If you’re not thrilled about your dating prospects lately, it’s easy to blame everyone and everything else: You’re not meeting enough people. Or the people you’re meeting are liars, losers, and flakes. Or perhaps you’re disgusted with the state of modern dating. Or maybe it’s the Internet’s fault.
The good news is that you might be playing a bigger role in your lack of success than you think. It’s good news because that means you can adjust your approach and get better results.
Check out these classic mistakes:
1) You don’t post attractive photos
You know that posting a collection of flattering photos is critical to piquing your match’s interest. Make sure the pics are recent and regularly updated. Include snaps from your summer barbecues and winter ski trips. Show off the tomatoes in your garden. Ask a friend to take some or hire a professional photographer. You won’t look desperate. You’ll look like you give a damn and are taking dating seriously.
2) You take too long to respond to texts or emails
You don’t have to respond to every communication immediately. But if you take a day to return a text, your match is likely to put you in the “not serious” category. Worse, you lose important momentum. If texting feels like a chore, it’s probably a sign you’re not really interested in someone. Cut bait and move on.
3) You don’t show enough interest
Be careful about taking “being hard to get” too far. It’s a fact of dating that we’re attracted to people who like us. So let your feelings flow. Tell your match what you like about them. Say if you had a great time and want to get together again. Schedule dates in advance. Show enthusiasm. Make someone excited about the prospect of getting to know you.
4) You’re not ready to date
Sometimes people need a push to get back on the dating scene after a breakup or divorce. But if you’re checking your ex’s social media feed in the bathroom during a date, you’re not going to have the emotional bandwidth to welcome another person into your life.
5) You look for your date’s flaws
If you look hard enough, you can find out what’s wrong with anyone. Are you baiting your dates with questions that reveal qualities that are unattractive to you? For example, if you suspect that your match isn’t very athletic, it’s not helpful to ask him about his weekly exercise routine. Ask him what physical activities he enjoys in general rather than expose his daily slothfulness. Give people a chance to shine and feel good with you.
6) You believe there’s something wrong with you
If you listen to the tapes in your head telling you that you’re not lovable, you’ll radiate that energy in a date. Answer back: “I hear you, but I’m not listening to you right now.” Deflate the power of shame by reminding yourself of all your positive qualities before you meet someone. Find your confidence.
7) You assume it won’t work out
You tell yourself “You won’t like her” or “He’ll break your heart” as you walk into a date. Welcome to your self-fulfilling prophecy!
8) You’re not available
You don’t have time to schedule your annual doctor’s physical exam, let alone a Wednesday evening first date and a Saturday afternoon second date. Perhaps you’re juggling work travel, a child custody schedule, and a family emergency. Or you’re recovering from an illness. Sometimes life makes it difficult to make dating a priority. Rather than fit in a date with someone every few months, take a break until your life calms down.
9) You’re not making it a priority
You complain that dating shouldn’t be a job. Yet the task of finding a person with whom to share your life and heart should be one of the most important goals in your life. Give it the time and attention it deserves. Send the emails. Answer the texts. Go on the dates. Give yourself a real shot at finding love. It’s kind of a big deal.
About the Author:
Sarah Elizabeth Richards is a journalist and the author of Motherhood, Rescheduled: The New Frontier of Egg Freezing and the Women Who Tried It. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, Elle, Cosmopolitan, Slate, and Salon.