The world of dating can seem like a daunting place, especially if you have been out of ‘the game’ for a while. The thought of embarking on this journey can bring up fear and apprehension however, it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you are single and surrounded by friends in relationships, I am sure you are familiar with what I like to call ‘the advice’. Friends and family offer advice from the safety of their committed relationships, for example, “you just have to get out there and meet people” or “just start talking to people and go on dates” but we all know it’s not always that easy.
'Advice’ coupled with questions, such as “how old are you now? Don’t you want to settle down?” This will naturally lead to feelings of panic; potentially questioning whether we are doomed to a life of loneliness should we do not immediately meet a compatible partner. So, although this advice comes from a place of love, it’s not always the most helpful.
I suggest breaking the partner search down into simple steps; it will feel a lot less daunting and a lot more fun. After all, finding your future partner is a wonderful thing and you should be enjoying the process.
Step one: Release the pressure
It takes a confident person to approach a stranger, striking up a conversation which could lead to a date. It can therefore be helpful to depressurise the situation. Don’t seek a future partnership in every encounter; instead simply seek opportunities to extend your social circle. This approach will hopefully make you feel more relaxed making it easier for things to develop naturally.
Step two: Drown out the noise
By this, I mean try to block out the pressure imposed by others of where you should be, in your romantic life, and focus on where you want to be. By keeping your goals in mind and the pressures of society out, it’s easier to remain focused on what you would like to achieve. We often give too much attention to unhelpful comments and subsequent thoughts. Try giving the helpful feedback and thoughts the attention it deserves. Thoughts influence our feelings and behaviour - so remember that you are worthy and you will feel better about yourself and act in ways to reinforce your worthiness.
Step three: Just say yes
Whenever we have to face a potentially daunting situation our natural instinct might be to avoid it. When single, the easy option is to spend your evenings at home hoping that somehow your perfect partner will come and find you. Well, I hate to point this out but Mr/Mrs right does not often come knocking on your front door.
It is therefore time to start saying yes to every opportunity you have to meet someone new. This includes saying yes to that colleague who invites you for after work drinks, when what you’d really like to do is go home and enjoy a lovely glass of wine in the comfort of your living room. Or, saying yes when asked to try out that new restaurant. Saying yes to all these things means you are putting yourself out there without even realising it.
Step four: Ask for help and invest in you
In our busy lives today, so much of our time, energy and finances are spent on other people; the gift for your friend’s wedding, the donation to charity or perhaps volunteering at the country club. Although all these things are valuable, sometimes you have to take the time to invest in yourself. This means putting yourself first and clearing a regular slot in your diary to take part in activities you enjoy which will hopefully lead to you meeting that special someone.
When it comes to asking for help, don’t be scared to get introductions from friends and acquaintances, but you can also treat dating like every other aspect of your life; if you wanted to buy a new car you would go to a car dealer, if you want to get fit you go a personal trainer, and, if you want to find love… there is always us matchmakers.