Finding your “soul mate” doctor is remarkably similar to dating. I mean it! The end goal is to find someone that you can trust with a very vulnerable part of yourself, to believe that what they say is genuinely how they feel and is also true. Let’s explore some of the similarities:
- The first date is always awkward: “What should I wear?” On a date, you second-guess “Does this make me look bloated?”. When visiting your new doctor, you wonder “Do I look good enough that my new doctor will think I care about this appointment, but not so good that I look healthy?” … Second-guessing. Back and forth. It’s normal. Whether you’re going on a date, or visiting a new doctor, it’s awkward. When you finally get to the restaurant / doctor’s office, you try to share helpful things about yourself, all the while checking out if they’re a compatible fit and if they’ve got the credentials you’re looking for. The end is also important. “Was there a spark?” If not, there’s no second date.
- Good dates require planning: In a dating relationship, whoever asks for the date should choose a time, and come up with a flexible plan for dinner and entertainment. In our doctor scenario, since you’re asking for the appointment, it’s your responsibility to come with a game plan – 1) being ready with your medical history and health journal, and 2) having questions / goals in mind, so you can make the most out of your appointment. This shows that you’re invested.
- A gentleman always pays: Well unfortunately, your doctor will never pay… But oh boy, you will! Sorry, I guess this is one where the metaphor deviates.
- You may be motivated to start exercising again: Unlike dating where you may start exercising in order to be more attractive to your date… Exercising when you’re “dating” your doctor is more about peer pressure and guilt… Though I suppose it is “good peer-pressure”.
- Communication is key: If you leave out essential details, if you’re not paying attention to the most important parts of what is happening in your body… your doctor can’t learn enough information to truly help you. Keep thinking of things you want to share, and listen attentively as they share their thoughts.
- Your date can’t read your mind: As much as we would wish, the person you’re dating can’t read your mind. If you want something from your date, it’s up to you to tell them. The same goes for your doctor. If you’re upset, if you feel confused, if you feel like they’re not on the same page as you… you gotta tell them.
- You’re not always going to like what your date has to say: If you’re dating a guy / girl with real integrity, their honesty may sometimes hurt. But, would you really want someone who lets you have a booger hanging out of your nose all night? Likewise, your doctor will tell you things that you’re doing incorrectly. As long as it is honest, reasonable advice… let’s just agree that we can be thankful for people who are willing to be honest.
- They dream about the future with you: Okay, it would be creepy if your doctor “dreamed” about your shared future… But, they should be actively planning how to get you better – and not just actively – but “thoughtfully”. They should reasonably consider your treatment plan, and it should be a medical plan that both of you are excited about and feel confident in.
- You can be yourself with them: You should be able to speak plainly with your doctor without worrying that they think you’re crazy. If you can’t be honest with your doctor about your goals and your grievances, then that’s not a good sign. Now is the time to decide if the problem is with you or if it’s with them.
- They help you be the best “you” possible: Good relationships make the people in them bloom into a better version of themselves – more loving, more kind, joyful… At some point in the relationship, you have to decide if your doctor is ultimately helping you become better. Now, you may be more sick than when you started, but do you feel confident nonetheless that your doctor is helping you?
- The breakup stage: After giving it some serious thought, if you can’t be honest with your doctor, if you don’t feel heard, or simply if you no longer feel confident that they’re helping your health journey, then it’s time for a break-up.
- There are “plenty of fish in the sea” stage: Seriously, google it… So many fish (doctors). You can read reviews of doctors online. You can ask your friends and loved ones. You can ask other Lymies near you! But don’t give up. Fight on. Start over again… You’ll find “The ONE”.
- You found “The One!”: Congratulations! You’ve found the doctor whom you can be yourself with, who communicates with you and you with them, who listens to you, who thoughtfully considers your future. May you have a happy and healthy life together! (P.S. I’m throwing imaginary confetti at you!)
So, as you can see… lots of similarities. I wish you lots of hope and favor as you look for “The One.”