Revamping My Dating Habits

Man and Woman Drinking at Bar

I have a friend, we’ll call her Michelle, who loves getting to know new people. When you talk to her, she’s so engaging that she makes you feel as if everything you said is the most interesting thing she’s ever heard. She’s confident, not cocky, and has the ridiculous ability to connect with people she just met. Not surprisingly, this girl has no problem in situations where she doesn’t know anyone. Her congeniality and charisma has gained her a great group of friends and helped her receive an offer for every job she’s ever interviewed for. But arguably more impressive, this girl has never had a bad first date.

I know.

Granted, it’s not like Michelle has a revolving door of men in and out of her life, but I would think even hitting 5-6 first dates and they’ve all been good is pretty damn impressive.

I have to admit, I held onto a little contempt for her since I’ve had my fair share of bad dates. But then I started thinking about some of the reasons she gave for why she thinks that they usually go so well, and admittedly, I realized there are a few things that I could be doing to make my dates better too.

One thing I learned I need to work on is giving people the benefit of the doubt. Everyone wants to put on their best impression during a first date. But there are plenty of things that could cause people to be off their game on a first date. Of course there are nerves, but sometimes, there are other things that might be making them uneasy. For example, my co-worker once told me that he had to leave a date early because he had horrible gas after eating a Fiber One bar. Apparently these things are no joke. There’s even a message board dedicated to the topic on My Fitness Pal, and the comments span over three years. The poor guy had no idea the bars caused such “unpleasant” side effects. He simply couldn’t stand it any longer, and had to cut the date short. His date left thinking he was a squirming weirdo and declined his invitation for a rain check.

When your date seems to be a little on edge (hopefully from nerves, not gas), Michelle says she’s tries to reassure them by saying something along the lines of “I was a little nervous but I’m having a great time!” or she compliments them on their restaurant choice or wardrobe.

And it’s not just Michelle that thinks it’s a smart idea.  A blogger over at “Adam and Eve” said that, “Most ladies will try and make an anxious date feel more comfortable,” in a recently shared dating guide for guys blog post. I tend to be more passive and I suppose I usually just absent-mindedly hope that the guy will make me feel more comfortable. I guess I figured that because he asked me out, he was confident and didn’t need reassurance. Now I’ll be more conscious about being just as complimentary to the guy as he is to me.

She also said that if her date’s nerves seem to be getting the best of them, she tries to take the reigns a little throughout the night. To engage her date, she asks them questions about things that they’re passionate about. She’ll also suggest something fun to do that won’t interrupt the night, like stopping for ice cream or popping into an interesting shop that they pass. Not only does it help take the pressure off of the other person, but it also gives you a sense of responsibility for having a good time throughout the night.

Finally Michelle said she always tries to keep an open mind. There are plenty of guys that turned out to be amazing once she got some one-on-one time with them. Even now she’s dating one such guy, and is still great friends with another. Obviously a lot of men and women are guilty of not giving the other the time of day if they don’t feel that “spark” right away. It seems like a waste of time when you don’t feel anything from the get go. But like the “Huffington Post” says, if you’re still single, it’s obvious that your past type hasn’t been working for you.” You’ll never know if there’s something better out there for you unless you give someone new a shot.

Maybe I won’t have a spotless dating record like Michelle, but by changing my own behavior, hopefully I’ll set myself up for some better first dates in the future.

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Marriage is Sacred

I know you might be thinking “DUH!” with the title, but with the way things are going with pop culture nowadays, I’m not so sure.

There were numerous things that inspired this post.  Earlier this week, TyAnthony and I were having a discussion about the number of African-American children that were born out of wedlock, specifically in the last 5-10 years.   Now, before I you all go getting on my case, I KNOW that is a sensitive subject and something we don’t talk about.  And at the risk of sounding like “I have tons of black friends, so I can’t be racist”, I have family members, friends, and sorority sisters that fall on both sides of this demographic.  Some ended up marrying their child(ren)’s parent while others decided to end their relationship.  And because of the sensitivity of this topic and the fact I might offend some people, Ty suggested I shy away from this topic.  So I’ll move on.

