Herd mentality is a fascinating concept. It basically suggests that (many / most) people tend to follow what others do without giving it much thought of their own, just like a herd of sheep would follow one sheep, when it starts walking in a certain direction without thinking whether that’s the right direction to go to.
Herd mentality is much a more common and prevalent than it might at first appear, and it plays a very important role in business, economy, social networking and basic human interactions. Fashion trends are based almost exclusively on some kind of herd mentality – a small group of people introduce a certain style and a few months later they have a large following. We see this happening not only with clothes and cellphones but even with people’s hobbies and the way they communicate. It didn’t take long for texting and Facebook to turn from being new to being almost an exclusive means of communication among teenagers and other segments in our population.
In the context of dating, herd mentality also plays a significant role, but usually not a positive woman. Following the herd can make you come across as unoriginal and boring. Here are just a few examples of how following “the herd” can make a person less attractive to the opposite sex, and how simple it could be for anyone to avoid this:
1. Written and verbal cliches – these are the words and expressions that are way overused. From generic, cliche questions on first dates that we hear from other people all the time, such as “What do you do?” and “Where did you grow up?” to cliche statements in online dating profiles, such as “I like to work hard and play hard”, “I am as comfortable in a dress as I am in jeans”, and “I live my life to the fullest.” Many even minimally perceptive people will see through the lack of originality and will assume that you simply copied someone else’s boring ways.
It’s very easy to not make this mistake by simply not writing and not saying what everyone else does. Contrary to what one might think, you don’t have to follow a certain order of questions when you are out on a date with someone and are trying to get to know them. After all, you are not filling out some kind of questionnaire, but are trying to establish a personal connection, which will hardly depend on how many siblings each of you has and what high school you went to. Ask what you really want to know. Never let your conversation sounds scripted, as it’s always very obvious.
Likewise, your dating profile does not need to look like everyone else’s, as this would also make it boring and will get it lost in the midst of thousands of other profiles. Most “experienced” online daters will not even finish reading a profile that starts with “My friends describe me as…” or “I have been told that I am…” or “Only contact me if you are …” or ” I am not good at describing myself” You must capture a reader’s attention my writing something completely different, however random it might be. And, it’s not as difficult as it might sound. Don’t be afraid to take a small risk and be a little controversial. I saw this profile the other day that started with this line: “Recently, I was thinking – does it really matter whether we have the same hobbies and interest, and does having love / connection depend on watching a game together or liking the same type of food? I don’t necessarily have a clear answer to this questions, but that’s something worth thinking about…” – I think this was a very interesting introduction. It challenges a reader to think and it sends a strong message that the writer has depth. Of course, not everyone will appreciate this, but you should not be writing or doing anything for that matter to appeal to most. You are not a one-size-fits-all person and you shouldn’t be one.
2. Annoying speech patterns originating from pop culture sources. Just because other people around you say over and over “like” and “you know” in every sentence, doesn’t mean you should. This is a simple opportunity for you to sound different and much more intelligent than others around you and it cannot possibly hurt you. Ask yourself and ask your friends whether there are words that you tend repeating too frequently, and if they say you do – work on addressing it.
3. Behavior resulting from social pressure. Just because others run on a treadmill, doesn’t mean you cannot go out and enjoy a jog in the neighborhood park, if that’s what you prefer. The fact that you friends like to drink too much on weekends doesn’t mean you have to get drunk as well. And do not worry – you are not likely to alienate them by not participating in the debauchery, but you might just set an example of a better way to be when you are out. You don’t have to rub your better ways in their face. Just don’t get sucked into doing things that you personally dislike to just be socially accepted into a group. I assure you that others don’t care nearly as much about your drinking habits as much as you do.
The same applies when it comes to meeting people and dating. Just because everyone else is texting, doesn’t mean that you can’t pick up the phone and actually call the person whose voice you want to hear. And if everyone goes out on a date for a drink, consider going out for ice cream or a cup of tea at an exotic, intimate tea house, if there is one in your area.
The above list is of course far from being complete, but I hope that it provides an illustration of how unattractive following “the herd” can be in the context of dating, and the simple but effective ways in which you can distinguish yourself and be more attractive than many other people.