Wanderlust: Too Soon
to Travel Together?

Who doesn’t love vacation?! Whether exploring a new city or town, or hiking through an eco-adventure, it’s so exciting to add to our life experience, connect with different people and cultures, and open our eyes to new encounters.

Read this post if you find yourself wondering…

  • Is it too soon to travel together with my partner or significant other?
  • Am I ready to travel with my new boyfriend/girlfriend?
  • We’ve been together a while, should we “test” our relationship by seeing if we travel well together?

If you’re dating someone new or even if you’ve been in a relationship for a while, you may be wondering, “Is it too soon to travel together?” Either way, the question of travel is pretty inevitable. From a friend’s destination wedding to discount cruise tickets you just can’t pass up, the chance to travel will arise at some point—and sometimes sooner rather than later.

While you may love traveling alone or with friends, traveling with a significant other can be a whole different experience. You may be wondering, “Is there a certain point we should reach in our relationship before we’re ‘ready’ to travel together?” Or even, “Is there a timeframe when we should plan to travel, just to see if we travel well together?”

In reality, just like there’s no such thing as “the one” or “rules” in dating, there’s no hard and fast rule about when you should travel together. Some dates lead to travel plans that very first weekend. Other couples might not have the desire or opportunity for vacation until months or even years into their relationship. It’s about knowing what you’re comfortable with and understanding a few things about the vacation mindset.

Sharing an Escape from Reality

Vacations are new experiences, where our regular habits and routine don’t apply. While this is an awesome time for learning, growth, and exploration together, it can also give us a false sense of how our relationship is “back in the real world.” Let’s just say it can sometimes be hard to see clearly through vacation euphoria or vacation stress.

When vacation euphoria takes hold, everything seems almost magical. We’re suddenly without the stress of everyday life with all its complicated conflicts and emotions, and we’re no longer confined by our routine and restrictions. Instead, we’re experiencing each moment anew.

This vacation high is very exciting and different, but it can also be a challenge to explore your true feelings about each other when you’re in this adventurous state. On vacation, we might connect in ways that don’t completely apply “back in the real world” where we have bills to pay, work to deal with, and a myriad of other things on our plates.

Into the Unknown Together: When It Gets Real

On the flip side, think back to your last long car trip or extended layover at an airport. Chances are, it wasn’t your favorite memory. Traveling together can be stressful—you’re navigating in a new place, deprived of sleep and jet-lagged, and charting unfamiliar territory. After three or four hours in a car, everything can seem amplified, and even your favorite person in the world can grate on your nerves. Stress may cause us to revert back to considering if it is, in fact, too soon to travel together, while you’re already well on your way!

It’s hard not to be upset when someone forgets the map or tickets, or you find out your flight’s been delayed and you’re going to miss a connection. No one reacts well in these situations, so don’t view these as make-or-break “red flag” moments. Give your relationship a little space from this stress before passing any major sweeping judgments.

Vacation provides an extended period of time together where you can pick up on interactions you might not get to see during “normal” dates. Certain personality traits and interactions can be amplified. It’s also a great time to explore your own reactions and feelings to different things that occur in the vacation environment. For example, you may be surprised at the thoughtfulness or kindness you notice in your date when he or she interacts with new people (or you may be dismayed when the opposite happens).

At the same time, in this “artificial reality,” you might notice certain interactions and traits in your partner and wonder why you’ve never seen them act that way in your day-to-day life together. It’s good to make note of those things as well. You might find the person you’re with becomes very different when they’re away from home.

Exploring, Dreaming & Doing—Together!

Vacation can also create time for that dreamy space where you can imagine your future together. Vacation can help you understand how compatible the two of you are in terms of embracing new experiences. Instead of wondering if it’s too soon to travel together, talk to your partner and ask how they imagine their ideal vacation.

If one of you likes a laidback country trip with lots of nature and outdoor time, while the other prefers a busy city trip with food, culture, and museums, it might not be a deal-breaker, but it can mean you’ll have to find other people and different ways to fulfill those travel preferences. Maybe you’ll plan an occasional “culture weekend” with a friend instead of your significant other, or go surfing with your buddies instead of your girlfriend. Maybe you need to take a trip home, but sometimes it might be best to go alone and spend time individually with your family.

Even on vacation, it’s ok to plan some alone time for yourself, if you or your date prefer an occasional break. It’s important to be cognizant of the fact that everyone needs a little downtime, even if you’re head-over-heels for each other. You may have to establish some boundaries and be sensitive to each other’s yearnings and needs, as vacation often means a concentrated amount of interaction with each other. Listen to the cues your partner is putting out and don’t hold back to establish your own needs and boundaries.

