Wed Aug 11 2021
Adulthood is confusing AF. One second you’re living two feet away from all your best friends in college, and the next you’re thrown into the realities of paying bills and “adulting.” Suddenly, you’re not on the same exact path as everyone around you – some of your friends are settling down and having babies, and others are acting like they never left college. Plus you have to figure out how the hell to balance work, family, friends, AND your love life. Less time with your BFFs and a series of blah dates can leave you feeling lonely, and the endless series of engagements, baby announcements, and couples hangouts do not help one bit. But we want dating to be a fun experience that you look forward to, not something that leaves you feeling lonely. Here are a few tips to help you keep a positive mindset about dating.
1. Don’t put your life on pause until you meet “the one.”
Putting everything you want on hold until you find the one can leave you feeling unfulfilled, and will put a lot of pressure on your dating life! Remember that you don’t NEED a partner to live your life and go after the things you love.
2. Destigmatize third wheeling!
Don’t opt out of plans because you’re worried about being a third (or fifth or seventh) wheel! They wouldn’t be inviting you if they didn’t want you there, an your company is far more valuable than even numbers at a dinner table.
3. Seek new friends with common interests.
If your friends are in a different phase of life than you and aren’t around as much, it’s time to make new ones! Make friends around shared hobbies, or actively seek out some new single friends who will want go out and do the same things as you and share dating war stories.
4. You need to feel to heal.
If you start to feel lonely, you need to sit and fully feel the emotion. Look within yourself and ask where the feeling is coming from, and if there’s any actions you can take that will help. Otherwise, it’s just going to bottle up over time and gnaw at you until it manifests in inconvenient ways (such as lashing out at friends, pulling away and isolating yourself, or giving up on dating all together).
5. Protect your energy in your off-time.
Your energy is precious, so don’t give it away for free! This means weeding out the one-way relationships in your life where you only give and don’t get anything in return. It also means understanding that you can’t do everything at once, and prioritizing the things you need in the moment.
6. Care for something beyond yourself.
Become a plant parent! Or if you’re feeling ambitious, a dog/cat parent. Caring for something beyond yourself will shift your focus away from your everyday worries, and allow you to channel that energy into something positive. And it doesn’t have to be a living thing — you can also sign up to support a charity or volunteer in your community.
7. Create self-date traditions.
Give yourself little joys to look forward to each week! Whether it’s a weekly workout + smoothie or a daily morning walk before work, finds ways to actively prioritize yourself and practice self-care. These plans will not only give you time to recharge, they’ll also make you feel more in control of time spent alone and make it an active choice rather than a fallback plan.