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What is Your Lesbian Dating EQ?

What is Your Lesbian Dating EQ?

Recently my friend Mary Ann Brown and I decided that what the lesbian dating world needs is more Emotional Intelligence (also called EQ). So we have a project: show how to apply EQ to dating, and provide a Lesbian Zoom Speed Dating platform where women can practice using these skills as they are trying to meet The One–or as Mary Ann says, “the one who will introduce you to The One.”

In 1995 Daniel Goleman wrote the best-selling, textbook-like Emotional Intelligence, about the ability to understand and manage emotions in the present, so that you can connect more emotionally with others. Apparently EQ is more important than IQ in career and life success. You may be smart enough to analyze anything, but if you don’t connect emotionally with anyone, you’re limited at work and in love.

Good news–you can improve your EQ! And you don’t have to read Goleman’s excellent but long book. Many websites, including livingwell.com, describe 5 components of EQ and exercises to develop each of these:

1. Self-awareness: Identify your emotions, and others,” in the present.

2. Self-regulation: Manage your feelings appropriately, without acting out

3. Motivation: Be sure your inner goals are authentic to you

4. Empathy: Be able to imagine how you would feel in another’s position

5. Social skills: Listen, talk, interact well with others, non-verbally as well

So what does EQ dating mean? Each of these 5 is extremely relevant. Let me just focus on #1: Self-awareness while preparing for and having a first date:

Check your self-awareness. “How am I feeling before the date?” When you meet her, tune in to the emotions she’s showing, if any. Pay more attention to her than to yourself. That’s very attractive to her, and will keep your mind off yourself.

Remember two goals of a first date: (1) To help her feel comfortable, and (2) To learn more about her. Your focus on her will be great. You can focus on your own feelings later but why not use this opportunity to practice being a good date. She’ll either relax and reciprocate, or she won’t, and either way you’ll know your next step. Also, you can practice using open-ended, non-threatening but interesting questions.

Of course the Ultimate Fantasy of romantic dating is “to meet The One.” But really, dating is just spending time with someone to decide if you want to spend more time with them, because you never know until you know. So you spend 5 minutes talking with someone in a speed dating event, then you decide if you’d like to spend some more time with her, and that’s how it goes, or doesn’t. Not the Ultimate Fantasy, but hopefully a positive, fairly comfortable experience. And EQ will definitely help achieve that goal!

These are all skills that you can develop, if you want to.

So who wouldn’t want to have a higher EQ?

Sadly, part of the human condition is that we often do not see ourselves as others see us. Therefore, we see no need to change anything. Sometimes a “Madam X” has told me that she already has excellent EQ (or social skills, or communication skills). My instant, reflexive, unexpressed thought is “No one with good EQ would say that about themselves.” And here’s why; it’s an obvious violation of the first component of EQ, awareness of your feelings, other people’s feelings, and how others are reacting to you.

So I wonder what else Madam X is feeling. Anxious. Proud? Superior? Does she really feel proud and superior to others, who would be lucky to find her? And does she have any idea how I reacted to her statement? I doubt it. It seemed like Madam X was so preoccupied with her self image that she forgot there were two of us in the room.

Finally, poor Madam X is missing a huge piece of important information: How is she impacting the feelings of the woman she’s talking to? Is she helping her feel more relaxed? Is she antagonizing her? Is she being off-putting? If Madam X doesn’t get that information, she has no way to correct her behavior to something that would be more appealing to others. She’ll either feel disgusted with everyone else because they can’t meet her high standards, or that there’s nothing she can do because “that’s just the way I am.”

Next time I’ll write about self-regulation and how that fits with EQ dating. Overall, what i take from that one is, maybe everyone has to act out sometime, but don’t let it be on your first date.

Glenda Corwin, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist and author of Sexual Intimacy for Women: A Guide for Same-Sex Couples. In addition to sessions in her private practice, she offers consultation and online programs for couples. For more information, please visit her website at www.DrGlendaCorwin.com

 

 

 

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