No matter what happens, vacation is a really great time to engage, embrace conflict and really get to know each other. You might not get along perfectly, but it can be a great time to explore and understand your boundaries and how you interact in a different environment. Use this as another opportunity to unlock who you are and what you want out of your interactions and life experiences.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Relationship Real Talk:
Playing the Waiting Game

Are you playing the waiting game in your dating life? In your relationship? Do you ever just wonder what are you really waiting for?


Read this post if you’re:

  • Waiting for her to call
  • Waiting for him to text you back
  • Waiting to make the next move
  • Waiting to commit or settle down

 

Maybe you went out on a few dates with someone and then suddenly *poof!* they disappear…and you’re left waiting and wondering if they’re ever going to call you again. It’s true that some relationships just end without much discussion or fanfare and we don’t get the closure we want or need. It can leave us feeling unsettled. We don’t have the opportunity to express our feelings or grievances and that can leave us with some unresolved issues.

What about in your relationship? Maybe you’re feeling some distance in your relationship, but you’re not sure why. How much of this is natural and how much is a form of “ghosting” within the relationship? Are you emotionally withdrawing because you can’t gain control in the relationship? Or are you feeling pushed away? Deep down, is it really fear of commitment?

Many times we go into relationships and dating with preconceived notions. We tell ourselves, “I’m afraid of commitment,” or “I’m not good at expressing what I want in relationships.” We call these limiting beliefs.

When we go into relationships with these limiting beliefs, we end up acting out a self-fulfilling prophecy. Things go exactly as we expect them to…because that’s exactly what we set ourselves up to expect. We believe we “are” a certain way and that belief gives us permission to behave accordingly. Holding onto these limiting beliefs can feel safe and comfortable (even if it’s not getting us what we really want).

When We Don’t Get the Gift of Closure

When a relationship ends without the gift of closure, it’s our job to work through and resolve our own feelings and conflicts about it. We can gather lessons and takeaways about our behavior and our contributions to the relationship—but remember: we only have to take responsibility for and own up to the stuff that’s ours. Relationships are a two-way street. Chances are, if someone walked away without saying why or just stopped calling, well, there’s some baggage of their own they need to work on, too.

Here’s where our seven rules of engagement can really help us learn more about our relationships. (You can learn more about the secrets to a happy relationship that no one ever taught you in our book, “The Heart of the Fight.”)

Two of these rules really come into play in this situation:

  1. We are each 100% responsible for our own emotions, feelings and satisfaction in any relationship; and
  2. We can each only take on 50% of the blame in any disagreement because, hey, it takes two to tango.

As we work through what happened, we have to own both what we brought into the relationship and the times when we held back. Were we really engaged with the other person? Did we express the things we truly wanted and fully jump in? Were we true to ourselves?


Sick of playing the waiting game?
Now is your chance to build lasting, healthy relationships.

Reach out to our experienced relationship coaches
to discover how to bring out your best in every relationship.


Dating is a great opportunity to measure and examine our interactions in a variety of situations. We can learn, “Hey, this is what I hope to get out of relationship, this is what scares me, and this is where I tend to shut down,” and then we can work on how we can accept our reactions and work on expressing our needs better in the future.

We can also see the times when we had different expectations or desires than the other person. If one of you wants a picket fence, a house and three kids, and the other one wants to travel the globe…well, there’s a fundamental difference that may just mean the two of you want different things out of life. It’s totally fine to move toward what you want and strive for your own goals while seeking a relationship that can help you achieve and accomplish those things rather than stand as a barrier.

Playing the Waiting Game when Commitment is the Question

Sometimes we reach the point in our relationship when things start to get serious. Many of us may experience a tendency to pull back a little or balk at the thought of being “reined in.” Once we’re in a relationship, we might feel we’re losing freedom or even a part of ourselves. We might feel like there’s the expectation that we have to change or be something we’re not.

The best relationships allow us to be our true selves. The best relationships are great because they bring out the best traits and strengths in both parties. If you find you’re scared of committing to a relationship, you might need to explore what’s not being met within that union.

Is there a reason you’re holding back? Are you listening to your limiting beliefs, such as, “I’m not the relationship type,” or “I don’t do well when I’m committed to one person”? Is there more to your apprehension?

