Is The Trial And Error Mindset Essential For Dating As A Millennial?
Are you a millennial trying to find the Chandler to your Monica, the Dax to your Kristen Bell…the key to your heart? Do you find yourself often going through a mix of emotions and feelings while trying to achieve that “happily ever after”? Do you look around at couples who you view as #goals and wonder where it is that you’re going wrong?
Many trends have changed in the world of dating for millennials. Now we can literally date someone within the reach of our fingertips with a few left and right swipes. Thanks, dating apps, for attempting to make my life easier, but here I am still single.
Although it may get frustrating to adapt to the mindset millennials have when it comes to dating, it is important to keep a positive attitude and know that you’re not alone!
Trial and Error
Most millennials have a “trial and error mindset” whether they are conscious of it or not. Simply put, trial and error is defined as “finding out the best way to reach a desired result by trying one or more ways until something succeeds.”
It’s natural for us as humans to try something out, see how we feel about it, and then decide if it is something we want to pursue. If not, we move on to the next thing until we are satisfied with the result. This approach can be relatable in the dating scene as well.
With millennials having so many different perspectives, values, and goals it’s important to make sure our set lifestyles aligns with the person we want to date in hopes to have a future with. I think it’s safe to say that dating as a millennial is extremely challenging, but the trial and error approach can be one of the most efficient ways in today’s time to find the person we’re looking for.
When I asked my friends and colleagues “how would you describe this generation’s mindset when it comes to dating?” the answers were surprising but expected. I asked single women with little to no experience in dating, single women with many dating experiences, women in current relationships, and women who have recently gotten married.
One thing that I realized after hearing everyone’s responses is that each person has such strong opinions on how they view the dating scene today. Here are some of the common answers I received along with some feedback to make things a little easier on ourselves.
Going with the flow
When a millennial is asked “what are you looking for” the answer typically is: “I’m going with the flow” rather than giving a direct answer of what it is that they truly want. Individuals are afraid to express their true emotions. Why? Because of rejection. This can be totally understandable, especially if people have past experiences with rejection and don’t want to get hurt again. I believe being open and honest, both to yourself and the people you meet when dating, can help tremendously because it narrows down what your expectations are. Remember, honesty is the best policy and will always go a long way.
Fear of commitment
Millennials tend to fear commitment with the idea of a long term relationship. They may second guess if being in a relationship is really what they want. Maybe they don’t want to give up the benefits that come with being single. Most times millennials think they know what they want or “have it all figured out”, but in reality don’t. When dating, it is important to distinguish if the other person is on the same page as you.
Be mindful that most people have a past (which isn’t always rainbows and sunshine) and may have irrational fears when it comes to dating. Try your best to help break down barriers if you see potential in someone you’ve gone on a few dates with.
Filling the void of loneliness
Millennials are dating to fill the void of loneliness in the moment, not necessary for the hopes to find a life partner in the long haul. It can be hard for us to define the difference between being alone vs. loneliness. Sometimes we confuse these terms and look to date for the wrong reasons.
When we feel lonely, we gravitate toward finding someone (literally anyone) to fill that void and give us attention so we no longer feel that way. It’s important to not use this feeling of loneliness for the wrong reasons and lead people on.
Realize that if you are feeling lonely, you can utilize other outlets to fill this void.
The next best thing
The trial and error mindset has adapted into the lifestyle of millennials. We think we can always do better or have someone better and then act toward that thought. Of course we should always prioritize our needs and have high expectations with the things we want out of life.
However, it’s crucial to appreciate someone if we feel good around them. I’m not saying we should settle, but if we come across someone who really makes us feel special we shouldn’t be thinking “what if there’s someone else better out there?” because these thoughts will drive us to never be grateful for what’s right in front of us.
All about me, me, & me
Millennials are focusing more and more on their career, because it is something that they feel more control over, and decide to worry about the trial and error factor of dating later. We choose to focus on ourselves and with technology advancing, we are slowing losing the face to face human connection.
It is normal for us to feel comfortable when we feel like we have control. When dating, it’s important to take risks and understand that not everything may work in your favor. Try to keep a healthy balance of focusing on you while also getting to know the other person.
What can we do to make the trial and error dating easier on ourselves?
Be mindful of what it is that you truly want – the needs and wants of individuals are constantly changing. This is perfectly okay and to be expected.
Write down the specific things you are looking for when dating – this is helpful because it outlines what you’re looking for in a person. If a date doesn’t go as anticipated, the checklist will help as a self-reminder for you to move on and gravitate towards what is meant for you.
Be optimistic and don’t put yourself down – dating in this generation can be difficult. Give yourself credit for putting yourself out there and trying. Even though we learn things about another person while having a trial and error mindset, we are also learning so much about our own self as well. Believe in yourself and always have confidence.