Deep down, you have an internal ‘super power’ that can help you navigate the dating process. It’s called your intuition.
Intuition is defined as “the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.” It can be a gut feeling, an instant knowing, a hunch, or an unexplainable ‘sense’ about something that turns out to be right.
For purposes of this article, let’s think of intuition as your internal guide or compass giving you a sense of whether or not a person or dating situation is healthy—or unhealthy—for you. This goes far beyond the first impression you have of someone. It taps into how you feel in their presence.
What is Intuition?
A psychology.com article says, “Intuition, like first impressions, serves the brain’s need to predict and prepare for what will happen next. First impressions are rapid, holistic assessments of people based on subtle perceptual cues and judgment of intent to help or harm. Both rely on automatic processes and, as rapid evaluation systems, both are subject to error, especially from biases we hold.”1
Your intuition uses all of your previous life history and experiences to try to help your brain make the right decision in the moment. It doesn’t even have to make logical sense.
Your brain doesn’t want you to be put in harmful situations, so it will try to avoid anything that can potentially harm you.
How Your Intuition ‘Speaks’ to You
Everyone has intuition, although some people may not feel connected to it. Some may appear to be more intuitive than others and may even come across as psychic. What matters is how your intuition speaks to YOU.
See if you resonate with any of these feelings:
- You walk into a new place and your body tightens up; your muscles contract or you don’t feel safe—you have a gut feeling that something’s ‘off’
- You meet someone new and you feel a dreadful sinking sensation in the pit of your stomach, or your muscles tighten up and you feel uncomfortable
- You interact with someone new and you feel ice cold all over like something’s really wrong (and it’s not just the temperature in the room)
- You walk into a new place and your body relaxes; you feel completely at peace, and you DO feel safe—you find yourself opening and expanding
- You meet someone new and you feel an immediate sense of peace as if your nervous system is calmed by their presence—you find yourself leaning in towards them naturally
These are all intuitive feelings. The feelings can be subtle or strong (it’s different for everyone). But always pay attention to them, because it may be your intuition speaking to you.
How You Feel Around Your Date Says a Lot
Pay attention to how your body feels during the first few dates with someone—AND while you’re communicating with them to arrange the dates. I’m not just talking about physical attraction. How do you feel in their presence?
- Do you feel ‘lit up’ (or enthusiastic) in their presence or shut down?
- Do you feel open and expanded, or closed off and contracted?
- Do you feel jittery? Nervous? Anxious? Does your chest feel tight? Does your body feel tense? If so, your intuition may be telling you, “No—this person isn’t healthy for me.”
- Do you feel calm and at peace, as if your whole nervous system has been soothed?
- Do you feel an instant recognition, as if you’ve known this person for a long time? If so, your intuition may be saying, “Yes—this person is healthy for me.”
If you’re searching for a long-term partner, how you feel in this person’s presence truly matters. If you feel like something’s off, trust that.
You might even have a conversation with your date about how they’re feeling and see how it unfolds.
(And if you’re super shy and have no idea how you feel, check out my “Shy Girls Guide to Dating.”)
It’s Not About Being Right or Certain All the Time
You may have a ‘feeling’ about someone that turns out to be wrong…and that’s okay. Sometimes that can be your own bias at play. Or maybe YOU have internal blocks that are getting in the way of your own dating process. (Click here to get coaching.)
Think of your intuition as an internal feeling that can help guide you in the right direction and steer you away from harm.
Test Your Intuition
After each date, reflect on how you felt with that person. Write your thoughts down in a notebook. What kind of behaviors and feelings did that person draw out of you? Did they make you feel crazy and insecure? Did they inspire you to want to show up as your best?
If you have “predictions” or intuitive flashes about the person, write them down and see if they turn out to be right or not.
You can also experiment and use your intuition to make decisions. For example, you might say, “I felt really good around that person—I’ll go on a second date with them (if they’re open to it).” Then see how the second date goes.
You might be physically attracted to someone, but deep down, you feel tense and uncomfortable in their presence. Let’s say you tell her, “Thank you so much for the date, but I don’t think we’re a match and I wish you the best.” If they flip out, overreact, or get angry in response—then your intuition was correct about them.
The more you pay attention to this, the better you’ll get at hearing what your intuition has to say.
An Exercise: Look Back on Your Past Exes or Dating Experiences
Think of two past experiences:
- One that went incredibly well (and perhaps led to a relationship that you were happy with)
- One that went incredibly badly (and perhaps led to a terrible breakup)
Recall what your very first impressions were around each person. How did you feel right from the offset? What instant thoughts did you have about them? How did you feel during the first 1-3 interactions with them? How did you feel while texting them or talking to them on the phone? Did you have any thoughts or impressions that turned out to be true?
Your answers reveal how your intuition speaks to you.
Outside of the dating realm, you can also test your intuition with:
- New restaurants to try
- Hotels to stay at
- New friends you meet
- Places to live
- Places to work
- New clients (if you have a business)
- People or companies to hire
Keep It to Yourself
I wouldn’t necessarily tell your date that you’re testing your intuition on her. (That might be a little weird.) Instead, treat it as a way of getting to know yourself better. You can journal about your findings or even work with a dating coach to get better at following your internal guidance system.
If you discover that you were completely wrong about someone (or something)…don’t beat yourself up over it. Just keep learning from the process and have fun!
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