The other day I finally got around to watching Simon Sineks plea on millennials in the workplace and how they should be coached better. If you haven’t watched it yet, you can do so here:
Sinek basically states that millennials (born after 1984, adults now), have trouble focussing, working hard and enduring setbacks. He claims this has to do with their upbringing but also with the existence of smartphones and social media accounts. The latter he accuses of disabling us to make genuine relationships. Although he is obviously overgeneralising an entire generation, he does make some interesting points.
Social media use has been shown both to impair our happiness and capability of relating to others as well as to enhance it. What to believe? If used properly I believe social media can help us out in relating to others. But there is a catch. Its use is highly addictive and if you rely on social media alone to build friendships or even relationships, you are going to end up all alone. Real relationships are build when people have face to face, heart to heart conversations. When they can touch, smell and see each other. Because that is where real attachment is formed.
Attachment theory in the land of psychologists is very hip and happening at the moment. Although the theory itself dates back to the 1960’s when John Bowlby and Mary Ainsworth drafted it. But up until today new things are discovered about the flexibility of attachment and how it can be stimulated between partners, parents and children and in friendships.
Attachment basically is your ability to connect to the other person, and depending on your upbringing and the availability and emotional responsiveness of your parents this either comes easy to you or it scares you or it doesn’t interest you much at all.
Now what does all of this have to do with dating? Too often I find that the offered ‘solution’ to
singles seeking for love is ‘just meet more people’. But meeting more people isn’t going to cut it when you have an anxious or avoidant attachment style. Or when you don’t know how to make small talk to a stranger. Or when you haven’t had many successful relationships experiences (like friendships) to fall back on. There is so much more to say about the search for love! And it all starts with connecting well.
Connecting well to God, to yourself and to the people around you, before you even start to connect to other singles.
That’s why Dare to Date is such a dear project to me, and why I have taken so much time to write it. Because of the valuable information I discovered myself in my own quest for love, and how freeing it was to go on this quest in such a ‘connected’ way, I wanted to share what I’d discovered with others. Not to write the perfect recipe to find a relationship, let alone find ‘the one’. Because it’s never that easy, or there wouldn’t be so many people out there looking for love over and over again. There are no ’10 easy steps to find love’. But there is an adventure awaiting, a quest, and a journey to be made in order to find more of yourself, of God and of the people you relate with. And that is a journey well worth taking.
And this is where I strongly disagree with Sinek. We all have the capacity to work hard and endure setbacks. We all have what it takes to date well. We might just need some help tapping into that competence, and some guidance on how to use it. That is where I hope Dare to Date comes in. To provide you with the advice you need, but moreover, with the empowerment and encouragement you need to put yourself out there in that scary world called ‘dating’, and not only to endure it, but to actually enjoy it and have fun on the way.
Aukelien Van Abbema is a singles and couples counsellor, public speaker, and successful author, including the title Dare to Date.
Helping people with Christian dating, relationships, singleness in church, dating in church, loneliness, connectedness, christian connection, healthy relationships.