Interview by Vitra Singh from Diva Gossip, March 11, 2013.
Doing dating right can be a challenge for men and women who just want to meet “the right one.” Diving in haphazardly without stopping to think about what you are looking for, qualities that are essential, and how to bring up some tough talk can hurt more than help.
Dating & Relationship coach, Jeremi McManus, gave me an in-depth perspective into the psychology of dating, and I, thus, share with you. Here is the start of our interview in Q&A format to ensure you don’t miss a thing!
Vitra: What’s the biggest dating mistakes women tend to make?
McManus: The biggest thing for women, which is also one of the biggest things for men, is missing out on opportunity. An example of that is hyper-selectivity because many times we limit ourselves to what we are looking for in a partner and mate. As a result, people end up with a very small pool of eligible-ness. We might get online and click all the things to filter out people you think might not be a good fit. Also, seeing a picture and saying they don’t look like a fit, looking at an online profile and seeing a grammatical error and thinking he’s not well educated.
What happens socially is usually the total opposite of that. You meet someone socially and you think they are really cool. Hyper-selectivity often gets in the way of us taking advantage of opportunities.
One of the biggest things I talk about with the clients I work with is taking the Yes stance or the open stance – give it a shot. Go to mixers, speed dating, get introduced, have fun. Go out and get a little bit of practice, because ultimately what we are doing is preparing ourselves for the person we’re going to meet and spend the rest of our lives with.
Vitra: Are there any tips for those who are nervous and feel awkward in social situations?
Jeremi: On one side there’s the expectation in our culture that the man needs to pursue the woman which isn’t always how it has to play out. But it’s rooted in our old DNA. What that means for men is that it requires them to put themselves out there and take a little more risk in social situations. Anytime you go into a social situation, you are not looking to meet the woman of your dreams, you’re looking to do somepractice, towards what I call “running a marathon” that is often a relationship.
Being in a relationship is incredibly challenging and the dating part of things is the practice that gets us ready for that relationship down the road. So using the marathon analogy, you wouldn’t start with the full race – you would practice with mini races leading up to that. So if someone is socially anxious – that’s a great setting to hire a wing-man, or try to do something less daunting like a mixer. One of my favorite approaches is the situational approach. For instance, if you’re in a coffee shop you might say “They have really good coffee here, what are you drinking?” or “It’s a gorgeous day out, how’s your Wednesday going so far?,” so you’re really connecting with the person.
And for the woman, since often she’s not in the pursuer or chaser role, I tell women to present themselves or dress in a way that makes them feel sexy, because that’s going to allow them to feel a little more confident and ready to meet someone. And in a social situation, if they catch the eye of someone they may be interested in, try to have a little smile in their face, a little warmth. Just notice him for a quick second, give them a smile, and then go back to what you are doing because that lets the guy know you are interested and it helps to lower his fear about coming over and approaching her.
Vitra: For a woman who’s serious about a long term relationship, how can she tell is a guy is “ready” or “interested”?
Jeremi: There are at least two schools of thought on this. One says you need to find out as much as possible as soon as possible to root out who’s not going to work. My concern with that is scaring off the other person too soon because you’re talking about if they want three kids on the first date.
I recommend to start finding out about the non-negotiable things fairly quickly. The non-negotiable things are things you require inside the relationship. Find out what they are and see if your partner does or does not possess them. As to when, I suggest a 2-4 date window as a really nice time-frame. If you start with 20 questions on the first date, it can be too much.
First date should be something lighthearted to see if there’s attraction, and the next few dates may be longer, where you can bring up things you would like to find out about. Slip those into conversation at some point. And one way to do it that is less direct is talking about an ‘as if’ situation. You might say “If you do the whole wife and kids thing have you thought about how many you’re going to have?” That is a lot less direct than, “How many kids are we going to have?”
Don’t let it [dating] go too long before doing this. If you are more than a month into the relationship and there are still some things you are unsure of or don’t know, you start getting attached and there’s only a finite amount of time in this life. In a 30-day period you really have to try to find out if this guy has these key qualities you want or don’t want.
Jeremi McManus is a Relationship Coach, Psychotherapist, and Couples Therapist who works with people who want more fulfilling and satisfying relationships. His own ups and downs in dating and relating were instrumental in leading him into this field. If you feel like you could use some perspective, he looks forward to hearing from you. Jeremi is a Licensed Psychotherapist and delighted to call San Francisco home.