No, seriously – stop. Stop reading the “Date a ‘fill in the blank’” and the “10 ways to know if they’re the one” and definitely stop reading “How to be more attractive/giving/loving/fun/perfect” articles because honestly you’re making yourself neurotic.
I get it. We all want to love and be loved, but are we becoming a generation so disconnected from actual human relationships that we need to find solace in the form of words written by people we don’t even know? We’d rather read things we already know to be true just to confirm that yes – we are doing this dating thing right, even though dating isn’t objective. But do you know how many articles there are about meeting people on Tinder? A lot! There’s how to articles, why you should, why you shouldn’t, what you should do if you decide to use it – honestly I’m exhausted just thinking about it.
Yesterday I read Kaylia Tyson’s Date Someone Who Challenges You article, and while I agreed with every point she made, I couldn’t help but feel like this article and others like it are somehow what is ruining dating. There’s no mystery anymore. We are literally over-saturated with advice about who, how, and when to date before we even step foot outside the door to actually go. Now instead of our own minds second guessing our decisions we have a whole community of writers who have instilled in us even more fear about something that really should be one of the best part about being in your twenties.
I’m guilty of it too. I probably click on more Thought Catalog articles than I write – searching for the foolproof way of going from the tricky start of a relationship in this day and age all the way to the gf/bf label. Some advice is just silly but others, other things make me pause and think just long enough to realize this person doesn’t know me or my relationship…so how in the world is this relevant?! Relationships are like parenting — everyone has to add in their two cents about which way is the best, but in the end no one has all the answers. You just have to forge through in your own way and pray you don’t end up with a serial killer.
My advice about dating is simple – get up and go figure it out yourself. Date a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker. Date a person who’s bad for you, then good for you, and then everything in between. Follow all the rules, or don’t follow any. Get your heart broken, break some hearts, say that you don’t believe in love, and then find someone who makes you believe the opposite. Let your heart guide you, let your head guide you. Be logical. Then be impulsive, because you’re single and you can be. Find someone complicated, find someone easy, get drunk and hook-up with a random person that could be all of these things but you’ll never know because, again, you were drunk, so you can’t remember their name. Join a dating website, or just say “fuck it” and set up a Tinder profile with no expectations as a result, just for fun and fantasy. Let your mother set you up on a blind date. Let your best friend set you up on a blind date. Date your best guy/girl friend because you think it might work out. Care a lot, care too little, let all your inhibitions go and just go for it. Be not afraid.
And then, when you meet the right person, trust your instincts and let all the other ones that came before them fade into distant memories that helped to make you this dateable person you are now.
Most importantly stop reading. Because from behind a computer screen you sure as hell can’t go on a date, let alone be successful at it.