Stop projecting: the 7 disciplines of dating

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Stop projecting on dates

Are you suffering from dating fatigue? Changing the way you approach dates could transform your entire dating experience. We asked coach Lee Pycroft to share her seven disciplines of dating

Fruitless dating has the potential to leave us feeling jaded and fatigued. Arriving on dates expecting to meet ‘the one’ and leaving feeling disheartened can lead to us viewing dates through a feature of complacency and judgment. We end up focusing on how we aren’t getting what we want.

The pursuit of passionate love is one of life’s strongest motivations. We all need connection and belonging. We hope for love, but sometimes settle for connection, fearing that what we think we need to feel love is out of our reach.

This innate need, combined with outside influences, can result in an approach to dating full of expectations and self-imposed ‘rules’ of how things should be for us to experience love. However, if we can move from expectation to appreciation and show up to dates with a curiosity and genuine interest in discovering who our date is, we can form more authentic connections.

So, what do you need to do to invigorate your dating life?

1. Set your intention

Know what you want from the date. Think about how you can leave the person and yourself better off for having met. This isn’t about people-pleasing, it’s being deliberate clear about the experience you’d like to have on your date. Keep it simple, not loaded with emotion, and allow yourself to be open to the element of surprise.

2. Review your dating rules

Are your rules sabotaging your dates? High standards are valuable but hard rules can make dating difficult. It’s tempting to feel that unless our date behaves the way we feel they ‘should’, we won’t have a positive experience. Know your deal-breakers but stay focused on what you could learn and contribute to the encounter.

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3. Focus outwards

When you’re feeling nervous, it’s easy to turn your focus inward and worry about what your date is thinking about you. How do you look? What do you sound like? Or anything else that makes you feel vulnerable. Focus your attention outwards and it’ll help lessen that worry and insecurity, and keep your mind focused on your date. People love attention and giving someone your full focus is a gift. Listen without wondering what you’re going to say next. If you’re genuinely interested in someone, you’ll have a more enriching experience – even if they’re not ‘the one.’

4. Notice your thoughts

Perception creates reality, so be mindful that you’re focusing on during your date is what you’re going to notice most. What could you look for to appreciate in the moment? Try to dismiss any judgemental thoughts that could prevent you getting to know someone and learning something about yourself in the process. If flashes of insecurity emerge, notice them, and then let them float away.

5. Kindness is key

How does your date seem? Are they nervous, uncertain, and trying to appear confident? We sometimes assume that our date has it all sorted but they’re probably just as apprehensive as you are. Be kind, stay grounded, and positively reinforce any of your date’s gestures that resonate with you.

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6. Keep perspective

If you’re lacking dating enthusiasm, remember to see things as they are, not worse than they are. It doesn’t take any courage to be a pessimist. If you turn up on a date thinking about what you’re going to get from it, rather than what you can offer, you’ll project things onto your date that may be unjust. Show up as a loving force because it’s who you are, not because you’re expecting love in return.

7. Stay fantasy free

Fantasizing about an ideal partner has its place – it can give us clarity on what we’re looking for in a date. However, be aware of becoming too rigid. Projecting your fantasy onto an unsuspecting date can lead to you feeling like a damsel (or man) in distress when your date deviates from the script you’ve written for them. Keep it real and embrace people’s – and life’s – imperfections. This approach will help you understand yourself and others better.

Lee Pycroft is widely known for her work as a makeup artist for the world’s A list celebrities. Realising beauty and makeup had a role to play in self-care and self-esteem she re-trained as a coach and therapist focussing on aligning the inner and outer self. She runs her own practice specialising in relationships, self-esteem and recovering from heartbreak. 

Lee also holds a number of charitable roles to support people in challenging circumstances via makeovers and self-care.  Find out more about Lee’s work at www.leepycroft.co.uk, follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @leepycroft


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