The A to Z of Christian Dating – L is for Learning
For some reason the majority of people who are actively seeking to meet someone new – i.e. who are ‘dating’ seem to do very little personal development! I make that assessment based on having run a dating agency myself for many years (since 1999) and talking to thousands of people as a result and through all my conversations with single people I meet socially.
So many of these people have been single for a long time and would dearly like to find someone. And bar joining a dating agency or signing up to the latest fad online, they aren’t actually doing much to move this area of their life forward. And that’s where the problem often lies.
You see if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got. And that is where our L for learning comes in. Learning and self development are critical if you want to move yourself forward and you want to start being successful in your dating journey.
if you always do what you’ve always done,
you’ll always get what you’ve always got
There are so many things to learn about. Let’s start with yourself – do you really know yourself? Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Do you know how you come across to others? Do you know how others perceive you? Is this good or bad? Are you approachable and friendly?
You may have no idea how you truly come across to others. The reality is that for many people their own self talk about who they are and what they are like bears no resemblance to how others really see them – so finding out objectively how others do see you can be a revelation – and an important one if you aren’t coming across really well.
Chances are if you’ve done a proper assessment of yourself and you’ve asked a couple of friends or associates for their opinion, you will have discovered that there are quite a few things you need to develop and change if you want to show others the best sides of yourself. You’ve also probably discovered there are other attributes you need to work on as well that might enable you to get on with dating better than you have been.
Staying with you at this point – what about learning what sort of person you should be looking for. We’ve talked before about Dumping your list – and how everyone goes around with a list of criteria or attributes that they want their ideal partner to have. But perhaps the type of person you think you want isn’t really going to be the best fit or match for you. This is a difficult area because it’s really hard to choose the characteristics in someone else that are right for you – because they often aren’t characteristics that we want someone to have. For example, perhaps you are quite a mean person. Firstly, you are unlikely to own up to that. But if you are, then one of the traits that it would be good for your partner to have is to be a very generous type of person. Then you’ll balance each other well. Or perhaps you’re a spender. You’d be well matched with a saver – though you won’t naturally think of this – as you’d probably think you want someone with similar spending habits to yourself.
Ok enough focus on you as a person. What else do you need to learn in dating?
There’s the whole subject of dating and interacting with others.
There’s a mass of learning to do here – or rather a mass of skills to be learnt. For example, can you work a room effectively such that at a 2 hour event you have spoken to everyone there (and collected the contact details of people you are interested in). Some people are master of doing this – and if someone else can do it – then you can too – even if you can’t right now. It’s simply another skill to learn. [I know we can’t do this right now – but we will be able to again in the future – and it’s still an important skill to have.]
What about the art of conversation? Do you make others feel at ease? Can you make others laugh? Can you bring out the best in people through your conversational skills? Can you do better than you currently do? Chances are the answer is you can do it but you could do it better, If so, there’s another skill you can learn.
You might think that a strange skill to learn would be how to learn from and cope with rejection. But it’s a critical skill in dating. Almost everyone who goes dating is going to face some sort of rejection at some point. It might just be someone saying they don’t want to communicate with you, or it might be someone not replying to a message you’ve sent them. Or it might be you’ve started a relationship with someone, and it’s come to an end. At the very end of the spectrum, you’ve got engaged and it’s been broken off, or you’ve married and your marriage has failed. All of these are rejections of a small or large degree – and they can all hurt to a greater or lesser degree. How you cope with rejection and how you move on from it is a key skill to learn – because if you get rejected even in a tiny way and you are unable to move forward, then you really are going to find it very hard to meet someone.
I’m not saying these skills are easy – but they are not impossible either. Remember learning to drive – it felt impossible and hard at the time didn’t it. But now you are so proficient at it you can do it without even thinking.
I’m not saying these skills are easy – but they are not impossible either
Dating skills – like pretty much any other skill is just the same. It’s a matter of learning the skill and then practising it until you are proficient and competent.
And it’s never too late to learn new skills however old you are.
So many people think dating is a matter of meeting more people. But if your skills in communicating or meeting new people are really poor, then it doesn’t matter how many people you meet – over how many years – you simply aren’t going to make the most of any opportunities you get. You don’t need more people – you need to learn better skills.
So, if you are currently dating or thinking of dating – ask yourself what you did in the past year to LEARN and develop yourself and your skills. If you’ve done lots – congratulations well done. But I suspect most people reading this will have done very little and if that’s’ you – get out there and get learning. You will reap the rewards I promise you.