Updated: Mar 11, 2020
If you haven't dated in the 21st century, I wouldn't advise it. Being single definitely has a fun side but while some moments can be joyful and exciting, others can be flat out soul destroying.
I could talk about my dating experience over the last 14 months and you'd laugh, cry and mayyybbbee judge me a teensy bit but as well as finding out what it means to be "ghosted," how to take a selfie in the right lighting and that if a guy says 5'7" on his dating profile; he's actually 5'5", I've also learned some solid life advice along the way.
Being single and 31, it would be easy to get down about the lack of eligible men out there or the fact that every older relative thinks I'm about ready to pack up shop and rescue a few cats but instead I look at the positive side of being on my own at an age where I really know myself. The bad dates and failed attempts have helped me discover some vital ways to be a better and more resilient human being and here they are...
1. Be reliable even if others aren't. I've had dates cancel last minute and although my inner grandma loves an excuse to watch trashy movies and do a face mask on a Saturday night, flakiness is not okay in my book. In a generation of people who are 'spoiled for choice,' reliability isn't as prevalent as it once was. I know that life gets in the way and some things are unavoidable but if there's one quality I find truly admirable in a person, it's their ability to do what they said they were going to even if other people don't always do the same.
2. Match other people's energy. I've made excuses for men who have put very little effort into dating me (he didn't text me for three days because he's shy, right?) but I've realised that if one person makes far more effort than the other, it will never work. Whether it's a friend, a partner or a family member, if someone isn't willing to put themselves out for you then you shouldn't be bending over backwards for them. After a year of mismatched energy, I now make a point not to rearrange plans for someone who I KNOW wouldn't do the same for me; man, woman or dog (okay maybe dog). There's a fine line between being selfless and being taken for granted.
3. Don't settle* You deserve the best! Things take time and we can't expect perfection but if something (or someone) is not fulfilling your needs and shows no signs of changing then maybe it's time to reevaluate that situation. I'll say it again... YOU DESERVE THE BEST!!
*spoken by someone who dated a guy for 6 weeks even though I'm pretttttttty sure he didn't know my name.
4. Don't make decisions out of fear. I hurtled into 2019 with an overwhelming fear of not meeting the right person but I've realised we can get stuck in situations or relationships that aren't right if we fear the unknown (or in my case, ending up alone). Let's face it, we don't know what will happen next year, in the next five years or even in the next five minutes so we should make decisions that are best for our long term wellbeing, even if we don't know where it will lead. *GULP!
5. Honesty is everything. Imagine going on a date with a kind, sensitive and caring man who is super interested in you... only to realise you don't feel the same way. It would be a million times easier to block his number and move to Morocco but being straight up about how you feel is not only important for personal growth but also for anyone else involved in the situation. Honesty isn't always well received, especially when it comes in the form of rejection but if you tell the truth rather than ignoring the problem, you will be the bigger person for it.
I certainly don't have the dating world figured out but navigating my way through a jungle of millennial men who think gender equality means the woman pays for dinner, has a silver lining. To discover my worth and how to be a better person are two life lessons that are invaluable to me and I am determined to remain unwavering in both no matter how many narcissistic men slide into my DMs.
So here's to another year of navigating and hopefully mastering the dating world. Okay that might be wishful thinking but I'll certainly give it a red hot crack 😉