Sometimes first and second dates need a gentle push in the right direction. What better way to get there than a relating game? Fire away (and have fun)!
This article is to be the first in a series exploring ways we can introduce games, or intentional relating practices, in our dates to bring in new elements of fun, connection, authenticity, vulnerability, and intimacy.
To me, dating—particularly first and second dates—are some of the most enjoyable experiences, but I also understand that for many people dates—and particularly the first and second ones—can be terrifying and intimidating. There are so many potential pressures, assumptions, and expectations that can be brought into a date that can cause strained and awkward interactions. We may be trying to appear our best for the other person, even to the point of somewhat hiding who we really are—which is always going to lead to problems. Generally, our authentic self is what the people who are really right for us are going to be attracted to; so, giving space for both our date and ourselves to bring that out early on is going to allow us to quickly see what the possibilities are between us.
Before we go too much further into these games though, I would like to define what I consider a “date.” To me, a date is nothing more than an intentional meeting between two individuals with the potential for romance. A date is like an inquiry, it is a question that asks “what could we explore or be together?”; and when we can hold that inquiry in spaciousness, openness, and curiosity, without attachment to a specific outcome, then we have the chance to enjoy the dance of unveiling ourselves to each other. It is at this point—after relaxing into the acknowledgment that we are here on this date simply to get to know each other more—we can bring in a few intentional relational practices or games.
The first game in this series that I would like to introduce is called “Curiosity.”
Curiosity is a simple game, and really only an extension of what occurs organically on a date when we are naturally curious about the person we are with… we tend to ask them questions to understand their world a little more. Don’t let the simplicity fool you, as the depth that can be created by putting this intentional structure in place can be profound.
With Curiosity, we take this impulse to learn about each other and make it intentional and explicit, which allows us to increase the amount of vulnerability arising in the space between us. Vulnerability is an interesting phenomena, as there is so much energy contained within the experience of sharing ourselves that for many, it’s uncomfortable and easier to avoid. That energy, however, when we allow it to be there, when we move toward it and feel it, and share anyway is what provides the space for real intimacy to develop. I don’t think intimacy can be truly felt without vulnerability; and so, the more we are willing to be vulnerable, the more potential we also have to experience intimacy with another.
We play Curiosity by first introducing it to our date. For me, I’ve done a lot of work to cultivate my curiosity, so I tend to already be asking questions, even somewhat edgy questions, from very early on. I often play this game when I notice that my date is a little shy in asking questions herself, yet seems to want to. By introducing the space for her to ask whatever she wants within the context of a game often brings more ease and relaxation into the whole process.
So, at some point during our date, we might ask the other if they want to play a game with us. Most people perk up at the idea of a game because it usually means fun is to be had. Explain that this is a relating game and the only intent is as an opportunity for us to get to know each other more, this is the context of the game. Making context explicit in dating—and anything we do—is a powerful way to create trust through transparent action.
How to Play
The rules of the game are simple:
Author: Damien Bohler
Editor: Emily Bartran
Photo: Jem Yoshioka/Flickr