Recently, in an article by Ken Page, LSCW, featured in Psychology Today, he spelled out seven skills helpful in the search to find love. This list encourages singles to go beyond the usual, superficial criteria many use to choose a partner. His tips are:
1. Look at the whole person, not just particular qualities you are seeking.
2. Notice the connection and how you feel around the person.
3. Go for attraction to a person who inspires you, versus someone who's hard to get.
4. Avoid your urge to walk away from a nice guy.
5. Hold off on intimacy until you know the person better.
6. Show your interest instead of playing it cool.
7. Share what inspires you.
Page explains that when you ignore your inner, potentially superficial checklist, you improve your ability to connect with a good partner — which is one of life's biggest challenges. Page feels most dating advice is not only shallow, but also detrimental to the process. His suggestions help you build intimacy and provide a more mature way to date and assess your love prospects.
As a dating coach for women, I applaud Ken's suggestions — with the exception of one. His sixth tip encourages daters not to play it cool and instead let your feelings show. He points to research indicating a good way to transition from dating into something more serious is to let the person know how you feel.
I strongly disagree! So much depends on who is doing the sharing, and at what stage of dating. While I understand Page's intentions, this tip is likely to be misunderstood and cause problems.
Dating Is Like Playing Poker
I equate dating to playing poker, where being cool and not showing your hand are essential to winning. During the initial early dating phase, the last thing a woman should do is tell the man how much she likes him. This is too much honesty and an innocent, but devastating mistake that can drive a man away and turn him off.
Express Yourself Without Being Direct
As an adult woman, what works best in navigating the dating world is learning how to express your interest without being direct. My advice is to praise a man for the things you like about him. For example, if you love his sense of humor, tell him. If you like his choice of restaurants, let him know. Sharing your positive feedback lets a man know he's on the right track to pleasing and impressing you without threatening him.
Avoid Looking Desperate
No matter how old-fashioned this dating advice seems, most men today still want to feel like dating you is his idea. They don't want any pressure, particularly before getting invested in winning you over. I've seen women suffer after expressing their feelings, buying gifts, or doing too many nice things for the guy too early on. Often, men interpret this as "chasing" them and it can make you look desperate — not something you want a man to think about you.
Don't Be First to Say "I Love You"
Ken's suggestion does work later, once you enter the relationship stage. Then it's a bit more obvious that both people have growing feelings for each other. Yet, I still caution my dating coaching clients not to tell a man you love him first. To be totally transparent, I did that once and it was pure hell waiting for my boyfriend to respond, which, by the way, took months! Most dating experts agree with this strategy.
Don't Be Like The Nice Guys Who Finish Last
If you want to do little nice things, like share a newspaper article, tell him to have a good day or sweet dreams, or buy him a single token gift (under $10) because it was something you discussed, that's fine. However, keep it low-key and infrequent so you don't risk chasing away a great guy by appearing too interested. Think of it this way: when you meet a man who is too nice, you want to run, right? Keep that in mind when you feel the urge to share your feelings or shower a man with gifts before the time is right.
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