By Case Kenny

Say no to coffee dates?

I saw a TikTok the other day where a woman said she is only looking for someone who is serious about making effort and getting to know her. She says "I don’t do low effort. I want someone who courts me. I literally only go on dinner dates on the first date."

The TikTok response to this was overwhelmingly supportive. "You should be president. Slay. yes. Yes babe. Love this. Preach it. Where are these kinds of men! How it should be. Queen energy, yes."

I posted the same video on Instagram and here are some of the responses I got. "This girl is crazy. Too much. My time is valuable but this is insane. She sounds vain. Too much - I want a guy who plans the date but it doesn't need to be much. Extravagant does not show any more intention or effort than a fun walk. She sounds entitled."

Almost polar opposites for the reaction.

In dating there is no right way. There is no blueprint.

The idea that there is... is what divides us so much and it's what creates so many problems in dating. ​We need to stop confusing standards with expectations. What she described is an expectation not as standard and we simply don’t take the time to realize it.

Her explanation is that a serious, intentional, and honest guy will take the time to plan an elaborate dinner. And somehow that’s become her standard.

But there's a difference. An expectation is what you anticipate will happen based on an observation you make. A standard says "whatever happens, I will react based on what I deserve."

Why do we borrow other people’s expectations and adopt them as our own standards?

If we buy into other people’s expectations and say "OK that is now my standard," you’re not a bad person but I really do think you’re throwing away great possibilities.

You’re throwing away the possibility of a connection with a great, mature, intentional guy who thinks a coffee date is a great way for him to showcase himself in a less than intimidating environment.

Stop adopting other people’s vocal expectations as YOUR standards. Learn to take insight from other people’s expectations but don’t make them your standard unless you yourself have personal experience to back up that decision.

What I mean is that expectations in dating are worthless...

You can build up all the elaborate expectations of what a first date needs to look like, you can have all the preconceived notions of what a spark is supposed to look like... BUT the only way to know if that’s true for you is to put yourself in that position in the first place.

If you allow the expectations of others to become YOUR standard, you're going to give up too easily. Standards guide what we do or don’t do.

And in this case they’re gong to guide you to NOT do something.

We have to be willing to put ourselves in situations where we’ll be disappointed, where we’ll learn, and where we can say YES or NO from OUR experience.

We have to be willing to put ourselves in situations where we’ll be disappointed. ​

Because that is where you standard kicks in. The moment you realize your worth is not valued, that someone isn’t going to step up, that a certain circumstance is beneath you… you turn to your standards to redeem yourself.

This is a shift in mindset that takes you from hoping, wishing and waiting… to a mindset of "whatever happens happens. I'll be fine because I know what I bring to the table and I’ll make the right next move."

Doing this frees you from tying expectations to dating. You free yourself from attachment to outcomes the internet tells you to expect.

You know what you deserve, what you bring to the table and you welcome new experiences people into your life but you view everything through the lens of your standards rather than the lens of expectations… especially ones that aren’t yours.

Otherwise think of how many opportunities you’re potentially throwing away because of expectations? If you're serious about finding your person, about building someone special with someone… you have to ditch these kinds of expectations.

You’re strong enough to react to whatever life throws your way right?

Well, then you’re strong enough to do a coffee date or a 5 star date. You’re strong enough to react to that with no regrets for not having tried. You're strong enough to react to life in a way that honors yourself, right?

If you have experience in your life that has taught you that coffee dates have never worked out and that they don’t give you a good opportunity to connect... Great. You have YOUR experience because you put yourself in that situation. You tried. No regrets.

But otherwise, you know what you stand for you, you know you walk away from what doesn’t serve you, you know you don’t give up without trying… so lean on that. YOUR standard. YOUR standard. Not their expectation.