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Developing your personality is another wonderful benefit of dating, and this should be one of your goals. As you date widely with a variety of people, you not only get to know different personalities, but you also learn to understand them. As you talk and spend time with various individuals, you will observe aspects of their personalities, and you will learn to deal with certain idiosyncrasies in people. While you may conclude that you do not want to date seriously a particular person, you will still benefit from wide exposure to many types of people, and you will probably notice certain character traits that you may wish to emulate.



Learn to be comfortable around the opposite sex. Obviously, you will be most drawn to those of a certain personality, but be careful to avoid a cliquish pattern. Throw yourself into unfamiliar situations and plan dates that will force you to converse. Every man has something to offer every woman, and vice- versa.



Unfortunately, society today seems to be in a continual “battle of the sexes.” Due to the emphasis of modern psychology and the enduring falsehood of evolution, there now exists a kind of gulf of “mystery” between men and women. Both sexes are led to believe that they cannot truly figure each other out. This is utterly false—and it makes it too easy for anyone to say to those of the opposite sex, “You don’t understand me.”



Ask: Would God design men and women so that they could not understand each other? Evolution might. God would not! While psychologists and other “experts” may not be able to understand even the most basic differences between men and women—because they ignore God’s Instruction Manual—you can! However, be careful not to assume too much in this area. Set out to understand the opposite sex. Becoming acquainted with various types of people will help you understand the psychological differences between men and women, and this will be of utmost value when you do marry.



Apart from appreciating anatomical differences, learn to recognize and genuinely enjoy the many other differences between men and women. At the same time, be careful not to stereotype “all men” or “all women” into a pattern that may not universally apply.



Men are designed to understand women. How else will they successfully lead a woman for life, and help her achieve her wonderful human potential? Conversely, a woman had also better be able to understand her husband, or how will she be able to similarly inspire him? Further, without properly understanding each other’s differing roles, how would couples work toward the mutual growth, benefit and success of their children, once marriage arrives?



While there are obvious differences between men and women, there need not be a communication gap—or a gap in understanding one another.



Sadly, outward appearance is often the sole determining factor in choosing a date. If someone is physically attractive, he or she seems to have a much better chance of dating others (the assumption seeming to be that such people’s personality and character must also be more attractive). However, this again focuses on the physical—and the “get” way of thinking. Often, the “average-looking” men or women have the better personalities—and more character, mixed with less vanity. This is because they have not been as inclined to spend a lifetime focused on themselves and their “good looks.”



A good personality involves a positive outlook on life. It includes a genuine interest in others and attentiveness to them, as well as a good sense of humor, enthusiasm and adaptability. One who has a good personality is versatile—flexible—able to interact with all types of people with a wide range of interests.



The practice of “going steady” does not develop one’s personality. When done too early, a wonderful opportunity is lost. As explained, having a steady boyfriend or girlfriend puts a person into a comfort zone that restricts the vital ongoing development of personality. Personalities should be vibrant, alive and interesting to the point of fascinating to be around. Pairing off too early is hardly conducive to such vitally important personality development.



You will find that as you date more widely, certain personalities will appeal to you—certain attributes will automatically be more or less attractive to you. You will learn how others view entertainment, clothing, world events, etc. And you will learn, period!



When you date, try to be kind, gentle and considerate. These are personality traits that can always be improved, and dating is a wonderful opportunity to develop these important characteristics.



In the end, dating is a tremendous opportunity to change—to improve—your personality! It is also, at least in part, a character-building activity. And these two aspects of every person are interwoven—your character is invariably reflected in some aspects of your personality, and vice- versa.



Determine to become a better date—the result will be both improved personality and improved character!



Social Graces

Even a cursory glance at most young people today demonstrates how most are sorely lacking in the areas of dignity, propriety, decorum and related areas of conduct. Many are rude, and even outright coarse and crude when it comes to manners and etiquette—and this is true in almost every one of the “social graces.” Everyone can continually improve in this area, and dating others is also a terrific opportunity to learn—and practice—the social graces.



The social graces represent—and reflect—a specific application of God’s law of love. They are based on giving others respect and high regard. The Bible teaches that love “does not behave itself unseemly” (I Cor. 13:5). Try to make it your goal to “esteem others better than yourself” (Phil. 2:3), giving to others, making them feel uplifted and special. In dating, little things mean a lot.



Strive to be a gentlemen or a lady. Like so many other aspects of dating—and life—this takes practice. You can study etiquette by reading books or visiting certain websites. Ignore those who feel you are “lost in the past.” You may have to learn to open doors, help others get seated, assist your date with her coat—and endless other ways to be concerned and attentive to the needs of others. While worldly women may think it chic to occasionally be the one who pays on a date (and some men may be only too happy to allow this), other than an emergency, the well-mannered and trained gentleman or lady would not do this.



Often, the best way to learn is by example—observe older husbands and wives and notice how they react to others. Also observe how they interact with other people. You will find this opens you to a gold mine of proper etiquette and good manners. You will learn how to react and how not to react to others. Go to school on the ways you can improve your social skills.



As you put your heart into dating widely, you will grow in the social graces. It will also help those you are with to be more comfortable in your presence. Work to be an example in an age when so few any longer practice even the basics of proper etiquette (Matt. 5:16).



You now understand the fundamental purposes of dating: Develop your personality, build character, learn from others, grow in the social graces, enjoy fun, experience widely, learn to communicate. As the teenage years pass, dating provides a wonderful opportunity to learn a world of information about the opposite sex. This will greatly enhance your ability to one day become properly acquainted with the person who will go on to be your lifelong partner.




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