Uncuffed and Alone: An Exercise to Help You Get More (And Better) Dates

A Tip for Better Dating

Love, Romance, And The Art of Being

So, you survived the holiday season as a single entity. January has been alright since everyone is all about getting healthy and transforming into a new ‘you’ blah blah. But, the season of love approaches and your dating life has seen better days.

I’m going to offer a simple exercise to add to your daily life to potentially improve your dating life, because just like one would do crunches in order to strengthen their ab muscles one must also actively exercise their social skills.

I’m not going to tell you to delete your dating apps or to learn to love yourself more, I think both of those suggestions lean on the bullshit side of things.

Sure, dating apps can be discouraging, to say the least, but they are but one resource, one tool, in the world of romance and you might as well use all that you have, right? Because you never know. You definitely won’t know if you don’t try.

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I also want to take a minute to unpack the concept of “learning to love yourself more.”

I mean, is wanting to have a meaningful relationship with another person keeping you from loving yourself? No.

Are you living your life doing the things you want to do?

Are you working on your own personal growth and development in the best way you can?

Because here’s the thing, we all do the best we can at the place that we’re at. Some days are going to better than other days. Some days you might be hard on yourself or be annoyed with yourself but that doesn’t mean you don’t love yourself enough.

What right does anyone else have to tell you how much love you have for yourself?

It’s sort of like when someone suggests that you “just be yourself,” as if that means anything, as if it was possible to somehow transform suddenly into another body with another personality.

If people were really trying to give you some good advice, the best advice would be to cut the “yourself” from the phrase and to suggest that you “just be.”

To be present in the moment that you are in and to not attach yourself so severely to your thoughts or your emotions.

Do you remember a time when you were angry or joyful or afraid? You can feel how that feeling felt but you also know that it’s a memory and you weren’t stuck in that feeling for your entire life. In that sense, when feelings arise in the present you can remember that they will not necessarily stick around either. This is an important skill to have in not just your dating life but life in general and is a much better suggestion than learning to love yourself more.

But, I digress.

Here’s a simple exercise to add to your everyday life. When you venture out into the world, try for the next couple of weeks to engage in conversation with at least 3 random people every day. I’m talking complete strangers–old ladies, kids, teachers, baristas, neighbors, friends of friends etc.

No, it doesn’t count to say, ‘how are doing’ to the guy at 711 every morning when you buy your doughnut or whatever, that’s just being a decent human being. I am suggesting a short dialogue involving at least one question that requires an answer beyond “fine.”

I know that this task may sound daunting to some people. Start with talking to one random person and go from there if three overwhelms you, but let me breakdown why this exercise has the potential to help your dating life.

Talking to strangers opens up connections. Suddenly, you and the people you interact with will feel a little less alone in the world. It’s a small act that contains much larger consequences. It’s recognizing our humanity. It’s a way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and break the invisible wall that we all often put up while in public spaces. It’s a way to be more engaged in your surroundings. It’s a way to make you an active participant in your own life, to write your own script instead of just watching your story unfold like a passive consumer.

Plus, you never know who you might meet. Once you’re at ease talking to someone else’s grandma or your best friend’s random cousin, it will not be out of character for you to talk to a random person you’re actually attracted. It will come out naturally. You will not be invested in the outcome but present in the moment of the interaction and thus will be more confident.

People are attracted to other people who are confident. We all know this, but many people don’t understand what it means or how to gain it, and I’m telling you right now. You have to hurl yourself into the unfamiliar until the unfamiliar is familiar.  

You think I’m being overdramatic, I dare you to give it a try.

Here’s a short example of something that could happen. Let’s say you enjoy reading books, so one day you go to the bookstore and you’re hanging out in your favorite genre section. While you’re there you see an older woman in her 50s also browsing. So, you say something along the lines of,

“Excuse me. Hello. I just finished a really amazing book about _____ and now I’m afraid that nothing I pick will live up to its amazingness. Do you have any recommendations on amazing life-changing books? I feel it’s always better to ask another book lover than to just randomly pick something.”  

Somehow you get into this crazy conversation about books and the best authors in the entire world.

As you’re wrapping up she says something like, “You know what, I think my niece would get a kick out of you. Are you seeing anyone?” And then, whoa, you just randomly got set up on a blind date.

OR nothing like that happens but you did just have an amazing conversation AND found a new book to read.

See where i’m going here?

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Anyhoo. I am also single. So, if you’re willing to do this, I will do this as well because nothing is more bullshit than someone who tells someone else to try something that they aren’t willing to do themselves.

There will be days when you are just not in the mood. I would suggest to try it anyway because it’s the type of thing that could actually get you out of that mood.

Keep me posted on what happens, how you feel, etc. This shall be quite fun.

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