “So You’re Not Desirable …”

https://www.nytimes.com/2014/05/18/opinion/sunday/so-youre-not-desirable.html?_r=0

Many of us have long suspected that a lot of beautiful people quickly pick romantic partners based on looks alone and easily form such relationships. The question then is how does everyone else date?

This article answers that question: People start out as just friends without any expectation of dating. Over time, couples are formed when two people get to know each other’s unique personality and start perceiving each other’s specific uniqueness as attractive. At that point, physical beauty matters a lot less.

My takeaways from this article are:

1. It’s time to cut the political correctness: Whether you are hot or not is a real thing. Contrary to many wishful opinion pieces on the web, this article states that the concept of “mate value” actually exists in scientific literature. In the book Shyness & Love (see Resources), this is known as “social stimulus value”. Elsewhere on the internet, this is referred to as “sexual market value (SMV)” but unfortunately, this term is primarily used by misogynists.

2. Get to know people: Following on from the previous point, if you aren’t hot, don’t try to date the way hot people date – stop expecting people to instantly fall in love with you. Instead, get to know many people – even people who aren’t your “type” – and get to know people at a level that is more than just skin deep. Who you end up finding attractive may surprise you.

3. You don’t need to be “Alpha” to be successful at dating: In other words, you don’t need to be the hottest, richest, and most muscular guy in the world with the biggest car and the biggest waterfront property: You just need a unique personality that you are proud of and can confidently share with other people. The TV series The Big Bang Theory depicts the reality that even geeky physicists who are not considered conventionally attractive by any means eventually meet partners by being proud of who they are and by being different in their own ways.

Until next time my friends, keep dating!

External Link: “To Text or Not to Text: A Dating Conundrum” by The New York Times

This is an amusing article highlighting the importance of being straightforward with dating – don’t expect men or women to read your mind, just ask for what you want:

During the week, as our text volleys continued in that conversational way, I kept expecting that he would ask me out again, but not once did he mention another date.

I never initiated this texting because that seemed too forward.

I made a decision [some time later]. He either had to ask me out on a real date, in person, or I would put an end to this silliness. I gave him a deadline (only in my mind, of course) of that Friday.

External Link: “See The Ratio Of Single Men to Women Where You Live”

If you are wondering whether moving to another city will help you with dating, check out this extremely detailed, interactive graph:

http://labs.time.com/story/see-the-ratio-of-single-men-to-women-where-you-live/

Using detailed Census data from 2011-2013, TIME calculated the ratio of unmarried men to unmarried women for every region of the country for a variety of age groups … the map can also be filtered by college degree status.

External Link: “Why Lonely People Stay Lonely”

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2015/07/why-lonely-people-stay-lonely.html?mid=wired

This article is a fascinating overview of Prof. Megan Knowles‘ paper, “Choking under social pressure: social monitoring among the lonely” (emphasis added):

One long-held theory has been that people become socially isolated because of their poor social skills … this is a fundamental misunderstanding … Lonely people do understand social skills, and often outperform the non-lonely when asked to demonstrate that understanding. It’s just that when they’re in situations when they need those skills the most, they choke.

I’ll be writing a future blog post on how to overcome this social anxiety.

Don’t Rush Dates – External Link: “Lou’s Guide to College Dating”

http://www.reddit.com/r/dating_advice/comments/1ya71z/lous_guide_to_college_dating/

I like this Reddit author’s approach to dating:

… these dates happens in a span of 1~3 months. NOT 1~3 weeks, so DONT rush it …

if she rejects you, be cool just say ‘i hope we can still be friends’ and actually DO IT.

It feels like a much more natural, low-pressure way of getting to know someone and it isn’t specific to college.  I think it’d work especially well after meeting someone from online dating.

External Link: “How to Pick Your Life Partner” by Wait But Why

http://waitbutwhy.com/2014/02/pick-life-partner.html

I thought this article was a very interesting reflection on dating and marriage.  Here’s a tidbit:

… people are often still timid to say they met their spouse on a dating site. The respectable way to meet a life partner is by dumb luck, by bumping into them randomly or being introduced to them from within your little pool. Fortunately, this stigma is diminishing with time, but that it’s there at all is a reflection of how illogical the socially accepted dating rulebook is.