If you were selling a couch or a car on a web site like Craig’s List, it would be pretty easy to know what to say in your listing. Dimensions, color, model, age, a photo perhaps…no need to express anything else because that’s really all the buyer cares about.
As the seller, it’s probably not important to you whether your core values line up with those of the buyer, and it doesn’t matter whether they are interested in long-term placement or short-term, and who cares if your buyer wants a deep meaningful connection with the thing as they sit and contemplate important events in their life, or if they just want an easy place to crash while watching ‘American Idol’. You probably just want some fast cash and/or to get rid of the thing so you can get a new one.
Sadly, in the search for a mate, most people give even less thought to what they’re advertising and what buyers they’re attracting than they would to selling their couch (I sure didn’t…at least not until recently), nor do they think about where they’re shopping. But who we attract and where we shop directly affects the likelihood of whether or not we find a good match.
Nothing in life will have a greater impact on your health, happiness and income than the degree of suitability of your mate. Getting more clear on what you want, or rather what you need can then help you form your advertisement, as well as determine where you should ‘shop’ for potential mates.
Dave Chappelle does a comedy bit about how women get mad for being called ‘easy’ when they are dressed provocatively. He says, “If you wear the uniform, you can expect that people will make the mistake of assuming you fit that role.” He later gives the example of someone impersonating a cop, “If you see someone in a cop uniform, you think they are in fact a cop. You wouldn’t expect a cop to say, “I’m not a cop! I’m just wearing the uniform!”
How we dress certainly determines what assumptions people make about us, and may determine who we attract…but even more important than that is what we do. Our social behavior communicates volumes to potential mates about what we are looking for, what we will settle for and much much more…whether we know it or not.
The Pitfall…Lack of Awareness
The Result…False Advertising!
Most of us fall into one of three categories, we either:
1.) don’t know what we want and therefore we are unclear about the message (advertisement) we are putting out there,
2.) are not honest about what we are searching for, and therefore putting out a misleading advertisement, or
3.) simply are under delusions about what we want to attract and what we can honestly offer to a potential mate.
If you fall into category #2 or #3, I can’t help you. If you fall into category #1 (don’t know what kind of relationship/partner you need, and/or don’t know what kind of advertisement you are putting out there), one of the first questions you should ask yourself when you decide to start searching for a mate is “what kind of relationship do I want”?
When asked, many people are surprised by this question. “You mean I can choose?” they say. So many different types/flavors/arrangements are possible in relationship. Not only can you choose, but you can create and design the relationship that works best for you, based on your unique needs and desires. So what are your unique needs and desires?
For example, if you are a woman and you are searching for a deep, intimate relationship with lots of heavy-deep and real conversation, instead of searching for potential mates in bars where you will find partyers (and possibly alcoholics), you may opt to drop that search altogether and search instead for… a woman! (just kidding!)
Seriously though, there are some men that are more likely to enjoy communication and pursue personal growth than others, these types you are more likely to find in places like communication seminars, lectures or the self-help section of the bookstore.
Where to shop based on what you desire:
Where you show up to search as well as how you communicate in your first 5 minutes of meeting someone is a kind of advertising. What can you glean from a company that advertises in Good Housekeeping vs. Fast Company? Where you choose to shop for ‘buyers’ says a lot about your style, goals and turn-ons/offs.
-If you want a mate who enjoys helping others, you may volunteer for a charity organization and see who you meet. A client of mine met her beau (they will be married in a few months) a year and a half ago volunteering at Meals on Wheels.
-If you like art and culture, you may join a museum board, get a membership to an art organization or join a committee to plan promotional events for your local symphony.
-If you like to travel and you want to meet a successful business man/woman, book yourself in a first class seat on the next flight to Houston, Atlanta, London or (any other prosperous city), round trip. There you will meet other successful people who travel.
-If you are one of the lucky ones who has found your calling and enjoys your work, you have to decide if you want your mate to share your passion (whatever it is), or if you will be happy with someone who just has a 9 to 5 job and has no interest in professional fulfillment.
If you are passionate about your business though, you probably will want to choose someone who is not just compatible with you, but compatible with your business and how you want to grow it. My friend’s dad used to say to him, “You have to find a woman who is good for your business, but she doesn’t have to be ugly (which is in the eye of the beholder)!” To find a person like this, start giving speeches and hosting events for your business and notice who comes to your events. If they show up, they probably like what you’re doing and will be compatible with your business…no matter how it develops.
A friend of mine is coaching a woman who many years ago started to follow the business guru Michael Gerber (“E-Myth”). She was a fan of his work and loved entrepreneur businesses. When she continually showed up at his events, joined his team, and actively marketed (evangelized) his work, he became very interested in her. Now they are married and she is the ceo of his company. She is living on the beach in southern california, has her dream job and works every day with a man she admires (plus she gets to go home with him at the end of the day and vice versa 😉 It’s a win-win.
-If you want what I call ‘Relationship Lite’ (a relationship without deep connection, nor intimacy) or, just want someone to go out with (arm candy), feel free to comb the bars. There you will find people who like to go out. It is more fair and respectful for you to be honest and upfront with people you are getting involved with if you fall into this category. Let your partners know you are not available for ‘heavy, deep and real relationship’.
If you show up at a bar or party, get drunk and go home with a girl/guy, you are not saying, “I want a deep, meaningful relationship based on mutual core values and respect.” You are setting a very different tone. So don’t be surprised if you don’t get that!
Of course meeting a mate while volunteering for a non-profit or at a book-reading event is not nearly as exciting (or dangerous) as getting drunk in a bar and taking home a stranger, but it’s more likely to yield a positive result.
In the first 5 minutes:
How you communicate with someone in the first five minutes of meeting sets the tone for how the relationship will take shape and develop. (I’m finally learning this after decades of interaction!)
Unless you’re desperate and willing to take whatever you get (I’ve been there and it’s not pretty!), you want to set the bar a little high in the beginning. Think of it as a ‘sort and select’ process. You don’t want to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
“You seem like a gentleman, yes, you are welcome to join me until my associates arrive,” sets a more respectful tone than, “Sure have a seat, I’m doing shooters!”
“I’m a business woman here to relax,” or “You look like a career-woman, tell me about your profession.” These are both screening statements designed to rule out non-business oriented people.
Create your own openers depending on your values, practice and see what works!
On Dating Services and Set-ups:
To find potential lifemates, I do NOT recommend dating services or letting friends set you up. Unless your friend is a professional match-maker, they probably have NO IDEA what they are doing.
Your friend probably is a well-meaning person and he or she sees they have two single friends, one is a man and one is a woman and they think, “Hey, let’s put ‘em together and see what happens!” This method is a crap shoot at best.
Instead, you want someone who will take a look at both of your life goals, core values, ambition levels and tolerance for risk before making a recommendation.
Online dating is a great opportunity for people to misrepresent themselves. I’m not against it, I just encourage you to engage in online dating with extreme caution. Use it as a place to practice dating etiquette and making friends. Be honest that you are ‘just looking to have fun and meet new people, rather than a committed relationship’. Yes, there are many success stories of people who met online, there are even more stories of mismatches and heartbreak…and even of predators using the sites as bait.
Above are some simple steps to streamline your ‘single and searching’ efforts. Once you have found a few likely prospects, don’t make the mistake most of us make and fall in love in the first week. ‘Sorting and Selecting’ is a process that can take months. Continue your life as usual, keep your options open (as well as your eyes) and see how it develops. Most of all, protect yourself, and enjoy it!
Stay tuned for my ‘setting ground rules’ blog post to guide you through the next phase. Feel free to write in with your success (or otherwise) stories! I love to hear from you!