Another factor was an e-mail I received from friend of SGITC, Paul Carrick Brunson.  If you don’t know, Paul is a successful matchmaker, husband, and father of two.  This week, Paul made an appearance on “Good Morning America” to discuss the new reality show “Married At First Sight”.  Basically, the premise of the show is that four experts  (in different fields) pair of couples, the first time they meet each other is when the bride is walking down the aisle, and they are given one month to make things work.  If they discover they love each other and everything is honky dory, then the experts did a good job.  If they discover they are too different and believe they aren’t a match, they get a divorce.

Lastly, today, LeBron James, star basketball player (for those of you who don’t know who he is), decided to leave the Miami Heat and go back to playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.  Apparently, in an interview some time ago, James stated that he would weigh his decision on whether to stay with Miami and have conversations with his wife and mother to decide what was best.  And a number of my friends on Facebook, most who are married, indicated that he had a discussion with Savannah, his wife, and she wanted to go back home.  If that is the case, because only LeBron and Savannah know what their discussion was like, if indeed there was one, can confirm if it was a decision based on what would be best for their family.

Marriage is sacred.  Marriage is important.  Marriage is a partnership.  Marriage is about compromising.  Marriage is about being unselfish.  Marriage is love.  And marriage is a lot of other nice words that I could type.  I think it’s one thing to date someone on tv (a la “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette”-although the premise the main ‘character’ will marry the last wo/man standing, it’s not a requirement”), but when you have to marry a stranger, and then if things don’t work out after 30 days you can end it, where’s the sanctity in that?  Marriage is a commitment.  And serious business.  And to make it seem frivolous and meaningless on a television show is…pathetic.  You know, I get it.  There are some people who want to get married and find a lifetime partner, and because of bad dating experiences or relationships that didn’t last think they will never find The One.  I’ve had that thought a time or two myself.  But I don’t think I could ever marry someone sight unseen.

So what have we learned here today?  Marriage isn’t something to play with (to use a term stated numerous times by Southern Dad).  It’s about partnership and compromise and love.  It is not about reality television and getting a divorce after 30 days if it doesn’t work.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city.

I Need To Diversify

Over the past few months, I’ve realized that most of my friends think and/or look like me.  But I shouldn’t be surprised.  I went to an HBCU.  I’m part of a predominantly African-American sorority.  And most of my closest friends come from those two communities.   I’ve come to the realization that I need more non-Black friends.

Growing up, most of my friends were white.  It wasn’t until I got to high school that my best friends were black.  In middle school, I remember praying for black friends when I got to high school.  And that’s what I got-for the next 18 years.  And don’t get me wrong, I’m definitely not complaining.  But when you have friends that think like you and agree with you on pretty much everything, it sometimes gets old.

Of course I’m Facebook friends with a number of the white kids I went to elementary, middle, and/or high school with, but we don’t hang out or do brunch or have dinner together.  (I actually take that back. I do have a white girlfriend that I have known since 6th grade and every time I go home, we see each other.  And we even did dinner when she came to DC last year with her students.)  I did reach out to one of my high school classmates that lives in Northern Virginia for brunch about a year ago.  We weren’t necessarily friends in high school, but it was great to see a familiar face from home in DC.  And there is another friend that I went to high school with who was my buddy.  He lived in DC for about a year, and we went out to dinner (with his now ex-girlfriend) while he was here.  And I’m happy that he came out to help me celebrate my birthday when I was home in April.

At the end of the day, one off dinners and lunches, and friends that live 8 hours away, don’t necessarily count.  Well, they do, but I want more.  I want non-Black friends in DC that I can hang out with on a regular basis.  Those that I can talk to about my life and who have a genuine interest in getting to know me.  And I want to take an active role in their lives-celebrate their monumental moments and do fun things with them.  I also truly believe having a diverse group of friends will make me a better person.

But, for now, I will cherish the friends that I do have.  And look for opportunities to expand my DC circle.  Until next time, I’m just a Southern girl…in the city!