Being in a relationship isn’t essential to happiness by any means, but wasting your time in the dating world is a quick way to make yourself miserable. I can’t remember a time in my life from second grade to the age of twenty-three that I wasn’t chasing after dudes who flat out didn’t dig me. Honestly, I was a pathetic, excuse-making, little ninny who ended up in some truly unhealthy relationships until one day I sat myself down and laid the law down. I knew something had to change, and that change had to begin with me.
I made this list and low & behold, things did change. I got some perspective, some self-respect and eventually, a really great boyfriend. Now I share these tips with my friends on a regular basis and I would like to share them with you, because we’re all friends here and I can’t stand having my friends go through the same dating troubles I did.
1. Have Standards
Look, I’m not saying write out a list that describes Prince Charming down to the freckles in his eyes, but don’t just settle on anyone that happens to be funny with a job. Anyone can crack jokes and although having a job in these times is something to be happy about, that isn’t enough. Hold your ideal partner to the same standards you hold yourself to. The more you know what you want, the more likely you will be able to weed out the ones you don’t.
1.5 The First Standard Needs To Be They Are Interested In You Too
Okay, TOO MANY people spend TOO MUCH TIME on people THEY WILL NEVER BE WITH. Sure, the chase is fun, but get real. If they aren’t interested in dating you, chasing them and pushing your agendas on them is NOT going to change their minds. Spend your time and energy on people who are interested in spending time and energy on you.
2. Prioritize YOU
Remember how I mentioned those standards you hold yourself to? Well make those happen! If you want to go to the gym three times a week, paint more and get a new job, THEN DO IT! You can do anything you want, especially if you make the for time it. Focus on you and people will be drawn to it. The positive energy and happiness you are creating in your own life will attract someone who has the same energy and wants to be a part of that happy little bubble you’ve created. New Agey, much? Sure. But does it work? Yes. You want a motivated partner to support and love you? Get motivated and support and love yourself.
3. Know When To Move Along
It’s great to date and to spend time with someone to see if things could work, but don’t waste your time on people that it obviously isn’t going to work out with. The more time you spend trying to make things work when they aren’t, the less likely you are going to be open to new opportunities.
4. Represent Yourself Truthfully
Keep this in mind: “You can’t say the wrong thing to the right person.” Let it be your mantra because it’s a true story, guys. Think about it! If you’re meant to be with someone, it won’t matter how you phrased that last text message or that you went on a tipsy long winded tangent at the bar the other night. They’ll appreciate it because they appreciate you. And let’s say they got along real well with the version of you you and your friend concocted to appeal to this person, what happens when things get serious and they realize it was all a facade? My best educated guess is “WTF?!” is going to be written all over their face as they head for the door. Besides, pretending to be something you’re not is exhausting.
5. Say No
If you know you’re not interested in someone, just say “No, thanks.” Really. You’re saving yourself and the person you’re denying a lot of time and energy– you know, all the times they are going to call you and all the times you’re going to ignore it and sigh and complain to your friends about this person and their ceaseless pursuit. Well, news flash: if you had just said no, they could be calling someone else and you could be enjoying your burger. I know, it can be hard and sometimes awkward, but honesty really is the best policy.
6. Know The Difference Between The “Right” Kind Of Attention And The “Wrong” Kind Of Attention
We all want attention in one way or another, but make sure you are seeking out the right kind of attention. The “right” kind of attention is the kind of attention that leaves you feeling respected and good about yourself. The “wrong” kind of attention is the kind of attention you find yourself grabbing for after a boy who has ignored you for a month decides he wants to take you out for drinks. Dude, he’s been ignoring you for a month. Don’t think for a second that he wants anything more than to make-out with you, and that is the wrong kind of attention. That is the kind of attention that is going to leave you hung up for another month on some butthead.
7. Patience Is A Virtue
This isn’t magic, you can’t just snap your fingers and have a meaningful relationship. Give yourself some time and just go with the flow. I am the most impatient person in the world and when I devised this list for myself, I promised myself I would follow these tips for six months and see how it worked out. If I didn’t see any changes in six months, then I would reevaluate my life and maybe head to the nunnery. Luckily, that didn’t happen. Instead I wound up in the healthiest relationship of my life, and we’re coming up on a two year anniversary. I’m not guaranteeing you love, but at least give yourself a chance to try something new if your old ways haven’t been working out.
8. Be Brave
All these tips take bravery. You need to be brave to be aware of yourself, be brave to be yourself, be brave to make changes and be brave to have faith. As strange as it is, love really does start inside yourself. Be brave and believe and I promise, you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re single forever, the self-love and respect you will cultivate for yourself will bring you more happiness than anything else.
Featured Image via Flickr, Colton Davie