Dating is a jungle. You go out to the bar on the weekend and stand in a pack with your friends, eyeing other packs and watching to see if they’ll make a move. At our core we’re all animals, and these instincts come out when we’re dating. It’s unavoidable to some extent. But let me tell you this: you are not a lion. So stop hunting so hard.
I’ve realized that when you’re single for an extended period of time, your singleness can feel like a problem. It’s something you have to correct. It’s wrong. You want someone to make you feel all fluttery when they call and text you, so you have to go hunting for that person. But if you’re not careful, you can become crazed and this hunt takes over your whole life. Suddenly you’re not just looking; you’re desperate. And desperation is not a cute look on anyone.
It’s great to be proactive about finding your better half. Join a Meetup group. Talk to people at bars. Go to networking events. Try online dating if you want. But fight this lion mentality where you’re constantly on the prowl, scanning every room for someone, anyone. There’s a major difference between being open and ready to meet someone and being obsessed with it.
When you do find someone who catches your eye, don’t hunt then either. It’s good to be proactive. Send a text or a Snapchat or an e-mail or (gasp) make a phone call. Remind them that you’re interested. But never feel like you’re stalking your prey. You should never have to force someone to find you interesting or to want to spend time with you. You should never be pleading for their attention. Dating does funny things to the ego and can leave you acting far more desperate than you ever intended. Don’t do it. Hold out for someone who sees your value and is just as interested in connecting with you as you are with them.
If you’re always the one initiating the conversation, that says something. If you’re always the one setting the plans, that says something. If you’re always the one checking in about how their day’s going, that says something. Sure, they’re busy, they were sick, they lost their phone, they got called away unexpectedly to Mars on business. There are plenty of excuses. Don’t use them. They’re either returning what you’re giving them or they’re not. If they’re not, move on. Don’t expend precious time and energy on someone who just isn’t properly receiving what you have to offer up.
Back to the jungle analogy: You are not a lion. Don’t hunt. Be proactive and engaging and optimistic and open-minded, not crazed and scary and ready to pounce.