Category Archives: Relationships

Love In The Time Of COVID

Pandemic or not, dating isn’t easy. 

Movies and shows have made single-and-ready-to-mingle seem like an endless bout of fun, happy times, and funny stories to share over drinks with friends. The reality is it can be really disappointing, draining, and feel like mini breakups at times. 

You have to put yourself out there, give time to people who may or may not be worth it, guess what their intentions are, all the while you do the usual “dance” with each other. You’ve also got a whole host of dating behaviors (as well as the ever growing terminology to describe them): ghosting, zombie-ing, breadcrumbing, benching, haunting, catfishing, gaslighting, roaching, orbiting. It’s dizzying, really.

After a while, it can feel like a drag reciting your spiel over and over. It makes me think of those who work in theater and have to put on the same show every night. Even though they’re probably sick of regurgitating the same lines, they strive to put on a good show because they know it’s a different audience every time. A new set of eyes. A clean slate. 

That’s what we have to remember in dating – the audience is different each time and is unaware of your last performance. Fortunately, in dating, the lines don’t have to remain exactly the same either. We can come up with new ways of sharing things about ourselves, refine our story-telling ability, and play around with the energy we give off. Call it your own little experiment of human dynamics.

The pandemic has added a lot more nuance to this whole dating experience, though.

On top of the usual nerves, now you’ve got people who are recovering from loss, coming out of relationships, or who are in a transition phase in their life. With more jobs being shifted to a remote lifestyle, you can bet people are going to be more nomadic or in the middle of moving. 

During these unruly times, dating apps have been the most viable option of meeting people, which adds an extra layer of complication. This whole fast food dating culture already has our attention spans trending toward being minimal. Now, with pandemic fatigue at play, this translates into an even narrower window of time to spark one’s interest, otherwise BAM, it’s onto the next person. 

Maybe our intuition within the first few exchanges is correct and helps us find the right person more quickly to some extent. While having access to a wider pool of people is certainly convenient, I fear this whole what’s next? mentality is bringing us to a place of not giving enough attention to the few good catches that pop up. With all the “noise” you get on these apps, every time there’s a “hit”, you’ll constantly think someone better is still out there, and never really dive as deeply into said hit. Hence, the knee-jerk reaction people have to endlessly swipe. This endless abundance of options and the paradox of choice is a general issue with modern times, but that’s a topic of discussion for another day.

One silver lining with dating during the pandemic is that it has forced us to be more creative with date ideas. As we repeatedly see surges in cases, certain options and venues become less safe, which forces us to think outside of the box and expand our definitions of what a date can be. You can go stargazing, have a picnic on a cliff that overlooks the ocean, go to the zoo, go to outdoor Classical music concerts, go on a hike, do an online Escape Room, or visit spots that are meaningful to you. Even a walk through a scenic park can suffice for a first date and is probably less awkward than staring at each other across a dinner table for 2 hours anyway.

Life has been rough the last year and a half and I think a lot of us are still healing or processing all of this change. Let’s be kinder to one another. Let’s minimize the games and be upfront with what we want. Let’s be more mindful of each other’s time and feelings.

The One Thing We’re All Looking For

During our short time on this Earth, whether it’s making a deal in business, giving a commencement speech, or choosing a lifelong partner, I believe connection is at the crux of everything we do.

One of our most fundamental instincts as humans is the desire to connect with others. We’re social creatures after all and we developed language for a reason.

And I’m not just talking about connecting with people in a romantic context. 

I started a new job recently and whether it’s the fact that we’ve been stuck behind Zoom screens for the last year or that I’ve had to start over so many times in life, I felt this instant desire to connect with someone quickly. 

I didn’t hesitate in reaching out to immediate teammates and was interested in getting to know them. The whole onboarding process can feel pretty detached when done remotely, but I found that the more I connected with teammates, the more at ease I felt. Suddenly, things didn’t feel so detached anymore.

It’s amazing how quickly things change as soon as you make a connection with someone.

Showing a genuine interest in others is not something that comes easily, though. People can tell when you truly want to know them and that in turn makes them more curious about you. 

You see, many of us talk, but not all of us are heard. 

We all have a story to tell, something that has transformed us, thickened our skin, made us question our beliefs, and pushes us to move forward every single day. The thing is we tend to prioritize getting our own stories across and in the process crush the other person’s attempt at doing the same. 

