How to make dating work for you

(Dear Readers: My fabulous former relationship counselor and friend Sonika Tinker has a teleseminar series and CD set I thought might interest you so I asked her to contribute a posting.)

by Guest Blogger Soniker Tinker, MSW

Many singles are tired of the dating scene and sick of superficial interactions. Most leave dates and singles events feeling more lonely and discouraged than ever.

Why? The dating scene doesn’t work.

Wayne Dyer said, “We don’t get what we want, we get who we are.”

When singles meet, they don’t really see each other, they talk but don’t feel heard, reach out but don’t feel connected. There is so much judging, assessing, impressing, withholding, deciding, wanting and needing going on that no one is really being with each other and there is little space left for authentic, joyful, intimate relating.

Does this sound familiar? Someone looks at you and you look at them and within two seconds you have already decided whether or not you are going to see each other again. You go through the motions of a flat, dishonest evening anyway, pretending you don’t notice or feel the obvious. It is so uncomfortable that you wonder afterward why the heck you bother venturing out at all – you’d have more fun at home in your bathrobe on the couch watching TV!

There are over 20 reasons why dating doesn’t work. I am listing five of them:

  1. Your list of what you want in a partner prevents you from actually “being” with the people you meet, so relationship can’t develop. You have a relationship with your comparative list instead of a person. Besides, checking each other out keeps you in your head and out of your heart where love lives.
  2. You are so busy trying to impress each other that authenticity goes out the window. Relationship can’t build when people are hiding, pretending, trying, etc. Relationship flows when people are honest and real.
  3. You think who you see on a date is who the other person really is. But it isn’t. (They are in pretense mode too.) So you miss out on who this person could be or might be. People are not rigid and fixed. They are ever changing and evolving and becoming. In fact, you play a huge role in how someone shows up around you.
  4. Wanting a relationship prevents you from having one, so unfortunately, the more you long for a relationship, the more relationship can’t show up. Wanting and having can’t exist in the same space. You need to be able to move out of wanting into having in order to manifest a relationship.
  5. You don’t intentionally create your dating experience ahead of time. You show up on a date to “see” how you “feel” about this person like a passive observer in a movie. Your date is doing the same thing, so the date drifts, passively along into whatever.

There are many more reasons why dates don’t work. We talk about them on our 2-CD set, “Why Am I Still Single?” If you are committed to breaking free and creating a relationship, you can get our 6-week singles program home-study course.


Email Sonika, call for more info at 530/878-3893, or visit her web site,


8 responses to “How to make dating work for you”

  1. Liz Avatar

    There is a lot of truth to what Soniker says, especially about making snap judgements about people when we first meet or even when seeing a photo of them on the dating sites. But then again, when I was much younger I dated many men before finding a mutually satisfying relationship. Online dating takes it to an entirely new and what I feel is an unnatural way of meeting people — plopped down in a chair across from a stranger and then going into an interview mode. No wonder it has such a high failure rate. I think the concept of online dating is great because of the opportunity to meet so many different people. I now feel once our expectations change (both male and female), there will be more success because of a better comfort level. I now go into it looking at meeting a potential new friend and nothing more. No pressure this way and no nervousness. I have noticed it is working out much better for me after I changed my attitude. I am having fun without expectations! That is freeing.

  2. Mark Avatar

    “Online dating takes it to an entirely new and what I feel is an unnatural way of meeting people — plopped down in a chair across from a stranger and then going into an interview mode. No wonder it has such a high failure rate.”

    Very good point. I’ve thought this too. The thing about online dating and the meet for coffee and the failure rate is that compared to traditional dating, we’d never get to the coffee meet unless there was mutual attraction and interest already established.

    So many of the coffee dates are with people that, had we met in person at a party or some other place, we might have liked but never would have had any interest in dating.

    I will guess that many of us who have tried online dating have had the following happen: You feel a connection with someone via email, chatting, and phone calls. It’s mutual. The other person feels it too. Then you finally meet and…there’s absolutely nothing there. You have a nice enough time over coffee, but neither of you feels any desire to date.

    A voice on the phone, a picture, words in an email or chat log — none of these are anything like actually meeting in person.

    I finally gave up on online dating because it seemed like a lot of work for little results. I’ve had much better success getting out and meeting people.

