It’s Valentine’s Day this weekend. Which means a weekend of enduring the sight of couples wearing cheesy coordinated outfits and men presenting stuffed teddy bears to girls, as well as the barrage of commemorative photos on social media. #truelove4eva
Funny how it’s been years since this occasion was first given so much commercial value, and people still buy into the whole fanfare.
Maybe I’m just a cynic, or I don’t understand what it’s like to be in love. But while I’m sure there’s much to appreciate about being in a committed relationship with someone, there’s also a lot to be thankful for as a twenty-something singleton.
As I navigate the dating minefield, I’ve also been collecting dating and relationship advice from well-meaning friends of mine (who have witnessed me at the height of an infatuation and suffered through my tales of unrequited interest, on my part and on the chaser’s).
Here are some that struck a chord in me, along with other lessons I’ve learned on my own:
1. Know Thy Worth
If you make someone your everything and he only treats you as his something, it’s going to end in tears. You expect too much. You want more. You start getting resentful. It’s only going to wear you out in the end. And you deserve more than that.
So remember what you are worth. If the guy isn’t putting in any effort at all, then he isn’t worthy of you.
2. Focus on Being You
Nobody likes a wallflower with the personality of a sock. Be happy in your own company. If you don’t even enjoy being with yourself, then you can’t expect someone else to. So fill up your life with the things that make you happy. Have goals. Strive to achieve them. Start creating a version of yourself that you will be proud of. When you’re so busy being you, you won’t need validation from anyone else but yourself. And that itself is a powerful thing.
3. Take Your Time
While my Facebook feed is choked with pictures of friends and acquaintances flaunting their engagement rings, anniversary photos and even (gasp) babies, there are also many who are single.
Sometimes, it can feel like this:
But I don’t see the point in going into a premature relationship and then half-assing it. “Trying out” with someone I’m not 100% into would eventually just wear out an INFJ like me. Like my friend Liz said, timing is important. If two people are at different stages of their lives where they are seeking different things, then it’s likely that they will run parallel to each other and never meet, even if they do like each other. Tragic, but true.
So I guess time takes time. Better a happy singledom than an unhappy relationship.
4. Be Open … But Have Some Standards
I’ve been told that my expectations are too high – a statement that I really don’t agree with, by the way – and that you could have someone who ticks all the right boxes in your checklist (if you have one) but it still wouldn’t feel right … as Glamour’s experiment below proved.
That doesn’t mean you settle for anyone who shows the slightest bit of interest in you. Rather, it’s taking the time to know more people so that you understand what you’re really looking for so that you don’t end up rushing into a relationship.
5. Don’t Sweat It
A rejection isn’t the end of the world. A non-reply – or a curt, half-hearted one – may dent your dignity, but what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. Sometimes, you can do everything right and things would still not work out the way you hope it would. What are you going to do, mope and cry?
Once you start placing less importance on one thing, you’re freeing yourself up to many other things. You’re giving yourself the space to pursue other things and saving yourself a whole lot of angst in doing so.
Besides, no one said you only had to go after one thing in life. And frankly, you have better stuff to worry about than why he blue-ticked you on WhatsApp.
6. But Don’t Ever Give Up on Love
This one came from my dad. Despite all the horror stories we’ve heard about relationships gone wrong and people being screwed over by love, he still believes there’s someone out there for me. And according to him, the worst thing you can do for yourself that would diminish your chances of ever falling in love is to become disillusioned by the notion of love.
So even if consecutive lacklustre dates and humiliating rejections may convince you that you’re better off alone after all, I guess the key is to have faith that someday someone will appreciate you for being you, and vice versa. In the meantime, stay awesome and get comfortable with solitude.
What other dating advice have you received that you think is worth imparting? Share them in the Comments section below! I’m all ears.
This article first appeared on ZALORA Community.