Although Reddit is often full of hilarious relationship nightmare stories, it’s not always the best place to go for positive dating advice. Today, though? Today it is. Earlier this morning, Redditor heavensgatesneakers (an odd reference for a user name, perhaps, but to each his or her own) posted a thread in the AskReddit sub titled simply, “What can you do that is NOT appearance based to make yourself more attractive?” — and you know what? It’s full of terrific words of wisdom. It’s also full of jokes and a few words of nothing remotely resembling wisdom; the good far outweighs the bad, though, so it’s definitely worth a moment of your time.
All of the best suggestions in the thread move beyond simply “being nice.” Niceness, kindness, and all those other “good” qualities should be the barest minimum required for being human in general, not just being a human who would like to date other humans. They’re also not necessarily things you have to do only for other people — a lot of them are things that you should really do for yourself. The overall effect they’ll have on your happiness and outlook will then spread to other areas of your life, including relationships. Everybody wins!
So here. Have a bunch of ways to make yourself a better person, and therefore a more attractive person in the process. We’re all ongoing projects; that means we can always change. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?
1. Cultivate decisiveness.
Obviously you should also remain open to and respectful of other suggestions, but knowing what you want can be really attractive. It’s a demonstrable way of displaying confidence, and therefore probably more useful than simply trying to “be confident” (whatever that means).
2. Play to your strengths.
This. A thousand times this.
3. Develop a neat skill or hobby.
I actually think the wording of this particular suggestion is a little less than helpful — “be THIS” doesn’t actively give you something to do (it’s just a state of existence) — but the idea itself is sound. Developing an interesting skill or hobby speaks well of you in a few ways: One, the skill or hobby itself gives you character; and two, the fact that you actually took the time to learn it shows that you’re a go-getter. Have you always wanted to learn an instrument? Take lessons or start teaching yourself. Wish you could pick locks? Get yourself a practice lock and a set of picks and hit YouTube for some tutorials. Want to be able to make at least one knock-your-socks-off awesome meal? Get thee to thy kitchen and learn to cook that meal. The sky’s the limit; all you have to do is make the time to learn. The best part? You don’t even have to do it for the purposes of reeling in the ladies or menfolk; do it just for yourself. You’ll thank yourself for it.
4. Focus on the other senses beyond sight.
Using smell as an example: Never underestimate the value of good personal hygiene.
5. Look. Listen. Pay attention.
Engage with the world, and with everyone in it. Another Redditor mentioned learning how to read people and adjust your behavior accordingly, which is sort of in a similar vein.
6. Learn. All the time. Always be learning.
As demonstrated here, reading is an excellent way to learn new things; it’s definitely not the only way, though, so go ahead and watch, listen, and do in order to learn, too. Exercise curiosity about everything, then go try to figure out the answers to all your questions.
7. Love yourself.
As cliché as it sounds, it's true: You have to love yourself before you can love anyone else.
8. Grow up.
What I think is most important about this suggestions is that it doesn’t mean “not having fun ever.” It means dealing with your responsibilities in an adult fashion and not A) complaining about it all the time or B) expecting everyone else to take care of your shit for you. The key point is that last sentence: “They can still be playful, and fun, and lighthearted and enjoy silly things, but still be a responsible and empathetic adult.” Ayyyyy-men.
9. Don’t take yourself too seriously all the time.
Humans are funny, even when we screw up (or, especially when we screw up). Laugh at your own foibles. You’ll be able to deal with them better, which benefits both you and other people.
10. Learn to express yourself clearly and succinctly.
In addition to ditching “filler” words from your vocabulary, also put some thought into your grammar and spelling (especially in written communication). Messages like “U so hottt!!!!” are the exact opposite of hot.
11. Take initiative.
Especially when it comes to yourself. We all have flaws; to err is to be human and all that. But if there’s something you wish you could change about yourself, don’t just wish it — go ahead and make the change yourself.
12. Let it go.
Embrace your inner Elsa.