As a rule, people like happy people. Men and women are attracted to happy people because they believe that they will feel better if they are around that type of person. Yes, a handful of men and women are drawn to depressive or antisocial types, but the majority of people are looking for someone with whom they can relax and feel great. It sounds like a strange question, but how happy are you in your life overall? Think about the main compartments – social, work, and extracurricular life – and ask yourself how happy you are in each of these areas. Remember, if you are unhappy overall in one or more of those areas, odds are that it will show when you are out with your dates and may make you less attractive to them.
1. Social life
Do you feel like you have enough friends? Do you feel like you have the full breadth of friendships? In other words, do you have some friends with whom you have fun, and others with whom you can relax? Do you feel like you enough excitement in your life? Do you feel like you have enough fun, or do you feel like you wish you had someone in your life who makes things more exciting? The best way to look for a romantic partner is to already have a range of friendships that fulfill you so that you don’t depend too much on a new romantic interest to fill existing emotional voids in your life.
Overall, do you like your job enough, or are you unhappy or even miserable at work? Make no mistake: If you are unhappy or miserable, your work life is going to drag your mood down and that will show to your dates. If you don’t like your job, focus on looking for a new one, and wait until you have a better perspective about your job until you start a romantic relationship. So many relationships fail because someone is unhappy with their job, and this unhappiness bleeds into every part of life – including dating.
Outside of work and your social life, are you keeping busy with interesting, stimulating activities? Do you have hobbies? Do you spend a few hours each weekend doing something that has nothing to do with making money? Do you create art? Are you an avid athlete or workout person? Do you belong to a book club, church group, or anything else? Happy people have hobbies, so make sure that you are investing in something that makes you feel good, connects you to others, and reminds you that life is not all about work. Make sure you put things on the calendar every month that make you feel stimulated and inspired. You should have a mix of activities to engage in: some of them may be things you’ve done for years, while others should be new, different experiences (day trips, restaurants, parks, and other places you have never been). Investing in some new experiences makes you feel inspired and refreshed, and the bounce you get from trying new things comes across to new dates and makes you seem happy and attractive.
Setting specific, tiny goals
In order to attract functional, psychologically healthy dates, I will put it simply: you need to have your life in order. If you think back to any bad relationships you had in the past, odds are that you were going through a hard time or you were vulnerable in some way, which made you more susceptible to making bad romantic decisions. The healthier you get, the healthier the kinds of dates you will attract; the better you feel about yourself when you start a relationship, the better your future dates will feel about you.
Set at least one super tiny, super simple goal today to improve one of these three areas of your life. If you achieve that goal, I promise that you will feel a little happier, proud of yourself, and even more hopeful about the prospect of finding a good egg to date. Think: take action. Don’t wait or wallow!
Social life examples: I will make an effort to spend more time in the next month with an existing friend who makes me happy, or I will work on making one new friend by sending an invitation to do something to someone I’ve never socialized with before.
Work life examples: (If you are unhappy at your job and want to leave it) I will send out three resumes to new employers in the next month; (If you like the work at your job enough but feel lonely there or not connected to anyone emotionally) I will ask two different people in the next month to go lunch or take a coffee break.
Extracurricular life examples: I will start one new extracurricular activity – at least for one day – in the next month.
I hope some of these suggestions are helpful. By trial and error, you will figure out what’s wrong or missing in your life, and your love life will get better with new insight into yourself and the world around you.
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.