In the World of Online Dating over 40, When You Assume It Makes Both You and Me…Single
Raise your hand if you can accurately read the minds of your girlfriends. My guess is that, at least for a few, you actually can. Larry and I can read each other’s minds at times. When you’ve spent about 17,520 days with someone you love, that happens. (It’s not always a good thing, by the way.)
Now, raise your hand if you can accurately read the minds of the men you’re dating or have had short relationships with. Anyone?
Okay, now raise your hand if you’ve tried to read the minds of the men you’re dating or have had short relationships with. I bet you have, and I bet you can’t.
I bring this up because of something that happened to my friend Jan last week. I think this is a great story of how becoming more aware of your thoughts and actions can make a really nice change in your life. This includes managing the propensity to read men’s minds.
Jan’s Meet Date
Jan’s on what we call a “meet date” with a new guy she met through online dating. Jan appropriately coined these as “meet dates” because it’s just that: a way for two people to meet. It’s only after this that you decide if you want to go out on a real date.
I think she’s brilliant for thinking of it this way because, guess what, many men see it this way. When they do, it means they may not be in their full-throttle, romantic, wow-the-woman date mode. Give this some thought. Knowing this may affect your high expectations for these types of dates. But I digress. (What else is new?)
Anyway, Jan and Mr. New Guy are having lunch. They’ve talked a little, and she thinks he’s a nice guy. Her lunch is served along with her iced tea, but the waitress never brings the requisite straw. They’re sitting just a short distance from a table where straw-o-rama awaits. Jan looks over at that table, looks at Mr. New Guy, and waits for him to get up and get her a straw. He doesn’t. So Jan asks, half joking: “Hey…aren’t you going to get up and get me a straw?” To which Mr. New Guy replies: “Nope, I was looking forward to watching you walk over there.” A sheepish smile follows.
Okay, so what are you thinking about this guy right now?? Got it? Okay, please read on.
Here’s what Jan thought. There were two things about this that really surprised her:
1) It didn’t offend her. A year ago she would have considered that rude and sexist and completely inappropriate. She may have even gotten up and left. But she’s been working on a handful of changes that are making her a more conscious, graceful, and grownup dater. She’s being more compassionate and less judgmental of men. Also, Jan’s becoming much more in touch and comfortable with her femininity. She’s loving feeling softer and being able to show all aspects of her personality, and the men are definitely responding. So when Mr. New Guy made his comment and smiled, the woman inside her felt flattered and she was quite tickled.
2) She never would have guessed his reason for not getting up to get her the damn straw. Her old self would have tried to read his mind and instantly assumed either he didn’t like her enough to get off his butt to be gentlemanly, or that he was just plain ill-mannered. (Which we all know is a total deal breaker, right ladies?) “Knowing” this would have rung the “this guy is a jerk” bell, and off she would have gone. There would have been no redemption. But Jan decided not to assume and to give him a break. Hence, her question of “Hey…aren’t you going to get up and get me a straw?”
The Story Ends
So what happened? Jan returned the sheepish grin, and on the date went — after he went and got her the straw, of course.
Mr. New Guy is now Mr. Past Guy. They agreed that it wasn’t a match. But her decision had nothing to do with the straw-capade. And since she didn’t jump to offense or assume, both Jan and her date left feeling good about themselves and all the better for their next date. (One Key to Online Dating over 40: Practice makes perfect!)
These small changes in attitudes and habits — like accepting you can’t read a guy’s mind, like giving a guy a break, like getting comfortable with just being yourself — can make all the difference in your search for love and, as a great side benefit, in your love of yourself.
Oh! And let me hammer home this advice: Don’t try to figure out what a man is thinking. They think so differently than we do, and you’ll be wrong a huge percentage of the time. But you already know that.
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