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This week’s episode of The Baggage Reclaim Sessions is inspired by a conversation with my cousin that reminded me of the assumptions and confusion surrounding the early stages of dating, namely when conversing online or on the first date or few. Despite promising chats before what seemed like a great date, he ended things, citing travel plans she’d mentioned before they met up. His rather long-winded explanation left her feeling baffled and confused. This got me thinking about the importance of recognising that all have different thresholds for believing twe have a connection with someone. We also have different thresholds for what we regard as ‘getting along’ and for desiring a relationship.

Some nuggets from the episode:

  • What people say in the initial exchange via text/email/messenger isn’t necessarily set in stone for how things will be when you go on a date.
  • We have to be careful of taking what people say they’re OK with prior to or on a first date too literally. The odds are, given a bit of time to brood, they’ll tune into their feelings or analyse and decide it’s too complicated.
  • Sometimes people use information they gather via profiles or during date conversations that, when they then brood or over-analyse things, becomes their reason to justify why they won’t continue. Sometimes it’s about lack of enough connection to justify continuing. And sometimes they quite simply don’t know what they want.
  • Dating helps us to figure out what we want. We forget that it’s a discovery phase. Sometimes we have very specific ideas about what we believe we need to fall for someone or be in a relationship. Experience shows us what’s true for us because romantic interest is a hypothesis. We’ll often get exactly what we said we want even if it doesn’t look exactly like we thought it would.
  • We might assume that men and women don’t spend time together unless there’s the romantic interest. The other party, however, might be someone who does this all the time, so it doesn’t mean the same to them. Someone’s threshold for believing that there’s a connection, for desiring a relationship, might be entirely different to ours.

Anna might believe that you don’t get on with a guy like this unless there is romantic interest or unless you have a lot in common. She might think they have various things in common. That may well be true. Still, that doesn’t mean they’re things Bob values in a woman for them to have a relationship.

  • If you haven’t been on a first date yet and so you’re at stage 0, you need to keep your expectations and ideas about what is or isn’t going on in check.
  • Sometimes we expect too much out of initial interactions and first dates. It’s like we want texts, emails and the first date or few to do all the work of an entire relationship. That’s just not possible. We set ourselves up to fail and feel frustrated.
  • The less time we spend trying to make others be like us, the sooner we can appreciate people and situations for what they are. It’s also the sooner we can stop being trapped, confused and cut up by illusions.

Talk is cheap. How okay someone is with something is evident in their actions. Natalie Lue.

Next stop

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