How can you manage your expectations in dating?
Dating has become a past time for most singles. In 2012, it was reported that the average single adult went on 1-2 dates a year. In today’s world you’ll find some singles going on 1-2 dates a night. With the introduction of dating apps, and reduced cable subscriptions, adults have more time and access to dating than ever before. With all of this choice comes responsibility.
With just a smart phone you have access to thousands of singles that match your minimum criteria for a date. You can swipe right to meet, and go out with, eligible singles in your area in a matter of minutes. Now that you have access, you now have to do something that most singles never had to do in the past and that is taper your expectations.
Just a decade ago the average adult met their dates in person before ever agreeing to a date. You were likely to meet at a social gathering, like a bar or club, through work, or through friends. The chances of going out on a date with a complete stranger were small. Since you met your date in person prior to the date, the expectation for attraction and connection was already set. In the past adults had context. This information helped you frame your expectations and allowed you to enter into the date with a standard. In the modern dating pattern, when you meet people online, you lack the context necessary to set an appropriate expectation and this is where many people get their feelings hurt.
The Person You’re Dating is a Stranger
It might seem uneasy to believe that the standard of common decency has dropped so low that to expect a response to a text, or for others to do what they saw they are going to do is asking too much, but that is the reality. You might ask yourself, what happened to common courtesy but the answer could leave you feeling disappointed more often than not. Are people bad people? Are people today less concerned with their fellow citizen? The answer might be yes. If so, then one important thing to remember, especially when you’re dating is that you are meeting a stranger. You might not like to think in those terms because maybe it makes the date seem irresponsible.
Why don’t you know more about the person that you are going to meet? Or why don’t you know more about the person you claim to like so much? Alternatively, when you experience something that you don’t like such as being blown off, or ghosted, it’s easier to accept if you remember that you didn’t really know the person you were dating.
But you felt a connection. You are a better judge of character than that. You can’t believe that you were wrong. All of this may be true but understand that someone is a stranger if their behavior shocks you. If you are surprised by the actions of someone you know, then evidence shows that you didn’t know them as well as you thought that you did.
Don’t Lower Your Expectations, Raise Your Standards
Is there a way to never be ghosted? Is there an antidote to someone acting like you’re an inconvenience instead of the best thing that’s ever happened to them. The answer could lie in raising your standards. Often when single adults hear the word standards, they immediately envision a luxury experience.
A standard as defined by The Healing Alphabet, is your minimum expectation. Meaning if you want to be called instead of texted, treated to dinner instead of a coffee date then you have to set that standard from the beginning. Raising your standards is as simple as requiring more information from the person you plan to go on a date with. When you don’t require your standards to be met, they likely won’t be.
How To Get Your Standards Met
Questions are the path to information, and information is the path to context. It can sometimes feel like you are giving someone the third degree if you ask too many questions before you meet in person, so the intention behind the question is important. And the information you gain from the question is key. It’s not only important to ask great questions, you must also do something with the information. What are you trying to learn, and what is within reason to know before you go on the date?
People lie. You can’t always assume that just because you’ve asked a question you are going to get the truth. Again, is this a decline in human decency or just how the world works. The solution is to be clear on why you are asking. Raising your standards means having a minimum amount of information before going on the date. You should know basic information that is easy to verify. Such as where they work, their last name, and possible their criminal history.
More important than what you learn from someone else is your intentions for going on the date in the first place. The reason your expectations are often unmet is because your true intentions are unclear to your date. If those motivations don’t match then someone is likely to be disappointed.
How to Screen Your Date
Most single adults wait too late to screen their dates. They wait until they are on the date to clarify details that are important. So why don’t you screen better? Some people believe it’s a waste of time to get to know someone before they know if they have chemistry. What’s the point? If there is no chemistry, then there is no reason to learn where they went to high school or what town they grew up in. Chemistry is an important factor in dating but it’s more common than you realize.
Chemistry is not an intangible thing that only happens when two people are compatible. Chemistry is easy to fake. If you are charming, intentional, and open (meaning you don’t have a wall up) you can create a connection with anyone you meet and create the illusion of chemistry.
Being disappointed in dating is the result of not getting expectations met but it can be prevented. The key is to change your expectation to one that is reliant on others to an expectation of yourself. Live up to your own standards of behavior and you will find less opportunities for others to disappoint you.