Have you ever wondered why that amazing person you know from work (or church or the gym or your morning coffee joint) doesn't seem to notice you? Do you find yourself on a Friday evening cuddled up with Spots, your rescue mutt, wishing for person-sized arms to wrap around yourself instead?
The movies make finding love look so undeniably simple. The main character heartthrob pretty much just has to remember to breathe, and BAM! a gorgeous significant other falls from a tree and now they're united for life.
But ask any actual human, and they'll be quick to point out that there is no tried-and-true, one-size-fits-all method for finding the One.
These redditors don't have a secret formula, but each of them shares how they found love in a hopeless place, so to speak.
1. There are plenty of fish in the sea, but you're not going to find them if you live in a pond.
"Keep putting yourself out there. You're not gonna meet your future [someone] by sitting at home alone (unless it's the food delivery person I guess). Even if you only have one friend (or none) who is available that day and can join you, still try to go to concerts, bars, bookstores, restaurants, etc. alone.
Also just because things don't happen romantically with someone doesn't mean cut them off. Sometimes people are meant to just be a fun friend/acquaintance and you can expand your social circle through them, and meet a romantic partner from that."
2. Do your own thing.
"I know it sounds weird... But: stop looking and find a hobby that can involve other people. I swear women can smell desperation and loneliness. After a couple of years of dating after my divorce, zillions of first dates and women who had no long-term potential, I gave up. I just did my own thing, worked on my cars with a local car club, worked, took care of the kids when I had them. Eventually, the woman I never would have sought out, unexpectedly came along. Been married 16 years now."
3. Don't set yourself up for a self-fulfilling prophecy.
"I was so painfully shy and insecure when I was younger. I didn’t believe anyone would see anything valuable in me. I would say don’t get caught up in thinking you’re unlovable. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Allow yourself to be vulnerable with people. I spent a lot of time pushing people away because I feared rejection so much."
4. Push yourself to do the little things.
"I had three or four serious interests fail since high school and I’d been working a few years as a professional after university and there were so many duds. A couple of ones that fell for me but I just wasn’t that deeply into them. I loved to travel and sometimes put myself out there but I couldn’t find anyone that clicked.
Six years ago I went on holiday by myself backpacking in Europe. I saw some old friends and did some tours etc. One night, I got hammered with a friend. Crashed on a couch, woke up, and stumbled back to my accommodation. I was super hungover. Most of the day was a write-off. I wanted to do a tour and all day was procrastinating committing to it in my head. I just felt like s--t. I wasn’t sure if I could be social while this hungover.
Then at the last minute (like literally when I had to go or miss it) I decided that I needed to go because I should be out socializing instead of sitting inside watching TV I didn’t understand.
I went on the tour and met my partner and knew instantly. We lived in very far away countries and it seemed like only a one night stand. Except, we met up again a week later on another trip... then a few months later we happened to be near each other and planned a trip together. Then I went to visit her overseas. That’s when she asked me to move to be with her. Six months later I quit my job and moved.
We’re now together for five years and own a house together. I can’t imagine myself with anyone else. It’s all because both of us just kept answering the call and showing up."
5. Develop a crush. On yourself.
"I spent much of the last five years thinking I was done with dating, that I'd be single forever, that women my age weren't interested in guys like me, etc. etc. etc. Make an excuse, I was probably telling it to myself.
I've tried online dating, I've tried getting 'out there' and widening my social circles, doing new things. I'd had a few very brief trysts arise from my efforts, but real connections felt very scarce, which to me seemed preposterous. I live in a very progressive state, with TONS of smart, kind, witty, wild women who are involved, aware, and active. But for all my efforts to meet and hold the attention of one, I was only feeling more and more defeated over time.
