Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lessons :: 5 Steps to Finding the One

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I was single for almost two years until Brandon and I started dating March 27, 2013. (Not that I'm keeping track or anything.) I could probably write an entire book based on my funny, crazy, painful, and interesting experiences in the dating world -- but for now, I'm going to share just a few tips with you. I have many beautiful, funny, smart girlfriends who are curious as to why they can't find their knights in shining armor.

STEP ONE. Put yourself out there. First off, just because you don't have a boyfriend doesn't mean there's something wrong with you. Even though I initially hated being newly single back in 2011, I grew to love my independence. If you really just want any ol' guy, you can easily find one simply by putting yourself out there. Of course, I'd love for you to have some standards, but we'll get to that later. Bottom line is, if you really want to find someone, then you have to work at it. I'm not saying you have to fling yourself at any man who crosses your path, but if you're sitting at home eating bon-bons all day, Prince Charming isn't going to randomly show up at your door to join and then you go on to live happily ever after. If you're still mourning the loss of a former relationship, let yourself have a day or two to mope, and then get back out there! Go out with friends, go out by yourself and make new friends, sign up for dating sites, explore your city and eventually you'll probably have too many prospects to handle. There are tons of cool dudes out there waiting to meet a hot chick like you, but they'll never know you exist if you don't make yourself available.

STEP TWO. Take initiative. Now that you've decided to step back into the world, you're surrounded by man-meat. But now what? If you're old fashioned, you may be uncomfortable with making the first move, but I dare you to try. A lot of boys can be shy, and they might be intimidated by someone as awesome as you. If you're at a party or a bar and you see a cute guy, why not just say hi? You don't have to hit on him right off the bat, but if you're friendly and smiling, who's to say he won't be into you? Sure, he could be married or have five girlfriends, but you don't know that yet and it's not fair to judge before you even have a conversation with him. The same goes for on-line dating. You might be getting 100 messages/day, but maybe the man of your dreams hasn't seen your profile yet and it's up to you to find it and shoot him a note! I made the first move with Brandon and with most of my exes too! The great thing about you taking the initiative is that you get to choose who you like instead of waiting for them to come to you and having to filter out the duds. It's not a fun process, I assure you.

STEP THREE. Set your standards. Now that you've got a handful of options, you need to set some standards in place to make sure you don't fall for just any of them. Men -- and, to be fair, women too -- can be charmingly manipulative. No one is going to be perfect, but your Mr. Right should have the things that are most important to you. If he doesn't, then don't settle, no matter how much he calls you pooky-bear. I'd suggest even writing down three main points. Mine (when I was looking) were: good personality (funny, friendly, sweet); good looking (nothing specific, I just had to be attracted to him); and good in bed (I'll let you use your imagination for that one). Believe it or not, it was really hard for me to find someone with all three. So, if your list says 'must like country music as much as me' and 'must be over 6ft tall' and 'must wear pink shoes on Sundays' then that's fine, but it might take a little longer for you to find him. Set your standards high, but make them attainable and realistic! You could say, instead, that he should be passionate about music like you are and have a fun fashion sense. :)

STEP FOUR. Work on yourself. As mentioned in step one, I ended up being Miss Independent while I was single. Being on my own allowed me the time, energy, and motivation to work on my health, happiness, career and creativity. I'm the type of person who has a bajillion hobbies (eating, reading, writing, shopping, travelling, photography, acting, exercising, etc) and being alone gave me plenty of time to channel my energy into these activities. Of course, your Dream Man should also be supportive of your passions and give you the freedom to continue pursuing them, it's just a little bit harder to fit it all in. Plus, if you want to eventually get married and have children someday, your free time will continue to decrease. Take advantage of the time you have now, and have fun just being you! Plus, it's extra attractive to see someone excited about something other than who she's dating. No one wants a clinger!

STEP FIVE. Don't get discouraged. So, it's been a few months, or even a few years. You've put yourself out there on-line and in person, you've met a few people and made some moves, you've set your standards high and kept your list in mind, and you've been concentrating on your favorite hobbies solo. Now what? You might feel discouraged if nothing's happening, but the more you dwell, the more depressed you'll get and soon you'll become a hermit. Rejection and heartbreak are inevitable, but if you know that from the start and refuse to be afraid of it all, you'll be in good shape. Every dating experience you have, good or bad, will add something unique to who you are and the wonderful relationship you'll have someday. Try to take a lesson away from everyone you meet and put a positive spin on it. Keep a journal for your stories or share them with a trusted friend. We all know that one couple who met at 16, had kids at 18 and stayed together until they were 85 -- but more often than not, women are in their mid-twenties and still far from marriage. This is totally okay! Everyone's journey is different and special. Yours cannot be compared to someone else's. That's what makes life fun. So do your part, and then sit back and enjoy the ride. Your time is coming.

*For extra encouragement, check out: Why Men Marry Bitches, You're Not That Into Him Either, The Joy Diet and It's Your Time.
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