So much of dating is about “screening”.
It is about knowing what you want, setting and maintaining your standards
and then communicating them with confidence.
Now, I get it, this can be easier said than done,
especially when the guy you want to go on a date with needs to "postpone” at the last minute.
Think about what you want
Russ is constantly asking me: "what are you wanting to get out of this interaction?”
Well, it was simple, I wanted a date and that’s where this seemed to be going.
We had been chatting over text and the day and time had been confirmed days before,
exactly one hour before we were set to meet, disaster...
He sent an apologetic text message asking if we could postpone until late that evening.
I’m not going to lie, I did have some pangs of disappointment. I really wanted to meet this guy!
But I also had a choice to make.
We have all been there,
where our desire and excitement to meet up with this fun, new guy, overrides any sense of logic, red flags or everything else for that matter.
Part of me wanted to be the “understanding girl” and cater to his request to meet up later that night.
I could have replied with something like
“Oh I completely understand. Sure, let’s meet later tonight, what time were you thinking?”
I have done this with guys so many times before, based on a misguided notion that it will make him see me as “nice” and “adaptable” and “easy going”.
Sadly, all this has ever gotten me is frustration and feeling like I'm being taken advantage of.
Set your standards
I mean, don’t get me wrong, I am nice and I don’t need him to validate this for me.
However, I am also pretty busy with friends, family and life.
I had already made plans later that evening and cancelling them for a guy (and let's be honest, we have all done this or thought about doing it) would NOT have been maintaining my standard.
In fact, I found that by always being "understanding" and adaptable" some guys seemed to be ok with doing it again, and again and again!
The subtext around my messaging said
“I will organise my life around you. I’m always readily available. I’m happy to date you on your terms”
and that, is just not okay.
Alternatively, I could have gone the other way where my instant reaction and my thoughts were more like,
“He obviously doesn’t care that much about meet me. I am not a priority to him. Good riddance”
This too has happened to me before.
One thing, that echo's in my mind, over and over agin is Russ' position on a guys investment,
"If he's not making you a priority in his life, then maybe he should not be making him a priority in your life!
He needs to earn it!"
However, I’ve started to check myself on this one because the reality is, of course I am not a priority, and nor should I be. Not yet anyway!
We have only just met, we do not owe each other anything and he is probably screening me as much as I am screening him.
It’s actually a very refreshing way of thinking about it.
In the past, I could easily have put this guy out to pasture for this, however if I think rationally about it, I find that sometimes, in life sh!t just happens.
So I decided to activate my ‘three flakes and you're out’ policy and give him the benefit of the doubt.
Communicate your standards
So, what actually happened with this guy, well...
I replied with this,
“Oh no James! That’s a shame, I was really looking forward to catching up. You sound busy.
Tell you what, let’s leave it for tonight, give me a call me on Wednesday and we can set something up for next weekend”.
You might be wondering what makes this text so special or even effective.
Well, here’s what I was really saying:
I'm disappointed that I'm not going to see you, but I know it’s your choice
I recognise that you're busy and I'd rather have your full attention on a date
I'm open to seeing where this can go, but now show me some effort and call me
I'm interested in you, so happy to find an alternative date and time.
This kind of text message demonstrates a few things,
I'm socially confident and comfortable,
he’s not my only dating prospect,
he’s not the centre of my world and
I have standards and are not afraid to enforce them.
All very attractive qualities for a guy that is looking for more than his next lay!
Funnily enough, this guy wrote back to me in a flash,
"You have plans this evening? Fu*k, I’m sorry! I’ll call you to chat now”.
To which I replied
“Yeah sorry I do. All good, call me on Wednesday after 7pm. Talk soon x”.
(maintaining my standard, setting and expectation and not being reactive to his requests)
As fate would have it, he called me on Wednesday and we set up a few successful dates as a result.
Right now, I’m dating, I’m screening, I’m enjoying meeting new guys.
I don’t think it’s too important to know if this will work out or not (just yet), what is important however, is that a standard has been set.
P.S. I know dating can be hard and it can sometimes feel like its more of a mind f*ck then you actually signed up for.
If this is you right now, have a quick read of our Dating Detox Guide.
It might help get your head in the game. Download it here.