Whenever the topic of dating comes up amongst my friends, I’m always struck by the number of them who hated the process of dating. They couldn’t stand it: the frustrations of trying to find the right person, the disappointment of another “close-but-no-cigar” first date that went absolutely nowhere. Even worse were the near-misses, the people who seemed amazing but disappeared into the ether after a handful of dates, or the Crouching Stud, Hidden Douchebags who seemed great at first glance but proved to be assholes in disguise. There were the dates that were so bad they crushed the soul, the long parade of assholes, game-players and just plain toxic individuals who would be better off buried in unmarked landfills inscribed with dire warnings to alert future generations to the dangers.
Now I’ll be the first to tell you that dating is hard. It can be frustrating and time-consuming and there will be dates that make you believe that the dating pool needs a Herculean dose of chlorine before you’ll ever step foot into it again.
But at the same time, it can be fun. And, in fact, it should be. You can’t insulate yourself against dating’s inherent frustrations, but you can learn how to make dating enjoyable again.
Pardon me while I drop something painfully obvious on you:
Dating is complicated.
Now, before you roll your eyes at me and reach for the “back” button on your browser, let me explain where I’m going with this.
The components of dating – where to meet people, how to get to know them off a cold or warm approach the different aspects of attraction, even how to act on dates can seem pants-shittingly intimidating. After all, when you’re socially inexperienced, how are you supposed to keep all of this in mind and talk to your date and still have a good time and secure that next date and and…
Now I understand that trying to absorb and apply all of that information can seem overwhelming and conflicting. In fact, the point Anatomy Lesson and Nerd Role Model articles is to show how everything ties together by providing concrete examples.
Even so, it’s entirely possible to psych yourself out and convince yourself that it’s all too complicated and difficult to keep in mind. So let’s dial things back a little.
One of the best ways to pick up a new skill is to, simply, break it down. Strip out the extraneous parts and just focus on the core. You can work outwards from there as you become more at ease.
So let’s simplify dating a little, shall we?