The best thing you can do, I think, is to just do you. Find joy in your daily routine, in the aspects of your life that you choose. Be into you. Someone is going to notice. Confidence and comfort in your own skin is probably the most attractive quality one can project. Are you a little bit weird? F--king go with it. Own it. Revel in it. Someone out there is gonna find your quirks adorable, even sexy. I'm 35 years old and I still have trouble believing myself to be an attractive individual. But I am also an incredibly harsh critic of myself, and I think many of us are, too. Just accept and love yourself, embrace and live the s--t out of your life. Someone is going to want in."
6. Don't be scared to open up about your feelings.
"I didn't meet my wife until I was 30. My 20's were quite lonely having had only one real girlfriend. Now that I'm married with two kids, my advice for anyone younger and trying to meet a partner in life, is that you need to be upfront about your feelings, and not be concerned about rejection. None of the rejection will matter when you get older. In the moment it can feel bad, but instead you should think, 'Oh well, they didn't like me, I will go try another one.'
TLDR: Not everyone is going to like you, and that's ok. Just keep trying until you find someone that does!"
7. It's the journey, not the destination.
"I always tried to remember something I read. 'Happiness is like a butterfly. The more you chase it, the faster it will flutter away. It's when you ignore it, and focus on other things, that it will come land in your hand on its own.'"
8. Some people might not be into you. And that's fine.
"Become okay on your own first and foremost and recognize that there are things about yourself that people will not like and will disqualify you from their dating pool and that’s okay! I lost over 140lbs and have quite the amount of loose skin and once I realized that some quys and gals just wouldn’t be down for that and that’s alright I started to be okay.
I let potential dates know before hand and if they were like, 'Eww no.' Then I knew that that wasn’t someone I would want in my life anyway.
Other guys I told about it would try to shower me with compliments and say, 'No, you’re perfect,' but I could tell they cringed.
My current boyfriend saw a picture of my skin, nodded took a breath and said, 'Babe, your s--t’s f--ked.'
I love that a--hole."
9. Start small.
"Don't stress it by purposely trying to 'activate the dating mode' on every woman you meet, just stay at on a friend level and see how it goes. If it develops into something where you think she's interested in more, go for it, if not then don't ruin the friendship and respect her opinion.
In the end it's a lot of randomness. My first gf came outta nowhere and didn't have the intent to date me, but it went well (well, for a while lol). That being said, I'm bad at all of that stuff so take my stuff with a grain of salt."
10. Feel the fear and face it.
"I was a shut-in ages 13-17 because of my family's abuse and bullying in middle school. My therapist, family, family's friends, etc. were all skeptical of my ability to live a 'normal' life — I basically spent all day playing Runescape, procrastinating in online school, and roleplaying on weird niche websites. I had severe anxiety, depression, and body dysmorphia, so any hallmarks of a 'normal' life seemed totally out of the question. Especially romance and sex, because of the body dysmorphia.
Some stuff happened, and I ended up moving out at 18. Into my own apartment. Everyone thought this was completely insane, of course, but it worked.
I think the most important part was that I had to rely on myself, which involved, like, ordering at restaurants. Or buying vegetables at the farmer's market (the closest market to my house). Or working on my laptop in a coffee shop because they had free internet and a good parfait. I don't know — no one reacted to me like I was some crazy monster with a hideously wrong face. So I started talking to people, who mostly assumed I was a real person and not someone who until recently would go days at a time without bathing (alternatively: bathing six times a day), waking up only to play Skyrim, eating chips for every meal. I was mostly just so shocked each step of the way —shocked that people were reacting to me like I was normal — that I didn't even really think about romance until it happened organically. And after that, I felt normal, because I had done lots of normal people things and I didn't feel like I was pretending anymore. So, it was easier the next time.
It's cliche, but I think the only reason any of this happened was because I put myself in a position where I had no option but to do a bunch of things that seemed terrifying and impossible before. And it's easier to do things when you have to, and if everything is something that used to be completely impossible, there's not that big a gulf between, like, buying a watermelon and talking to the person sitting next to you?
I don't know if that's good advice. But yeah."
11. Approach strangers.
"Talk to strangers.
