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Researchers Explain Why People Often Feel Disappointed In The Dating World

Researchers Explain Why People Often Feel Disappointed In The Dating World

We are spoiled for choice in this modern world. There are psychological reasons why the brain cannot cope when presented with too much of one thing. Unlike the days of yore, when marriage and love were likened much more to a business deal, there were prerequisites and strategies for romance. You were a good match for the families or the money and status involved in such a pairing were beneficial to all parties. There was a method in the madness.

These days, in western culture, love is all about the heart and how we choose to follow it. We can choose anybody we like, so long as we know ourselves and know what we want. So when we head into the world of dating, how do we recognise the scholars from the shrews? The heroes from the horrors? With a million different kinds of hearts and souls wandering around us, how on earth do we define what exactly it is that we might be looking for?

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The Problem: Seeking Perfection

Barry Schwartz, Dorwin Cartwright Professor of Social Theory and Social Action at Swarthmore College, says that it is possible that the pressures of finding that ‘perfect’ someone can often leave us feeling let down when the reality of the situation is actually something far less. Humans are not perfect after all, and the idea of trying to find perfection within the plethora of choices is guaranteed to lead to a certain amount of disappointment.

“Even when you choose well, you end up disappointed,” Schwartz says. “You’re convinced that even though you did well, you should have done better.”

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The human brain does have a tendency to focus more on losses than on gains, so it would do well to remain positive, and Schwartz explains that our desire (and anxiety) to make the right choice can often outweigh the pleasure we should be experiencing in the possibility of choice.

Decision Paralysis

Faced with so much to choose from, we can often spend so much time inside our minds trying to make the right — or even just a good — decision that we stop moving forward altogether. Time ticks on as we think and we think, and instead of actually living our lives, we waste weeks and months thinking about it instead.

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Overwhelmed by choices

In saying that, veering through too much choice can be a stressful time for the brain. Dopamine levels (brain chemicals) are working overtime, and to an extent, choice gears up our brain so that it is excited and soaring toward a decision. But too many choices and the effect can counteract. The brain, in fact, begins to slow instead, kind of like when you plug too many things into one switchboard. Our moods can begin to darken when we are overloaded, and our minds can grow dark with indecision.

The same applies to dating. Given a few options we can become excited about decision making, but given too many and our eyes tend to glaze over and we shut down. The result is that we are less likely to make a decision at all, so in terms of online dating it can be highly beneficial to have a system that narrows it down in order for us to cope!

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How To Make A Better Decision

“If there are more initial options available, all decision-makers have to do is tune their filtering procedure,” Scheibehenne says. He also says that we should use some form of conscious decision making rather than leave it up to the non-reality of computers to do our thinking for us, as online dating does. The kind of decision that warrants a lifetime of consequence perhaps should ultimately be up to you and you alone.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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