Explore why you aren’t ready to jump in. If you find some genuine incongruences, then they need to be addressed. If you’ve had the hard conversations and expressed the things you want out of life and you’re still holding back, maybe you need to examine if you’re clinging to preconceived notions of what a relationship is (restrictive, holding you down) and let go of those beliefs if you find them to be untrue.

Whatever you learn from dating, it can be a great opportunity to explore some of these larger questions about ourselves and how we work with and interact with other people. There’s a great chance to find out new things about who you are and what you want from a relationship. Do the work and you’ll enjoy the benefits.

 

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Featured image “Worried Girl” courtesy of Ryan McGuire licensed under CC by 1.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker?
Avoiding the Awkward
First Date

At some point in our dating lives, all of us have run into “the great fixup.” Whether your aunt works with a cute single guy or there’s an awesome girl who happens to live in a friend’s building, if you’re on the dating scene you’ve certainly heard, “So, I know this person who I think would be perfect for you…” at least once or twice.


Awkward first date alert! Right? Well, maybe…

If the thought of being set up makes you cringe, that’s totally understandable. Dating setups can feel awkward and uncomfortable. If your friend sets you up, there may be some unintended feelings of obligation. You may feel that if it doesn’t work out, things might get even more uncomfortable further down the road. Now that you’ve taken a dip in your own social pool, you may even imagine awkward post-date encounters at a friend’s dinner party or get together—so cringe-worthy!

But it doesn’t have to be that way!

It’s time to get past all that awkwardness. It’s time to rethink the fixup.

Fixed Up By a Friend: Is It Really So Bad?

Let’s reframe. If you use an online dating service like Tinder or OkCupid, you’re essentially trusting an online matchmaker. But think about it: Would you really put more stock in an online personality test than in a trusted friend’s matchmaking abilities? I know, I know, it does depend upon the friend in question. Maybe your matchmaker friend isn’t the “Fiddler on the Roof” variety, but if you’re open, honest and authentic with your friends in your everyday life, they’ve probably seen you at your best and at your worst—so they just might be able to successfully set you up. It’s worth a shot.

Yes, you might feel vulnerable or just plain weird when you give your friend the OK to make an introduction. Just remember: good friends will typically suggest someone aligned with your values, who wants the same things out of life you do. Hey, your matchmaker friend doesn’t want to make things uncomfortable either! Yes, there might be hits and misses, but chances are, the Venn diagram of shared social circles isn’t a bad place to look for possible connections.

Birds of a feather flock together, so you and that “friend of a friend” will probably have some similar interests and compatible personalities. Not only that, but your friends might already be past the initial “tall dark and handsome” first impression, so they can help you see into the deeper, more meaningful stuff of great relationships.

How To Turn Any Awkward First Date into Fun Experience

First of all, shake off the mindset that a dating fixup looks pathetic or desperate. Most of us pride ourselves on our ability to engage with others and we enjoy the idea of meeting new people. But whether you enjoy meeting new people or not, anyone can have a hard time asking for a fixup or accepting a dating setup from a friend.

But dating doesn’t have to be awkward! Try this…

Instead of looking at your fixup like an inevitably awkward first date, think of your upcoming encounter more like a business networking opportunity. At a business networking event, you often express your values, engage in conversation, and try to find commonalities to make a connection. Many of us go into business networking conversations with the hope we’ll find someone who shares our positive intentions and is looking to elevate themselves and grow in a business sense. We want to meet new customers, clients and peers who are going to build our business network.

In dating, your approach doesn’t have to be any different. In fact, the importance of approaching your date with curiosity and openness can often be even more vital in a dating setting, because it’s about more than just “making a sale.”

You can even look at dating as a whole in this way! Have you ever been approached by a business contact with an invite for coffee or a request for an introduction? Of course. But have you ever thought that person to be super-lame for asking? Of course not! Because when we’re approached to make a connection in the business world, it often comes naturally.

Think of your dating life in the same light.

Treat dating like an awesome playground! It’s a chance to really meet new people, engage with others on a new level, and grow as a person as you experience your reactions and interactions with a myriad of different people in a bunch of different settings.

So if there’s someone who seems interesting to you and you’d like to know more, by all means GO FOR IT! The worst that can happen is you’ll meet someone who’s not exactly a love connection—but now you can add another person to your connections and network.

When YOU’RE the Matchmaker

What if the tables are turned and YOU have the chance to play matchmaker or give advice to a friend? Interestingly enough, when we receive unsolicited advice, even when it’s well-intentioned, most of us rarely listen.

