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.

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