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The most important principle in dating

My last article was about how to advance your dating life and social life in general by starting to approach and meet more people in everyday life. I thought I would write a somewhat related article before diverging into more in-depth relationship topics once more.

This article focuses on a dating principle that is often conducted inefficiently, if conducted at all… :)

The most important principle in dating:

One of the most disregarded pieces of the dating puzzle is the process of telling someone why you like them. If you’ve ever had someone stand you up for a date… If you’ve ever had someone you like not return your calls or texts… If you’ve ever had someone seem really interested in you and then witness that interest swiftly plummet without explanation… This is probably the reason!

It seems simple in principle but so many people fail to actually tell people they are attracted to what it is they actually like about them beyond their physical appearance. A result of this is that the other person will always be thinking “hmm are they only after one thing… Do they actually like ME?” Admittedly, this is more of a common thought amongst women than men, as dating culture has set men up to be the pursuers, who will generally reap ANY reciprocated interest.

Whatever your intentions are, if you don’t tell someone what you like about them early on, any future relationship is going to start in a staggered fashion, if at all.

Some people have more acute social intuition than others, generally based on how ‘socialised’ they are during adolescent years. Even so, I’ve seen several cases in the past where a man or woman thinks they are being glaringly obvious with their interest in someone by being flirty in whatever way they choose and yet the other person does not pick up on these subtle indications. This communication confusion often leads to a premature end to any relationship that could manifest.

Reasons for not telling someone specifically why you like them can either be due to shyness, or insufficient understanding of the key differences between male and female psychology. Everyone likes to feel desired… but to be desired as a unique human being, not just as a hot piece of meat! :)

Dating culture:

It is an unfortunate case but modern culture has programmed girls into thinking that any guy who sparks up a conversation with her is just trying to chat her up (it is a fair enough thought, as it is often true :) ). Furthermore, any guy who continues down that avenue, she will think is only trying to get in her pants so to speak.

This is proved to me time and time again at times when I meet particularly defensive women in bars. If I happen to mention my girlfriend at any point during the initial conversation, it’s astonishing to see how quickly this type of woman drops her defences and replaces them with renewed enthusiasm for the interaction. If you find yourself in an interaction with a similar type of woman, I wouldn’t recommend saying you are in a relationship if you aren’t, but I hope you see my point. :)

What do YOU look for in a partner?

The best way to start this whole process is to sit down and write a list of qualities you look for in a partner. This does not have to be an exhaustive list so I suggest starting with five key qualities you look for. Bare in mind though that the more detailed and thought-out your list is, the higher your standards will be once you start applying them and your chances of knowing when you’ve found the perfect partner increases dramatically.

The point of this list-writing exercise is twofold: firstly, having this list will hone your subconscious mind to naturally screen members of the opposite sex for the qualities you are looking for and spot them more easily. Secondly, it will also give you a base list of questions to ask once there is mutual attraction between the two of you.

At a most basic level, you can simply go through your list, asking your questions in the form of “are you [x quality]?” Obviously you will have to become more imaginative with the majority of these questions so they don’t sound contrived. The more you do this, the more you will subconsciously discover these qualities in people and react positively as a natural consequence anyway.

The key is to make your compliments and interest DESERVING. Far too many people seem to simply agree with everything their partner says or give fake appreciation for things they have no interest in simply because they think it will IMPRESS their partner. Having standards and giving out GENUINE compliments and appraisal is far more attractive! :)

My personal list of qualities I look for:

If you are looking for some inspiration, here is my personal list of character traits I specifically look for in a partner:

  • Polite,
  • Generous,
  • Adventurous,
  • Fun,
  • Spontaneous,
  • Smart, as in good common sense.

For the record, my girlfriend Heidi meets all these qualities by a large margin and exceeds them with lots of other qualities too. I can’t remember the exact instances when I discovered each of these qualities in Heidi but I am sure that every time she showed generosity in my presence, or talked about something adventurous she had done, that my genuine positive reaction let her know that I was interested in her.

There is a BIG difference between saying “wow, that’s amazing, I really like that about you” with sincerity, compared with someone who simply agrees and acts impressed with everything a member of the opposite sex does, thinking it is a direct route to winning them over.

What it all boils down to is developing a secure level of self-esteem so that you feel at ease comfortably teasing people you are attracted to, whilst at the same time not feeling restricted in giving out genuine compliments and appraisal when you want to.

As always, I would love to hear any feedback from you on these topics, or if anyone feels brave enough to post their own list of qualities they look for. :)

Much love,

Sam

P.S: In other exciting news, at a complete surprise to me, Sparklife.info got voted in the top ten ‘Best Web Designs of the Week’ over at www.codevigilante.com (April 12th – April 18th, 2009). Their awesome and popular website trawls the internet and collates all the best websites, based on aesthetics and rates them according to simplicity, effectiveness, tastefulness and uniqueness. Apparently Sparklife.info scored particularly highly on the simplicity and effectiveness categories, which I am stoked about as that is exactly what I intended when I designed it. :)

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12 Responses to “The most important principle in dating”

  1. Jon says:

    Well I was just about to write out the qualities I look for but realised I was totally stumped haha. This is definitely something I should think more about. Great post.
    Oh and btw. I checked out that best web designs link. Congrats. Seth Godins blog at number 9 is one of the most influential blogs on the web. I read it every day.

