Why You Have To Play The Game if You Want To Get the Girl

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Picture the scene. You’re single, and just finished getting through all that super-important post-breakup reflection. Now, you’re casually looking for your next girlfriend, but disappointed that love isn’t just falling into your lap. Maybe your last relationship started totally unexpectedly – as we’re told all good relationships do – and now you’ve been out of the dating pool for so long that you’re not even sure you remember what to do.

Wouldn’t it just be so much easier if you didn’t have to try so hard?

Well, it is easier that way – and you don’t have to try so hard. But if you’re looking to get something started without waiting around for fate, you’ve got some work to do.

You have to be good to yourself.

Maybe you went through all that reflection already, but you haven’t really had enough time to implement it. It’s a lot easier to implement (or break) a habit when you only have yourself to worry about, so you might want to get started now. Any bad habits that could be a potential turn-off to a new partner should be assessed. Is it something that’s actually beneficial to you, but it irritates others? Focus on how your actions are going to affect you right now. You can worry about your next partner when she actually comes around. If you mold yourself to fit someone else’s idea of perfection, you’ll only lose your own unique wonder.

Now, what about the habits that don’t benefit you, such as nail biting or interrupting? These are the ones you’ll want to scrap. The easiest way to kick a bad habit is to replace it with a good one – that way you’re helping yourself twice, and retraining your brain for a more positive connection. With this information, develop a list of three habits you want to stop, and three habits you want to start. You won’t be able to implement them all at once, but once one becomes second-nature, it’s time to start in on another one.

When making your list, try to notice a pattern that works for you. For example, if you find that you bite your nails when you’re anxious, but you really want to get better at drawing, consider repurposing that nervous energy into some doodles. Even if you’re not a good artist now, all it takes is a little practice and perseverance to become your best. There are a million-and-one different possible combinations for every bad habit, so explore until you find a switch that works for you. Just remember: It can take as long as two months to fully set a habit, so don’t sabotage your progress by quitting too soon!

You have to leave the house.

You’re not going to find someone by sitting on your couch. (Okay, full disclosure, in the modern age where everyone has a dating app or two on their phone, you might actually be able to meet someone from your couch. But, you’re probably still going to have to go outside to do things with them.) If you’ve got some social anxiety going on, this is going to be very difficult, and possibly even uncomfortable. That’s okay. Do it anyway.

Don’t just hit the normal single scene, either. There’s nothing wrong with going to the club to unwind after a long week, but if it’s the only place you’re looking for a partner, you’re probably not going to like the choices you come up with. Of course, there are some amazing women who frequent the club scene, too, as well as some who get dragged out by their friends, but in general, the women who are looking for a partner like you are probably not getting drunk every weekend.

If you have other LGBT-friendly businesses in your area, try hanging out there, and see if you start to learn some familiar faces. Open yourself up to the possibility of just looking for friends, and see how many interesting people you meet that way. Best case scenario, you end up meeting a woman who appreciates the same types of activities you do – whether that’s reading, sports, or even cinema. Worst case scenario, you get more in touch with your local queer community and make a few new friends. You can’t lose!

You have to dress nice.

Listen. I like sweat pants and white tank tops just as much as the next girl, and on days I’m not going out, you can pretty much bet I’m wearing at least one or the other. But if you’re trying to attract someone’s attention, you’ve got to look the part. I know, we all want to be accepted for our own personal style. I feel you, and I agree wholeheartedly. As much as we all want that to be true, though, it’s not. Appearance is, unfortunately, the first impression that someone will have of you – so are you making sure it’s a good one?

Now, just so we’re clear: You don’t need to buy into expensive labels. You don’t need to change up your personal style. You don’t need to dress in something super uncomfortable. In fact, the more comfortable you are, the more confident and charismatic you’ll be. But the other side of the coin is that, if you’re too comfortable, you’ll give off the impression that you really don’t care about anything. After all, if you can’t spend 30 seconds making sure your outfit looks nice on you, how can your potential future partner tell that you’re going to spend the time it takes to make sure your relationship is going smoothly?

So, what’s the perfect cruising-for-chicks outfit? You should wear something that fits right and showcases your personality somehow. If you normally wear a lot of bright colors, wear them! If you normally wear all black or neutral colors, by all means, wear them. Whatever makes you feel the most confident – and that you think you look the sexiest in – is going to be the outfit with the most mojo in your entire wardrobe. It should be clean, in good condition, and the right size – everything else is up to you!

You have to be on your best behavior.

You know how some people seem to totally change from the time you started talking to the time you actually started dating? Well, by nature, we tend to put our best selves forward in the beginning. The only problem is that it’s usually a façade, which falls away over time. If you’re not totally committed to the person you want to be seen as, you won’t really have a lot of control over when you lose that image.

Instead, you need to create a different type of persona for yourself: One that’s actually attainable. Picture the best possible girlfriend you could imagine – and then strive to become her. Maybe your idea of perfect won’t be the same as someone else’s, but if you’re committed to living up to your own expectations, you will eventually attract a partner who shares your same values. It might take some time, if your values are unconventional, but there’s probably a reason they’re important to you – so don’t make the mistake of giving up too soon!

Most of all, you have to take it seriously if you want to win.

Think about all the professional challenges you’ve seen. Cooking competitions, football games, stock car races… What do they all have in common? The person in the lead takes what they’re doing seriously. They don’t treat it like a game, they treat it like a job. It’s not really any different with relationships (except that there shouldn’t be a winner and a loser – if you’re always against each other, you’re doing it wrong). If you want a fighting chance, you need to step up, and respect the process.

Some of the modern dating rules suck. I get it. Sometimes it seems like it would just be easier to live alone – and, psychologically speaking, it probably would. But life is all about taking challenges and risks, and competing (with yourself) to see how good you can have it. If your love life isn’t what you want, it’s time to get serious and start doing better. Love takes a lot of practice, so don’t worry if you’re not getting it right away – sometimes you’ve got to take a few more risks and keep trying until everything falls into place.

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