Smart Dating is about focusing on the quality of your relationships, all of them, especially your dating relationships. Instead of focusing on your agenda to win someone over or to make a great impression, focus on connection. But not just any connection: positive, meaningful connection. What does that mean?

Dating is about relating, and the quality of your dating life will rise in direct proportion to your ability to positively relate with others, even those who are not lifetime love candidates. Postive, meaningful connection happens when you take a keen interest in the other person. Instead of focusing on you, focus on the other person. Ask questions, listen with the goal of understanding that person and his/her worldview.

Along the way in these early dating conversations, little gemstones of personal revelation are often dropped on the table. For instance, a guy shares that he’s divorced but he learned a lot from the experience. He pauses. The opportunity is golden to “dive deeper” into the conversation. Instead of hesitating, fearful that you’re being too nosy, take a little emotional risk. Ask the next question: “What kind of things did you learn?”

If you date with no hidden agendas and with the intention to find a soul mate to share your life, you begin setting the stage for an open, honest relationship based on commitment and trust. If you date with the goal of finding someone who shares your values, you move away from people who are not like-minded and draw closer to those who are on the same page about the basics of life.

If you date with the intent to create a loving, nurturing relationship, you will find yourself in a loving, nurturing marriage, one in which you can express yourself and expect the same level of self-expression from your partner. How you date is how you relate, and how you relate impacts your overall, long-term health.

We’re all hungry to “tell our stories,” because it is through sharing our life stories that we reveal ourselves. If you want to relate to others on a deeper, more meaningful level, be willing to share and listen to life stories. Be ready to ask those “next questions” to take the conversation to a deeper level. Focus on relating and you will build the “emotional muscle” to attract and maintain a great relationship.

Author's Bio: 

Nina Atwood is a licensed therapist and nationally known relationship expert with three published self-help books on communication and love. Nina’s web site, is accessed daily by thousands of single men and women seeking leading edge relationship advice. Nina’s newest book, Temptations of the Single Girl: The Ten Dating Traps You Must Avoid, is scheduled for release by January 2008.