I know what you’re thinking. How can online dating make you better at anything? It can be a work distraction, as it’s tempting to swipe Tinder during your lunch break or match.com message someone while you scroll through work emails over morning coffee.
The truth is that the benefits of online dating can go both ways. If you think of dating like you think of your job, you will be better at it. Said in reverse, if you think of your job like dating, you might do better there too!
Let’s break it down.
When you walk into a company for an interview, you’re probably keenly aware of the image you’re projecting. Depending on the position, guys might opt out of jeans and women might button up an extra button on a low cut shirt. This doesn’t mean they don’t love casual denim or aren’t sexy, but that they’re thinking about the image they’re portraying.
Dating is the same. Stop and think before you write that next dating site message. If dating was a job, what position would you be applying for? Would you be the hook up, the long term relationship, or the job you message about but never follow through with. Put in more blatant terms, are we coming across more hoochie mama and pimp daddy, or like you want a solid 9 to 5. Are you a pushover, a ball buster, or about to be promoted to CEO. Are you capable of giving and receiving respect from the word go and getting ‘promoted’?
It’s the year 2016 and all of us… from working professionals, to college students and divorced parents… are busy. Really busy. In fact, we’re so busy that I’m surprised you have time to read this article.
Maybe you realize that your “branding” in past relationships wasn’t quite what you want it to be going forward. Perhaps you were presenting a pushover image, a pleaser type so desperate for love or connection that you got walked all over. Or, maybe you were emotionally unavailable and unwittingly pushed people away. Maybe you were even opting to be the knight in shining armor, regardless of gender, and looking for someone to rescue. Or, you are looking for a casual connection and afraid to admit it. Contrarily, maybe you did everything right and your ‘picker’ was off.
Whatever the case may be, own it. If you were type A, B, C, or anywhere all the way through X, Y, Z, notice what happened. What are your patterns, flaws, weaknesses? If dating were a job, would you get a raise? Would you hire yourself?
After-all, raises are often performance based. If you were meeting with your employer for your six month review, how’s your performance been? How do you handle conflict and resolution? Are you needy or distant, or somewhere in between. Do you feel shy, empowered, or do you come across a little egotistical, to compensate?
A good starting point is to contrast yourself with co-workers or, er, dates. Think of your job first, what qualities do your coworkers have that you respect or aspire to? Those in power or authority, what are they doing right? Then, think of your last few dates or relationships, what did they do that you did or didn’t like, and how can you learn from that to improve your own quirks and patterns?
Work takes time. When you don’t have a good night of sleep, you probably still get yourself out of bed and to work. Dating on the other hand, might be put on the back burner. If you try two bad online dates, don’t give up. Don’t check your online dating accounts once a week or only when you’re bored and expect success. If you want the BEST partner or date you can find, you’ll need to prioritize it. Especially if you’re looking for a long term or serious relationship, you’ll need consistent time to message people, set up, and actually go on dates.
If dating is on the back burner, that is fine, but don’t feel disappointed if you don’t meet that special someone.
Most everyone who online dates has a horror story or embarrassing tale to tell. Wear this battle scar proudly and with humor, knowing (hopefully) that you’ll laugh about it one day. The online world if full of hackers, spammers, scammers, and catfish. It’s likely that, even if only in the digital world, you’ve come across several of the above. Chalk it up to experience. In the professional world, you’ve probably also quit or declined a few jobs that didn’t live up to expectations.
Like job interviews, in person meetings don’t always go as planned. People can show up being vastly different than their online appearance or persona seems. Other times, both people are fine and it’s just not a match.
All of this uncertainty can create nerves. People get nervous before online dates! They’re essentially blind dates and you can’t know one hundred percent what to expect in advance. As much as we try to be realistic, fantasy expectations can also set it.
Putting it in perspective, presumably, you’ve experienced pre-interview jitters and dating is almost like going on an interview. So, don’t let the nerves stop you. Assume that the person you’re meeting is nervous as well. Don’t agonize over email replies and saying the ‘right’ thing, as most everything is right with the ‘right’ person.
The more empowered you are in one aspect of your life, the more that confidence and design will overlap into other areas. Be brave, go forth, and knock it out of the park!