One of my big epiphanies in dating that has made it a lot easier is the realization that I don’t have nearly as much power over how a date goes as I thought I did.
This may sound counterintuitive, but hear me out.
I do think that there are things that I can do to improve the chances that a date will go well. I can shower beforehand and make sure I look like someone who follows basic hygiene practices. I can make an effort to be on time, I can not answer phone calls or texts during the date, I can pick an activity that facilitates conversation and getting to know each other, etc., etc.
The reality, though, is that the single biggest factor in whether or not someone enjoys a date with me is my personality, and my personality is probably going to come out over the course of a date regardless of the other little things I do or don’t do. The person I’m on a date with will either like who I am or they won’t like who I am, and it’s as simple as that. At the end of the day, I have very little control over whether or not someone likes who I am, and correspondingly very little control over whether or not they end up feeling like going on a second date.
For me, this is pretty awesome. Yes, it means I generally assume there isn’t that much I can do to “make” a person like me, but it also means that there isn’t much I can do to “make” them not like me if we’re compatible. Much of the time, I go into dates assuming that whether they go well or poorly is largely predetermined by the chemistry or lack thereof between our personalities. In short: I go into them assuming that I can’t fuck them up.
It’s a lot easier not to worry about the little things that I may say or do “right” or “wrong” if my default assumption is that those things are insignificant next to inherent compatibility. I think I’m pretty decent at being myself, which in a way is the single most valuable skill in dating, because it means if there is compatibility that that compatibility is with me, and not someone I’m pretending to be.
The same logic goes for asking someone if they want to make out, have sex, tie me up, etc. Assuming that it’s a person who has had some time to figure out who I am and how they feel about me, I don’t think the exact wording I use to proposition someone makes all that much difference (as long as I do it in a generally considerate fashion). Either this person feels like doing those things with me, or they don’t. So there’s no reason to sweat too much over the details.
Powerlessness: in the right context, pretty awesome.