Yes, I’m still playing Pokémon Go — and it’s great for my dating life

I haven’t met the love of my life while hunting Snorlax. I’m not one of those people who strike up conversations with the Pokémon obsessives around them or log on to a Pokémon Go-themed dating app.

But I have talked about my Pokémon Go habit on dates. A lot.

I might have turned off some perfectly good men by doing this. But overall, I see my Pokémon Go obsession as a positive in my dating life, for these reasons:

It gives me a good answer to the standby question: “What do you do for fun?” or “What are your hobbies?” Before Pokémon Go, I would probably answer these boring questions by giving the boring answer that I like to spend time with friends, work out, read for pleasure, see live music and explore new spots in the city. Pokémon Go, however, is different. I’m not someone who plays video games besides this one, so my obsession has been a surprise, even to me.

It has helped me gauge how fun, silly and curious this person might be. I’ve yet to go on a date with another Pokémon Go player. But the guys who have been curious about why I’m playing — and why I’ve kept playing — have often impressed me in their interest in this quirky interest of mine. If someone genuinely wants to hear about why I’ve spent countless Saturday mornings hunting for and hatching rare Pokémon, it shows me that they don’t take themselves too seriously, which is a quality I’m looking for in a partner. And that they can talk about things other than their own interests.

Michelle Jacoby of DC Matchmaking once told me: “To be a real, true partner, they have to share your life goals and similar values. I don’t think it’s important to have that many shared interests, because those can develop. But I think values are set.”

I even updated one of my dating app profiles to say: “I’m still playing Pokémon, so obviously I’m capable of commitment.”

Talking about your hobbies, whatever they may be, is more important than it might seem. Jacoby often stresses the importance of turning off “work mode” while out with someone. And yes, even talking about Pokémon is part of that. She advises singles “to stop talking about work and just take a real, genuine interest in exploring who the person you’re with is, what they’re passionate about. What makes them tick.”

“People ask too many serious questions” on first dates, Jacoby says. “Have a sense of humor. Stop trying to figure out if the man you’re on a date with is your potential husband and have fun. You’ll figure it out sooner or later. … Be a little edgy and flirty and silly, and you’ll have so much fun together as opposed to sitting there, asking each other a list of questions and then going on to the next person in your inbox.”

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