I’m inspired by feedback from readers who have bravely stepped back into the dating scene. I’ve also heard comments from those who’d like to…but are too nervous to face all the insecurities that come along with it.
It’s not easy to find a match, but it can certainly be fun to try. Allow yourself the space to feel vulnerable, silly, nervous and maybe even disappointed at times.
Once you get over the fear of the above, you may find that dating can also make you feel alive and giddy, clever and interesting...maybe even desired. Here are some tips if you’re newly navigating the dating world.
Cherish and nurture your friendships
I truly love my girlfriends. True friendships fulfill certain emotional needs that you don’t need — and maybe shouldn’t expect — from a romantic relationship.
If you don’t have a traditional “date,” go out with a fun and supportive friend instead. Look good for your “date” so you feel fantastic walking out the door and hit the town.
Eat at the bar instead of a table. Be open to joining conversations with those around you or chat up the bartender. Go to the type of place your ideal mate would go.
I’m attracted to a guy in a group who’s happy and laughing and enjoying his friends. Naturally men would be drawn to that type of woman as well.
Remember: Friendships are the cure for loneliness, not dating.
This is a tricky one, I know. Easier said than done ...but this one is important. For me, confidence comes from self acceptance and self-love.
If you need help with this, I suggest a night alone with a book on astrology and a glass of wine. Check out your zodiac sign and read the list of positive traits. Find ones that match your personality. Celebrate them! Then peek at the negative ones for a good laugh, too.
Next, turn on your favorite music — nice and loud — and put on some lipstick and start taking selfies. You heard me — selfies. Smile and pose and watch just how good those pictures start looking. The more you take, the better they will get, so keep snapping.
Go buy yourself a pair of high waisted skinny jeans, they work for virtually every body type. And maybe shop for a great new bra to give whatever you are working with justice. Now we’re cookin’. After all that, start flirting. With everyone! The FedEx driver, the waiter, your Uber driver, male, female, whomever.
By flirting I don’t mean pick-up lines and come-ons. I’m simply encouraging you to smile, make eye contact, laugh out loud, wink or even send a compliment to another person, male or female. The goal here isn’t to land a date with your FedEx guy, unless of course you want to. What you are doing is a lot of smiling.
I want your face to hurt. Smiling feels good and better yet, it looks good. A smiling face is a beautiful one.
Most importantly, stop the negative internal and external conversations about your body. We as women are far harder on ourselves than men are on us with this one. How do I know? I have worn sizes 8 to 16 and my weight, no matter where it stands, has never made a difference in my ability to meet and connect romantically.
You would think I was a swimsuit model by the way I proudly strut around a bedroom. I have always known instinctively that it’s much sexier than hiding in the dark with the lights out.
Still working on losing the 10 pounds you told yourself you needed to before you consider dating? Watch how fast those pounds melt off when you start flirting, connecting and building toward an intimate relationship.
And let’s remember, ladies, that men aren’t born with innate confidence themselves. They aren’t happy with their weight. They are losing hair on their heads and find it growing on their backs. And they surely don’t know what to wear, either. Be confident with your body to allow them to be comfortable with theirs. And don’t make it his job to ask you out or give you confidence.
Resist the urge to take rejection personally
You will get rejected, and you will reject. Most of these reasons actually have nothing to do with you at all. It could be timing, work schedules or maybe an on again, off again relationship you got caught in the middle of unknowingly.
Even moreso, it could be their own inability to open up emotionally, or fear of your rejection. That is not your problem. Stop trying to solve it.
Whatever it could be, move on. It’s a numbers game. Odds are most are not a perfect fit anyway.
Finally, rest assured knowing that there is a “Jack” for every “Jill”. Now get out there and start looking for Jack in your sexy new jeans.
Questions for our dating columnist? Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.