If dating were a sport and you were an Olympic athlete, then would be your competition? The U.S. seems to usually have the highest medal count with Russia and China not far behind, so if you’re going for gold who is in your way?
Oddly enough, this season of The Bachelor on ABC got me thinking about this metaphor. There are always group dates on the show, and contestants have to do things to make themselves stand out from the pack. As awful as it sounds, they have to compete for the Bachelor’s — or Bachelorette’s — attention. Some contestants receive negative attention by drinking too much and soon get disqualified. Others make sure to always sit next to the Bachelor or Bachelorette, touching the star of the show discreetly on their arm or leg, smiling and making eye contact, and ultimately creating opportunities to get one-on-one time. These contestants are playing the game masterfully, particularly when it all comes across naturally.
This is a lesson one must learn for both the screen — on JDate — as well as in person — at a mixer or a bar. What are you going to do to stand out and to retain the attention of your prospect while still maintaining self-respect? Confidence is the overlying theme, whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a single who is ready to mingle. Either way, you need to exude confidence in your main profile photo, your About Me paragraph, and when meeting someone in person. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters how you carry yourself.
A part of dating that many people underestimate takes place off the dating websites, and is not only limited to your engagements with the opposite sex: it’s the attitude you carry with you all the time. You can’t change that, and a lot of different parts of your life impact that attitude. With that in mind, one of my friends did something amazing a few weeks ago: they stopped me from gossiping about someone.
In the age of the paparazzi, gossip (or Lashon Hara as it is called in Hebrew, meaning literally “evil language”) about anyone and everyone is a common thing. Sometimes it can even be helpful, as the Torah tells us (and science reaffirms, through helping our mental health according to some studies) that talking ill of someone to help avoid an unfair situation, such as Bernie Madoff’s scheme, is okay. What is not okay is talking about others in lights that we shouldn’t be.
Dallas has this problem, and I’m sure many more of the young adult communities have the same problems around the world, Jewish or otherwise. But it’s become a real problem in Dallas, with a lot of people hurt over people being involved in their lives that shouldn’t be. So my friends and I have gotten in the habit of watching out for each other and reminding each other not to gossip about others and rather to avoid names (which is also not okay if it makes it obvious as to who is being spoken of still), or even better, just saying nice things about others.
You’re probably wondering what this has to do with dating or your life. It’s simple: people may not be able to read your mind, but your attitude will come across in everything that you do, and gossiping about others on a regular basis is only likely to bring you down. I consider myself pretty happy, but even I do it sometimes, and I know that’s not right. I feel worse when I talk about others, even if that slight second as it’s happening feels so juicy.
So start looking for the positivity more in others and raising people’s spirits when possible. Everyone loves the person who makes others feel great, and believe me — you’ll start to love that person, too. And really, that’s the first step of this whole thing.