“Men. I don’t trust them. They’re users. They’ve destroyed the lives of so many good women I know. Like, I’m glad my mother met my father, or I wouldn’t be alive. But he made her life a misery.”
I could see the pain in Stacey’s eyes. “And you worry that might happen to you?”
“It has. I won’t even tell you about some of my boyfriends. I’ll just say, if there are any good men out there, I haven’t met them.” She paused. “Of course, I didn’t mean you, James! But I don’t know many people like you.”
Stacey wasn’t my first client with this complaint. Many of the women I work with have a negative view of the opposite sex. It’s hard when you look back at your past and see all the times you’ve been hurt or betrayed.
But it’s a mistake to tar all men with the same brush. In fact, many men struggle with similar feelings. They’ve been hurt before, too, so they start to feel suspicion and mistrust towards all women.
Any time we generalize from personal experience towards any group of people as a whole, we head into a danger zone. We stop treating people as individuals and instead treat them as representatives of their gender, race or class.
When it comes to love, throwing all men into the same category backfires big-time. It’s hard to spot a good man when you’re predisposed to seeing someone bad.
Luckily, there’s a way to turn that around.
I call it “tuning into the Good Man channel.”
When you turn on the radio, a certain kind of music comes on. Maybe you like that music; maybe you don’t.
If you don’t, listening to it can get pretty annoying. You don’t like anything they play. So maybe you end up turning it off. Silence is preferable to that noise.
But there’s another option. You could just change the channel.
Right now, the ways you search for love and the criteria you use to pick a mate determine which “channel” you’re listening to.
If you go on Tinder and swipe right on all the best-looking guys, you’re going to get a different cross-section of masculinity than if you went on eHarmony and selected all the men looking for a committed long-term relationship.
If you go to karaoke night at the local bar every Thursday to meet men, then you’re going to get a different cross-section of masculinity than if you joined a hiking club.
What’s your default way of meeting men?
What criteria do you use to decide who to date and who to dump?
These types of questions determine what kind of channel you’re using to connect with guys.
If your channel is working for you, then don’t change that dial!
But if you don’t like the men you’re meeting, don’t turn off your receiver and sit in silence. Change the channel.
Don’t assume everything on the airwaves is noise. You don’t want to stop dating because you believe all men are the same.
Instead, keep changing channels until you find one that suits you. Here’s how.
If you’re using a dating app and don’t like the results you’re getting, try a different one.
Some dating coaches suggest having profiles on at least three different sites: a big site like Match.com and several smaller sites that cater to specialized interests.
That can get expensive, so another option is to change your dating profile regularly.
Write several different profiles, each emphasizing a different side of your personality. Switch them up and see what happens. (Save each version in a separate document so you have a record of which ones worked and which ones didn’t.)
But maybe no online dating channel is going to work for you. You do better meeting men in person. So find interesting groups to join in your area. Meetup.com is a great resource.
Also consider how you’re choosing the men you’re dating. Is your main criteria chemistry, scintillating conversations, or shared interests? Then see what happens if you choose men based on shared values.
It’s easy to blame all men for the behavior of a few bad ones. But you have more power than you realize. You have the power of choice.
Don’t like your past choices? Then choose differently.
Good men want to find you. Help them out by adjusting the dial and listening for something that moves you.