Dating gets a bad rap. We complain how hard it is to find a good man or woman. We often make it a goal to find “the one.” Or we simply desire a sexual encounter. When it doesn’t work out, we consider our efforts to have failed. But what If we reframe our intentions just a bit? I view dating as an opportunity to gain valuable life skills.
Dating provides perhaps the best platform to learn about people. A smart man once said that what artists really do is observe. For an artist, even more important than learning how to draw or paint is learning how to observe. Only then do subtle nuances of life emerge as potential pieces of art. Similarly, the convention of dating provides a unique opportunity for us to observe others. Societal norms make it difficult to interact with others on a meaningful level during the normal course of our day.
Consider the awkwardness of striking up conversation with strangers in public. We worry that we will come off as weird or that the person isn’t interested in talking to us. If we somehow muster the courage to initiate conversation, the interaction doesn’t usually go very far. Dating provides the necessary platform for deep, meaningful connection. Even if its not on a romantic level.
Consider the important skill of communication. At the very least, dating will develop a greater comfort in conversing with others. How many people wish they were more free and natural when engaging with strangers? How many more doors and opportunities would open to us if we developed to courage to talk with more strangers?
A serial dater- if nothing else- will become more confident in their ability to communicate with others. This doesn’t mean that we need to be disingenuous or dupe those we go out on dates with. We can absolutely be open to real romantic relationships if sparks fly. In fact, our primary goal can still be to “find the one.”
But think about how many interesting and amazing people we can learn from that wouldn’t necessarily be a good match romantically. Should we pass up this unique opportunity to hone our communication and observing skills simply because someone isn’t a perfect partner fit?
This isn’t simply another way of saying “learn something from each person you meet.” Its more important than that. Dating isn’t theoretical.
This isn’t about gaining a piece of knowledge. This is about observing how others interact and think. Each time you go on a date you are honing your interpersonal skills and putting them into practice.