I’m in a relationship but a lot of my friends are still single and they often come to me with their dating disasters and dilemmas, looking for a sympathetic ear and some advice on where they might be going wrong. I have a pretty good idea of why they still haven’t found love, but I don’t think they’d be all that receptive to hearing it.
They’re too focused on Mr. Right Now. One of my single friends claims to be looking for Mr. Right, but all I see her getting involved with is an endless stream of Mr. Right Nows. These are guys who have come into her life with clear short-term potential. Whether she meets them while traveling, at an out-of-town wedding, or a work party, there’s always an end date on the relationship that she refuses to acknowledge.
They’re on too many dating apps. Dating apps have revolutionized the way we engage with potential romantic and sexual partners, which is great! The trouble is that there are so many out there now, it’s almost impossible to choose one. I see one of my friends signed up to at least four or five in the hope of meeting potential guys—so much so that she’s more focused on checking her notifications than seeing who’s around her when we’re out in the real world. If she met a guy she really liked and he found out she was signed up to so many dating apps, what impression would that create?
They’re too fatalistic. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the friend who thinks that the universe has some great romantic plan for her and she just has to sit back and wait for love to come to her. Any day now, it’ll happen, right? It’s great to have a strong belief that the life you want is out there waiting for you, but you know how to really achieve that life? Through action. Sitting at home and doing the same things week in, week out with the same people isn’t going to work when it comes to creating new romantic avenues.
They don’t really know what they want. It’s OK to not know what you want in life, but if you’re keen to settle down with the right person, you should probably have a think about what you want that to look like. One of my friends is constantly changing her mind about whether she wants to get married and have kids or not. She thinks when she meets the right person she’ll be able to decide, but fundamental decisions and values linked to marriage and children need to be made as an individual. The risk otherwise is that she’ll end up agreeing to things because her partner wants them, not because she does deep down.
They’re still hung up on their exes. This is true of more than one of my friends. Any time they have a bad date or failed fling, they reference the experience in relation to how much better their ex was. This isn’t helpful for anyone involved. If you’re still hung up on your ex, stalking your ex online, find yourself comparing every new potential romantic partner to them, or seeking ways to be a part of their life, you need to step away from dating and do some work on closing the door on that chapter in your life. Only then can you start looking for a new relationship in a positive way.
They do what they think they should do rather than what they want to do. For one friend, every opportunity is a means to meet a potential new partner. She signs up to every craft beer event, arty workshop, sports group and meet-up she possibly can in the hopes that this will be the event where she meets her true love. The thing is, she doesn’t actually like doing half of these activities! Instead of focusing on the hobbies that fuel her as a person and that bring value to her as an individual in her own right, she sees this part of her life as existing for the sole purpose of meeting someone.
They’re stuck on old stereotypes. I have one friend who’s a total boss lady. She has everything going for her and she’s done it all—in her own words—without the helping hand of a man. For her, a relationship means having to relinquish everything she’s worked hard to build on her own. She missed the memo that in today’s world, there are plenty of women who are able to be successful entrepreneurs and have a successful relationship.
They’re procrastinating for the “right moment.” For one of my friends, this means not dating until after she’s lost 5kg; for another, it’s not until she’s managed to move out into her own place. Making sure you invest fully back into yourself before getting into a relationship is 100% something you should do… except when it comes to superficial excuses that are really more about not facing up to your fears around dating than waiting for the “right moment.”
They’re scared of getting hurt. Dating can be scary. It means putting yourself out there with someone new and seeing what happens. It means being open to things not working out the way you might hope, and being vulnerable to rejection. For one of my friends, this fear is just too much so she steers clear of dating altogether. Yet, in almost every conversation we have, she’ll bring up how much she’d like to meet someone. For her, getting over being single means getting over her fear of being hurt.
They’ve forgotten the importance of self-love. We all know the old saying “no one will love you if you don’t love yourself” and it’s stuck around because it’s so true! For almost all of my single friends, they’ve become so focused on how to not be single, they’ve forgotten to realize how great being single is! This is a time in your life you’re unlikely to get back once you do meet the right person, so it’s so crucial to make sure you invest deeply into yourself. Work on creating a version of you that you love and can be proud of—that’s the version Mr. Right will be waiting to meet.
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