why the mind matters


Nearly every conversation I have about a first date starts with: “I just don’t know if I should meet this gal. She seems superficial. I don’t want to waste my time”. Or, “I went out with this guy and it was such a time suck. I knew he was going to be a total finance bro. Why do I bother meeting these fools at all?”.

Back in the old days it was likely that a first date happened between two people that had previously met or had mutual friends that were playing matchmaker. There was context, background, and most of the time, even an occasion where you had physically crossed paths.

Now people are brought together by swiping, selfies, and algorithms. While some people are skilled at going into a first date open minded, the element of unknown tempts daters to fill in the blanks. And when left to our own devices the version we create can result in the first meeting feeling less like opening an intriguing mystery box and more like entering a haunted house.

Do you remember the expression, you are what you eat? Well, you are what you think. As much as we try to figure out a person before a first date, we really can’t. Moreover, the stories we create impact our mindset and behavior on a date.  

So make your thoughts work for you!

Instead of trying to guess at the person, assume a positive or neutral stance. Does the guy have the same hot chick in every photo? Assume the hot chick is his sister. Does the girl have like 5 selfies? Assume she has a very specific angle of her face she is comfortable with. Or, take the high road and try to withhold any guesses until you actually meet the person. You’ll find it will make you a more successful dater as you will be present to truly learn, have fun and better assess compatibility afterwards.

For more on thinking your way to a good date, see below...

  1. Pay attention to your thoughts going into the date, and once you are on the date. Are they negative, positive, or neutral?

  2. How are these thoughts impacting your feelings about the date?

  3. How do these thoughts impact your actions on the date?

  4. How do these thoughts impact your observation/assessment of the date?

  5. What is a different way of thinking about the person? Any alternate possibilities?

  6. With your new thought, answer questions 2-4.

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first datesRachel Perlstein