All your friends are in relationships or married. You work in an environment where you just aren’t meeting people that would be potential dates. Every person you ever met in a bar seems amazing at the time, but in the cold light of day you realise you made a mistake.
You have also heard some horror stories about on-line dating…
“when they arrived they must have been about 15 years older than their profile picture”
“they just never showed up and then suddenly became uncontactable”
“it was painful, they spent the entire night talking about their ex”
“I always set up a fake phone call from a friend so that I can skip out early because they are probably going to be weird”
Not very encouraging is it? So what do you do? I guess you can always hope that the perfect guy or girl is going to waltz right into your life, notice how wonderful you are and devote all their time to loving you. Maybe they’ll bump into you in the supermarket, maybe you’ll drop your keys and as you bend down to pick them up your eyes will meet as he stoops to retrieve them for you, as any gentleman would. Maybe the hottest girl at the gym will start flirting with you and discussing her passion for football and fast cars whilst you’re bench-pressing your kilos. Well, maybe. But then again, maybe not.
So would you rather be living the dream than living in it? Would you rather pursue success or just sit back and wait for fate?
More importantly, how do you feel when you are struggling to meet compatible people, and how does it leave you feeling when you start doubting your ability to form a relationship with someone or even start dating? Pretty rubbish really, your self-esteem plummets and you start to become very self-critical, or you start to lay the blame on everyone and everything else “oh, everyone knows that people on this dating site are only after one thing”, or “it’s history repeating itself, typical”. It leaves you feeling depressed, helpless, hopeless and lonely. Once we start having the ‘always’ thoughts then things really start spiralling down, we begin to think that nothing will change and we will never find love and connection.
So I’d like to share some top tips for making the dating happen and to get back out there with confidence and optimism.
- Start with yourself. Understanding yourself, your likes, dislikes, strengths and skills. You can’t expect someone else to get to know you when you don’t really know who you are and what makes you tick. Create a daily journal and write down at least one thing every day that is evidence of a positive personal attribute. For example, 'my friend called up on the spur of the moment and we went out for dinner = I am sociable and spontaneous and value my friendships'. After even just two weeks you will have a fantastic list of information about you, revisit this list, re-read it and absorb it, you can even use it to create on-line dating profiles.
- Remember that for dating or relationships to be successful, it does not mean that they all need to end in marriage or a happy ever after. A date can be incredibly fun and interesting but not lead to a second. Re-define what success means to you. Maybe a date is hideous and you struggle with communicating and generally have a horrible time – ask yourself “what did I learn?” Use what you learn to take forward to your next choices, that is true success. Stop comparing yourself to others; whilst you're envying your married friend she might well be envying you your freedom and autonomy. Focus on enjoying your life and work on what it best for you.
- Stop looking for selective evidence. Not all internet dating ends in disappointment and disaster, look for stories about success and great outcomes. If they really didn’t work, then the industry would soon die. Don’t get drawn into stereotyping, keep an open mind. Be aware that the thoughts in your head do not create someone else’s reality, only yours.
And remember, you lovely people, that out of the 7.3 billion (and counting) population on the planet, there might just be somebody out there for you x