Ladies are you sick of dating?
Gentlemen are you tired of the hunt?
I hear this ALOT! Even more than the catch all “There are not good men/women out there.”
As an HR Consultant, one of the things I work with companies to improve is their strategy around recruiting and selection.
As a Coach I work with men and women to improve the quality of their dating and relationships. After speaking at several Group functions for both men and women, one of the things I kept hearing was how frustrated everyone was with “the whole thing” – the dating thing.
I believe “the whole thing” people are referring to was the dating process! Online or offline people seem to feel like it’s a drag, a drain, a demoralizing drama that has you contemplate staying single the rest of your life, or settling for the quarterly conjugal visit with your FWB. I used to think it had to do with the age of the “dater/datee”. Then I kept hearing the same complaints from over 40, under 40, even peeps just getting started in their 20’s.
I think what’s really happening is that people feel like they aren’t getting “quality” candidates for their romantic relationship “vacancy”.
I used to respond to this complaint with a bit of sass, stating perhaps you need to consider “taking a better application.” Then one day, I realized there’s meat on that bone.
A vacancy is a vacancy in life. And, because we are human beings, we use “a process” consciously or unconsciously to fill the voids in our lives.
Whether your process is find-kill-destroy (to rectify all the crimes against women), or snag- em-bag-em (to rectify all the crimes against men) , love-for-sex, sex-for-love, friends-then-benefits-then-relationship, or hook-ups-only, it’s still a process. You still have a relationship intention, selection criteria, an “interview” process, and an offer is extended.
Human beings are always communicating verbally, behaviorally, intellectually, spiritually what we want. The question is:
Do you actually know what you are communicating?
Do you know what relationship vacancy you are ‘advertising”?
And moreover, are you aware of the process by which you are choosing your “applicants”.
Yes, ladies (and gentlemen) we choose our candidates. We smile and make eye contact across the room, we send emails, reply to texts, and make/return calls to people. These people have now become a part of your candidate pool.
People always say dating is a game.
Dating isn’t a game.
If we want to get technical dating is a process.
It is a socially engineered process designed to help you make an informed decision about who you choose to share your life with and for how long.
Most of us go through this process on autopilot, believing what we’ve seen on tv or heard from friends, family, books, religion, and social norms. You can be informed by all of these, and at the end of the day, you much choose what your process will be.
There is great information out there. AND, you must still do your work, do your part to actively participate in filling your romantic vacancy. Or, you can 1)leave the entire process up to someone else (the datee); or 2) remain on auto-pilot and allow your subconscious wants, needs, and wishes to play out in your dating life over and over again i.e., you date that same type of guy/gal over and over again.
So how do we “take a better application?”
Here are 7 Steps to help you attract and retain high quality applicants for your relationship vacancy.
1 – Your Relationship Intention aka. The Job Description/Posting: Know what you want and what you don’t want. Most of us just want a “relationship”. Well that’s a pretty vague description. If you were hiring for anything else you wouldn’t just post “Receptionist” would you? This may not be something you put online (it could be) but it’s definitely something you hold in your heart. You gotta know what you are a yes to, so you can be clear about your no.
2 – Taking Applications/Reviewing Resumes: Online or offline this is the process by which you are getting to know someone. If this is online, you have quite a bit of information at your fingertips. When recruiting, I am looking for 5-7 key things before I even consider the candidate any further. This works offline too if you ask your 5-7 key questions during the course of your interaction. It should provide you enough information to know if this person actually fits into your relationship intention. These questions ideally go beyond chemistry and attraction. Things that have them discuss goals, views, wants, needs, and wishes they have for their life and their relationship intention. You aren’t looking for perfection, but someone you can connect with.
3 – Connecting Offline/Phone Screening: Talk. On. The. Phone. Have a conversation, that is not text or email. Actually know what he/she sounds like. One better, get bold and face-time. You can find out a lot about a person in a 15-30 minute conversation. Don’t underestimate the power of the sound of someone’s voice and their ability to communicate and connect with you in a powerful way. And if you’re not feeling it, you just saved yourself, time, money, and make up by not meeting this person for that coffee “interview.”
4 – The Date/Interviews: Ok, yes, I’m using hiring as a metaphor but that said, This should not feel like an interrogation or an interview, rather a really engaging conversation. Let your curiosity lead the way. There should be a natural flow between you two if you let your interests lead rather than your need to complete your checklist. If you are interested, the checklist gets completed naturally. If you are not, who cares. Just like in the real world, you end the date/interview early and thank the person for their time. And just like the best interviews, they don’t feel Q&A sessions, but rather great conversations.
5 – Courting/Dating/The 2nd Interview(s): Hopefully, you are feeling the presence of possibility with this person. So a second date may actually be comprised of some experiential exercises, i.e. you do something together where you two are not the sole focus. This allows you to see how they interact with others and handle themselves in a variety of situations.
6 – Meeting My Peeps/Team Interview: Before you get too far down this road, you should have them meet a few key players in your life. People who you love and trust, and most importantly people who can and will tell you the truth. They already love you and have your best interest at heart. They are objective and haven’t had sex with this person so they aren’t attached to any outcome except your happiness. Invite the person to a social group activity. Don’t prep anyone just go out and have fun. After the date is over, ask them for their honest opinion. Find out what they think about the person, and then about him/her in your life as a mate. Hey, if your peeps aren’t interested in your happiness, then you have bigger problems than dating.
7 – Job Offer/Exclusive Dating – AKA The FB Status Change: Presuming all is well and you’ve had “the talk”, and you are now in a relationship or at least discussing what that looks like, basically you’ve made and/or accepted a job offer or relationship agreement and are moving ahead. Just like in a real world, when you have a new role/position, the first 90-days are really crucial. Most of what you experience at this point will likely be new. This is where you will really get to know the person and either fall madly in love (if you haven’t already) or become completely disenchanted with them or the relationship. This is where you really gotta ask yourself the tough question, “Is this what I want?” “Is he/she what I want?” “If nothing changed am I happy with who they are and what we have?” And before you get too far down the road of the 90 days or beyond, if it isn’t ringing your bells, trust your gut, and cut bait. Don’t waste time trying to make something or someone fit into your life when it just doesn’t. It’s work for you, and painful for them.
Make the grown up decision. Let them go; and set yourself free. People aren’t likely to change who they are, and what they are up to. What you are seeing in this phase is the real deal. So if it’s not working for you, wonderful! You gave it a shot. Played full out, followed a conscious process, and this one didn’t make the cut. That’s ok. But you are making a more informed choice, and able to stay in it giving it a real chance before, rather than some vague excuse like well he’s not over six feet, or she doesn’t cook.
If you don’t have the results you want, the relationship you want, it is likely that you are not clear about the intention and the process you are using to get there.
Dating is a process. There is no getting around this. Like weight loss, you gotta put in the time and effort to get the results.
Is it possible to meet your soul-mate and things escalate quickly?
Is that the norm?
If you are truly wanting to be in a relationship with depth and substance, that takes time. It takes being open to sharing yourself and getting to know someone.
Contrary to popular belief dating and relationships are a process, not a moment, or a weekend, or even a game. That defining moment, the actual “click” may never come, if you aren’t taking the time, making time, for you and the person to actually connect – beyond the profile, beyond texting, beyond email, in other words beyond the resume.