Dr. Pam Thompson

Dr. Pam Thompson

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To Blind Date or Not To Blind Date

I used to be a “professional” match-maker it seemed. I was always thinking of a good match for someone I thought was a desirable young man or woman. Though I haven’t done it in more than a decade, the thought occasionally runs through my mind when I hear someone’s story about the challenges in finding the ONE. One of the reasons I stopped going on blind dates myself (when I was single) and stopped setting others up is that there is so-o-o-o-o much emphasis placed on looks and split-second impressions. I mean the pressure of meeting a stranger with whom to spend an entire lunch or dinner or outing is pretty intense. Unfortunately when under pressure, we generally tend to narrow our vision down to the most basic of concerns. In this case, that would be looks, clothes, visual presentation—all of which is scanned in 2 seconds TOPS. If there’s some aspect that doesn’t meet this surface criteria, everything could be immediately downhill from there.

Don’t get me wrong, I know people who made a great connection for lasting love on a blind date. That happens, exceptionally, I think. Also, I know that looks matter, despite what some would have you to believe, and they matter more to men. I have no problems with that. People like what they like. However, looks don’t have to be and shouldn’t be the WHOLE story (though I fear that for a lot of men, they are the whole story and that’s a discussion for another day). Anyway, I can’t help but think of how many compatible connections are lost because other opportunities for getting to know someone were not explored. Therefore, my consistent recommendation to those who are trying to position themselves for long-term romance is to live the fullest life imaginable, investing in hobbies and interests for the long haul. This may include a mixed-gender book club (my favorite choice because you get to know someone’s thoughts about characters and consequently, their viewpoint on varied life issues), a bike riding club, a dinner club, an alumni club, a golf class, a tennis team. The point is, get out and do SOMETHING—even if it’s just frequenting the same coffee shop where you go to wind down and people-watch. Eventually, relationships build from the consistency of your presence because the more others see you, the more they will naturally want to know more about you. 

I am accustomed to seeing people who chronically complain of loneliness live in one of two ways: 1) go to work and come home, go to church and come home, and do NOTHING else; or 2) get involved in a 4-week hobby here (e.g., a salsa class) or a 6-week hobby there (e.g., a gym class) and that’s a WRAP. Sadly, neither of these approaches forms a community of “regulars” around you with whom you can build friendships of more depth. I appeal to you therefore, to go the distance in your activities as you select interests to which you can be committed for years to come because the activity itself is just that enjoyable to you and thoughtfully chosen. Over time, you’ll find yourself noticed by others while trust, companionship, and “likeability” grow in ways that may yield genuine friendship, romance, or at least caring acquaintances who miss you when you’re not around. Being missed by somebody, somewhere, is in itself, a blessing.
Engaging yourself in enjoyable, long-term activity does the following: a) provides an opportunity for you to observe others for traits like commitment, punctuality, ease in interacting with others, passion for learning, and sense of humor; b)takes the pressure off of having to get to know a stranger RIGHT NOW (as in a blind date), so there’s a natural pace to the developing curiosity and increasing familiarity; 3) allows for a lot of fun while you wait on other things to materialize in your life; and 4)opens your mind to the possibilities of falling for someone who wasn’t quite your “type.” Now isn’t that a lot better than a quick hook-up? 

What say you on the subject of blind dates?

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