  3. Mark Ohio Avatar
    Mark Ohio

    I’d be interested in understanding how people go about the process of dating in the Internet age. For example, the woman I am dating dated many, many men before me in the 6 years she’s been single. Her attitude was, “Don’t talk to them, meet them, and decide quickly.” In other words, she spent little time screening; just met and decided if they were worth a second meeting. She’d have a new date almost every night she had time until she clicked with someone. It seems like she met quite a few odd characters. She was all about the chemistry of the first meeting face-to-face.

    I’m all about chemistry, but it can happen over the phone too, can’t it?

    My approach was to talk on the phone one or more times, never for less than an hour, before even contemplating meeting. There was no woman I met after spending the time on the phone who I didn’t see more than one time. They all ended up being highly compatible with me and frankly are all friends now or are still communicating with me. No real horror stories (which might bore some people!).

    Not the same for my girlfriend unless you include “stalking” as communicating. Ha!

  4. Lisa Avatar

    I completely agree with Mark #1 about the realities of on-line dating–many people you meet up with are nice, but there is no real click. I personally never had much interest in talking on the phone before meeting. The people I chose to meet up with were people I felt I at least had a lot in common with already. I suppose phoning first could screen out some real loopy types, but I personally have never received enough initial responses to worry about screening them that way!

    My problem has been the total lack of communication by the man after the initial meeting. I know we as women are not supposed to expect this, but it drives me crazy. I met my last on-line prospect about a week ago–Airplane Man–for those who may remember. We had a pleasant 2-hour chat. Shortly after, he sent me a vague e-mail saying I was “interesting, intelligent and pleasant.” He thanked me for not being crazy–I guess that’s supposed to be a compliment? Was that a blow off e-mail or one of invitation? Who can say because he didn’t. So I gave him my phone number and suggested amother get together, but he never really responded to it. We then proceeded to just send a few geography-quizzy e-mails, etc. etc. I noticed, however, that he never responded directly to any personal thing I wrote, which, after 4 days, got annoying. I have not heard from him in several days, so I am assuming he has “died.” C’est la vie.

    But why can’t men be more up front about wanting to see or not see you again? Just state what you feel. I am not a fragile flower. I can take it. It just drives me nuts!! Because it happens so much, I am just letting go of on-line dating for a while.

    I think,etc. should organize periodic in-person gatherings/parties for its paying members. I say this because the only fairly recent person I met on match that I clicked with had a profile that was rather dull and lifeless–one I never would have singled out. However, his initial e-mails to me were lively and charming and we had a few nice times together after we met. I don’t know why he didn’t create a better profile. So, sometimes you might click with someone whose profile is not well written, well representative, etc. But who has time to write to everybody to find out?

    Very very sadly, however, this man was diagnosed with cancer shortly after I met him and died only several months later. I never quite know whether that’s a success story or not.

  5. Mark Avatar

    I don’t think you can really “click” over the phone. To really “click” you need the physical attraction too, and you only know that in person.

    Lisa, I don’t know why men go silent unless it’s a reluctance to convey bad news — that is, sorry, not interested in you. That probably is it, but men need to learn that it’s better to tell someone than keep them hanging.

    That said, I had a couple of women get angry with me when I emailed them and politely told them I wasn’t interested in pursuing anything.

  6. Mitsy Avatar

    I agree with a lot of the points in the article, but the bottom line is this: attraction is not an exact science. It is something that is hard to pinpoint, fickle, and like finding a needle in a haystack. When one person is attracted, the other one might not be and more times than not, NEITHER person is attracted to the other. The odds of finding someone you are attracted to (physically as well as personality) is a very hard thing to find. Many people settle and sometimes people blow someone off without giving them a chance. Sometimes you know when someone is totally NOT for you upon first meeting. It’s always a crap shoot and so far, I’ve never found the “right one” for me. For right now, I’m content on my own because the alternatives have not been appealing. Until I find someone I am attracted to (both physically as well as emotionally), I’ll go it alone.

  7. Allison Avatar


    I figure if a guy doesn’t ask me out again, he’s not interested. If he talks to me without an invitation he could just be letting me down easy… or letting himself off the hook without feeling guilty.

    Online dating is like… nuts.

  8. Anna Avatar

    I know I am getting into this discussion a bit late, so apologies in advance. In my opinion online dating is (and was) no different than the good ole days of going to lots of parties, clubs, dances etc. At times I used to feel oh here we go again, lots of odd people and never meeting anyone “nice”. But eventually I did meet someone nice, and a few times. And I did again too… dating. Just dating and looking for a compatible partner, friend and lover can be exhausting, no matter how we do it. But the way we meet someone does mean work and lots of frog kissing till we find the right one.