Friday, August 15, 2008

Too Much Information

Survival tips for the dating game

Today it is harder than ever to get to know someone, and the problem is not a lack of information! We are overloaded with input from everywhere - especially if you Google someone before you even meet them or read their MySpace or Facebook pages.


By the time you sit down for your first latte you know their likes and dislikes, favorite hot spots, how they spend their leisure time and depending on the site you use, how many children they want to have "someday." This is way more than you would have known even five years ago after months of dating. But what does all this information really add up to? How do you build intimacy when everything's already on the table?

Check mate


We've gone from light talking over a root beer float to interactive compatibility charts and it hasn't made the dating world any easier. In fact, it's caused a new obstacle - our minds are shutting our hearts down. We think that love is about complimentary resumes and favorite movies. We're so hyper aware of boundaries, visions and goals that we've lost the reality of love simply being an unexpected gift we stumble across based on real life interaction.

And, we forget the most important factor of all - chemistry! It's not a computer-generated list of new "matches" where we skim profiles looking for red lights. In doing so, we're practicing saying "no" instead of just saying "yes." And love is about being open to the unexpected (saying "yes!") to find that unlikely match than can only be love.

So, how do you take in all that you know, and keep your heart open? How do you work with too much information, too soon? Start with the tips below.

The nose knows


Okay, yes, online profiles and computer matching and your friend telling you everything she or he has ever heard about this person's past is all very fun and interesting. But, one thing the web still can't do is translate that tactile WOW factor. That meeting someone where no amount of differences in values, favorite books, or income levels can take away - pure animal attraction. Pheromones can drive you into a state of sexual fury that no amount of great online photos can match. Sure you can listen to what you hear and read their profile a few times, but keep a lot open to the actual face-to-face meeting. Some people just don't know how to present themselves online. Bad spellers can make great lovers. Follow your nose. It knows more than you do.

Don't fear the blog


We used to think that if you read it in the newspaper then it must be true! And most people in the world didn't make the papers unless they were robbing a bank. Now with the proliferation of blogs, vlogs and Google, even if all you've ever accomplished was graduating high school, you're in there and so is your date.

So what do you do if your crush has their own NRA support site and you put the left in liberal? Well, for one thing, you are going to have a lot to talk about when you meet. And even if you feel in your gut that it's just too many worlds apart - you still might go on a fun date with someone you might never meet otherwise. Remember - it's a date - it's not your wedding! You're allowed to meet people and have fun, even if your blogs are worlds apart.

Deactivate the info-bomb...


Sometimes it's not from the Internet or a friend of their cousin, it's straight from the source. You meet them for a date... your eating an appetizer and they are ready to celebrate their divorce and guess what? Their lawyer even got them off a DUI last month! Bring on the champagne... Now your excitement has turned to panic. But what are you afraid of? The death of your expectations? Your ego's disappointment for not dating someone with less baggage? Rememeber, you are not your date. You are on a date.

It might just be fun to stick around for a little longer, even just to tell a good story the next day. And, back to the rule of good dates - they should be entertaining, and this one is off to a rip-roaring start. So you can wish them well with the journey and excuse yourself or you can smile and toast their newfound freedom and be a witness to their process. This one may not be a keeper, but it'll be one to remember.

Chances are?


In the end, you just don't know why you're on this date. Okay, maybe the NRA guy isn't going to father your vegetarian children. And perhaps DUI-divorce woman isn't someone to introduce to your parents. But it doesn't mean that meeting these people isn't part of your process to find who the person is that you are going to go on a lot more than a few dates with. People come into our lives for a reason, a season, or forever. The information we learn is about defining ourselves, not them. How do you feel about what they are telling you? What are your values?

We make the mistake of thinking that love is based on information - and it's not. We think that knowing the stats will make the choice to love safer. If their parents are still married, or if they make a certain amount of money, then they are potentially good as a partner versus someone who grew up with a single parent and is still trying to decide on a career. We can't predict who will be the person to teach us about intimate love. That's why it's such a magical connection.

Remember, the sheer practice of going on dates and connecting with others will bring your eventual partner closer. Love finds those who are willing. So go ahead! Have a meal, drink a coffee, see a movie. Do your research, but don't be afraid to give someone a chance. The journey to love isn't a straight line, and that's what makes it so much fun.

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