When we train coaches and undergo leadership training, we learn that most of the time “giving advice” should generally be avoided, even if it’s wonderful advice. Most people need to be steered toward finding the answer on their own. So keep that in mind when you’re advising your dating friends: you can’t argue them into the direction you want them to take or push them into dating a person you think they’d be perfect for.

Instead, put the idea on the table and help your friend seek out their own direction and answers. Similarly, if you’re trying to figure something out, look for those who have similar goals and who are working toward the things you want. Ask them how they got there and follow your own epiphanies.

What works for one person may not work for another. There’s no set red flags when dating and there’s no rules—a deal breaker for you might be just fine for another person. Instead of applying a set of “rules” or limiting your interactions because you’re trying to follow a specific path, allow yourself to work within the here and now. Keep a growth mindset and approach each situation as a learning opportunity.

 

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

rachel-zwell-2

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Featured blog post image “Stops for a while” courtesy of Flickr user Seika licensed under CC by 2.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Going from Dating to Relationship : 3 Life-Changing Concepts for Connecting

Each date we go on is like a new social learning opportunity. Every date, from the best to the worst is a chance to find out something new.


Read this post if this sounds like you:

    • I’m interested in going from dating to relationship, but I want to have great dates and find the right person.
    • I want my dating experiences to help me learn more about myself and how to have a healthy relationship.
    • I’d like to learn more about better living and how to find true love and happiness.

 

We often look for some sort of formula to apply: “Ask this question on the second date,” or “Never talk about your previous relationships until at least the fifth date.”

Those who are regular readers of our blog know there are NO hard and fast rules when it comes to dating, except to be honest with yourself and engage. Dating is actually a cool playground for personal development and growth. It’s a chance to learn who you are, what you want, and how others perceive you (or how you hope they perceive you).

Dating is also a great chance to let go of our limiting beliefs and explore the things holding us back. It can help you gain a greater and deeper knowledge of yourself and build your confidence and social opportunities.

#1: It’s Time to Let Go of “The One”

Many of us have been raised with this Cinderella/Prince Charming mentality: there’s ONE person out there for us. This is reinforced by romantic comedies, books, and unrealistic portrayals of relationships in the media. This leads to a scarcity mentality and the feeling we might “mess up” our only opportunity by a single misstep.

Thank goodness this is a myth! It’s so freeing to know there are many people out there you might connect with. If one situation isn’t right and you’ve put forth your true and honest self, then you can sleep well at night, knowing you’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future.

The most important takeaway is to be true to your yearnings, and to who YOU are.

So often, we find we hold back at first because we’re nervous about being honest and then being rejected. When he doesn’t call, we ask ourselves what “we” did to scare him away. Did we talk about our parents too much? Was it because we mentioned marriage, or children, or “taboos” like religion or politics?

The truth is, if he didn’t call and you were honest with your interaction, then it just wasn’t a good fit for the time. You can’t change someone at their fundamental level or trick them into being interested. That mentality will only lead to bigger problems and shortfalls down the road.

#2: Accentuate the Positive!

In “The Heart of the Fight,” Drs. Bob and Judith Wright discuss the Rules of Engagement and how couples can productively engage in conflict. These rules of engagement can be applied in other areas of our life. (Hint: it’s not just for couples.) They’re important for singles and those who are dating as well.

One of my favorite rules of engagement? Accentuate the Positive. Each interaction you go into, you should enter with an open mind and an open heart. Maybe it won’t be a love connection (or even a “like” connection), but you can always find positive aspects of humanity in each person (even if they’re kind of a jerk).

If they are a jerk and there’s nothing immediately positive about the connection, then reframe it into a great learning opportunity to see how YOU deal with jerks. It’s a chance for you to call them out on their jerky behavior and let them know why you didn’t like it. What a great moment for growth and self-exploration!

It can be hard to get into the growth mindset after the disappointment of a crappy date, but in truth, you learn even more when things don’t go as planned. You can explore the takeaways you gained from the situation, and you can rest easy knowing you were honest, it’s over, and you don’t regret placating him or suppressing your own feelings.

#3: Express and Agree with the Truth—Always!

Another rule of engagement is you must express and agree with the truth, always. This can be difficult. So often in conflict, we get in a tit-for-tat war where one person says, “You’re this way,” and we say, “No, I’m not ALWAYS this way—there was one time….”

Instead, step back; acknowledge that in almost every criticism or conflict there’s an underlying nugget of truth. It’s okay to still be bothered by it. It’s okay to say, “You’re right about this, but it really pisses me off that you said it.”

