Because making mimosa-fueled declarations about your love life over brunch with your friends isn’t the same as an organized to-do list for better dating, I’m taking the New Year as an opportunity to ensure I never listen to Adele by the light of a single flickering candle ever again.
1. Call more, text less.
I made a little resolution on my birthday to go up to a cute guy and talk to him that night. After a tequila shot, I did. Then we continued to text for the next four months — without seeing each other a single time. We had a few weak attempts at meeting up and it just never came together. That probably means both of us were lukewarm, but I should have just called him the first week, made a plan and been done with it.
2. Be less passive.
Some combination of assuming guys love the chase and fear of rejection has led to a lot of waiting around asking silent questions. Does he like me? Does he want to kiss me? From now on, I’m going to stop worrying so much about what he wants, and think about what I want. If I want to see him, I will just ask. I am a woman of the 21st century, hear me roar.
3. Don’t begrudge other couples their happiness.
Yes, it’s annoying to hear “We’re in for the night” from my coupled friend with a 10 o’clock bedtime. But she’s in love and I’m not and that’s okay because I’ve got this other single friend sitting next to me and a party to go to or a movie to see.
4. Wear more red.
Not just red specifically, but red as an emblem of shaking things up. I could afford to trade in the cupcake mittens for a little black dress every once in a while. Wear lipstick for once and just rock some confidence. I like the shy, glasses-wearing me, but a me in a bright red blouse might be fun, too.
5. Date outside my type.
After a few too many weepy days after my last breakup, a friend looked me in the eye and said, “You know, there are a lot of acerbic writers in this world. You’ll find another.” Oh, is that my type?
If you put your hand in a fire once, you learn to never do it again. But for some reason I have put my hand in the fire of tortured, indecisive writer types with a knack for making witty Facebook posts again and again and come away burned. Well, if something’s not working, you try a new thing. That doesn’t mean ignore my gut feelings — if there’s no attraction then there’s not much to work with — but now that eyes have been opened to the fact that plaid shirts are not a prerequisite for a creative mind and sense of humor the possibilities seem endless.
6. Don’t be so easily impressed.
No more gushing about how he brought me a pint of ice cream, no more amazement that he introduced me to his friends or being so pleased that he remembered something I said. Those are now baseline expectations. If you like someone, it’s easy to do nice things for that person. You just want to. So here’s to finding someone who actually likes me and not being so terribly impressed by the fact that it’s possible.
7. Just me being me.
When I see a book that makes me think of a friend, or an empanada that my boyfriend might like to eat, I buy it and give it away. There was a period of time this year where I thought that was a bad thing. The guy I was dating and really liked didn’t appreciate it and an older friend advised me to not “give so much away” and to “hold something back.” But you know what? I like to give gifts. So instead of changing me, I’ll just change which guy I’m seeing.
8. Don’t look for romance where it definitely isn’t.
In other words, don’t get so desperate. A few months into a dating drought and your guy friend who’s definitely not interested or your hot yoga teacher with a cabal of toned groupies start to look like viable options. They weren’t before and they aren’t now, so let’s not waste our time.
9. No more doomsday dating.
It’s awfully easy to become cynical about love. I recently met a cute guy and, upon learning that he lives a block from one of my ex-boyfriends, my first thought was, “Oh, cool. That can be the neighborhood where guys who don’t love me live.”
I like to joke about the worst in a situation to deflect, but from now on I have to wait until it has actually happened. No more doomsday attitudes; it’s probably self-fulfilling.
10. Dating is fun?
Yes, it is! Related to my doomsday attitude, 2011 was a year of anxiety. In 2012, I will try to worry less about this guy or what that comment meant, and just enjoy the company I’m in. Easier said than done?