The Power Book: People… No Dating?

The Power Book is about change- and relationships, both platonic and passionate, are an integral aspect of change. In the People section I look at various things, including the dreaded ‘dating’…

I have nothing against dating services like, eHarmony, OKCupid or Plenty of Fish. In today’s hectic world they can help people find like-minded people. I just don’t think they should be called ‘dating’ services. I think they should be called ‘meeting’ services. It’s a lot easier for everyone if we think of our goal as meeting people rather than finding dates. So rule number one: No dating. Your goal is to meet someone and learn something about them. I’m not saying you won’t go out to dinner with them eventually. That’s fine but it should be a part of the natural progression of getting to know someone, not an activity fraught with all kinds of heavy unspoken implications.

I met a woman while staying in the same hotel. We talked over drinks with the bartender one night. Later I noticed she was eating in the hotel bar every night even though there were several good restaurants within walking distance. I asked her if she’d tried any other places and mentioned a few. She said she had not and I realized she wasn’t comfortable going to one alone. So I asked her if she’d like to try one the next night. She said yes and we had a nice dinner together. Was that a date? Not by my definition and I don’t think she would define it as one either. Neither of us had any kind of agenda except enjoying a different restaurant and getting to know one another a little better. It was fun and there was no expectation beyond that. And now, two years later, despite being on opposite coasts, we are very close friends.
It’s important to note that she had spoken with me several times and seen me interacting with the bartenders in a first-name, friendly fashion that probably helped her feel secure about carrying the conversation to the next step.
My point is that there is a natural progression in getting to know people. When a person is lonely, needy or in a hurry to make something happen too soon they’re putting themselves and the other person under pressure. That never leads to a healthy relationship. So your first goal is not a date, it’s meeting interesting people.

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