Earlier this week, I wrote about a suggestion I’d heard as to planning out and living your ‘perfect day.’ Here’s another idea from Psychologist Martin Seligman, again from the realm of positive psychology, this time aimed at building solid relationships while enjoying each others’ company.
Rather than going out for dinner, heading to the cinema or vegging in front of the telly…. then try scheduling a ‘strengths’ date.
Intrigued? I’ll explain.
Basically, you plan out a date night – or even a day if you’re extra ambitious – based on yours and your partners’ top 5 skills. Of course, you’ll have to actually work out what your top 5 strengths are, either by jotting down and selecting ideas yourself or by taking an online questionnaire that points you in the right direction. You can also register for free on Martin’s website, Authentic Happiness (University of Pennsylvania) and there’s a ton of useful life/happiness/wellbeing-related questionnaires, including one aimed at reviewing what your top strengths are.
Here’s an example from the Therapist’s Guide to Positive Psychological Interventions, by Jeana Magyar-Moe.
Tahlia and Jace plan their date, based on the following strengths:
Tahlia ’s strengths:
● Capacity to love and be loved
● Appreciation of beauty and excellence
Jace ’s strengths:
● Love of learning
Strengths date plan: In order to capitalize on Tahlia’s strengths
of appreciation of beauty and excellence and open-mindedness
and Jace’s strengths of love of learning and curiosity we will go
to the traveling “ Bodies: The Exhibition ”show that is coming to
our local museum next month. This exhibition is something neither
of us has been to before. It is an exhibition designed to
help people better understand the human body and how it functions.
They have actually preserved whole-body specimens and
individual organs so that people can see how their bodies really
work! People who have seen it say it is fascinating so we are looking
forward to seeing for ourselves.
Having visited Body Worlds: The Happiness Project in Amsterdam with Mr. G, I can recommend this date for anyone. Though I will say that you don’t need anything quite so fancy; you don’t even need to go out!
Based on their strengths, Tahlia and Jace might have just as much fun playing a board game at home. Or listening to a book or podcast – maybe including some stand-up comedy – over a glass of wine.
In fact, their ‘date’ doesn’t necessarily even need to look anything like a date. Maybe it looks like a home decorating project, utilising Tahlia’s creativity and Jase’s team skills.
Whatever you choose to do, if you base it around each others’ skills and strengths, you’re going some way towards understanding and celebrating each others’ positive attributes.
Which has to be a step up from a night in front of the telly.