There comes a time in every girl’s dating life when you’re super ready to call it a day and embrace modern singlehood forever. Trading awkward wine-fueled conversations and text message freak-outs for a life of Netflix shows (the 2015 equivalent of being a cat lady) doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It’s definitely possible to put effort into your dating life without it feeling frustrating, exhausting or completely impossible. Here’s how to put in the effort while making it seem effortless. It’s a skill but you can do it.
Don’t make online dating a full-time career. Here’s the truth about looking for love online: it takes work. A lot of work. You already have a job, right? Plus it’s super frustrating when weird, creepy guys send you messages and when no one replies to your (normal) messages. So do yourself a favor and stop spending morning, noon and night (and midnight) searching the hipsters on OKCupid or swiping like crazy on Tinder. Sure, definitely use the tools available to you, because you won’t find a boyfriend avoiding online entirely (unless you have magical powers and can meet cute in person, which I highly doubt). Just limit it to once a day or a few times a week so it doesn’t take over your entire life.
Use your social network. In the old days, people would meet through school or friends or work, and no one had any issues setting up their single friends. Everyone seemed to know some awesome single person that was just dying to meet that special someone. Now it’s all changed, but that doesn’t mean that modern matchmaking doesn’t exist. Ask your friends, coworkers, acquaintances, relatives, your local Starbucks barista (OK, maybe not the last one) if they know anyone to introduce you to. Hey, you might not get anywhere, but you have nothing now, right? You might as well try.
Have some go-to places/topics of conversation/outfits. You don’t exactly want every single first date you go on to be a total carbon copy of the last one, but you also don’t want to spend hours planning and worrying. If you have a few bars or restaurants that you like going to, if you have a few dresses or cute outfits that you swear by, if you have some funny stories and unique talking points saved up, then you’re good to go. The whole point is to simply your life so dating doesn’t feel any more exhausting then it already is.
Stop talking. Not on dates, of course. You want to talk on dates. But if you find yourself complaining about dating all the time, you’re not only super annoying to everyone that gets near you, but you’re annoying yourself, too. Often when we whine about something we give it more power than it deserves and upset ourselves in the process, too. So save your Chatty Kathy tendencies for telling your BFFs about that awesome first date that you will eventually go on and stop your dating diatribe.
Get super healthy. Don’t be that friend that posts 100 gym selfies a day and judges everyone for their pizza love. But getting healthy will put you in a super positive mindset, which is what you 100 percent need if you’re going to navigate this whole dating thing effortlessly. You don’t have to trade your daily Starbucks for green juice (that would be nuts) but eat more vegetables, stop going to bed at 2 a.m. when you have to work the next day and find a workout that doesn’t make you want to kill yourself.
Put yourself out there (for real). Everyone’s online, and you’ve been down that road. Why not try something new? Go to dating events in your city or town and try to meet someone the old-fashioned way. You never know what could happen. If you decide to try this for a month, you can say goodbye to hours on dating sites and apps, and you can save time by meeting a bunch of people in a single evening.
Have super low expectations. Wishing and hoping and dreaming that someone will be your Mr. Right takes up lots of time. Stop putting in so much mental effort before your dates and you’ll be much better off if they don’t work out.
Pretend you’re the star of your own rom-com. Don’t go overboard but it won’t hurt to daydream a little bit that your Prince Charming might be around the corner. This will make you super open to love, and dreaming is free, after all. It can be kind of magical to think that you could meet someone you’re going to seriously fall for in the next five minutes. That’s much better than crying over how many creepy online messages you got today.
Remind yourself that this is all normal. You may feel like The Only Single Girl Left On This Planet but that’s not the case at all. You most likely have tons of single friends of both genders, and so everyone’s totally in the same love searching, online dating hating boat. Don’t waste your brainpower feeling sorry for yourself or wondering what’s wrong with you. Not everyone marries their high school sweetheart — and many who do end up divorcing super young. So the next time you’re feeling crappy, remember that.