Dating advice. I’ve received a lot of it in my tenure as a single person. It’s often doled out like Skittles by coupled-up people who haven’t even been in “the dating game” in a hot minute. They’re trying to help, of course, but the advice often feels a little easier-said-than-done or even out of touch with today’s dating pool. I’m here to tell you that if you’re still single, you might have been getting the same lame advice I had been for years. Now, let me preface this by saying: I’m no dating or relationship expert nor do I think doing one. specific. thing. will automatically guarantee you a plus one by your cousin’s October wedding in Vermont; however, I do think there’s some advice that’s been floating around that should be respectfully reconsidered.
It’s really nice in theory, right? Perhaps sappy movies have made us think that we’ll be on our way to work one day and bump into our soulmate in the elevator and things will magically fall into place. Damn, that was easy! And sure, there’s a small possibility that this could be your reality; however, I hope you packed a sandwich because you might be waiting for a while.
Look, there is some good in this piece of advice that people love to give. Obsessing over finding “the one” is not a good way to get a boyfriend. And yes, being busy and doing things you enjoy can take the pressure off of what can feel like a pursuit. However, the part I don’t agree with is doing nothing and I think that’s the part people (myself included) cling to most. Why? Because when you do nothing, the stakes are low and the effort is even lower and, simply put, I think we all wish dating took minimal effort. When you’ve been unsuccessful, the idea of dating can feel like a total chore. Like you essentially have to add “spend 20 minutes swiping on Hinge” to your daily to-do list.
I had personally been sitting back for a couple of years when I finally got tired of “doing nothing.” Okay, so maybe I was occasionally swiping on dating apps in that time frame, but it was honestly SUCH a passive act. It’s like when people say, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Except it’s this weird cycle where you’re totally numb to it all and expect nothing because the majority of the conversations on these apps are total snooze-fests but you stay on because it feels like something you should be doing because that one girl you know from college met her husband on Coffee Meets Bagel years ago so maybe just maybe it might happen for you. I’m already exhausted thinking about it again.
So, once I realized I wasn’t really “doing” anything about my single situation, I slid into my now-boyfriend’s Instagram messages at a friend’s wedding. And you know what? He responded and now we’re going on 8 months of dating. Of course, you might be thinking, I’ve done that and got left on ‘Read.’ And I’m not going to lie – there is a highly-probable chance that this could happen; however, the chances are probably even higher that you’ll never connect with someone if you literally do nothing.
Speaking as a woman, I think my gender has long been given the opposite advice of men when it comes to dating. We’re told that being a wallflower is more attractive than being “aggressive” or “forward” or, God-forbid, “desperate.” But you know what? The right person will find your so-called “forwardness” attractive. They might be tired of getting shot down or over the dating game and find your outreach refreshing. Badass, even. It just takes you getting over the fact that love hasn’t fallen into your lap and you might have to do something about it if it’s what you’re truly ready for and wanting.
Regardless of how you go about meeting people, whether it’s through an app, at a bar, or perusing your local Barnes & Noble, my message is still the same. Do something *with intention*. Surprise yourself by an act of boldness. Compliment their drink order at the bar to get a conversation going. Slide into their DMs (you can even use my message to my now-bf as a template: “Yo ________! Where you living these days?”). Ask your friends and family if they know any awesome single people around your age and reach out to them first. Flat out tell them you find them attractive and see where it goes. I wish I would have done something like this sooner and maybe even more often. Because you can wait by the phone or make vision boards with your besties all day long but at some point, you’re going to need to put down the scissors and glue and make your aspirations a reality.