There is a lot of research done on our ability to judge risk, and according to most of these studies our ability to judge risk is not at all reliable. Such unreliability relates to nothing else as our much conflicting judgment of trust.
Given we have abilities to trust emotionally as well as an ability that is often referred to as a rational trust, in theory, the conflict should be much clearer to us. However in reality, our poor ability to juggle both simultaneously keeps leading us away from the right decision and as far away as possible.
Trust is a feeling we experience on an emotional level first of all, rational trust comes second, and more often than not just to confirm or justify your first impression, or your initial 'gut-feeling' if you like, i.e. 'Yes I trust you/it' or 'No, I don't trust you/it'. And yet there is some rational trust, or also often referred as 'functional trust' that won't influence your decisions based on your emotional trust no matter what, for example many trust the sun will rise the next morning.
This is the paradox that time after time completely sabotages most of my clients and friends dating efforts, who are year after year, working hard to empower themselves yet again... to give it another go in the world of dating.
Given that such a factor as 'trust' is one of the key issues to the success of the first date (aha!) it's worth getting to the nitty-gritty of it and learn how to deal with your trust issues. Before going ahead with your dating rendezvous, otherwise such questions as these will forever bound you to the first dates or the initial stages of dating:
- Do I trust him?
- Can I trust what she says?
- Can I trust he'll keep his words?
- Can I trust her background?
Of course, we rarely acknowledge such thoughts as usually they happen on a much deeper and semi-subconscious level. At the end, no one wants to get hurt again. Or no one wants to invest their time in romancing and find that only a few months down the line 'not to be chosen'. Rejection hurts. Bad relationships hurt as well.
And you know what else hurts? Our own mistrust to ourselves. That hurts the worst. Because that feeling we define as 'Confidence in dating' is often nothing more than the ability to trust our own decisions as well as ourselves.
And of course there is a general gender mistrust. When the press is highlighting on one side about women being raped and abused, on the other side, male magazines often support images of a female as though she is after you or after something you own. Judgmental and incorrect generalisation? Yes! Yet, it keeps subsiding, layer by layer, at the very bottom of your trust 'fund'. The more layers, the less trust 'funds' that are available to spend on newly met people.
Now in addition to self-trust issues or lack of confidence in general terms, you have a conflict or rational and emotional trust and ... very limited, if at all existing trust 'fund'. No wonder most first dates fail, and go no further, unless you took your time to communicate, exchange several messages, perhaps even photos, then some vague 'security' data, to feed you rational trust needs. And even then, if everything goes ahead, and your first face-to-face date may seem as a miracle about to happen, your chemical-needs-of-your-body (more commonly referred to as hormones) can totally sabotage the best laid plans.
I've been there. A date set up, I am looking forward to it, and the evening before I am reading an article as a part of my Psychology course that claims
More than one in three British men have a criminal record by the age of 40
(Source: The Guardian, 18.03.99). I got upset and called a friend over, we had a lovely dinner and we got drunk. The comfort set into my body as well as the thought 'Why do I need dating or men? I am happy. Now.' The date was set up outside of my bellowed and sort-of-safe to me London. Needless to say, after the trip to a comfort-zone and cashing in on some happy endorphins, I cancelled the date. Why waste my time trying to get happy, when I just got happy (on a very very short run!)
One of my clients, after working through the dating scene for about a month, came to me one day excitedly to confirm "She is the One", that very evening she sent him a text saying she had "met the one" and it wasn't him. It took me another month just to restore his confidence back in the dating process alone!
Trust, mistrust, confusion are all now topped up with the fear of rejection. The instant ability to gratify your chemical imbalance and providing you with a false feeling "I am happy where I am right now". Just that that right-now doesn't last long and reality hits you even harder once you recovered from your sudden endorphin rise, provided by a quick visit to the gym, eating ice-cream or just laughing your butt off while watching a good comedy or funny cat videos on YouTube.
Where do we go from there? To the very source. We re-learn to trust. To ourselves first of all. Then other people. So before you consider directing your efforts onto the dating world, do yourself a favour, and find a way to restore that trust-fund of yours.
And if you have any questions, I am only a click away.