William N. Dember’s Optimism/Pessimism Instrument got me thinking about the concept of optimistic dating this week. I believe optimism is an essential quality for people who are on the program to find a husband or wife. At the same time, that doesn’t mean you should adopt a Pollyanna mindset either. Negative thinking will sabotage your progress but overly optimistic thinking could set you up for heartache and disenchantment. So, ask yourself these questions to try to gauge your proclivity for positivity or negativity. (And be honest!)
Does it take you long to shake off a bad date?
Do you try not to set your hopes too high for a date so you won’t be disappointed?
Can you be comfortable on a blind date with nearly all kinds of people?
Do you think it’s hard to get ahead in the dating game?
Do you expect to achieve your dating and marriage goals?
Do you try to make light of bad dates or dating problems when possible?
Do you go out of your way to flatter your dates?
Before a date, are you usually confident that it will go well?
Do you believe that honesty always the best policy on a date? (There’s a little concept called “modified honesty” that I’ll discuss in a later post.)
When you make a relationship decision on your own, is it usually a bad one?
Are your biggest dating challenges with yourself?
If your view of life in general is to see the glass as half empty, you probably have some dating anxiety. This probably gets expressed on dates as defensive pessimism. You plan for the worst so you won’t be overwhelmed if a dating situation goes badly. But beware – your cynicism is probably causing you to miss out on dating opportunities and excessive pessimism is linked to depression.
However, you may be someone who normally maintains a sense of hope but is also mindful of potential dating disappointments. If you carry negative expectations into a dating situation, it will be hard for you to get excited about your prospects in general and your date in particular. Remember, less enthusiasm usually equals less motivation and less confidence – which translates to less success.
Perhaps you’re someone who finds that things usually work out and you have the ability to focus on the potential for good things to happen in your social life. If this describes you, then you’ll probably carry this attitude over into your self-perception as well. This means you’ll have an optimistic bias in the dating arena. If you bring this sense of well-being into a date, your date will probably perceive you as being happy, outgoing, and psychologically healthy – all attributes they’re probably looking for in a partner!
This brings us to the other end of the positivity/negativity spectrum. Some people are super-duper dating optimists. They don’t dwell on grief or even ponder its likelihood. They’re confident that they can shape a situation to their advantage. While this is admirable, it’s also important to temper this outlook with a little caution. Super-optimists are prone to unrealistic expectations. If you think you’re invulnerable to dating disasters, your naiveté will be a magnet for users and game-players.
It should be clear after reading these descriptions that the most desirable place to conduct your dating and marriage search is from some point in the middle of the spectrum — with the scales tipping slightly in favor of positivity. Single individuals usually find that it’s easier to maintain this balance with the support of a qualified dating coach and a few close friends or family members who are helping them with their quest. The bottom line is that a positive personality is simply more attractive and more alluring to dating and marriage prospects. So, just as you would put on perfume or cologne, a nice outfit, and maybe an accessory or two to prepare for your next date, don’t forget to put on a happy face!