With the pandemic happening for most of the past year, we stayed well within the comforts of our own homes because we knew we would be safe there.
For some of us, we have also been doing the same in our love life, staying within the comfort zone, because it’s predictable and safe. But now that we’ve somewhat adjusted to this new normal. Perhaps it’s now time for us to take a step out, in both our real lives and love lives.
Dating within your comfort zone means you date people you’re likely to feel comfortable with, share your interests, and are most likely to be aligned with. It’s understandable why we do this. We want to reduce the chances of first dates going badly and increase our chances of things working out.
If you’ve been dating for a while and are getting frustrated because you seem to keep meeting the wrong people — how about dating differently, beyond the comfort zone?
Here are seven reasons why you should date outside your comfort zone:
1. You’ve run out of people to swipe
If you often find yourself reaching the end of the ‘pile’, swiping past too many people who are not your ‘type’, it is time for you to review those filters you’ve set.
Ask yourself, are the filters deal-breakers or are they preferences?
If they are preferences, such as age, you could try expanding your search parameters two or three years both ways. Not only will you get access to new profiles, they could also surprise you – after all, age is just a number, right?
2. You’re bored of repeating the same stories
Let’s face it, we like talking to people with whom we share something in common, whether it’s a favorite country, sports team or hometown. It’s a familiar feeling because you know how to steer the conversation. You might even know the same inside jokes!
But if you keep going on first dates with fellow travel enthusiasts, even telling your favorite travel tale can also get boring after the first few times.
You don’t need to do a full 180 and date someone completely different but try looking beyond your usual interests. Is there something on their profile that is new to you and intrigues you?
Swipe on them and ask. If it doesn’t work out, at least you learn something new.
3. You don’t know what you want anyway
If you still don’t quite know what you want in a partner, then perhaps just go with the flow and be more open to dating people you may not usually date.
This doesn’t mean you swipe right on everyone. We’re talking about the maybes. The ones you’ve stopped to think about whether you should swipe right or left on.
There was probably a reason why you took a second longer to deliberate and look at their profile again. Since you don’t know if that’s what you’d go for, take a chance and go for it.
4. You haven’t had much success dating your type
Psychologist and renowned relationship lecturer Dr. Lisa Firestone said we seek partners who help us stay within our comfort zone even if the zone is not ideal, because we prefer what is familiar or we go to those who reinforce views we have of ourselves.
Sometimes this might stem from an unmet need in childhood or a previous relationship, so we try to go back to the familiar to try to seek resolution.
But if these relationships didn’t work out, then perhaps it’s time to look beyond these types you’re repeatedly attracted to. You might not know how it will turn out, but it could also expose you to new people you might have never considered, whom you might actually click well with.
5. But hey, you get exposed to new places and experiences
Dating outside your comfort zone means you’ll go to places you never would have, try things you’ve never done or meet people outside of your social circle.
If you have been writing ‘start exercising’ on your new year’s resolutions for a while now, try dating someone who exercises, and suggest that both of you do something active for a first date.
Even if the date bombs, you’d have gotten a sweat session in, and ticked off your resolution, somewhat. Plus, a Yale study has proven that your brain also gets a good mental workout from being exposed to a new situation.
6. You can gain new perspectives and grow
Research tells us that we like being with people that are similar to us because there is consensual validation — if they like the things we do, it must mean what we like is cool. But while this validation is comforting, it doesn’t help us grow because we already hear what we know.
Dating outside your comfort zone means you’re likely to meet people who have different takes on issues like race, religion, and politics — and that’s okay.
By dating people of different backgrounds and hearing their stories, you gain insights into how they see the world. When you start to see the world through the lenses of others, you allow for personal growth. You become a better listener, a potential ally, and develop greater empathy for others different from you.