I’m fortunate to have experienced more than my fair share of first dates during my time on ABC’s The Bachelor. In a very short time, I had to emotionally process interactions with 30 amazing women. It was exhilarating and bewildering to say the least. The character of these brave women overwhelmed me, and through the process I met my beautiful former fiancé. Needless to say, this exciting experience also stressed me out along the way.
Whenever I reflect on all those first dates, I get anxious and sweaty all over again.
A first date is emotionally charged whether it occurs on national television or at a neighborhood coffeeshop. The pressure of putting yourself out there with someone new can really get to you. You create a character in your mind based on the limited information you receive. And it’s hard to ask yourself, “Is this the kind of person I would at least enjoy spending time with?”
If you’re serious about finding a life partner, you have to analyze if they are “marriage material” before you even meet for that first cup of coffee. We consider what life would be like with this person, and we try to picture the end result: walking hand in hand off into the sunset… or something like that.
Sometimes we have too much information to build this dream life. We live in a digital world where you can learn a large amount of information about a person before you even meet them. A large percentage of initial communication occurs through a dating app or website. This digital world makes it hard to truly meet someone without having preconceived notions.
The Bachelor created a scenario where I had little to no information about the women I met. It’s pretty old school, but it’s one of the best things about the way relationships start on show in my opinion. I was able to give everyone the same opportunity at a genuine connection, because I didn’t know details about their lives from social media or even mutual friends. I got to dig into our conversations and learn about each woman the old-fashioned way.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the digital world and its access to information. I have nothing against online dating and actually tried it myself before going on the show. It’s easy to make an argument for the safety and security of beginning a date armed with background information.
But in the context of love, I believe Facebook stalking or Googling can take some of the magic out of things.
I encourage you to start your next journey to find love with an open heart and an open mind. Make an effort to meet someone in the most organic way possible. Then challenge yourself to do as little research as your conscience will allow before your first date. You can fully get to know your new love interest through genuine conversation and an open mind.
Maybe it’s my Midwestern roots, but I believe that starting a relationship this way gives you the best chance at getting to know someone without distractions and societal pressures. It’s not the only way to make a genuine connection, of course. But if you haven’t found love yet, what’s the harm in trying? Maybe it will be the beginning of something really special.
By Ben Higgins with Mitch Reinholt
How did you meet your most recent significant other?
*Image courtesy of ABC/Rick Rowell