Have you ever gone through a long dating dry spell?
It’s not like you suddenly became less confident or less attractive, you just sort of… stopped dating.
You let the online dating subscription lapse.
You didn’t go out looking for guys.
You just focused on what was right in front of you – your work, your friends, your travel, your hobbies and passions.
And you were good at it. And you enjoyed it. And it was easy.
But then you looked up and realized that a few YEARS had gone by since you had a boyfriend.
If this is a familiar scenario to you, it’s certainly no crime. However, by not taking any action in love, you’re not getting any closer to your goal of finding a happy, healthy, long-term relationship.
Just the other night I was coaching a special client on the phone. Laurie, 38, very much wants a husband and children, and has very little dating and relationship experience to show for her age.
By not taking any action in love, you’re not getting any closer to your goal of finding a happy, healthy, long-term relationship.
When we look at her life, it’s easy to see why:
She works hard all day, then comes home to watch TV or read.
That’s pretty much it.
When I ask her why she doesn’t have more of a social life, Laurie shrugs.
“I don’t know,” she tells me. “I just don’t. I guess I’m comfortable this way.”
Laurie’s 100% correct. She IS comfortable this way. And, as a result, she has had a total of no boyfriends in 38 years. The longer she goes without a relationship, the more comfortable she gets in her life. The more comfortable she gets, the greater her fear of busting out of her comfort zone.
She acknowledges that Mr. Right is not going to approach her in her office, nor is he going to knock on her bedroom door at night.
She acknowledges that if she wants to achieve her goal of finding connection, comfort, passion and family, she has to start meeting more men.
And yet she STILL chooses not to. Why? Fear.
Because Laurie has so little experience with men – and with women– she’s fearful that she’s not going to be “good” at being social.
This is a result of taking herself out of the game for years at a time.
So when Laurie looks at her life, which is spent mostly alone, the thought of being around others is positively intimidating.
I don’t blame her for a second. It may be intimidating. She’s not wrong for feeling what she’s feeling.
But make no mistake: she’s the architect of her own situation. Laurie put herself in a tower, and has wondered why no one is climbing up to join her.
Solitude is, objectively, a BAD strategy if you want to fall in love.
And while she may be a wonderful person, solitude is, objectively, a BAD strategy if you want to fall in love.
In fact, Laurie shared something very interesting with me the other night: she felt extremely comfortable going to the Apple Store because 3 different men in red shirts approached her to assist with her iPhone. She enjoyed this far more than she did when she went to a big social gathering at a local hotel bar, which was filled with 300 thirtysomething singles.
Her reasoning for preferring a customer service rep to hundreds of single men?
No one at the singles event came up to her to talk. Then again, she only gave the event 10 minutes before she left.
I shared with Laurie that she has it completely backwards. At a party where many people know each other, SHE has to be like the Apple Store EMPLOYEES.
People aren’t always going to invite her into their conversations when they already know each other. But they WILL be receptive if she comes up and warmly introduces herself.
Laurie has trouble believing this. She’s picturing some scenario where she says “hi” and everyone turns and walks away, or a fictional world in which mean guys insult you because you’re new. These are very old fears, probably bred in elementary school, based on clueless (and cruel) children. They just don’t apply anymore. And Laurie has to stop living her life as if they do.
Do you have fears of rejection? Do you worry about what people think? Does it scare you to think of putting your face online, or make conversation with a stranger at a party? If so, you’re human – and just like the rest of us.
The irony is that if Laurie is really comfortable and set in her ways, the only way for her to succeed is to start making herself MORE uncomfortable.
That’s right. Her comfort is CAUSING the problem and is the main reason she’s 38 with no dating experience. From this point forward, Laurie has to:
Flirt with men online.
Meet new girlfriends.
Get out of the house 2 or 3 nights a week.
Go on at least one date a week.
Is this jarring for someone who is content curling up with a book each night? You betcha.
But I predict that if Laurie goes through with my recommendations, she will soon see that most people are nice. Being social is kind of fun. Meeting men can be exciting. And it’s not worth all the internal turmoil she’s putting herself through. Her anxiety is purely in her head.
Listen, there’s nothing elementally wrong with being an introvert – but if that introversion means that you have literally NO opportunities to find love, SOMETHING has to change.
And if that change means stepping outside of your comfort zone, so be it.
I encourage you to challenge yourself today. Ask yourself what fears have been holding you back. What have you been avoiding doing? And how is that keeping you single and stuck?
Push through your fears and watch as they melt away forever.