Years ago, scientists examined thousands of effective teachers to identify the factors that made them so successful. Researchers looked at education, age, income, socioeconomic status, family background, and many other factors. After countless hours of data collection, they found one single factor determined the success of a teacher. With-it-ness. That is, people who are aware of what’s happening in all aspects of their classrooms the majority of the time are said to be with-it. After many years and many hard life lessons, I now appreciate the significance of with-it-ness, whether in teaching or in dating. Here are 5 ways we can be more with-it daters.
- Dial into ourselves
Often when we feel stress or overwhelm, it’s easy to tune out instead of dialing in. When we fail to monitor our own feelings and needs we inevitably miss red flags in others. Practicing mindfulness meditation, having some healthy self-care habits in place, and slowing down a bit all help us connect to our own emotions. By dialing into ourselves, we’re better able to notice what’s happening around us.
- Pay attention
Paying attention is about noticing what’s happening with ourselves and with our date. Noticing internal signals instead of ignoring them helps us honor ourselves. Paying attention also helps us know what is appropriate and what is not, and how to identify a bad apple if we come across her.
- Be honest
Honesty sounds like such an easy thing. But then we get into dating and realize we’re not really that interested in someone. How do we tell her without hurting her? The answer is simple: by being honest without over explaining. I found that saying, “What I can offer you is friendship,” is clear and as kind as possible. Being honest with ourselves and with other women can stave off a lot of drama.
- Accept that it’s not personal
Just as we may find ourselves in the position of having to delicately tell someone we’re not interested, sometimes the tables are turned. While it can feel incredibly rejecting to learn that she’s not into us, no matter how personal it feels, it’s not. So we’re not a fit. So what? It doesn’t say anything about us. Better to know now than to find out 4 years in, after a traumatizing wake up call.
- Focus on ourselves
Focusing on our own self doesn’t mean being narcissistic or making everything about us, it means keeping our energy directed at being authentic rather than trying to get her like us. Too often, when we’re on a date and nervous, we spend so much time worrying if she likes us that we forget to stop and ask ourselves if we like her. When we relax and focus our energy instead on how authentic we’re being, we’re more likely to find compatible women and have more fun in the process.
The term “with-it” may have started in education, but applies to dating and to love. After all, how withit we are in life is likely how withit we are in dating and relationships. What could be more important than that?
Kim Baker, author of Girls’ Guide to Healthy Dating: Between the Breakup and the Next U-Haul, is a dating columnist and writer whose writing examines healthier dating through the lens of mindfulness and self-care. Find her at www.girlsguidetohealthydating.com or join her email list by texting gg2dating to 22828, message and date rates may apply.