A Girl's Guide to Getting Through a Dating Dry Spell

Dating dry spells can be so hard. But before you panic and imagine dying alone and a Meals-on-Wheels volunteer discovering your body, take a breath and remember that we’ve all been there. During one Sahara-like spell, I asked a friend what she thought happened to lips that never, ever kissed again. She rolled her eyes and reminded me that I could meet someone tomorrow and have no idea about it today. Oh yeah, I thought, and reached for my chapstick. Remember that and these other tips as you persevere down the dusty road to love.

  1. Ax the ex. No, you can’t be friends. At least not now. Nostalgia can’t spin you on the dance floor and pining isn’t pretty, no matter how glamorous Kristen Stewart makes it look. Perhaps there’s a small part of you that will never get over your ex. That’s okay. But make sure it’s really, really small. For someone new to enter your life, there must be room. People can smell that you are unavailable the same way they can smell if you’ve recently been to a Chili’s.
  2. Start a project. Have you been wanting to write a YA novel? Open an Etsy store? Audition for a play? Hey, even if you don’t have any money, you’ve got the time. Sometimes as single people we pursue dreams that are ignored or delayed if we’re coupled up. Don’t miss this opportunity. Also, throwing ourselves into a project we love is like spritzing on a perfume of positivity. It draws people in.
  3. Throw a party. My first year in LA, I was alone a lot. Saturday nights seemed to stare me down like the headlights of an oncoming truck. Then I decided if people wouldn’t invite me out, I’d invite them over. I threw dinner parties for six, then eight, then fourteen (!) in my studio apartment. I cooked up a few chickens, threw flea market tablecloths over any available surface and borrowed chairs from neighbors. It was fun! The parties also provided the perfect excuse to invite over a cute guy I was too shy to ask out.
  4. Exercise. Outside your home, that is. Take a stroll around your college campus or through the neighborhood during your lunch break. Maybe tennis is your game. Perhaps Bikram really does it for you. Just pick something you can stick with. It will keep your spirits up and put color in your cheeks. A yoga butt is a bonus.
  5. Vow to only like boys (or girls) who like you back. It’s amazing how quickly this can end your dating dry spell. Dead ends disappear as wide-open vistas come into view. Fight against the little voice that insists someone is desirable simply because he doesn’t text you back. That’s just your lizard-brain talking. Your lizard-brain is way out of touch. It still thinks a woolly mammoth might attack.
  6. Change your venue. Maybe that new venue is the Internet. Or maybe, like so many modern love-seekers, you feel you’ve exhausted that route, too. A recently divorced friend picked up a shift at a boutique she liked. She loved talking fashion and buying a new wardrobe with her steep discount. She looked and felt better and was back on the market in record time. I found New York to be a dating dead zone. When I moved to home to Rhode Island to take a break from the big city, I began to see signs of life. I dated a jet-setting race car driver and an outdoorsy bartender. Neither relationship lasted, but they both took me on old-fashioned, ring-the-doorbell dates (unheard of for 20-somethings in New York) and reminded me what it was like to feel pretty.
  7. Cultivate a curious mind. A curious mind will take you on adventures. A curious mind will make you stay at a party a little longer and see what happens. A curious mind overpowers the voice inside you that says it’s weird to go to an art opening by yourself. A curious mind encourages you to engage with people, listen to their stories, and let the most unexpected of them surprise you.
  8. Keep good company. That old saying you learned in middle school “show me your friends and I’ll show you your future” is still true. Surround yourself with people you admire, whose lives appeal to you and who make you feel good. Nurture those relationships. These are your people. And chances are, a person who deserves you is among them. In the meantime, enjoy your own good company. There will be a time when an evening alone with your writing, a cozy date with a good book, or an entire Saturday spent eating cereal and watching the first season of Downton Abbey will feel like a great and miraculous luxury.

Image via Shutterstock

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1085040230 Samantha Murphy

    Thank you for this Leila :) Definitely needed it today!

    • http://leilasnotebook.tumblr.com/ Leila Howland


  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000694333065 George Sand

    I dunno why I keep needing a boyfriend, specially because I have so much more fun without one and I have accomplished so much more this way. But every know and then I get really lonely and feel like I will never find true love. So thanks, Leila, this is useful stuff.

    • http://leilasnotebook.tumblr.com/ Leila Howland

      I know what that feels like! Thanks for reading.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=755817058 Amanda Drucker

    Exactly what I needed to hear right now! Thanks :)

    • http://leilasnotebook.tumblr.com/ Leila Howland

      Yay! You’re welcome!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=505472301 Rachel Croft

    This is a fantastic article! Do you really think that people can pick up on if someone is unavailable? How do you figure that?

    • http://leilasnotebook.tumblr.com/ Leila Howland

      I don’t have a scientific answer for you, Rachel, but that has been my experience. I think when you’re hung up on your ex, you’re just not emitting the same vibes as when you’re really interested in meeting someone new. I believe it changes your body language and all those subtle signals we don’t even know that we’re communicating. Thanks for reading!

  • Andrea Greb

    <3 this post. Awesome advice, which I am obviously in need of :)

    • http://leilasnotebook.tumblr.com/ Leila Howland

      Thanks, Andrea!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1540923648 Shannon Paige Dennison

    It really makes me feel good that you included girls in your “only like people who like you” title. But could you not use brackets next time? 😀 Just to spread the love.

    • http://leilasnotebook.tumblr.com/ Leila Howland

      you got it!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001173575097 Phebe Howland

    Leila, you always hit the nail on the head. Your advice is good for people of all ages. I loved reading this article and look forward to reading more articles in the future. You are great

    • http://leilasnotebook.tumblr.com/ Leila Howland

      Thanks mom!

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