It’s good to have standards and even better to maintain those standards. Sometimes though we say no in the name of those standards before giving someone a chance. Here’s why that might not always be the best tactic.
Most of us have a pretty good idea of what we want out of a relationship. Someone who is kind, caring, has similar morals and values, and will stand by us through the good and the bad. Our specific desires will vary, but some pretty basic tenants can almost always be agreed upon as fundamental for a successful relationship. Sure, it’s essential to hash out how you feel about kids, where to live, and how to spend your money when the time comes to discuss the prospect of marriage and a life together.
Many of these topics, though, are not inherently necessary to talk through or even agree upon on a first or second date together. Getting caught up in assuming that these desires don’t align perfectly is not necessarily the best reason for saying no to that first date.
When Sparks Don’t Fly
We’ve all seen a movie that depicts love at first sight, a couple falling head over heels for one another after only a short time. The reality is that this isn’t often what happens, and we need to adjust our expectations accordingly. Falling in love takes time, and a commitment to getting to know another person, and sometimes sparks don’t initially fly. I’m not saying that means initial sparks are a terrible thing, or that lack of sparks is a good thing, often those indicators do lead to something more. I’m simply posing the idea that giving someone a chance for a date or two may also be worth your time, even if you don’t initially feel as though you’ve found “the one.”
Falling in love takes time, and a commitment to getting to know another person, and sometimes sparks don’t initially fly.
Giving someone a chance when you're unsure holds two benefits. First and most importantly, they may just surprise you. Secondly, you have an opportunity to deepen your own understanding of yourself and what you do (and don’t) want out of a relationship.
People are surprising. Seeing how they're willing to grow and adapt says a lot about who they are and what a relationship with them would look like for the long haul. Maybe you’re hesitant about your differing political beliefs, and the way in which that could someday affect your relationship. Sure, that’s a legitimate area of concern to keep in mind. But maybe, saying yes to that first date will start a dynamic conversation with a person with whom you didn’t think an open and honest discussion was possible. Maybe that conversation even leads to new understanding and the realization that in the grand scheme of things, your differing political beliefs are something you can learn to live with, and maybe even benefit from.
But maybe, saying yes to that first date will start a dynamic conversation with a person that you didn’t think an open and honest discussion with was possible.
You and this person both have a unique opportunity to gain a new perspective, perhaps in a life-changing way. New ideas regarding religion, politics, or life goals often emerge out of fundamental differences of opinion and lead down avenues previously disregarded.
…Or Not To Change
Or maybe, you’ve just learned that a particular topic is a much bigger deal to you than you realized before, and you’ve now just narrowed in on one of your relationship non-negotiables. Maybe you're completely turned off by a fundamental belief of the other person, and now understand why this belief is entirely incompatible with your own. Exploring and engaging in conversation that doesn’t end in a long-term relationship still has merit; the skill of disagreeing gracefully and respectfully is valuable in and of itself.
Saying yes to that first date allows for conversation that, if approached with the right mindset, allows for growth and reflection, whether it culminates in a relationship or not.