Introspection – the examination or observation of one’s own mental and emotional processes.
Since I’ve gotten into this whole self-improvement and personal development thing, I’ve been told countless times that too much of this wasn’t good for progressing towards your dating goals, and that thinking leads to less action and that more doing is better.
Lately, as I’m sitting in this loud and bustling coffee shop filled with worn-out college students trying to get their next caffeine fix to go finish waging war on their exams, I can’t help but feel incredibly introspective about where I’m at in life and what do I really specifically want.
As irrelevant as this all might sound, let me give you some perspective on what led me to this. Let’s take a step back to a couple of weeks ago. Ironically, I was sitting in a similar coffee shop almost exactly like the one I’m sitting in right now. But it wasn’t hustling and bustling with stressed out college students doing last minute cramming and panicking baristas yelling out orders like bartenders in a packed bar during a bum’s rush.
It was quiet, with light jazz music playing in the background, and very intimate. You’re probably thinking I was there studying, but I wasn’t. Nor was I dressed in my usual gym shorts, plain V-neck shirt, and messy hair with 7-day stubble. I was dressed up, with a clean haircut, clean shave, and fresh cologne – the kind of preparation I normally would apply before going out to a bar or a club on a Friday night with the guys.
In the two years I’ve been doing this, it takes a lot to get me excited about going on a date, but that day was different. I had met this girl a couple of weeks beforehand when I went to go meet my friend for lunch. As I was lost navigating through his college campus, I saw this very well-dressed and classy looking girl rushing towards the opposite direction.
It’s been a while since I felt that feeling of being stuck in my tracks but, I ignored that inner sense of going on about my business and rushed over to meet her. As I stopped her, I found her to be very attractive and my exact type in terms of looks and style. I stumbled over my words but managed to take a step back and run through the motions.
For the quick 15 minutes we talked, we connected and had a lot of commonalities. Ideally, it would have been nice to grab coffee with her at that moment, but she had to be on her way to catch the next train going home and I had to be on my way to meet my friend for that lunch we had planned for a long time.
I got her number and for the first time in a long time, I felt a sense of excitement and euphoria. What was it exactly that made me feel like this? Was it because she was very attractive and exactly my type, or that there was a possibility I was finally going to get to know and connect with someone I was genuinely attracted to? To be honest, yes, it was.
Since I started this journey, I can’t count how many women I’ve actually approached to hone my skill set, and with that experience the fear dissipates and at times turns into apathy.
Most dating advice will tell you to never get specific about what you want, that it’s really just a numbers game, and that you should lower your standards and not be honest with yourself. I bought into this idea for the sake of “getting good” with women, but in reality I’ve become pretty apathetic and have gone on dates with women I wasn’t even attracted to.
It wasn’t just a lack of physical attraction; a lot of them were but not even on an intellectually and emotionally stimulating level. I’ve gotten to a point where I felt like those cynical veteran types that you see on cop dramas and in the movies. I can tell you that I hadn’t really been honest with myself and had been settling constantly just for the sake of practice.
That day was a fresh breath of air, and after jumping through a bunch of hoops trying to set up a casual date, I persisted without being forceful and we both agreed to meet at the very coffee shop I was sitting in at the time. We both had busy schedules; this was one of my busiest semesters and I didn’t have much time for anything. Still, I managed to make time as she did also and agreed to meet.
I sat there calmly reading a book and sipping on some hot tea, and even though I looked calm on the outside, inside I felt excited, as if I was going on a date for the first time. An hour passed and nothing, two and still nothing. I figured something was going on, so I texted her. She told me that she couldn’t make it at that specific time and asked if I was going to be available some other time.
I told her that I had a lot going on and that this was going to be one of my only free days for a long time and I asked her when she was going to be free. No response… I was calm, confident, and I didn’t think I came off as needy, but at that moment I realized I just got stood up.
Most guys would probably start getting self-conscious and think the reason their date didn’t show up was because of them, something they did wrong, or that there was something wrong with them. Inside I felt incredibly irritated and pretty disrespected. If there’s one thing in the world I value and something that I’m incredibly ruthless with, it’s my time.
In the last couple of months before that date and after reading “No More Mr. Nice Guy” by Dr. Robert Glover, I learned a couple of valuable and important life lessons that they don’t teach you when you’re learning courtship and managing your personal relationships with peers, friends, and family. I realized that in my life, I never really had any specific boundaries and would let people take advantage of me.
I wrote out my value system and the things I genuinely valued in life. Then I decided to set down the line, be honest with myself, and live with and follow through with these boundaries. It’s not about being selfish or an asshole for no reason, but I discovered the importance of having personal values and boundaries. It taught me the importance of self-respect and that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with being honest about what you want for yourself and what you want out of life.
This girl had crossed my boundaries, and even though she was attractive, I didn’t care to try and set up another date. I was honest with her about feeling disrespected, led on, and that my time was very important to me. Even though it was a terrible feeling getting stood up, I calmly moved on.
For the last couple of weeks leading up to this moment, I have been asking myself these three questions:
- What do I specifically want?
- Where am I at right now?
- What steps would I have to take to get there?
Just like how I outlined my values and boundaries, I decided to be proactive. I wrote out a very specific and detailed list about what I find attractive in a woman and what I’m not willing to put up with. Along with that came a list of developing the other aspects of my life from my friendships, personal health, future aspirations and career goals I want to work towards, and pursuing new hobbies and interests I’ve always wanted to do, like hip-hop dancing and improv.
Besides taking control and going through this action plan, I’ve decided that I want to start dating women I’m actually genuinely attracted to and that I’m not going to settle for anything less than what I feel like I deserve. I mean isn’t that the reason why most of us get into learning dating skills?
For some people, it may be about having tons of sex or overcoming personal insecurities, but as fun as that may all be, lately I’ve realized that I’m at a different point in my life and that I want to date around and get into honest and healthy relationships, whether it’s a short-term, open, or long-term thing, and date with honest intent and transparency.
‘Til next time, we’re always here for you guys!