If New York City were a guy, it would definitely be the stereotypical "Bad Boy". It’s dark, mysterious, unpredictable, brutally honest, never as clean as we want it to be, exciting, and highly addictive. Much like how dating the bad boy helps us realize what we truly want and deserve from a relationship, living in New York ultimately helps us realize what we truly want and deserve out of life. It takes a clever mix of independence, enthusiasm, persistence, honesty, openness, forgiveness, and patience to navigate this crazy metropolis. So, in the name of forsaking the bad boy and/or relationship and fostering a healthy one, PSG asks this: Why not apply those traits that we are forced to use for survival here in the city into our dating lives? Here goes!!
Independence: At some point in time, every New York transplant experiences the feeling of being alone. Initially, the city appears so big, people appear to be so distant, and groups seem impenetrable. It is a feeling of solitude that is almost a right of passage when moving here. As annoying as this period may be, it is essential to our growth as independent denizens of NYC. Eventually, we become comfortable in our independence and garner the confidence to go out and do (non-touristy) things on our own, sans the paranoia and insecurity. People are drawn to confidence and once this occurs, connections are made, friendships are developed, and a social life begins to take shape. Independence is a sexy trait and extremely important when dating or in a relationship. While we may have an urge to spend every waking moment with our significant other, there is something to be said for keeping up a life of one's own and allowing ourselves to be missed. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder" as they say. PSG believes that a partner should enhance your life, not be your life. Find happiness within yourself and let the man be the icing on the cake!
Enthusiasm: New York can bring out a child-like enthusiasm in us all. It is with this enthusiasm that we push ourselves to take on the city and to participate in various activities and events. We should approach relationships in the same manner. Making an effort to keep things exciting builds closeness and can be quite entertaining. Doing something fun, silly, or risqué brings out that happy-go-lucky part of ourselves that probably doesn’t come out nearly as much as it should.
Persistence: Want a job? Want a (decent) apartment? Want a reservation at Momofuku Ko? Persistence is key. Not that we should be looking for a relationship with the exact same aggressiveness (i.e.-you can call/email Momofuku Ko with stalker-like aggressiveness, but do not do it to your date). However, positioning ourselves in new and interesting territory regularly can turn into a win-win situation. Take a foreign language class, join a flag football team, or even volunteer your time to a cause that intrigues you. It can increase the possibility of meeting that special someone, or you may even meet a new friend, make a networking connection, and/or make a difference in someone’s life. If nothing else, more than likely you will have had a unique experience, learned something, and hopefully had some fun!
Honesty: A lesson that I learned very early on after moving to NY is that the city is brutally honest. It will not mislead you. It will not coddle you. It has the ability to put both mental and emotional strength (and let’s face it…physical strength too!) to the ultimate test. Much like the bad boys that were spoken of previously, NY makes no apologies for the way that it is. It puts itself out there full force, and we can either love it or hate it. In turn, it also forces us to be honest with ourselves, and whether or not we are in this for the short term or the long haul. When dating, we eventually have to make the same decision: ~Here is a person. Here’s what is known about that person’s lifestyle, values, cleanliness, personality, etc. Do I see a future?~
Everyone knows that honesty between partners is essential in a relationship, but equally as important is the ability to be honest with ourselves about the relationship. All relationships require work from both parties, and it is important to be aware of what we as individuals bring to the relationship and what we need to work on…not just our partner. In the end, it is important to be honest about whether or not the relationship is meant to be for the long term. After all, the whole point of dating is to weed out the people that are ultimately not right in hopes of eventually finding someone who complements us in all the right ways.
Openness: We all have our lists. You know, the one’s that dictate each and every one of our expectations. In New York it may mean that you only eat at restaurants that have a certain number of stars, insist on living only in a particular neighborhood, or refuse to ever leave the island of Manhattan (there are 4 other boroughs, remember?). Dating wise, there is "THE List". The List is that roster of qualities---sometimes written or sometimes existing just in our head---that a lot of single girls have on hand to judge dates. Standards are good. Standards are necessary. While some of us may insist on holding true to our list, it is important to branch out every once in awhile and get a taste of what we are insisting on steering clear from. We are all constantly evolving, and it makes sense to figure out if what we've been avoiding is actually what may be best for us. Exploring many types of singles in the dating scene can be interesting, fun, maybe a little creepy, but we’ll never truly know until we try. It does not mean that we have to settle. It simply means that we should open ourselves up to new possibilities. In the end, we may end up having a great time. If not, then there will surely be an interesting story to regale friends with (and to send to PSG’s Frontline Findings!! firstname.lastname@example.org).
Forgiveness: Subway made you late? Forgiven. Cab nearly run you over? Forgiven. Favorite brunch spot have a line out the door? FORgiven. Forgiveness is a beautiful thing. It conjures up feelings of starting fresh, and getting things right the next time around. We forgive the city everyday. If we didn’t, we would not last more than a few days living here. It is with this forgiveness that we wake up each day prepared to pound the pavement once more and accept familiar oddities that the day may bring. The ability to forgive is one of man’s best character traits and should be present in our lives regularly, for not only does it usually grant peace towards a situation, but it also grants peace for ourselves. The inability to forgive usually harms the person holding the grudge more than the person to which the grudge is aimed. In relationships, holding grudges just leads to two bitterly angry people: one angry due to being wronged and the other angry because they feel that they must walk on eggshells and that no matter what they do, things can never be rectified. People often feel that being forgiving=being a doormat. Not so. Even in relationships that we ultimately decide to end, learning to forgive can make it that much easier to move forward and eventually develop a new, healthier relationship. Have trouble forgiving? Check out learntoforgive.com.
Patience: Many of us say that New York, with its unlimited access, has made us extremely impatient people. I find that, in actuality, we have to be extremely patient. Incessant waiting becomes a way of life, whether it be waiting for a call-back, a table, a cab. As maddening as it can be, it is to our benefit to have to wait, for in a city that is always on the go, we would most likely become so spoiled that the rest of the world would hardly be able to deal with us. Patience is also quite important when it comes to finding that special someone. Some say that dating is a numbers game: the more dates you have the better the odds of finding someone. Some say that it’s up to fate: it’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen. Either way, patience comes into play. But lucky for us, there will never be a shortage of things in New York to occupy our time while we wait!
Whew, that was a long post! Check back soon for Top 20 Tuesday.