1. You stress out less. Look, dating is exhausting. It’s fun, but being your best, most vivacious self and trying to impress the person sitting across from you is exhausting as all hell sometimes. But if you stop focusing on the end game — whether that’s kids and a house with a picket fence and the whole nine or just someone to go to the movies and have sex with every once in a while — you stop trying to manipulate the system, and you can enjoy each moment for what it is.
2. You shift your focus to yourself, and how you can better yourself not just for the sake of another person, but for the sake of your own personal growth. People are attracted to those who are already living their best life — they want in on that joy, too — and you’ll automatically draw people in without trying. Really, it’s a paradox at its best.
3. You instantly read as less desperate. This is not an indictment on anyone’s actions, but people are quick to label those seeking any sort of romantic attachment (because they think it’s better than no attachment at all) as thirsty. There’s a certain level of truth to it, too, whether or not you mean there to be. And while it’s frustrating to know that the minute you stop looking so available, people are going to be tricked into wanting you, that frustration doesn’t make it any less true.
4. You become more aware of the opportunities for love that you might otherwise have missed. Because no, love might not (and probably won’t) look like the checklist you think it will. And if you keep your sights and hopes set on someone who doesn’t materialize, you’ll miss all the other people who come along and might surprise you. Overlooking them means never giving them a chance, and that’s setting everyone up for failure.
5. You actually learn how to read what are romantic gestures and what aren’t. It really might seem difficult to figure out what is someone checking you out and what isn’t, but when you’re not actively trying to make these things happen or being on the alert, you’re much more able to notice what is and isn’t an actual invitation. It’s so very easy to want to read into situations and make opportunities where there are none, but that leaves you looking a little too opportunistic and chasing people away. Just because someone is having a conversation with you doesn’t mean they’re interested, and if you’re ready to leap at any window that might be even slightly open, you could misinterpret all of those signals. It’s much better to try to learn what actually is a flirtatious move, and go from there.
6. You realize that love is more than just “a relationship.” The love between friends can be just as fulfilling as a romantic relationship, but if you’re the kind of person who is always trying to upgrade your friends into “something more,” you might miss out on not just a significant other, but a friend, too. And sometimes, friends can be there for you in ways a relationship can’t.
7. You learn how to be okay with being single. Because there’s nothing wrong with being single — just like there’s nothing wrong with being in a relationship. They’re both paths we all take from time to time, but to be able to sit with yourself and realize you’re doing pretty well on your own, that’s not exactly something a relationship can give you. Being single might feel a little lonely from time to time, but you have to remember that you’re never alone in that. And sometimes being aware of that difference is all you need.