The beginning of a relationship should be nothing short of a magical and communicative experience. The exploration and general desire to understand your love interest should cause hundreds of butterflies to lift you into the air.
Unfortunately this euphoria dies down as the conversation becomes forced, or one party is no longer providing their undivided attention.
When this happens you may ask yourself, should I have ____ fill out a questionnaire? How do I ask questions without sounding like a narcissist? What should we talk about today? What haven’t we discussed? Is it necessary to speak at all for a few days?
The truth is, there’s no one set way to advance from courtship to the next phase. Although, you can achieve advancement with proper communication skills.
First off, do not offer your love interest a questionnaire and do not ever ask what are we doing. The first phase is typically too soon to request a definitive answer from someone whom you barely know. In addition, you should have established your intentions before exchanging numbers or talking everyday. It is important to be intentional because it will prevent you from creating expectations for someone who is uninterested in you.
Now, having someone fill out a questionnaire is lazy and can be a red flag to some people. I recommend that you set aside time, with your love interest, to be one on one in their comfort zone. If they enjoy nature, take a walk in the park, go to an arboretum, or hike a trail.
When people are comfortable in their setting, or around a certain vibe they are more willing to share thoughts and opinions. You’d be surprised what you can learn about someone in different settings and when they’re around different people.
Secondly, to be an effective communicator you have to be an active listener. I’ll say that again,
To be an effective communicator you have to be an active listener!
No, because it is more common to be preoccupied with other thoughts while someone is speaking. Those thoughts include how you’re going to respond, expectations on how the entire conversation should flow, and playing on your phone/watching television.
Sis, all of those things interfere with active listening and you should avoid doing them when you’re speaking with someone.
According to Lumen Learning, the five key components of active listening are receiving, understanding, evaluating, remembering, and responding. All of which are impossible to do if you’re on your phone or watching TV.
Active listening will
provide you with a better understanding of:
What is being discussed
How something or someone makes the speaker feel
How the speaker responds in certain situations
How the speaker deals with and manages stress
The speaker’s coping mechanisms
How the speaker need to be comforted or supported
The best way for you to respond and communicate with the speaker
Other things not listed
As an active listener you will be provided with tools to communicate effectively with your love interest. In heated discussions, or delicate situations, you’ll be aware to take caution and avoid responding emotionally.
“Emotional responses are the fuel to a fiery argument. Often times, an argument can be avoided if you create a basic level or moderate level of communication.”
– Star Candelaria
When you practice active listening it will lead to in depth dialogue that may answer the questions on your questionnaire. Except, your effective communication with your love interest will be more connected.
By using these methods to communicate effectively I hope that your euphoric feeling is everlasting and that you’re amongst the clouds each day.
A self-care day is either planned in advance or it crosses your mind during a long week. Mine happened to be the latter. I’d already taken myself to see a movie and I had not planned for anything else. The last time I went out, I spent too much. So, my first tip for you is for you to set a budget.
If you don’t have a budget for your monthly/weekly income already then this may be difficult for you. This budget should be realistic. You should take into account the tipping that may be involved, unexpected incidents (like throwing up on someone’s expensive jacket or posting bail), gas etc. You do not want to give yourself too much, but a bare minimum limit can have a negative impact on your spending.
Schedule Your Appointments:
It can be disappointing and depressing if you are turned away at the door because you decided to ‘walk-in’ for your nail, hair or wax appointment. In an instance where you secure a spot, but you have to wait hours, the time for the remainder of your self-care date will dwindle. So schedule your appointments ahead of time and be on time!
Reserve a table via Open Table:
This app is amazing! You can download it and reserve seats and make special requests for your dinner. The app also allows you to rack up points that result in various types of rewards.
Train Your Drunk Self:
For those of you who take themselves to the bar or the club. You will want to make sure that you have control over your liquor and yourself. If you are that friend that gets carried out, kicked out or left out of the club or party then you shouldn’t make this part of your self care event until you tame yourself.
On my last self-date event I ended up taking myself to Stella’s and then Monarch-Minneapolis. I threw up, because what idiot eats seafood and then drinks like a fish? Whatever the legal BAC is I felt like I went over it. Drunk Lex checked me into a hotel and when I fully came to there was a bottle of water, Gatorade and fruit cup in the mini fridge.
When your drunk self is tamed you will surprise you. Even if you still make a dumber decision such as booking a room instead of requesting a Lyft.
Analyze Your Vibe:
Who TF are you when you aren’t around people that know you or people you’re trying to know? Whoever you are at home, be that person in front of those strangers. Who is attracted to you? Sis, are you getting free shit handed to you? Are you nicer than you thought? How does it feel to be free from those perceptions and labels others have on you? Do you even care if those strangers are thinking the same thing, likely not?
