As we use our phones to swipe right for our potential dates, gone are the days of courting. And as for meeting "the one", it appears to be increasingly more difficult in this day and age.
I have far too many intelligent, beautiful, successful and kind friends who are single and it's not because they aren't trying. It's because our society has made dating too much of a game. We find ourselves constantly asking the question... "where did all the good guys go?". We've become so jaded that we begin to generalize the entire male population when in reality there are plenty of good guys out there. We just need to pay more attention to those red flags and spend more time getting to know someone on a deeper level. Because I end up having the dating conversation daily with a handful of my friends, we always refer to how Charlie and I met and what I've learned that I could share with my single friends...
I met Charlie through an incredible group of friends, vetted and thrown in my direction (literally, our friend pushed the two of us together at a party). I was going through a difficult time in my life, finishing school, preparing for my Grandfather's passing, and learning to cope with a previous relationship that had left my heart in pieces. Yet, with a million others to choose from, he picked me - flaws and all. He didn't take the easy way out and pick up his phone when things got tough, he didn't move on to the next to see if he could find better, and he took the time to get to know me and connect in areas that mattered. I learned a lot during that time and noticed what I had done differently in this relationship. So, here it is, how to...in my opinion...find Mr. Good (and Mr. Good's perspective):
1. Red Flags.
Me: Whether desperate times call for desperate measures, you're sick of looking or swiping, you must always follow your gut. There will come a time when that flag goes up and you're not sure whether there's a good excuse for the behaviour or whether something doesn't add up. If you're left sitting there wondering what you did wrong, what you could have done differently, check in with your gut and listen to the first thing that comes to mind. If you're left asking a handful of friends what they think in hopes their answer results in your staying, you're likely missing the flag.
Mr. Good: There are such things as unacceptable behaviours and actions. It might be silly to mention it, but too many people will find reasons or explanations for a particular situation. This is mainly out of fear, fear of not finding better, fear of being alone, fear of this and that. All it takes to relieve yourself of the 'fear fog' can set before your eyes, is trust that the universe will unfold as it should in the end. There is a simple rule I apply, don't make someone a priority if they consider you as an option.
2. It's Not A Game.
Me: Don't make them chase you. Earn you, yes. But chase you, no. A relationship isn't a game and your heart isn't the prize. You aren't watching the clock until it's been long enough to respond, you aren't being a b*tch because you need to play hard to get, and you aren't waiting to see if they pay to prove if they're worth your time. A connection is a connection, a response is automatic and without friends re-writing your reply, and money doesn't prove anything. Building a relationship is finding someone that allows you to be yourself right off the bat and doesn't need you to always be on your best behaviour. Money can be lost, looks will fade, and all you'll have is your mind and soul. If they can't connect with you on a deeper level, they're not worth your time.
Mr. Good: Know yourself, be yourself, respect yourself, but do not lose yourself. There is no exact process to follow in order to be desirable or to 'seal the deal' and anyone who says otherwise isn't searching for a meaningful connection. Naturally there are some fundamental principles to adhere to (but this applies in daily life) such as be polite, be generous with your time and energy, be present, and all the other good stuff our parents attempted to teach us all those years ago. If you are a geek, geek out. If you love sports, talk about that wicked 3-pointer on the buzzer that made you jump out of your seat and spill your friend's beer. If you love music, share your favourite bands. Most importantly, do no behave in a calculated manner and provide answers that you think they want to hear. It may work at first, but in the longterm you'll be stuck pretending.
3. The Cover Can Change.
Me: That spark is something you feel right away, and I believe it can come in the form of a feeling or sign. Once that spark is there, the attraction follows suit. Am I attracted to this person? Sometimes the answer isn't an immediate yes. You may find the person charming or attractive, but you're not necessarily picking your jaw up off the floor. That being said, I truly believe looks can change for the better or for the worse the more time you spend with someone. They can become less attractive if they turn out to be a jerk or their head is too far up their own butt, or, you spend time connecting and find yourself waking up one day finding them to be the most attractive person you've ever been with.
Mr. Good: Attraction can mean a lot of things. It can be the physical appearance, but it can also be less obvious things such as how a person laughs, how intensely they part take in their passion, how kind they are with family, how silly or funny they can be, how well read and well spoken they are, etc. etc. Thus by focusing too much on the exterior, we'll overlook many other facets that can make a person truly beautiful. This applies for ourselves as well. Take care of your physical appearance, but develop other pillars to define who you are as a person. Oh, and make sure that all the criteria you are looking for and not just ones society feeds you, such as; money, success, looks, car etc.
4. Don't Mistake Kindness For Weakness.
Me: When women ask where all the good guys have gone my friends and I always say how women possibly have themselves to blame for that. Far too often do women say he's too nice. Too nice for what? Just because a man is calm, doesn't get into heated conversations over a mistake or act like an alpha male, doesn't mean he is weak. Perhaps he's just level headed and genuinely a nice guy. But because we associate the nice guy as a nerd or weak, some women swarm to the bad boy because he holds a mystery of some sort we want to explore - and that tends to end in heartbreak.
Mr. Good: There is nice and then there is too nice. By 'too nice' I mean that the person is sacrificing more than they should in order to please you. They are giving up on things that really matter to them and would not normally accept. This leads to an unbalanced relationship where one person holds more power than the other. However kindness is something that we should all strive for ... kindness with some well defined boundaries of course. I find that the measure of true strength is not by how much we can take form someone, instead by how much we can help them.
5. A New Heart.
Me: When you're in pursuit of Mr. Good, give him a new heart. Let him prove you wrong if he must, but don't make him prove you right because other's have broken your heart. I realized past relationships not only failed when I'd constantly mention the countless times I've been hurt, but that it left me jaded and always thinking the worst. Every new date should start with a clean slate, that means no preconceived notions and a heart thats ready to take on a new love!
Mr. Good: Here the legal principle of 'innocent until proven guilty' would be very pertinent. It's much easier said than done, because we all carry baggage (some heavier than others) and have scars from past experiences. However it is not fair for that new person to bare the consequences of someone else's actions. This baggage is yours and yours alone to carry, leave behind, or resolve.
So, the next time you go out, consider swiping left, or even think about tossing in the towel because he's too nice, take a second to reflect. There are plenty fish in the sea but it also takes two to make a thing go right.