The I Factor™
Simple Insights for Connecting in Your Personal Relationships
Before I was married, I spent most of my time being single between relationships, and those relationships tended to be extremely short. It’s not that I liked being single, but rather that I knew what I wanted and preferred to be alone rather than in a relationship with the wrong person.
And it’s not that I was particularly good at being single. I went out on a lot of dates but couldn’t pretend to be interested after I knew it wasn’t going to work out long term. So I went out on a lot of first and second dates, but rarely was I – or the woman – interested in going out a third time. I was the two-date king.
Admittedly, I have a bias towards connection and emotional resonance. So I skipped the small talk, was very direct, and cut to the chase rather than engage in that “usual, mindless, boring, getting-to-know-you chit-chat” that Uma Thurman nailed so perfectly in ‘Pulp Fiction’. This tended to drive most women away pretty quickly.
At one point, I even started to get a bit worried and asked a friend, “If I can’t get past the second or third date, how am I going to find a girlfriend, let alone a wife?” His insightful response has resonated with me for years: “If you can figure out in two or three dates that you don’t want to be with someone, you’re saving yourself a lot of time!”
Suddenly, “three dates and you’re out” felt like a virtue, especially as I looked around at single friends who were in a series of short-term relationships that were doomed from the start. I realized how much time and energy I was saving, how many more opportunities I had to meet the right woman since I was never tied up with the wrong one.
So how does this apply to you, especially if you don’t mind small talk and tend to be on your best behavior when you first meet someone? As radical as this sounds, try to drive your dates away by being… the most honest, open, authentic you possible. Because the ones who stick around like what they’ve seen and are likely able to go deeper.
And these are the ones with whom you might find a deeper emotional connection.
At the same time, if there are things you don’t like about a person, don’t beat yourself up for being too critical or too picky. You’re not. You’re simply being discriminating. And that little problem that you’re trying to ignore is most likely just the tip of the iceberg.
So unless you like dating to nowhere, don’t go out on dates four, five and six unless you already have a sense after dates two and three that this is going to be a keeper. And after a “pleasant” first date, ask yourself if you’d be perfectly happy if you never saw this person again, and if so, move on.
Why move on so quickly? Do the math. If you have a series of six-month to two-year relationships with the wrong person, you’ll be single and forty before you know it. In any case, it’s a numbers game, so be patient. Don’t tie yourself up with the wrong guy or girl. That way you’ll be available to meet the right person. Or as I read on a recent Facebook post: “When you stop chasing the wrong guys, you give the right guys a chance to catch you.”