Let’s start off strong here, folks: if you don’t pick up any tips in the dating game in your 20s, suffice it say that your 30s ain’t looking so good, either. Before you write off everyone for all the wrong reasons, just remember that as you age, the stakes get higher.
Maybe you’re busy fighting societal norms or embracing your inner Betty Draper, but no matter what your status, the truth remains: Your friends are settling down. Some are starting families. At the very least, you’re tired of being the only friend without a Plus One to drag to all the parties. What to do? That’s a question for another time.
For now, let’s focus what to stop doing.
1. Repeatedly dating a ‘type’
Girl, you’ve been dating for like decades. You have a pattern. Maybe you’re happy with your pattern — you’re a blissful serial monogamist or a sometime-dater — but for the rest of you who’ve had it UP TO HERE … change it up! No, really change it up. Dare we say, go against your instinct. Date the less-than-dapper dude who might not be the best arm candy. Try out the shy guy whose sense of humor you have to draw out. When it comes to love, your gut (and by gut, we mean vagina) can sometimes lead you astray. Go against the grain; it might end up feeling right.
2. Waiting for everything to “fall into place”
It can’t. It won’t. Stop thinking that when you finally get a promotion, Mr. Right will just stroll on in with a bottle of bubbly and a fistful of roses. Or when you land the perfect apartment that you can finally afford with west-facing light and enough closet space to fit all of your shoes, the man of your dreams will just wander into your orbit. Few things in life follow a sequential order, and your love life definitely isn’t one of them. “The Universe” doesn’t know that you’re ready to meet “the one.” You have to go find him yourself, and that (usually) takes work.
3. Being overly direct
We get it: the clock is ticking. And yes, when it comes to salaries, martinis and aisle seats, it makes sense to ask for exactly what you want. But your dates aren’t managers, bartenders or flight attendants. Dating, getting to know someone and (especially) deciding if you want that person to be your life partner are all steps in a delicate process that requires patience and restraint. Quite frankly, that applies to being in the relationship iself, too. So be gentle: it’s good practice.