Before we can discuss the practical steps of dating, we should discuss some of the intangible factors that you will have to deal with no matter what method you choose to employ. The first is the reality of attraction.

Attraction is a wonderful mystery. You can’t fabricate it, you rarely can anticipate it, and it’s nearly impossible to disagree with it. It can be your greatest asset in dating or your biggest liability. No matter what dating method you choose, you will have to remember that attraction will always be a factor you won’t be able to control. It’s hard-wired into each person and unless they show you their cards, you can never be quite sure whether they find you attractive or not.

Do you remember those conversations you used to have in junior high locker rooms or slumber parties? You know, where someone would make some comment like, “so-and-so is soooo hot!” and, almost immediately, someone else would disagree and say, “Sick! Muscular guys are disgusting. What’s-his-face is wayyyy cuter because he has a soul patch.”

How did those conversations go on all night?  Who knows.

Nevertheless, these kinds of conversations reveal three principles that you should bear in mind as you begin the dating process:

1). We don’t really decide to be attracted to someone. We just are (or aren’t). For whatever the reason, attraction is something that typically happens to us – not something we do. Even though someone may be popular for his/her good looks, there will still be lots of people who just don’t find him/ her attractive. It’s nothing personal – they just aren’t. Call it a gut-feeling or hard-wiring, but we seem to be pre-programmed to be attracted to certain types of people and not attracted to certain other types of people.

2). It’s hard to change the feelings of attraction. For example, let’s say that a guy finds himself incredibly attracted to Lady Gaga. Even if you held a gun to his head and told him to not be attracted to her, he couldn’t just flip a switch and turn off the feeling. The reverse is just as true. In fact, just because you find another person attractive doesn’t mean that they can/should find you attractive in return. Your attraction to them has little bearing on whether or not they are attracted to you.

3). No one is universally attractive and no one is universally unattractive. It doesn’t matter how beautiful or ugly you perceive yourself to be – chances are someone will earnestly disagree with you.

These three principles are tremendously good news for you if you are dating! They explain that rejection isn’t always based on personal shortcomings or failures. Most of the time rejection happens simply because attraction isn’t there for the other person. Rejection is so much easier to receive when we remember this. Let me explain:

Let’s say Brandon finds Susan incredibly attractive. Brandon isn’t sure how Susan feels about him. He knows that it’s just as likely for her to be attracted to him as not so he decides to ask her out. She says no. Brandon now has a choice to make. He can either be offended and wounded and become more passive in his future dating efforts, or he can remember that it’s nothing personal and simply move on. When Brandon remembers that not everyone is attracted to him, he should no longer be surprised by rejection. He should also remember that rejection is not a pronouncement about his universal attractiveness (or lack thereof). He can now go ask another girl out on a date without worrying about how many times he’s been turned down or not. He just hasn’t found what he’s looking for and needs to keep looking (rather than throw a pity party for himself).

You don’t have to be able to describe how attraction works or why. Let it remain a mystery. Just don’t be intimidated by it.

We’ll talk more about attraction in chapter 1.2. Specifically we’ll look at whether or not it is possible to make yourself more attractive.

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Do you think attraction is something we get to choose? Why or why not?  Do these three principles make rejection an easier pill to swallow?