Internships rock. They are a great way to test out a type of work without the commitment of a job. That is what dating should be- a great way to check out a person and a relationship, to see if it is a good fit, without the commitment of partnership.
The problem with dating is most folks aren’t patient enough to date with an open and curious mind long enough to see if they really want ‘the job’. A month in they are ready to ditch the ‘internship’ and sign a binding contract. Then suddenly the new car smell is gone and there is new information about the job that starts to surface, but it is too late to make an easy exit.
Psychologytoday.com says there are the don’ts of dating if you want to try treat it like an internship.
Don’t buy into first impressions
First impressions are just that; the first take on a situation/person/job. There are lots of things that influence what we notice in the beginning. Everyone is on their best behaviour, and we have our hopes and dreams in front of our eyes taking note of everything that fits well in the picture we are trying to build.
There is nothing wrong with that. Some of the info we gather in the beginning is accurate, and will continue to be true through-out our internship or dating experience: we might always like our desk, always love his laugh, always dig her hair, but of course it is just as likely that they will switch our desk, that his laugh will get on our last nerve, and that she will never wash her hair.
Even if the desk, and laugh, and hair, all remain great aspects of our dating/internship, those are just a teeny tiny percentage of the aspects of this person/relationship/internship. The whole point of an internship is that you have time to get to know lots of aspects of the job long before you have to commit to it. You don’t have to decide on the first day, or the first week, or even a few months in. You get to see what aspects eventually bore you (having to reassure your sweetie that you are attracted to them), or some duty that only surfaces the third month of your internship that you absolutely hate or some task that you suck at (handling the way they express hurt like through silence), or some key team members (friends/family) you meet that you feel you just can’t work with.
First impressions provide minimal useful information. Don’t take them too seriously.
Don’t stop collecting information
Keep an open and curious mind. Let’s say the internship seems really creative and challenging in the beginning (he seems sweet, she seems sassy), but a few months in, the work feels stale (he seems uncaring, she seems dull). Sometimes folks are so committed to their initial sense of the internship/person/relationship, which they start to insist that initial sense was the real truth, and you just have to get back to the beginning. Instead imagine that now you just have more information. That the job can be creative and challenging, but isn’t always, so you want to start to assess how often it is what you like, and how often it isn’t. While it is likely true that he was sweet and she was sassy, it doesn’t mean they changed, but just that you are learning what they are like over longer periods of time, and it is worth noting the ration of sweet to uncaring, sassy to dull, instead of staying fixated on how it seemed in the beginning.
The thing that we can never know at the start of an internship, or relationship, is what it is going to feel like when the going gets tough. For instance, how is our boss (sweetie) going to treat us when we have to take off days for work for our sister’s graduation (are feeling under the weather, had a bad day at work)? What about when the job is flooded with work and everyone is under a lot of pressure (when we are in a fight with our sweetie)?
How about when we mess up on a big project (hurt our sweetie’s feelings)? A couples fight can take them into the depths of despair, rage and hopelessness, and it is impossible to know how someone will behave in that state until you are standing in it with them.
Don’t just accept things the way they are
From the very beginning of your internship (relationship) you can make requests for things to be somewhat different. You can ask to move your desk (not be called a particular pet name that irks you), see if you can re-arrange your hours to suit you (negotiate texting/calling/dating expectations), see if you can take on a particular task and delegate a less desirable task (request a change in your sweetie’s behaviour). You may not get those modifications, but it is appropriate, from the beginning, to try to craft the internship/relationship into one you will like. Be verbal, offer feedback, attend to feedback you receive; see if you can craft together a job/relationship that will work for you.