dating risksNo one wants to get their heart broken.

Which means there’s nothing more dangerous than liking someone. If you like someone, you’re taking a HUGE risk.

He may not like you back.

He may seem to like you at first, only to stop calling. Even worse, you may fall deeply in love, only to crash and burn a few months or a few years later, reducing all those beloved memories to ashes.

But there’s one thing worse than taking the risk of liking someone:

Playing it safe.

If you play it safe, you never get the chance to have your heart broken. Playing it safe means you’re less likely to meet someone AND less likely to set off sparks when you do.

Here’s how.

There are two big ways in which men and women alike play it safe in love.

  1. We try to predict whether a person will be a perfect match before committing to their company.
  2. We censor what we do and say in hopes of impressing the other person, especially when we meet.

Unfortunately, both of those strategies can backfire when it comes to getting a committed romantic partner.

Online dating research conducted by OkCupid[1] found that the more you filter out the sort of person you don’t want to date, the less likely you are to end up with anyone you DO want to date.

OkCupid co-founder Christian Rudder explains: “People appear to be heavily preselecting online for something that, once they sit down in person, doesn’t seem important to them.”

The dating site tested the theory with its app Crazy Blind Date, which limits the amount of information you get about the other person before going on a date. It found that people who normally wouldn’t click online have a great time in person.

The conclusion?

Don’t rely too much on what you THINK you want in a partner

Spend less time analyzing an online dating profile and more time going with your gut.

If you’ve got a spare evening and someone wants to meet up, why not? A man doesn’t have to meet your exact specifications for Mr. Perfect to be good company.

The opposite is also true. A man who looks perfect in every way on paper may be a dud in person. So never jump to conclusions. Put a big red question mark over his head in your imagination, until you’ve met him in person and got to know him.

Taking risks safely requires being realistic about the outcome. When you take the risk to meet someone new, avoid investing yourself emotionally in how it turns out.

Think of it like playing the slots in Vegas. There’s always the chance of a big win, but you’re more likely to walk away with nothing. Still, that doesn’t mean you “lost.” You spent a pleasant few hours doing something that’s much more interesting than sitting at home.

The other big way in which we play it safe is by trying to control all the variables on a date.

Men and women alike aren’t big risk takers when they first meet. You can’t predict what another person likes until you meet him or her. So you make safe choices. You act conservatively.

But it’s hard to get excited about someone who’s playing it safe. Go on enough coffee dates, and they all start to run together in your mind. Even if that person is saying all the right things, the conversation gets boring. You’ve heard it all before.

dating risksThe answer is to take a few risks. Do something novel on a first date. Invite him along to one of your favorite activities, or introduce him to one of your hobbies. Put him out of his comfort zone.

Not only will you learn more about him than you could have in weeks of coffee dates, but you’ll immediately get a better sense of whether you’re compatible. For example, if you go rock-climbing every weekend and he’s scared of heights, your long-term compatibility was probably limited anyway.

Finding someone worth breaking your heart over is worth taking a few risks. As the saying goes, you’ve got to play to win.

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