What diet? Eat whatever you want sis. Drink as much as you wish! Flirt as much as you please! Twerk until you break your knees.
What I mean here is that during your self date, be as free as possible. (Please don’t break any laws though. Unless you can get away with it. Did they really need that street sign?*)
If you’ve contemplated doing something you have never done, this is the time to do it. If there is something you want to purchase, and it’s been on your mind for a while, buy it.
Whatever you choose to do, reflect on it. If you regret something, figure out why. If you got into an argument, how can it be avoided in the future. If you had a great time, how can you make it better. If you got someone’s number, do you really want to call them? If you spent too much, re-do your budget. If you feel like it wasn’t your thing, spend more time alone in your home first. Compare your lonely self to your surrounded by people you know, self.
Do It Again:
Well this is self-explanatory.
*I have never stolen a sign. Don’t break laws gals.
The first date I went on alone was to see Cabin in the Woods, a creative telling of the how and why horror films are made with a sprinkle of spirituality. It was 5$ Tuesdays at the AMC theater in the Toledo, Ohio mall and I was nervous.
My first class of the day ended early and my second and last class of the day was cancelled so I decided to take the shuttle off campus.
I watched people out of the window and with no one to talk to, I noticed little things like the bumps in the road and the dilapidated buildings in the surrounding area. I noticed that our campus and this mall were the only things thriving in this city. Upon arrival, I waltzed right by the concession stand to avoid the temptation of spending more than the 5$ I budgeted for this date.
When I walked into the screening room, people watched as I moved into my assigned seat. I wondered if they wondered if I was there alone or not. Nervous, I looked around to make sure no one gave me any creepy, ‘I have a gun to shoot the place up’ vibe. I didn’t see or sense anyone, so I kicked my feet up on the seat in front of me and waited until the lights went down.
Once the previews started playing I felt more anxious.
What else was there to do besides relax or think? I prayed for the previews to move along quickly so that I could take my mind off of all else. The first scene came on and it was uninteresting. The back story for the characters was dull and it just seemed like I was watching an Independent film and not a production. I’m thinking the producers could’ve saved this for Lifetime or any other TV station.
I was wrong.
The movie was amazingly creative, and it kept me guessing
the entire time (if you haven’t seen Cabin in the Woods you should, it’s not
scary either). Once the movie ended I sat in my seat until the lights came back
on just in case they had a little snippet of something at the end. Then I left
out to make it to the shuttle.
You could say my first date went well. I thought about taking myself out again because I’m good company and what not. So I made self-dating a regular event. I went to the movies every Tuesday. If there were no movies that sparked my interest, then I took myself out to a restaurant or to a party.
Eight years later, I still date myself on occasion. Not to weird people out or follow a trend but to really feel myself, alone.
Going out alone forces you to feel your own vibes and share that ingenuity with strangers near you. You may attract different energies and people that do not feel compelled to speak to you every day just because they see you so often. I encourage you to fully embrace the good ones.
In addition, we often lose sight of who we are as individuals when we are constantly connected to colleagues, friends or significant others. We try to meet them where they are or bring them up (or down) to where we are, unfortunately we lose a bit of ourselves in the exchange. Yes, it is beneficial to hang out with close friends and allow them to hype you up for for 20 seconds of a song. Likewise, it is beneficial to hang alone and hype yourself up for the full two minutes.
If you aren’t convinced yet, below are a few reasons why you should date yo’self!
You get to dress up and go out, for no one and with none other than you. There is no waiting on the other person to be ready or being rushed by someone else for you to be ready on time.
You do not have to be annoyed by the presence of another person talking your ear off and asking you questions about a movie that you have never seen. There won’t be anybody there to judge you for people watching or having to explain your private jokes to.
You get to spend some time with yourself and acknowledge how your presence makes complete strangers feel. You will get to witness first hand just how many things you did not notice before because you were typically too busy trying to impress someone (or seem unimpressed by someone).
There is almost a 74%* chance that you will receive something for free! Either from someone admiring your guts to be out alone, or you will discover that you can be a little nicer to people. Somehow you will be admired even more thus being rewarded with free things (this is also known as pretty privilege). We all know how tasty yet expensive those movie theater slushies are.
Last, but not least you will get to go home and not have to give anyone a kiss goodbye. You won’t have to fight off any sexual urges or sexual advances. Nor will you have to contemplate going out to a party to spend more money. Take ya ass home and reflect!
*percentage is inaccurate. Baseless. Not a fact. Don’t quote me.