Say What You Want to Say : Thoughts on Setting Expectations
(For the record, Aziz: If you text me, I will write you back. Pinky swear.)
Let’s be honest. Some of our dating habits blow.
Take online dating, for example. You would think a service based around internet interaction would lead to honest communication, right? After all, people tend to feel less inhibited online. (If you don’t believe me, you’ve obviously never read the comments section on an internet forum.) However, I find that isn’t always the case when it comes to online dating.
One of the biggest problems, in my opinion, revolves around the tendency to communicate with too many people. An overwhelming sense of eagerness to find a partner (or, if we’re honest, hook up) leads to putting your eggs in too many baskets. Which, of course, only creates shallow, meaningless conversation. This behavior makes it hard to truly connect with anyone.*
To add insult to injury, some people have a habit of fizzling out of communication rather than creating closure. I’ll admit it: I’ve been guilty of this. It’s not right—but it’s the easy way out, especially when you’ve got dates waiting on the other side.
It’s pretty easy for me to live by that rule. The combination of being tired of lame relationships, paired with feeling like I’m getting old (I’m 27, with the sass of an 85 year-old chain smoking grandma hitting the slots in Vegas,) has made jumping back into the dating scene super fun. (aka: a giant pain in the rumpus.)
It doesn’t help that dating has some natural people-pleasing tendencies. We tend to focus so intently on impressing, that sometimes we forget to prioritize the search for a partner that actually meets your expectations and compliments your lifestyle tendencies. I mean, isn’t that a huge reason many marriages fail? Couples spend months, or years, trying to appease the other person only to one day realize their lifestyles, goals, and visions for the future don’t even match up.
After all, the point of dating isn’t simply to find someone that—as comedian Mike Birbiglia would say it—put their mouth on your mouth. It’s not about finding someone that will make you happy, or give you warm fuzzies.
The goal of relationships is to find someone with whom your lifestyle and values align.
Getting to know the psyche of another human being is a delicate task, which makes the dating game even more difficult. There are a whole host of things to misinterpret. I don’t know about you but, despite my best efforts, I have yet to master the art of mind-reading. (And I’ve given up trying.)
Get your notepads out, kids, ‘cause I’m about to let you in on a secret: this is why it’s important to practice open, honest communication early on. I know we all say we want honesty, but it’s really easy to forget that when it’s your turn to be honest. I’m not suggesting you should publish your list of demands right out the gate, but stay on your toes. The practice of discerning the right way and right time to communicate your expectations is vital to creating something lasting.
(Well, first it’s important to understand what your expectations are, but we’ll save that talk for another blog.)
If you wait until you think you’ll be comfortable, you’ll never do it. The longer you hold off, the more likely you are to make excuses. Don’t shy away from hard conversations. Treat them with humility and gentleness, but also with the courage to seek what you really want. That way, if a relationship doesn’t work out, you know it’s was for a good reason: because your needs didn’t match. In that case, it’s not a failed relationship. It’s a win.
It’s one step closer to finding what you really want.
About Coffee Meets Bagel (CMB): CMB is a free dating service that helps members make meaningful connections. It’s designed for busy singles who want to find something real with little or no effort.