I say “precious dating time”.
But all time is precious really.
That’s why my current obsession is with the art of reduction. Cutting the fat. Losing the unnecessary (I had another sentence after this one but it added nothing so now it’s gone).
One great illusion in dating is somehow the idea that more is better. It’s the reassurance that if you’re going on lots of dates, something like progress must be happening.
I’ve found the opposite to be true.
When you cram your schedule with so many dates you have to keep personal cheat notes to identify who you met and where (“Bob from marketing”, “James from the gourmet cheese tasting”, “Clarence from the World of Warcraft convention”), things very quickly become empty and too much like an obligation.
Dating becomes a monster you have to feed with more and more endless (and pointless) events – some other bar or mindless activity to meet new people, some boring conversation with some guy or girl you already know is not your type.
Here are three quick rules I now have to make this whole process a lot more fun, and a lot less time-draining:
1. Meet guys in places you enjoy
Cut out activities you don’t enjoy.
Get off the singles treadmill of going to places you can’t stand (where you’ll meet people you can’t stand) simply because you think you have to.
I’m all for being “out there” and meeting people (most days at least), but that doesn’t mean you ought to spend your precious free time trudging around bars and crappy singles events just because that’s what you heard people do when they’re trying to sniff out a partner.
When it comes to actually going on a date my personal rule is to only do something you would want to do anyway.
It becomes a quick way of knowing if you have a connection with the other person. For example, if you absolutely have to go running and exercise at the weekends but the guy thinks you’re insane for leaving the house on a Saturday, you already know this doesn’t have much of a chance anyway.
The person you’re going to be truly happy with is the person who’s going to enjoy doing normal stuff: taking a walk, eating ice cream, looking at dumb videos on your laptop, wandering around a park or museum and just chatting.
The more regular pleasurable activities you incorporate into your dating life, the more effectively you’ll be using your time.
2. Stop going on dates before you’ve established a connection with the guy
Cut out guys with whom you feel no connection.
Whether you meet him online or at a friend’s birthday, try to build some connection and find out if you have rapport before actually spending precious hours hanging out in his company.
It sounds stingy, but there’s nothing worse than showing up to the date and finding out in 5 minutes that you have barely any chemistry.
At the very least, know if you are (a) physically interested, and (b) enjoy his conversation before you choose to give up perfectly good Netflix hours on Saturday night.
3. Stop investing too much time in a first date
Cut the time you invest on a first date.
People park aside way too much time for people they barely know. Dating should be a process of investing a little, making an effort, but still letting the guy earn a place in your schedule.
If you both already happen to feel irresistible chemistry and want nothing more than sit on a couch in an over-priced cocktail bar talking for 4 hours without knowing where the time went: good for you.
For everyone else: start the date by keeping it small.
Book aside an hour and see how things go. You can always move on to another venue spontaneously if you’re both having the time of your lives.
As for the long, interminable, clichéd dinner-dates…save that until you’re bored and married. You’re single for god’s sake.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Stephen Hussey helped co-write the Get The Guy book and is a wealth of knowledge on dating and relationships.