Finding the truth in conflict is a great opportunity for growth. Maybe it will lead to a deeper connection and a better date. Maybe you’ll find yourself going from dating to relationship. Maybe it will lead to the realization that the person you’re dating is fundamentally different and you’re just not connecting. Either way, it’s perfectly fine. It’s really all about the fun and excitement of dating and learning new truths and new things about ourselves.

Your deeper connection starts with you. It’s about allowing yourself to be vulnerable. We’ve all been there, and it’s not easy. It takes a lot of bravery and strength to be comfortable with yourself and share with another person.

Each time something doesn’t work out, there’s also a tendency to apply it to a formulaic way of thinking: When I talk about this, it doesn’t work, so I shouldn’t bring it up. Some of us might lean back on our limiting beliefs. We start to train ourselves to hold back more and more.

It takes a lot of bravery and strength to pick up, brush off, and overcome this mindset. However, once you find the strength, it will propel you forward to a more comfortable place. Be accepting of who you are and put it out there on each date.

To learn more about how to be yourself, find love, and get what you want out of your dating life (and life in general), click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Featured blog post image “couple” courtesy of Flickr user Wyatt Fisher licensed under CC by 2.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

Getting Real:
It’s OK to Be Yourself
on a First Date

Read this post if this sounds like you:

  • First dates are hard!
  • I want to explore the world and meet new people.
  • Sometimes it’s not that easy to “just be yourself.”
  • I want to get more out of my dating life.
  • I want to more real human connections in my life.
  • I want to be ready to really get myself out there.

Remember MTV’s Real World? The tagline always went something like this: “find out what happens…when people stop being polite…and start getting real.” Time to get real. Let’s talk about the “real world” of dating.


 

How often have you psyched yourself up for a first date by getting into the mindset that you’re going to put your best self forward? BUT, are you really putting your true self out there? OR are you actually psyching yourself up to trick or dupe the other person into believing you’re that someone they want you to be?

Ok, so everyone puts on a bit of a show on any first date. Most of us wouldn’t show up un-showered and in sweatpants, ready to spend the night showing off cellphone pics of our cat. However, six months or a year down the road, there’s definitely going to be a Sunday afternoon where you find yourself on your couch in those pants, looking at pictures of Mr. Fluffers. Reality happens…eventually.

So WHY do we work so damn hard to hide it at first?

I’m not just talking about the silly sweatpants scenario, either. On a first date, we may think, “I’ll order something healthy, so he’ll know I’m a healthy eater,” or “I’ll talk about my promotion at work, so she’ll know I’m a hard worker.”

We’re striving to be a version of ourselves we think the other person wants, but really, shouldn’t we just let our freak flag fly?

When do we stop being polite and start getting real? And how?!

How To Break Your Barriers & Really Be Yourself!

If you’ve ever been told you’re high-maintenance, too assertive, too nice, or another extreme, you probably have some negative self-talk going on in your head. On a first or second date, this same voice may tell you not to speak up when something rubs you the wrong way because your date might think you’re being a bitch. This voice also might suggest you ask for dressing on the side, so your date doesn’t think you’re high maintenance.

Tell that voice to hush! It’s perfectly okay to ask for what you want and to speak up for the things you desire and prefer. More than just being okay, it’s really important!

There’s a certain level of decorum in “polite society” that says you shouldn’t do anything totally out there, particularly when meeting a new person or on a first date. Try thinking about it this way: Yes, first impressions count—but not for everything and rarely are they accurate.

So be yourself. Really! Expressing your likes and dislikes can accelerate relationship challenges, but they can also get us past that surface interaction and into the real stuff. They can help us engage in conflict in a socially intelligent way, helping us grow and reach a greater potential.

And hey, it’s ok to engage in conflict! However, conflict is most productive when we follow the rules of engagement. (We talk about all of these rules in our book, The Heart of the Fight.) Two of the most important rules are to accentuate the positive and to eliminate the negative. On a date, this doesn’t mean we should tell ourselves “everything is great!” when it’s not. Rather, we should instead approach every situation (even the less-than-stellar dates) as growth and learning opportunities. After a bad date, ask yourself, what did I learn about myself from this interaction?

Date & Explore to Learn About YOU

Don’t limit yourself! Go ahead and try out a lot of first dates. Explore your interactions with many different types of people. Throw strangers into a situation (or an MTV reality show) and the interactions they have are compelling—they definitely bring some different personality traits to light.

Dating and “playing the field” is no different. By giving yourself permission to explore your rapport with all different types of people, you can discover so much more about yourself.

