In recent conversations with a variety of dating and relationship gurus, matchmakers nationwide, and good ol’ fashioned humans, I have discovered that men and women are hesitant to give someone a second or third chance if they don’t have the “hots” for him or her on the first meeting. Here’s the truth, By the end of 2009 the dating industry is expected to top $1.049 billion, and is likely to grow in 2010 at a rate of 10 percent. What’s more, online dating sites generated 27.5 million unique visitors in June, 2009, alone. What does this mean? It means that people are dating. A lot. Men and women like you are spending money, time and energy to meet someone with whom they want to fall in love. What’s more, it means that because there are so many people actively dating, it is easy to rule someone out within 30 seconds of meeting them. “Ick,” you think. “She’s out. Who’s next?” Clients tell me there was “no chemistry,” admitting that after those first thirty seconds they literally stopped engaging with the person. Stopped listening carefully, never looked the person across the table in the eye, and immediately discounted them as someone they wanted to get to know. The result? People are dissatisfied. Frustrated. Moving through dating experiences numbly, shuffling in and out of coffee shops, flipping through online profiles in disgust. He’s in. She’s out. In. Out. Go home. Get back online. Bad date? Men and women consistently tell me that they get back on Match.com before they even consider making a cup of tea, watching television, or reading a book. WOW. It’s as if we have become so addicted to instant gratification that we have no tolerance or willingness to get to know if someone could possibly be someone whom we could love. I’ll admit that a person must, in fact, be attractive to you. However, what could possibly happen if someone with whom you didn’t think “hot,” became attractive to you because you spent more time together? Perhaps you begin to notice their sense of humor, the compassion they have for the older woman crossing the street, a cute crinkle in the crease of their eye when they smile, or the way she moved her hands when describing her favorite movie. Let me tell you my story. The story of Ari. I went on six dates with Ari, however I would never have even gone on date number 1 if I wasn’t tired of living with so many “rules,” about whom I would date. Ari was 5 foot 6 inches. He was smart. Good looking, funny. And successful. But, despite my interest in him, I kept telling myself that anyone under 5 foot 10 inches was an unacceptable partner. Nevertheless, I decided to date Ari, branch out. I liked him, but at 5 foot 7 inches, it felt odd to be so much taller then my date. Hugging him, I felt huge. A giantess. Returning home after the second date, I pondered. I dug deeply. I liked him, but why wasn’t I attracted to him? It was then that I realized it was an issue — an issue I had buried somewhere between 7th and 8th grade; the summer I grew from 5 foot 1 inches to 5 foot 7 inches. There, walking the halls of my middle school with boys named Cory, Craig and Eric, boys who were barely five foot tall, I decided tall was “not pretty.” The voice in my head — the inner critic — shouted it loudly. “You are too tall. Too big. And boys do not like girls who are too big.” Yikes. I was shocked, horrified to relive those feelings I had while I was a student at Franklin Junior High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. And then, I realized the truth. Tall is sexy. Plenty of men like taller women. Hmmmm, I thought. Could I reframe this whole thing, imagine that it was incredibly sexy to be taller than Ari? I decided to try, agreeing to date number 3. Date number 3 rocked. I had fun. I laughed. I even wore heels, relishing in the fun of this new frame of mind. While Ari ended up being someone who was ultimately “not a match,” I enjoyed getting to know him. Woot! Woot! I did it! I busted through my limiting beliefs to rule Ari “in!” Imagine the possibilities, I thought, if I continued to expand my horizons and begin to think of ways to rule men “in,” instead of quickly judging them as “out,” within seconds of saying hello. Most of the dating experts, including me, recommend a three-date minimum before you decide it’s “not a match.” Challenge yourself. And then let me know what happens once you begin to rely on more than the “Lust-O-Meter” to decide if someone is worth seeing again.