As a continuation of my previous article, I’m outlining the principle from the classic self-help book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. When examining each of these behaviors, it’s easy to see how they can be applied to the dating world. In part two of this post, we’ll continue to look at habits four through seven of highly effective daters.
If you haven’t read about habits one through three yet, do not pass go, do not collect $200 – go back and read it now. Then proceed on to reading about the final four habits.
If the first three habits relate to the beginning stages of courtship and meeting people online, habits 4 through seven are about entering into relationships and making them last.
4) Thinking Win-Win
The fourth habit relates to integrity, maturity and creating an abundance mentality. Namely, it means shedding the notion that life is inherently a competition. Shifting your mindset to allow for cooperation between yourself and others is much more beneficial. Utilizing this habit means creating solutions and outcomes which are beneficial for all people involved.
Integrity means representing your feelings in an authentic fashion, maturity is about having compassion and consideration for others when expressing your thoughts, and creating an abundance mentality is about believing there is enough slices of metaphorical pie for all.
When applying these principles to dating, it means realizing that dating is not a game to be won or lost. When interacting with potential partners (or really anyone in life), always follow the Golden Rule. Treat everyone with the respect and dignity you would hope to receive in return.
Utilizing this habit in your dating life means being honest with people you are dating. Tell the truth about your life, who are you, and what you are feeling. It sound almost too simplistic to say and yet sometimes all daters need a reminder. Don’t try to be someone you’re not or misrepresent your interests.
Demonstrate empathy and be considerate of how others feel. Give your dates benefit of the doubt. For example, if they say they can’t meet up because Grandma is sick or their cat just died, they are probably not trying to blow you off. Take their word at face value, if it wasn’t just a lame excuse they will reschedule with you.
If you approach dating from a perspective of lack (e.g. “I never get dates”, “there’s no one out there for me” – or anything of that nature) you will perpetuate those beliefs through your actions and words. Shift your focus to the positive aspects of your current dating situation.
5) Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood
When you understand and apply the fourth habit, you will come to realize that if “winning” is not the goal of dating, then perhaps effective communication is.
Most people seek to be understood by others, but often prioritize getting their own viewpoint across over understanding what is being said by anyone else. They only listen so that they can respond, not so that they can understand where the person they are speaking with is coming from.
Humans try to relate to each other by drawing parallels between a situation being discussed and one it have experienced or seen before. Though sometimes relating to others through your own lived experience is good, most people do too much of it.
Instead of seeking to tell your own story in relation to others, simply listen to what they are saying without jumping in by saying things like “I had the same thing happen to me” or “I know exactly how you feel”. Doing this diminishes the other person’s unique experiences. It also shows poor manners because you are essentially making the conversation about yourself.
Take more time to listen to what is being said, without passing judgment, giving unsolicited advice, or analyzing the situation based on your own experiences. The first step to learning to communicate effectively is learning to what others are really saying.
Learning some active listening is a bonus skill that will help you master the art of dating and getting to know new people.
Though the term synergy has become cliché in business speak (also see: Jem and the Holograms), the sixth habit still has a lot of merit. The concept relates to two things coming together to create something new which is greater than the sum of their parts.
Ideally, this is exactly what a great partnership will create – a relationship that enriches both parties. Together you can create a relationship that is loving, supportive, encouraging, challenging and which promotes personal growth.
Being open to the positive influence of people you are dating is the first step towards creating synergy. Honoring the uniqueness your partner and what they can bring to your relationship is the next step.
After that, figuring out the specific of how your relationship dynamic works involves using all of the previously discussed habits, but especially thinking win-win and the use of effective communication (habits four and five).
Learning to see differences between people as opportunities for personal growth will help to create enduring relationships.
7) Sharpen the Saw
The final habit is about making sure energy is balanced between different pursuit and you are leading a healthy lifestyle. In the context of dating, make sure you’re looking after your health, mind and body.
Remember to have nights where you book dates with yourself to catch up on the novel you’re reading, to meditate, exercise or do other nourishing activities. Book these into your busy schedule like you would any other appointment and make them NNT (non-negotiable time). Establishing these self-care habits are essential to keeping afloat in the sometimes-rocky waters of dating.
Remember that no matter who are you seeing right now, the longest most important relationship you have in your life is with yourself. Nurture your physical, social/emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. They’ll help you be your best and brightest self and propel you towards being an awesome date too!
Have you read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People? Have you implemented any of these strategies into your dating life already? We want to know what you think, please leave your comments below!
If you need some extra help applying these principles to your online dating strategy, don’t forget that we’re here to help you achieve epic wins in the land of dating.
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