‘Why are there no decent people left to date in the world?!’ I hear you cry. If I had a dollar for every time I heard that being wailed I would be a rich women. ‘Where have all the good guys gone?! Isn’t it true that single women over 40 are more likely to be killed by terrorism than to get married in their life? That is the apocryphal stat that Meg Ryan gets told by her friend in Sleepless in Seattle. That stat has now been totally debunked, but the fact got lodged in our psyche and somehow because it feels true, regardless of whether it is actually correct or not it stuck. Now don’t get me wrong, finding a good match takes work, they aren’t going to fall into your lap but if you believe that there is no one good left in the world to date, it might say something more about your state of mind and thinking style than the actual truth.
If you care for statistics then a good place to start is to Google the number of single people in your city or look at the marriage census. It will show you, whatever the varying number might be, that there are actually in fact plenty of single people in your city and they can’t all be bad can they?
Now the thing is, as humans we are the sum total of all the experiences we have in life, and understandably so. This means we are like suitcases carrying around the baggage (good and bad) of what has happened to us previously up until this point. This means that when we are looking at a particular situation, or person, we are unlikely to be able to actual view them in a logical and impartial fashion. It’s like we are wearing a big pair of sunglasses, our previous experiences create a lens through which we view people by. The glasses might be rose-tinted and everyone seems peachy, but the lenses might also be dark and clouding our judgement.
If your experiences in life to date have taught you that on the whole people can’t be trusted and will let you down, the chances are without a bit of self-analysis or therapy, you might understandably assume that people in the future will also let you down. Life has taught you that previous behaviour is a good predictor of future behaviour. You might be right, but it might also be the case that you are coming to new situations with biased thinking. Without getting too geeky on you, as psychologists we call these biases cognitive distortions. We all used these cognitive shortcuts to help us navigate through the world easily, with the abundance of information being continually thrown at us it makes sense to make up quick rules to work by. For example: ‘men let you down’ or ‘woman are too emotional’ or ‘if someone doesn’t text me back immediately then they aren’t interested’.
You can write your own list of invisible rules down and see how they might be shaping how you view the world. The key is to write down that list of rules or biases that you have in your head and give a percentage rating to how accurate or true they are. What evidence do you have to support those beliefs? Is it true that someone not texting back means they aren’t interested? Do you have examples to the contrary? For every bias you have, can you challenge them as they you were in court arguing against them?
Can someone have really bad table manners but still be exceptionally kind? And if so, do you think these smaller matters might we worth overlooking or working through in pursuit of getting to know someone on a much deeper level and giving a relationship an opportunity to unfold and potentially flourish. When my now-husband took me out for our first dinner date, I sat in horror watching him hold is knife and fork in the wrong hands. Having grown up in a traditional family where table manners were everything (and were therefore a sort of shorthand of what sort of background and family someone came from) I had to stop and think about what my cognitive biases were doing here. Actually, this wasn’t about ‘overlooking’ the issue but acknowledging that my bias of what I perceive was ‘right’ was not what he saw as ‘right’. Having been bought up in different cultures meant that his etiquette was not wrong but different. All I can say is thank goodness I was aware of my little suitcase of rules I was carrying from my upbringing that coloured my vision, I was able to park them quietly to one side to allow myself to decide whether there were core values and hobbies in this person that might be worth getting to know.
So if find yourself dismissing someone quickly for small matters like these, then stop; take a moment, and possibly have a little chuckle at yourself for the quick judgement you make and see if you can stay curious to getting to know someone a little while longer. You may be amazed by the results.
Our matchmaking team is here to help you to navigate this crazy life journey with one aim in mind, to find you a partner that does not come with a list of your deal-breakers. Speak to a member of our team today!