When I started online dating, I found that I was often my own worst enemy when it came to handling the ups and downs that dating throws at you. There comes a point when you realise that you are the only thing standing in the way of getting the results you want. So with that in mind, I want to cover the seven things to give up if you want to just chill out about the whole online dating thing and start enjoying it for what it is, an opportunity to meet single people who you quite fancy the look of.
1. Trying to control everything
As in life, lots of things about online dating are completely out of your control. You can meet someone and have the best connection ever but if their dad has just died, or their ex has just shown up wanting them back, then there is a chance that your beautiful, fledgling relationship just isn't going to make it off the ground. Life throws curveballs all the time so a better way to approach dating is to learn to go with the flow. Don't have expectations when you first meet people, just see where things go and aim to shrug things off if they don't work out.
2. Being hard on yourself
When things go wrong and new relationships go down the tubes, often your first instinct is to blame yourself and try and figure out what you've done wrong. But, happily, you are not your mistakes so whether or not you could have handled something better, a better way forward is to accept that things don't always work out, learn what you can from the situation and let it go.
3. Needing to be right
Someone once asked me whether my desire to be right was stronger than my desire to be happy and of course I said no. And then I stepped back and watched myself in action and realised my need to be right was at the heart of loads of petty arguments. Apparently it's not just me, lots of people are at it. If you're out there online dating, then this really isn't a great look. When two people go head to head and are motivated by the need to be right, then real communication goes out the window. Neither one is actually listening to the other, the aim becomes about winning the argument. Don't get me wrong, I'm not talking about giving up lively and upbeat debates, far from it. But lose the need to be right. It's boring, draining and will most likely make your date want to run a mile.
4. Worrying about past failures
Do you have a track record of failed relationships? I know I did. But there's really no point in worrying about what people think of you or worrying about what you can't change. Accept that things haven't gone to plan and focus on the next chapter.
5. Comparing yourself to others
When you're putting yourself out there online dating, it's really hard to avoid comparing yourself to others. But it's important to remember, we're all on our own journey, carving our own path and comparing ourselves to others is such a waste of time and energy. I remember, at the beginning, scrolling through pages of women of a similar age range as me on online dating sites to see who I was 'up against' and was often left feeling like I didn't measure up. Wow, that felt great! You can see how giving this up is so important, right? Instead, focus on being the best version of you.
6. Being a people-pleaser
Online dating isn't like real life. In real life you can just kick back, relax and be real. But when you're online dating you always have to be on your best behaviour, be the best version of you at all times. Being a people pleaser seems like the easiest strategy to get through this, feeding that overwhelming desire to be liked.
But of course if you're putting others' needs before your own or repressing elements of your personality to make people like you more, it's kind of unattractive and needy.
Just do yourself a solid and honour yourself in all your interactions online. You don't need anyone's approval about how you choose to live your life, just your own. Don't bend over to accommodate others if it doesn't align with your own values or needs. High levels of self-esteem make it easier to be unapologetically yourself and you won't have the need to please others just for the sake of fitting in.
7. Checking those tick boxes
Come on, you know what I mean. If you're a guy, you've probably checked that tick box which says you're looking for a woman who's 10 years younger than you. If you're a woman, I'm guessing you're looking for a guy who is over 5"11.
Love doesn't work like this, happily. We are more than a set of tick boxes so come on, throw caution to the wind and take a risk.