A new year is an exciting opportunity — a clean slate, a fresh start, a blank page. Sure, it’s just the same life you’d been leading before with a different number on the calendar, but the starting over that it suggests is symbolic: You can take it as an opportunity to approach things with a new mindset.
Many people tackle a new year looking to achieve concrete goals that’ll make them happier — losing weight, drinking or smoking less, going new places, completing personal projects. And those are all well and good, but they’re things that are more or less within a person’s control. That’s why you tend not to see many people resolving to, say, get in a relationship in 2019.
Since starting a romance involves the (enthusiastically!) consenting participation of another person, it’s not wholly under your control. But it’s also worth considering the many ways in which getting into a relationship is under your control. That is to say, there are things you can do that will affect how easy it is for you to find a romantic partner. If you’ve been struggling with that lately, well, read on. With the right attitude, 2019 could be your year.
1. Work on Yourself
This could mean taking your physical fitness more seriously, working on your wardrobe and grooming routine, cultivating your talents and interests, or (stay with me here) going to therapy. Whatever it is that you do, if you’re working on making yourself the best version of yourself, you’ll build confidence and people will start to notice you more and think of you differently.
It’s true that not everyone has charm, money, good looks, or the other stereotypical qualities many men think they need in order to find someone, but it’s also true that if you’re feeling unlovable, unattractive or simply undateable, it’s important to remember that the you you are now isn’t a permanent state and that everyone’s tastes are different.
Whatever angle you choose to work on (and you can choose several), there’s not much that’s more attractive than a guy with the humility to recognize his faults and the ambition to improve himself.
2. Think About How You Approach Women
If you’re not interested in dating women, you can probably skip this section, but for the many guys out there who are, this is crucial info: A lot of women find men who don’t respect them to be a huge turnoff.
If you put in some work to check — and maybe change — your perception of women and treat them as fellow humans who deserve equal rights and to be taken seriously, you’d be surprised at how much easier it’ll be to find someone who wants to be in a relationship with you. Try talking to women you know or are close to about their experiences with sexism and misogynistic men. Try reading books or online advice about how to be a better feminist, and put into practice what you learn. You’ll be grateful — and so will the women you go on dates with.
3. Sign Up for a Dating Site or App
This might be a gimme, but seriously, if you’re not signed up for an online dating site or app of any kind, you’re doing your chances of finding a relationship an immense disservice.
Over the past decade or two, online dating has skyrocketed in terms of popularity, and these days you’re much more likely to find a date through digital means than by, say, asking the cutie you ran into at the grocery store out for dinner.
If you’re genuinely looking for a relationship in 2019, sign up for at least one online dating option. If you’re wary of hookup-oriented apps such as Tinder or Grindr, there are a lot of sites tailored for basically every interest, demographic category, and niche subculture out there.
4. Put Yourself Out There
If you’re shy when it comes to dating, set a goal and do your darnedest to hit it. Whether it’s swiping right on more people, messaging more people, or asking people out more, you should be shooting to reach out more.
Opportunities to be in relationships stem from making connections, and if you’re not doing the basic stuff like saying, “Hey, let’s go see a movie” or “Want to grab drinks?” you might never end up at a point where you have the “Let’s be exclusive” conversation.
5. Be Honest About Your Feelings
Maybe the thing holding you back from success is that you haven’t tried. This is a long shot, but if you have a crush who you’re too scared to ask out, it might be time to give it a try and be honest about your feelings.
It’s easy to find yourself trapped in a cycle of “Now’s not the right time to bring it up,” but the truth is that if you really want to make something happen with someone, it’s better to shoot your shot.
Make 2019 the year you find out if your crush likes you back. It’s a win/win — either they do (win) or they don’t, but you’re no longer trapped in a state of emotional suspended animation (also win) and you can start to move on and find someone new.
6. Don’t Fear Failure
At its core, struggling to find a relationship often involves the fear of failure. If you skipped through all the above advice (no judgment), take this to heart: Try your best not to let fear of failure prevent you from seeking happiness.
A lot of people are content to go through life without pursuing their dreams because they fear trying and failing more than never trying at all. If your goal in life is to never share any beautiful moments of love and passion, then that’s fine! You do you.
But if you’re pretending you’re OK with being alone because it’s easier than trying to find someone and getting shot down, you’re doing yourself an immense disservice. Whatever it takes, remember and repeat to yourself: “2019 is the year I try to find a relationship.” Sure, you might fail. You might find yourself reading an article just like this one a year from now. But it won’t be for lack of trying.
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