What do you truly enjoy about your friends? Are there certain traits they have that really resonate with you? Maybe their sense of humor, their warmth, their way of reframing things? Whatever you like about your friends, chances are there are some common themes, and those traits can and should be explored with the different people you date.

Not every date is a love (or even a like) connection, but every date has a human connection. To unearth the connection, you have to be authentic and genuine.

Challenge yourself to really let down your guard and explore what you want. What do you like about people—and what doesn’t work for you? How do you express those feelings?

Explore each new way each different personality works with yours and study your reactions. I’ve said it before: dating is a wonderful playground and a chance to really interact, have fun, and do some of this deep personal growth work. Dating gives us the opportunity to be real and genuine, and to express our truest yearnings and desires and see how they are met or unmet.

Exploring yourself while you have the freedom of being single allows you to really roll up your sleeves and discover and play. You can identify the things you really want and like—and discover the things you’d rather avoid. It’s all at your feet. You just have to get real and get what you want!

To learn more about how to be yourself, find love, and get what you want out of your dating life (and life in general), click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.


Featured blog post image “Flirting…?” courtesy of Flickr user Chen Shiang Khoo licensed under CC by 2.0. The original image was altered for this use.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How To Find Love:
You Must Discover
Yourself First

Do you ever feel like you’re in a dating rut? Maybe you’ve made some resolutions this year to go on three dates a week, update your Match.com profile with better pictures, or stop dating girls you meet at the gym.


Hold up. Instead of making resolutions you won’t keep or trying to quantify and bargain your way through dating, it’s time to work on your dating vision. If you really want to know how to find love, it’s time to decide if you’re being honest about what’s really holding you back from getting what you want.

We all have a vision of what we want our dating life to look like. We can choose to spin our vision into something positive, where our yearnings are realized and we’re engaged, honest, and going for what we want…OR we can turn it into a negative and tell ourselves there “just isn’t anyone out there” or we’re “never going to find the one.”

If you’re dating to simply find “the one,” you’re putting yourself in a losing situation. As we all know, there is no ONE person out there waiting for us. There are actually many people out there who are right for us. Your life is your own design. So dating is all about discovering your own yearnings, then sharing those findings and knowledge about yourself with others in an honest, engaging way.

There’s No Magic Formula —But Here’s How To Find Love

There’s no magic number of dates or websites or profile pictures. There’s no formula you should be using to manifest the perfect person at your dating doorstep. Instead, you should be focused on trying to connect with different people.

If you find yourself drawn to a “type” and you’re ready to break out of the rut, explore your limiting beliefs and the things holding you back from dating outside your type. It’s not about “bearded guys” or “girls under 5’4”” but there are patterns that can emerge in personality types. (For example, maybe you find yourself dating women who withhold affection. Or maybe you’re always drawn to guys who disappear into their work.) These patterns can tell us something about who or what we’re drawn to or seeking out—or they may even reveal the things we feel we don’t deserve.

If you’ve done your own exploration and you’re working on yourself, you can break out of these patterns or communicate your feelings clearly. Give yourself permission to engage and tackle conflict head on, rather than shying away from it.

Be honest in your dating profiles and challenge yourself to be upfront about what you’re looking for. It can be scary to say at first, but you just might find if you’re truly honest and open, you’ll end up getting MORE responses, not less. Stop telling yourself what you “should” do or say in your interactions and focus on what you WANT to do or say.

Look for people who challenge you intellectually. Rather than thinking you should be going on “this many dates” with “this type of person,” look beyond the surface level. How can you shake things up from a deeper place? How can you become the person YOU would want to be with—the person you would want to date?

Getting What You Want: Stick To Your Dating Vision

So once you’re dating someone and it’s going well, how do you keep your vision rolling forward? Maybe it’s not to a point where you want to go into major future planning, but you’re definitely in new territory and you’d like to keep things going on the right path.

Revisit your vision. As it unfolds before you, ask yourself if you’re both fully engaged. Are you communicating and working toward a shared vision? Are you comfortable with both your time alone and your time together?

Relationships are messy because they’re all about bringing scary stuff into the light and being honest with each other. As you get to know someone better, you should continue to assess if you’re being honest and if your yearnings are being met. It’s more than simply having fun and going on dates. Or maybe you’re comfortable with working on yourself now and simply dating people, learning more about them and enjoying your time with them. That’s okay, too. It’s all about seeking what YOU want in the situation.