This brings to mind Stephen Covey’s quote: Seek first to understand, then to be understood. When we pave the way for someone to tell their story, uninterrupted and with our full attention, not only do we start to forge that connection, but also they’ll be much more willing to reciprocate that interest in hearing ours.

A lot of us save building a connection for certain moments or people in our lives, but who’s to say we can’t do this more often? 

You’d think something as simple as browsing a store wouldn’t leave much room for a connection, right? Usually, the drill is: you go in, feel pressured to look around thoroughly, and then leave quickly. But in these socially-deprived times, think again.

Having walked into a clothing store one weekend, ironically, the first thing I noticed was a beautiful gold arched floor mirror. I asked one of the salespeople where it was from, accompanied by a nervous laugh in anticipation of her surprise. This got me talking about my upcoming move and consequent hyper-awareness of furniture and decor. The salesperson then asked where I’m moving to and showed a genuine interest in hearing my story. 

When I finished my spiel, she started making suggestions about where to buy furniture and enthusiastically talked about a hobby she’d made out of just periodically refreshing Craigslist until interesting items would pop up (some of which are free, apparently). Realizing this wasn’t the usual type of conversation that transpired in a clothing store brought a smile to my face. 

Ultimately, I left that store not having purchased anything, but I still left with a sense of fulfillment because I had a pleasant and genuine exchange with someone. During this pandemic, you can just tell people are more interested than usual in talking to others, and I immediately picked up on that vibe from the salespeople in that store, which in turn made me more willing to go beyond the usual small talk. 

What better time to take advantage of this need for people to connect?

With that being said, here’s my challenge to you: 

  1. Make it a point to let others tell you their story, whether it’s before or after you tell yours. 
  2. Practice going a step further in establishing a connection with someone (however fleeting it may be) in everyday situations, such as when you’re getting your coffee, when you go for a haircut, or if someone comes over to do maintenance work in your home.

Even tackling just one of those two points will vastly improve your interactions with others and propagate the benefits to other aspects of your life.

How You Should Approach Dating ~ A Fashion Analogy

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make sense of the dating world again. 

As it often does, my mind drifted toward analogies, which I find to be a massively underrated way of explaining things in life, by the way. 

Bear with me on this lengthy analogy for a moment.

In the Fashion world, there are a vast number of designer bags. You’ve got everything on the spectrum from $100 Coach bags to $5000 Chanel bags. 

Back in the day, the “lower end” designers like Michael Kors and Coach used to have a bigger market. However, somewhere along the way, they started to become too accessible. 

I remember there was a point in the past where I saw everyone donning Coach bags. This hurt the brand and lowered its value in the eyes of consumers. Of course, this is not to say that Coach doesn’t make high quality bags, it’s just that as the supply grew, the demand shrunk. 

On the other hand, look at Chanel. Classic styles like the Lambskin Square Mini Flap Bag have only increased in value and demand over time. 

I remember when I first laid eyes on this particular style, I fell in love with it. It’s classy, timeless, high quality, and well….not everyone has one. I frantically searched the Internet for where I could get my hands on one, only to find that it was not readily available anywhere. 

After extensive research and visits to the actual stores, I realized that my only way to obtain one was by means of joining a waitlist, and I was not about to wait 1-2 years for this… 

In the end, after a lot of contemplating, saving, and frustration, I took the calculated risk of buying a brand new one on eBay — my first ever designer bag purchase. 

I will never forget that rewarding feeling of not only earning something valuable by my own means, but also obtaining something that was so rare

So what’s my point with all of this bag talk? 

In the dating world, we need to make sure we don’t make ourselves too accessible. In the same way that a girl would often go crazy for a Chanel bag over a Coach bag, a potential partner would be much more interested in someone who is perceived to be high-value and not readily available. 

This is not to be confused with playing games and pretending to be hard-to-get. This is about conveying your standards, setting yourself apart from all the other eligible people out there, and giving more time to those who have earned it. 

Go out there and live your best life, pursue your passion projects and side hobbies, spend time reconnecting with old friends or family.

While you spend time on yourself and live that fabulous life you’ve always wanted, you will emanate that value and naturally be harder to get anyway (since you’ll be busy doing all those fabulous things with your time).