Breaking away from your type: Dating outside the box

By on April 6, 2005

We all have preferences in life: paper or plastic, top or bottom bunk, window seat or isle. Dating is no different. Generally, we are attracted to a certain type of person from looks to character traits, and we tend to get tunnel vision when looking for a partner. Is it that we’re only interested in one type of mate, or are we only accustomed to them?

Naturally, we want to surround ourselves with those who share similar interests and experiences, but opposites can attract as well. Keeping your eyes open to someone unlike your usual choice may help you open your heart as well.

For example, if you typically date sporty brunettes, maybe grab a burger with an artsy blonde whose killer smile you noticed. Whether you get to know someone who looks different from your ideal match, or who has a totally dissimilar life path than yours, you could learn a lot about yourself and people in general.

Who knows, your good-on-paper partner may be not-so-good in bed, or the one you fantasize about may have the personality of a doorknob. For example, have you ever gone to a concert so focused on the main performance that you didn’t even care who the no-name opening act was? Then, after listening for awhile, you realized the new group was a pretty cool band and you got into it? That’s what this is like: being open to something else that may fit into your groove. Of course there’s no guarantee that going out with someone new will secure a love connection, but you may hit it off in other ways and end up meeting a really great friend in the process.

Experiencing different types of people will give you more of an opportunity to clearly see not only what you want in a relationship, but what you don’t want as well. Allowing yourself to explore your options only makes it that much easier to define your perfect companian.

Think of the dating world as an all you can eat buffet, with your choice of every food group and style possible. While you may be tempted to pile your plate high with ‘safe’ foods like steak and potatoes, you may find a liking for something entirely different that ends up being a new favorite. I mean for all you know, brussel sprouts might very well be the new tomato. Try everything once. If you like it, do it again. If not, hey, at least you tried it!

College is such a beautiful gift because it gives us the unique opportunity to be provided with various personalities in a common living area. We can mingle at parties and clubs, sit next to someone new in class or share our Q-Card with an absentminded sweetie in the caf without risking anything. There are so many interesting people you may never consider who would love to carry on a conversation with you until the wee hours of the morning, or keep you laughing hysterically over the silliest things. Even if you don’t end up as romantic partners, you can still offer each other amazing insights on life.

For a society that craves excitement, getting to know people who are a little different from who you are and where you’ve grown up can be a major high. Learning about the person next door who studied abroad, or grew up on a farm if you’re from the city, can make every day with them a surprise.

Familiarity is nice, but every once in a while a little change can be very refreshing. Understandably, like dunking your Oreos or a good episode of “Friends”, some things will always be classic, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t add a little pizzazz to your world. Variety is the spice of life, so sprinkle it on!

If you give someone new a chance, they just might turn out to be a very special part of your life. Who knew Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy would get along so well? I mean, sure, Kermit has that whole amphibian thing going for him, but they are clearly from different backgrounds and still found friendship in each other.

If we say life is a journey, it makes sense to enjoy the scenic route and check out the exciting sights along the way. Who knows? You could end up in a new state . . . or maybe just a different state of mind.


About Jenn Press