That random guy buying caulk at Lowes on Sunday morning probably has a few things going for him.
He knows a little something about home maintenance. He’s frugal enough to do the job himself. He’s not still drunk from last night. He is going to finish his project before the game begins tonight.
It’s at least worth a chat."
12. Challenge yourself to say yes.
"This is nothing revolutionary, but just putting yourself first, and grasping every opportunity that comes your way. One night when I was playing pool with a buddy, I missed an opportunity with a girl because I was too scared to do anything. The next night, someone asked if I wanted to go out for a few drinks, and I really wasn't in the mood. I was still pissed off at myself from the night before, and was in full self-hate mode. But I decided I wasn't going to miss out on any other opportunities and was just gonna do it.
So I went out, only thinking about having a good time; drinking beer, shooting pool, playing darts, all the good stuff. Then on the bus on the way home, some girl caught my eye. It was the same girl from the night before. It just seemed like a sign, and of course, I didn't let that opportunity pass me by again. It's only been six months, but we're still going strong, and I feel lucky every day to be with her.
It still scares me that I very nearly didn't go out that night. If I'd been mopey and miserable, I'd have missed out on the best thing that's happened to me. So just get out there, try to do more things, and you will find someone when you least expect it. And when a friend asks if you want to do something, say yes. It could just be the best decision you ever make."
13. Stop caring so much.
"People will tell you it'll happen when you stop looking.
These people are, in my word, idiots.
For me, it happened not when I stopped looking, but when I stopped caring. I realized I could beat myself up only so much before it was having an effect on me. So I dated a little, I looked a little, but I wasn't too worried if I met someone or not. If nothing else, it was either nice nights out, good war stories, maybe some fun, or some combination of the three. The only reason I was even looking was because my therapist suggested keeping my toe in the water — otherwise, I probably wouldn't have even been had a profile on that app.
Don't freak out if you don't have anyone. Hell, don't freak out if you don't WANT anyone. Nothing wrong with either. If you want to date, focus on having a good time. Focus on enjoying it, and see meeting someone as a (kind of) bonus. If you're at the age where it feels like all your friends are pairing off, that path feels rougher than it is, but the best I can tell you is to just run with it. And if you can swing it? Go do stuff you want — I'm sure my friends who were married with kids were a little jealous the successive years I spent my birthday in Copenhagen and Prague. I did the Bannerman Island tour one day because I didn't feel like being at home, no other reason. Stuff like that — if you don't have a romantic partner, live YOUR life."
14. Independence is attractive.
"I feel like once I finally became comfortable with the idea of being alone, that’s when my boyfriend and I started dating. He always has said my independence attracted him to me. I think you need to be ok with not being in a relationship and comfortable being by yourself. Part of a healthy relationship is having space within your relationship. That was something I had never known I was not OK with. I had two consecutive bad relationships where I feel like I was dependent on the other persons presence mostly because I didn’t trust them if they weren’t in my view. I think the idea of being comfortable with yourself as a whole is key. If you’re constantly on the 'prowl' and not just enjoying yourself out. They know. Be whole and it’ll come to you."
15. Don't dwell on being single.
"I thought I wasn't ever going to meet someone myself. I figured I would be the odd but cool aunt, with like four dogs, who lets you smoke weed in the garage. I was kind of OK with that too at the time. But then I met my husband at one of his shows. I was friends with his guitarist, and went to support her. I met him there, and we started hanging out in the months after that.
I think it's important to not dwell on being single. Don't do the 'Oh boo hoo me, I'm always single, no one wants me. Forever alone.' Focus on yourself and bettering yourself.
Also don't try to force chemistry with someone. If they aren't interested, move on."
16. Don't give up.
"What helped me was realizing that chasing after someone who doesn’t want me is not going to change their mind, but it has the potential to completely destroy your old ways of thinking. Plus, I did realize along the way that if I improved myself (exercise, cleaning the house, working on my attitude and actions) and they still rejected me, I’d still have my quality of life improvements even without them."
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