For those who are single, dateless and stressing about it, it may be time to change your mind about a few things re: dating and relationships. Take a moment to consider…

… That before meeting someone, instead of worrying whether or not they’ll like you, you could wonder if you’ll like them?

… That instead of feeling the need to impress them, you could wonder if they will impress you?

… That instead of sitting there silently wondering what to say next to make them like you, you could sit there silently wondering what they will say to make you like them?

… That instead of worrying if you’re tall enough or good-looking enough or skinny enough, you could decide whether they’re too superficial to recognize your great qualities?

… That instead of trying to come up with the perfect date, you could decide that someone who really likes you for you doesn’t need a perfect date?

… That instead of looking for a conversation they’ll enjoy, you could talk about something you enjoy and see if it resonates with them?

… That instead of feeling insecure about how good you are in bed, you could wonder on how good they are in bed?

… That instead of looking for their approval, you could decide to give yours?

… That instead of getting upset about why they don’t want to be with you, you could decide that it means you probably wouldn’t want to be with them anyway?

This may all sound a bit selfish. But, in fact, it’s called having strong boundaries and high self-esteem. Only making time for people who make time for you. Only being interested in dating people who are interested in dating you. Worrying about what will make you happy instead of what will make someone else happy. Looking for a person who meets your needs instead of trying to always meet theirs. Changing yourself to become who you want to be, not what you think others want you to be.

Maybe you’re thinking you don’t have enough experience or that you’re not cool enough or you’re not good-looking enough to decide if someone else is good enough for you.

It’s that sort of thinking that got you here. It’s time to change your mind.

You’re the only one who gets to live your life. Take it seriously. Have standards.

People are genuinely attracted to someone they can respect, to someone they can trust. If you’re constantly looking for approval for what to say and how to feel, how could anyone respect or trust you?

The questions above are designed to change your mind—to change your mind about how you are going about dating and going about meeting new people.

Romantic couple at the bar staring at each other's eyes

Maybe you’ve searched for tactics or strategies to make others attracted to you, to make them want to be with you, to lust for you.

This mindset leads to unattractive behavior. This mindset creates your anxiety, your insecurity, your need to impress others, to try too hard, to say or do things that don’t feel like the real you.

You are what attracts (or repels) others — not the words, not the strategies. If you aren’t happy with the results you get, then it’s time to improve you.1

Change your mind about dating. Change your mind about yourself and change your results with your relationships.

This new mindset leads to attractive behavior. It helps you freely express yourself. It removes the fear of rejection and being insufficient.

I don’t care how attractive anyone else says they are. Are they good enough for you? Hot body, great job, impressive social circle, but do you enjoy being around them? Are you ready to leave on a dime if they offend you or break your trust?2

If not, that’s probably why you’re not with them in the first place.

The only real dating advice is self-improvement. Work on yourself. Eat well. Work out.3 Conquer your anxieties.4 Resolve your shame.5 Take care of yourself and those who are important to you. Love yourself. Otherwise, no one else will.

Footnotes

  1. Researchers have found evidence supporting this “likes-attract” rule. Be amazing, and amazing will come.
  2. In any long-term relationship, problems arise and arguments are bound to happen. But a good sign of relationship health is that you still want to be together even when you’re pissing each other off. And that’s backed by science. A 2020 study finds across over 11,196 couples that a top predictor of relationship quality is perceived-partner commitment—the extent to which your partner believes you are a “fuck yes” for them and vice versa.
  3.  Lindau, S. T., & Gavrilova, N. (2010). Sex, health, and years of sexually active life gained due to good health: Evidence from two US population based cross sectional surveys of ageing. BMJ, 340.
  4. A strong predictor of personal growth following trauma is a willingness to open up about the trauma in the context of a supportive social network. See: Tedeschi, R. G., & Calhoun, L. G. (2004). Posttraumatic Growth: Conceptual Foundations and Empirical Evidence. Psychological Inquiry, 15(1), 1–18.
  5. Brené Brown gives a wildly popular TED talk on the topic of shame and vulnerability, which is worth checking out.