2017 New Year’s Resolution: Be Kind In Your Dating Life

New Year’s resolutions don’t often win the prize for creativity. Lose weight, get organized, quit smoking. These are hard to keep so no wonder most resolutions go the way of the dodo bird before the snow melts.

How about a more realistic resolution for 2017? Why not vow to be kind in your dating life?

Obviously, being kind benefits others. But here’s the icing on the cake (sorry to use this analogy if you have firmly decided that losing weight is one of your resolutions)—being kind also benefits you. Research shows that being kind can improve your overall happiness.

So, if you want to be kind in your dating life, here’s a few ideas:

Little Acts of Kindness

Kindness can come in little packages rather than big crates of expensive dinners, outrageous gifts or huge favours. It’s those little day-to-day acts that show others what you’re made of as a person. Arriving a few minutes early at the coffee shop to secure a prime seat; not canceling a date even though you received a fantastic invite from someone else; or giving someone a compliment they didn’t expect to hear. These are the small acts of kindness that make a big difference to others. Kindness also means being honest about who you are and not giving someone false hope about your intentions. Being kind means being fully present (not checking your text messages every 10 minutes) and listening with rapt attention even if you are not that interested in the topic at hand. Your positive body language like nodding and smiling will be remembered long after your date has forgotten your words.

Curiosity Over Condemnation

Dating can be full of disappointments. Sometimes other people let you down. Maybe they weren’t as handsome in real life as they were in their photo and you feel duped; maybe they said something inappropriate that crossed the line; maybe they trash talked about their ex the whole time rather than took the opportunity to get to know you. All these may be valid reasons to decide this person is not right for you. But rather than become hostile, sarcastic or condescending to teach the person a lesson perhaps you can try being curious instead. Think of yourself as a cultural anthropologist doing field work—sort of like the famous Margaret Mead studying the behaviour of chimpanzees. Adopt a sense of humour, ask great questions (“So interesting, you look so different than your profile photo. When was that taken?) and learn more about yourself and others in the process.

No Ghosting!

Have you ever had a few good dates with someone and then “poof”—you hear nothing more even after you’ve tried to get in touch. You wonder, “what happened?” Did the person get sick, did they get sick of you, or did they win the lottery and skip town? No one likes to be ghosted. This lack of certainty and closure can make us go bonkers. Why not muster the courage to be direct and kind? White lies may be appropriate in these type of situations. Better to say, “It was fun getting to know. You’ve got an endearingly quirky sense of humour but I just don’t think we’re the best match” than “You think you are funny but your jokes are lame.” You don’t have to drag out the rejection or over-explain. Make it short and sweet. But leave the person’s confidence intact.

Being kind won’t leave you coveting that triple-cheese pepperoni pizza you can’t eat because you vowed to lose weight, squandering valuable time organizing knick-knacks in a cupboard you rarely open, or yelling at the poor store clerk because you are going through nicotine withdrawal (ok, maybe quitting smoking is one resolution you should keep!) So if you are looking for a win-win resolution for the year ahead why not challenge yourself to be even kinder than you already are?

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