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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Dating From the Inside Out > 67

Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

Dating Against Types - "Not My Type"

We’ve all heard the phrase “He (she) is not my type,” before. In fact, it’s used so often in our culture that it is almost at a cliché level. And yet, many people really mean it when they say it, even though the phrase really lends itself to very limited considerations.

Dating is a lot like casting for roles in a film. If you think of your life like a movie, which, in effect, it is, on the level of a story – you can understand why the process of finding and developing interpersonal relationships can so mirror the movie casting process.

The fact is, that human beings aren’t merely “types,” regardless of what people say, or the media and film industry attempts to try to make us believe. Creative people, particularly actors, have railed against being typecast, many often frustrated at being expected to play the same type of role, over and over again. The whole point of acting, it would seem, is to do just the opposite. The very nature of acting is getting outside of one’s skin, learning, searching, and inhabiting a different being. So it always seemed a bit contradictory, to expect an actor, whose purpose is to tell stories in a creative way, but inhabiting various personas, to inhabit the very same character, albeit in a different situation, time and time again.

 

”Types” have been created by people, and perpetuated by stereotypes that truly are and can be very damaging, in terms of managing and expanding interpersonal relationships. Typecasting is a form of “branding,” an associative term used in advertising. Branding is important in terms of selling a product, because repeat customers are the order of the day; they are what guarantees financial success of a product. People tend to rely upon and trust brands.

With interpersonal relationships, it could be that the very same sort of “branding” and the trust factor have a lot to do with why people gravitate toward certain “types.”

But types of people, are, at their very core, people; human beings with an intricate set of values, experiences and characteristics. By typecasting people, or assuming things about them by the way that they look, or even act, is often inaccurate. Racism, ageism, genderism – all are part of an unfortunate mix of social stereotyping that society has embraced and adopted into culture.

However, the more savvy person, knows that stereotyping is not only limiting, but can be so wrongly executed, that some of the greatest opportunities can be passed by, because of it. The smarter creative producer, for example, upon meeting other “types” when searching for a particular certain individual to play a role, have been known to rewrite characterizations, because they meet people who are so compelling, that they can see a much more interesting story in the making. Sometimes it is merely an issue of who is available at the time.

So, if a movie can be rewritten to serve a new, unique individual, and as a result, an entire story be retold, then why can’t we do that in our lives? Our own lives, after all, from start to finish, are like the stories told in books and films, which, in fact, often based on real life.

So, it would seem, that to a certain extent, we could be the masters of our own stories. We can, after all, choose many things in our lives: where we live, what we choose to do, how we choose to do it. So why be enslaved by a mentality that limits our interpersonal relationships by some sort of “type?”

Often, by agreeing to think outside of the box, that comfort zone that leads us into social interaction, that place where we feel like we “fit in,” we can find much more rewarding fare. There are places that all of us have never been, even in our own neighborhoods. Whether it is a new place, or a place at a different time or day, try going somewhere new. Try exploring new avenues and places, and you will find similar people to yourself, even those that you would normally find yourself socializing with, on many levels, but you will probably also find people who are completely foreign to your sensibilities. As long as they are not dangerous or pose a threat of any kind, it is a good idea to get to know different types of people. Not only can we learn from new experiences, but also we can find ourselves learning things about ourselves, in the process, that we never really knew – or may never have found out about.

Stereotyping and typecasting, can create dating ruts that are both detrimental to happiness, as well as to the potential of meeting new people. Just as we need to involve ourselves in new situations and activities to find suitable new friends, we must remain open to including the new types of individuals that we meet in our lives.

In addition to trying new activities in places we would not normally spend our time, we should consider befriending varied kinds of people, from different cultures, age groups and races. As long as our basic core value system is not dishonored, and there isn’t a toxic situation present as a result, involving ourselves in activities that challenge our senses, can be refreshing, rewarding, and ultimately, more fulfilling at the same time.

If we try focusing on quality rather than quantity, it is also more possible to find the types of people that we find rewarding to connect with, whether for friendship or romance.

Another issue to consider in terms of typecasting, is that if the kind of person you normally gravitate to is difficult to give up, perhaps the reason involvement with those types of people never seems to work out, is that, in fact, the kind of person you feel comfortable with, is merely a comfort zone, and not the best type of person to have in your life.

Perhaps, what we are actually attracted to is the “type,” and not the person. What could have developed is actually a very destructive situation that we keep repeating, only because that is what we are familiar with. Much like any other abusive situation, it is a “known” factor, one that we are very accustomed to, and therefore, may feel “right,” when in fact, it is very wrong.

It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results. In the above scenario, when someone repeatedly chooses the same kinds of people, it’s really another form of insanity in and of itself, on a certain level.

In addition, choosing the wrong types of people in our lives is also a form of self-sabotage that often stems from low self-esteem. On a deeper level, it could be that one’s own self worth, is what is in the way of connecting with different types of people. It’s hard to determine why we gravitate to the same types of people, in terms of attraction, but if you find that you are not having gratifying, lasting friendships or meeting the types of people who will ever develop into what it is that you are searching for, you might try a different tactic altogether, and make yourself available and open to whatever comes your way.

Choosing the same “types” is also indicative of being “stuck in the past,” which is also destructive and counter-intuitive. By doing this, it is easy to just end up looking like you’re saddled with baggage, which is neither attractive, nor healthy.

If the kinds of people that you choose, are always the same, and actually remind you of former relationships, it is probably a very good time to let go of that and move forward, into a new adventure.

So, the bottom line, is that by looking outside of our normal or regular routines, our “comfort” zone in terms of the kinds of friendships we make, we can actually broaden our perspectives, learn a great deal, and may be a lot happier in the long run.

Your life is your very own story, so “write” it the way you want it to be, including choosing the people in your life. Be open to new experiences, people, cultures, and you just may find, that the best “types” of people to have in your life, are not, in fact, the “types” you ever thought could be your type, at all.

Instead of gravitating toward, or searching out, the “type” of person you think you’re looking for, try doing just the opposite. Let yourself experience various types of people, say “yes” more often, even when your first inclination is to say “no.” You may surprise yourself, as you find more of what you really desire, from a more satisfying social life, dating situation, or even life partner, through broadening your connections in ways you’d never thought of before.



Susan S. Davis is a published book author and writer, currently doing research for a romantic screenplay she is writing. Her Dating From The Inside Out column is published every Tuesday.


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