If you enjoy dating just for the sake of dating, and you have no other motive for dating beyond enjoying a few interactions with a guy, you can skip this article. But if a part of your reason for dating is because you’d actually like to develop a warm and engaging relationship with a man that shares that intention, you should know your BATNA before getting started.
What is a BATNA? It’s an acronym that stands for “Best Alternative To Negotiated Agreement.” I first heard the term in the context of a discussion of negotiation and assertiveness skills. The idea is that you will always feel more confident and act more assertively in any negotiation if you enter into the negotiation with your BATNA held firmly in your mind. It’s the plan that you use if the other party is unwilling to meet your most basic requirements.
For example, If I walk into a car dealership in search of a particular make and model of car, I may know that a dealer across town advertised the type of car I want for $20,000. In that case, I can negotiate as hard as I want in an effort to get the present car salesman to agree to a price below $20,000. If he refuses to come down in price to a point of at least matching the other deal, then my best alternative to negotiated agreement is to walk away.
If I look into a new job and enter negotiation over my salary, I will do a much better job of this if I have a firm idea in my mind regarding my BATNA. If I have decided I will walk away from the job unless a certain salary level is reached, then I will not be afraid to push for that number because I have nothing to lose if the employer does not ultimately agree to that number or something higher. You may be wondering now what this could possibly have to do with snagging the man of your dreams. Allow me to explain.
When dating for a relationship, a certain quality of man is required. If you enter the dating scene with a clear idea of what you want in a man, you are much less likely to find yourself caught up romantically with a guy that simply is not relationship material. Let’s say Rachel is looking for a guy that will bring depth and intensity to his part of the relationship equation. She will want to firmly establish in her mind the kinds of behaviors she needs to see in a first date. He may be really attractive and kind, but if the most intense emotion he shows in his face is a two-second half-smile and his speech is fairly monotone as he answers your question about his favorite vacation adventure, your BATNA will help you to quickly and decisively pull away before your heart begins to get attached to someone who isn’t right for you.
Saying yes to a second date could easily lead your heart to begin the unconscious and inevitable process of becoming attached. Don’t do it! Stick with your BATNA! You are not in a negotiation with him (he is who he is). You are in a negotiation with yourself! Know what you want in a guy and that will dramatically speed you toward the man who is right for you while minimizing the heartaches along the way.
Want to learn where to meet the “right kind of guy?” when they seem few and far between? Read our article entitled, “Where To Find Mr. Right.”
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