It’s a universal truth that the same causes produce the same effects. If you keep doing what you are doing, chances are that the same thing will keep happening to you time and time again. So why exactly do we keep doing it?
We French are especially good at following unwritten social rules – take my word for it! For us, the dating game is all about going out with someone who shares similar values but also a similar background. I wonder if this is because we don’t like taking risks? That’s just who we are, I suppose.
To make matters even worse, most of us women have been brought up listening to fairy-tales. And some of us are still waiting for their very own Prince Charming. Get real, girls: no guy is going to sweep you off your feet on a white steed; sorry, I just had to break it to you. The thing is, I am convinced that when you break out of your usual pattern, you discover more about yourself. A different partner can bring out sides of your personality that you didn’t even know existed. And maybe, just maybe, broadening your horizons was exactly what you needed.
Look at one of my friends, for instance: she has met this new guy after a string of disastrous relationships, and she likes him. But, she is put off by the fact that he has what she calls ‘an unconventional job’. This is because she has always dated ‘regular’ guys who were working in an office from 9 to 5, and never travelled. He makes good money working on an offshore oil platform, he is handsome and charming, but she is still hesitating because she doesn’t know if she could cope with his type of life. Apparently, Prince Charming comes home every night! I asked her exactly what she was afraid of? It had something to do with security and ‘lowering her standards’ because she had in mind a very ‘traditional’ family with a father who comes home to the kids every night: Please, I said to her, you need to open up! Give the guy a chance and enjoy the adventure. As my Spanish friend would say: que sera, sera (‘whatever will be, will be’)
But enough with the theory and the anecdotes: we all know that dating outside of your comfort zone is easier said than done…But fear no, I have come up with ‘Dating Outside of Your Comfort Zone Instructions’ and it will make your life as easy as pie. Enjoy without moderation!
1. Take baby steps
For instance, if you like dating brown-haired guys or girls, try to date someone who is slightly different. Maybe even a redhead! And then, when you feel you are ready, make even bigger changes. Take it slowly. It is all about feeling comfortable in your own skin.
2. Have fun.
Don’t over- think it too much. After all, you are not after a walking checklist. Just go with the flow, and enjoy the experience. That’s what life is about right?
3. Try to change something about you too
For instance, wear a different outfit. Or some long earrings if you usually have short ones. I find it easier to accept someone else’s differences when I have changed myself a bit. So yes, it is time to try out something new for you too.
4. Repeat after me: say ‘trying something different is good for me. I need to do it more often.’
Ten times in front of the mirror after brushing your teeth. It should do the trick. And if you are not convinced, do it again.
5. Get out of this self-pity hole and act.
Talk to friends, chat on line, use the latest Match dating app or whatever but just DO something. Get. Out. There.
6. Get rid of this ‘judgey’ vibe that you seem to carry everywhere with you.
You know, the one that makes you criticise everything. Just forget it somewhere far and hidden, and move on with your life.
7. Take care of yourself.
Once again, dating outside of your comfort zone doesn’t mean lowering your standards. Quite the opposite: it means being confident enough to try out something – or someone – new. As I am French I need to remind all women that some lines must not be crossed: ALWAYS wear matching underwear and no granny pants on a date please. And, just to be clear, don’t do it for him. Do it for you.
8. Cut yourself some slack: we can’t always be perfect.
And please, don’t hesitate to date French girls or guys. Do it for me. You might even like it!