Dating often wears people out. Technology has made hooking-up a very efficient proposition. By contrast, technology has commercialized the search for a date without necessarily making it easier to find a mate. This has been profitable for websites like match.com. I have yet to talk to anyone who has found Match (or Chemistry, or whatever) the answer to their dating prayers.
Dating presents a paradox: the more you crave a relationship, the more miserable you become if you haven’t yet found one. Adding to the dilemma: desperation make you much less attractive to the dating population. What to do?
- Avoid investing too much in online dating. I have yet to find anyone who is excited about online dating sites. That doesn’t mean you should avoid them – but it does mean you shouldn’t over-rely on them or fall into the trap of monitoring them too closely. Better to think of online dating as a long shot – worth giving a try, but not your main strategy.
- Limit your time on them to once a day, 30 minutes max. Checking too frequently is unnecessary and can cause you to waste time that would be more profitably spent elsewhere.
- If you’re interested in someone, make contact without too much attachment to the outcome. Some people worry too much about looking forward. Don’t be heavy-handed, but do take the initiative. What have you got to lose?
- If you don’t hear from others, don’t worry about it. The trap of online dating is over-choice: too many options. When presented with too many choices, human beings often decline to make any of them, and slip into passivity.
- Invest in real-world contact with actual human beings. Most people find friends and partners through face-to-face interaction with others, the same way we always have. For people who are shy or think of themselves as introverts or have a bit of social anxiety, that’s a challenge. Do it anyway. Make social contact a part of your routine, whether you feel like it or not.
- Making friendliness a habit. Look for opportunities to smile, say hello or initiate conversations.
- Instead of pining for the life you want, enjoy the life you’ve got. There are plenty of fun things for single people to do. Need some suggestions? Ask partnered friends, who may fantasize about what they would do if they were on their own! Enjoy your friends, do pleasurable things regardless of whether you have someone to accompany you. Enjoy a hobby or other activity. Have fun. If going out to eat feels uncomfortable being a table for one, learn to enjoy having dinner at the bar when you go out. Enjoying life is not only self-validating; it also makes you someone other people want to be around.
- Don’t get too attached to attachment, and don’t take dating too seriously. That’s the real meaning behind advice like “you’ll meet someone when you stop looking or least expect it.” If the quest for a date becomes deadly serious you are probably stressing yourself out. See if you can take dating more lightly. Remember, it is OK to take a break from dating and decide you are just going to enjoy your won company for a while.
Things take time, which is tough when you really want to be with someone. Desperation doesn’t help. If you can’t imagine having fun without a partner, then the lack of a partner isn’t the problem – the problem is your unrealistic expectations.
Adjust your expectations. Don’t put your life on hold. Adopt a lighter touch when it comes to dating and romance.