When you are casually dating, you really are just looking for someone that you enjoy hanging out with– you are far more willing to overlook certain things, not pay attention to your dealbreakers, and options seem limitless when you are not specifically searching for certain characteristics in a person.

Dating on a mission is a much more methodical process– you have your dealbreakers front and center in your mind, and your ability to screen out inappropriate matches can occur at lightening speed. A lot less time is wasted when you are on this mode, but it certainly does not leave you feeling like the world has endless possibilities.

Is it possible to merge these two styles? I’m not so sure, but perhaps a nice compromise approach might be to rank your dealbreakers and must-haves. If someone hits any of your top 5 dealbreakers, you should train your mind to visualize a red flag that is directing you to hit eject right away. Meanwhile, if there are some reasons for concern, you may want to picture yellow flags directing you to proceed with caution. Similarly, having a top five list of must-haves can help narrow your search and eliminate unsuitable candidates.

Ultimately, we are all working towards a common goal of finding a great partner. Keeping that in mind, there is something to be said for enjoying the journey itself. A methodical exercise in cross-examination techniques is best suited for a mock trial, not the start of a budding romance. That said, jumping into something head first (primarily driven by lust, not love) is a recipe for disaster. Tempering the desire for fun with some basic ground rules to keep us for veering too off course is perhaps a nice compromise approach to the Dating Game.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.