Dating paradox: why nice people don’t attract us

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Why do we feel uncomfortable meeting someone who’s nice, emotionally mature, and willing to open themselves to us? 

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For those who have had their fair share of dating experiences, imagine setting a date with someone for the first time and deciding to meet for coffee at a nice place. When your date enters the scene, you’re immediately taken by your first impression of them. You could have so many questions and judgments inside your head – how they dress, how they talk, whether they’re willing to pay for the bill, and so on. But what happens if the person turns out to be nice and emotionally open to us? For many of us, we’re immediately repelled by the kindness gestures. We end the date thinking, “He/she is so nice, but there’s no spark,” or “Being nice won’t put rice on the table,” and so on. 

Why do we think the way we do? Why do we immediately rushed to put this potential date in a box of limited possibilities? 

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To put it simply, most of us are so used to shaping and preparing ourselves for hardships, whether in relationships or basic needs. We fall into the thinking that the lack of satisfaction and love around us is just how the world works. Sometimes, this stems from childhood deprivation of parental affection or being made to feel that we have to suffer to be in love. Other times, it could be from experiencing disappointment in fostering friendships or relationships with others. We might also feed ourselves the narrative that being “isolated” is peaceful and will not cause us any trouble, as long as we don’t get too involved in others’ affairs.

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Subconsciously, we don’t think we deserve the best treatment, even if it’s just simple “kind” gestures. We’ve learned to “reject” before anyone could reject us. We’ve learned to defend ourselves by not falling for “honeyed” words. We’ve learned to not let ourselves “hope” or be “vulnerable.”

This results in us feeling repelled and threatened by any kind soul reaching out to us. It’s the result of fear, as we’re afraid that we might have to weaken our defenses and be open to those souls. The fear of being betrayed and causing another wound in our hearts if we become vulnerable. The fear that stops us from experiencing what might be life transformational.

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The real risk of dating does not lie in how awful looking the date is, or how poor or rich, or how boring they might be. The real risk of dating is seeing the light in the other person, and that there might be a possibility of the relationship actually working. It’s easier to project the date to be full of bad qualities so that we don’t have to feel bad in rejecting them. It’s easier to reject than to receive any kindness at all.

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