How To Start Dating If You Want To Be In A Successful Relationship

Life isn’t like a fairytale — you can’t just kiss a frog to find your perfect match (read: make out with a bunch of bad kissers and hopefully find your other half). Reality doesn’t mirror a Cinderella story, so how can you start dating if you want to be in a successful relationship?

Figuring out what you want in a partner is hard enough and trying to find that person is even harder. It’s even more difficult to find a significant other in this day and age. I mean, you’re more likely to walk into a Starbucks and see people glued to their computers or cell phones than strike up a conversation with any of them. While it might seem that meeting someone nowadays can be challenging, it's not impossible. There are plenty of things you can do right now to make finding Mr. or Mrs. Right a bit easier.

1. Think about what you want

In order to find a good match, you need to know what a good match even means to you. What are the qualities you are looking for in a partner? As the millionaire matchmaker would say, what are your non-negotiables? I’m not saying write a list out of 50 things that you want in a potential mate, but thinking about your top 5 qualities could start you off in the right direction. Think about what you are looking for and visualize it. Oprah was a believer in doing this, and well, you can never argue with Oprah.

2. Work on yourself

I hate to get all cheesy on you all, but you need to love yourself before you can healthily love another. Therefore, if you want to be in a happy and healthy relationship, you should have a happy and healthy relationship with yourself first. If you are already there, then move on to the next step. But, if you’re thinking twice about this part, you might want to spend some more one on one time with yourself.

3. Tell everyone

When you’re looking to find a significant other, you don’t want to keep it a secret. Let it be known. Just like you have that friend, that knows a girl that has a neighbor who is cousins with James Franco — the same thing applies. You might know somebody that knows somebody who could be your somebody! Don’t be shy about you being single and ready to mingle. Find your inner Julie Andrews and sing it loud and proud.

4. Hang out in your places of interest

If you want to meet a person who has similar interests, go to your places of interest. If you like music, go to your local record store or get tickets for a nearby show. If you’re interested in working out, hit up the gym or try a new fitness class. Who knows, maybe your future love is waiting for you at your nearby Trader Joe's? And yes, my place of interest is a grocery store.

5. Consider how you come across

Now, I’m not talking about being approached in a grotesque way or being harassed. I’m talking about the old-fashioned and genuine approach of just getting to know a stranger. If you’re looking for a potential match to approach you or for you to approach another person, you need to consider how you are coming across to others. For example, if you’re eyeing a cutie across the room, don’t just leave it up to the eyes — a smile can go a long way. If you are doing the approaching, ask yourself: are you being genuine, or does your conversation starter sound contrived?

6. Be more open to a potential match

Whenever I go shopping and I am only thinking of a specific outfit to buy, nothing else I see will please me. This is similar to dating. When you are too strict about what you are looking for, you run the risk of letting great people go. Maybe you didn’t think that the love of your life would be blonde, a little shorter than you had hoped, or was really into reality TV shows. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have specific qualities you are looking for, but you should just make sure you aren’t letting pickiness get in the way of finding someone truly amazing.

7. Be more open in your life

If you follow a structured life, have your routine down and stick to it every day, where is there any room for another person? If you are the kind of person that goes from A to B without even looking up, you might be missing a potential mate right in front of you. So say yes to a night out with your friends, or explore your city by yourself one day. You never know who’s out there on the road less traveled (by you).

8. Get out of your dating comfort zone

If your dating comfort zone resembles whipped cream by the spoonful while binge-watching New Girl on a Friday night (which, by the way, I think sounds absolutely glorious), then you might want to step out a little more. Hey, there's no judgement about said previous act, but I doubt you will find your perfect match through the TV screen. And anyways, Chris Pratt is already taken. You might want to put yourself out there (i.e. dating site, matchmaker, singles events). I know it's scary and easier said than done, but if you want something, you have to be a bit vulnerable.

Image: Sean McGrath/Flickr, GIFs/Giphy