1. Don’t let the pressure get to you. Ignore your parents when they tell you that the clock is ticking. You could find your forever person now or in your 50s. There isn’t a time limit on love.
2. Stop giving out so many chances. If someone hurts you over and over again, it’s time to say goodbye. Don’t feel bad about hurting them or about how much history you have. Do the healthy thing and move along.
3. Stop focusing on the long-term. During the first date, don’t ask yourself if you see a future with the person. Ask yourself if you had fun — if you did, then see them again. You can worry about the rest a few months down the line.
4. Stop having such specific criteria. You should have high standards, but you shouldn’t be overly specific about what your dream guy needs to act like. He might not like sitcoms as much as you do. He might like cats more than dogs. Keep an open mind, because he might be slightly different than you imagined.
5. Keep an eye out for love. Don’t complain about the lack of decent men on dating sites and then keep your head down whenever you leave the house. Look around. You might find your future SO at the supermarket, during a concert, or on the bus ride to work.
6. Speak from the heart. Stop keeping your thoughts to yourself in an attempt to seem cool instead of desperate. You’ll never end up in the relationship you want by keeping secrets. Be honest from the very first date.
7. Value yourself. You’re going to get treated like crap if you allow it. So don’t stick with men that put in minimal effort. Keep your standards and your expectations high.
8. Stop guarding your heart. Give love a chance. If you turn down men before you have a single conversation with them, then you’ll never find your forever person.
9. Actually go on dates. Don’t text a guy for months without making plans to meet up face-to-face. Find time to grab a cup of coffee. That way, you’ll be able to see if you have as much chemistry in person as you do over the phone.
10. Surround yourself with healthier relationships. Stop listening to so many melancholy love songs about cheaters and watching Lifetime movies about abusive husbands. Don’t give yourself a warped perspective on love.
11. Listen to your gut. If the voice in the back of your head is telling you a guy is sketchy, get out before something goes wrong. It’s better to be safe than to become another statistic.
12. Make more male friends. You don’t have to date every guy you get along with. Become friends with some of them, so you can learn how their minds work. Besides, they might have a hot brother they can hook you up with.
13. Treat sex as an option. Don’t sleep with someone, unless it’s honestly what you want. And if it is what you want, make sure you get an orgasm out of the deal.
14. Make the first move. When you see an attractive guy, don’t stare at his back and wait for him to walk away, never to be seen again. Go up to him and introduce yourself. Even if you don’t get his number, at least you tried.
15. Dress for yourself. Don’t wear what you think he wants to see you in. Wear what you want to wear. Your wardrobe is part of your personality, and if he doesn’t like it, he doesn’t have to look at you.
16. Be adventurous. When you land a date, don’t go to the movies and sit there in awkward silence. Go to a trampoline park or the ice skating rink. Do something fun to bring out the best sides of yourselves.
17. Put yourself first. Your mental health comes before your love life. If it’s not the right time for you to date, then don’t date. You’ll have plenty of time for relationships in the future. Right now, focus on keeping yourself healthy.