    • Hey Jon,

      Yes a lot of people think it will be an easy and futile task before actually attempting it properly. Put some thought to it and I’m sure you’ll figure it out perfectly. The people who never get round to doing something like this are generally the ones who write to me complaining of bad relationships and not finding what they want.

      Thanks for the congratulations and yes Seth Godin’s blog is awesome. It’s one of the first blogs I subscribed to and he seems to consistently come up with great, to the point advice on marketing and public speaking. :)

      Thanks for your comment,
      Sam

  2. Linda says:

    Lovely article Sam. The qualities I look for are as follows.
    thoughtful
    caring
    considerate
    generous
    humorous
    The first four are the most important to me but a lot of people have those or try to have those so the last one seals the deal. Gotta be able to laugh with your partner :-).
    xLindax

    • Hi Linda,

      That’s a great list, thanks for sharing it. Yes I would say it is true that most men know that the first four traits you listed are what a woman likes in a man and these are traits you will quickly discover through spending a short amount of time with someone. The tricky part in this instance will be deciphering if they are genuine traits or they are just ‘putting on a show’ to try and impress you.

      Humour is a great one and one of the main factors of attraction I teach. However, there is a difference between ‘being a funny person’ and being able to make a woman laugh. It is a lot easier to be humorous than most guys think. :)

      Take care,
      Sam

  3. brooklynt says:

    yo thought this post was dope. really hate it when gals think us dudes are only after 1 thing. L.A girls are like that 8)
    here is what i thought
    fun
    rich
    not argumentative
    confident and talks when introducing to my mates
    all i can think of right now. is it ok to have rich on the list? 8)

    • Hey,

      Yes I know what you mean. I haven’t been to LA before so I can’t comment specifically on that; I have heard that it can be a somewhat superficial atmosphere though. :)

      Great list; fun is another important one for me.

      Whilst I agree that some people can have a more argumentative nature than others, you will play a large part into whether someone is argumentative or not. What I mean is if you don’t like arguments, then don’t allow arguments to manifest in the first place. This is something I will write more about in the future.

      As for wanting a rich woman; I think it’s fair enough to not want a girl who will be financially dependent on you in any way, but if you’re searching for the reverse role (as in a woman who will have enough money for you too) then I can’t say it is the best way to become rich!

      Your last quality is great… I also love women who are opinionated and take initiative in social situations. :)

      Take it easy,
      Sam

  4. Eva says:

    Hello Sam,

    I love your article, you have some great ideas! I agree with what you said about giving out compliments that are deserving, it just feels fake and contrived when someone is constantly giving out compliments just to impress. Although I’m not saying that loads of compliments are a bad thing!!

    I just thought I would mention the qualities that I look for : ) They are as follows:
    Fun
    Sociable
    Thoughtful
    Generous
    Mature
    Happy
    …My boyfriend is all of the above!

    Keep the articles coming, I love your stuff : ) x x

    • Hey Eva,

      I agree that it is definitely obvious when someone is giving out false compliments, no matter how good at deception they are. The way to get lots of deserving compliments is simple… Do lots of things that deserve compliments! :)

      I love your list of qualities! Maturity is definitely a good trait to look for in a partner, which will reduce the amount of unnecessary arguments or small acts of inconsideration in a relationship.

      Thanks for your insightful comment, :)
      Sam

  5. Baba says:

    Hi,
    Is it good to ask your partner why she loves you? What of if she refuse to tell you? What steps should one take in such a case? Thank you and keep it up.

    • Hi,

      The main caveat about a question like that is the reason for asking it. If it is for reasons of self-esteem or validation then it perhaps isn’t the best way to go about it. In the worst case scenario you could even be forcing the woman in question to rationalise doubts about why she loves you.

      From the very early stages of a relationship developing, right through its lifespan, you always want ‘how much you like each other’ and later on ‘how much you love each other’ to be roughly equal between the two of you. Adding to this point, how often you say “I love you” should also be of a roughly equal amount.

      As such, a far better way to phrase such a question is “what do you love most about me?” but only if said in a confident and fun manner. I would recommend asking this after you have said something you love about her, so that it once again aligns with the theory of keeping expressions of love equal.

      Having said that, there is still no real need to say anything like the above example. It should be obvious from their everyday reactions what aspects of you they particularly love, so if you have to ask, you may be missing some of their cues.

      I hope that answers your question,

      Sam

  6. Will says:

    The list of qualities I look for in a woman are:

    1. Intelligent (e.g holding a PhD would be great)
    2. Kind
    3. Treats me well, it thoughtful (not contemptuous towards me! Been there!)
    4. Makes me laugh – doesn’t matter how
    5. Honest and open and will talk
    6. A wonderful lover (yes, sexual, sensual, but you only find this out later of course, but it’s a wonderful surprise when it happens cos you don’t obviously expect it)
    7. Happy to kiss and cuddle and touch me everyday – just be loving really, be normal
    8. A little crazy in some way
    9. but of sound mind of course
    10. Not too controlling, dominant or competitive. Able to relax.

    • Hi Will,

      That’s a really good, concise list. I can picture the type of woman you are describing perfectly from what you have written. Thanks a lot for sharing. :)

      Sam