People can be their own worst critics, and what I see time and time again, especially in dating and relationships, is a drive people have to tell themselves that their failings are directly a results of their inadequacies. There’s a sense that whatever they’re doing isn’t good enough. That’s the price you pay when you care and put in effort, you open yourself up to potentially being hurt by criticism. I get it, and I do it from time to time, so before you fall into the trap of being your own harshest critic, I want to tell you something:
In dating, sometimes your best isn’t enough
Don’t get me wrong, I am all about putting in your best, but I think that people tend to assume that if they give it their all, they’ll succeed. Sometimes that’s just not the case.
Let’s talk about sending messages on dating apps. Since the late 2000s, dating apps and dating blogs have been telling all of us the best way to send a first message when online dating. The OkTrends blog published this piece in 2009 titled Exactly What To Say In A First Message. Raise your hand if you’ve used the advice in that post, or similar advice, to craft and send a first message. If you’ve ever read my work and said “this is good advice about how to write a first message” count yourself among the people who used similar advice to send a first message. Keep your hand raised if using those tips, you do not have a 100% response rate to your messages. I’m guessing that if you’re reading this, your arm is raised (please put it down, I was just trying to make a point for dramatic effect). We all know what we should or shouldn’t say when sending messages and, for the most part, people use some if not all of the tips outlined in the post I linked to, and similar advice from across the internet. Why then, are people still finding it hard to meet and build strong connections?
Let’s say you spend 5 minutes writing an eloquent, well thought out message. You dot your i’s, cross your t’s, use the right amount of words, and generally follow through with all the best practices you’ve read about messaging on this very website, and many websites like it, and finally hit send. Then you never get a response. Why didn’t you get a response? It wasn’t because your message wasn’t well written, it’s because there are countless other factors that might be why you didn’t get a response. Maybe they’re seeing someone, and things are getting serious. Maybe they just haven’t checked their profile. Maybe you are their type on paper, but they just don’t think there will be a spark there, so they didn’t respond. I can come up with Maybe’s until I’m blue in the face. The point is, even if you write the best damned message out there, that wont be enough to get a response if the person you send a message to just isn’t feeling it. Sometimes your best message isn’t going to be enough.
The same goes for the people you date. I have been on countless 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th dates where I gave my all, only to be rejected for a reason I’ll never be able to fully grasp. I’ve been on dates where I pulled out all the stops and…nothing. I’ve been on dates where I was a complete and perfect gentleman and…nothing. I’ve had women describe their dream date to me, and then I made that date a reality and…nothing. My list of dates where I did my best, in every single way imaginable, to only later be rejected is longer than you’d think, but you know what helps me not beat myself up over it? I know that sometimes your best isn’t enough, and it’s not your fault when you fail in dating if you’re doing your best.
The same goes for relationships too. Sometimes your best isn’t enough, especially if your effort isn’t being matched. Think of it like this: You’re in a boat with your partner, when suddenly the boat starts taking on water. You freak out, and start shoveling the water out of the boat as quickly as you can. The problem is, your partner isn’t helping, and the water is coming in to your boat faster than you can shovel it out on your own. You wont be able to fix the problem on your own, even if you are giving it your best.
You can’t control how people will feel, or how they’ll react, but you can only control whether or not you give your all. You can learn to accept that your effort wont always get you the results you want. Life isn’t a game where, if you do things exactly the right way, you’ll get the exact results you want. You can do everything right and can still have a run of bad luck where you only go on terrible dates. Trust me on this, I’ve been there a hell of a lot of times.Dating isn’t fair, the same way that life isn’t fair, so your best doesn’t guarantee you the best results.
That said, doing the best you can is its own reward. Being able to say “I tried, and it didn’t work, but I feel good about my effort” is feels a million times better than failing but pretending you weren’t really trying. I can promise you this: Sometimes your best isn’t always enough in dating, but if you meet the right person, it’ll be more than enough.
Good Luck Out There.