Have you ever said something along the lines of, “I’m trying to go on at least one date a week. Let’s go out and meet people!!” to your friends? How about, “Ugh, I’m so sick of dating, I’m taking a break?” If you answered no to these questions, you’re either in a very, very long-term relationship or you’ve already figured out the key to dating (in which case, call me). Both of those statements are totally normal human thoughts. But, there is an easier (and lazier 😏) way to date.
It starts with trying not to try. “There’s trying from desperation, and we know that doesn’t feel good,” says relationship expert and author Susan Winter. “For any of us in the professional world, we have been taught diligence, effort, and application. But, [when we translate that to dating], what happens is that we can over-try to the degree that we actually begin to feel disillusioned.” The magic happens when we’re not struggling so hard.
Your job is to be on time, listen, and have a good time. This will — fingers crossed — take a little bit of the pressure off.
This requires letting your mind do the hard dating work for you. Our minds remember what we want, according to Winter. “We think we have to keep trying to manifest and create [what we want],” she says. “But the mind is smart and it [already] knows what you want. In your day-to-day, these filters are already in place, and they’re working on your behalf,” she says. Your task is to internally clarify what you want, in general, then show up to the date relaxed and trusting that you don’t have to do any work to figure out if the person you’re out with is what or who you want. Your job is to be on time, listen, and have a good time. This will — fingers crossed — take a little bit of the pressure off.
If you’re anything like me and you have anxiety (the regular brand, the dating kind, or both), that sounds really nice but also hard to put into practice. It comes down to — stay with me — trusting that your mind is smart enough to know if this date is right for you at this moment. Think of it this way: “Are you smart enough to look at a menu and figure out what you want? You are. Your mind will know because it’s like, I hate spicy food. I don’t want that. It’s going to do the same thing on a date,” says Winter.
Start putting this idea into practice by giving a shot to anyone who interests you. You’ve already thought about what you want. Your mind knows it. Spending time with someone is the only way to figure out if a person possesses the qualities you’re looking for. And, once in a while, maybe step outside your comfort zone. “Break your own mold by saying ‘I’ll allow myself one wildcard, [someone] I normally wouldn’t [go out with], just to see how that feels and how I feel. Just to explore,’” suggests Winter.
Now that you’ve put the systems into place, it’s time to try to not try (in a good way) on a date. “Just show up. Just go and see how you feel. That’s it. Nothing big,” says Winter. “See if you have a good time.” You’re putting yourself in a neutral position. You made the choice to go out with someone and now all you have to do is be there. Don’t try to determine whether this person is your next S.O. Focus on how you feel — and feel about yourself — in their company. That changes the whole vibe.
The phrase, “love happens when you’re not looking for it,” doesn’t tell the whole story, says Winter. Yes, it may happen when you’re not actively seeking it out — but only if you’re in a certain mental place and mindset where you’re not subconsciously sabotaging yourself. So pay attention to what’s in front of you and to staying in the moment. “You can get so focused on trying to find something that you don’t see the thing in front of you,” Winter adds. Existing in a neutral, somewhat relaxed state where you let your noggin do the work for you is going to put you — and your dating life — in the best position. Done and done.