Being playful or funny is not the same as not taking yourself seriously. Taking ourselves, others and things seriously is essential for building trust, emotional connection and happy relationships or enriching dating lives.
Dating red flag: 'Don’t be too serious'
Yes, dating should be fun and playful, but it can co-exist with deep seriousness.
When someone says "don't take yourself too seriously" it is similar to the popular saying "don't take life seriously".
However, when someone says this in dating, it is not the same as saying that they want a person who has learned to calmly and mindfully move through challenges rather than be emotionally reactive.
This is not about "not taking oneself seriously".
According to Dave Smallen, Ph.D., a research psychologist at Metropolitan State University, "Rather than focusing on not being serious, you can seek partners with a shared sense of fun who are also capable of engaging seriously."
This is especially important to avoid people who use humor to avoid important discussions, skirt major conversations or fail to acknowledge problems or concerns. Because those are very serious aspects of any relationship.
Humor and play are positive for happy relationships but they have nothing to do with taking things seriously.
If someone you are dating or in a relationship with thinks that you shouldn't take yourself seriously, there's a high chance they won't take you seriously either.
Lacking seriousness hinders opening up and sharing of personal things that you wouldn't tell anyone. This includes delicate feelings, ideas, memories, fears, struggles, hopes, values and thoughts that are very important to each of us.
Once you open up about this personal world, you expect to be taken seriously with understanding, care and validation. This builds closeness and trust.
Validation of our personal experience, even if someone we are dating doesn't relate to it, is very important. Even better than care and understanding, because it comforts any inner doubts or questions when someone tells us "Wow, it makes sense that you felt that way,” says Smallen.
For any meaningful relationship or connection, each aspect of a potential partner or even friend needs to be taken into consideration and handled seriously. Otherwise you risk your feelings and needs not being taken seriously.
This seriousness is also important fro mental and physical health.
How to find the balance of serious and humor in dating or relationships
Cultivate each on its own.
Know the boundaries and when to be serious or playful. Date and get involved with people you take seriously or see yourself being serious with.
Be ultra-specific about what you want in a partner
Be specific about the ways you like having fun with a partner and display your sense of humor. This way, you can find out who shares your preferences without generalising an aspect.
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