If finding love is on your New Year’s resolutions list, you may want to examine your dating history and resolve to ditch some of your bad dating habits first. As the old saying goes, “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.”
Do you always agree to a plan and then forget or cancel it at the last minute? You might just be a flake. This should go without saying, but if you’re trying to find love, you’re going to have to find a way to show up. Studies on flakes (yes, it’s gotten that bad that there are studies), show that flakes have a hard time saying “no.” Does this sound like you? Don’t overcommit yourself; take a look at your priorities to see how dating actually fits—then get in the game.
What if I told you that every time you ghost someone, a ghost haunts your dating life and keeps you single? It would be a bold-faced lie, but ghosting is still disrespectful. If you’re not interested in seeing someone again, tell them. I offer a tip here that works like a charm.
Online Stalking, Premature Friending
A wise person once told me that if you go looking for trouble, you’ll find it. I can’t remember if that was my therapist or exterminator but, regardless, it’s true. What happens when you find your date’s Instagram or Facebook page before you meet? You go line by line, post by post creating a narrative about who you think they are and you start jumping to conclusions like Spiderman swinging from Manhattan skyscrapers. Next thing you know, you’re sending screenshots of their page to your friends and all of sudden your little CIA operation is putting your date on the “no fly” list. Judge your date by how they show up, and allow yourself to be in the moment.
Cushioning is having a back-up plan in case your current relationship fizzles. Basically, you’re dating someone, but you’re still DM-ing and texting other people. It’s a variation of keeping your options open. This lacks kindness and generosity and you can’t build a lasting, healthy relationship this way. So you’re wasting your time and theirs. This is a symptom of some deeper, emotional insecurities that need to be unpacked if you’re to break this habit.
Dating the Same Person
If you’re always dating wannabe actors who can’t commit, or emotionally unavailable bankers who treat you like shit, the problem is your pattern. Identify the qualities you look for in a partner in addition to height and the right amount facial hair. Remember when Charlotte fell for Harry in Sex & The City? Try giving different types of people a chance. What do you have to lose? At worst, you meet someone new and interesting, at worst you practice for your next date (with someone else).
Waiting for Guys to Make the First Move
This one is for my girls (who like boys). It’s about to be 2018. I wouldn’t say that chivalry is dead, but people now realize it’s silly to force men and women into roles. If you want to attract a man who will appreciate your girl power, try making the first move. Guys who are intimidated by it aren’t worth your time, meaning you’ll have dodged a bullet. In fact, an OKCupid study found that when a woman contacted a man first, 30 percent of those messages turned into a conversation. Women are 2.5 times more likely to get a response than men are when they initiate contact.
Talking About Your Ex
If you think I write about this a lot, it’s because it happens to me a lot, and I hear about it often. No one wants to hear about your ex—especially not on the first date. Not only does it communicate to your date that you may not be over your ex, but studies show that people who admit to being dishonest, manipulative, and cheating to get their way are more likely to be friends with an ex. No good comes from bringing up your ex.
Planning Boring First Dates
Grabbing coffee or drinks tells me you go on lots of dates and you want to quickly interview me to see if I’m worth the time—just about everyone does it. If you want to impress someone, suggest literally anything else other than “drinks.” An art gallery opening, salsa dancing lessons, fencing class—anything other than drinks will earn you cool points.
Settling for Less Than You Deserve
Sometimes we get so excited someone that is interested in us, we put blinders on to their bad qualities. Let me be clear: this is different from setting impossible expectations about their appearance and the zeros on their paycheck. I’m talking about putting up with behaviors that you know you don’t like such as rudeness, lateness, smoking, or other deal breakers. Set some principles for yourself and stick to them. Create a list of must-haves, nice-to-haves, identify non-negotiables, and operate from there all the time. Settling is a self-esteem issue that needs to be explored before you enter the dating arena.
Wondering When to Have Sex
Forty-eight percent of millennials are more likely to have sex before the first date. BEFORE! Imagine how many are doing it after the first date! Most people aren’t all that concerned about sex. Sex is no longer this sacred, intimate mating ritual like it once was. It’s your life, your body, and you make the rules. But also know yourself: if you become easily attached after sex, have a conversation beforehand, to know where you stand. Establish guiding principles for yourself so you’re not disappointed.