Make this year your year to realize your dating vision, learn how to find love, and get what you want out of your dating life (and life in general). To move toward visioning and discover more about transformational leadership, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training. You’ll learn all about visioning and how to get what YOU want out of your life.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

rachel-zwell

Rachel Zwell is one of the core coaches in the Year of Transformation program. She is an emergence coach specializing in empowering individuals to increase their fulfillment and satisfaction in their lives, to achieve their professional and personal goals, and to develop their leadership skills. She coaches and mentors people to develop self-awareness, vision, strategies, and to build skills in social and emotional intelligence. She believes in full engagement and aliveness, and trains people to see and overcome the barriers that prevent them from living fully.

Blog image courtesy Flickr user image-catalog.


Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

What Questions Should
I Ask on a First Date?

Don’t you wish there was a script for first dates? A standard set of screening questions? Have you ever seen the article circulating online detailing 36 questions YOU should ask to “find love”?


We’ve all read magazine articles like this before—promising the perfect interaction and happily ever after if we just screen with the right set of questions.

In reality, there’s no tried-and-true questionnaire for screening your dates. In online dating profiles, we do get the answers to some questions. But not all of us meet our dates online. What about the girl you approach at the gym or the guy you meet at a networking event? You can’t exactly ask them to fill out a match.com profile on the spot, just to see if you’re compatible.

It’s easy to make snap judgments when we walk in on a date. We look at how our date is dressed, we evaluate their jewelry and their habits, and we immediately have a reaction. Maybe his glasses remind you of your dad or her perfume reminds you FAR too much of the coworker who drives you nuts.

The truth about first dates: To have a successful first date (and a successful fifty-first date)—it’s all about what you put into it! What does a successful first date look like, anyway? I consider it a good date if I’m enjoying my own company, learning something new from my date, and learning about myself. When you’re fully engaged, expressing your yearnings, and being up front and honest about who you are, you can discover more about yourself and others—even if you don’t feel a romantic connection.

This ISN’T a Great Date

Sometimes “bad dates” can teach us more about ourselves than the great ones. The next time you’re on a date that seems to be going awry, ask yourself what’s really bothering you about your date.

Maybe he’s rude. Maybe she talks incessantly about herself. Maybe she’s condescending. Whatever it is, allow yourself to be fully IN the situation. Let your date know what’s bothering you, and see what you can learn from the interaction. It will tell you a great deal about how you handle being uncomfortable and the ways you shy away from or engage in conflict.

Not every date is a perfect match, but every date is an opportunity. Part of the joy and fun of dating is getting to know different people and getting to know yourself. If something bothers you, explore what’s going on with you!

This IS a Great Date

Many times, first dates might actually be going well, yet we find ourselves holding back. Maybe you don’t ask the hard questions because you’re having fun: you’re attracted to your date and enjoying your time together. Maybe you don’t want to scare them away by bringing up big topics like babies, houses, and marriage. Maybe you don’t want to find out they’re a homebody when you’re an adventurer.

Here’s the truth: a first date is a great time to ask anything! You haven’t fully invested your time, effort, and energy into the relationship yet. It’s a great time to find out if you’re on the same page and working toward the same outcomes so you can continue. Why wait until you’re six or seven dates in, only to be disappointed that you’re not really jiving on some of your biggest yearnings?

Some of us go into our first dates with our tough question ready—guns a-blazin’. We’ll ask anything, engage in conflict, and figure out what page they’re on. THEN, as time goes on and we become more emotionally invested in the relationship, we start holding ourselves back. By then, we’ve put our emotions and heart into the relationship, so we don’t want to be crushed when we get an answer we don’t want.

Relationships Are About Continued Engagement

In The Heart of the Fight, we talk about how you can continue to discuss and bring up your yearnings, engage in conflict, and keep the communication flowing throughout your entire relationship. For the first TEN YEARS or more, you’re trying to find your footing and you’re vying for control and understanding. Face it: if you’re in it for the long haul, you’re going to address these issues. Putting them off is just staving off the inevitable.

Dating is such an amazing opportunity to get to know yourself and someone else. It’s exciting to engage with someone and to learn more about your reactions—what you like, what you don’t like, and how you feel. Allow yourself to go off-script and get down to discussing what really matters to you. You’ll feel better about the relationship if you like who you are being. I want to be someone who takes risks, who tells the truth, and who gets to know myself better with each date.

Let us know how your dating is going! Tune in to our podcast every Wednesday to talk about dating, relationships, and how to bring out your best self. To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio or here on iTunes.

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!


About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel is a Coach and Executive Assistant to the CEO at Wright. She specializes in coaching adolescents, helping them navigate young adulthood and grow into their gifts and leadership. Rachel is responsible for leading and facilitating groups during weekend trainings. Currently, Rachel is pursuing her master’s in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University.


