An Interview between Birdy and Michael Tennant from Actually Curious:
Michael Tennant is the Founder of Actually Curious, an interactive card game created to strengthen empathy and encourage deep conversations with friends and loved ones.
Since Birdy and Actually Curious are beautifully aligned in their missions to help people gain more self-awareness and understanding of others, we got together to talk about the importance of intentional dating, and how to best do it.
Additionally, Michael and Juliette, the Founder of Birdy, will be going live on Instagram on Saturday 02/06/2021 at 10:00 AM PST to provide even more insights into intentional dating.
Birdy: Why do you think people are interested in intentionally dating right now?
Michael: I believe intentional dating is about getting in touch with who you are, what you want for yourself and those that you care about, and then being intentional about the type of person or persons you wish to bring into your life. It’s like a form of self care. It’s also a form of compassion. I believe we as a society are starting to become more self aware and self directed, and as a result, more thoughtful about our interactions romantically or otherwise.
Birdy: What are some dating tips you would like to give?
Michael: Know what you are after, be open to being surprised, and have fun. For me it’s all about curiosity, while trying to be centered in awareness of who I am, what I might be looking for and how I want to show up in the world. This approach allows me to be honest with myself and my companion.
As an introspective and cerebral person, I seek out tools and give considerable thought to my values, behaviors and biases. This practice actually helps me to more readily identify these similar beliefs and traits in others. I’m careful however, not to fall in love with my ideas and hypotheses. This is where being open to surprise comes in.
We only live this one life and the serendipity of the unpredictable nature of people is what makes it worth living. I hope to not be placed in a box upon meeting, so I grant the same courtesy. And with these all combined, it typically allows for flow and fun, no matter the outcome.
Birdy: What are your top three questions to ask on a first date?
Michael: I wish I were as regimented as to have a specific three questions for first dates, but if I did, they might be… Is there a memory that instantly takes you to a place of joy? What is one detail about yourself that you shouldn’t share on a first date but are going to anyway? Can we take a long walk with no clear destination in sight and stop for a dance when the moment feels right?
Birdy: What are some tips for a healthy relationship?
Michael: I’ve had a few of these and am grateful to be in one that nourishes the both of us, now. One thing that seems to be working for us is that we are both hyper aware of each other’s energetic needs. We are both introverted leaning people. I’m a bit more extroverted than her. But because I too am introverted, I can easily sense when she is becoming overloaded or feeling shut out or diminished. And she typically can sense the same in me.
Another is that we have really open communication, we are aware of and practice communicating our boundaries, and we build trust and confidence from a foundation of shared values. Many of the best, most fun and secure couples I know mention this foundation of values. It can take some trial and error for this concept to become clear I’ve found, but tools like the Birdy app and our Actually Curious values exercise help provide a map.
Birdy: What are your top three questions to ask your partner?
Michael: How are you feeling? How can I support you? Is there anything I’ve done or am not doing that you feel I could do better? I’m a bit more open with what I am feeling and what I need than many people. It also helps me to know the same. So I tend to ask questions to make sure we are on the same page and nothing is allowed to fester into a bigger problem than it might have been if caught sooner. However, it’s not enough to just ask questions. It helps to pay attention to your partner’s mood, and body language. Usually, if something is bothering them, it might not even be about you. The best part about having a partner is knowing there’s someone who is attuned to you and that you trust to have your back.
Birdy: How can tools like Birdy and Actually Curious help with intentional dating?
Michael: Personality tests are a good tool for becoming aware of oneself and about common personality types that exist around us. Birdy takes the heavy lifting out of that process by helping you learn about your own, about others, and helping you connect to people who are probable to be compatible with you. It almost takes the invisible part of meeting a person with a pretty exterior, and puts that on the surface first. There is something quite curious about that approach.
Actually Curious is here to help you before and after searching for a match. Our values exercise is designed to help you go inward to understand your beliefs and dreams. In a dating context, it helps you predict what date 4 or 5 or 10 might look like, when you get past personalities and looks and into visions of a shared future. And Actually Curious the card game helps you remove or increase the edge, depending on your style of play, so there never has to be a dull moment or lapse in things to ask or share. But take it from me, after a while, the Actually Curious style of being just becomes a part of your nature.
Actually Curious is also the brand behind Empathy 2020. A weekly Sunday workshop with a variety of different co-hosts, also aiming to spread more empathy. Initially these workshops were planned for just one month leading up to the US Presidential election. But due to the huge success more have been added and are still going strong. Check them out here.
We would also like to highlight the 4th Empathy Workout: Know You, Love You, Be You with Juliette and dating coach Tennesha Wood as co-hosts.