Oh, the perils of modern dating: awkward “table dates” that disintegrate into interviews. The dazzle of excellent personal branding that somehow makes the mediocre in-person experience even more disappointing. The excitement of connecting with someone who has real potential, only to have them vanish in a cloud of vaguely apologetic ambivalence.
While a good photo, witty profile statement, and robust checklist of compatibilities may get you a date, it’s not enough to create real connection. Everyone is seeking chemistry — that elusive, impossible-to-define “something” that just feels right.
When chemistry sparkles, compatibility checklists go out the window. Democrats fall madly in love with Republicans, vegans swoon for carnivores, and an enamored new couple is victoriously born. In contrast, without chemistry, even the most perfect-on-paper person is discarded and left alone, wondering what went wrong.
You can avoid this sad fate, and become the vibrant, charismatic, passionate unicorn that everyone is looking for. How? By (paradoxically) getting your face out of your dating app and investing wholeheartedly in other parts of your life that make you authentically happy.
Think about yourself at your very best. Who are you when you are engaged in activities that feel genuinely meaningful, pleasurable, and that bring you joy? I bet your face lights up when you talk about what you love, and you radiate positive energy when you’re immersed in your passion. You throw off chemistry sparkles without even trying, just by living your full and happy life.
When you are fully engaged in your life, you’re not just a happier person. You are more interesting, more exciting, and more alive to everyone you meet — including the people you date.
Having an authentically happy life makes dating easy and effortless. Inviting a first date to do something fun and interesting (and that you’d be doing with or without them) showcases who you are in the most attractive way, sends a message of confidence and power, and puts you in a situation where conversation flows naturally. Furthermore, when you have a rich and busy life you have lots of stories to share that will captivate your dates, and make them think to themselves, “Wow, I’d like to be part of that” as they watch you glow.
Never forget that there are laws of love nearly as certain as the laws of physics. The effect of gravity on an apple is not unlike the impact of novelty on a heart; both can make them fall hard. From the first social science experiments in the 1960s that showed strangers were exponentially more attractive to each other when meeting for the first time on a precarious swinging bridge, we know that adventure, novelty, and even anxiety enhances romantic chemistry. Taking your first date into an exhilarating new situation that you are already confident and excited about will set them ablaze for more… of you.
And of course, at the end of a promising first date, imagine how natural it is to casually drop a “Hey I’m going to [something really fun and interesting] next Friday…” After an evening in your confident, charismatic, and interesting company, your date will pounce on the chance to see you again before your even finish your sentence.
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching in Denver, Colorado, host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast, and founder of the “Find The One” online dating coaching program.