Blog image courtesy Flickr user dickuhne.

Wright Living is a division of the Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential, a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.

How to Know Which
Questions to Ask
on a First Date

Going on first dates (whether paired up by mutual friends or an Internet dating site) is bound to be a bit awkward.

Hey, meeting anyone for the time can sometimes be a little difficult! Many people wonder what questions they should ask their date to determine if it’s a potential match (…aside from the typical: “Where are you from?” and “What do you do?” stuff).

Ask Yourself Some Questions First

The truth is, there’s no one right or wrong question to ask. Instead, you need to ask yourself some important questions first. Think about what core values you’re searching for in a potential mate and relationship. First, think about what you’re looking for. Are you looking for casual dating, or a lifelong relationship? Understanding yourself and what you’re yearning for increases your chances of getting it! For example, one of my core values is honesty. Sometimes I ask my dates what their impression of me is. From their answers, I can tell whether they are willing to take risks and tell the truth, or whether they tend toward superficial, easy, “nice” conversation. It helps me to get a sense as to whether they share my values system.

Don’t Be Scared to be Direct

Super-direct questions such as, “Why are you dating?” or “What are you looking for in a relationship?” can seem intense. Some people may be uncomfortable with this approach. (What if the other person is weirded out or thinks I’m coming on too strong?) Don’t sweat it. Your ability to ask the tough questions is actually about empowering yourself and allowing yourself to get what you want. Instead of playing all of those guessing games that tend to go along with the dating world, be direct right out of the gate to save yourself some time and more pain later.

Truly Listen to your Date’s Answers and Stay Authentic

Asking a lot of questions on first dates can also help lead you to understand your own deeper wanting and yearning. Certain questions may heed different results and will help you understand what’s actually important to you. Don’t be afraid to be a warrior: have high expectations. There’s something you want out of connections with people and you deserve to be satisfied. Be your authentic self on dates. When I’m afraid to be truthful and authentic on a date, it’s often because I’m afraid of being rejected. The thing is, I don’t truly want to end up in a relationship where I’m not being myself! I would rather be known for my true opinions, thoughts, and feelings, and eventually be in a relationship with someone who values who I really am—even if it takes a little longer.

What If I Don’t Want to be Direct Right Away?

Some people may be shy at first—I know I can be! Perhaps you‘re afraid to ask direct questions until you’re a little more comfortable with the person. The point is to be direct even when you’re afraid. We’re all dating with the goal of a connection with another human being. Playing a game while not being authentic will only end with a greater loss. Sure, putting yourself out there and being authentic is a risk—you’re definitely getting out of your comfort zone. But ask yourself, “What’s blocking me from engaging in the here and now? How can I get the support I need to take risks and ask the direct questions?” Discover these answers and you may be willing to up the ante. For example, do you have any deal breakers? Ask about it upfront and then decide how you feel about their answer.

What If I Feel I Don’t Like the Person at the Beginning of the Date?

Create value for yourself anyway! Even if you’re totally sure you’re not interested, you can still learn something about yourself and have a connection with another human being. Ask more questions. Maybe you will learn about what you like…or dislike. At the end of the date, whether you decide to meet again or not, at least you’ve given yourself the opportunity to put yourself out there and learn more about what you’re looking for in another person. Put away those snap judgments and allow yourself to be curious and present in the date.


All in all, being your authentic self and initiating open and honest communication from the start sets up positive expectations for relationships.


Hey, it’s ok to go on a lot of first dates! The idea is to meet new people and get to know yourself in the process. Meeting someone great should just be a bonus! Have fun!

For more ways to understand what you truly desire in life, visit Wright Now. We offer an array of courses geared to help you learn more about yourself, your career, and your relationships. So don’t miss out on the life you want. Start today!

Liked this post and want more? Sign up for updates – free!

Listen to this episode here on BlogTalkRadio.

Image courtesy:Flickr user PhotoSteve101


About the Author

Rachel Zwell

Rachel is a Coach and Executive Assistant to the CEO at Wright. She specializes in coaching adolescents, helping them navigate young adulthood and grow into their gifts and leadership. Rachel is responsible for leading and facilitating groups during weekend trainings. Currently, Rachel is pursuing her master’s in Transformational Leadership and Coaching from the Wright Graduate University.


The Wright Foundation for the Realization of Human Potential is a leadership institute located in Chicago, Illinois. Wright Living performative learning programs are integrated into the curriculum at Wright Graduate University.