Why You Shouldn't Give Up On Dating

Why You Shouldn't Give Up On Dating

Let's face it. If your ultimate goal in dating is to find someone to love, then you will likely wind up frustrated at some point in the process. Frustrated with the games, the communication mishaps, the sheer number of dinner dates you have to sit through before finding a connection. As Charlotte York so aptly stated in one memorable episode of Sex and the City, "I've been dating since I was 15. I'm exhausted! Where is he?"

It's a fair question. However, in asking it, many tend to forget that dating is not a very successful endeavor—statistically speaking. Throughout the course of a woman's life, she may go out on dates with 30 different men, fall in love with three, and marry one. And those odds aren't exactly stellar. 5 Shocking Statistics Reveal That We Pretty Much Suck At Breakups

That's why I smiled when I read Jenna Birch's article, "I Can't Stand Dating." She highlighted the many disheartening aspects of dating, and I could relate to plenty of them. After all, who hasn't experienced an awkward silence while sitting across the table from someone, or agonized over whether or not he was going to call? Yet, unlike Jenna—who ultimately concluded that in finding love, modern dating wasn't for her—I will remain a staunch advocate of the practice. In spite of its frustrations, I still see a lot of value in it.

To me, dating is about more than finding love. In fact, I rarely ever go into a first date assuming that anything serious is going to result from it. I don't mean that in a cynical way, just a realistic one. Because although I may be quite attracted to the person I am out on a date with, the likelihood of us clicking in all the other important areas of our lives is slim. And that's OK with me. Judging A Guy's Dating Potential By His Job

Why? Because every date is an adventure and always teaches me something. If you look back upon your own dating life, I think you will find the same. So, go ahead and try it. Think back to every single date you've ever been on and try to find one instance where you didn't gain at least something.

You may not have met the love of your life that night, but maybe you learned about a cool restaurant you wanted to check out again later with friends. Maybe you ventured out to a new part of town. Maybe you learned about growing up in rural Africa, because the guy you had coffee with that evening spent his childhood there with missionary parents. What Does “Learn a Lesson” In Relationships Mean?

Maybe you're a bit on the shy side and need practice learning how to listen, ask questions, and hold conversations with people you don't know very well. Dating can help you do that. It's one of the fringe benefits.

It can also help you do more obvious things, like fine-tune the list of traits you value most in a mate—even if that mate isn't the guy across the table from you that night. Dating will help you gain a clearer understanding of the types of people you are compatible with, and if you're really being open-minded, dating may even provide you with a renewed sense of faith in men.

Think about it this way: Let's say you decide to put up a profile on some internet dating site, and then get contacted by some guy who seems to be a likely prospect. The two of you carry on a week's worth of friendly email banter, and then decide to meet for a date. Upon seeing him in person, you find that he is kind and successful and gentlemanly, in an old-fashioned, always-opens-doors-for-you sort of way. He is a great guy, all around, yet you're just not feeling a romantic connection with him. Perhaps, you don't understand each other's jokes, for example. If You Have These 3 Skills, You'll Rule The Online Dating World

Let's also assume that you meet up with two other guys after him, and find yourself in different, yet similar situations. As someone who has done a fair amount of internet dating, I can attest to the fact that this happens, and it happens often. Yet when it happens to me, rather than feel bummed by my lack of connection with these men, I instead feel grateful for the opportunity of going out with them. Why? Because they are living, breathing proof that decent guys not only exist, but are actually single.

Now, not every dating experience is going to be a positive one—you will always have a few duds thrown into the mix—but there are a few things you can do to increase the odds:

1. Never let your friends set you up with someone without first checking the person out online. I don't care if it's your best friend in the entire world who wants to play matchmaker. Don't simply take her word for it; do your own research. This is the age of Google, and it's a beautiful thing. Get his full name and type your little heart out. Comb over his Facebook page if you're able to, and search for common interests to ensure that you will have something to talk about together. You may even learn a bit about his sense of humor and the things he values based on his wall postings. If at any point you see something that makes you hesitate, then follow your instincts. Think long and hard before setting up a date with him. Can You Google Your Way to Love?

2. If you're dating online, try having a phone conversation with the person before agreeing to meet each other face-to-face. It's one thing to click with someone via email, and quite another to click with them in live conversation. Test the waters by chatting over the phone. If all goes well, then agree to a date. Granted, this will require giving out your phone number to someone who is essentially a stranger, and if you feel uncomfortable with that prospect, I would suggest doing as some of my friends do. Pick up a disposable cell phone from Walmart. They retail for as little as $9.99 and often come with pre-paid calling cards. Use that phone to talk with your internet dates until you feel comfortable giving them your personal cell number.

3. If you've met the person before and know you're attracted to him... stop analyzing. I know it's hard, but just have fun. That's it. Don't expect him to be the love of your life; don't worry about who is going to pay, or what you are going to talk about. Just show up, be yourself, and think of it as an adventure. If it doesn't work out, don't sweat it. As I said before, there are decent, single men out there. I've met them. 

From now on, think about the process like this: Finding love is just the ultimate dating bonus. Like many other things in life, love can take a very long time to materialize. But when it finally does, you'll be prepared. All the unsuccessful dates you've had in the past will make it that much easier to recognize.