Trying Too Hard

Trying Too Hard by Dr. Randy Gilchrist, LDS Psychologist (FREE LDS online dating site)

A good rule of thumb in life: the problems in life tend to occur at the extremes. In dating and searching for an eternal companion, that can equate to trying too hard to find a spouse or not trying hard enough. But what does it mean to “try too hard”? It simply means when with a potential new love interest, you make notably more efforts than the other person: giving significantly more time, energy, effort, even money towards the other person than the other person is giving towards you. Such relationships quickly becomes lopsided, unbalanced, and unhealthy.

Why Trying Too Hard Doesn’t Work

There are several reasons trying too hard doesn’t work well in trying to getting a new relationship going. First of all, trying much harder than the other person seems desperate, as if the person rarely has dating opportunities and feels extremely compelled to make this relationship work or they may never get another chance. Second, trying too hard comes across as insecure, as if the person is trying to push for quick commitment to get the other attached before they find out some bad, repelling truth about the other person. Like they may be hiding something. Third, trying too hard equates to an imbalance in the relationship: the harder one person invests into a new relationship, the less invested the other person will naturally be. And the less invested they are, the less interested they will be in the entire relationship. Fourth and finally, trying too hard can come across as if a person is controlling, possessive, even obsessive. Overall, all of these forces result in trying too hard quickly becomes very unattractive. It might seem flattering in the beginning, but soon becomes repelling. So please don’t do it.

The Healthy Alternative: Balance

If trying too hard is unattractive, and trying too little shows a lack of interest, what is the answer? The answer is to give and make efforts to the other person in a roughy balanced, even fashion. This will allow the other person to make efforts and get invested in the new relationship as well to give it the best chance possible for success. The basic formula for balanced giving is this:

1) Make a positive effort towards and for the other person.
2) Step back and allow the other an opportunity to react and respond.
3) Now match about how much energy and effort they give in response from your end about 50%-50%. If they give more than you, you give more as well. If they give less, you give less as well.
4) To see what more is possible, periodically go back to giving a little more than the other (like, 51%-49%).
5) Repeat steps 2-4, as desired.

After practicing steps 1-5, periodically observe and assess where your relationship is. Is it growing and getting closer? Are you both making strong mutual efforts? Are you both strongly and evenly invested and trying a lot? If so, you might have a keeper. On the other hand, if the less you give, the less they give and vice versa, you may have a problem. Eventually the relationship will deteriorate until there isn’t much of a bond left.

Keeping Score

Some people will dismiss the 5 previous steps as an unhealthy relationship practice by calling it “keeping score”. However, practicing this balanced giving is actually pretty healthy and gives both partners the optimum ability to invest in and make efforts towards a new relationship. That isn’t to say that this formula will save relationships that were a pretty unhealthy match in the first place. Balanced giving is simply a way to give whatever relationship you are in the best chance for success. Two invested people give a relationship a much better chance for success that one where someone is trying really hard and the second person…isn’t.

Where You Can Try Hard

The main way that you can try as hard as you reasonably can is in your preparation for a future relationship. Increase your relational stock as high as possible to help make you become as attractive as possible. Eat right, exercise, and get down to a good, healthy weight. Read or listen to quality relationship self-help resources to learn all you can about communication, gender differences, and healthy relationships. Get your finances in shape by improving your education/career, your income, and your debt reduction. Sharpen your spirituality through regular reading of the scriptures, prayer, temple and church attendance, and fulfilling your callings.

Final Thought

Don’t overdo it in relationships. Don’t try too hard and repel the other person. Ask yourself every step along the way: am I acting attractive (or repelling)? Find a healthy person, mutually invest and make efforts, and give your new relationship the best chance possible for success. Because "…neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, in the Lord" (1 Corinthians 11:11).

Dr. G

*To submit a question for a future Q & A column or to request a possible future article subject, contact me at

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2018-01-01 Randy Gilchrist Dating, Healthy relationships

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About the author

Hello, my name is Dr. Randy Gilchrist (aka "Dr. G"). I am a licensed clinical psychologist, a licensed marriage & family therapist, and a certified hypnotherapist in private practice in Roseville, CA (, practicing since 1997. Also, I am happily married in the temple (Manti) since 1996 and have 4 sons. I am a volunteer writer and contributor to LDS Dimension. I use my training, education, and experience to share insights with LDS Dimension on all things of interest to the LDS dating community. Please read my articles and columns on this site to assist you in your online dating journey. Also, to be considered for an answer in a future Q and A column, please email me your dating/relationship oriented questions to Finally, I also offer a powerful, effective worldwide custom hypnosis recording service just for LDS Dimension members for weight loss, pornography, and many other issues of concern to those in the LDS dating community (please learn more now at; email me questions to