In their 2017 survey of Singles in America, Match asked respondents what dating advice they’re sick and tired of hearing. As someone who doles out dating advice from time to time, I wonder what you think. Here are the top answers, in order:
- “You’ve got to put yourself out there.”
- “Don’t be so picky.”
- “It will happen when you least expect it.”
- “Go online.”
- “Be patient.”
- “Give it more time.”
- “Just be yourself.”
- “It’s a numbers game.”
- “Get to know yourself first.”
- “Be more assertive.”
- “Don’t lower your standards.”
The worst advice is that which recommends passivity: “It will happen on its own, be patient, give it more time.” When one is dissatisfied with dating, it’s worth thinking about taking action.
That may mean being more assertive in the form of flirting or cultivating friendships. It may very well happen in time, but why not increase your chances of success instead of sitting around and waiting for something to happen to you? At the very least, it feels better to do something.
Don’t Change a Thing
“Just be yourself” is good advice for the charismatic and attractive in a favorable dating market. But it’s usually not the solution for people struggling and frustrated with dating. Most of the readers who reach out to me for help recognize they need to change in some way. Perhaps they’ve been choosing the wrong men, or are aware of behaviors that sabotage their success.
It’s important to figure out and take responsibility for your own role when results are disappointing.
Take a Risk
The advice people find most annoying – “You’ve got to put yourself out there” – is inarguably true. Your dating life isn’t going to improve if you stay in alone.
As you know, I encourage people to try online dating. Since that’s where 25% of marriages start, it’s a sensible strategy. It isn’t all a numbers game, but the statistics are illuminating.
Another example where numbers matters is in the sex ratio – at college where 60% of students are women, or in NYC where the ratio of single women to single straight men is very high, men have the advantage. In some settings, like Silicon Valley, women are in the driver’s seat. Skewed ratios can make finding a partner more challenging. Putting in more effort is a common sense strategy.
Be Picky About the Right Stuff
It’s interesting that “Don’t be picky” and “Don’t lower your standards” – which are effectively opposites – are both on the list. The key, of course, is to be selective in the right ways.
Filter, filter, filter for relationship availability, character, and demonstrated interest. If you’re picky in the sense that “I can’t resist the bad boys” your results will speak for themselves.
Have Your Act Together
“Get to know yourself first” sounds like goofy self-help speak, but there is some truth in it. Know your own weaknesses and tendencies so that you can avoid self-sabotage. If you need some work on social skills, make that investment before focusing on dating. If you need to work out something from your past, get support and fix it before getting into a new relationship. If you just lost your job, this probably isn’t the best time to start swiping on Tinder.
This should not be confused with “love yourself first,” which is self-indulgent, narcissistic advice for all but those with very low self-esteem.
Do your personal pet peeves make this list? If not what advice annoys you most? Am I guilty of any of these? I’m very open to constructive suggestions about how I might be more helpful!