1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Yes, your best friend just married and is already pregnant and living her happily ever after and you can’t even seem to get a date. That’s ok! People find what they need at their own pace. Spend your days doing what keeps you happy and focus on that—not what you’re missing or think you should have at a certain point in time. Your day will come and you want to be ready by focusing on yourself for now.
2. Take control of your own future.
Be the guiding force that searches for what you want out of life. Don’t wait around for things to happen or for someone to bring you roses and play you love songs. These things tend to happen when you’re off and involved in other things.
3. Be patient, less desperate, and exude confidence.
You’re a unique star in the universe. Your Perfect Someone is out there looking for all of the things that you offer. Worrying about grabbing your musical chair partner before the music turns off will lead you down a road of disappointment and despair. Take your time to enjoy the people you love who are around now and fill your days with the things you love to do. Then when that special someone shows up, you’ll be happier, wiser and a more adaptable person to get to know.
4. Get off the couch.
Venture out. Have an actual conversation with a real human being instead of relying on text and emails. Meeting someone through a dating app is far less satisfying than an exchanged look across a party and feeling that spark. Put yourself out there and be ready to take a chance.
5. Stop fixating on your “type.”
Who cares if he has a scruffy goatee? It’s not going to bite you. What does it matter if she’s not the usual tall brunette you fall for? Your happily ever after will not always arrive in the package you originally pictured. Step out of your comfort zone and see what you find.
6. Forget the excuses.
Take responsibility for your actions and own up to your mistakes. Apologize when you hurt someone and be willing to put in the groundwork to earn trust. A successful relationship takes two consenting people who can figure out how to be honest with each other, and can emerge from disagreements a stronger couple.
7. Don’t ignore your friends just because you’re in a relationship.
You’ll find that maintaining and nurturing your friendships will help achieve a more balanced relationship with your new romantic prospect and give you a great sounding board for those early days when you’re trying to figure out what’s happening. It also shows your significant other that you value the friends in your life and that you do in fact have friends.
8. Take better care of your body.
Eat and drink with care. Exercise. Get plenty of sleep. Use protection when the time comes. Feeling great about your health will give you renewed energy and confidence when building a relationship.
9. Be open minded to new experiences.
Try new ways of meeting people and “outside the box” love interests. Agree to set-ups, join new clubs, and pursue new hobbies.
10. Put the time in to really get to know someone.
Don’t bail at the first sign of weakness or what you deem incompatibility. The best relationships are not the ones where every single detail of yourself matches up with every single detail of your partner. Figure out what makes someone tick and figure out how to differentiate between quirks and deal breakers.
11. Show up.
There’s nothing more aggravating than a flaky person. Be on time to dates. Even when you don’t feel 100%. Even when you’re tired. Even when you are ABSOLUTELY sure that you won’t like the person you’re about to meet. Have the decency to recognize that if someone is willing to put himself out there to meet you and take time out of his life to give you a chance, you should do the same.
12. Stop looking for the better deal.
If you meet someone and like him, sit tight with that for a little while. Online dating provided limitless options. Not every relationship starts with fireworks and butterflies. Have the diligence and foresight to investigate the situation before you throw it away for the unknown.
13. Don’t play games.
If you want to get in touch with someone that you just had a great night out with, contact him. Be authentic and fair. If you know that your heart isn’t in a relationship, cut bait. Nobody wants to date someone who is clearly not interested in them for the long run. Don’t sit in uncertainty waiting for a light bulb moment that will never come.
14. Don’t stay in a relationship because it’s comfortable.
Get a pet for comfort. Or a warm blanket and a Netflix subscription. Call your family and friends more and make plans if you want something reliable.
15. Take your walls down.
When you’ve been hurt before and you’re out there dating again, it takes courage and a big leap of faith to invest in someone again. Go for it anyway. Be mindful of the signals that you’re not fully investing in a new relationship (making excuses, coming with reasons the relationship won’t work, etc.)
16. Stay out of the friend zone.
It’s fun to chitchat and to keep things safe by giving yourself a 9PM bed time when you’re on date #4 and throwing out the, “I have to get to work early,” excuse, but you’re in danger of being labeled a “friend” or “disinterested.” If you don’t put yourself out there soon enough, you’ll be friend-zoned with little hope of achieving any non-platonic contact, especially once he starts confiding in you about all the other women he’s dating.
17. Stay positive.
It’s not too terrible to be young and healthy and single and independent and working on your life. Not everything sucks so don’t be a Debbie Downer. Your attitude is infectious and it’s far more enjoyable to be around a happy, positive thinker than someone who is quick to get down on everything.
18. Stop over-analyzing every piece of information.
Like whether you talked too much about your relationship or your family, when you’ll here from him again and if the shirt you wore was unflattering.
19. Get comfortable in your own skin.
Do the things that make you feel the most like you and stand firm on the principles that make you who you are. Nobody wants to date a pushover. Don’t let someone else make you believe that you’re anything less than a brilliant, kind and warm-hearted genius. If he can’t appreciate you now when things are relatively uncomplicated, it’s not going to improve much with time.
20. Take time for yourself.
Nothing bad has ever come from taking time to think things through and having alone time is essential for figuring out what you want on your own. This will lead to more thoughtful, truer decisions with less chance of wavering down the road.
21. Go after someone who makes you want to be a better person.
Someone who challenges you, adores you and is kind to you and others around him. Fall in love with the person that he is, not who you want him to be. Stay true to what makes you happy without losing yourself and know that when you find lasting love, it feel like the simplest thing in the world. He’ll be the force that you come to rely upon to help deal with the craziness around you. If the craziness is within your relationship, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.