If you’re rolling your eyes or cringing at the term ‘you need to put yourself out there more’, you’re not alone. When someone says it to you – or about you – it can feel like they’re assuming you’re spending all your time sitting on the shelf, deliberately letting your life waste away eating crackers and watching repeats of Friends.
Given that most of us have careers, hobbies, friends, family and infinite possibilities, it’s simply not true. Of course you are ‘out there’, in the world at large. But, are you out there with the right intentions for romance?
Mindset is everything and this is most evident when you’re striving to kick a goal or achieve a dream. Being positive, proactive and enthusiastic helps, right? The dating mindset is no different. You need to break free from a preconditioned, victim-like mentality in order to attract the outcome you want.
This means jumping in with both feet, ready to hit the ground running. After all, that knight in shining armour isn’t actually going to ride into your lounge room to sweep you off your feet – PJ’s and all.
First of all, it’s important to recognize the signs of a negative mindset, so you can change the way you perceive ‘putting yourself out there’, and move on to the romance you deserve.
1. You don’t prioritize dating.
Going out for drinks with the girls on Friday night or occasionally checking half-completed dating profiles isn’t exactly prioritising dating. You might feel like you’re putting in a bit of effort and that’s all you can do. But, it’s a lukewarm approach, so what type of results can you expect? Lukewarm.
Dating is an enlivening and fulfilling experience that, even in itself, is worthy of some serious enthusiasm. Approach it like the adventure it is and allow yourself to feel the excitement of anticipation. Let go of any ‘rules’ you have surrounding that mythical perfect guy and date guys with traits you may not have considered before. Make dating a priority and, like everything else in life, you’ll soon reap the rewards of a proactive approach.
2. You ‘man-bash’ with your friends.
Do you secretly relish the opportunity to ‘man-bash’ with a friend who’s complaining about a bad date or an annoying boyfriend? It’s not something you probably want to admit, but everyone’s been there, at one time or another. ‘Man-bashing’ is very different from discussing important issues, with the view of improving or letting go of relationships.
If you do feel a tad jealous that your friend has a guy (annoying or not), it’s perfectly understandable. Just admitting it to yourself can give you the kick you need to prioritise your own dating life. The same applies when you’re holding on to past relationships and any hurt you may have experienced. All men are not bad and the quicker you move beyond that mindset, the easier it’ll be to prove that to yourself.
3. No one asks about your love life.
Think about your recent conversations with friends, family and co-workers. Has anyone asked you questions about your love life? When you’re actively dating, you tend to be on the receiving end of those (exasperating) questions all the time. Having said that, no one really likes to be, but at least it proves you’re out there giving it a go.
If the subject of romance, men and dating just doesn’t come up anymore within your close circle, it’s a good indication that you’re really not focussed enough on dating. That’s ok. Now that you know, you can switch your mindset and get back in on the action.
4. You don’t make an effort with your appearance.
No matter what your style is, how you like to dress or whether you’re into stage-makeup or a fresh face, not making any effort with your appearance generally means you’re not making any effort with dating, either. When having a relationship is one of your biggest dreams, but dating isn’t a priority, chances of living your dream are significantly lowered.
Are you on the couch in comfy clothes, imagining you have a date, instead of proactively finding one? Maybe you don’t expect to meet a guy, so you never bother shaving your legs or wearing your favourite dress. Perhaps you feel insecure? Regardless, it’s not really even about trying to look good. Making an effort with your appearance makes you feel good and gives you the confidence you need to join the dating world.
5. You would never consider approaching a man you like.
Do you see guys you like and wish they’d approach you? Why not take the reins and let them know you’ve got your eye on them? If you’re thinking you could never work up the courage to do it, it helps to remember that guys feel nervous too. Everyone’s scared of rejection, but it just takes a bit of practice, to realise approaching someone isn’t so scary after all.
Often, a friendly smile or a little bit of prolonged eye contact is enough for a man to feel confident to approach you. If you’re standing at a bar or concert, ask an open-ended question or comment on how great the music is. Keep it simple and see where it takes you – chances are, you’ll be happily surprised.
6. You avoid letting yourself be vulnerable.
Dating is right up there with scenarios in life that make you feel vulnerable and insecure, especially when you have a negative mindset about it. You might have been hurt in a previous relationship, the guy from your last date didn’t call or you just don’t feel safe to expose yourself emotionally.
Change your perspective about dating to view it as a tool to help you understand vulnerability. You’ll start to feel more comfortable expressing yourself and it’ll be easier to let go of past issues. When you are in a relationship, allowing yourself to be vulnerable is key to forming close bonds – so it’s great practice for the future.
7. You reminisce about the past too much.
Whether it’s while chatting with friends or just mental talk, if you’re always thinking about the past instead of projecting towards the future, you’ll keep yourself stuck there. That broken record of memories takes up valuable space and energy you need, in order to take action towards a new story.
We learn a lot from our life experiences and memories are lovely reminders of fantastic times, so it’s not about letting them all go. Holding on to negative ones however, by way of constantly referencing them, keeps those situations alive. Let them go and get ready to feel the delicious anticipation of creating new ones.
8. You won’t admit you want a relationship.
Sometimes it’s much easier to live in denial about what we want, especially if we think it’s a hard road to travel down. It can even feel embarrassing to admit you want a relationship, because you feel like it somehow makes you appear desperate or unfulfilled.
The thing is, once you admit it – at least to yourself – doors will automatically open. You’ll notice a new dating site and take the time to join, you’ll mention to a friend that you’d like to meet their hot new neighbour, people will make an effort to introduce you to single guys they know. Remember that at one time or another, everyone’s had the same feeling, so it’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
9. You spend too much time immersed in other people’s love lives.
It’s really easy to get carried away following the love lives of celebrities or people you know, simply because you crave your own. Or, perhaps you have your nose stuck in romance novels every night, rather than going out and finding your own love story.
There’s nothing wrong with taking an interest and everyone loves a good steamy read, but you could also take that enthusiasm and turn it into dating action. No matter what you read or who you follow, it’s possible for you to have similar experiences – but you have to put yourself out there first.
10. You don’t try because you’re afraid.
Being afraid of having a bad date or, worse, getting rejected, is enough to put anyone off making a call or even swiping right on Tinder. Start changing your mindset about rejection and understand that if something like that happens, it wasn’t the right situation for you anyway.
The best things in life come from trial, error and a good dose of exciting challenges. Dating is no exception. It doesn’t need to be an easy ride and Prince Charming doesn’t have to show up right away. Along the way, you’ll gather information, learn about yourself and probably amuse everyone in your life with weird and wonderful dating stories.
Most of all, by proactively ‘putting yourself out there’, you’re increasing your chances of finding the right relationship for you, rather than sitting back and just settling for what comes.
So, throw away the misconception that ‘putting yourself out there’ has to mean strutting your stuff at a bar every Saturday night. It simply means putting effort into proactively dating and feeling enthusiasm for the fun process. After all, you deserve the best and the only person who can find it for you, is you.