How often have you just had the wrong feeling about someone you're into? You know what it is I'm talking about: a vibe, hunch or other random signs that you should be worried or run for the hills.
Now, think about how many times you've put them aside in the hopes that you're overthinking things or just plain wrong.
At this point, I'm willing to wager that -- more often than not -- you were actually right about that person. They did turn out to be what you expected (and maybe a little worse)! Why didn't I follow my instincts, you probably wonder.
I found myself thinking the same thing as I had a chance to chat with my
friend Tasha late last week...
We'd been trading notes on our mutual frustrations about suitable dating options when she told me the story of a guy she was dating a couple of months ago who turned out to be a jerk. She'd seen the signs and even met his friends but it wasn't until things ended that she realized just how much she'd brushed aside all the red flags.
While Tasha mentioned the fun of ignoring those negative little feelings in the short term, she did have some great perspective: it's true that it may be super disappointing when you get a peek at someone's "true colors," but it does teach you to trust yourself more, while helping you learn what you will and will not tolerate.
I totally agreed and I myself can rattle off countless times I've ignored the little signs just because I was hopeful that things would work out for the best. However, over time, you start to learn to spot the signs faster. And I would say that's worth it if it helps you play this whole dating thing and single life better.
After talking with her, I took a second to think about WHY we would allow ourselves to fall prey to the ones that are just no good. What reasons could people possibly have to ignore the gift of intuition? After taking a rather informal poll, it seem to come down to a couple of simple points that, while different, relate to each other pretty well:
- Swayed by the Superficial: Let's admit it here: it's easy to fall for someone's smile or looks, be entranced with their good job and upbringing or just be whipped by the sex. So, when you find someone that possess only a piece of the equation, it would be such a letdown to realize that they're ultimately a horrible fit. And think of how annoying it is to start all over to find someone who may be a better emotional or long-term match -- even if the sex may not be as earth-moving as you want it to be or they're a little rough around the edges. It's like trying to force fit, in a way.
- Lacking in Options: Truth is, dating isn't always that easy. It takes effort. So when you have a real, genuine dating prospect that may be good, why would you want to give them up? So what if they don't seem ambitious or the sex is good but not hot? You'll let the time pass with someone until someone better comes along. And, if it's a long time to the next person, at least you have someone.
Regardless of the choices you make, what it boils down to is simple: with any dating prospect you always get a choice. But, it's up to you to decide what to do with it. And while you should have fun getting to know someone, sometimes it helps to make some notes of the things that don't seem right to you. I mean if they bother you now, imagine what it'll do to you later? Besides, dating someone should make you feel good about it... Not make you question their motives at every turn, right? (Paranoia aside, of course)
After years of tripping over my feet of the same mistakes, it feels good to say that not only do I notice patterns... But, I'm more than OK with trusting myself more than I did even five years ago. (And let me tell you how many bullets I've dodged as a result!)
Essentially, dating is a case-by-case thing. Just make sure you give each case its fair shot before you send back the verdict, OK?