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The Differences Between Dating at 20 and at 30

The Differences Between Dating at 20 and at 30

When it comes down to it, everyone wants to be loved. However, as we age, we tend to crave contrasting things. Dating at 20 and at 30 can be drastically different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy both periods in your life.

1. Dating

In your 20s, you’re looking for a fun date.

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    Especially in your young 20s, dating can be simply a form of entertainment. The only qualifications for an ideal date at this age is someone you can enjoy a great concert with.

    In your 30s, you’re looking to settle down.

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      On the other hand, even if you’re someone who feels too young to commit to one person, you are suddenly more aware of what qualities will make you ultimately want to settle down. It’s natural to want someone who could be more of a long-term investment when dating in your 30s.

      2. Compatibility

      In your 20s, you want excitement.

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        Similarly, when dating in your 20s you are more likely to look for a prospective partner you find exciting and engaging. Finding someone you feel a spark with is sometimes more important than compatibility when you’re young.

        In your 30s, you want direction.

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          When you’re dating in your 30s, you’re much more likely to look for someone going in the same direction as you rather than novelty value. Humor and spontaneity are always helpful in a relationship, but you are now more likely to want to someone you can have a future with.

          3. Sex

          In your 20s, you love having someone to sleep with.

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            When you’re dating in your 20s it’s also a bigger deal to have sex. Whether you sleep with someone easily or not, it’s more nerve racking and exciting to explore sexually in your 20s.

            In your 30s, you’re more aware of what you want.

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              By the time you’re in your 30s, however, having sex with someone you’re dating is less of a source of stress or anxiety. Even if you don’t sleep with someone until you’re committed, by the time you’re 30 you are much more likely to know what you want in bed and are less shy about how to get it.

              4. Appearance

              In your 20s, you want someone hot.

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                Dating in your 20s also means looking for someone attractive. Before you really know the sacrifice and friction that comes with a long-term relationship, looks can mean everything.

                In your 30s, you want character.
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                  In your 30s looks might be a consideration, but you are more likely to be drawn to qualities you know make you a better person. A hot significant other is delightful, but it is no indication of character.

                  5. Passion

                  In your 20s, you want fiery connections.

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                    In your 30s, you prefer softer desire that lasts.

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                      6. Marriage

                      In your 20s, you’re quick to think marriage could be on the cards for you.

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                        In your 30s, you want to spend much more time with someone before you can even think about settling down.

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                          7. Direction

                          In your 20s, you want similar interests.

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                            Another thing you are likely to look for when dating in your 20s is someone with the same interests. It’s just easier to have a conversation over beers if you like the same bands, TV shows, and celebrities.

                            In your 30s, you want someone with the same goals.

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                              When dating in your 30s, however, having all the same interests is less important. Now, you are more likely looking for someone with similar goals so your relationship can get you somewhere. You still love it when your significant other is passionate about the same things, but what’s really crucial in a relationship is a common drive and outlook.

                              8. Acceptance

                              In your 20s, you strive for a better body and attitude so you’ll be more acceptable.

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                                In your 30s, you know your prospective partner will love you for who you are.

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                                  9. Commitment

                                  In your 20s, you want someone caring.

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                                    When you’re dating in your 20s it’s also common to search for someone who treats you nicely. Coming fresh from dating in high school, you are all too familiar with backstabbing and false promises. Someone who is considerate makes all the difference.

                                    In your 30s, you want someone who keeps caring.

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                                      Where you used to be drawn to people who respected you, you now look for people who can keep that respect in the relationship. The first few weeks or months with someone who treats you nice are great, but younger flames tend to lose their determination to treat you well. In your 30s, a love interest who know how to treat you this nicely for years might as well be solid gold.

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                                      10. Love as a Verb

                                      In your 20s, you want someone to love.

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                                        When you’re dating in your 20s you are likely to want to fall in love. Searching for that first person to really capture your heart is a fresh and thrilling experience.

                                        In your 30s, you want someone who knows how to love you.

