I posted a blog a while back asking if I was anyone’s worst first date. Oddly enough, no one I dated responded, although my DM’s are still open :), so let’s go, boys! And I know a lot of you probably thought I was kidding when I posted it, but I was being completely serious. Because when we date, we spend a lot of time judging other people. How they look, how they behave, how smart they are, how interesting they are, how well they text. We set arbitrary standards for our dates, and we measure whether they can pass tests they don’t know they’re taking. Will they reply in x amount of time? Will they call instead of text? Will they compliment my outfit? Will they be able to express feelings by date #y? Will they make a move by date #x? And then there are the questions that are murkier: Less like tests and more of ambiguous question marks. Should they have ended it so abruptly, or should they have sent a “let’s talk” warning text that morning, so that you spent the day freaking out, but at least knowing it was going to end? Should they have ever said they liked you if they were going to take it back? If they didn’t have time for a relationship, why did they say yes from the start?….
And we spend a lot of time placing blame on the other when we feel like they mishandled the situation. Sometimes because it’s their fault, but often because it’s the easy thing to do. It makes us feel better. It helps us cope.
But there is something to be said for taking a step back. A follower recently told me they wondered how many of the posts about bad dates that are sent in, could be about them. And they noted that for all the weird experiences they’ve had, seeing these posts is a reminder to stay humble, because these posts can easily be someone’s interpretations or impressions of them.
I think one of the most challenging things in dating, and probably in life is staying positive. The whole dating process can suck on so many levels. People can hurt you in ways you didn’t know you could ache. But not only is dating a two way street, it’s also complicated. Every person has different needs, speeds, and checkpoints. What works for you might not work for someone else. Sometimes people make bad decisions because they’re stupid, or mean, or they’re a bad person, or they’re immature. But sometimes people just make mistakes. And sometimes people make decisions based on what they think is right. They see things differently than you see things. The picture looks different from their side of the room. They don’t realize you set up tests for them. They faced murky question marks, and they chose the path that made the most sense to them. They faced a difficult decision, and they either messed up or they did what they thought was best. And just because you didn’t like how things went down, doesn’t mean they were wrong.
For many of us, our natural inclination is to blame. But often, (of course not always–there are some bad eggs out there 🙂 it pays to cut people slack. People mess up. People make mistakes. And I think it’s probably healthiest to assume that everyone is trying to navigate this minefield, trying to do the best they can for themselves while also doing the least amount of damage they can to others. But let’s face it. It’s impossible not to do damage. You can’t possibly leave someone unscathed. So sometimes, maybe it pays to take a step back and try to stay a little bit humble. Because blaming people gets us absolutely nowhere. It actually prevents us from moving forward. Because what if there was a small piece of the problem that we are responsible for? What if we’re too caught up in our own anger, our own blame to even see that?