Whether you’ve recently come out of a long-term relationship or have been enjoying your independence for a few years, looking for new love can be a daunting prospect. Especially if the last time you dated someone was in your 20s or 30s.
You may also have been put off looking by going on a few less-than-successful dates, or been set up by well-meaning friends. These six strategies could help you to maximise your dating success.
Be your own psychologist
Applying psychology to different situations in our lives can help us to better understand family and friendships, work, relationships and feelings around intimacy. To get back into dating, a good place to start is eliminating insecurity. Even insecurities that you’ve had for a while don’t have to remain with you. But it means managing the source of your insecurity.
On a date, it’s not your job to automatically fill any gaps in a conversation or provide amusing anecdotes. Don’t pepper your talk with self mockery; find another way to converse. Once you’re aware of self-critical thoughts, note them and make a deliberate effort to change them to positive thoughts. Make an aim to develop yourself by setting yourself new challenges.
Body language and smiling
Use positive body language to appear more confident. Stand tall, be happy and approachable, be confident to take up space in your environment, keep an open approachable posture.
Fake it until you make it! Research has shown that smiling can have a positive effect on your body and mood, whether it is a real or fake smile, since your brain doesn’t know the difference. You’re not trying to be someone you’re not, you are simply helping your personality to shine.
Improve your image
Image plays a very important role in igniting the fire of a relationship. While it may not be as important as personality, it is the gateway. We initially assess someone’s image to give us clues to their deeper character and what this person will be like in the long term.
Rather than putting too much unrealistic pressure on yourself to look flawless, choose an outfit that you feel both confident and comfortable in, while knowing you’ve made an effort. You’ll be more confident because you look good and are dressed appropriately for the occasion, your age and body type. If you’re uncomfortable or feel overdressed or not yourself in a outfit, you’ll probably look it.
Tell people you’d like to meet someone
Don’t be afraid to tell people that you’re looking for a relationship. But try not to focus on superficial traits when you’re telling them who you’d like to meet. Don’t ignore physical attraction completely, but placing a strict limit on a person’s physical traits will only lessen your chances of meeting someone. Be open to meeting real people with the quirks and flaws like we all have, rather than focusing on daydreams of the perfect person.
Keep your expectations realistic
Depending on what they are, unrealistic expectations can minimise the pool of potential matches. It’s not possible to predict who you will have chemistry with, so don’t be too rigid. Get out there and meet people.
Sometimes, it is not so much that one or two of our expectations are completely improbable; rather, that we may have so many (relatively rational) expectations that we create a huge shopping list, not realising that there is no shop in the world that could possibly stock all those goods.
Being too specific about what you expect leaves little room for anyone to fill the void. Look out for contradictions in what you think you want so you don’t set yourself up to fail.
Don’t rush to overshare
We all have a relationship history but while it may be tempting to share our life story with a new partner, certain subjects, such as exes, should be left out of the autobiography.
Another common mistake is to project an ex’s faults on to a new love interest. Just because your ex cheated on you doesn’t mean that every other partner will too.
When you’ve been out of a relationship for a while, it is common to have unrealistic expectations of a new partner. There is a big difference between the importance of sharing core values and being too picky.
Try not to read too much into things that happen during each date in an attempt to work out what your partner is thinking. Sometimes, by adjusting our actions because of what we think is going on, we can ruin a good thing.
On the flip side, don’t ignore red flags. If your love interest is obviously not in tune with your most important values, pay attention to your instincts.
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