I took Noah Kagan’s 10 entrepreneur commandments and applied them to dating. It’s a mix between the business acumen coming from employee #30 at Facebook (not me) and 30 years of relationships (that’s me).
I present these pieces of advice as absolute truth when, in fact, they’re not. (But where would be the fun if I didn’t do that?!) However, in my experience, they all should be taken as food for thought.
Here it goes.
#1 No coding. No business cards. Validate first.
Your friends know you better than you think. And out of all the things they know about you, their insights on your relationships are the most precious.
That’s why before going on a date, you should always validate the profile with a trusted friend. This trusted friend cannot be you looking at yourself in a mirror. Don’t trust this liar. Remember how it brought you to the nightmare that was your last relationship?
#2 Keep it simple.
As in, do not overcomplicate stuff. Does your date like cooking? Enjoy the meal. Your date doesn’t like cooking? Order something or do the cooking yourself.
Does your date like to make things complicated? Don’t invest a minute more of your time in this relationship.
#3 Don’t create solutions for problems that don’t exist.
It’s easy to forget other people think differently, have different values and desires. In my relationships, I’ve been too many times trying to solve problems for my partner(s) that fit into one of these three categories.
- Problems that weren’t problems for them. Only for me.
- Problems they didn’t want anyone but them to solve.
- Problems that had only one solution: breaking-up.
#4 Find your place on the Totem Pole.
For entrepreneurs, it translates to how important are you to your (potential) customers? For your dating life, it translates to how important are you to your (potential) partner?
In fact, you need to find their place on your Totem Pole as much as yours on theirs. How aligned are you and your date when it comes to these two questions?
- Are you looking for something serious?
- How much time are you willing to spend with your date?
#5 Don’t be needy.
Do you want to move in with the (new) love of your life? That’s great!
- Do you need to take all your bathroom with you, or a simple toothbrush will do for the first week?
- Do you need to have a cat from the start, or just the two of you will be enough?
- Do you need to give your notice to your landlord, or can you wait for a few more weeks?
When growing your relationship to the next stage, find what’s the minimum required setting and do that; no need to go full-blown.
Instead, find easy workarounds that make you test the concept before signing for a mortgage together.
#6 Focus on the small wins and maintain momentum.
Did your date bring flowers the wrong color? They got the flowers right. Did you have sex together and had only one orgasm? That’s fantastic news. Celebrate! And discuss afterward how to make it a double one next time.
There’ll always be something wrong, if only because we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the blue sky as much as we do without the rainy days. Looking at the bright side is crucial to keep on growing our relationships.
#7 Use time limitations.
Making a relationship work takes time, but it shouldn’t take forever to change things. Agree on deadlines for (behavior) changes with your partner, and track the progress.
More importantly, agree on deadlines with yourself. If you don’t feel good in a relationship, it can make sense to give it some time, but you should establish how long. If not, you risk keeping on repeating forever that it will get better.
#8 Do what it takes to get to that first $1.
In our online dating world, the first step of a relationship is a match. Do what it takes to get there, build a good profile.
- Have good pictures. Don’t hesitate to ask a friend for help.
- Have a bio that makes people want to engage with you. Give them something to work with, make the first message as easy as possible to write.
#9 No excuses; take adversity head-on.
If something’s not working in the relationship, you need to address the topic. Discuss the matter with your partner and find a workaround, or agree to “walk-away.”
It may sound harsh, but in the end, there’s no excuse for losing your time and wasting theirs.
#10 Face your fears.
As Noah wrote for running a business, “I’m not here to tell you [making a relationship work] won’t be tough and challenging — it will — but it’s not impossible.”
The only way to move forward and make your relationships better and better is to face your fears. If not, you’ll keep on hitting the same wall time and time again.
Facing your fears doesn’t mean they’re not valid, nor that they’ll disappear. It means you’ll have a chance to understand them and find a way around them. Without this introspection exercise, all your relationships will stop growing at this same point, when they could develop further and bloom.
Looking at our relationships from a business point of view might seem the most unromantic thing to do. I disagree; being willing to test and try new ideas to make our relationships work is, in my book, the most romantic thing to do.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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