Making resolutions at the start of the year isn't everyone's idea of fun, but reflecting and truly thinking about what you want to achieve in the coming year is healthy. If you're single and want to be dating, there are some good mantras to be subscribing to - and repeating them should make navigating the cess pit that is dating easier and more enjoyable.
According to research from dating expert Match, Sunday January 6 is the busiest day for online dating. With a third of singles also feeling pressured to find a partner in the new year, Match’s dating expert Kate Taylor shares seven super smart dating resolutions to make this year.
Finish the wrong relationships faster
If you meet someone and realise it’s not going to work out, don’t continue to date them. Staying in the wrong relationship for the “right” reasons (you’re not ready for marriage yet; the sex is unbelievable; maybe you’ll develop feelings later; maybe they’ll develop feelings later; you’re lonely; they’re really nice to you) only wastes time.
Everything you need to know about a relationship is knowable in the first three months. If it’s not working, move on, and give yourself the greatest chance of meeting the right person, faster.
Flirt with the whole world
Flirting is terrifying if you think of it as an act that’s deliberate and seductive, and one you only do for people you’re nuts about. In fact, flirting is simply, as Max O Reill described it, “attention without intention”.
Use it liberally. Smile, talk and laugh with new people (of every gender and age) as often as possible in your everyday life. No, you won’t look insane. Yes, you will boost your love life because you’ll be so used to interacting with strangers in a relaxed, easy-going manner, going on dates will become SO much easier.
Plus, being open and receptive to new people increases your chances of drawing the right people towards you. If you’re really shy, practice a bit every day until you can look an absolute stunner straight in the eye, smile and say “Hi.” At that point you have officially graduated from charm school.
Set a couple of deal breakers
Love isn’t like Ocado, you can’t create a shopping list of qualities that you must have in a partner. What a love-life shopping-list really gives you is a valid-sounding excuse to stay single forever. When I meet really fussy singles, I usually discover they’re feeling vulnerable and scared of getting hurt, and hiding it all behind a fortress of “must haves”.
Instead, set one or two (OK, three if you’re really anxious about it) genuine deal breakers, and beyond that keep an open mind and an open diary. If someone with none of your dealbreakers asks you out, go. Give it a try. Just one date.
Keep your deal breakers practical and specific, too. “Must be gorgeous” isn’t a dealbreaker. “Must have a job” may be a deal breaker. “Wants to settle into commitment within five years and be open to children within seven” isn’t a deal breaker. Stop thinking like that, or you’ll turn every date into a job interview.
And mainly: be open-minded.
Go where your people go
Being surprised that you keep meeting flighty commitment-dodgers on free, fun dating apps is like being shocked that you can’t apply to be Secretary of State in your local job centre. When you’re looking for a certain type of person, put yourself in their shoes. What do they do at weekends? Where do they work? Where do they hang out?
I’m not saying stalk them like a poacher, but you have to hang out places at weekends too, so why not go where you have a better chance of meeting your “type”? Or join dating sites targeting that type of person.
Ask different people for dating advice
People give wildly different dating advice, depending on their life stage, experience, outlook on life, etc. Find someone who is in the type of relationship you want, and use them as your oracle.
Look forward, not back
Go all Marie Kondo on your phone and social media accounts, and ruthlessly delete ANYONE who makes you emotionally wobbly; these could be exes, “perfect” couples, or anyone who makes you feel inferior.
Replace them with people who always make you feel amazing, or aspirational couples who tell the truth about their relationships. Michelle Obama is great — in Becoming, she talks openly about marriage counselling.
Set fun, empowering plans for 2019 so your eyes are trained optimistically on the new horizon of your life, not on the smouldering romantic wasteland behind. Your single years are the perfect time to switch careers, move house, or travel, without having to take a partner’s feelings into consideration.