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Knowing your attraction style can help you to play to your strengths when dating.
Hey, I'm Jiveny Blair-West an Australian Dating, Attraction & Relationship Coach. Want to navigate the modern dating scene with more clarity and insight? Then stick around, explore or click here to learn about working with me.
There’s a lot of bad dating advice out there… As a result, often, dating can become a case of the blind leading the blind!
Below are some of the most common tidbits of bad dating advice out there and what I would advise instead.
It’s important to recognise that healthy, lasting relationships don’t just “happen” to people. They grow through building connections, learning through experience and refining your dating and relationship skills over time.
Sadly, this dead-end advice gets thrown around a lot.
The problem with it is that it makes you feel like there’s nothing you can do to influence your dating results – you’ve just got to wait it out, leaving you powerless in the meantime.
Like all clichés there is a smidge of truth in this statement – but it really needs to be teased out.
My take on it is that when you let go of the ‘how’ and ‘when’ true love can surprise and delight you in unexpected ways.
But in the meantime, you’ve got to get clear on the kind of relationship you’re looking for and equip yourself with good dating and relationship skills, so that when an opportunity comes along, you can really make the most of it.
Ultimately, things happening involves being open to all sorts of possibilities with non-attachment while still putting yourself out there and practicing your dating skills.
And that really is the key: to do the learning and practicing now so that when you do meet someone who blows your socks off, you know how to connect and build intimacy with them. 😉
Some of my biggest dating fails came from following this bad advice!
Truth be told, it’s a great strategy if you want to attract someone who is emotionally unavailable.
Playing hard to get will make avoidants feel safe to pursue you – that is until they get a whiff of intimacy in the making – then they’ll usually start running for the hills!
Conversely if you’re looking to attract someone who is secure in themselves and ready to build a healthy long-term relationship, then you need to be willing to show them you’re interested and value their invitations to connect.
While I’m not suggesting you share your whole calendar with them when planning a next date, playing games like ‘wait twice as long before texting back’ is likely to push healthy, high quality people away.
I get it, you want kids in your future and your biological clock is ticking. It’s tempting to get closure on where someone stands early on – after all you have no time to waste!
However I advise against grilling a fresh connection about how ready they are for commitment on the first date (or first 3 dates).
Yes, it’s important to ultimately figure out where a potential partner stands, but questioning them too directly early on can result in a heightened sense of pressure and can quickly turn a first date into feeling like an uncomfortable job interview… It’s just too much too soon.
Instead, focus on building the connection and getting to know the person in other ways first – then bring this up (at least after the first 3 dates) once you’ve built some solid rapport.
Side note, a lot of guys in their 30s are also looking for a partner to raise kids with, but will feel overwhelmed if you bring it up before a real connection has been made.
It would be like a guy suddenly asking a woman about their sexual prefereces in detail on a first date – totally fine after you’ve spent time getting to know each other and building a romantic connection – yet a totally inappropriate topic of discussion when you barely know each other!
In this digital age of what seems like limitless possibilities, sometimes we need a reality check; there is no such thing as a perfect person or a perfect partner. Yet, sometimes we can be quick to dismiss a prospect because they don’t make a ‘perfect’ first impression.
You might have a habit of thinking that the grass is greener elsewhere.
But I’m here to remind you that the grass is greenest where you water it!
Truth bomb: if your ideal partner wishlist has more than 6 or 7 things on it, it’s probably too long. Also, I recommend you focus on qualities rather than aesthetics e.g. “must be tall, dark and handsome”
My suggestion – look for high-quality indicators such as:
I also want to make a distinction between fixed qualities and ‘trainable’ qualities.
Trainable qualities are things that can be improved through the course of the relationship with your influence (hence why influenceability and valuing personal growth are such valuable traits).
For example, if a guy has terrible style – that is fixable – just take him shopping or to a barber and show him what you think would look good on him and why. Most guys are appreciative of the direction and happy to make these changes.
Trustworthiness and reliability on the other hand is not such an easy fix. – Better to find someone who has these qualities sorted before you invest in potential.
Side note, I almost dismissed my now-husband just because he had bad breath on a date – what a mistake that would have been!
The bottom line is, figure out your top 5 priorities so that you’re clear on what is really the most important things you want to find in a partner. That way you can also maintain openness to someone unexpected, delighting and surprising you. I.e. they may not fit the picture of your usual type but over time attraction can grow.
If you get this answer when asking a married friend how they chose their partner, it’s okay to feel disappointed.
The problem with this vague advice (while there is some truth to it) is that it pushes people to look for strong feelings which can lead people to get caught up in the infatuation of the honeymoon period when it’s really too early to tell.
As I said, this vague advice is pretty unhelpful so let me give you my take on it instead.
I chose my husband, because after 2+ years of dating I had no lingering doubts about his capacity to add value to my future. If doubts arose (which is natural during the evaluation process) they resolved themselves as I continued to get to know him.
Furthermore, based on the way he showed up during our courtship, it was clear that he was a high quality man capable of being a great partner and future father (I saw him with children and animals and liked what I saw).
When we spoke about our visions and plans for the future we found alignment and compatibility.
When conflict has arisen in our relationship, we’ve been able to manage it in a healthy way and improve our relationship because of it.
Most of all, he’s managed to make me laugh and smile every day, and if that isn’t a good sign, I don’t know what is.
He also ticks off the 6 key partner traits we suggest you look out for in our book.
But of course, all of this takes time to figure out – there really is no substitute for getting to know someone over time.
Aside from this being bad advice because, again, it’s so damn vague, the truth is sometimes “being yourself” can mean staying in your comfort zone and repeating past mistakes.
If you feel stuck in your love life or notice a pattern e.g. attracting unavailable people, then just being your same old self isn’t going to cut it.
As Einstein once said: “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.
While I’m not suggesting you change your whole personality, or take on a fake persona, there are times when dating requires us to be bold and step outside of our comfort zone.
Generally, instead of looking for the right partner, we first need to work on becoming the right partner for the kind of person we would like to attract – and that takes self-reflection and a willingness to learn about and develop healthy dating and relationship skills.
Understanding your dating strategy takes you closer to truly understanding the dynamics of attraction, improving your relationship skills, and expanding your opportunities to find a great partner!
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Co-author of 'How to Make the Biggest Decision of Your Life' and online dating, attraction & relationship coach committed to helping you attract a healthy, sustainable and passionate relationship.