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                                          Though love is crucial to a healthy relationship, when you’re dating in your 30s you know love is not enough. If you are going to be with a significant other for any length of time you will need someone who wants to work with your quirks and shortcomings. Passion and compatibility are still important, but someone who works to treat you exactly the way you need is priceless.

                                          11. Friendship

                                          In your 20s, you’re blinded by love.

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                                            In your 30s, you value relationships that come from a solid friendship.

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                                              12. Growing Together

                                              In your 20s, you want someone enjoyable.

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                                                Dating when you’re younger also means looking for someone whose company you enjoy. Intelligent conversation, humor, and attitude are all essential to catch your attention at this age.

                                                In your 30s, you want someone who makes you better.

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                                                  Comparatively, by the time you are 30 you are more likely to look for someone whose company makes you a better person. By now, you have learned that many people can help you have a good time, but very few people truly move you forward and closer to the person you want to be.

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                                                  13. Responsibility

                                                  In your 20s, you want someone who gives you a thrill.

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                                                    In your 30s, you want someone who has their life together.

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                                                      14. Exes

                                                      In your 20s, you’re more likely to give an ex another shot.

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                                                        When you’re young, it’s hard to separate feelings from logic when it comes to love. When you have a solid connection with someone, you are more willing to forgive their shortcomings.

                                                        In your 30s, you know a clean break is usually best.

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                                                          As you grow more experienced, you realize there is usually a reason a relationship failed. Even though you genuinely care for the person, trying again doesn’t always make up for your inherent duelling perspectives.

                                                          15. Follow Through

                                                          In your 20s, you want someone who makes you happier.

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                                                            Another difference between dating at 20 and at 30 is, when you’re in your 20s you are looking for someone who helps you be happier in the moment. A special someone who brings a smile to your face and has a knack for cheering you up can mean the world when you are this age.

                                                            In your 30s, you want someone who keeps you happy.

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                                                              However, while dating in your 30s, you are more likely to need someone who knows how to keep you happy. Someone who cracks jokes and is sad when you’re sad is special, but doesn’t necessarily make for a relationship that lasts. At this stage you still need someone who wants to make you happy in the moment, but someone who consistently shows they appreciate you is crucial. Where younger love interests paid little attention to your work or habits, more mature love interests know to send you a message or gift for no reason. By consistently showing that they don’t take you for granted, someone you fall for in your 30s is more likely to keep you.

                                                              Featured photo credit: Leo Hidalgo via flickr.com

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                                                              Alicia Prince

                                                              A writer, filmmaker, and artist who shares about lifestyle tips and inspirations on Lifehack.

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                                                              Last Updated on October 22, 2020

                                                              8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                                                              8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

                                                              How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

                                                              Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

                                                              When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

                                                              Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

                                                              What Makes People Poor Listeners?

                                                              Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

                                                              1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

                                                              Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

                                                              Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

                                                              It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

                                                              2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

                                                              This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

                                                              Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

                                                              3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

                                                              It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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                                                              I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

                                                              If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

                                                              4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

                                                              While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

                                                              To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

                                                              My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

                                                              Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

                                                              Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

                                                              How To Be a Better Listener

                                                              For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

                                                              1. Pay Attention

                                                              A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

                                                              According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

                                                              As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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                                                              I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

                                                              2. Use Positive Body Language

                                                              You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

                                                              A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

                                                              People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

                                                              But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

                                                              According to Alan Gurney,[2]

                                                              “An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

                                                              Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

                                                              3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

                                                              I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

                                                              Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

                                                              Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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                                                              Be polite and wait your turn!

                                                              4. Ask Questions

                                                              Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

                                                              5. Just Listen

                                                              This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

                                                              I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

                                                              I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

                                                              6. Remember and Follow Up

                                                              Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

                                                              For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

                                                              According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

                                                              It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

                                                              7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

                                                              If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

                                                              Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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                                                              Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

                                                              Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

                                                              NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

                                                              1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
                                                              2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

                                                              8. Maintain Eye Contact

                                                              When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

                                                              Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

                                                              By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

                                                              Final Thoughts

                                                              Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

                                                              You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

                                                              And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

                                                              More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

                                                              Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

                                                              Reference

                                                              [1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
                                                              [2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
                                                              [3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
                                                              [4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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