Mindfulness. You’ve probably heard the word before. But do you know what it really means? More importantly, do you know how it can help you?
When you read “mindfulness” you may be picturing someone sitting on a yoga mat, meditating about the meaning of life. But it’s much more than that, and it is even simpler than that. Mindfulness is simply bringing a higher level of awareness to your life.
Think of it as actively going through your day, rather than just passively letting your day happen.
How does this translate to online dating? Let’s take a look at how people usually approach online dating. In the beginning, they are very intentional (read: mindful) about their online profile–which pictures to upload, what text to include. The first few times searching for possible matches, they also take great care in selecting specific criteria so they can find “the one” they are searching for.
Only, things don’t pan out right away. So they keep searching, and clicking on profiles, and going through the motions. People get into a routine of logging in, checking messages, checking for new profiles, and then logging off. Once the brain has done this a few times, it’s like they’re on autopilot. It becomes automatic. In fact, after logging off, they may not even be able to say the names or particulars of anyone they looked at.
This autopilot mindset is detrimental to online dating. If you are just going through the motions, doesn’t it defeat the purpose? Doesn’t it just make it less special? How are you supposed to find someone extra special when you’re just mindlessly clicking?
That’s where mindfulness comes in. It doesn’t have to take a lot of extra time or effort to change from an autopilot online dater to a mindful online dater. Here are 5 ways to incorporate mindfulness into online dating:
- Don’t Follow the Same Routine
If you usually log in at the same time of day, switch it up. Try morning, noon, or evening for a chance of pace. Also, when you login, if you usually just check for new matches, instead check old matches. Who did you happen to dismiss before? Consider giving them a second chance. If you never touch your photos or text on your own profile, be sure to switch it up regularly. Keep things fresh and new.
- Search Outside the Box
Based on your personality and your past experience, you’ve developed some parameters for who you think your perfect match should be like. You’re outgoing and you usually like shy people, so you tend to go for that type of person. Or you hate watching sports, so you tend to shy away from those who are sports fanatics. Don’t just mindlessly dismiss people who don’t fit in your box. Think outside the box! Be mindful of how you are searching. Rethink why you are searching that way. Open up and be vulnerable. Would it be so bad to meet someone different than what you expect?
- Say What You Really Mean
So much of the frustration in online dating comes about because of vagueness or odd behavior. The person on the receiving end is left with trying to figure out what it all means. For example, when a guy messages a girl everyday, and they have great conversations, and he seems really interested. But then one day he just stops contacting her. When she asks what’s up, he just says he’s busy, or some other vague answer. It’s something we tend to do mindlessly, as a way to avoid confrontation. Being mindful means saying what you really mean. Being intentional with your feelings and actions. Be lovingly direct. Perhaps the guy could have said, Things were going great, and I was really starting to like you. But I met someone else and feel in my heart that this is the path I should take. In the end, showing others your intentions saves a lot of heart ache over the long term.
- Be Kind
Being behind a computer screen, sometimes it’s easy to give quick and harsh judgments. After all, we don’t have to face them or see their reaction. This is a mindless attitude that doesn’t take into consideration another person’s feelings. Remember what everyone has signed into online dating for–love (of course there are those who have ulterior motives, but for the most part people are looking for love). They are putting their heart out there. Think things through before judging or acting or saying something unkind. Even if you aren’t interested, you can inspire them and help them have hope that someone else is out there for them.
- Be Honest with Yourself
Online dating can be hard, so always be honest with yourself during your journey. If things are hard, it’s ok to admit it. Be mindful of how you are feeling so you can address those feelings. If online dating becomes too stressful, pay attention to that and figure out why. Perhaps you had a bad experience and it has tainted your current experiences. Or maybe you’re spending too much time on it and you feel out of balance. Be mindful of yourself and take measures to re-calibrate if necessary.