Blind dates can be great, if you want them to be
Let’s talk old school for a bit.
It used to be that a ‘blind date’ came about by a simple conversation. Someone you know (preferably) came up to you, sensing for better or worse that you were basically dateless, and said, “You know, I have this friend you HAVE to meet. You two would LOOOVE each other.” Usually this would-be matchmaker was female, as it has always seemed to me that women love to take on that role (e.g. find me an “It’s Just Lunch” franchise with a male director).
If you were like me, being the willing accomplices such that we were, you’d tend to go, “Uh…sure…why not? What do I have to lose?” Now, considering most of us guys are all about spending large sums of cash securing first dates that “impress women” with how artificial and awkward they are you actually had PLENTY to lose. But whatever…that was beside the point.
So you went on the date. And your brain would start to mess with you…hard. We’re talking fried circuits.
I’ll elaborate more on that in a minute.
First, however, let’s teleport back into the present. If you are like millions of others scattered across the four corners of the virtual landscape, you’ve discovered the masterpiece that is “online dating”. You know by now that we’re huge believers in online dating around here, and hope you are too. (If not, Skype me at “scotmckay”. We have ways of replicating that mindset.)
This, then, naturally means that “blind dates” have become a multi-billion dollar industry. No longer is this all limited to your Aunt Gertrude setting you up with her bridge partner’s brace-faced niece. Not really. This is the 21st century, boys and girls.
And come on, let’s get down to it: When you meet someone you met on an online dating site for the first time, it really is a blind date.
Profile narratives? Telephone conversations? IM? Even pictures? All essentially meaningless in the real world much of the time. When that person darkens the door to Starbucks you might very well be darkened also. Or else you’ll light up. Or…your brain will start to mess with you, like I said. After all, it’s a blind date.
So what do I mean?
As much as most guys have issues with approaching women, there is one undeniable factor involved there that can bring a lot of clarity to a man’s life if he lets it. When you approach women YOU are FULLY AWARE of who’s doing it for you and who isn’t. If you walk up to the most attractive woman in the place, verify that she’s a high-quality woman--and she’s digging your chili--then you KNOW THE SCORE. Way to deserve what you want. If you go through 20 or 30 women before one actually will hang out with you, you also KNOW THE SCORE. You are SETTLING.
On a blind date, that’s all off the table and you get no such frame of reference, really. You have not chosen someone from a field of many. You simply have a certain person in front of you…RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. You are actually on a real, live DATE with this person. The “heavy lifting” of getting to that step has been done for you.
And that’s where “lazy” goes “crazy”. And the longer it has been since you’ve been on a quality date, the more hallucinatory the trip gets.
One of the key hallmarks of a wildly successful dating life is that you are comfortable weeding out people who do not meet your exacting standards. This is not a matter of snobbery, it’s a matter of necessity when you have options. Simply put, relationships that are not exactly platonic are not exactly the place for philanthropy. If you want to save the world, team up with the greatest person you’ve ever met when that happens and save the world together. When you are talking about something as mission-critical as having the right MOTOS in your life, then charity cases need not apply.
But until we get to that place…the Wildly Successful Dating Place…we often let certain insidious factors creep to the top of our list when deciding who we’re going to date and/or talk ourselves into being attractive to. These factors are (in order), 1) “This person actually finds me attractive, therefore I’m attracted”, 2) “This person is actually available, therefore I’m available”, and 3) “We’re already on a date, so the convenience of this set up sure beats having to go out and dredge up someone else”.
Last week we talked about being “clouded by beauty vision”. Now we’re talking about being flat-out “blinded by blind dates”.
Seriously, here’s where the rubber meets the road: If you had seen this person you are on a date with out in public prior to being set up on a date together, would you have even TAKEN NOTICE? Here’s the crazy part…often, if you have the guts to ask yourself that question on a first date with someone you met online (or who the admin over in Accounting recommended, for that matter) you have to answer, “You know, I DON’T KNOW.”
It’s true. Sometimes your brain plays tricks on you to the point where you simply can’t separate where the “butterflies” of being on an actual date with someone end and real, natural attraction starts. So yeah, you go on a second date, and you may even be excited about it. But your brain is flipped out over this. What is REAL here?
Thankfully, I believe there are several reliable metrics you can apply that will give very real clarity (vision?) to the situation:
1) Would you be proud to introduce your date to your friends? This is HUGE. If you are embarrassed by this concept, you’re only fooling yourself.
2) Have you seen someone else during the course of the first date who caused your attention to wander? If you’re at breakfast and can’t keep your eyes off the chick in the booth over there, it’s your judgment that’s been scrambled and/or fried over hard.
3) Are you more excited about seeing this person again, or more excited to just be dating someone? Can you clearly see the difference between these two states of mind? It’s important to do so.
4) Were you bored at any time during the first date? If you find your mind drifting, you’re kidding yourself if you think there’s chemistry there.
5) Do you find yourself justifying and/or wishing away certain flaws? Remember, there’s a real-world difference between “perfectly imperfect” and straight-up “not right”. “Perfect imperfections” endear you to someone. That’s good. Justifying stuff that irritates you or turns you off? That’s settling.
6) Are you using all the time spent on e-mail, IM and telephone prior to actually meeting this person (or Lord forbid—the cost of the plane tickets) as a weapon against yourself to “give this a chance” despite your gut reaction? Stop kidding around. It’s going nowhere. Welcome to why most online dating experts recommend moving from first e-mail to first meeting ASAP.
So there you have it. A half-dozen highly practical principles you can use like a GPS to find your mental bearings and get your head around “blind dates”.
In closing, here’s some good news. Once you deserve what you want, it’s amazing how well “blind dates” can go.
Even back in college there was a time when a friend set me up over the summer with a girl who was going to be in the incoming freshman class where I was going to school. I remember being impressed when I met her, but in retrospect I now recognize how I struggled with a lot of the things I’ve written about in this newsletter. We decided to enter the school year as “friends”, but once we were at school together I found myself choosing her over all other options. So my friend had his game on when he set me up with her. Looking back, of the “clarity factors” above were in check.
And yes, the fateful morning Emily and I met all the boxes were checked…even though both of us had options. And that’s about as much 20/20 foresight as a blind date can offer.
Scot McKay's dating strategies for those who refuse to settle for anything less than the ULTIMATE relationship are found here Stop by right now and grab a FREE e-book ($20 value) when you sign up for the X & Y Communications Newsletter, which is always packed with unique and practical dating tips.
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Scot McKay is the founder of X & Y Communications, a one-stop-shop for dating resources. He is the author of the book 'Deserve What You Want', and hosts the popular podcast series 'X & Y On The Fly' with his fiancée Emily. Sign up for the unique and entertaining newsletter here and receive a FREE GIFT.