At times I feel like Lilia from Last Night in Montreal, skating through life, not immersing myself. In the past five years, I’ve been in constant change. I feel as if I’m not finding friends, I’m also not as certain about myself sometimes, do I know myself anymore?

With the passing of time, one does gain an understanding of oneself. You can usually not help but spend time with yourself! (We’ll leave potential perception-altering chemicals out of it for now.) As you go through life, act and interact, experience new situations, and perhaps even reflect and actively grow, you are able to paint a picture of yourself. Over time, you get to know yourself. And if you spend time with others, they get to know you.

To build a relationship (friendship or intimate), this time is necessary. This is something for which we truly do not have the time to hurry it along! Only the test of time will build a strong foundation.

In the dating world, especially, we feel rushed to make a choice. Between work and errands, we barely have enough time to squeeze in time for friends or hobbies. In speed dating rounds, we learn to follow our first impressions to weed out the “chaff”. These impressions are formed by our experiences. So, if we notice something about a potential date that is similar to that person from last year that was so annoying… we’ve already drawn our conclusion. Perhaps it was a sound decision. Perhaps we really had no chemistry with that person. Perhaps, though, that one something came with such a different package that it is fine after all. We’ll never know, though.

Please don’t misunderstand, I’m not advocating that we spend loads of time getting to know everyone and their uncle! And there will also be persons, with whom it is best not to spend any time. But maybe there is a way to focus less on getting that boy-/girlfriend, and more on getting to know someone as a person. Hey, it might even be a little less intimidating and nerve-wracking to talk to someone with no direct agenda other than to communicate, get to know him/her and also oneself better.

In our society it is very easy to be constantly on the go, meeting new people, experiencing new adventures. This is viewed as positive. I certainly do enjoy it. But what is the priority? New and shiny all the time or the comfort and strength one has with strong relationships?

If you are not in a relationship and are seeking one, yes, I understand, you do not want to wait, at least not too long. My advice would be to focus on “just” meeting and getting to know people (yes, you do need to be active), do things you enjoy, learn and grow, focus on being the best you, you can be as a person, and the rest will fall into place. In this case, I believe, a watched pot never boils.

So, put the pot on the stove, turn the flame up and ___________ (fill in the blank: dance, read, paint, do yoga, sing…!)