By Randy B. Hecht
Have you been known to spend hours examining and re-examining every item of clothing you own to find the perfect outfit for a date? Does the prospect of choosing what to go and see at the cinema throw you into angst-overdrive as you analyze what each option says about your level of cool, intelligence or desirability?
Are your friends frequently under siege as you ask what they think your date meant by every word, action or tone of voice, no matter how seemingly insignificant? When you read that last question, did you pause, confused as to what detail of a date could possibly seem insignificant? Then it seems like you might be the victim of dating overthink – one of the most common forms of self-sabotage known to the modern single. We all do it sometimes. But if you submit every aspect of your dating life to endless scrutiny, you need to change your perspective … and put the fun back in your love life. Here are some warning signs of dating overthink – and what to do about it:
If you make hasty conclusions… Don’t shoot down your own prospects before you’ve even given them a try. Why assume the gorgeous guy who caught your eye is too good looking to be interested in you? Or that a woman wearing those expensive shoes and handbag simply wouldn’t go for a bloke in your salary range?
… learn to make conversation instead. Remember, people love to talk about themselves, good listeners are a hot commodity and hardly anyone minds being flattered by being given some undivided attention. Don’t be intimidated by smiling at the good looker across the room – it might just work!
Give your analytical skills the night off… It’s a date, not a job interview or police interrogation. If you’re stressing about what you should say (or worse, what you should have said), you’re not going to have any fun. Nor will your date. And if no one is having a good time, what’s the point of going out? … and just enjoy the moment Smile. Gaze into each other’s eyes. Hold hands. Be silly or serious or both at the same time. Share jokes, share a dessert, share a secret. What’s your next move? Who cares! You’re devoting all your time and attention to the here and now, and if you’re doing it right, that’s enough.
Be yourself Remember, the worst thing about dating overthink is that it robs you of all your energy. You’re so busy trying to figure out who your date wants you to be that you completely lose track of demonstrating who you are. And ultimately, your relationship has to be based on communication, shared values and mutual respect. So follow your heart … and let all that thinking give way to feeling. Let your character speak for itself – and it will find, attract and hold onto the right person for you.