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Jewish Journal

Dating 101: Being Nice Matters

by Ilana Angel

August 29, 2014 | 7:48 am

I had two dates this week. I am trying. I try more than any of my other single friends. I like men, would like one in my life, and so I try. I date online, get set up by friends, am contacted by men who read my work here at jewishjournal.com, and on particularly good hair days I get hit on in Starbucks. I am keeping myself open to love and send out that energy.

I am approachable by nature, and have mad social skills, so I've never had a problem meeting people. I'm a good dater in that I can talk to anyone. I date with purpose. I am looking for a partner so I tend to have many first dates, few second dates, and a rare third date. If I go out with someone on three dates I have found someone rare and special.

I keep an open mind but am not interested in wasting time, mine or theirs. If there isn’t a spark on the first date, there is no need for a second date. I don’t just mean a spark of chemistry. A spark of hope also matters. You can become attracted to someone physically, so if there is something that sparks hope, I will go out again.

I've learned hope matters and is powerful when dating. If I spend an evening with someone and hope he likes me, it makes my heart flutter. If I spend an evening with someone and hope there is an earthquake so I can leave, hope turns to prayer. When dating tequila matters as much as hope. Good or bad, I have hope.

That leads to my first date last week. It was actually a second date. Well technically it was a second date. Turns out I went out with this man about 14 years ago and forgot about it, as did he. We met for a drink and as we sat and started to talk it became clear we knew things about each other. We realized we had met each other on JDate years ago.

I was 34 years old and we only went out once. He ended up marrying a woman from work, had a couple of kids, and got divorced a year ago. He has one adult child, two young ones from his last marriage, and just as it was years ago, we had no spark. Interesting we didn’t initially remember each other, but we had a laugh and nice time.

The second man I met this week was also nice. Jewish, funny, and intelligent. We met for a drink and I spent most of the date wondering who I could fix him up with. We were simply not a match. When dating, nice men can be confusing. I wonder why I can’t be attracted to the nice one instead of the bad one. It would be so simple if I was.

There is real value in a nice date and meeting a nice man. Nice can be faked of course, but eventually it will be revealed if you are an asshole. I like a man who has a bit of ass in him, because even when you’re an asshole, if you are inherently kind and nice, that will always shine through. I guess I like a bit of an edge to my man.

Dating is hard, but trust me when I tell you it is easier when people are nice. Going on a date requires preparation, physically and mentally, so to get there and have someone be nice, even if not a match, is wonderful. The men I went out with were nice and nice matters. It was lovely when both took the time to say how nice I was.

I write a lot about men who ended up not being a match for me, but I am also not a match for many. I've been out with men I was excited about, and they were not excited about me. A lot of stars need to align for a match. With every bad date you think it will never happen, but with every nice date you are inspired to believe it could happen.

I used to approach every date wondering if I could have a relationship with that person. Now I approach hoping they will be nice. We don’t have to fall in love. A good date is a night out with a grown up, enjoying myself, being myself, having good banter, learning something, teaching something, and in the end wanting to see him again.

I place great value on simply being nice. It took me a long time to get to this place in my dating life. I want to be happy and my life is blessed, so the need to have someone is not really a need, but a desire. I would like to meet a nice man. It is not complicated. What a relief it is to finally realize that it is in fact not complicated. 

Dating doesn't have to suck. I have a date on Sunday and I am looking forward to it. He seems lovely, makes me laugh, and appears to be nice. Time will tell, but the anticipation is quite sweet. I used to dread the time leading up to a date, but when you take away the pressure you put on yourself, it is okay. Truly, you will be okay.

I am contacted by many people who tell me my dating life is entertaining and iinspiring. Many have given up because it is too much work. I'm here to tell you it is not that much work and doesn’t need to be complicated. Go on a date. It might be great, might be hilarious, might be sad, but all three of those thing will make you feel alive.

If it is a match then Mazel Tov! If it is a dud at least you tried. If I approached my dating future guided by my dating past I'd never date again. I would get a couple more cats and call it a day. I am choosing to be hopeful, which may be naïve, but is also brave and reminds me that if I believe, there is still hope.

It is when you stop believing that you lose hope. When you lose hope it is difficult to have faith. A broken heart can mend. The loss of trust in one can be restored through another. We must date with the desires of our hearts leading the way not the past. I‘ve been hurt and that is okay. In the end I am trying, I am nice, and I am keeping the faith.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Ilana Angel writes two blogs for JewishJournal.com. KEEPING THE FAITH is about her worldview as a single Jewish mother, and KEEPING IT REAL is all about reality television....

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