Updated: Jul 2, 2020
So often, as I’m “post-morteming” dates with clients, I hear endless streams of criticism and complaint. “He didn’t dress up enough.” “She left her last relationship because she couldn’t handle his kids.” “He just lost his job.” “She kept checking her phone.”
Some of the complaining may be justified (more or less — though I believe that a quality or trait that trips one person’s “NO” button may trip another’s “YES” button. And not everyone is as practiced and polished at dating as the dater who’s been working with an expert dating coach!) But I wonder, “How would your dating and relationships be different if you looked at each date through the lens of compassion rather than the lens of critique?
This could profoundly alter the point of view we bring to a dating encounter.
It’s unavoidable that each of us has biases, fears, insecurities, anger, and other emotions that have impacted our past relationships and shaped who we are and what we bring to a potential new relationship. Hopefully, the self-aware, evolving single has worked to mitigate that impact. I challenge you to be mindful and merciful, especially as that all-important first impression is being made. Don’t you want that same principal applied to you?
Bring a spirit of compassion, openness, and clarity to your early-stage dates and you may find you perceive the person across from you differently. They still may not be right for you, and that’s OK. But it won’t be necessary to rip their character, their physical flaws, or their life choices to shreds with your friends, your sister, or your dating coach.
So, lighten up. Practice gentleness and grace when and where you can. At best, you see past what pride and arrogance would have you see and see the depth and complexity that is another human being. Again, that human being may not be your ideal match, your “soul mate” or even someone you want to develop a friendship with. But you will have shown yourself to be a person of grace and integrity. And likely to attract the same in return.