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Dating From the Inside Out
by Susan S. Davis

Determining Your Dating Objectives

Last week, in Life Goals Can Enhance Dating, we explored how personal life goal setting can tie in with finding the types of people you want in your life. Not only does developing life goals help to focus and guide your future, but it can also serve to clear out the emotional clutter from your life. Then you can emphasize your own distinctive qualities that will exude a confidence that others and potential partners may find attractive.

Once you’ve determined your own life goals, you can then begin to develop a list of "dating" goals. You can begin this by asking the following question:

"What do I really want in terms of dating at this time?"


The answer to that question really depends upon where you are in your life. If you’re in college, you may just want to get through your studies and have people to socialize with. If, however, you are past that stage and still are unsure of where your life is headed, you may be only interested in casual friendships until you determine what your life path is. If you’ve accomplished enough in your life such that you would like to really share your life with someone on a long-term basis, then you may ultimately be interested in a life partner.

If you are only interested in very simple friendships that may or may not involve intimacy, realize what that really means and be sure to be honest about it when you encounter potential "partners." Try to decide if you will be happy in life, with or without a partner. It’s good to be right up front with what it is you’re interested in to avoid any discomfort or disappointment. Then, actually write this out as the beginning of your "dating plan."

Your Dating Plan
If your goal is a relationship or marriage, it is always best to begin with friendship in any case. More often than not, it takes a little time to get to know people enough to tell if they are the sort of person you want in your life on a long-term basis, let alone forever. Ask yourself, what qualities or characteristics must a person possess in order to enhance my life and foster progress? How do those qualities match with mine? Am I looking for someone who possesses qualities that I haven’t got, to help balance my life, or do I want someone with characteristics similar to my own? Really spend some time thinking about this and write it out as part of your plan.

Finding a partner should not be about filling a void of insecurity; but rather, a way to improve the over-all quality of your life. Therefore, in addition to listing out the particular qualities you find essential in your dating partner, another really important part of your dating plan is to make a list of all of the good qualities that you possess as reasons why someone should go out with you. This can prove to be an integral part of the entire dating process. By focusing on your positive qualities and being aware of them, you will more easily attract the sorts of people you wish to spend your time with.

Of course, one of the main ingredients for any dating relationship, whether casual or serious, is chemistry that can translate into physical compatibility. For some, the first issue is physical attractiveness. Once that hurdle is passed, some of the other qualities you require in a partner for casual friendships might include the following: fun-loving, easy-going, spontaneous, sense of humor, intellectual, educated, well traveled, etc. The list of qualities people can have is endless. It’s best to pick several that are essential to you and add or adjust the list as time goes on and you discover more about the types of people you enjoy being with.

For those looking for a long-term partner, the more emotional aspects of the psyche are important to confront early on, such as emotional availability, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, commitment, no history of alcoholism, addiction or manic depression. But those qualities are best explored after initially determining whether or not you have any chemistry, because in the case that you don’t, these points will all be moot.

Initially, when you first approach dating and begin to meet and see people, remember to gently brooch subjects that will determine a person’s qualities, because no one likes to be interrogated on a first date. Save the more “investigative” questions for the future and for people that you have determined are good candidates for your ultimate dating goals, whether short or long term.

A first date is quite like a job interview. Some people are masters at interviewing, while others are very nervous, though they could still do the job. Because of that, it’s unfair to judge someone instantly based upon a first meeting. If you feel a connection or potential chemistry, but are uncertain about the person, try a second or third date. You really have nothing to lose; if it doesn't work out romantically, you may have found a new friend. And, as a result, you also may have learned something more about yourself or what you really don't want in a relationship.

Initially, the important thing to remember is to have some kind of goal in mind, go out and have fun, meet people with similar interests and take it from there. Think of dating as an exploratory adventure on which you get to meet all kinds of interesting people, and learn about new things with the possibility of making life-long friends or finally, finding romance.


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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